GRAND THEFT NOVEL
Friday: I woke up this morning to find my 2002 Saturn coupe stolen from my gated apartment complex in a bad part of Albuquerque. There was a late payment on my insurance so there’s a chance it will not be covered. I still owe five grand on the car, so there is a very real chance I am looking at bankruptcy to get rid of the deficiency.
I write this on Friday evening, because I am writer and I have nothing better to do.
There were some personal effects in my car, including a picture of an Asian supermodel who would not release permission to me to use her name, posing suggestively with my novel. To make matters worse there were thirty copies of my novel Crater County that I was taking down to my signing in El Paso. I wouldn't have been surprised to get my car stolen down in El Paso, with its proximity to the border, but the fact that someone would steal my books before I would even get down there. Who knew Albuquerque had such voracious readers?
I assume that the thief was a drug addict who will sell the car for the parts. But what do you do with the books? Thirty books are worth around four hundred dollars or so. I suppose you can take the book to a literary hop shop and sell a few paragraphs here and there on the black market.
Don’t laugh. I have had legal clients who have taken my books to jail with them. Amarillo in August, my collection of short stories has been traded for cigarettes. Did one story go for a single cigarette?
The last story is really good and perhaps they’re read at bedtime over the intercom to calm down unruly inmates. Unfortunately, the concept of bedtime stories has some unpleasant connotations in prison situations.
This evildoer can now try to go around America and sell the book in one big score to the disreputable clerk at Barnes and Nobles and do the deal in the “Fiction and Literature” Section. For some reason, I see a shoot-out like in the final scene of Quentin Tarentino's True Romance when the deal goes bad in the dispute over Chapter twenty-seven.
That gets me thinking. Maybe it was a mob heist that was planned all along just like the Lufthansa Heist in Goodfellas. Perhaps the mob is going after mid-list authors, because they’re easy marks. You've heard of the mob selling cigarettes from the back of trucks -- why not novels?
My real fear is that someone might try to impersonate me and do book signings in my name to get some money while on the lam. No one really looks at the picture on the back of the book any ways. Jonathan Miller’s book tour for 2005 might be held in Juarez, the Cayman Islands, and Tora Bora, Afghanistan. I think I can be big in Tora Bora if I can get an interview on the local radio station. If they do posters, I guess they’d have to put the chick on the cover of my book in a burka.
I suppose I have to look at the bright side. My computer was stolen nine years ago and it had a treatment for a story. Five years later SOMEONE ELSE created some big hit movie with a similar theme. Coincidence?
Was that first theft karma? The movie that had an idea similar to one on my stolen computer was the obscure film K-pax with Kevin Spacey. That was not a joke. Serves you guys right for having an idea similar to mine.
At least my name is on the books; it would take a lot to white it out of the tops of the pages. I can’t help but think that most stolen cars end up in
Perhaps the assistant to some big producer will buy the car at some lot and
finds the books in the trunk. He can say to the producer “Look what I found,”
if he didn’t read the scripts over the weekend.
So instead of waiting for the call from the police about my car smashed somewhere near the border, or waiting from the insurance company for the check that isn't coming, I’m now waiting for a phone call from Hollywood.
And if they ever get the guy who stole my car, well I hope they lock him up for the rest of his life. But at least he’ll have something to read.
Saturday: I got the call at nine this morning. The police recovered my vehicle in an alley a few miles from my home in the rugged South Broadway neighborhood of
The stereo was gone of course, and the ignition was damaged I had some videos
stolen, episodes of South Park. My
picture of Asian supermodel who wouldn’t let me use her name, posing
suggestively with my books was still there, so the robbers were definitely gay.
As for the books, the box had been removed and thrown into the mud, as if the robbers were making a getaway with it and then dropped it when the cops came. Other than a few damaged by the mud, the vast majority were OK.
However one volume was clearly unaccounted for. So be on the look-out for a robber, quite possibly armed and literate.