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Bookmark This: Ask A Former Professional Literary Agent - Holiday Edition

McSweeney's Internet Tendency presents: Ask a Former Professional Literary Agent, Part VII
By John Hodgman

A SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION WITH FEWER QUESTIONS BUT INCLUDING A HEARTWARMING TALE OF GHOSTS AND REDEMPTION THAT IS SURE TO INSPIRE AND PROVOKE PERSONAL REFLECTION, AND WHICH FOR PURPOSES OF CATALOGING, MAY BE REFERRED TO AS “THE LONG OVERDUE PART VII.”

This is interesting: I was visited by three ghosts last night, one after the other.

The first ghost came to me at about 10 PM when I was eating some chicken and relaxing. The ghost smelled like pencil shavings and burnt coffee. He said he had come to show me the past, but he was a little embarrassed because he thought I would be asleep by now. I didn’t know what to say to that—I haven’t gone to bed at 10 since I was a child. I asked the ghost if he would come back later, but he never did.

The second ghost seemed to have his shit a little more together, at least at first. It came into my bedroom at about 2 AM, when I was asleep, dreaming of chicken. I felt a chill cross my forehead and awakened to find a great bearded man draped in furs and holly leaning over me, his breath coming out of his mouth like steam, as though we were outside on a cold night. He held a great bronze lantern that filled the room with a green light that rippled on the walls and the ceiling like water. This is what paranormal investigators would call a full-bodied entity apparition. By “entity,” I mean to say that he probably has always been a ghost and is not the spirit of a deceased person, because no actual human would dress that way. The cats blinked awake and started meowing like crazy.

This second ghost explained that he was there to show me the true meaning of Christmas, and he would accomplish this by taking me to various Christmas parties all over London. I had no real problem with this, but then he let it slip that these particular parties would be at the homes of all the writers whose novels and memoirs and other books I had rejected when I was a professional literary agent. I surmised aloud that these would be very sad Christmas parties: bitter, broken men and women gathered around small, evil-looking trees decorated with eerily disfigured photos of me—eyes scratched out, face obliterated by water damage, etc.

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