After 14 years, a new installment of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones series is out this month, with a surprise twist: Some copies mistakenly included passages from another book released the same day — a memoir by 73-year-old British actor Sir David Jason. Vintage chalked it up to a printing error. But in today's author-eat-author jungle, it's tempting to imagine a juicier scenario. What if it wasn't an error at all?
Number of my books pre-ordered on Amazon: 0; interview requests from Kathie Lee and Hoda: 0; projected royalties: $0, remaining Xanax: 0
Bollocks. Just days until publication, and agent tells me not to quit my day job. "I quit my day job years ago, luv!" I bellow. "Why else would I need to be flogging my bloody memoir?!"
"Sir David, honey, listen to me, doll," says agent. "What did I tell you when you pitched me this cockamamie autobiography of yours in the first place?"
"You said male British memoirists were hot. You said I'd be the next Keith Richards."
"Wrong. I said chick lit is where the money's at. Now go get a blurb from this Helen Fielding. It's your only hope."
Dear Mr. Jason,
While Ms. Fielding is touched by your note, she is unable to respond to every request because she is a worldwide phenomenon who has sold more than 15 million copies in more than 40 countries and has been interviewed by Kathie Lee and Hoda. Best of luck with your blurb.
7a.m. MISTER? Try "Sir," assistant#3! Does that barmy boss of yours have any idea who I am? I'm a knight, sod it! And who is she, Alice Munro? Pshaw! That trollop's a one-trick pony on her final trot.
Oh dear Lord, I feel one of my spells coming on.
2 p.m. Pints of cream stout: 8; bags of salt and vinegar crisps: 5; shepherd's pies: 2; lardy cakes: 3; figgy puddings: 4.
Haven't left bedchamber in seven hours, glued to telly since publisher canceled launch party at Waterstones Piccadilly. Must build buzz … must get reviews … must watch Benny Hill boxed set to distract self from looming literary irrelevance. Favorite so far: Season 17, Episode 3, in which Benny plays both Cagney and Lacey, dressing in drag.
2:30: Dressing in drag! By George, I think I've got it!
Blond wig: 1; pink skirt/blouse/jacket ensemble: 1; pages of "My Life," by Sir David Jason, loaded on flash drive and concealed in posh purse: 40.
Have just turned in performance of a lifetime at publisher's office! Returning to thespian roots, I became none other than Dame (as if) Helen Fielding, from flawless "fake nice" diction to "charming yet scary" disposition. Was gobsmacked to discover publisher's office empty, save for token Radcliffe Publishing Course intern who said upper brass was at some dodgy book fair in Frankfurt.
"How would you like to be besties with Renee Zellweger?" I asked the young lass.
She was as chuffed as a pup with two tails.
"Well chivvy along then," I said, handing her the flash drive. "I have a few last-minute revisions I'd like you to make."
Flutes of champagne: 2; voicemails from Kathie Lee and Hoda: 75.
Am lounging poolside at Beverly Hills Hotel with new agent, Ari Emanuel. As a pivotal character in the blockbuster book of the season, I shall soon be starring as myself in the big-screen adaptation. Nikki Finke describes it as, "My Life by Sir David Jason Meets Bridget Jones."
Dan Zevin is the author, most recently, of "Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad," which won the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor.