“Eeet iz like ‘Sex & theee Seety’—only LIVE!” the drunk Frenchman shouted into the humid midnight air, gesturing toward me and my girlfriends on the roof deck of “60 Thompson” with a slosh of his martini glass. His bug eyes coupled with the proverbial wild, Gallic hair made any number of comparisons possible—least of which was the good Doctor Victor in Mary Shelley’s, “Frankenstein.” The confluence of all metaphors, analogies and the like made me want to shout out, “I’m not the brain child of Michael Patrick King and Candace Bushnell—I’m Brooke Parkhurst!”
But, damn, was he right? While Steve Cuozzo chortled and rocked himself back into a semi-lucid “post-expense-account-“Smith & Wollensky’s”-steak lunch” state, I thought of that night on the roof, the crazed Jean-Francois and how I wanted to be known in the city. Was this my Carrie Bradshaw moment? No, it wouldn’t be like having my own “New York Observer” column (if only…) nor would I really have a voice, but…the “New York Post” still had some sort of cache, didn’t it?
“The newsroom was no cake walk,” I began, tapping into a great, never-before-touched reserve of diplomacy, “but at least it helped me figure out what I did and did not want to pursue as a journalist and writer.” Naturally, I was referring to the station’s crazed, right-wing politics but Steve and Richard could interpret at will. The poker faces persisted while I tried my best not to disparage the worst experience of my life. And, what about the book? Was I supposed to downplay or highlight the fact that I was in my mid-20’s and had a book deal? Shit.
As if reading my mind, Richard asked, “So tell us about this book. How did that come about?” For the first time, he looked mildly interested in what might come out of my mouth.
“Ummm, it’s about a small town Southern girl moving to big city and…uhhh…you know…hard knocks, good times, bad times. It’s a coming of age story.” Yes! Invoke J.D. Salinger—that’s innocuous enough. If no one had told them that my tome was a behind-the-scenes look at the mosh pit of the conservative Manhattan media whirl, I sure as hell wasn’t about to drop the bomb.
“And you’ve finished it?”
“‘Scribner’ bought it on partial so it’s due in the late summer, early fall. Actually, there was a piece on me and a few other bloggers with book deals in the ‘Pulse’ section of your paper about a month ago… maybe you read it?”
“I saw it—cute picture,” he said smiling.
Dick could smile and he had smiled at me! It took more than several beats for me to recover from all the emotion—Richard’s and mine. Steve, of course, remained sessile and expressionless to my left. “Now there’s talk of producers and studios clamoring for the next girl-about-Manhattan tome that could be turned into a movie so we’re trying to get the book out quickly.”
“Partial? That’s rare,” Steve muttered, with a raised brow.
“The blog helped,” I said, turning to him. “To tell you the truth, “Gawker” probably pushed my book—“”
“Oh, God, ‘Gawker’—what a headache,” Steve said with a moan. “What are their names again?”
“You mean Jesse and Jessica, sir?” the formality once again, kicking in.
“Pain in my a—” Steve began, mouth wide, implications and half-spoken words dangling in the air.
“They’ve certainly changed the industry,” Richard finished with a grimace and a glance at the certificates on his cheap plastered walls…