By Earnest Long
Copyright 2016 Earnest Long
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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The young man talked with the older man at the bar. Rather, the younger man was already 30 though young looking. The other man was in his forties, overweight, dressed in a suit and looking like the typical executive he was. This was when the younger of the two was little more than an office boy. As well, it was despite their long chats that they often had about how to be a success. The senior suit was disappointed in the younger one still with his pimples.
“Now, why aren’t you a success yet?”
The younger man looked disconsolate into his frothy beer. They were in a dimly lit bar outside of which the traffic went along a busy road. As he thought this, the older man seemed to read his mind and looked out to the busy road that they could see from their position in the bar a few yards from the door.
“That is genuine,” the older man said. “Every one of those motorists had to pay for every single one of those vehicles you see going along that road.”
“You mean that they paid thousands or even tens of thousands for each one and there are thousands of them going along every hour.”
“Now, you shouldn’t say anything as cabbagy as that. Anyone knows how much things cost. That is actually everybody does. But you want to be richer and more successful. And it is not just that you own a motor vehicle or you own a home like any of theirs. That is not enough success worth having. I know it isn’t for you from all the discussions we’ve had over the years. For success, you have to own your own business. So, my question is, ‘what business are you going to start?’”
“What business do you think I can start?”
The older man really looked quite upset and then said shortly, “I’ll tell you. You’ve told me over the years that many people have said things to you about publishing you knew who worked in it….”
“They were only friends of friends who had met somebody or other who knew somebody or other and not actual people I knew in publishing.”
“Now, don’t spoil it. Let’s just say that you do know people who work in publishing. And it is going to help you with your business. As well, you said that you met this girl, didn’t you?”
“Do you mean the 21-year old girl who lives on my block I meet going in and out of the property manager’s office?”
“I do mean the girl you met who was disabled but living independently. This was with her parents paying for her and, as well, it was hard to see how she could pay for herself once they died. And she told you all about what it was really like to post things online as you told me once. That is what I meant when I said that someone had told you about it. Now, you can take such experiences and do something with them. This is other than just you telling me in this bar about these people. It could for instance become a story that you told others. And this could be for years to come you told it. People would gather around you and listen to it. Or it could mean that you are rich and this is one of your stories.”
“Yes,” Jim stammered, “I could start my own publishers of some kind. And perhaps I could do something online. This is as I think of it now….”
“Don’t tell me about it here! Instead, when it is a sunny day and you have nothing else to do, you can sit down on your computer word processor. And then, you can write a good several-page plan. It will be all about how you will change the world. And, as well, you can plan how you will become rich.”
They were in silence for a while.
Then, the man in the crumpled clean white shirt and gray business suit said, “I’m just going to drink this beer down and finish up. And I want you to as well with yours. After that, you can leave on your own and go out onto that busy street. But one last piece of advice is not to think about your plan until you’re home. That’s it! Good-bye. I’ll only see you again if you’re successful.”
Jim had read many times business books that explained the technicalities of starting a business. This was such as the legal documentation you needed and other decisions you had to make at the start. Really, he could not afford to pay a top lawyer or any lawyer and so did most of it himself. As well, he looked around a computer and office equipment showroom and bought some office desks and chairs and some computers. He bought one computer for himself that was a more powerful one. And another computer, he bought for the use of his first employee. His first employee would have a desk on the other side of the office to him. This was once he got started. So, he’d have some more work to do. And he could give it to him or her and whoever it was who came to work for him.
He drove in his second-hand car to the office and moved in the desks and chairs with the help of the delivery service. The deliverymen also removed the packaging for him and positioned the office furniture in the room for him. There was an awkward moment when one of the deliverymen, the more senior one, wanted to position the desks as he liked them and not as Jim had suggested. Jim really didn’t know what to think. But then, it seemed the desks had been positioned properly. And the men left.
Jim connected his computer up to the Internet with the router he had bought, opened his browser and took a second to reflect that his business was finally underway. Still, bad nerves meant that after an hour he had actually done nothing much at all. But then, for health and safety reasons he took a break. He realized that he had nothing to do in his break and so he went to the local shops to get some sandwiches, drinks and other refreshments. As well, he got a magazine to read in his lunch hour. This is when he did not want to ignore all health advice about work and all advice as well about having a good work life balance. He didn’t want to do this just because he had started his own business and had nobody telling him what to do. This was even when he was his only employee and, as well he was his own boss.
Taking a leisurely lunch, he used the last 45 minutes to sketch out a plan. Making this plan, he used 15 minutes of his lunch hour out of boredom having finished his lunch and another half hour after it still at the lunch table. The lunch table was a purchase from another store. He didn’t feel right now like going back on a hot computer screen. And with nobody telling him to do it, then he didn’t do it when he didn’t have to do so. Then, he went on his computer and advertised for employees. Really, it cost nothing when he used his own website to do it and he didn’t have to pay any consultants or other companies.
All he said in the advert was that you needed computer skills, a love of literature and your own computer. Then, you could work from home and earn good money. He would pay at the end of the month. By this time, he hoped to have gotten some work out there. With a shock, he realized he had no authors yet. And so he composed another advert for authors, remarkably similar, saying that he would consider people first who had a more finished product for him to look at. Seeing what his outgoings were in paying readers, for proofreading, editors, and artists to design the covers, this was just a necessity that he should do this. It seemed from his spreadsheet that without being able to get out some work very quickly, he would run out of cash. And he needed to do this within the first month or even the first few weeks. Also, it was seeing that the process had started working. After that, he went onto his website design software again and advertised for investors. He did this when he needed more cash to play with. Now he might get a comfort factor of surviving out for the first few months without possibly just going bust if he could not pay his expenses. Otherwise, it might be too close to call. And if he survived longer than that, he could see how it might be a good investment for them.
That had taken him well into the afternoon. And now he took his afternoon tea break a bit late. The phone rang for the first time quite oddly. Really, he wondered who it was. Picking it up tentatively, he said something like, ‘hello, who is this?’ The person on the other end was a woman in her thirties and she said something like, ‘Is this…?’ giving the name of his company. ‘Yes’, he said. ‘Have you got any jobs’, the caller said. ‘Yes’, he said and then went on to a more planned patter about what jobs he had. ‘Great’, said the caller. Quite efficiently, because it was the same as he had done before and because he had practiced it for this job as well, he booked her onto his system. Rather oddly again, she genuinely seemed to thank him for something. Still, he just hung up on her trying to keep it professional. Only a minute later he realized that he had just given somebody a job in about 5 minutes.
First, he felt a bit bad about it as though he should have made something more of it. Then he felt good about it having given somebody a job that was somebody who must have been keen to start work and earn money. That was after all the thing he had to offer. So they were well paired. And the rough and ready inquiries to see if she knew about computers and the other things he needed probably served as well as any 30-minute questionnaire.
Yet, something worried him about it. And it was a worry that he had not anticipated. More people phoned him up but some said they didn’t want a job. Still, he booked a few more people onto the system and said that he would send work to them when he had it. When it was finally 5:00 PM, he felt relieved. It was time to go home. And he no longer had to do that particular job anymore.
For a couple of months, the business went along all right. As well, he got a few investors. And he got his first employee that was not a teleworker. Still, she left after a few days. He didn’t think it was anything he had done except that he was too busy with his own work always to pay attention to her. And he explained this to one of the investors when she called.
The investor was a middle-aged woman in a brightly colored feminine style of business suit. She had brushed back long blonde hair and had once been in business herself she told him. And she reassured him that she had plenty of business experience. As well, she reassured him that he didn’t need to ask her all about her old business.
Now, she told him to employ someone else to work in his office. And she said that he should let her do all the work. Also, she said that he didn’t really need a computer on his own desk as he could ask his secretary to print anything for him to read that he wanted to. As well, she said that as the owner of the business, he could not possibly be designing his own forms or anything else that he had been doing. He couldn’t when he wouldn’t have time for it. However, he protested. And his investor looked at him really quite oddly.
“You are the owner and so you can employ people to do the drudgery and to use computers. There is no moral issue as you pay them and they want to be paid for doing this type of work. Nor is there any problem with you doing the work of the owner as it is my money and your money invested in it. And you need to get your priorities straight. This business only exists because it makes money. And you have indeed been making money. So stop messing around with all this. And give any drudgery and work you would really never want to do yourself to your secretary.” Looking at him a bit sardonically and observing him closely and critically, she then said flatly, “Do you want to marry your secretary?”
“No,” he exclaimed laughing and wiping his mouth.
“That’s settled then,” said the woman with a nice smile that he had not seen before. “We’ll hear no more of this. And next time I see you, I expect to hear that your secretary’s worked her fingers to the bone.”
When he did not laugh, the woman laughed herself.
“That is really,” she said. “You can laugh at it. It won’t hurt if you’re rich.”
When he had really a good laugh at this last, she looked a bit peculiar, went away in despair, was about to say something, but then left completely.
Coming back in, she said, “Is there really anything I can do for you?”
“No,” he said somberly. “I just didn’t realize it was a joke. And I don’t know how I did it otherwise. Sorry, if there’s any misunderstanding I mean. It is just that I have been reading a lot of these novels, taking the work home as it were and they’ve gone to my head a bit all this soppiness, romances, friendly crooks and do-gooding.”
“Try reading some business books instead!” And when he laughed, she said, “That wasn’t a joke!”
“Sorry, it’s just that I used to read so many business books before I started on my own.”
“You’re not on your own,” she said furiously with beads of sweat now coming to her brow. “This is when you’ve got me.”
“It is just because I’m really tired and that is all it is I think. Please just go and we’ll start again another day properly.”
Energetically, she picked up some files and put them in some new piles, took a key and locked the filing cabinet.
Then, she said, “No, close the office for the day. Take the rest of the day off. And you can come back tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.”
And with this, they both left the office and the office building walking out into the bright sunshine and hot paved area where the sun baked down at the front of their building from which they went their separate ways. Really, he did feel tired and he was grateful for the break. This included not having to get up early tomorrow morning.
That evening, he worked solidly on his computer he had in his home. It was not connected to his work network as this was switched off. But he made notes from what he could remember of what he had on his computer at work in his office and he also took breaks and made notes on a paper pad. Eventually, his hands felt numb. And he knew from something that had happened to relative of his that he needed to rest his hands or it could become a serious condition. But it seemed by going on his computer and problem solving and writing lots of notes, he had solved many of his problems to do with the business that had bothered him for some time. This was when only taking breaks from his computer because of the screen radiation and then using paper instead. Because he had left work early, it was still not late in the evening by the time he had finished. And he had the next day clear both from not having the same problems going around his head and as well for not being able to use his hands that he would have to make an excuse about when he went to work the next day. And he might have to see about going to a doctor about it as well. But for the time being, it could wait until the tomorrow. Then he would have to see what happened when he went into work and whether people would believe his excuses that he might make about why he was not using his computer in the way you should. This is such as the investor might be difficult about it or some more for office workers in his office might complain about him.
At work the next day, he tried to use speech recognition on his computer. This was when his fingers still felt a bit numb. They were still from all the planning he had done and his other work. But then, he switched the computer off. It was about midday. The speech recognition had annoyed other workers in his office. And this was already for some time that it had. Then, by mid-afternoon, having abandoned speech recognition and not using his computer much at all, he, through sheer dint of having nothing to do but think, had made ambitious plans even more than the night before for the business. This was just thinking in his head and pretending to write for the benefit of the other office workers on a paper pad. The business might now make more money than anticipated. This would be in the next couple of months that there were likely to be big improvements made and then as well at last some big successes.
A new girl had started work in his office. She was about 30 years of age with mousy hair and not unattractive. Her looks were a bit quirky and a bit like a schoolmistress as well.
She took umbrage with him almost as soon as he had started talking. This was to do with his business plans that he talked about in the office.
“You don’t just need people with computer skills to proofread and edit. Really, you don’t. Let me reassure you. Also, you have to pay anyone the proper remuneration. This is for anything that they do for you. It really is that you have to pay the going rate just the same as anyone else is paying. And this is for the same type of work in similar companies that you are offering. Sincerely, it is unavoidable. Other companies as well have to do it and not just you. All right, then now… I don’t want to query it too much for now. Perhaps, you look a bit tired. As well, you might be all right. This is for the future. But it is incorrect about your plans I can see now. There really is a going rate for this business. And everyone else is paying it as well. I suggest you just do that from now on! And don’t do what you were doing.”
“I don’t know that you do have to do all you say. Anyone with computer skills could do a lot of what we’re asking for. Also, anybody who had still a good standard of English from school could probably do a lot of it… I mean a lot of it that was all we needed could be done by almost anyone….”
“All right, I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear you say that. And instead, I’m just going to start employing some people I know. This is to do some proofreading. And then we’ll have some more work to put out. So we can then earn some more money. That’s what I’ve learned at least from working here….”
“I agree then. We’ll do it.”
Jim exclaimed this. After, there was a few moments awkward silence.
Then Jim said, “What do you want me here for still?”
“I want you to check out these manuscripts for me I have in my hand. Say for me if the corrections are ones you agree with and give me any ones other than that. Then, we can publish them.”
Jim took the papers and read the first manuscript quickly. His eyes felt rested. Really, they might be when he had not read much that day. This was from not having a computer to print things from. The first MS was a short novel. He read it in an hour or two. And then he gave it back to this new woman. It was without making any suggestions.
Really, the short novel she had given him seemed not too bad. But it was not really worth commenting on other than that. Probably quite a few people would enjoy reading it. This was with its recent references and pleasant flow from start to finish. Also, all the tricky grammar and spelling errors, problem sentences or stylistic problems had been fully corrected. And this was every single one had been. The girl had really been very efficient. She had been in doing this. Nor did he have any complaints about her work. This was when it was all at least competent or it was actually to a very high standard. Perhaps, she was right. And you needed professional people after all.
Also, as she seemed to know them and could contact them and give them the work, then he may as well take full advantage of having someone like her. This was when he trusted her to do it. He trusted her as she worked in his office. As well, he felt he knew her. She was a reasonable person and a good employee. So that part of his business where he advertised for people with computer skills to work for almost nothing seemed to be finished.
A few weeks later, he met the man again in the bar that had started him having his own business. He wanted to say something good about his business but really, it was all problems. And really, he wanted to ask this man if he knew the solutions to any of them.
The man listened intently to the starting play Jim made saying that his business was going well. Then a look of dismay or even disgust came across the man’s face. This was even if Jim had even noticed how he had been looked at, It was because of Jim saying now that it had really started to be a problem for him in running his own business that the man had looked at Jim now again in this more derogatory way.
Hearing this talk about business being a problem, the man sipped his beer, was about to say something else to what he did, and then, he turned to Jim and said, “I’ll tell you what you can do. You can hold a meeting with your staff and discuss your strategy. Allow anyone to say anything. Accept all views and opinions without criticizing them….” Jim began saying something more about his business problems, but the man laughed and said, “That’s it! Now unless you’re going to say something else not about your business problems, then I will leave this bar and go somewhere else to another bar and have a drink there.”
For the first time in, he didn’t know how long, Jim felt genuine embarrassment. Jim began talking about a novel that he had read. It was really an unfinished one that they had talked about in a meeting at work. And it was one that he was publishing himself. But the man didn’t seem to realize that Jim had not read it in his own spare time. After they had talked about it and, as well, they had said one or two other things, they parted amicably.
Jim, by now, was living in a penthouse.
Once or twice, Jim had felt very bad about refusing to give money to his friends. It was something that he knew about being rich that you never gave any money to anyone if you wanted a genuine friend. Anyone who asks you for money so the theory went was just taking advantage.
One of his female friends, a round faced pleasant woman had asked him for some money. He had always felt sexually attracted towards her but he’d never slept with her and she was aloof with him. She asked for money that she said was to buy some clothes and some shoes. Explaining the request, she said that her wardrobe and shoes had worn out more or less at the same time. And she couldn’t afford new ones. As well, she promised to go to the bargain shops and buy from them. Also, she said that she wasn’t going to take the proverbial by buying designer clothes and shoes when otherwise she would be going around naked or barefoot.
However, Jim remembering the advice about never giving anyone anything who asks for it if you are rich stuck up for himself. And he refused to give her any money. Now, she became quite affectionate. And she pawed Jim’s arm. Jim said that she could do that if she liked anyway but that he wasn’t going to give her any money. Eventually, she left saying that she felt disgusted. She explained how disgusted she felt to the security guard on her way out. And the security guard even gave her some money he took from his wallet. Then, she turned back to Jim and said something like even the security guard could see she was genuine.
At work, Jim organized the meeting his drinking friend had said he should hold. This was with his office staff. He did this by telling all of them to come to the meeting room at a certain time and, as well, he wrote an agenda out on a word processor and gave it to people. Also, he told some people himself in person about it that he saw around his office. This was before he’d had a chance to use his word processor. And this included telling them what was on the agenda if they asked him. Everyone that still had things to say about publishing wanted to come. And it was not anyone who just wanted to get on with his or her work. They needed to stay on a computer to do work they said. And so they couldn’t be in a meeting.
“What can we publish? I think we need to change.”
Jim said this to open the meeting.
“What are you talking about? No change is needed. We’re really raking in the cash, aren’t we? And we are doing quite well enough already. Why don’t we close this meeting?”
Someone said this. And it seemed she was quite prepared to get up and leave the meeting. This was as if the meeting was already over and there was no reason to stay. As well, she would just ignore the fact that it had been called to start with and everybody had already come into the room and sat down. However, after rising a bit in her chair, she sat down again.
“All we do,” Jim said, “is to take books on a case by case basis. And we almost literally publish anything that doesn’t have spelling and grammar errors in it when we get it from the author. Also, the author seems to know what they’re talking about and they have some literary skills. This is if this is not just the same people. I mean they are the same people who don’t have spelling and grammar mistakes in their manuscripts that fulfill all our other criteria for publishing as well.”
“Why are you saying this to everybody in this meeting?”
It was the mousy haired girl with quirky looks who was talking that had first persuaded Jim to employ professional proofreaders and editors.
“This company is trying to be fair to all employees. It values everyone’s opinion. And it wants their input.”
“Did you say, ‘trying to be fair’? What does that mean? Since when was I told that this company did not have a hierarchical structure? And what does ‘trying to’ mean as well. If you are running a business, you don’t ‘try to’ do anything. You don’t because that would cost you too much money. Businesses are run by competent people and they do the things that they say they will do. That is the truth! Just tell me what’s wrong with you and where this is all going wrong. I mean that it is all going wrong in this meeting now. This is so I can try to help you.”
“But you just said it was wrong ‘to try to’.”
At that, the mousy-haired girl got up from her chair and left the meeting. Her sensible shoes padded out the room. And they were still heard surprisingly sometime after she had left.
“Can we continue with the meeting,” said Jim.
This was although he did feel a bit shaken he had still said this calmly. Or it was as calmly as he could say it.
Another girl got up. And she walked out the room.
Jim ignored this. Really, though, he felt astonished. And he worried as well. But it was before he had yet to wish that he were on a beach somewhere. Or, at least, it was before he had thought of this fully just yet.
“Has anybody got any new strategies to suggest,” Jim said.
“You could always have somebody who is a new philosopher. A handsome young man could say something profound.”
Others around the room giggled.
It was a middle-aged woman in a brown PVC jacket who had been talking.
When Jim, though, looked at her expectantly, she burst out laughing more loudly.
“What could he say that would be profound?”
“No, you can’t be stupid about this! It can’t be any genuine complicated philosophical idea. The reading public wouldn’t understand it. And they wouldn’t accept it. Nor would they take it into their own ideas about how to live life. And nor could they even really. This is when you would just be messing them around anyway giving them the dumbed down version of it. And this was even anyway if the real one worked. Or, it is even if it is particularly relevant to people’s everyday lives. So, everyone has heard of god. Therefore, you can make use of it. A young man has to say that there is no god….”
“What about recent events? For example, you have Bush, or it was Blair, saying he prayed for guidance before invading another country. As well, this other country had a different religion. And you have Blair saying something about how he didn’t ‘play god’. As well, you have all these jokes about computers and the Internet. This is when it really could be the end of everyone if we got some virus. And after the infrastructure collapsed, then the whole of society could collapse. How do you pray to god about that?”
The people around the table looked down disconsolately at their notes for a bit. They did not know what to say.
Then the heads rose, and one of them said, “It is just that every 50 years in publishing a young man will say that god does not exist. And this will start a trend that will sell millions of books. That is all I’m saying. So if you want to take advantage of it, you only have to find a handsome young man, perhaps with a shock of wavy fair hair, to start this trend.”
Jim was about to say something, but then everyone else burst out laughing again.
Still, ignoring this, Jim said, “What about people really in a bad way? People throw away thousands of tons of food every week that they buy but don’t consume. One in four of the population never cleans their teeth. And there are millions of people actually mentally ill. But this is people not even in the public health hospitals. Also, there are people without pensions. And there are people who can’t afford to keep the homes they live in.”
“I have no problem paying my mortgage,” said one of the others around the room jokingly.
Nobody however laughed.
“Let’s us go on to something else and discuss what other strategies there are seeing as someone’s asked.”
One of the others in the room had said this and she avoided looking at Jim as she did so. Jim felt quite bad about it. But he tried not to let his feelings get to him.
Jim now really wanted to listen and perhaps hang back from saying too much. If the others in the room noticed his apprehension, they just looked around a bit disconsolate. But this was with still being sympathetic to Jim that he seemed worried.
For a second, Jim worried that they were being sympathetic to a business owner as though he was a child, like an old person or like he was an invalid. But he put this thought away from his mind.
He did so as right now, he felt like sympathy.
And this was more than anything else that might be said.
“Sex sells,” said one of them. “But that doesn’t mean you have to publish erotica or porn. It is just that so much of life is about sex and young people. And particularly, it is about attractive-looking young people. But you can’t publish stuff about them saying how they are doing it. You can’t when they’ll read it themselves and it doesn’t give them anything to say. And if they have nothing to say, then they can’t do it in real life. So you play the game. Most people realize that what is published is often intended only to get people laid. And it is not about any other ideas that are often all literally in the end only in people’s heads. Not only that, but they are sexless as well. Often, the only people changing the world are those being laid. And that is merely because they are actually doing something and not just going around with morose thoughts in their head. As well, they tell people what they’ve read. This is when other people don’t actually do that. There’s an old joke in publishing that people don’t want to know about other people that have worries other than themselves. So there is no good reason to write about them. That is unless they are a young woman who has this angst and who, as well, is known to not just have angst but to scrub up well in the bath.”
“What about young men? They can also have this angst.”
The person who said this was a woman in her late fifties who had started work there a year or two ago. The others ignored her when she said it. And she seemed a bit off-put by it. Jim felt sympathy for her. And now they looked around at Jim when he thought this.
“What are you looking at her like that for? She is probably saying that when no one could possibly want her. ‘Young people’ is all about sex. Nobody’s interested once your ‘tits’ have gone.”
“She might be saying it just as a person interested in other people generally. And she’s taking an interest in things around her and trying to help a bit where she can. This is just by being part of it and, as well, by being part of humanity.”
Jim said this remembering the types of books he had read some time ago when he had gone to the local library.
“No, it’s not working!”
“You could always criticize the government,” said another of them. “That is as they are in power. You can’t criticize the Opposition when they don’t have any power. And, anyway, their job is to criticize the government as well. So you don’t mention them. As well, you have general elections and the government can be voted out. That means there’s some point to it. As well, some people get anxious just because they see that the government might get in again. They feel that it is undemocratic. That is as there is no point having elections to their mind if you just vote the same people in again all the time. So they are looking for reasons that they might be voted out. And, of course, you really could change things such as if the government resigned or something like that. But usually, they are voted out at the next election anyway. Or it is the one after it.”
Then all of them that were still around the table looked around at Jim and, as well, at each other, and then they said, “Does that answer all of your questions? You really are quite an attractive handsome young man. We would hate any harm to come to you. And it is a thank you as well to you for having us working here. We were really enjoying it.”
For a second, Jim felt more love in the room than he had ever known in his entire life. Also, they were all women around the table and just one or two old men. And the women were all reasonably attractive looking.
The people in the room again talked some more about lots of other issues.
Controversy sells. It doesn’t matter what controversy. But concentrate on criticizing the existing order and talk about their stuffy ideas. This was what you could do to put ideas in young people’s heads. Talking about other young people would only lead to your young people being thumped. These might be young people that you know who will be thumped. Or they are the children of your friends.
Also, the things you’re writing about are so out of date even when you are setting pen to paper that nobody should probably listen to them anyway. Or you are saying things like it’s all right to watch porn, you don’t have to do a decent day’s work for a decent day’s pay and it is all right to feel that you don’t want to have to look after a family such as at some time in the future. But these are such evident truths to most people that you would not do them, it is hard to see how anyone can actually be taken in.
There are, though, a few avid readers for these books. These are such as disabled people, people who are disfigured or men that have a penis only half an inch long. They go around in normal society most of them. And they would like something to talk about. So they do genuinely benefit. They are then your core readers. Everyone knows but says nothing. But you get another readership once other people appear interested and the books are in the shops. And all this is just basic marketing practice the same as for any other type of company. There is no difference.
For most people, many things you hear anyway are really nonsense. This is even as social politics. And how can it be of concern what the government thinks anyway? Other people can do things but the government can’t break its own laws.
Also, often, people are only quoting research that has been done at universities. And by the time that you would have read it in a book for the public, some of it is 20 years old. As well, they have been accepted theories for nearly as long. The academic book market is another matter. Any social science research, not for the past 20 years but always, has said that marriage is good, it is good having children with two parents and single parenthood is a poverty trap. This is true for all societies in the world and at all times in history. So, social scientists have not said that anything is correct you hear as some people think they have done so. And this is in books right next to ones and just along the shelf or on the shelf below it or above it that you might have read yourself. Only complete idiots would actually believe any of it.
Nobody is stirring up a hornet’s nest about anything. At least, they aren’t usually. And if they did do that genuinely, then it would be a well-known book. As well, it is one that people who now say they don’t like publishers and that worry about political change have dozens of such books in their house. They just regard them as being good reads. As well, they generally agree with everything in them. And they think nothing of it and don’t see the irony there might be in it. Possibly, though, very few books like those are published in any year. So, you are not going to make a fortune out of it.”
“I don’t know,” said Jim. “What about global warming? And there are now wars where they can’t explain what the reason for starting them is. This is with millions of people having died in them….”
“They have to talk about global warming because now the world is really going to end. And so people will find out anyway.”
One of the women said this with a wry smile.
However, it turned flat when even she didn’t like her own joke.
“I don’t know,” said one of them. This was with the mood subtly changing. “Do you want anyone to give you a hug? That is as if somebody did it years ago to you when you were not as old as you are now. We know because you told someone about it. But, I mean, do you? You like doing things for your friends, don’t you as well? But this is not giving them money from your pocket if they ask for it and not even if they say that they are desperate. Would you like to say anything about that? I mean, just now, would you?”
Jim said nothing, and then they continued speaking.
“I met the girl who is round and plump and very affectionate. Do you know her?”
Jim didn’t know whom she was talking about.
They described the plump girl he had not given a loan to that had come around the penthouse. This was that he had not given her enough money even to buy a take-out and nor to pay her to have her lights turned back on.
“So, please then again, start talking…”
Jim began speaking. For now, it had not turned nasty. And he wanted to make a clean breast of it.
One of the people around the table interrupted him and said, “Do you want to tell us about what really happened? As well, I assume that this is your own money you’ve been spreading around. I mean when it is here that you have been doing it. Am I first mistaken about that?”
“No, it is all my own money. I started the business because I wanted to work for myself, be rich and successful and all the other things you hear about. Then, it all went a bit wrong about the time I met this old friend of mine….”
Jim noticed for the first time that some of his investors were also in the room. They were looking genuinely concerned. But for the moment, the mood was sympathetic.
“I got rid of him the first time. But then, I worried incessantly about it. As well, I wanted to see more of my friends. It was really quite bad. I worried if I’d ever be able to sleep with girls I knew again or if I could get sex with some of my female friends. They were nice and still young. I could see that they had big tits and things like that. I began to desire girls I knew and saw. And I wanted to have them in my bed. That is the big bed I had in my house. Also, some of the girls had done things like flash their tits at me. But I couldn’t change their sexual play into one of them going to bed with me. And then a few months later when I was thinking whether I could do something different or not, this man did contact me again. As well, he told me that I could indeed sleep with them if I wanted to do so. This was as the thing he said.”
One of the others spoke up saying, “I thought it was over when you told him to leave the first time. Why did you go back on it after that? I don’t see why you would have done that. And nor do I see why you have to say this now.”
“I had these desires for women I knew. And I wanted to see my male friends as well who might bring the girls round with them.”
“We are one, aren’t we? What are you talking about? You could still have seen them or had sex with them.”
“Do you mean you can do that because otherwise if people were not rich, then how would anyone produce the next generation?”
“Yes, I do mean that.”
One of the investors laughed aloud. And the others laughed as well.
Then, very gently, the blonde-haired investor spoke to him.
“Look, you’re not a genuine publisher at all! This is when you are not at least like the giants of the past. Or it is whatever else it is that you’ve been thinking. What you are and the reason I invested in your company is that you are some pretty boy punk who wanted to make money with his computer. And he persuaded me he had the computer skills to do it. He did persuade me because that was all he talked about. These other things about social reform and the like you never mentioned. You were a Bread Head that I saw. This is if I saw anything at all at your age. And that is what I see when I look at you now still. Now, please tell me if it isn’t true. And then we can all go home. Or we can stay here for the rest of the morning. Then if we do, we can help you out with the business.”
Jim gulped down some tears. That is if that is what they were. For the first time in a long time, he felt deeply ashamed. And he felt ashamed in a way that he had never done beforehand. This was because of how he had let these people down. Then slowly, he began speaking. And he got out the whole story.
“Some of my male friends who visited me in my new penthouse also knew these girls. And one day I told them about my business a bit more. Mostly my friends didn’t say anything. Or some said that they were going to leave. One of them asked me why I did not just take advantage even if it was my own business. This was although I had not fully realized what I must have said to them. I had no answer. Then, the friend came to the penthouse to visit me again on his own. This was after I had said this stuff to him already before now. And then, he spoke in a way that I’d not heard him do like at all before. He said that, in the past, he had met people like me. And he knew that I was unhappy. He said that it was years ago. But that back then, people he knew had helped them out. He could help me but I could do something for him also. It was going to be different from now on. I could get back with my girlfriend and sleep with all my female friends. This was if it had not been easy enough somehow the first time. Something about his manner made me feel that he was telling me the truth. Still, I didn’t really want to believe him. But then, I had to. This was when he held all the cards. As well, he was the joker in the pack that I had needed a long time. As I was, of course, aware as well, he already knew all of my other friends than him. Also, over the years I had known him, I had told him a lot about myself. This was at various times when I had felt like it. And so for that reason, I felt that I had no need to worry as well and I could trust him.”
“Go on!” someone said. “The suspense is killing us.”
“We had at times had the most animated conversations. They were all about my publishing business and more. Yet, it seemed natural. So I didn’t question it. I told him that I was in it for the money. Also, I talked about my favorite books and the classics I liked reading. As well, I talked about what I had ever read that was interesting and stuff I had read when bored and lonely and living away from home. As well, I said how I had avidly read books from my local library. This was when I had no money. And I talked about the people at work and how much trust I put in them. I said things like I just expected them to get on with their work. Also, I said that they were making money for me and I did not even pay them that much. Still, they did not complain. Nor did they ask for more wages. That was until this new woman arrived. And she had persuaded me to employ people at the going rate when she had said that there actually was one for it….”
“Just one second! Why did you punch a female office worker in the face the other day?”
It was the blonde-haired investor talking and she looked down at a report in front of her.
“I have a report on her where they’ve spoken to her family. Also, her family have come into this office and said all kinds of things. And the report says all kinds of things as well.”
Remembering the incident, Jim said, “I had been worrying about my social skills. Somebody who I told I was worried about them to, another person who was a middle-aged woman who read books herself and always listened to me, said that the cure was to get a computer. And that is how many people she knew had got better. Also, she said that this was no matter how much they had worried. Then, however, she expressed surprise when I said that I already knew how to use a computer. Also, I said that I used one at work. To start with, she said that I could still get one at home. No matter, I said, I did not want one at home. It would be all too much screen time and too much keying for one day. Then, she said that as to why I didn’t just use the one at work. This was to go online and look things up. Also, it was to watch short videos, see some documentaries, to look at the movies and to do all the other things that people do to get better social skills. For this, you used a computer. The solution was in my own hands. Or so she said it was. But I protested! I said that my secretary had complained about it. This was when I had tried to do it before. My secretary had said that I was there to work. And she said I was taking the proverbial. She said as well that I should be dismissed by the investors if I went online to do anything other than work. Once, a bit later, when I had gone online, I came back from the coffee machine and I am sure that she had deleted some of my files. These were the ones I’d just been working on. I had to do all the work again. And I couldn’t instead go online. This was to see what was out there, get entertainment and improve my social skills. I couldn’t really with her keeping doing this to me. Also, I wanted to do this not just for me but for the business as well. This was if for nothing else I had wanted to do it. Really, I would not normally have looked at half the stuff I did. No, I wouldn’t have. This was if I hadn’t gone into business myself. And nor was it if I had never wanted to go in for it. Now, I also felt that for the first time in a long time I was being bullied. But everybody else said that she was an attractive girl and, as well, she was a good secretary. So there should be no problem! Also, they said that she had done nothing wrong. This was that she had done nothing wrong at all. Or this was, at least, just what they could see. And it was even if I hadn’t seen it. This all brought back memories from when I was a young man and had troubles. As well, they were such hurtful memories. People I knew had told me about girls. They said that you had to be courteous towards them. But they would not explain if women are supposed to be weaker than men are how they got better jobs than ones I did? And they said as well that you must never punch or kick girls or make them cry. This was no matter what they did to you. Or they said that girls often only appeared to do anything. But they didn’t really mean it. Often, they did something just because they were in love. Either way, you must do nothing to them. Also, they said that any man that had problems coping with women, such as women wouldn’t do what he told them to, was worth nothing to anyone. This was to any other man or to any other woman.”
Jim paused and then continued, “I was talking again to the person I’ve just mentioned who said that she could help me with my social skills. And she said that the things that I was saying when I repeated all this and my problems with my secretary were ridiculous. But I had no explanation otherwise that I could give her of such a lot about my life. That is except to just say that stuff that happened in the past was happening right now all over again. And this was just like in my youth. Then, when it got a bit more heated and confused, we decided we wouldn’t talk about it anymore. And she told me again what the solution was for my poor social skills. This was that I should use the work computer to go online. And it was as well if I was worried about radiation. This was when it was too much altogether. And so I didn’t want a computer at home as well. Also, she said that I should solve the problems I had with my secretary. Or I could get a new secretary. I said something such as I couldn’t just fire her. This was because as a business there were rules about it. And I said that as well I had found out more about this running a business than from just when I was an employee. Enthusiastically, I said that I might be able to relate some of this to her. Then, she got annoyed and told me to leave. So the next time this office girl looked over my shoulder to see what I was doing on my computer such as to see if it was something that I should or should not be doing, all the hurt came out of me. This was from when I was a young man and, as well, it was all the hurt from my friend telling me to leave. So I punched her.”
The emotional tension in Jim’s voice had gone quite high as he said this.
But just then, the investor interrupted and said, “I don’t really think she did anything wrong. And you hurt her by punching her. You really do have to do your work here when you are at work. Nor do I think that you can be the only employee in the whole company who looks up the web lifestyle when you’re at work here. Or it is whatever you thought you were doing. And nor can you just because you’re the manager. She also has a right to come here to work. And she has a right as well not to be molested. People don’t always get on…. But then, you don’t use your fists as an adult either….”
The investor was reading a report in front of her. It had the company logo on the top and she read it avidly and interested. But a visible small tear came to her eye as Jim looked at her doing this. Still, he might have been mistaken and it was not an actual tear.
Then she turned to him and very coldly and slowly, she said, “Do you understand about this office worker you punched? I really hope that you do! Can you answer me now?”
“I do understand, I think,” said Jim.
Then one of the other people around the room spoke and he said, “What employees did you tell this man about? You know, don’t you, the one you met who said that you could sleep with your female friends. I think it was that you said when you were talking about it just now.”
Jim told him all the employees he had mentioned and what he had said about them all. People around the table made notes on paper as he said this.
“And now can you tell us more as well what happened with this friend of yours. This is the one you said talked nicely to you who was the male friend. That is if that is what you did say. Also, I think you did say as well that he was an actual friend of yours.”
“The friend I mentioned gave me a list of authors, their pen names and the books they were lodging with us, also their account managers and people he said they had spoken to. And he said that I should promote their works. As well, he said that he would manage any books written by my other friends and include them when promoting anything. This was as he said that he knew it was another fantasy that I had. I asked him why he wanted me to promote the works he did, but he wouldn’t say. As well, he refused to discuss any kind of politics. But he said that it wasn’t political. This was as I assumed that I might now be sponsoring other people’s opinions. After that, when I met him a day or two later, he said that he knew that I had tried getting copies to read of books on the lists he had given me. I said that it was to see what message there was in them. But, I said as well that it was too much to read any of them when I had work the next day. Also, the books I did manage to read a bit of had seemed badly written, so I couldn’t really see what they were saying. He said nothing to that. Afterward, we just continued with our little scheme.
As well, the people he said that these authors were seeing at the company were not all accurate. This was when I had looked them up at the office after he had given me the first few lists one time. Once when I was in my penthouse with him and he had given me more of these lists, I mentioned this to him that not all the details that he had provided me with were accurate. I said that I only told him it now because of trying to smooth the operation a bit. But he became aggressive when I said it. Also, I tried again to ask what the politics were he was promoting. This was because I felt it was important. It was such as if I was going to be called into a meeting like this and then asked to explain myself. And it was important as well if I was going to be asked how bad it was what I’d done. So I can’t really tell this meeting what the reason was for him to want me to promote just these few books.”
“Let’s now look at this,” said his investor shrilly taking out a printout of a spreadsheet from a folder. “Since you’ve been playing these games with us, and this is only as I really do think you have been doing, sales have gone down and profits are nonexistent. Can you explain that?”
“I think the reason that we are not making money anymore is that the company moved from my original idea of getting people with computer skills to work for hardly any money proofreading, editing, and doing other jobs to a model where we were paying people high wages to do the same jobs. And that means the Human Resources budget is enormous now. As well, it is hard to change and it is noncompetitive.”
“That brings me then nicely onto my second point which is about expenses and how we are going to pay them for the next month. Can I have your suggestions, please? This is as I feel you’re deeply involved in this and you might know how to pay them.”
“I don’t know. But perhaps, if expenses are really that much and we can’t generate that much income, then I think we need to stop trading as soon as possible. This is just so we quit whilst we’re ahead and don’t lose any more money.”
“So, you are a man after my own heart!”
She said this with a nice smile and the mood seemed to lift a bit.
“By the way, I spoke to the friend you mentioned. He said that he genuinely is your friend. Or, at least, he was until you slept with his girlfriend. And all these other people that he asked you to promote were apparently people that you both knew. Also, they were other people he met in bars who were drunkards and people like that. As well, they were old men who had written something about their youth 50 years ago. You had at least it seems spoken to a lot of them and met them at least once. It seems as well that many were your friends you knew personally or some of them were. And, as well, it appears that they were as bad at writing as you were about keeping your mouth shut about business. Or that is anything else you were supposed to keep your mouth shut about ever as well.”
“Actually, I didn’t know all that. Who were these people? And what were their pen names and their real names?”
“It makes no difference to you when you hadn’t even read their books. This is at the time that you didn’t do it. And you don’t have a good reason to know now when none of them will have a publisher. Besides which, you told me their works were not much good. Still, you never thought about that apparently when you published them all. This was when you decided to publish all of this garbage written by people you knew and promote it on our website. And I think you did sleep with his girlfriend as well which was wrong of you.”
“I didn’t sleep with his girlfriend!”
“He says you did. And why would he lie! Perhaps, you remember a girl called….”
“She wasn’t his girlfriend. As far as I know, she was just a girl. She was around a lot sometimes. Everybody had slept with her.”
“Well! That is really all by the by now. Actually, he says his other friends didn’t in fact sleep with her. So you are wrong there! Also, who are all these other people around this table? And who are all those other people in the other office and at home that are teleworkers? They all work for the company and all earn money for the company and not just themselves.”
“I’m really sorry! Please don’t ask anymore. I can’t explain it properly. It is just that I don’t really know why I did or did not do anything sometimes. I would prefer you not to ask if I don’t really know it myself. Let’s just stop all this bickering now. And we’ll wait to get the report from the accountant we are going to appoint. That is to see how much we can save of this business. So, until then, just leave it at that.”
Then, the blonde-haired investor that he had known bit her lip, got up from her seat behind the table and left the room.
Jim was alone again in life. Nor did he any longer, as far as he could tell, have a business to run. She had left. The investor had left and gone. Then, they all left. He was left behind. And he had no money for now to make.
All of this business enterprise had been for just one thing. And that one thing was to have something for himself as well as anyone else. As well, that one thing to have something for him was to have some money. It was something he’d had once had but now didn’t. And it was something you indeed would want as well. But now, he did not have any. Nor did he have a business or anything else either. The space he was in was just a few tacky chairs and tables in a room made of concrete. And it was not any kind of business. Nor was it anything you’d have a use for otherwise. That is unless you had some money. Then you would pay for it. But it was not as well like your home. And your home as well had to have more than just an entry phone, more concrete walls and security guards he might no longer need.
Nor was his life like any kind of a business book, a romance or an adventure book. And nor was it normally any kind of book at all. He had been left with nothing. This was unless the accountant they appointed said different. But then, he might be pleasantly surprised and he might have quite a bit left after all. Alternatively, he could be left with very little or nothing. That was for now where he was in his former business premises and there was just dust and few bits of computer hardware, peripherals and printers with bits of wire sticking out of them. Also, there was incongruously a stack of printer paper and some spare ink cartridges. But there was not much else besides. This was of anything you could have any use for anymore, you would want to have or be willing to pay good money for. But then, you didn’t anyway have the money to pay for it. This was even if you had wanted to do so that you couldn’t anyway.
Possibly, if you did want money, then you’d get it all again. You would so that you could start trading once more just as you had done beforehand. But for now, he did not have this. All he might have where his clothes and the shoes on his feet. This was if investors demanded their money and he had to pay them. But it might not come to that and he would not have to pay them his own money. Also, he did not have his business anymore only for one reason. And that was that it had not made enough money. Otherwise, if he and the others had made money, then he would have had everything that anyone could possibly have wanted from a business. That is unless there wasn’t something else some other people might want as well. Others perhaps whoever they were did make money. They were the success stories. He was not any kind of success story at all. He wasn’t as it had now all ended in failure. Instead of being a success, he was in its place a loser. As well, this was with no mistake in anyone mind’s about it.
And he had all the time there was now to read any books he wanted to. Really, he was free to do so for the next however long. Without all this stress of running a business, he might even live for long time. For now, when he got home, he might just read some business books again. Or it could as well be anything else he cared to read. As well, it was anything else he felt like doing when he would have all day now. So he could do anything like read if he wanted to do so. This was as well if he was forever like this. But then, he mused that he had not published many ghost stories. Still, the future he could already seemed to go on interminably. Or it was unless something changed.
Perhaps, he could start again and make some more money… and….
Are you are dreamer? Or are you an achiever? This is the question that many people ask themselves who want to start in business on their own account. Encouraged by an older friend, a young man not yet out his thirties starts his own publishing/website concern. The only reason he chooses publishing and websites is that he's met people who've talked about them in the past. This is ever since he was quite young that he heard these stories. So, at least, this is some kind of relevant experience! But then, he goes into town, sets up his office and actually does start a business. He wants to be rich, but then why choose publishing. Is he a Bread Head? Or is he one of the addicts? An avid reader or computer/Internet addict. He could be both. Will he make money? Or will he be tempted to score political points? Other people might have their own ideas as well! Read this book if you have ever wanted to start your own business but didn't. Or read it if you ever thought of going in for publishing. But read it!