Dangerous Liaisons: Writer for Hire?

Earlier this week, I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize. Most often, I ignore these calls, but intuition told me to answer this one.

“Is this Sandra Bush?” The male voice asked.


“This is Phil X. Do you remember me?”

“Uh,” long pause here. “No, I’m sorry.”

“We met in a barbershop,” Phil X said.

And then I knew. It was the creepy private investigator I met in the hair salon in August! The one I chronicled in my blog post, “The Private Detective.”

“I’m ready to start working on my book soon. The one I told you about? You said you were a writer?”

“Yeah, right. I remember.”

“Well, I’ll be traveling to Washington, DC soon to interview some very high profile, famous people. Key witnesses. I wondered if you might like to come along. You know, to observe an actual interrogation.”

“I don’t think my husband would go for that,” I said.

“Okay. So, I researched you pretty thoroughly and I think you might be the right person to write my story, but I need to read something of yours first. Do you think you could let me borrow one of your books? To see if I like it.”

Red flags are dropping from the sky. This total stranger wants me to go to Washington with him, possibly write his book and he won’t even buy one of my books?

“I’ve never had anyone ask to borrow one of my books,” I said.

“Well, you know, I don’t want to buy it. I might not like it.”

“It’s $13.00,” I said. “That’s the way it works when you buy a book. There’s always the risk you might not enjoy it.”

We went back and forth a bit about why he should or shouldn’t buy my book.

“I have other published material you could find online,” I offered. But I was convinced I wanted nothing to do with this loser.

“Well, think about it,” Phil X said. “It’s going to be a best seller. I’m sure Hollywood will want to make a movie about this. It’s got everything: sex trafficking, murders–like at least four murders–Washington politicians.”

He paused and I said nothing. “Oh, and I should warn you, you won’t be able to publish under your own name. It’s too dangerous. In fact, you could be killed when they figure out who helped me write it.”

“Yeah, I’ll think about it,” I said. Although there was nothing to think about. This guy knows nothing about the publishing industry, and wants me to write his story for free? A story that might get me killed? No thanks.


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