Julie Weathers

The Old Hooker, The Pickled Egg, The Slim Jim And Agents

As promised, the story of the old hooker, the pickled egg and the Slim Jim; the art of negotiating.

Today was the last day of Barbara Rogan’s writing workshop. She has exhorted us all to go forth and conquer the world, or at least an agent. One thing that is always on a new writer’s mind is representation. We make our lists. We check them twice. We ponder, compare and finally take a deep breath and start submitting. Somewhere, consciously or unconsciously, we have to decide what we are worth and what is important to us.

This agent is new, but has a high interest in your genre. That agent reps a writer you admire. This one is actively seeking new writers. The other one is in New York. An agent from California sounds good. What about the one who is with a firmly established agency? You heard this one is good at keeping in touch with his or her clients.

That’s when you have to decide what’s important to you.

That’s when we can take a lesson from an old hooker in Washington.

Don always said I should never be allowed in public without adult supervision. I have a tendency to attract odd, I prefer to think of them as colorful, people. It was no different in August of 2006. I had to find an auctioneer to sell my father’s property. The one who best fit the bill was also a singer and entertainer.

Stan took me out to lunch one day and got to talking about a friend of his who is also a singer. I wrote the story down, but apparently it didn’t get onto the back up disk, but I will recount the adventure as well as I can remember.

His friend went into a small, dive kind of bar in Washington to have a drink and was sitting there minding his own business when a conversation between two people heated up. The man was an old man who had seen better days, but not a bath for a while. The woman was a lady of the evening, who had seen too many nights and not enough knights.

He wanted to know how much she wanted to go out in the alley beside the bar and give an oral recital.

She might be old, sagging, bagging and dragging, but she had principles and she wasn’t cheap. She knew what she was worth and she wasn’t budging. The negotiations continued and got louder as they progressed. People are passionate about things they hold dear, after all.

“I’m not doing it unless you buy me a drink, a pickled egg and a Slim Jim.”

“I’ll buy you a drink.”

“I ain’t doing it for a drink. How cheap do you think I am?”
Obviously, his idea of market value and hers differed at this point.

The negotiations continued and he agreed to buy her a pickled egg and a drink.

All right, she wasn’t cheap, but she could be had. She shook her frizzy gray head and pursed her scarlet lips. “I ain’t doing it without a Slim Jim.”

“You aint worth a Slim Jim!”

“I ain’t doing it without a Slim Jim. I ain’t that cheap.”

Yes, I love a scrapper. Decide what you’re worth and hold out for it.

“I’ll buy you a drink and a pickled egg. Let’s go.”

“Nope, I ain’t doing it without a Slim Jim.”

And that’s where the negotiations broke down. She had a firm idea of what she wanted and what she was worth. By damn if Slim wanted his Jim to see daylight, the old boy better ante up the Slim Jim.

Stan’s friend, being a songwriter, did what any self-respecting song writer would do and wrote a song about the old hooker, the pickled egg and the Slim Jim. Unfortunately, it never made the charts, but then sometimes we just need to write because it needs to be written.

I will call Stan one of these days and get a copy of the cd from him.

Until then, we need to follow the lead of the old hooker and decide what’s important to us. I’m not sure how to tell a perspective agent I want them to act like an old hooker and hold out for the Slim Jim, so I will probably leave that conversation until after they agree to rep me.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Okay, at this point I can say several things. But let’s start with that I have a tendency to attract odd, I prefer to think of them as colorful, people. Ahem. Present company excepted, of course? ALL of us, I mean???

    This was a wonderful story — definitely falls into the “shaggy-dog story” category, I think, and you do a stupendous telling of it. “…a lady of the evening, who had seen too many nights and not enough knights”: that alone is the germ of a hit CW song. If you manage to meet Janet R over drinks, you must tell her this story as an icebreaker (not that you’ll need one!).

    Can we assume that Stan’s friend’s song supplies the punchline? There IS a punchline, right?

    (And hmm, a self-respecting writer might want to accept the challenge, too… Not naming any names, you understand. 🙂

  2. draft beer, pickled eggs, pickled sausage… my mainstays in uni days :O lol [no hookers of any age, or slim jims]

  3. Present company excepted, of course? ALL of us, I mean???

    Oh, yes. I think of you all as colorful, not odd.

    Yes, there is a punchline and, of course, when someone sings the chorus, it’s much better. Wonder if Stan would think me odd if I called him and asked him to sing it to me.

    Gee, do you really thing Miss Janet wants to hear about old hookers, pickled eggs and Slim Jims?

  4. Snicker Tony.

    Ah, I never could tolerate pickled eggs, but I have sampled my share of beer.

  5. If you do call Stan, and he agrees, maybe you can record the last verse and post it here with one of your little audio-player doodads.

    Miss Janet regularly surprises me, so I could well be wrong. But it’s hard to imagine she’d have a problem, at all, with hearing a tale like this… especially in a place where proofed beverages are consumed, and where she — and the teller! — are among the consumers. 🙂

    (But if it falls flat, I don’t want to know. I never suggested this. I didn’t. I don’t care if you think you can document it. NO. It was all your doing.)

  6. after 30 draft beers, everything tastes good, no? :O lol

  7. John, my chaperone has forbidden me to drink. She seems to think I need to be professional. Plus, there were rumors of anon sex. Heaven forbid.

    Even so, I tend to enjoy telling stories and I will firmly explain the devil, ie JES, made me do it.

  8. I’d just barely got my mind wrapped around the phrase “the old hooker, the pickled egg, and the Slim Jim” and now you drop “anon sex” on me. Just what the H*LL sort of conference is this?!?

    (And is registration closed yet? [laughing])

    Methinks you need to consider a different chaperone.

  9. and boy, did i pack on the pounds my first year, so much so i did not recognize myself in a photo! :O lol

  10. John, I will try to find the conversation at Evil Editor’s party. It was late at night and some of us were just chatting. I asked a question about conferences. One thing led to another and one of the guys said, “And anon sex. Don’t forget the anon sex.”

    I replied, “Whoa! There will be anon sex? Does it cost more? Do I need to sign up for it?”

    Another, very helpful, guy said, “Well, for you it would be free.”

    So, that is the running joke about conferences now.

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