A Conversation in Bob Barnett's Waiting Room
(note: I have met Bob Barnett, and he's a very nice guy)
(Interior: Elevator opens into the office of a high profile literary agency. President Barack Obama walks out. He approaches the receptionist.)
Barack: Hi...um, Shelly, right?
Receptionist: It's Sheila.
Barack: Sheila, right. Sorry, haven't been here too often. Kinda busy, you know. Did you see me on Leno last night?
Receptionist: Sorry, I don't stay up that late.
Barack: No sweat, neither do I. Anyway, I have an 11:45 with Mr. Barnett.
Receptionist: Sure thing Mr. President. He's running a little late, please have a seat in the waiting room.
Barack: Sure thing. Can I smoke in there?
Receptionist: No, sir.
(Obama, disgruntled, heads into the waiting room, where he is shocked to see...)
Barack: George W. Bush, what are you doing here?
George: Oh, hey Barack. Good to, um, see you. I'm just waiting to meet with my agent.
Barack: Your agent? Bob Barnett?
George: That's right. When it came time to write my book, there's nobody else I would want brokering my deal. Why are you here?
Barack: I, um...needed somewhere to smoke.
George: I thought this was a no smoking office.
Barack: Ok, you got me. I'm here to meet with my agent.
George: Wait...are you saying Bob Barnett is your agent too?
Barack (sighing): Yeah, that's what I'm saying.
George: Hold on, didn't you used to have a different agent?
Barack: Yeah, but that was a long time ago, back when nobody really knew who I was.
George: I hear you, partner. Once you hit the big time, you need to run with the big dogs.
(George holds his fist out. Barack just stares at it.)
George: Come on, don't leave me hanging.
(Barack reluctantly touches George's fist)
George: Alright! Terrorist fist jabs for everyone!
Barack: Please don't call it that.
George: Isn't this so weird? I mean, what are the chances that we'd both have the same literary agent? Isn't that, like, so funny?
George: So what's your book about?
Barack: Well, I've written two critically-acclaimed, bestselling memoirs that have sold millions of copies around the world. I'm thinking about a children's book, and maybe a book reflecting on my presidency once I leave office. What about you?
George: Paranormal erotica.
George: I'm just joshing with you. It's a book on the hardest decisions I had to make while president.
Barack: That sounds like it could be insightful.
George: Does it? I kind of wanted to write one of those cookbooks. You know, "Kill 'Em and Grill 'Em" or something. But some 'people' (George makes finger quotes) thought I should write something a little more 'serious' (more finger quotes).
George: So who's writing your book?
Barack: Excuse me?
George: You know, who did you choose to interview you with a tape recorder and then ghostwrite your book?
Barack: Um, I wrote both of my books myself.
George: Riiiight. So who really 'wrote' your books?
Barack: I did. Really.
George: Ok, ok, I get it. You're really embracing the whole 'ghostwriter' thing. Me? I'm thinking of using that Salter guy McCain seems to like. He told me he'd going to need at least half an hour of tape. How about that, he must think I have a lot of wisdom to impart!
Barack: You know, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, during the campaign I basically implied your presidency was up there with the reign of Satan himself. And now we're here, in the same office, selling our books through the same agency?
George (laughing): I know. What are the odds?
Barack: Yeah. What are the odds.
(The door opens. In walks Bill Clinton)
Bill: George! Barack! What are you guys doing here?
Barack: Hey Bill, I'm waiting to meet with my agent.
George (reading a copy of 'Highlights'): Hey Bill, my Dad says hi.
Barack: What are you here for, Bill?
Bill: Well, Bob sold my first two books. Got me a sweet, sweet deal for both of them. So when it came time to write a new book, there's nobody I'd rather have handling my contract. You know Barack, would you mind giving Hillary whatever exercises Michelle is doing for her arms? Hello, two tickets to the gun show please!
(Bill extends his fist. George leaps forward and taps it while Barack shakes his head.)
George: That's right, Bill, you old hoss. So what are you writing?
Bill: Paranormal erotica.
Receptionist: George, Mr. Barnett will see you now. And Mr. Obama, please put out your cigarette.
Labels: publishing, random