Laisez Les Bon Temps Roules! 24 Hours in Austin

          24 hours in Austin, two friends from the publishing world link-up, and a last-minute dash to attend the ceremony yields good food, champagne, and a warm buzz along the nerve network.

          I first met Andrea at a college textbook publisher. I remember she kept a lawn duck in her office and would dress it to match the seasons. Her boss kept a plastic green skin, oval eye alien garden gnome with pipe, Oswald. The fetishes were therapy for the everyday stress of crisis team management, book budgets and schedules, righty/lefty intellectuals tapping fingers as they wait around the never-ending-meeting oak (veneer) table of state for their turn to express superiority, grandeur, and all forms of wankery. Where on occasion, marketing managers and authors roam the halls like malcontent zombies to satiate the habit for sweat, blood, and brain; and joining them, the ubiquitous perfect white smile, elegant suit, tie, and shoes, dry warm confident handshake of vendor presidents, CEOs, and salesman who stop in monthly like moon pies of sickeningly sweet nectar, sometimes they energize the day and other times conspire a 24-hour or longer hang-over.

          “How are we doing?”

           “I’ll check on those pages.”

          “Did you like the almond bark, pineapple paperweight, or hand towel with our logo at Christmas?”

           “Can we do anything for you?”

           “Are you free for lunch today?”

          I met Gene, a production editor, when Andrea brought her to San Francisco for a visit. She is about 5’2”, graying hair, glasses, and a warm irreverent smile that she is not afraid to use at every opportunity. Gene is sweet and adorable; not in anyway a wet feather, she is an enthusiastic force of nature.

          During their visit, I am not sure how, but somehow, I became the duck, Papa Duck. I played the tour guide and kept our quack of ducklings moving along. She rewarded me with a healthy assortment of rubber ducks (yikes: Lucky Black 7, Frankenfurter of Rocky Horror, and etc.), so she is always welcome in my waddle line.

          Andrea and Gene’s individuality complement the hearts they share, and whenever two beautiful souls manage to find each other, we all benefit. Life’s worries simply float past like shed duck feathers on a pond; they sink and disappear into the waves of memory.

          I toast, “longinquitum vitae et magnum gaudium,” long life and much happiness. And as they honeymoon in Paris, “Laisez Les Bon Temps Roules!” Let the good times roll.

           (And yes, with editorial attitude living close to the edit, I am sure I will hear about corrections.)

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