Andrew Vachss has a short story called Just the Ticket that appears in the collection, Everybody Pays. It’s a scam piece, and the punchline is that a con man gets two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the city for false imprisonment. “I was in jail for almost three months when we came back to court.” He pays off his bills and ends up with a net of around a hundred grand. “Still, it wasn’t bad for three months’ work.”
Reports are flying that recently released New York Times reporter Judith Miller is closing in on a $1.2 million deal with Simon & Schuster. Imprisoned for twelve weeks for refusing to divulge her sources, Miller has not commented on the rumored book project, publisher reps are denying a deal exists, and her employer indicated that she had not decided if she would write about her ordeal in either the paper or book form.
This isn’t to say that Miller orchestrated her situation like Vachss’ con man. But a three month stretch is a three month stretch. So if the rumors are true, at least she’s better at getting paid than the con man.
While we’re on the subject, I wholeheartedly recommend Vachss’ Everybody Pays. Great stories, taut, and ice-cold. There’s a piece in there called Hit Man that gets me every time.