I’m wondering. Just how serious are we supposed to be? Are we supposed to spend our lives focused only on the “big questions,” or should we relax and enjoy ourselves? And if we do relax, are we supposed to feel guilty later, or are we free to simply go about our business? I myself am a fairly serious person — unless I’m around other serious people, in which case I am inclined to bust out laughing. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than a roomful of people having a good time. Talk about annoying.

The Great American Novel

One day, a publisher, an editor, and a writer were having coffee. When they were ready to leave the coffee shop and it was time to pay, the publisher told the editor and writer that he was short on cash. “Can one of you guys pay?” he said. “I’ll pick up the bill next time.” “Now that’s a coincidence,” the editor said. “I don’t have any money either.” The editor turned to the writer. “Would you mind paying this time?” The writer smiled. “Not at all,” he said. “But I don’t have any money either. If you guys don’t mind waiting, though, I have a few copies of my book in my car. They ought to be worth something.” The publisher and the editor agreed to wait in the coffee shop while the writer went after his books. A few minutes later, the writer returned empty handed. “I forgot,” he said. “I was out of gas, so I took the bus this morning. Can one of you give me a ride home so I can get my books?” The publisher and editor looked at each other. “You go,” the publisher told the editor. “I have a few calls to make.” The editor and writer left the coffee shop. A few minutes later, they returned, but neither of them had the books. “What happened?” the publisher said. “There was a typo on the cover,” the editor said. “The books are worthless.” The publisher put down his cell phone. “Now what?” he said. The writer cleared his throat. “I brought the manuscript of my new novel,” he said. “That ought to be worth something.” “I see,” the publisher said. He turned to the editor. “Have you read his manuscript?” he said. “Yes,” the editor said. The publisher asked the editor if the writer’s new novel showed promise. “Not much,” the editor said. “In fact, it’s pretty bad.” “Well,” the publisher said, “I certainly can’t pay for a novel if it’s no good. What do you take me for?” “At this point,” the writer said, “I’d settle for a cup of coffee. That would be more than I made on my first book.” The editor laughed. “I think he’s got you there,” he told the publisher. The publisher frowned. “Okay, okay,” he said. “But I’ll have to call accounting. They’ll know if it’s in the budget.” The publisher called accounting. “Just as I thought,” he said. “It can’t be done.” The writer shook his head. “Do you mean your publishing firm can’t even afford a cup of coffee?” he said. “It’s three cups,” the publisher said. “Three cups.” The publisher, editor, and writer fell silent. The last time anyone checked, they were still in the coffee shop, trying to figure things out.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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