So, I’d done ten little stories for this magazine based in New York. I was asked to do them at some point around last Christmas, with a deadline of mid-March. Fine. Yep, I’ll do it. I’d worked with them on a couple of occasions before, and the guy there seemed like a decent chap.
In the last month or so before the deadline, I’d get an email now and again, checking in to see how I was getting on. I was getting on fine. I’d not finished yet, but fear not: I will hit the deadline. I’ve never missed a deadline in my freelance life, and it’s something I take seriously.
The two ideas I had for a longer short story were both going okay, but not really as I wanted them to. So, with a week to go, I ditched the idea and decided to do a bunch of tiny stories, like the Gee Willikers stuff on FFF. I gathered together a bunch of notes I’d made over the past few months and wrote them up as ten little stories about ten men.
I was kinda happy with what I’d done. Not the best stuff I’ve ever done, but still, when I sent them to the magazine – on time – I had no nagging doubts. Those nagging doubts you have when you create something and even though you like it, there’s something deep in the back of your brain that says, “That’s not very good.”
I waited a couple of days. Nothing. No acknowledgment of receiving the email. I waited a few more days, and wrote another email to check he’d got the work. Nothing. So yesterday, two weeks after I’d sent him the stories, I sent another email asking what the score was, and that if I didn’t hear back from him soon, I’d just assume he didn’t want the stories and I’d use them on the site.
Two hours later, I got a terse reply:
Sorry I’ve been so busy with finishing the issue to go to press. I honestly didn’t really like the piece so we won’t be printing it. So you can go ahead and put it on your site.
Fine. I’m not really that arsed that he didn’t like them and decided not to use them, but, for fuck’s sake, how fucking rude is that? When the hell was he planning on telling me this? And this work was for free. No payment. Essentially a favour. I replied with an equally terse, and slightly pissy, email. The next reply was more shitty excuses. You know when people are caught out, and they heap on excuses that are slightly off-topic from their original excuse? Anyway. Fuck him. Fuck his cunty magazine.
I was going to write about all this yesterday, but decided to wait to calm a touch. I’ve not really calmed down yet, though.
I’m putting the stories online now. I hope you like them. [Insert smiley face here.] Here’s one of them. The other nine are over in the Gee Willikers section of Flip Flop Flyin’. Have a good weekend.
Zac looked out of the window at the cloud below. One cloud on its own, casting a huge shadow over the fields. I’d like to be on a bicycle, he thought, and ride around the edge of that shadow. One arm under the shadow, one arm under the sun. I’d follow the edge of the shadow round and round and round and round as it passed over fields, forests, and the rich suburbs with their piercing turquoise pools. And maybe, I’d ride through someone’s garden, and there’d be a girl by the pool. And maybe, just maybe, she’d ask why one of my arms was redder than the other. And I’d tell her why. And maybe, just maybe, she’d fall in love with me.