"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
I liked dressing like a biker dyke in black leather. And it fit in well while covering Hollywood. I went to a party at Frank Darabont’s in my leathers and got a lot of attention with it. It worked well on several levels and I often garnered interest while dining in restaurants because I looked part of the scene and the tourists were the worst of it.
However the gear also made most people leave me alone on the street.
Jean often picked up freelance assignments to edit or ghost write because she was a senior editor for Jeremy P. Tarcher Inc. As brilliant as Jean was, she was still dumb as a sack of hammers at times. Some of the people she became involved with ghosting books were slimy as hell. One fellow suddenly demanded his rough back and wanted to fire Jean, although she had already done a lot of the work, and not pay her what he owed her. One of these slimeballs was the founder of the massage therapy movement and an ex-hippie.
Slimeball suddenly realized that he was opening himself up for litigation when he revealed in the rough draft that he had started the massage therapy to seduce his patients. Wundabar. So Jean asked me to deliver the stuff, but be sure to get the check. I had Sovay along, but left her in the car, telling her to keep her head down and hide. When I knocked on the door, he opened it, stared at my gear and said, “Mrs. Stine? Oh god you folks are strange.”
That prompted me to do my Ahhhnold imitation, and I lowered my voice to make it huskier and said, “Mrs. Stine sent me. I’m Guido.”
He bought it and was intimidated. As he should have been. I refused to let him touch the manuscript. Instead, I settled into a chair and showed him that everything was there. I frightened him and he admitted that I could probably whip his ass. He also got onto the phone and called Jean, to tell him that he had this strange person named “Guido” in his living room and double checked everything. I think he was hoping that Jean would give him a logical explanation, but Jean must have been quick on the uptake as he was more frightened than ever when he got off the phone.
He gave me the check and I informed him that it had better be a good check or “I’ll be back.”
Sovay and I went to the bank from there laughing.
I only weighed 108 pounds and I am only five feet tall. So it must have been hilarious. I was the smallest Guido on record. The check was good. All went well.
Sovay and I still laugh about it.