“Hmm, I need work out a few details”, he said to himself out loud, almost startled by the sound of his own voice. “First, let’s sort out the payment details.”
He clicked on the desktop icon to pull up his instant-message chat system, and selected the alias he had set up for his editor, “Slashin’ hacker”. (Of course, his editor had no clue, but it always gave him a small chuckle when he needed to start an IM.)
“Say, Martin”, he typed, “I’ve been thinking of a whole new direction for the column.”
Waiting a few moments for the IM to arrive, he saw the “Slashin’ Hacker is typing…” message pop up, then “What’s up?”
“What if I were to kill myself, and use that new internet service where you can contact the dead to file my columns?”, he replied.
Silence. For a good 45 seconds. He shifted in his chair, wondering if this was a bit too shocking.
“Why would I pay you when you’re already dead?”, Martin IM’ed back. “I am not sure what the rights are for an author that is writing posthumously.”