“We’re pressing for libel,” says her agent, squaring her shoulder pads and looking at me sternly.
“We have issues with your title,” says her owl-eyed lawyer, keeping his face bland and inoffensive. “Frankly, we consider it belittling.”
“Belittling? Something has certainly been too little around here with regards to Her, but the title,” I insist, “is nothing more than descriptive.”
“You’re suggesting She doesn’t exist!” the agent bristles, her bleached hair spikier by the moment. “That She’s some kind of false advertizing!”
“Look, I’d be happy to back down in the face of some really hot evidence.”
“You’re denying the afternoon of June the 22nd?” the lawyer consults his notes.
“I believe that melon was trucked in from eastern Oregon.”
“You got it at a farmstand! If that isn’t fulfillment of Her contract, I don’t know what is!” the agent throws her hands into the air.
“I’m not suggesting She hasn’t showed up anywhere for work. Just negligent about looking in around here.”
“What about the afternoon at the creek? We have affidavits from several witnesses that were there,” her lawyer looks over the rim of his glasses.
“One splash does not a season make.”
“Oh, very catchy,” her agent puffs in disgust.
“Besides, that was the second week of June. We’re in July now. Funny how none of your evidence is more recent.”
“I think you’re overly concerned with numbers,” her agent taps the table with well-manicured nails. “Our client is very busy, very much in demand, you understand. She is the superstar of the whole year and not just here. Everywhere north of the equator this time of year. And does she ever get a vacation? Oh no, as soon as She finishes up here the southern tour has already begun. She can’t be bothered to clock in daily at some obscure little backwater like this for your small-minded temperature reading or to satisfy some set quota of solar hours. And you have to remember, She’s an artist, a poet, a prima ballerina. The diva of all divas. It’s not about numbers. It’s about the whole experience. The idea is that you sit back and let Her work Her magic and take you by surprise.”
“I’d like to be surprised. What I don’t like is February to April reruns.”
“Our client,” says her lawyer,with a reproving glance at his companion, “has empowered us to drop the lawsuit if you will retract your title.”
“Tell Her I write creative non-fiction. She should like that better. Even when I try for fiction it comes out factual. Mostly.”
“That may be satisfactory,” her lawyer gathers up his papers, taps them together briskly on the tabletop.
“We’ll get back to you,” says her agent, proffering me a gold-emblazoned card.
“No, really. Let Her tell me Herself. I’d really rather deal directly with Summer myself. Face to face.”