I am a writer. You are a writer. I am a secret agent. You are a secret agent.
So when friends come over for dinner or we go out to dinner or we go out for some other reason, out where there are other live bipeds doing live biped things, we are carrying with us a world of secrets. Whether you drink your martinis stirred or shaken or whether you just drink beer from a tap, 007 has nothing on you.
I mean today, today my character discovered something essential about the world and tried to communicate it to others. A powerful man realized this would ruin the hold of a small group of powerful men on the world. He decided to make my character disappear. That’s right, disappear in the way Soprano or one of his minions make people disappear.
Some friends who came over for dinner asked what I’d been up to. I could have said discovering amazing, essential secrets in the world and murder and the prevention of murder, but I feared this might make them uncomfortable.
“Just writing,” I said.
They asked the obligatory question. “What are you working on?”
But I can’t tell. I’m a secret agent. You can’t tell your secrets in casual conversation. They sound dumb. Also talking about secrets, such as what you’re writing before you’ve finished, sometimes makes them disappear. The Writing Gods are always listening. So I either have to remain silent or make something up. “A Podiatrists convention,” I might say to throw them off.
Naturally, they begin to talk of other things when I say I’m not sure yet. Real jobs with real people. Selling, buying, doing. I simply have to nod and smile and pretend that their working lives are more interesting than mine. I have to pretend that all I did all day was sit on my butt and stare out my window and type a word here and there between weighty sighs. It’s part of being a secret agent.
But the truth? My job is a whole lot more interesting than theirs. My job is fascinating.