All my books sold out. Called up the publishing house to get more. The way things were going, I should be owed a bit of royalties too.
The girl on the phone said: ‘Unfortunately we’re going into liquidation.’
‘Yes, sorry. Here’s an e-mail to contact about your files and money owed to you as royalties.’
E-mailed that. He got back and said the liquidators would be in touch in two weeks.
A month passed, nothing back.
E-mailed again. Nothing back.
Went to the office in Dublin. It was an enterprise centre with other businesses that weren’t gone bust.
The woman behind the counter frowned and said: ‘Oh you got caught with them…? Try this number. They’re supposed to be dealing with it.’
To hell with the number. Went straight to the address. Somewhere up past Stephen’s Green.
The secretary said: ‘Tom deals with all that, but he’s not here.’
‘Where is he?’
‘He’ll be back Tuesday, I’ll tell him to call you.’
‘Will he definitely?’
‘I guarantee it.’
Two weeks later he hadn’t called.
E-mailed the e-mail again. Nothing back.
Drove back to Dublin. Michelle and Nairobi came with me. Dropped them off in Temple Bar for a “look around the shops.”
Drove on and found the office and knocked on the door. A completely different girl answered and said: ‘Yeah?’
‘I’m lookin for Tom.’
‘Tom? Dealin with books. Bust publishing house. Supposed to call me. Tom.’
‘There’s no Tom here.’
‘I was here last week, he was supposed to come back on Tuesday.’
‘Are you sure it was here?’
I looked around. It was identical and the same address. So I said: ‘Yeah.’
‘Well this is an independent film centre.’
‘Well I’m a screenwriter, maybe that means somethin.’
‘No.’ She said. ‘I doubt it. Were you lookin for the Upper or the Lower side of the street?’
‘Oh.’ She said. ‘This is lower.’
Outside, didn’t know where I was. Upper/Lower. Whatever. Rang Michelle, asked her: ‘Where are you?’
‘Grafton St now.’
‘Upper somewhere. How’re ya gettin on?’
‘Sound some fella asked me if I was hookin.’
‘I’ll ring this crowd and ring you back.’
Tom was there. ‘Oh he said. Sorry it took a while to call you back.’
‘Sound. What’s the story?’
‘That man is sick.’
‘What’s wrong with him?’
‘It’s bad, but that’s all I can say.’
‘And where’s the files?’
‘He’s workin on it. When he gets time. We just look at the financials, we’re not actually executors of anything…’
‘And what do the financials look like?’
‘Is there anythin left? What are the chances of royalties?’
‘Pff….huh….no chance at all I’d say…’
‘I’m not that familiar with the writing game myself.’ He said. ‘But would I be right in saying this kind of thing happens quite a bit…?’
‘Quite a bit, Tom. Quite a bit.’