Last week I met a man who will almost certainly inspire a character in my upcoming dystopian trilogy. He’ll probably be one of the underlings of the evil dictator.
Picture this: 60-something, short (probably about 5’3”, slightly shorter than I am) with a pudgy middle, slicked back gray hair, shirt opened low enough to reveal thick gold chains, fingers bedecked with rings. Slick talker (he’s in a commission-based business, so he has to be, I guess). Wastes no time telling me that “I’m not worth his time,” and the amount he’d make on commission from a sale to me would not even pay for an hour’s rent in the fancy-schmancy room in which he met with me.
Then he finds out I’ve already met with one of his competitors, and he says, “Whoa — whoa! Hold up! You’ve met with others?” He then proceeds to give me an ultimatum, five minutes into our meeting: either I promise to call these other agents and inform them that he will be representing me exclusively, or he has nothing more to say to me… because I’m “really not worth his time as it is,” you understand. (He told me this at least three times in the span of half an hour.)
I wish I could tell you that I stood up right then and told the guy where he and his representation could go, but alas… I am a wuss. (I wrote the character of Lily Portman in the Piercing the Veil series more as the character I wish I was than the one I actually am.) I grudgingly conceded to his demands, too intimidated to do anything else, and he continued with his schpiel as I grew silent, feeling increasingly manipulated.
When we concluded our meeting, he shook my hand. I wiped the grease on the leg of my trousers after I left.
Every now and then I meet someone in real life and think, “Seriously? People like you exist?!” Because they’re such stereotypes, you know? I mean, God loves them and all that. …But they’re still really great character studies. 🙂