From The Top Down

Sanjay Patelov was busy. Now, he was busy using his new telescope to focus in on the jiggly parts of the female joggers in Time Square, but he felt justified. Patelov & Murkin was a new publisher, but six of the New York Times current ten best-sellers proudly had that “P&M” emblazoned on their spines. It was a great deal of pressure, and Sanjay felt justified with a little peeping-tom-foolery from his sixty-sixth floor office window.

Which is why he was more than a little irritated when Clarence, his secretary, buzzed in.

“Message from Jermont McGuilligotty, sir.”

Shit, Sanjay thought. Talking with him is like talking to a brick wall possessed by E. M. Forster. And yet, the man’s books might as well have had wheels bolted on, they moved so fast… “What’s he want now?”

“He wants his latest novel removed from the site. He says he has no intention of giving away his work for free.”

Sanjy put the telescope away. He was no longer in the mood. “I imagine he believes you still have to cut the pages of magazines before you read them, as well. Nothing doing. No one’s going to buy the book if they can’t read it online. They’ll think we’re hiding the content, that it’s crap. The book stays.”

“He says he’s going to take it to a Print On Demand outfit if that’s the case. He says he already has a new ending and cover art.”

“Does he.”

“Yes, sir.”

Sanjay stared out onto the New York skyline. He remembered, briefly, how it looked when he first came to the city. How the buildings towered above him. And now, they seemed so approachable. “Let him do it. If he wants to Lulu his novel, so be it. But keep our version up. And advertise that we have the original ending. He’s got to learn, you can’t sell anything anymore without giving it away for free.”

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