9:15am

“I’m so sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Pirog. “I mean, I know celebrities find it difficult to have private moments because fans intrude everywhere you go.”

“Who are you and what are you doing in my hotel room?” said Nick Pirog.

“I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help get your next book out. I mean, everyone is anxiously awaiting 3:10am.” I said.

“Um, look, I appreciate it when my fans support me but…”

“Wait a minute. I’m not a fan, Nick. I’m a supporter! I’m here to help, not ask for autographs or selfie photos or something. You need something, let me know and I’ll do it! Besides, I already got your signature in my signed copies of Unforseen and Gray Matter. Although I wouldn’t mind signed copies of Afrikaaners, Oz the Schnoz and the Elephant Rebellion, Arrival, 3:00am, and Borns. And 3:10 too.”

“Well, I’ve been using electronic publishing and so I don’t have printed copies to hand out.”

“Oh,” I said a little disappointed. “But still, I’m happy to do anything you need.”

“Great! Could you get off of my girlfriend please?” Nick said.

“She does look a little comfortable.” I said, looking at her. “Hey! Whoa there, partner. You don’t need that phone!” I noticed that Nick was sliding his hand towards his smartphone laying on the nightstand. “You need to call someone, you just tell me and I’ll do it for you. I’m here to relieve you of the little chores and annoyances that could prevent you from getting your books out. Consider me your personal assistant!”

“Okay. Could you dial 911 for me, please?” asked Nick.

I jumped up and looked around the room, scrutinizing it for threats. I pulled out my Glock 9 just in case.I didn’t see the problem, but then it’s not up to us supporters to second guess the artists. I dialed the phone and gave the hotel name and room number. “Okay, the cops are on the way, Nick.”

“Great. Thanks. Now could you put the gun away and step out so my friend and I can get dressed?”

“You bet!” I said, backing across the room. I stepped out the door and closed it behind me. Waiting for Nick I began to pace the hallway. Just as I arrived at the elevator, the doors slid open and  four cops charged out and went straight to Nick’s room.  They knocked on the door.

“Police!” one called out and I saw the door start to open. I knew it would take a while for Nick to finish his business, so I stepped into the elevator and rode it down to the lobby. After about ten minutes the cops pushed out of the elevator with Nick between them. “The City of San Diego Police Department has better things to do than chase prank calls, Pirog.” I heard one say fiercely. Nick was saying something in a beseeching tone but I couldn’t hear and it looked like the cops didn’t want to.

This was no good. I ran and caught up with them. “Hey, wait officers.” I called out. They stopped and turned towards me. “Nick didn’t make the call, I did.”

“Why would you do that?” asked one of the more burly of the group.

“Well, he told me to.” I answered. “I asked if I could do anything to help him and he had me make the call.”

“You see this?” the big cop said to his partners. “Damn celebrities have no concern for their fans. They just use them for their own amusement with no thought of their fan’s feelings.”

“No, no. It’s not like that.” I said. “Nick is a great guy.”

“Yeah, a great guy who sets nice guys like you up as the brunt of a practical joke. Well, not this time.” said the cop. “Let’s go.” The cops moved out through the front doors to where two police cars sat. They put Nick in the back of one and his girlfriend in the back of the other. In a moment they were gone.

“Gee.” I sighed. “I always thought Nick was a great guy.” I decided I would still buy his books, but in the future I’d keep my distance. The last thing I wanted was to hang with someone who got me into trouble.