Rich and Famous

Rich and Famous by James Lincoln Collier

Book: Rich and Famous by James Lincoln Collier Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Lincoln Collier
nice; she didn’t seem to mind it when I came down and talked to her.
    But even when the meetings got going, a lot of times they didn’t seem to be about anything: people would say things like, “We haven’t got a clean concept here,” and, “I’d like to know what the distribs feel about it, let’s get a slant from Smithers at Retail Outlets,” none of which I could understand. Finally they’d all decide to “give it a mull” and “keep on truckin” and the meeting would break up.
    Even when the meetings were actually about something, they hardly ever had anything to do with music. Most of the time they had to do with publicity and my image and what kind of a haircut a Boy Next Door should have. Take for example the meeting with the publicity guys. There were two of them—a tall, skinny guy who looked as if he were going to cry, and a short, round one who seemed happier. They didn’t even bother covering up that they were being phony. They just made stuff up left and right as if it was a perfectly normal thing to do. “Where ya’ from, George?” the short, round one said.
    â€œWest Fourth Street,” I said.
    â€œNo, you’re not from West Fourth Street. You’re from some place in the country,” the skinny one said.
    â€œGot any relatives in some hick town somewhere?” the round one said.
    â€œI’m staying with my cousin in Pawling. That’s upstate.”
    â€œWhat kind of a place is that?” the round one said.
    â€œJust a small town,” I said. “There are a lot of farms there.”
    â€œPawling?” the skinny one said, looking worried. “Is there really such a place? It’s important that you come from a real place. Sometimes they send fan mail to the hometown and it looks bad when it comes back marked, „No Such Place.’”
    â€œIt’s real,” I said. “I’ve been there.”
    â€œNaturally you’ve been there,” the round one said. “It’s your hometown. Any cows and like that? Real country-time?”
    â€œMy cousin has a barn only there aren’t any cows in it. They use it for cars.”
    â€œBarns,” the skinny one said. “That sings, barns are good.”
    â€œWhat about a main street?” the round one said. “We may have to put on a homecoming parade—George Stable, The Boy Next Door returns triumphantly to the something little town where as a school boy he something, something, while imbibing the something something that has made him world famous. Some crap like that.”
    â€œMaybe we ought to wait until he gets world famous before we plan any parades,” the skinny one said, looking worried again.
    I wondered what Sinclair would think of me parading down the main street of his own hometown. I figured he’d commit suicide. “There’s a regular main street there.” I said. “Drugstores and banks and the railroad station.”
    â€œLet’s hear it for Main Street,” the round one said.
    â€œThat railroad station might sing,” the skinny one said. “What else? What kind of things did you do when you were a kid up there? Ice skating? Sneaking apples out of Farmer Brown’s orchard? Pitching maple syrup or whatever the hell they do?”
    â€œWell the thing is, I didn’t actually live there, so I couldn’t—”
    â€œNow, George,” the skinny one said. “Let’s not confuse the issue. Pawlville is your—”
    â€œPawling.”
    â€œPawling is your home town, so naturally you must have lived there. I can see you playing baseball in cow pastures, or sledding down Farmer Brown’s barn, your cheeks red and a colorful scarf flying along behind you.”
    â€œYou don’t sled down barns, dummy,” the round one said.
    â€œDon’t be picky. I can see you roasting corn on sticks over an open fire, and putting the

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