Evil Editor was setting the hands of the plastic Evil Editor-Will-Return-Clock to 3 pm when he saw the strange figure with a lobster on a leash approach. Evil told himself there were always a few “characters” who showed up at these things, but by then he was cowering in a lump on his desk, having a certifiably unreasonable fear of crustaceans in general and lobsters in particular.
“Good Afternoon!” said the strange man with the lobster, “I am Gerard de Nerval. Jack Kerouac recommended you.”
Evil could barely sputter in response. A petite but feisty blond nearby intervened, much to Evil’s relief, and offered to take the lobster for a walk. Evil regained his composure and was seated.
“I am hoping you will be interested in my story. It concerns a young gentleman who has fallen in love with Adrienne, who does not return his affections, possibly because he has never declared himself to her. When Adrienne is sent to study at a distant convent, the young man mistakes her absence for death. He is devastated and takes comfort in the company of Adele, who is a proper girl from a well-connected family. One night he meets an exotic dancer, Sophie, and the passion and excitement he thought he might never know again is rekindled; Sophie is almost identical in appearance to Adrienne, his departed love. He continues the sordid trysts even after he and Adele are married in a lavish wedding celebration in Nice. But even as Sophie is starting to feel the pangs of Catholic guilt, Adele is beginning to suspect her husband of infidelity. In a dramatic denouement, the gentleman is confronted by all the women he has loved and finds he must adjust some long-held beliefs or lose everything.”
The blonde and the lobster approached at a stately pace. Evil thought quickly. “Here’s my cell,” he said, handing a card to the author as he shoved the yellowed manuscript into his laptop. “Ditch the blonde and the lobster and call me in an hour!”