June looked out her kitchen window disbelieving what she saw.
“Hun some fool’s trying to land a helicopter in our front yard!” she screamed. Johnny got up to see that his wife wasn’t imagining things; a guy really was trying to land a helicopter in his front yard.
“Who are ya’ and what are ya’ doing?” he asked.
“I’m Kris and I wrote something ya’ need to see,” the pilot said handing something over. Johnny had his fill of idiots trying to get lyrics to him but nobody had landed a helicopter in his front yard before.
“You got it man!” he called and the guy flew off.
Kris briefly dated a drinking buddy named Janis. He left her something he wrote also. She put her own style to the song. It became Janis Joplin’s signature song “Me and Bobby McGee.” This followed on the heels of the song he’d left, by helicopter, in Johnny Cash’s front yard “Sunday morning coming down.”
“The helicopter stunt made Kris Kristofferson a nationally recognized poet, singer/song writer and actor,” I explained to Deb. “I can’t fault him for trying the helicopter bit. I mean if you need to fly a helicopter to Johnny Cash’s house, than stealing one from the Army seems to be the logical thing to do.”
“Walt,” Deb explained, “It’s because you see things like stealing a helicopter from the Army as logical that keeps me up at night.”
I thought about all of this as I was trying to come up with a new marketing campaign for THE CABIN. The problem I ran into was that even if I could steal a helicopter from the Army, and somehow fly the thing, I wouldn’t know who to go to.
What I needed was some kind of bizarre publicity stunt that would work AND keep me out of jail at the same time. Maybe there would be a way to get my novel on nationwide TV? Maybe I could create an incident where the word got out and sales soared? I thought about it and realized I had the perfect opportunity right before my eyes, Sarah Palin was coming to Clipper Stadium to talk. Maybe I could get in front of the cameras and promote my novel.
“Deb would you like to go and see Sarah Palin?” I asked.
“Does this have something to do with your book? Do I have to wear a mini-skirt again?” she asked.
“That was just to attract the bikers on the boardwalk. I don’t see what the big deal was, you put it on over your bathing suit, “ I said.
“Tell me you’re not stealing a helicopter and landing it in Clipper Stadium?”
“No I really wasn’t planning that.”
“Well if you end up at Guantanamo Bay I’m not coming to visit.”
“No I’m not planning anything radical I’m just trying to market my book.”
“Well I’m busy that day,” she explained. I asked Carol to come certain she’d jump at the chance.
“I don’t have to wear a mini-skirt do I?” she asked. “This doesn’t have anything to do with your book does it?” She wasn’t coming either.
I could only assume they were jaded by my crackpot attempts to sell my book. Sure I had an impromptu book signing on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland and yes it was on our anniversary, but I did sell fifty books! I also had a spontaneous signing in the local post office but that was because everyone wanted to know what I was mailing. I think I sold fifteen that day. And there was also the day that I got invited to a Zombie movie shoot. I stood out in the sleet and snow signing books as everyone walked around dripping fake blood.. Well this scheme would dwarf them all.
I made up a big sign that read CABINNOVEL.COM. I wore a sweatshirt that said the same thing. I made my plans. I also thought about the consequences.
If things went really bad than the worst that could happen was a few years in Federal prison. Maybe I’d have time to write a new book? No, the most likely thing was some kind of local revenge.
I went down to my barber, as he knows the local history.
“When was the last guy lynched in Lancaster?” I asked.
“Lynched?” he asked.
“Ok how about tarred and feathered?”
“I don’t remember that ever happening either.”
“How about run out of town on a rail?” I asked.
“Oh we never did that,” he explained. “If we had trouble with a guy we’d take ‘em down by the creek and…”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” I continued making my plans anyway.
The big day came and I waited in line to get into Clipper Stadium. I brought 10 books hoping to sell eight, give one to Sarah and have her sign the other.
“What’s CABINNOVEL.COM?” someone in line asked. I was waiting for such a sucker, now I didn’t have to count on Deb or Carol to run up in their miniskirts to ask.
“It’s a book about Alaska, Sarah Palin’s the Governor of Alaska, and I want her to sign it,” I explained. I began selling books. I sold too many books and now I only had one left.
The metal detectors appeared and I made it through. I hadn’t expected it but the seats were roped off which meant that you sat near those you waited in line with. But I needed to be near the cameras. I needed to know where CNN was. I needed the publicity.
The stage was about 100 feet out in the field and the seats just wouldn’t do. I’d been to over a hundred rock concerts and I knew how to get to the stage. Ok, so they put up a barrier to keep people off the field, so what? Climbing it and jumping down seemed like the logical thing to do. I joined a group of some kind of VIP’s right near the stage.
I thought the Secret Service would spot me and they did. A blond guy with slicked down hair stood on stage, staring. Another stood off to his left. They didn’t mind that I’d jumped the barrier; what seemed to bother them was that I’d weaseled through the crowd to the front. One came into the crowd and stood a foot from me staring. I tried to ignore him.
The cameras were to the left and five hundred people jumped up and down waving blue and white signs. No that wasn’t right, it was five hundred and one. One waved a sign that read CABINNOVEL.COM.
The crowd was more agitated than I expected. I wasn’t sure if my sign could even be seen on camera but it was fun jumping up and down with it. Congressman Pitt appeared and talked.
They finally played Sarah’s song and she walked down carrying a bundled up baby, little Trig. I jumped up and down waving my sign to the cameras. I was only three deep but I couldn’t imagine being seen. Signs were everywhere in front.
Sarah was prettier than she appeared on TV. She spoke and the crowd loved it. She seemed to read everyone’s sign and understand what they said. She squinted at mine not understanding what I wrote. Finally the speech was over and she walked to the side.
My big break was here. I muscled to the front and came nose to nose with three Secret Service guys.
“What is it?” she asked as everyone screamed and jostled.
“I wrote a novel about Alaska. Will you sign it?” I asked. The cameras focused in.
“Yes,” she said as everyone thrashed around and screamed questions. As it turned out you had to hand what you wanted signed to a blond Secret Service woman and she handed it to Sarah. The blond simply shook her head no at my book. She took campaign posters, and flyers, but not my book. The entourage moved to my left.
The crowd was packed so tight that you could hardly breathe. I didn’t want to be defeated so I swerved through the crowd and reappeared some twenty feet down. I somehow ended up nose to nose with the same three Secret Service guys. The blond appeared again and shook her head no at my book. She said two simple words “NO WAY!” and walked on.
In reality I can see my book as being some kind of security threat. It could have been rigged to blow up when opened or powder could have shot out. Maybe she was worried about the content. The blond wasn’t going to allow Sarah to sign my book.
I found everyone jumping up and down in front of the camera again. I gave that another shot while holding my CABINNOVEL.COM sign. I finally headed home.
“How did it go?” Deb asked.
“Not too good. I hoped to generate some publicity by selling the signed copy on Ebay,” I explained.
“Well at least you didn’t get locked up and you did sell nine books,” Deb said.
“I guess so,” I said. “Well I’ll have to settle for the mail order bit for awhile.”
On Thursday I stopped at my mailbox and found two more orders. I went to deposit the checks that afternoon.
“Can you confirm my balance? I want to make sure I have at least fifty dollars in this account so I don’t have any month end fees,” I explained. I received the deposit slip back.
“This can’t be right I don’t have $930.56 in this account!” I told the teller.
“That’s what we show,” she said. “You received a slew of deposits from Paypal.” I looked at screen and saw them with my own eyes.
Maybe someone really did see the sign. How can I pull this again? Maybe I really could find a helicopter. And if I could get Deb and Carol to wear mini-skirts I could…