Idle Eye 167 : The Contractual Obligation

Right, the book fundraising is officially done and dusted. Time to roll up my sleeves and make the bloody thing, and if you’re reading this from said tome and not online, you’ll know that somehow I pulled it off. But lovely though it may be to have the printing dosh in the bag, I do have other contractual issues to consider. For example, I promised Philippa Burne, Trish Dicey and Simon Phipps that I’d write them all into a book post and now that we’re out of the blocks, I haven’t a clue how to do it. I mean, they’ve never met each other and they all live in different countries for starters. So it’s not as if I could set up a chance encounter in a supermarket or nightclub, is it? No, I’m going to have to be way smarter than that. And possibly a tad duplicitous:

I’ve also told Melinda Doring and Pierre Woollard that they will be illustrated by the godlike hand of Mark Weighton, and I got to thinking I could somehow shoehorn the whole lot of them in together. No one will be any the wiser and my workload would effectively be halved. Confused? I know, I know. But what if Mark does this drawing of me scribbling away at my desk and there, legibly on the paper, are three names: Philippa, Trish and Simon. I’m lost in the muse, brow furrowed and clearly on edge. As per. Fortunately, Melinda is there pouring me a glass of Pinot and Pierre is carrying a ramekin of liquorice in from the kitchen. See, it’s genius! All bases are covered and I get a night off.

Obviously, this cunning ruse is fully dependent on Mark stepping up to the plate. Because if he locks horns and does something different, my cover will be blown and I’ll have to do it again, which kind of defeats the object. So I’ll tell him the pledge specifically states that he does all the graft and bank on him being too busy to check. He’s an artist, for Christ’s sake, as if he would. Next, I contact everyone concerned and tell them the good news. What’s not to like? I surpass myself sometimes, I really do.

In case you’re wondering, it isn’t easy being this Machiavellian. A lot of time and effort goes in at the deep end. Thinking about it, probably about the same amount of time and effort to just do it properly and skip out the cod cloak-and-dagger stuff entirely. But that’s not the point, is it? I have an obligation to my pledgers and I shall fulfil it by whatever convoluted method is necessary. And if it so happens to make my life considerably easier, well that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

My brighter readers will have spotted what I did there. But that’s between us and it goes no further. A lot hangs on this, capiche?

Book Update No.4

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In an uncharacteristic break from black & white, I feel duty-bound to show you one of the pledge shirts that arrived just now. Yes, I look gormless and yes, it’s not quite in focus but you have my word, the quality is top drawer. Fairtrade organic cotton, beautifully reproduced and almost guaranteed to get you admiring looks from complete strangers. Almost…