I was walking down the streets of New York, mulling over the release strategy for my new book, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman, when I was mugged.
I didn’t see him and I don’t know how it happened. All I know is I was on the ground. “Hey man, are you okay?”
Are you okay? To someone who’s been contemplating the book business, this is an imposing question. “I don’t know,” I thought to respond, “am I? Are any of us?” Instead I chose to ignore him, and laid there fretting about my impending photo shoot. I had hoped to appear dapper and slightly licentious, like young Truman Capote on the back of Other Voices, Other Rooms, but now I was certain to look more like Eric Stoltz from Mask – but with Jewish hair.
Moments later, a cop was squinting at my nose. He was a short man, with the face of Jon Polito and the body of Miriam Margolyes. “It looks like you’re pretty roughed up, buddy,” he observed, “and you’re gonna hurt for a while but don’t you wurryboutit. The ladies are gonna love it.”
But I didn’t want ladies. I want sales.
“Kid, what do you for a living? What’s your job?”
“You’re a blogger?”
I mumbled emphatically.
“Oh, a writer!”
I smiled. Blood spurt.
“Well, now you’re gonna be in the papers.”
What? The papers. Wait a second. “Yofinkdanoyowkpah – ”
“Don’t try to talk – ”
The papers. “Yoo fink da Noo York Potht cud wun an item bout – ”
“Listen, kid. Keep your mouth closed.”
But I wanted to sing. I wanted to run to the top of the Conde-Nast building and cry out in wild joy. “Yoo fink Janet Mathlin readths the Potht?” I wasn’t thinking now, I was exploding. “Offither, yoo fink it wud bebedder if the other thide of my fathe wath…” There was literally no end to the possibilities. If I could get mugged again, wouldn’t that make for a better story? And if I did it in another part of town, I could reach a new audience. Of course the backdrop was going to be key here. What about the Bronx? There really was something in my book for the Puerto Rican community. Or Chelsea? No, I had the gays – but the hipsters? If I could just change into a flannel shirt before the next mugging, Nylon might even go for it. Or even Interview. Whoa, whoa. Easy there, keep it cool, keep it viral. Art Forum? Because this is bigger than mugging, this is performance art. Yes, MoMA! Move over Marina Abramovic! “Sam Wasson’s latest series, ‘Mug Shots,’ is the artist’s most explicitly political sequence yet. In the wake of health care reform, Wasson, author of Fifth Avenue, 5.A.M: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman, sets about to demonstrate the inefficiency of the national…”
The paramedics were upon me now, dabbing at my wounds. I tried my best to keep the fuckers off, but my arms were too sore.
“It’s okay, you’re going to be fine. Really.” They were cleaning me up.
“Just hold still.”
Now Graydon would never notice.