Book Pitch

Summary:
August 30, 2014: Clark Kent travels to New York with his agent to pitch his book, "Bells of Bialya"

Bishop Publishing

Bishop Publishing, a powerful publisher on the East Coast.


Characters

NPCs

  • Nelson Nichols, Clark's agent

Mood Music:
None


Nelson Nichols has been an agent for a long time and he knows how these things generally work. Most of the time, you're never really sure what administrator you're going to get. How high up the food chain is generally how interested the publishing company is in your client.

At the same time, his client Clark Kent was a hot commodity in the journalism world after his covering of Bialya, and more recently, his scathing editorial on Tony Stark which made headlines on media over the world. Did it cause Tony Stark to give up his hold on his own company? Perception is reality, and the perception over the course of the last few weeks is that Clark Kent is becoming the next big thing.

For four years he's toiled, first on subjects that didn't matter, then to those that mattered just a tad more. Now, after climbing up the ladder, Clark is finally writing the stories he'd hoped he would after getting his opportunity. Not bad for a farmer turned writer, and his mother is very proud. His father would be if he were here.

In any event, Clark Kent in the flesh is much less impressive than how he writes. His hair is an erratic coif over coke bottle glasses that give his large blue eyes an owlish appearance. His frumpy suit is about two sizes too large for his body which is pretty big. He hunches when he sits, and plods along clumsily. I guess there's a reason he chose the printed word over television.

"Clark, goodness grief," says Nelson as the smartly dressed man straightens his collar. "You ready for this? This could be your big break. Try to sit up when they come in." He tries to give Clark a reassuring smile, but the concern that this could go badly is evident on his face.

"Tina, is Dad in?" Kate knows the answer to that question. And, honestly, she's glad to hear the expected negative. It's not that she actually wants to talk to him, it's more that there are rules, and the rules come with the credit card, and the credit card keeps certain things happening. "Great. Be right back!"

She doesn't even knock before she blows into the conference rooms, headed for the desk in one corner. T-shirt and jeans, with a pair of purple-tinted sunglasses pushed up on her head, she has a duffel bag over one shoulder and a quiver over the other. It looks like she's planning on going somewhere. "Tell him I'll be at the Hamptons house for the wee-"

Whoops. People. "Oh, uh. Hi. Hey, you're that Clark Kent guy, right?"

Clark looks slightly aghast as the woman leaps in the room. He even gives a bit of a jump in surprise as the door bursts open. Surely he heard her from quite some distance approaching, because as only few people know Clark Kent is in fact SUPERMAN and must put on pretenses like this to keep his identity secret from the masses.

"Oh, hi, yes I am. I apologize, but have we met?" Clark has no clue as to how she might know who he is. He has no clue who she is either.

"Nope," Kate answers cheerfully, rummaging in the desk for something. "I read that piece you did, though, on the weapons. Really cool. You know, I don't read or watch a lot of the news. Not enough people actually researching what they're reporting anymore. Nice to see some people haven't forgotten how it's supposed to work." Papers, pens, a stapler, a…flask?

Kate rolls her eyes at the last one, sweeping it all haphazardly back into a drawer before settling down at the computer instead. As she taps away, she peers around the monitor at Clark. "You're not in here to interview for the travel writer position, are you? That spot pays well, but it's sort of the definition of sell-out."

Clark shakes his head, "No, I'm actually here to pitch my book about Bialya." Nelson Nichols sees his opportunity. Perhaps the gal will put in a good word for him. "There's really no name that's hotter in journalism right now than Clark, and the book is already finished. We just need a publisher. It's a surefire moneymaker, that much is clear."

"Awesome." Kate opens up the outlook calendar on the computer, typing in 'Kate in Hamptons' into the next week before clicking back out of it. Apparently that counts as family communications for the Bishops. Dumping duffel and quiver next to the next, she hops up on the side closer to Clark and Nelson, sitting cross-legged. "Are you looking to move into books for good, then? Or just have more on the topic than you could fit into a newspaper article?"

Nelson looks as though he's about to speak, but then stops short as Clark sets in. "Well, I was able to spend a few months over in Bialya when I first graduated college, and have been back intermittently when I can. I was able to spend time with the people and feel like my book shows the complexities of what's going on not just there but in the region. It's a mixture of politics, money, and religion, of course. I guess everything is now when I think about it."

"To answer your question though, I want to continue as a journalist, but I'd like to write books on the side when I can," Clark says. At this point, Nelson hops back in. "Think Chuck Klostermann with a conscience."

Kate quirks a brow at Nelson, smirking at the sales pitch. "Hi, I'm Kate, and I have no decision-making powers here whatsoever," she says with a wiggle of her fingers. "But there's coffee out in the lounge. Supposed to be really good." Which is to say, go away, smarmy sales man.

Looking back to Clark, she grins. "Everything's a mixture of those things, yeah. How good or bad it washes out to be sort of depends on the recipe. And the type of religion or politics in the mix, for that matter. People do crazy things, you know?"

What? She doesn't like Klostermann? Who doesn't like Klostermann?

Nelson sits back in his chair, obviously put back, but Clark seems to be really interested in the conversation. He even hunches forward a bit, and loses the slouch in his posture. "Well that's the interesting thing, I think. That no one decides to do anything crazy there. We tend to think in America that we would never allow a dictator like the ones in the Middle East, but I'm not so sure we wouldn't. If you combine fear with basic needs being met, what effect does that have on your willingness to revolt? In America, you get the throw in the whole idea of a disaffected society that really isn't all that educatedno offenseand doesn't care to be. Many people are more interested in their facebook accounts over whether people are being tortured somewhere they can barely pronounce."

"People like the status quo," Kate nods to Clark. "If it doesn't hit them, then why should they worry about it? Except people don't realize how it can, and will, and does hit them. So they keep going on with their lives. I bet even there, you had people who'd tell you it wasn't all that bad. Yeah, maybe it's bad for Joe down the street, but it doesn't really hit that many people."

"I guess I just wish people would have more empathy for others. To be willing to act, even if it doesn't help themselves in some way. But people have been doing that for ages." Clark now completely overshadows Nichols in the conversation. The agent stays quiet, not sure if someone is coming to see them or not, as Clark talks with Kate. "What about you? We've spent all this time talking about me. Forgive me, but I don't really know much about you to be honest."

Kate's smile quirks at that question. "I'm Kate Bishop," she introduces herself. "This is my dad's place. I'm on my way to, ah. The place out in the Hamptons. For the week." Yeah, that's a lie. And the glance toward the duffel bag and quiver might be a little bit guilty. "I just needed to update his calendar," she adds, pointing a thumb toward the computer behind her.

"The Hamptons will be nice for the long weekend. Do you shoot archery then?" Clark asks. He has no reason to suspect anything untoward in the bag or anything otherwise. Rich people have all sorts of interesting habits.

"Yeah, it's a hobby I picked up at summer camp," Kate admits, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. "It's been kind of a rough week down at the shelter. Having some issues with exes not understanding the whole concept of a restraining order, you know? Just need a few to sort of refocus, get my head on straight. Try to come up with a way to keep the women there safe." Her cheeky smile fades, replaced with a scowl.

"Really?" Clark looks intent on helping. Clearly that must be some sort of a joke. A man who can't even get his pants hemmed properly is probably not much against restraining orders. "What shelter? That's great that you…you work down there?"

"Eleanor Bishop Memorial," Kate says with a brief, crooked smile. "My mom started it years ago. When she passed, I sort of took over her end of things. I mean, it was less when she passed, I was only sixteen. But now? This whole money thing," she waves a hand around the office, "Doesn't mean anything if all you do is spend it on luxuries. You'd be stunned at how little it takes to absolutely change someone's life."

Clark nods and smiles, "That's awesome. I'm really happy that you're going out and making the world a better place." For a moment he's reminded of someone close to him, back from Smallville, who also worked towards making the world a better place through volunteer work and his stomach feels a small pang.

He changes the subject.

"So, are you like a college student these days or in the works force?" You can't really ask someone how old they are these days, right? Wouldn't be polite.

"College…wasn't really my thing," Kate admits, smile crooked. "You know us rich kids. No need to be too useful." She winks, then shakes her head. "No, that's not entirely true. But I didn't see the point in going to some stuck up Ivy League school so I could learn how to make more money. We've got enough people who do that. I've got money. And that means I've got time. And my time can be so much more valuable out there doing good for other people than it is sitting in a classroom." Even if that sometimes means using those arrows.

Clark nods slowly, looking a little lost with his huge blue circles for eyes as his mouth opens, closes, and then opens again. "I agree entirely. That's awesome, Miss Bishop. I sure wish more people were like you." Nichols gives a little sigh, obviously bored, and checks his watch.

"Hey, I wish more reporters were like you," Kate grins. "So I guess the feeling's mutual." She looks over toward the agent, amused. "Seriously, super good coffee. You look like you might be in danger of falling asleep there. Who's your appointment supposed to be with, anyhow?" she asks, leaning back to look out into the lobby area.

Nichols finally gives Kate a weary nod, gets up, and heads out.

Clark checks his sheet of paper crumpled into his coat. "It appears to be someone named Cole Knox. Any idea if that's a good thing or a bad thing?"

"Probably not bad," Kate shakes her head to Clark, looking after Nichols with a faint smirk. "But he really likes his lunches, so he's probably still doing that. He was talking last week about some new place that was opening up and maybe trying to catch a lunch there, so he probably got caught waiting for a table. He's not great about calling to let the office know, either." She eyes the reporter, amused, before hopping off the desk to rummage through the drawers again. "So, did you borrow the suit?"

Clark ohs as if that explains how and why the man is late. It seems to make him feel better until Kate mentions the suit. "Borrow? No…" Clark shakes his head. "Why?"

"Because it totally doesn't fit." Kate comes back from the desk with a handful of paperclips, several of them stuck between her lips as she gestures imperiously. "C'mon, stand up, we'll get it fixed up enough so you don't get the judgy look," she says around them.

Clark laughs sheepishly and shakes his head, "No that's okay, I mean. I'm fine. I like this suit." It certainly bulges in all the wrong places. Clark pushes his glasses farther up on his nose awkwardly and sits back in his seat.

Kate Bishop eyes Clark. "Don't make me do this the hard way," she threatens, then rolls her eyes, dropping the paperclips into one hand and leaning closer. "All right, fine, but at least let me fix the collar." Not that she seems to be waiting for permission.

There's a sharp intake of air as Kate approaches him. Is it because he's just that awkward? Or is it because under his collar is a biggole blue and red suit straight from an alien world known as Krypton? Some superquick thinking leads him to believe his secret will be safe because of the low cut of his suit underneath, but…

Kate doesn't seem to be inclined to dig or poke around under his shirt, though she does quirk a brow when he jumps. "Easy there, slick, I'm not going to get fresh with you or anything," she chuckles, slipping two of the paperclips into the points of his collar. "There," she says as she steps back. "Now at least those'll stay put."

Clark seems to settle down quickly as Kate backs off and his secret stays safe. "Oh, thank you. I didn't even realize there was anything wrong with them. Appreciate it. I don't have much fashion sense, I understand. All of us Kansans are like that, I fear."

Kate laughs, grin flashing as she hops back onto the desk and deposits the paperclips back where they belong. "I'm pretty sure it's not a Kansas thing. It's mostly a guy thing. It's the guys who already know about those tricks that you have to look out for." She eyes the lobby again, wrinkling her nose at the agent outside. "You know, I get that agents are sort of a necessary evil, but they always have that sort of…you know? Like lawyers."

"I'm not too worried about the guys who already know those tricks, to be honest," Clark says with a laugh. "Nichols is a good guy. He's a preofessional and he just wants to try and get the book published. He believes in me and negotiated my last contract for the Planet."

"You've got contracts?" Kate sets her elbows on her knees, propping her chin up in her hands. "Weird. I mean, I guess it makes sense. I just sort of figured reporting was a job, so you got a salary, or hourly, or something. Probably salary," she muses to herself before shaking her head. "Well. I've got a pla- ride to catch." Definitely not a plane. No need to take a plane to the Hamptons. "But I hope it works out for you, Clark."

Clark's eyebrows come together in confusion as she almost makes a slip, but he gives her the benefit of the doubt. Clark Kent usually gives everyone the benefit of the doubt with the exception of criminals and dirty business tycoons or politicians who exploit their power. "I hope you have a really nice trip. It was nice to meet you."

"Good to meet you too. And hey," Kate says as she slings the duffel and the quiver over her shoulder. "Don't let Knox try and tell you it's a risk to sell your story. The way things are going right now, he knows you could self-publish on amazon if you really wanted to. You've got a name, people know who you are."

"Thanks Kate, I appreciate it." Clark gives her a smile and a nod as she makes her way to leave, grateful for the opportunity.

***

Later that day, after the sun has set and the problems of the Big Apple start to begin, one of those exes shows up in an alleyway where his old girlfriend was making a short cut towards the Eleanor Bishop Memorial home for battered women.

"Lacey! I told you you wouldn't get rid of me. I don't care what the judge says, I—-" But his voice stalls as he looks up and sees a pair of red eyes and a familiar shield emerge from the darkness. Stepping into the light, Superman shakes his head. "You're going to leave her alone. Both tonight and forever."


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