By Mark Carver
The book smacked onto the table next to Toby's plate.
"Crap. Pure, utter crap."
Toby looked up from his filet mignon and smirked. "So you liked it?"
Cameron snorted as he collapsed in the chair across the table. "It was like Martin, Rothfuss, and Rowling had some kind of sado-masochistic orgy together."
Toby paused mid-bite, then dropped his fork in exaggerated disgust.
"Thanks for that image. You just ruined a sixty dollar steak for me."
"Come on, man." Cameron leaned forward and gestured towards the book. "You can't tell me that thing was good. I mean, how does garbage like that get printed?"
"I don't know," Toby answered, dabbing his mouth with his napkin. "I didn't read it."
"I only read biographies. Lincoln, Gandhi, Whitney Houston. I thought I told you that before."
"Besides," Toby said as he tapped the book with his finger, "it's garbage like this that pays your rent."
"Yeah, yeah, I know." Cameron sounded like a despondent teenager. He looked like one with the way he slumped in his chair.
Toby licked his teeth for a moment, then decided to break the news.
"And you're about to get a whole lot of rent money, because the studio just greenlit the movie adaptation."
Cameron's mouth fell open. "Are you kidding? For that?"
He pointed at the massive book like it was a defendant on trial.
"Yep," Toby nodded, "and they want you to design the Ravenblade."
"You mean that wimpy dagger he uses at the end to kill the witch?"
Toby nodded again. "But it's your job to make it not so wimpy, and watch the money roll in as the fanboys duke it out on the nerd forums about whether or not the movie version matches what's in the story."
"Man, I don't know," Cameron groaned.
"Sure you do. You're one hot tamale, my friend, after you made that twisty, corkscrew double-bladed sword for that movie with What's-his-face in it. That thing still sells out at all the conventions."
Toby noticed a small smile pulling at the corners of Cameron's mouth, and the hustler spark inside him caught fire. No one is immune to flattery.
"And with this one," he continued, "you can go nuts. You've got the rep; you can take liberties that other designers can't. You can't make it a huge broadsword or anything, but you can make it the most wicked dagger anyone's ever seen. And I know you can do it. You got skills, son."
Cameron stared vacantly at the white tablecloth covering the table.
"Listen, my friend," Toby said with a serious tone, "I came to you with this because I like you, and I think you've got what it takes. You're a rising star, but you've got to be smart about it. This business is brutal, and the people who make it happen don't wait."
He leaned back in his chair and exhaled heavily.
"And you know, if you really don't want it, I'll have to look at other options. Say, perhaps, Sha – "
YOU ARE READING
ONE CHOICE CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING... AND SOME CHOICES CAN NEVER BE ERASED. Most people would say that Cameron McConnell has a pretty sweet life - living in sunny California, designing fantasy weapons for big-name clients, and enjoying his bachelorhoo...