Meat and Greet
by Jamie Todd Rubin
So there he is, Borges, returned from the dead and sitting across the table from me smelling of
dust and moldy books as if he'd spent the last quarter-century scrambling through the stacks of
an old and cavernous library. Gone from this universe and now returned, to a pitch-an-agent
event, and seated at the table representing the Billy Morrow Literary Agency. He frowns when he
sees me and then wastes precious seconds by asking for good old Morrow himself, perhaps not
realizing that the dead are not typically resurrected and that when an agent dies he has the honor
and integrity to stay dead. In death, as in everything else, authors are never that reliable.
Two more sessions of this, I think. Today. And next week. The large hall is filled with the sounds
of desperation as a thousand would-be writers give their spiel to a few dozen agents who have the
misfortune of drawing the short straw. I give the resurrected Borges a wan smile.
Flummoxed for only a moment, Borges says, "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Vance." He extends a
gray hand. There is an empty look in his eyes. I am uncertain of the protocol in these situations,
shaking hands with the formerly dead and what have you.
"What do you have for me," I say, somewhat ashamed that I am asking this of the immortal
"Imagine if you will," he says, licking his gray lips, "the story of a famous writer, returned from
the dead and pitching his next masterpiece, which itself is the story of a famous writer, returned
from the dead." He grins awkwardly, his breath exuding decay.