There was a long silence.  Then she backed off to a more conversational distance, rolled her shoulders and continued as if nothing happened. “Let’s get back to this novel of yours. You say it’s called ‘Vicious.

“Yes, I said. It’s being showcased right now at The Literary Consultancy. Look:

“Most intriguing,” she said. “They’re extremely professional people over there. They don’t promote many like that. If they’ve chosen you, you must be better than I’d realised.”

Was that a new tone of respect I could hear coming into her voice?  “Thank you, Aurora,” I said, being rather more careful about her name this time.

“Anyway, you were telling me about the plot of the book.”

“Yes,” I said. “Vicious explores one story from four points of view. Tolly is a mentally unstable aging punk rocker, convinced she was once Sid Vicious’ lover and that he will reincarnate to be with her. There’s even a possibility that she might have been the person who murdered Sid’s girlfriend Nancy Spungon – the guilty party was never finally identified as the case never came to court.”

“Ok, got that,” she said, definitely sounding more interested. “What about these other three points of view?”

“I’ve already told you about Henry and Laura,” I said. “Tolly fixates on Henry, believing him to be Sid’s reincarnation and quickly identifies Laura as a threat. To Tolly she is the reincarnated Nancy Spungon.”

“And the fourth?”

“That’s the other side of the story,” I said. “Laura was brought up in a cult. Her pastor Philemon Littlemann is trying to persuade her she is pregnant with the second coming of the Messiah.”

She looked at me with a rather unusual expression on her face.

“But overlaying all of that is a higher level story involving Ethereals and the gradually disclosed rules of a game. The deeper purpose of the book is to question whether the reality we experience is consistent from person to person and whether our lives are as much under our own control as we think them to be. You really need to read the book to get a proper understanding of its scope.”

“Oh, I plan to,” she said. “Had any feedback on it yet?”

“My editor said it had cult book written all over it. One top flight agent who’s seen it said the scope of the book was astounding.”

She nodded. “I think you need to be a little less self-deprecating, Mr. Forester. We’re rather a long way from cutesy kittens and fluffy ducks.”

I didn’t respond.

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