So yes, my dream girl is a beautiful woman named Meganne. A diva, queen of all she surveyed, sitting at her upstairs desk in a Texas Nissan dealership in 1986. As I watched her, she fielded passing car salesmen and customers like a shortstop tagging runners. No one made it to first base.
In time, I began to imagine a pass of my own, knowing I would fare no better than the others, and that suited me fine. I’d have been disappointed if she had cracked the door for me … even though I was a handsome ‘80s bachelor with lots of hair and contact lenses.
On her desk was a brass nameplate spelling out; “Meganne.” Hmmm, I thought. Complicated. Two names in one.
While waiting, I watched as she punched a switchboard, her lovely lips working a Plantronics headset with sexy, sardonic, unreachable promise. She slipped easily between the required Nissan dealership greeting, biting sarcasm, good humor, boisterous laughter, and whispered advice. Remarkably, Meganne managed all of this while reading a paperback edition of Sidney Sheldon’s , Rage of Angels, gripping it in her free hand. She shifted personalities with effortless speed, and I began to see that this woman was all there. She gave better than she got and left no conversation short of the last word … usually a spot-on observation.
After a half-hour I had seen enough. I began an honest heart-to-heart with God Almighty. “OK, Father. I’m not saying I have to have this woman. What I’m saying is that if you have guardian angels out there scouting a wife for me, give a whistle and tell them to come take notes on this one.”
I got up from the chair and walked to her desk.
“Excuse me, Meg-Anne.” I made an exaggerated separation of the two names.
She tore her eyes from the page and looked at me reluctantly. This was obviously temporary permission to intrude on her space.
“There is a reason why I’m asking this, but tell me … what do you like so much about Sidney Sheldon? I’ve been watching you for a half hour, and with every free moment, you’re reading his novel.”
She looked to one side and smiled as if savoring a private amusement. “Well, if you must know … Sidney writes … classy smut.”
“Ah, that explains it!”
“It explains why women are not reading my book the way you are reading his. Alas, I didn’t write classy smut. Women are not holding my book tightly in offices across America, barely taking their eyes from the page in order to do their work while reading my novel. If they were, well, I’d be buying a new BMW instead of a used Toronado from a Nissan trade-in lot.”
She looked me up and down, unimpressed. “So you’re an author.”
Another pause. “I suppose you want me to ask about your book?”
Wham! I nodded and smiled.
“Okaaaay… tell me about your book.”
“Well, its historical fiction. Riders of the Long Road. Published by Doubleday. It won the Texas Literary Festival award and I’m here using the prize money for a down payment.”
“Sounds pretty fancy. Is it paperback?”
“Well, sorry, I don’t buy hardbacks on my salary. If I was going to buy a hardback from an unknown author, I’d have to have a money-back guarantee.”
I nodded and smiled. “I understand, Meg-Anne. I’ll let you get back to your classy smut now. I’m going over there, as a starving artist, to see if I can fake them into letting me qualify for a used car loan. It’s been nice talking to you.”
Like I said, no one ever got to first base.
But I did hit a homerun.
Next day I showed up to receive my spotlessly detailed Toronado. As I left the lot, I gave the salesman a copy of my award-winning hardback and asked him to take it to the gorgeous woman upstairs. I then scribbled a note on a piece of paper and slipped it inside the cover … Dear Meganne, Here’s your money-back guarantee. Read my novel. If you like what you read, you owe me $16.95. Ph. 214-639-2988.
We’ve been married 35 years.
She still owes me $16.95.
I loved your first book & you promised a sequel,hinting that the hero really didn’t die on that last page. Did I miss the sequel??? Anyway I have known your story since before you met that beautiful woman! I’ve loved you both ever since!
Awesome story Stephen, particularly because I believe it’s a true one. My congratulations on this Homerun and so happy for you both to write and read no smut.
Thanks for sharing and helping people to understand they got a story better than they think.
Warm regards from Amsterdam