Author Auction

Writer’s Block SIBA 10

Daytona Beach. Damn.

I woke up in a city that never sleeps. Or perhaps it was just in room 140x next door where the things that go bump in the night, also grind. 

It was the Writer’s Block invitation that brought me here, something of a Sadie Hawkins for hack writers who somehow rise to the level of a SIBA nomination.

My name is Batt Humphreys. I write historical fiction.

The evening promised a perfect storm of insecurities, adolescent fears of rejection meets with living adult fears of rejection for this art we attempt. 

Wanda met us downstairs, ushered us into our seats then set us straight. She looked at us much like a border collie addresses a field of sheep, with intense eye and perhaps a hint of game. In a warm and supportive way, she drilled us on the events of the evening like a parochial school nun with a half pint of hooch in her and twelve inch piece of good measured hickory for reinforcement. By that to say, she was charming.

“You have a stack of cards in front of you. You wrote the answers, try to read them. By the way, the cards are in the order of the questions as I’ll ask them, do not mix the order.”
Nervous fingers fanned the stacks. One author dropped hers to the floor. A collective intake of breath, with no easy release.

“Let me explain how the dinner works.” 

The explanation went on, at one point it began to take on the litany of a calculus class. She could see the collective consciousness escaping, eyes crossed at attempts at concentration.

“Do not try to do the math. You are writers.”

Those waiting exhaled.

“You may now order cocktails.” 

We sat up like a Shih Tzu hound. 

A short whiskey later we were led into a large room, paraded down a stage and on display like beauty queens without benefit of a push up bra. In front a table of women were looking, their eyes hungry.. yes, like a wolf. I was repulsed, but somehow strangely attracted.

Questions were asked. Questions were answered, mainly. There’s a reason for a script. Writers, write. If we were all blessed with the gift of ad lib, we’d be hosting ‘Dancing with the Stars’. 

Sweat ran into my cowboy boots. I wear them to make me look taller because, in fact, I’m 5’2” and weigh just over 300lbs. My eyes were on the back of the room where the bidding was taking place. Offers, for our honor, shameless writers we. 

Like a show horse on halter, we were led proudly through the crowd, to a dinner polite.
Back to the bar.

A single bartender facing a room of writers, she could have gone down like Custer but she never showed her fear. What she showed was barely cloaked by a top cut as low as the Grand Canyon, if ever it met the Grand Tetons. 

She wore her sex like a Marine wears his tattoo, open and proud. She also wore enough metal to make Cortez march to Kansas. It gave her a gypsy look. Perhaps she stole hearts. But there wasn’t enough bourbon in the bar.