I received a call on Wednesday from a woman with a blocked phone number.
“Hello, Dr. Dobrenski? This is ________ from (major publishing house). I’d like to say that our editors have read your book and we here couldn’t be happier with it. We’d love to publish it and are ready to offer you a significant advance.”
Given my cursory knowledge of how the publishing industry works, immediate and intense skepticism set in. However, I feigned excitement just in case my suspicions were false. I’m so pathetic I’ll even entertain a bogus call.
“Really? That’s…that’s just amazing. Thank you! How much of an advance are you considering?”
“Oh, significant,” she said. “At least one million dollars.”
“Of course, a writer of my fame and stature should command such a figure. Please tell me more.”
“Well, would you be willing to include one of your colleagues as a co-author? We’ve been very impressed with Dr. John’s abilities as a Psychologist, and we think you could sell many more books with his name attached to it.”
It crossed my mind that Pete was the prankster, but that would have required him not only speaking to, but actually befriending a woman, to make this call for him.
“Anything at all,” I said. “If you want John on there, consider it done.”
At that point John took the phone from whom I’m guessing was his office assistant. “Gotcha, Dobrenski! April Fool’s!”
“You’re an idiot.”
“First, my book isn’t even being considered at that publishing house, because they don’t print psychology books. Second, offers aren’t made directly to the writer, at least not in this case. That’s what agents are for. And that advance was ludicrous.”
“Oh, I guess I should have called your agent.”
“I’m pretty sure he knows the people he talks books with, so please don’t bother him.”
“Fair point. Well anyway, Happy April Fool’s Day, Sunshine.”
“That’s tomorrow, you moron.”
He paused and then starting pushing buttons on his phone, probably pulling up his calendar.
“Damnit!” he said. “I’ve got a male stripper on his way to Pete’s right now! Gotta go.” Click.
So close to fulfilling my dream of being published, yet so far.
The morale of this brief anecdote: for April Fool’s Day, know your victim and the environment in which you are playing your prank. And consider actually completing your joke on April 1st. That always helps.
Related Post (I actually tricked some of you with this a few years back): A Shrink’s Worst Possible Nightmare