This is the twenty-third part of a fiction serial, in 720 words.
Steve got busy on day one. A ghost-writer was contacted to prepare a synopsis and a rough draft based on Steve’s notes and recordings. He would drop them off at the woman’s place in North London before the end of the week. He wanted a woman to write it up, as he was sure the female perspective would sell better.
By early evening, Steve had a promise from a literary agent for Gabby, as well as two definite interests in a book deal if it read right. Despite his journalistic background, he knew better than to try to tout the story to any newspaper so soon. Far better to wait for the book publication date, and use any press or TV coverage to sell-on the book.
Gabby proved to be easy to please. Steve invested in a coffee percolator, lots of her favourite cigarettes, and good quality snack foods that kept her happy. She kept adding some snippets that she had missed earlier, leaving him to phone the ghost-writer to embellish some details. Steve knew it was going to cost him now, but that outlay would be recouped ten-fold later. This was going to be his Olympic Gold project, the one that would cement his name in tabloid history.
He had no doubts. None whatsoever.
The rest of the world slumbered on peacefully, unaware of the journalistic and literary bombshell he was concocting in his mundane Norwich flat. He couldn’t help himself speculating on his future earnings. Gabby would get a twenty-grand advance against future sales on the book deal. If they took the film rights internationally, that might mean as much as fifty grand, paid once shooting began. Then there was the eventual book sales for a best-seller, appearance fees on every chat show and magazine programme on telly. And he has a quarter of that action.
As he spent his money like water, he had no concerns. It would all come good eventually.
For Gabby, life was comfortable. Not allowed to go out in case she was identified, she lazed around and made the most of the leisure time. Steve got her whatever she needed, and never once asked for any money. Even if he had, she could have told him she wasn’t allowed to go to any banks or bank machines. His rules, not hers. If he was keeping an accounting of expenses, expecting some reimbursement, he would be sorely disappointed. That twenty-five percent was all he would get.
If he even got that.
One day, Steve returned with the news that her mum was back in hospital again. “She is supposedly critical, and in need of a liver transplant. It seems unlikely that she will qualify for a donor, seeing as she has been a drunk since she was sixteen”. Gabby was not at all bothered. She opened the Chianti she had asked him to get, and shrugged.
“I hope the old bitch dies, I really do. Then she can rot in hell for what she did to me”. Steve was already on the telephone, arranging for a contact in East London to get a photo of Gabby’s mum on a ventilator. When he received the good news that it was done, he gave Gabby a thumbs-up. “It’s in the bag, we can probably use that in the book”.
There might have been some inkling in the back of Steve’s mind that he would eventually have sex with Gabby. But she soon shut that down.
“You are getting very familiar around me. Shut the bathroom door when you are in there, I don’t want to see you except fully-dressed. And stop sitting so close to me when we are in the living room. I don’t like it, and don’t want it. Don’t forget you are no better than all other men, Steve. You are shit, as far as I am concerned”.
He didn’t get annoyed when she said that stuff. One day, he would get that payday, and more importantly, some recognition. Then he could have any bimbo he wanted on his arm. But he knew he was going to have to put up with Gabby for many months yet. The story had to die completely, before it could be resurrected as a success.
Just like Jesus. Nobody cared about him until the third day.