Chapter Eighteen

   As I climbed the stairs, this "feeling" began to take over me, a growing sense of fear, of panic. I couldn't shake it. By the time I reached my floor (the 29th) the feeling had deepened to the point where I was shaking, shivering, barely able to stand up of my own power. Strange, but the door to my apartment was open --
   "Surprise! Happy birthday! Surprise!" There must have been a hundred people in there -- friends, relatives -- and they were all screaming and yelling and blowing silly plastic horns and throwing streamers and carrying on like you would not believe!
   Wrong apartment. I slinked out and stumbled over to my door, opened it, looked inside, and -- Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
   I woke up in a cold sweat. What was that all about? I don't live on the 29th floor! I don't have any friends! But, I do have this growing sense of panic, of doom -- I know -- I'll read a magazine, that'll take my mind off things...
   I'm sorry, did you want to read it too? All right, this is from the latest issue of Sound Wave Newsletter:
   "Testing continued this week on the new, giant Super Fork, a ten-foot-tall tuning fork that, theoretically, can pulverize a building the size of the Pentagon from a distance of six hundred yards. So far, though, results have been mixed." (What? He's pulling stuff out of magazines now? This could lead to a law suit! -- Ed., c/o The Farrs, 23 Maple Lane, East Hampton, NY 10678)
   And this, from the latest issue of Margarine Marketers Magazine:
   "One successful selling point has been to deflect the buyer's attention away from recent negative publicity concerning margarine and other dairy spread substitutes. Always cite, when possible, the natural sources of margarine, such as corn, and sunflowers."
   Words to live by. And don't worry about law suits, pal, this stuff's all made up as I go along. (Whew! -- Ed.)
   Maureen? What happened?
   "They fired me. I'm calling Mr. Katz."
   But, I thought they liked your work. It was good, you know.
   "You liked it?"
   "Well, I'm flattered. Unfortunately they didn't like the idea that I was so friendly with a hostile author -- "
   Hostile author?
   "You, Jim. They were worried that if they took you to court our friendship could hurt their case. At least that's what Ed. said."
   Ed. said that? What a snake.
   "It's not all his fault. You've been very difficult, you know."
   I told them exactly what I was going to do, and I'm doing it. For what they paid me, seventy-five hundred bucks -- boy did that go fast -- it barely paid off the five thousand dollar loan I took out on their promise to read the first three chapters. So, now what? They sue me for breach of contract? Is that what he told you?
   "He didn't say. But, if I were you, I'd hire a good attorney."
   I know just the guy.

(This ends Chapter Eighteen. Have you noticed how the chapters are getting shorter and shorter? It's beginning to concern me.)

Chapter Nineteen