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Jassy Mackenzie

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Why all writers need friends like Annexe

Let me explain upfront, Annexe is a pseudonym. I’ve used it to protect the privacy of the person I’m referring to in this story. You’ll all be wanting his real name and phone number when you’ve read this so I am willing to sell the information for the right price. (I chose the name Annexe because he’s An Ex of mine!)

Picture the scene… a relaxed afternoon at Exclusive Books Sandton. Customers are quietly browsing among the colourful shelves, soft background music is playing. Annexe is turning away from the book display with a brand new copy of My Brother’s Keeper in his hand. As he heads towards the tills, he notices an Indian lady picking up a copy of MBK, scanning the front cover, reading the back blurb.

And then – horror of horrors – she replaces the book on the pile and moves on. If anybody else had been watching, that would have been the end of the story. But Annexe is different. He is a man of action and passion. He rushes straight back to the display, grabs the copy of MBK that the unsuspecting Indian woman has just put down, and thrusts it into her hands.

“You really do want to buy this!” he shouts. Other customers glance round nervously at the sound of his raised voice. What’s going on? The Indian woman flinches away from him in terror. Is this a new method of crime? Is he going to pull a knife out now and demand her wallet?

“Look!” Annexe waves his own copy of MBK in the air. “I’m buying a copy myself. This is an extremely good book. An excellent read. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. The author is a friend of mine – a very good friend. My only friend. In fact, she’s my sister.”

With a hand on the small of her back, he shepherds the Indian woman over to the till. In shock, she allows him to guide her there. He watches closely as she places the book on the counter and the assistant rings it up. He waits, ready to pursue her in case she decides to break and run before she’s paid.

But she doesn’t. She produces a credit card, signs the slip, the assistant puts the book into a bag, and she walks out of the shop. Satisfied, Annexe steps up to the counter and buys his own copy, glancing at the entrance from time to time in case the Indian woman tries to bring the book back for a refund.

She doesn’t. She walks slowly out of the mall, the way somebody in a dream might do. From time to time she shakes her head and glances down disbelievingly at the new book in her bag. When she gets home, she will tell her friends and family about the mad white man who accosted her in Exclusive Books Sandton and forced her to buy it.

Friends and family will gaze with interest at the author’s photo on the back cover. “She’s got a lunatic brother,” they will say to each other knowingly. “A violent schizophrenic, probably. No wonder she turned to writing. Poor girl.”

The book will have a story behind it. And whether she enjoys the read or not, the Indian lady will always remember what happened the day she bought it.

Thank you, Annexe!


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    September 2nd, 2009 @10:06 #

    very cool story.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    September 2nd, 2009 @10:50 #

    Oh, this is fabulous! I wonder if JoAnne has seen it. I'm going to send her the link right away.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    September 2nd, 2009 @11:22 #

    Hmmm ... as long as it's not that same "x" you had trouble with in a previous post.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    September 2nd, 2009 @12:19 #

    Jassy, I have tried similar techniques, both for my own books and those of friends, but people tend to flee as if I am selling bubonic plague. I want to know X's secret.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Jassy</a>
    September 2nd, 2009 @12:46 #

    Brute force and intimidation, I think, Helen. A winning recipe. And don't worry, Fiona - he's not the same "X" as in the other story.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">nabukenya</a>
    September 2nd, 2009 @18:56 #

    wow that is a nice story. your anexxe really liked your writing!


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