Today's guest is Justin Robinson! He's the author of the very recently published, Mr. Blank. This has been on my radar since I first saw the announcement from Candlemark & Gleam! It sounds amazing. Fast moving and full of twists!
Anyway I'm rambling. Point being, Justin Robinson is here today to share his creation of Mr. Blank's character with you!!! I'm loving this post, but I'll stop talking and let you enjoy it. Take it away Justin!
The Origin of Mr. Blank
I swear, for the first month, I thought I was working for the Russian mob. It was a tiny office in the deep valley, where Los Angeles turns into a wasteland of mini-malls, fast food joints, and office plazas. The apocalypse has come and gone out there, but no one has had the decency to tell them. I’d say it’s the place where hope goes to die, but that’s entirely too grand. It’s the place where hope lives on its parents’ couch in a pile of Taco Bell wrappers. I was two years out of college, and still had no idea what I was going to do with my life and to make matters worse, I had been laid off of my previous shit job and was going nowhere slowly.
I looked around on all the websites for a job that basically a chimpanzee could do. Sadly, the poop-throwing place never got back to me, because I really think I had a lot to offer them. Anyway, one place got back to me very quickly: a commodities brokerage firm. I drove out into the hinterlands of the valley for the interview, and immediately got a bad feeling about the place, but I was desperate and so I accepted the job, beginning the most miserable fifteen months of my life. I probably wouldn’t have even applied had I taken the ad seriously when it said work started at five in the morning. I figured there was no way that was the case. But, see, the markets are on the East Coast, and so they keep East Coast time. So to get into work on time, I had to be up at four in the morning.
The office was a little hole in the wall and professional decorum was apparently something that happened to other companies. One of the traders brought her dog in to work, which in itself wasn’t bad, but he would howl every time he heard a siren, which in this shitty neighborhood was a lot. To avoid looking bad, we were instructed to explain to clients that it was a bomb-sniffing dog. I’m serious. Anyway, this, combined with the way the boss seemed a little fast and loose with the financials and the fact that Russian was spoken between the traders when they didn’t want me to know what was being said, convinced me this might be a money laundering operation. I was a little disappointed to learn they weren’t. Still, my imagination kept working, and this initial uncertainty and the frequently bizarre errands my sociopath of a boss would have me run eventually helped inspire Mr. Blank.
And for those wondering, the fast-and-loose thing ended up biting them in the ass when my replacement embezzled rather a lot of money from the company. I occasionally check up on my boss, and every time I do, I find that he’s involved in some increasingly bizarre entanglements, the most recent being with a cult. I’m not making any of this up. Anyway, as much as I hated that experience, it’s not something I can really regret, since it helped give me Mr. Blank.
And I finally understand the plot of Trading Places.
Much love to Justin Robinson for stopping by! Don't forget to add Mr. Blank to your reading list!