#71 Treated Like Royalties by Margaret Finnegan

Dear Frank:

To follow up on my last three unreturned phone calls, I was told in the Spring that I would be receiving a royalty payment for approximately $550 for my novel Dreams of a Lunch Lady. I have not yet received my royalty payment. Please let me know when it will arrive.

Sincerely,

Constance Dorsey
3217 Craftsman Way
Pasadena, CA 91106

 

Dear Frank:

I still have not received that check. Please let me know why by filling out and returning the following questionnaire:

Staff Accountant Frank Fields is:
__ Dead
__ Dying
__ On vacation
__ Other (Please state, and please be as specific as possible:_________________.)

Sincerely,

Constance Dorsey
3217 Craftsman Way
Pasadena, CA 91106

 

Dear Frank:

Since I have not received your completed questionnaire, I went ahead and used Survey Monkey. I thought maybe you would prefer it that way. I thought to myself, maybe Frank is young and prefers more techno sorts of surveys. Also, I heard on NPR that young people, in general, are just not that into surveys. So maybe that applies to you as well.

But then I said to myself, what young stylish man working in famed New York City would be named Frank. I hope you won’t be offended, Frank, but I did a little research. As of 2010 (the last year for which I could find such data), Frank was the 302nd most popular name for boys in the US. Of course, you weren’t born yesterday, were you! Maybe you were born in the peak year of popularity for naming boys in the US Frank—maybe you were born in 1880! Now that would explain why it’s taking you so long to get me that check! You really are dead!

I’m just joking with you, Frank.

Just curious: How is your sense of humor, Frank? Are you a kidder? Are you the kind of co-worker who stretches plastic wrap across the opening of a cubicle so that when someone walks in they smash their face against clear plastic? Do you forward funny pictures like this to your friends and family? I wonder, Frank. I wonder. Because, I’m going to be honest with you Frank, if you are a good natured sort of person then why won’t you tell me when I will receive my royalty check? I’m worried that you are a bad egg, Frank. I’m worried that you just don’t care about me or my check or even my novel, which was critically acclaimed, Frank. BookaBookaBooka blog called it “a haunting look at modern alienation and the redemptive quality of tater tots.” I think, you have to admit, Frank, that that is high praise indeed. Surely, you must want me to get my $350. Surely, Dreams of a Lunch Lady helps pay your salary.

Sincerely,

Constance

 

Frank,

I know that for a fancy staff accountant such as yourself, $350 may not seem like a lot of money. I mean, there you are in the Big Apple. You probably have a fancy Eastside apartment and you probably spend your nights at chummy clubs and parties. But, I’m going to be honest with you, Frank. The life of a big time novelist like me is not nearly so exciting. I drive a twenty-two year old Volkswagen, Frank. I get my hair cut at Supercuts and I have only basic—BASIC—cable. I have two sweet cats, Frank. They are named Scott and Zelda. Are you a pet man, Frank? If so then brace yourself. Scott is dying. That’s right. HE IS DYING! His kidneys are giving out. The vet says he only has a few weeks left unless—unless—I get him this very special medicine that might extend his life for another six months to a year. I know that six months to a year may not sound like much to you, but it will mean so much to Scott, not to mention Zelda. And do you know how much that medicine costs, Frank? That’s right: $350. I’m not asking for me, Frank. I don’t mind a life of austerity. I am an artist! But is it fair for us to take this out on poor Scott? I think not, Frank. I THINK NOT.

 

Frank:

Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank. I don’t know how to tell you this. Scott is dead. That’s right. He’s at the rainbow bridge now, Frank. He’ll be waiting there for Zelda and for me. He was not a perfect cat. I think I can tell you that, Frank. I think we have developed the sort of rapport where I can share with you. So let me tell you, Scott tended to knock down vases. He would only eat dolphin-safe albacore. But he made me happy, Frank, and now he is gone. I was thinking about a memorial service—he touched many lives—but I’m frankly too exhausted. Also my studio apartment is very small. If only I had $350. Then I could rent the back room in the back of a nearby cafe and maybe even serve a little coffee and some cookies. Scott did love cookies.

 

Frank:

A Haiku for Frank

Where is the money?
You said it would come in May.
Garbage disposal.

 

Frank:

Enclosed please find a copy of my newest novel, which “Elaine in TX” calls “a gripping look at humanity’s desperate desire for control and the fragility of the human mind. It is entitled, My Dog Ate My Royalty Check. It is dedicated to the memory of my beloved Scott.

 

Dear Ms. Dorsey:

Due to a bookkeeping error, your royalties have been revised. Enclosed please find a royalty check for the revised amount of $35.50.

Best wishes,

Frank Fields
Staff Accountant

 

Dear Frank:

Click here.

 

© Copyright 2012 Margaret Finnegan. All rights reserved.

Margaret Finnegan

Margaret Finnegan is a frequent contributor to The Rose City Sisters. Her story, “Sweet Revenge,” was voted the 2009 Story of the Year by fellow contributors to this blog. She blogs at Finnegan Begin Again.  Her novel, “The Goddess Lounge,” is available on Amazon and through her her website.

5 Responses to #71 Treated Like Royalties by Margaret Finnegan

  1. Dear Ms Margaret,

    May I say you have used your prodigious gifts as a writer — your manic, exuberant prose, your ferocious powers of observation, your ability to fuse avant-garde techniques with old-fashioned moral seriousness — to create a series of strobe-lit portraits of a millennial America overdosing on the drugs of entertainment and self-gratification, and to capture, in the words of the musician Robert Plant, the myriad “deep and meaningless” facets of contemporary life.

    Best wishes,

    Twyla Bean

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