"He worked on it for years, you know. Whenever I'd see him, he'd tell me what he was doing, he was still working on it. He was always still working on it.
"When I say 'it', I mean his book, it was his chef d'oevres.
"Then, one fine day, he knocks on my door. He has the manuscript with him. OMG what a manuscript! Like, it's a thousand pages, seriously. Copyright. Table of Contents. Preface. Introduction. Footnotes. Chapters. Index. He had really done it! I was impressed, and I told him so. But he says, 'You haven't even read it yet.'
"He hands me the manuscript, a heavy beast of a thing. The title, if you don't know, it's 'The Money Problem'.
"I say, 'Oh yeah ... so ... uh ... maybe it would be better if I wait until it's published, like with a binding and everything? Or is it going to be a ebook?'
"He says, 'I have a copyright, official, I even sent two copies to the Library of Congress.'
"I ask him, 'So. great, you have a publisher then, right?'
"He says, sarcastic, like it was a stupid question, 'No, I don't have a publisher. I want you to read it over. As a favor to me.'
"So I go, 'A favor? I mean I appreciate the compliment, but I don't know ... I don't think I'm qualified ... '
"Then he says, 'I never asked you for anything before.'
"I say, 'Look, maybe you don't need a publisher. You know there's this self-publishing thing, even major writers are self-publishing these days. I think.'
"He says something like 'Yeah, well, that's fine for a major writer, who is already established.'
"I don't know what to say. He was still outside in front of the door. So I invite him in. 'C'mon in,' I tell him.
"But he just stands there and holds out his hands, signifying me to return the manuscript, that I still have in my hands, getting heavier all the time, if you want to know the truth.
"He says, like he's losing his patience or something, 'C'mon, I need it to send to my agent, so she can show it to the publisher.'