Johnny hated books. Which is normal for most children… but Johnny was an editor. Most of the time, when some hopeful writer sent him a manuscript, he would commence in his usual ritual of slowly tearing each page into tiny squares and dumping the confetti onto his receptionist. So it would come as no surprise that when, six months ago, a hefty—600 page—manuscript was submitted to him, he deftly proceeded to decorate the office with paper snow.
One morning Sam burst into his office. Johnny sat up angrily in his chair. He had been napping quite contently, dreaming of a serene beach thousands of miles from the nearest book. To his surprise, Sam was just as angry. He pulled a thick tome from his satchel and dropped onto Johnny’s desk. The book thundered as it struck the oak table.
“What’s the big idea, Sam?” Johnny asked, a little worried.
“What’s the big idea? What’s the big idea! Do you recognize the title of that book?”
Johnny lazily leaned over and looked down at his desk. The book’s dust jacket was a gaudy orange. Across the front, in bold, black letters it said, “The Taps of Death.”
“So, it’s an ugly book.”
“No,” answered Sam, his face growing redder. “It’s not an ‘ugly’ book. It’s a book you rejected six months ago.”
“Really? Hmm.” Johnny seemed to recall the manuscript. He remembered it took him three hours to properly shred each page.
“That’s all you have to say for yourself?” Sam bellowed. He grabbed the book and slammed it down on the desk again, even harder.
“So what, it got published. Big deal!”
“Big deal? Big deal! That book is selling better than any novel I’ve ever seen. It’s been in print, for 5 MINUTES, and it’s already sold a million copies!”
“That’s impossible,” protested Johnny.
“Not with the internet! Listen pal, you better get your act together. If we ever miss out on a book like this again, you’re out on you’re ass!”
“But it’s called ‘The Taps of Death,’ it must be terrible.”
“Of course its terrible,” replied Sam. “I read it already. It’s the worst book ever written—but its selling, and that’s all that matters!”
Johnny rubbed his chin. He didn’t think of that.
Sam continued, “I better see a recommendation on my desk by lunch, Johnny, by lunch!” He stormed out of the office before Johnny could reply.
Poor Johnny straightened up in his chair. Twenty years in the business, he never had to read a book. He reached over to the dusty inbox and retrieved a thick manuscript.
“Well, there’s a first for everything.”