Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Secret of the Slushpile Revealed*

The slushpile. It's legendary. Every mention of it is made in a hushed, reverent tone. But what is it? Some people think every agent, publisher and tramp has one in their office, which they look through during a free moment and use for extra insulation during the winter.
But I know the truth.
I met a man in a pub today. Haggard and bristling with stubble. I bought him a pint (because I'm a generous chap who craves company) and he told me his tale.
He'd just finished working in the warehouse district of Oxford. Most people think they are chicken sheds but in fact they are owned by the major publishers of the world. His job was to drive a snow plough.
But he didn't plough snow.
It was manuscripts.
Thousands and thousands of manuscripts.
Every day they would arrive and every day he'd get in the plough and push them into a dark chimney like thing under one of the warehouses.
He became curious.
Where did the chimney go?
The night before I met him, after he'd knocked off for the night, he stole over to the warehouse. Forcing the door open he was met with a disturbing sight. The walls were lined with cages, each containing one bedraggled figure hunched over a joystick. In the centre of the warehouse a pile of manuscripts towered. The chimney led up into the warehouse, the pile sprouting from its mouth.
From the centre of the roof hung a metal claw, like in those games you play at Brighton pier. The huddled shapes in the cages took turns in trying to grab a manuscript with it. If they failed an electric shock was administered.

It was just like this

And that's when he realised.
The people in the cages.
They were agents.
The man fled.
So the next time you meet an agent remember that they have probably only been let out of their cage due to good behaviour. Their lives are a living hell of electric-shocks and manuscripts. Buy them a drink and sooth their shredded nerves. They deserve it.



*Everything in the above text and picture is fictional and any resemblance to a real agent, publisher or tramp is coincidental.