Talking about deadlines

Never ask an editor when a book is due. Case in point, an excerpt from a recent discussion:

Me: Hey Xxxx*, how's it going?
Xxxx: Oh, hi Jim....
Me: Say, when do you want [next installment in best-selling series]?
Xxxx: Oh, yesterday. No, no - last week. Earlier than that would even be better. Want to go club hopping with a mafia assassin in Boston? . . .

Of course, the book's not actually due for months, but if I was bar-hopping with a mafia assassin, I'd want it now myself.

* Semi-famous editor at major house, who may actually be identifiable from the conversation, but we'll protect his identity anyway.

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