Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Kreskin Chronicle--Run Amok in the Flatiron

Last week's release of Kreskin Confidential by the Amazing Kreskin brings to mind an anecdote from when I worked in-house as a production editor. I worked in the Flatiron Building, one of the most architecturally recognizable buildings in New York City, at 23rd Street where Broadway and Fifth Avenue intersect. It is, quite possibly, the coolest business address in Manhattan.

My office hovered over Fifth Avenue and I was treated to the most brilliant sunsets in the fall, bright red ribbons across the western sky that made my daily commute through New Jersey just a bit more palatable. About 10 feet in the other direction was an access door to our floor, alternate access from the banks of historically protected hydraulic elevators.

One day while the managing editor was at his lunchtime therapy session--I'm not making this up; believe me, he needed it--someone came crashing through that easy-access door, trailed by an entourage. It was, it turned out, the Amazing Kreskin and a gaggle of St. Martin's staffers.

After a quick perusal up and down the hallway, Kreskin barged into the managing editor's tiny, dark, and empty office. Suddenly I heard a crash, much like the sound of a shelf of books falling from the wall, bouncing off a desk, and landing in a mess on the industrially carpeted floor. After what I presumed was a hasty clean-up, Kreskin and his followers, clapping and laughing, continued on down the hall.

Had Kreskin done something . . . amazing . . . in my boss's office? I never checked. I lowered my nose to my desk and kept working on whatever paperback book we were producing at that moment.

The managing editor had cleanliness and orderliness issues. He had once come in to work on his day off to clean up a pile of paper clips strewn across his desk. He returned from his lunch appointment and said something along the lines of "What the--!" His face looked fiery red as he popped it through my open doorway.

"Who was in my office?" he demanded. I shrugged, swore I didn't know. What was I going to say? The Amazing Kreskin pulled a magic trick in there? The managing editor spent the next 20-30 minutes canvassing the 14th floor and getting no answers as to why his office was now a wreck when he'd left it spic and span 90 minutes earlier. He swore revenge on the one who'd violated his personal business space. I believe he would have dedicated his life to making the violator pay in untold ways.

So . . . wherever you are, Kreskin . . . you owe me. I never did tell him it was you.

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