The trauma of being sent to Reykjavík instead of Frankfurt clearly did something to my brain because when I landed on German soil, I was actually excited. For 10 seconds.
Then I just screamed: "Oh my God! It's Frankfurt! Help me God!” Rushing out of the plane, I was greeted not with the airside runway limo I had ordered but with the sight of a luggage mountain so massive that I assumed Caroline Michel's private jet GUSH-1 was nearby unloading her FBF wardrobe. Actually it was just a baggage handlers' strike. Either that or the Flughafen had been integrated into the Waterstone's Hub.
I looked at my watch—in order to make my power brunch with Gail, assertive action was needed. I leapfrogged the other passengers on to the luggage pile, snatched my monogrammed luggage and was away. "Which hotel, bitte?” said my cabbie.
emembering that thanks to my assistant Chloe Daisyhater, the only hotel I was booked into was in an entirely different country, I had to think quickly. "The Hasslehof, obvs. Achtung!”
Heading straight for the bar when I arrived, I replenished my fluids while sitting on Lord Byng of Hype's knee. "I hear the fair's in town—wanna go and see the clowns?” I asked. He nodded nervously as I slyly reached into his pocket and snaffled his room key. I told him to leave, saying I'd meet him in Hall 8, before bounding upstairs to his suite.
Opening my handbag, I discovered not only Lord Byng's key but also his BlackBerry. Turning to my monogrammed case I was bemused to see it contained some torn-up comics, 47 bow-ties, five Panama hats, a box of replacement blazer buttons and several items I cannot mention here. This DF monogrammed suitcase was clearly not mine—it
was another DF's, David Fickling.
Desperate for a change of clothes and already late for my keynote symposium on tweeting with @CaroleAgent I donned one of DF's outfits, and sped to the fair dressed as a Gentleman Publisher from the '70s. Doormen bowed, Dame Gail Rebuck courtseyed and Marion Lloyd even pinched my bottom. I texted David: "Meet me behind the Frankfurter concession AT ONCE. I think you know why.” Seconds later a beautiful brunette arrived with a hand over "her” face wearing a Victoria Beckham dress and a pair of snakeskin Louboutins. I eyeballed David and said: "You naughty boy—
but gosh, even on you that dress looks glorious. Now shut your eyes and take it off now!”
Minutes later I emerged as myself once more and stood on the balcony looking down on the fair. Somewhere down there was a publisher for every book on my list—even the really crappy ones that I just took on because the authors were hot or had good surnames. All they needed was a bit of heat under them and anything could happen—this was Frankfurt after all. If NAME REDACTED could get laid here then anything was possible. But how was I going to get that heat going?
I clenched my fists in frustration and then a memory flashed into my brain. In my hand was the mobile phone of the most powerful man in publishing. No one would know that an email from him was really from me . . . was it possible that for the first time, Frankfurt might be ready for some Frost mischief?