"This isn't what we agreed on."
The glacial tone and the raised eyebrows confirmed his suspicions. He hadn't gotten away with it.
"I'd do anything to help my clients sell more books, Tim. You know that. But this" Lyndi Crawshaw said as she pushed the manuscript across her desk at him "just isn't going to cut it."
She sat back in her seat and looked long and hard at him – her eyes narrowed in displeasure. Clearly waiting for his explanation. But when McGee shifted uncomfortably in his chair she changed tracks in an instant – her face softening into the bargain.
"What seems to be the problem?" she asked, less abrasively.
"My colleagues" he admitted softly.
"Are they jealous of your success?"
Tim stared off into space for a moment, his mind reliving the moments in the observation room when Gibbs had been interrogating Lyndi a year earlier.
"I actually trusted her."
"There is no way you could have known, McGee" Ziva observed.
"Ziva's right, probie. It's not your fault. But if you even think about writing a third novel, I'll kill you."
"They don't like the fact that I based my characters on them" he said slowly.
"They should be flattered" Lyndi scoffed. "Don't they appreciate that you've immortalized them for posterity?"
When McGee shook his head she steepled her fingers on her desk and leaned forward.
"All writers get their inspiration from somewhere, Tim. All writers. Television series writers ride with the police, with the feds, with whoever it is they're writing about. They take their cues and their plotlines from real life cases. It doesn't mean that they're violating people's privacy. At some point in their career every author writes something about events or places or people they have a personal connection with. It's what gives the stories their element of reality. You're hardly guilty of character assassination, for God's sake!"
"That's not the way they see it" McGee said. "It's made things .. awkward."
"For your information, I've never had sexual relations with a corpse."
"That character was not based on you."
"His name was Pimmy Jalmer, McGee!"
"Well, he's French Polynesian."
"Doctor, I'm going to get the gurney now" Palmer said, not bothering to conceal his irritation.
"It was only a dream!" Tim called after him. "Come on ... haven't you ever heard of symbolism?"
McGee shrugged as he met her eyes.
"It's .. complicated" he said.
When it became clear that he wasn't going to divulge any more, Lyndi Crawshaw stood and walked over to the window.
"To be blunt, Tim" she said after a few moments of silence, "there is no market for a novel about the exploits of a private investigator and his octagenarian grandmother. Even if she was a member of the French resistance in her youth. Look, you're a successful novelist. To be completely frank, one of the most successful novelists this publishing house has ever had. You have a good thing going here. Why mess with something that works? You've got a huge fanbase out there that's been waiting for a third novel for months. Do you really want to disappoint all those people?"
She smiled to herself as she watched him react to her words, and carried on.
"Your fans have been very clear about they want. In letters and emails. Even on our blog. They want to know more about the characters in the first two novels. They want to read about the sexual exploits of Agents Tommy and Officer Lisa; they're hoping that you'll find a way to resolve the tension between Agent McGregor and forensic scientist Amy Sutton; they want to learn more about what makes LJ Tibbs tick. You've made these characters come alive in your readers' minds, and they're clamoring for more. You have an opportunity here, Tim. But ..."
"It's clear that you may have choices to make."
"Choices?" he asked as he realized suddenly that her voice had fallen a notch as if the topic she was about to broach was unsavory.
"You may have to choose what's more important to you. Being a best-selling novelist or …"
She trailed off as his cell phone went off, but he really didn't need her to finish the sentence.
"Yeah Tony" he said – standing from his seat to take the call. "I'll be back soon. I'm ... at the dry cleaners."
Lyndi smiled at him as he slipped his phone back into his jacket.
"I can't give you much more time" she said as she filed the rejected manuscript away, "but here is something for you to consider. Write an anthology of short stories instead of a novel. My feeling is that the fans will react just as favourably, if not more so, to something like that. It will contain something for everyone. It might also be less stressful for you."
"Standalone chapters?" McGee asked, his interest piqued.
A few hours later Mcgee sat in front of his Remington. Still conflicted, but not ready to give up all the perks that came with being a writer. With quiet deliberation he threaded a sheet of paper through the heavy rolls of his manual typewriter and started to type.
Deep Six: Unexpurgated
A/N: What follows will be the ramblings of McGee's muse.
According to the dictionary, unexpurgated is an adjective. Used to describe a piece of writing not censored by having allegedly offensive passages removed.
In other words you can expect smut. Please be sure to check the warning at the beginning of each chapter.
Now ... something which is in the profile but which also needs to be addressed here:
Will fun be poked at McGee and everyone else?
Yes. Most definitely. Gentle fun though. You can love McGee to bits, but the parts of his writing which got screen time in Cover Story, Twisted Sister and Smoked are ... um ... pretty over the top. So expect that kind of writing, and please don't anyone get uptight.
Remember that you'll be reading about fictitious characters based on fictitious characters. Not trying to bring anyone down.
Since McGee clearly based his characters on his colleagues, the plan is to have him write spins on some of the episodes from season 3 through mid-season 5. All of the major players in the series from that time are expected to put in an appearance.
It's an excuse to write some amusing stories that can't be written about Gibbs et al., but can be written about Tibbs et al., All of the stories should be humorous after a fashion.
So sit back, enjoy the oneshots as they appear, and leave your thoughts if you can.
Thanks in advance for reading:)