I wipe a bit of dried, hardened, drool from the corner of my mouth. The bristle of my stubble scratches my hand. There I am: staring back at myself from inside the shop. Standing between piles of books. But that me has flat, soulless eyes. Pale, featureless skin. Stop fucking staring at me! I bang my fist on the window and draw funny looks from passers-by. I take a last, deep, pull on my fag, flick the butt over my shoulder and walk inside. I wipe my hand on my trousers and give my hair a quick pull about so that I don’t get mistaken for a tramp like last time.
There I am again: by the bestsellers table, cradling my latest book like an adopted AIDS baby. Smug fucker. I said stop staring at me! I punch Smug Me in the face and he topples over backwards, sending the spiral of books behind him tumbling. The manager runs over to see what the commotion is.
Yes, it’s me. Yes, I’m late. Yes, I’ll sign the fucking books. Where’s the table? Get me a black coffee, for Christ’s sake, I can barely hold a pen. Wait, scratch that, make it a whisky. A big one.
I crash down into the seat and start scribbling in the trash that I’ve oozed out for these people to devour.
To a special friend.
To my biggest fan.
Whatever you want, just take it and go. I see one of the staff righting the cardboard stand-up that I just knocked over, giving me a dirty look over his shoulder. I fucking hate book signings.