This is Clara Forester for ABC4 News.
And we're now mere moments away from the historic worldwide release of "Crashing Tide," the third installment of the wildly popular Siren saga from Sally Carmichael.
Today, the young-adult series that chronicles an epic love story between a young woman and a merman has sold over 90 million copies worldwide, and this installment is expected to put that number well over 100 in a matter of days.
Once again, the response from critics has been brutal.
The New York Times said Crashing Tide was, at best, juvenile, at worst, the very worst.
Meanwhile, Sally Carmichael, the series' notoriously private author, hasn't responded to any criticism, as her identity remains clouded in mystery.
Rumored to be a Mormon wife and mother living right here in Utah, the elusive writer has never granted a single interview or made any kind of public appearance.
Andie, hurry. Sorry, Mom.
Well, with the release of this new novel and the Siren movie adaptation in the works, there appears to be no end to Sally Carmichael in sight.
We love you, Sally Carmichael!
We need to kill Sally Carmichael.
Have you seen the first day's numbers? Hmm?
2.5 million units in one day?
You don't kill an author with those numbers.
Okay. But think of the publicity if we kill her.
How many books would that sell? Huh?
You know, that's actually interesting.
So we kill her after the seventh book once your contract is up.
No. I cannot write four more Merman books.
I cannot. Okay.
I do not have it in me. Okay. Well, I'm sorry.
But a contract is a contract. There's nothing we can do about it.
You're my publishers. It is your contract.
You can do whatever you want with it.
Just an expression.
I'm sorry. I don't understand.
I thought the whole idea of inventing Sally Carmichael was so that you could write whatever you want under your name.
Yes. But I've been writing as Sally for so long, I'm having a really hard time writing anything else.
Please, please kill Sally before she sucks away what is left of my soul.
See, that right there, that flair for the dramatic, it works.
Look, we didn't come here to talk about killing Sally Carmichael, okay?
Look at me. We came... to talk about Perry Quinn, ah!
I-I don't understand. What about Perry Quinn?
He's interested in the movie.
Perry Quinn is interested in being the Merman?
I know. He's at least ten years too old.
That's ridiculous. It's Hollywood.
Oh. Oh, that's ridiculous?
How about a little movie based on the Six Flags ride about the Cavemen?
Uh-huh. And how about three sequels and $3 billion!
How's that for ridiculous? Huh?
Yeah. Yeah. That's ridiculous.
Think before you speak.
Just one thing. Perry wants to meet Sally.
There is no Sally.
He knows that, and he's excited to meet the visionary who created this entire phenomenon.
No. No way.
-Okay. Well, of course we can't force you to do it.
But we can sue you if you don't.
That's right. We can sue.
What are you talking about? You can't sue me.
That's not part of my contract, and you can't tell anyone who I am.
Well, we're not going to.
Perry is willing to sign a non-disclosure.
Randall from Legal has been going over your agreement. Randall?
Your contract states that we have to protect your anonymity, but you're responsible for the actions on your part that can harm...
Has he been here this whole time? Shh.
Considering Quinn's willingness to sign a non-disclosure, it's a reasonable request.
Your refusal to meet with him would constitute a significant loss of potential revenue for the film series.
And that would be actionable.
Okay. Bye, Randall. Thank you.
So, I'm sorry, I'm afraid we can't let you not meet Perry Quinn.
Fine. Sue me.
I've hardly spent any of my Merman money anyway.
Oh, no, no. We're talking about a lot more than your Merman money.
Oh, yeah? How much more? Oh, a lot more.
Plus, with a lawsuit like this, I mean, you know, there's no way the media isn't going to discover that you're Sally Carmichael.
You flew all the way out here to threaten me?
Oh, no, no. No, no.
Threat is not the right word at all.
We came out here because we care about you and we want you to know what will happen if you don't meet with Perry. Ooh!
What is this?
Ah, it's an address of a local bookstore. 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Ask for I-sambard.
I-sambard? I was gonna say Is-ambard.
Is-ambard? I've only seen it written down.
Is it Turkish? Who is Isambard?
Oh, Perry is a bit eccentric.
Just, whatever he wants, just do it his way.
To avoid a lawsuit.
It's so true.
I'm just kidding. Anyway...
But, you know...
Hey. Can I help you? Oh.
Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you.
I'm Tess. Hi. Simon.
I knew it. You knew what?
Don't worry. I'm not a stalker or anything.
This is my bookstore. You did a reading here years ago for Crossing Through.
Yeah, yeah. I remember, but I don't remember anyone being here.
I was here.
I was here anyway, 'cause I work here.
But I read your book, and I loved it.
You did? And...
I'm sorry. You did?
Yes. And yes. Yes.
Um, you working on anything now?
Um, sort of.
Can you tell me about it?
Not really. Come on. One spoiler.
Well... let's just say I'm trying to figure out a way to kill someone off, but I think I'm stuck.
Well, good luck or break a leg, whatever it is you say to writers.
Yeah, thank you.
So can I help you find anything?
Oh. Um, maybe. I'm looking for...
This is gonna sound ridiculous. I'm looking for Isambard.
Is that a book or an author?
It's a person.
It's a work thing. I'm supposed to meet someone here.
Oh. Well, you know, there are a whole bunch of chairs in the back.
You're welcome to hang out as long as you want.
And if anyone named Isambard walks through the door, I will know what to do.
Well, thank you very much.
My pleasure, Simon Hayes.
Excuse me. Yeah. Just...
Just back there. Oh. Thank you.
Truly loving someone means truly accepting that person.
Yeah. Like, this Alexander really a person, though?
Yeah. Of course he is.
You know, he's a merman, but he's still a man.
You here for the book club? Hey. Come on in.
Take a seat, my brother. Come on.
Come on. Take a seat.
Good times ahead.
Alexander gives up everything for Sarah.
Yeah. For sure.
Meanwhile, I can't even get Craig to meet my parents.
You know, falling in love with a merman is actually a metaphor for eternal marriage.
See that? I read it in an article.
Interesting. Online. Yes.
If Sarah's love for Alexander was strong enough, she could breathe water. That's true. Yeah, right.
I feel that.
So you think fins on men are hot?
Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Hot like in that red flag sort of way, like, "What?"
When you're surrounded by a school of sharks and you need find someone to help you fight them off, I mean, then let me know if you still think that's a red flag.
Yeah. I got you. Hey. Spoilers.
I'm only on page 207. So, please, shut up.
You've had two days. The spoiler embargo is over.
Yeah. How have you not finished this book? I couldn't put it down.
How long do you think it takes to build something so manly yet so beautiful at the same time?
Seriously, it's awesome, bro.
It really is. Yeah. Uh, uh, uh, uh.
I've got two words for you. Merman abs.
I know. Thank you. We live on land, but our bodies are mostly water. Think about it.
Sally Carmichael, it's like she was writing about my life and me.
Or at least what my life could've been like if I fell in love with a merman.
Yeah. Oh, come on.
Hey, what's your problem, man?
Sure must be easy judging something that you don't even know anything about.
Good one. I know.
All right. Do you wanna know why you feel like this book could be written about you?
Because it could be written about anybody.
The main character is an empty shell.
Have you even noticed those books don't provide any real description about Sarah other than her general age and the fact that she has red hair and a yellow coat?
That's not true. It says that Sarah is insecure and shy.
Mmm-hmm. And a bit of a klutz.
Nailed it. Vague character traits that anyone can identify with.
Sarah is never described with any real detail so that any reader can plug herself right into that part and feel like the story is being written about her.
And look at you. You two are dressed like her.
This is not literature. This is fantasy fulfillment.
Okay. Just because it isn't Shakespeare doesn't mean it isn't literature.
It is Shakespeare. It is.
Shakespeare wrote this over 400 years ago.
He called it Romeo and Juliet, and people have been ripping it off ever since.
This isn't even a good one.
This is page after page of manufactured romantic garbage written by someone, who, apparently, is capable of writing anything better.
Sally Carmichael has a gift.
Hemingway had a gift.
Salinger had a gift.
The ability to write emo merman porn isn't a gift.
It's a joke.
You're a joke. You're pathetic, man.
At least we agree on something.
No Isambard? No Isambard.
That was some speech you gave back there.
You heard that? I'm sorry.
I'm-I'm leaving. No. Wait...
I mean, I thought it was interesting.
You thought that was interesting?
Yeah. It was intense...
...but interesting. Yeah.
Can I ask you a question? Sure.
Have you ever thought about writing for a newspaper?
Oh, no. I mean, I'm not a journalist.
Oh, I'm not talking about a real newspaper.
I publish the Valley Voice.
It's a small indie paper. Local stuff.
You run a newspaper and a bookstore?
If I was good at either of them, I'd probably quit the other, but here I am.
And... Well, I wouldn't know the first thing about writing a newspaper article, so...
What about an editorial about the Siren phenomenon?
Why critics hate it and readers love it?
But I can't. I shouldn't.
You could write down what you said back there, and having a published author would give the Valley Voice a bit of much-needed credibility. Plus, you'd be doing me a huge favor.
When do you need it? Anytime.
As long as it's by the end of the day tomorrow.
I know. I know. I just had a writer bail on me, and I'm stuck here, otherwise, I'd do it.
What do you say, Simon Hayes? Help a big fan out?
Yeah. All right. Okay.
Just promise you'll try to keep your expectations low.
I can't promise. I will try, but I will try to try.
Um, here is my info.
This is my cellphone and my email, so call me or email me or text me, whatever.
I should go. Yeah, you should.
Can I help you? Yeah. Simon Hayes for...
Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Just a minute, Mr. Hayes.
Have a nice day.
Hi. I'm Phillip. Perry Quinn's executive assistant.
Hey. Simon. Come on in.
Can I get you something to drink?
Water? Vitamin water? A beer?
No. I'm fine. Thank you.
Mr. Hayes is here. All right.
He's ready for you.
I mean, they told me, but come on.
This is incredible. You're incredible.
And no one knows?
Everyone thinks you're some Mormon mom?
Well, I'm Mormon. I'm not a mom, obviously.
Oh, yeah. Mormons are great. Yeah.
Can I get you water? Beer? I don't drink.
I'll get you water and beer. I don't. I don't...
I knew this artist in Chicago.
He had this entire show at the contemporary art center.
People loved it great.
Turned out it was all garbage.
Stuff he found in dumpsters all around town.
No one knew. It was incredible. Incredible.
Not to say your books are garbage.
I mean, they sold over 100 million copies.
How bad can they be, huh?
Ah, you'll be surprised.
You're modest. I don't like that. Don't be modest.
Just tell me...
"Why Perry" what? Why Perry Quinn?
Why not Perry Quinn? Why Perry Quinn for this movie?
How? I don't know. Why not Matthew McConaughey?
I'm kidding. I'm kidding.
But I'm also serious. Oh.
If I'm gonna commit to this hoax, I need to know why you want me, Perry Quinn?
Right. It-It's not a hoax.
Right. Right. It's performance art.
You're an artist, but if I'm involved, I have a lot invested, too.
Right. Listen. I think there's been a misunderstanding.
I'm not an artist. I told you. No modesty.
Why don't you tell me the story?
Well, it's about a merman.
And the young woman that falls in love with him.
Right. Right. Yeah.
Just tell me the story. You haven't read it?
Well, why would I ask you to tell me the story if I'd read it?
Yeah. I guess I just didn't realize I was here to tell you the story.
Why would I want someone who didn't write the story to tell me the story?
I mean, I don't want someone who's not Japanese make me sushi.
You understand what I'm saying?
I doubt it.
That sounds really good right now. You want some sushi?
You wanna go for sushi? Oh, no, no. Phillip will get us sushi.
Listen, Perry... you're a great actor... Mmm-hmm.
...and I'm sure you'll be great in this movie.
But I have to tell you, I think you're talking to the wrong person.
I'm not writing the screenplay.
I have nothing to do with it.
Then why are you the one pitching it to me?
Uh, well, because they told me you wanted to meet me.
Reverse psychology. You're good, man. Smart.
I tell you what. I'll have Phillip read me the book, and I'll think about it. I really will.
And that's fair.
It's a real pleasure to meet you, Simon Hayes.
Uh... Sorry. Uh, there is an audiobook.
Read by some audiobook narrator? No, thanks.
I'll stick with Phillip.
You know, he's got a BFA from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
Okay. Ah, sushi, yes.
See you, Simes.
Which one's the California rolls?
So, this kid Lucas has been tracking me all week, right?
Trying to get the drop on me.
So, yesterday, I sneak up behind him.
Kid's got no idea I'm married.
Simon, just do it his way.
I mean, to avoid a lawsuit.
The kid, he's got time to practice.
I got a job. I got a family. I'm barely online.
Mmm-hmm. Ellie, not at the table, okay?
But Alexander is about to stand trial for revealing his species to a human.
He can stand trial after dinner.
Are we still working out tomorrow?
'Cause Lucas likes to show up online around lunch, and I'd love to be there when he does.
Oh, I'm sorry. I completely forgot.
I booked this little job. My deadline's tomorrow morning.
Like a "job" job?
Ah, well, it's a little article.
For what? The Valley Voice.
And that is?
Exactly. It's just a little independent newspaper.
The owner said she was in a bind and asked me if I could help.
Yeah. She. So?
You two were just chatting it up?
What does that mean?
Nothing. It's just... You don't ever chat anyone up.
What are you talking about? I chat. I'm chatting you up right now. I'm very chatty.
We're the only people you ever chat up. That's not true.
And we only talk because you're my brother.
Uncle Simon, is she pretty?
Look, you guys are reading way too much into this.
This is just a tiny little article in a tiny little newspaper that no one's ever gonna read. How did you two even meet?
Well, we met at this little bookstore which she also owns, which is not important. Look, I was there to meet...
Never mind. Guys, it's nothing.
This is really something.
That's a relief, 'cause I was only going for "not horrible."
I'm not kidding, Simon. I mean, it's pretty harsh, but you really seem to get how and why these books work.
You know, you should write a young adult novel.
You could probably make a million bucks.
I even love the title.
The New York Times number one best sellout.
Do you have a recent headshot?
Uh, no, why?
For the byline. I can just grab a quick one right now.
Oh, no. That's okay. We don't need that.
Bad hair day?
Uh, no. Sorta have a thing.
What kind of sorta thing?
Uh, cameras. I'm not great in front of them. It's a thing.
So you're camera-shy?
Well, that's one way of putting it. The other way would be anxiety disorder.
Your way's nicer.
Well, that is a thing.
Yeah. I-I had a full-blown panic attack during tenth grade yearbook picture.
It's the kind of thing that sticks with you well past graduation.
Maybe you're looking at it the wrong way.
Maybe you're just super-awesome at stage fright.
No worries. I can just use the picture from your book.
And if it's any consolation, hardly anyone's gonna see it anyway.
Hey, babe. Hey, Mom.
Andie, this is Mr. Hayes. He's helping me with the paper.
Hi. It's nice to meet you. You can call me Simon.
Mom, my friends are on their way.
Can I go out front and wait for them?
Sure. Say hi to Avery's mom for me.
I will. Bye, Andie.
I've been so busy today. I skipped lunch.
You know, I wasn't kidding about the young-adult thing.
I wouldn't want my name on something like that.
Still, can you imagine having created something that wildly popular?
We're still trying to talk places into giving the Voice away for free.
Wait. You're not online?
We are, but I don't know, it's stupid.
Hey, don't forget. You're talking to the yearbook pic panic attack guy.
Well, ever since I was in high school, I dreamed of having a real newspaper, one that, you know, you carry under your arm and take home and cut stuff out of and paste into scrapbooks.
So your high school dream was to start a newspaper in the 1930s?
I told you it was stupid.
No. No, I get it.
You have the chance to do something you've always wanted to do, and you wanna do it right, and you wanna do it your way.
Exactly. Why should I spend as much time and effort on something unless it's something I'm gonna be proud of?
Can I ask you a personal question?
Are you proud of your book?
Yeah. Crossing Through?
Yeah. Unless there's another book that you wrote that I don't know about.
I-I was proud of it when it was published.
Then nobody read it.
I read it. I'm somebody.
You certainly are.
Besides, whoever said that the value of a book is measured in how many copies it sells?
Everybody. Not me.
And you're somebody.
I certainly am.
So whatever happened with that girl at the bookstore?
Her name's Tess.
She has a name then. That's progress.
Well, it's just work.
Please tell me you're working it while you work.
Come on. I'm not like you.
But you could be. You just worry too much.
It's funny you should say that. I told her about my anxiety.
I wasn't planning on it. I just...
I don't know. I guess I felt comfortable and then it just came out.
Well, how'd she react? Fine.
No weirdness. No judgment. No nothing.
And now somehow, you're gonna find the bad news in all this.
Well, I was doing her a favor at the time, so how was she supposed to react?
And there it is.
That's not looking for the bad news.
That's painting the full picture.
Okay. Well, paint the full picture for me, then. Is she pretty?
She is beautiful.
And now you're worried that she won't like you now that she doesn't need something from you.
Well, just wait and see.
How will I know?
You'll know when you know, 'cause you know. Ha!
Oh, sorry. Mr. Hayes.
Hi. I'm Phillip. I'm Perry Quinn's executive assistant.
Yeah. Hey, Phillip, we've met. Please. Just Simon.
Thanks so much for coming. Yeah.
Perry is so excited to talk to you today, but he's prepping for a big scene, so he's staying in character all day.
What does that mean? Oh, it's nothing to worry about.
He's still the same old Perry.
But he's also Isambard Kingdom Brunel, creator of the Great Western Railway.
It's no big deal, really, but just make sure that you address him as Isambard.
You're kidding. No.
He's ready for you.
Simon, old chap. Jolly good to see you.
Isambard? Is-ambard. Is-ambard.
Is-Is-ambard. Can I get you anything?
Sure. Water. Water.
I just finished your novel, and it was the most hilarious book Phillip has ever read to me. Just extraordinary.
You thought it was hilarious?
Are you jesting? I mean, you sold millions of books about a girl who falls in love with a bloody merman, and no one knows it's a prank. That's hilarious.
Ah, Phillip, thou hast brought hither the water, my man.
Lovely. Thank you.
So, I don't have much time today, but I wanted to tell you face-to-face.
You're in? The movie? That's great.
I've just got to work with the old sport.
I... Well, I'm not working on the movie.
Right. Right. But what's next?
Uh, what do you mean?
You see, there's one thing I know, it's story.
And the real story here is you.
You see, I said yes to this movie because I'm in the Simon Hayes business.
And I want to know what you've got planned next.
I'm all ears. I'm on pins and needles.
Listen, Perry... Isambard. Isambard.
Isambard, I, uh...
I'm thrilled you're doing the movie. I really am. Me, too.
But I don't have anything planned next.
This whole thing was just a fluke.
No. I'm serious. Sure. Sure.
What does that mean?
You're going to do something with the Boy Scouts?
What? No. No.
I'm just a writer. I'm not even a good one.
Do you know what you are? You are an artist. Yes.
Do you have any idea how rare that is?
I really don't. No. No.
No. A true artist wouldn't.
See, you're the kind of chap that comes once a generation.
Maybe less. You have a gift.
Isambard. Yes, yes. I drive art.
I support art. I nurture the creation of art, because I understand that art has the power to change the world.
That's my job.
That's my gift to the world.
I know you're going to do something. I don't know what it is.
But I'm ready. We're in this together.
Embrace me, my friend. Embrace me.
We're in this together. Together. Do you hear?
Ah. I'm never letting go.
Cute bag. Thanks.
Did you steal it from a homeless person?
It was my dad's.
Your dad's homeless? That's so sad.
Hey, couldn't you hear me?
Are you sure?
Some people are just jerks sometimes.
Honey, I need you to tell me what happened, please.
Just some girls from school.
They made fun of my bag.
You know we can always get you a new bag.
A really cute one. If you want.
I like this one.
Some people are jerks sometimes.
Hello, Darren. Dude.
What did you do?
What do you mean?
I just got off the phone with Perry's agent.
He said Perry loves you.
No, correction. He said Perry's "in love" with you.
This call isn't about to get weird, is it?
No! I just wanted to let you know, great work, man.
No. I'm happy to help as long as it means you're not gonna sue me.
You are hilarious.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
What? What does that mean?
Nah. I'm just messing with you.
He's gonna sign the deal, all right?
So, of course, we're not gonna sue you.
Right. But what if he doesn't?
But he will, right?
But what if he doesn't? Okay.
You are a riot, Simon.
We'll talk to you later. Wait. Wait. Wait.
Darren, what if he doesn't?
Oh, well, who was on first?
Relax. Nobody's gonna get sued.
But if anyone does, you'll be the first to know.
No. Darren... Take care, buddy.
So, you're ten... 11...
12. 12. I said 12.
I hope you like spaghetti, because...
I know how to make spaghetti.
It's spaghetti Tuesday.
I wanted to try Taco Tuesday, you know, for the alliteration...
But I don't like tacos.
And none of the days of the week start with "spa."
We checked. That's true.
Do you mind?
Sure. Go ahead. Simon.
Would you rather have three ears or no ears?
Uh... Don't look at me. It's your question.
Well, may I ask where the third ear would be located?
In the middle of your forehead.
Oh. Well, in that case, definitely three ears, 'cause I could hear what's coming, and I'd be unstoppable.
Would you rather wrestle a bear or a shark?
Well, if I'm on land, a shark, because it wouldn't be able to breathe. But if I'm in water, a bear, because bears can't swim.
Bears can totally swim. But not as good as sharks.
Hmm. Would you rather eat a used Band-Aid or a dirty dish-rack?
Hmm. I'd actually try both.
Dish-racks have more flavor.
Would you rather... find a zombie or get struck by lightning?
Zombies aren't real, and people don't really get struck by lightning.
Oh, yeah. Sure they do. Nah-uh.
Thousands of people get struck by lightning every year.
Really? And there are seven billion people on the planet, so the chances of you getting struck by lightning are really small.
Still, gotta happen to somebody.
Uh, Andie, what do you wanna be when you grow up?
Oh. A writer, really?
She's my little reader.
I love to read, too.
Yeah. But I don't like to read the same stuff you do.
What do you mean? Why do you say that?
Because I love the Siren books, and you hate them.
Ah, come on. I don't...
Yeah, I kinda do hate them.
Did I neglect to mention that my daughter is a huge fan?
Yeah. I read the first two books twice, and I'm almost done with the third.
Yeah. When I got her the first one, she carried it around everywhere with her for months, and now the cover's falling off.
The book is totally warped.
Should probably get her a new one before she catches some gross disease from it.
So what do you like about him?
I don't know. They just make me happy.
Oh, and I heard that Perry Quinn might play Alexander in the movie.
You are not a Perry Quinn fan?
Are you kidding? He's so awesome.
If he's in the movie, I will die.
She doesn't usually warm up to new people as quickly. What's your secret?
Ah. I'm emotionally stunted.
Some kids gave her hard time after school today.
Just girl stuff. No big deal.
Still, you probably wanted to murder them.
Right, and their little jerk faces.
She's just so gentle. I mean, you know bullies, if they sense any vulnerability, they...
Oh, I used to get bullied when I was in middle school.
My dad told me the kid was picking on me because he was scared of me.
It made absolutely no sense, 'cause he was twice my size and just pummeled me weekly.
Yeah, well, there's something.
Sorry. I just...
There's probably no perfect time to say this, so I guess I'll just decide that now is the time to tell you that her dad died four years ago.
I'm so sorry.
See? And then you feel sorry for us, and I tell you that it's okay, 'cause it was a while ago, and it really is okay.
You don't believe me, so I reassure you and that could take forever.
So can we just skip past that for now?
Uh, sure. Yeah, for now.
Opening the bookstore was his dream.
The newspaper was my thing.
We decided that we would work on his first and then mine.
I can't abandon the store, but...
I'm not really ready to give up on my plans yet either, so...
Now I'm doing both, and I'm probably not doing either very well.
Mostly, I just wanna make sure I'm doing enough for her.
Hey. Come on. You are.
How do you know?
Get that guy. Get that guy.
Will you relax?
Don't tell me to relax. You do your job.
You kill that guy, then I'll relax.
We need new hobbies. Like real hobbies.
I work at a Credit Union, and everyday is literally the same as the day before.
Do not take this away from me.
All right. All right.
What happened with Tess? Well, still happening.
Ah. Is anything happening?
I don't know. I think. Maybe.
Who's Tess? Who's this?
That woman that Simon's been seeing from the bookstore.
That's just Lucas. He's cool.
Sorry. Go ahead.
Well, I'm not seeing her, exactly.
Wait a minute. Who else did you tell?
Relax. He's from Pittsburgh. Portland.
It's the same thing. Don't change the subject.
So what's the deal?
All right. When you were single, did you ever keep something from someone you met just because it was personal or private, but then when you really started to get to know her, you just kept not telling her so it kind of turned from a personal secret into sort of a lie?
Well, look, when I was single, there was a lot of things I didn't tell a lot of girls I went out with.
Yeah, but this is kind of big.
Well, do I know? No.
So tell me, and then I'll tell you if you should tell her.
I'm not ready to tell anyone.
You can tell me. Shut up, Lucas!
All right. Just tell her on your own schedule.
You'll know when the time's right.
I'll know when I know, because I'll know.
Hey, Lucas. Yeah?
Look behind you, buddy.
No. No, wait! Yippee ki-yay!
Uh, excuse me.
Are you the guy that wrote the article about the Merman books?
Uh, yeah. Uh, I thought so.
You just look so familiar. Great article, by the way.
You know, the woman who owns the newspaper is gonna be really happy someone read it.
You know, my sister loves those books, and I just keep telling her how awful they are, so I showed her your article, and now she hates you.
So nice work.
Thanks, and sorry.
You're welcome, and she'll be fine.
She really said that? She said her sister hates you?
Well, let's not forget the "nice work" part.
That's a reaction. That's two reactions.
If those two people share it with two more people, and those four people share it with four more people, that's 16 people who read the Valley Voice.
Before you know it, that's like a billion people.
Hey, babe. How was school?
Good. Math test?
This weekend, we mini-golf. Yes!
Um, I might have something that's better than mini-golf.
Well, it just occurred to me that a nice girl like you shouldn't have to walk around with a beat-up book.
It's not classy or hygienic.
And I just happened to have this first edition just hanging around.
And let's be honest, I'm not gonna read it, so I got to thinking, "Who do I know that would get good use out of this?"
What are you doing, weirdo?
It smells good.
Open the front cover.
No way. No way. No way.
She signed it.
Sally and I have the same publisher. I called in a favor.
Mom, can I go call Avery? Sure.
Hang on. Aren't you forgetting something?
Thank you. Thank you. Oh. You're welcome.
Is that real? You can tell me.
That's the author's signature.
That girl she's on the phone with never even talked to Andie before they started reading the Siren books, and now they're joined at the hip.
She used to be so shy and... closed-off. Um...
I tried everything I could think of to break her out of her shell, and nothing worked.
To be honest with you, I was getting kind of worried about her.
And then I got her that book, and that.
She started talking more. She made new friends.
She's reading all the time.
Have to take the books away from her so that she'll go to sleep at night.
Those books have done so much for her.
So, what you did, that's something.
No, no, no. It's real. Yeah.
Yeah. I'm gonna read it so many times.
It's probably, like, my tenth time reading it.
What you guys doing here?
Simon, we need to talk.
Uh, is there a problem?
Perry Quinn is out.
What? No. He said he was in.
Now he changed his mind, and someone has to be held accountable.
We are suing you for damages. We have no choice.
For-For how much? Well, more than you have, I assure you.
Well, you're gonna have to work it off.
That means more Merman novels.
Well, how many more?
Well, as many as it takes. No. No.
He said he was in. This isn't my fault.
You're gonna have to start doing interviews and book signings.
You can't do that. My contract.
You don't have a contract anymore. Everyone's gonna know.
You're going to be the author of Siren for the rest of your life.
What's the matter with you? Ew, gross.
What? You can tell me.
Are you proud of your book?
Sally Carmichael! You are an artist.
What do you wanna be when you grow up?
Hey, what's your problem, man?
What can I get ya? Hey, I'll have the chicken avocado, please.
Yeah. That's $8.50.
There you go. Keep the change.
Thanks. Thank you.
Wait a minute. How did you know my name?
Seriously, you should probably Google yourself, buddy.
How did you find out about this?
The guy at the food truck told me to Google myself.
When did I become Google-able?
I submitted the editorial to the Associated Press.
I didn't really think anything would come of it, but it looks like some papers picked it up. Big papers.
And tons of blogs. Simon, you've gone viral.
This is not good. This is great.
What if someone finds out? What if...
People are reading something you wrote, and they're loving it.
"Simon says Siren sucks. I say Simon sucks."
That's one tweet.
"I hope Simon Hayes dies and so should you."
Some of it's gonna be good. Some isn't.
I don't even know what "trending" means.
What is it?
Uh, it's a drunk text.
Uh, it's an unknown number.
If it's important, they'll call back. Tess?
Simon's phone. This is his assistant. Who I may say is calling?
Uh-huh. Before you say anything...
It's a producer from Good Things Utah.
Uh, yes. This is he.
Um, well, thank you.
Well, that's... Oh, really?
Uh, can you hold on for just a second?
They wanna interview me tomorrow morning.
What you gonna say? I can't. It's TV. I can't.
Can we take a look at his schedule and call you back? Thanks.
No, no, Tess. I can't. I know.
I'm just thinking of, you know...
I gotta sit down.
Simon, it's okay.
You don't have to do this.
Wouldn't it be great publicity for the paper?
Well, yeah, sure, but that does not matter.
Of course it matters. Hey!
You don't have to do this. Okay?
You feeling okay? Uh...
You look a little nervous.
Uh, a little.
And we're back in ten...
Just be yourself.
You'll be great. Hmm.
In four, three, two...
Yesterday, he was a writer with only one book to his name that few people had heard of.
But today, Simon Hayes is being talked about all over the country and across the Internet, and all because of a single article.
Simon, thank you for joining us today.
So, tell us what happened.
Well, I wrote an...
An article. Is it hot in here?
Simon, you're not the first person to criticize these books, but you've really hit a nerve.
Do you think that's because you attacked the author personally?
No way. Uh...
Can you get Simon some water?
So let's take a look at your title.
The New York Times Number One Best Sellout.
Mmm-hmm. That's a pretty personal attack, isn't it?
It was... Shakespeare.
Okay, so I'm not a Sally fan myself, but a lot of people out there really love her.
Well, I love Sally Carmichael.
Great. And you seem intent on provoking these fans.
Your article implies you understand exactly how Sally Carmichael manipulates her audience and why, that's pretty bold.
Uh, you know, she's an empty shell. Mmm-hmm.
And just 400 years of just copies. Just copies.
I'm sorry. I'm just looking at several people behind the cameras, including our producer, who disagree with you.
Looks like we have lot of Sally Carmichael fans in the studio today.
Simon, thanks for being here today.
I hope we weren't too rough on you.
And now let's turn to the weather...
...where, here, we might have a chance of moisture.
Hello? Simon, it's Phillip.
Perry Quinn's executive assistant.
I know who you are, Phillip. What can I do for you?
Perry wants to know why you haven't responded to his text.
He only sent one text.
Right. And he wants to know why you haven't responded to it.
All it said was, "You dog."
And he wants to know why you haven't responded to it.
You. You, man, you.
"I don't have anything planned, I swear."
Except for puking on live television.
You think I planned that?
No, I think you accidentally booked the live TV appearance.
Man, it looked so real.
It was real. Everything about you is real, man.
On live TV. I wish I'd have thought of that.
You want to puke on live TV?
No, man, that's your thing.
Now no one else can do that.
You own that.
You own it. I mean, I've done a million talk shows and...
I've done anything memorable.
But you got your shot, and you took it, man.
On live TV. So they can't stop it.
It's all over YouTube.
Simes, you did something that will last forever.
I bow to your brilliance.
Namaste. Don't do that. Why you doing that?
Stop it. No. So what's next? Tell me.
You signed your movie deal, right?
Oh, you better believe I did. Great.
Yeah. That makes me very happy.
You know, you've no idea how that makes me feel.
So, what's next?
Okay, you just make sure... Yeah.
...that you do that movie... Yeah.
...and when the next thing happens, you'll know.
How will I know?
You'll know when you know, because you'll know.
We're gonna make history, man.
Except we won't. Because no one knows I'm Sally Carmichael.
Right. Right. Of course. Right.
Of course. Yeah. Hmm.
No one can ever know. I know. I know.
I mean, you know, maybe, maybe, eventually, historically, in the future?
No, no, no. When we're dead.
In a time capsule. Not eventually.
No. There will be no time capsule.
There will be aliens coming. No. My publishers signed a contract.
You signed a contract. I've signed a lot of contracts.
I've been sued before. What's the worse that could happen?
Was... Huh. Yeah.
Got you. I'm kidding.
Okay? We're in this together, man.
Come on. You can count on me, son.
You can count on me. Give me a hug. Come on. I love you, bro.
Yeah? It's gonna be good. We can do this.
We can do this. It's gonna be good.
Good. Good. Good. Huh?
It could've been worse.
You could've had a stroke.
How did all this happen?
Dumb, stupid, crazy luck.
Hey. Hi. Hey!
Hi. School. How was it?
Good. Hey, Simon.
Oh. Hey, kiddo.
Mom, you almost ready?
For soccer. It's our day.
We're supposed to pick Avery up in ten minutes.
Right. Go get changed. I'll go get my purse.
...accepted an unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts...
Fire up. Therm here, your Quest Star Gas energy-wise guy.
A lot of people were hesitant about an actor of my stature releasing a country album.
Well, you're definitely an artist that's known for taking chances.
I mean, it's just been confirmed that you'll be playing Alexander in the big Siren movie adaptation.
Alexander the Merman.
Alexander the Merman.
Amazing. I, for one, can't wait to see you in a fin.
But what I really wanna know... Mmm-hmm.
...is the same thing everybody wants to know. Mmm-hmm.
Have you met Sally Carmichael?
I've met Sally. Amazing.
What's she like? What does she look like?
Tell me everything.
Well, you know, she's a lot different than you'd expect.
Yeah? How so?
Well, for one, who says she's a she?
Wait. Are you saying that Sally Carmichael is a man?
What you doing? Maybe I said too much.
No. No, you can't drop something like that on us and leave us hanging.
No, I can, really. No, you can't.
Okay. Okay. Okay. Don't you dare.
Maybe she's a he. Maybe not. How's that?
If Sally Carmichael is a man, say nothing.
Perry, stop. Stop. Perry?
I knew it. But you...
Heard it? Or didn't hear it here first.
Perry Quinn... Perry...
...says Sally Carmichael is a man.
Is he someone we know? No. No. No.
I... I can't. Perry, you can.
No, you can't. No. I really can't.
You have to. You have to.
No. No. No. No.
You can make history right here, right now.
This is huge. Oh, shucks, man.
Come on, Perry. Perry?
Okay. Okay. You wanna know who it is?
No. You really wanna know who it is?
It is Simon Hayes.
The guy who wrote the article?
The very same.
This is amazing.
Hold on. So, you're saying that Simon Hayes...
Hello? Is this Simon Hayes?
Yes. Hi, Simon.
My name is Dave Sinon with Buzz magazine.
I'm just calling to confirm the statement made by Perry Quinn.
Is it true that you're Sally Carmichael?
But, you know, he's not a girl. He's a boy.
I've had 17 reporters call me in the last half hour.
I stopped answering after the first nine or so, because they all asked me the same question.
Am I Sally Carmichael?
Of course, you can't be.
Right? Because that's ridiculous, right?
Tess, I was... Using me for a publicity stunt?
No. No. Not ever.
Then you're not Sally Carmichael.
You don't know Perry Quinn, and the two of you haven't been planning this whole thing.
No. But... Yes. I mean...
No. Yes. I am Sally Carmichael, and yes, I have been meeting with Perry about the movie, and yes, I have been keeping all of this from you.
But it was never a publicity stunt.
And I was never taking advantage of you. I swear.
I mean, why?
Why would you do all of this? Why would you do any of it?
I mean, I wrote the article because you asked me to.
And the rest just happened.
Just, um, stupid, crazy luck.
You wrote that article. You watched me publish it.
You watched it go viral.
You went on that talk show to promote it.
And then you kissed me on that couch, and at no point during all of that did it occur to you to say to me, "By the way I'm Sally Carmichael."
I've never told anyone I'm Sally Carmichael.
You told Perry Quinn. But that's different. I had to.
So is there anything you've told me that isn't a lie?
Yes. Yes. Everything.
Except all of this.
I know the newspaper isn't important. I get that.
But it is really important to me. It's important to me, too.
Then you had to have known how stupid all of this would make me look.
I didn't know Perry was going to do that.
I'm ashamed of Sally Carmichael.
I never wanted anyone to know I'm Sally, because I don't wanna be Sally.
You signed that book for Andie, didn't you?
And you let her think it was real.
It is real.
She's just a kid.
Simon, what's the matter with you?
I need you to leave.
Just hear me out. No. I can't. I can't do this. It's too much.
Please. Just... Just leave.
Can I help you? Oh. Hey, Simon.
I'm with the Herald. I was hoping I could speak with you about...
Hey, it's a good chance for you to tell your side of the story.
This is Tess Perkins. Please leave a message.
Oh. Hey, good girl. Hey, it's a good girl.
That's a good... No. No!
That's a bad girl.
Bad girl. Ah. Ah!
Bad girl. Ah. Come on. Mommy!
It's okay. It's okay. It's testing. It's fine. Ow!
Stop that. Ahhh!
According to Perry Quinn, Simon's the real author of the series.
So the whole thing's a big joke?
Well, I could have told you that.
We're still figuring all of this out, but it looks like Simon Hayes is both the guy who trashed Sally Carmichael, and Sally Carmichael. That's actually pretty hilarious.
Well, the fans of the series aren't laughing.
I mean, some of them say they're gonna boycott the movie.
There is even an online petition to boycott the Valley Voice, the paper that published...
Seeing here that the petition appeared online last night, and it's already gotten over 10,000 signatures.
Wow. I didn't know that many people even read the Voice.
I don't think they did before Simon Hayes showed up, and I doubt that many ever are gonna read it again.
Hi. I need to see Perry.
Oh, I'm sorry. There's no one here under that name.
No. No. Isambard. Whatever the password is.
Unfortunately, he's requested not to be disturbed, but if you'd like me to leave a message...
You can't just go up there.
Hi, I'm Phillip. Perry Quinn's executive assistant.
Ah. Okay, before you say anything, I can see you're upset.
But I want you to know I think it's totally understandable.
What, you think? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa.
Oh, I can sense your negative energy, man.
There's no reason why we can't have a positive dialogue, you know.
I said some things. You said some things.
No, you said some things. I didn't say anything.
You're right. But it was gonna come out eventually.
How? In one way or another.
It's all right, Vinny. You can let him go.
You know what? No. It was one way. You.
Now I realize you live in this little bubble where none of your actions have any real consequences, but they do affect other people.
Hey. So the cat's out of the bag. You should be happy.
I did you a favor. How? How is this a favor?
Well, you know, you can finally start enjoying this. Come on, Simes.
This is fun.
I don't know if you've noticed, but being famous is kind of awesome.
Oh, I'm not famous. I'm universally hated.
Oh, I get that. I get that. You know, you should've seen how the nerds freaked out when we tried to reboot Quantum Leap.
It'll pass. I promise.
What about Tess?
Tess is the woman who owns the newspaper that ran the editorial.
She's a good person. She doesn't deserve any of this.
Look, we all played our part. No. She didn't know.
She didn't know? No.
And now she thinks I exploited her and made a joke out of her newspaper.
You kinda did, right? Well, yeah.
But I was gonna tell her and...
We were talking about what you did.
I think I'm falling in love with her.
And now she thinks I'm a liar, because I'm a liar.
Oh, that's rough. I'm sorry, man.
It's gonna be all right. So...
I wanna go back to my old life where no one knew who I was.
But I can't do that, can I? You certainly can.
Hmm. We can fix this.
Great. How? I don't know.
But it's exciting, right? It's a challenge.
Did you know, in Japan, they use the same word for "crisis" and "opportunity"?
Or maybe it's in China, or ancient... Let me find out.
I'm going home.
Simes, hey, you know, they told me I couldn't make a movie where the detective and the serial killer were the same person.
And I think we know how that turned out.
$400 million domestic. $1.2 billion worldwide.
This is nothing. Simes, we got this. Come on.
The only public footage available of Simon Hayes since the announcement last night was caught outside of Hayes' house, this morning.
Let's see that again.
Guys, I'm so sorry.
I'm sorry I didn't tell you this before this, but you understand why, right?
Right? Sure, of course. I understand.
You know, it is a little weird, this whole time, and we never knew.
What are you gonna do now?
I don't know. What can I do?
So this whole time I could've been telling people that I know Sally Carmichael?
This whole time?
There's big question nobody is addressing.
I'm just gonna put it out there.
You gotta be, like, super-rich, right?
Brad! What've you been doing with all that money?
You couldn't have bought yourself a bigger house? A nicer car? Something?
And you know Perry Quinn? You guys are, like, friends?
Sort of. At least, I think he thinks so. I don't...
Do you think you could get him to, like, pick me up after school sometime, just once, so I could blow everyone's minds?
I'm sorry. I've just got to circle back around here.
How much money are we talking about here, man? Just ballpark it for me.
I saw your dad on the street yesterday.
I gave him a dollar and said hi for you.
Excuse me, girls.
I'm looking for Andie Perkins. One of you know her?
Do you have a second?
It's smart to do simple things. Huh.
This is the first public statement from Simon Hayes since the now-famous allegation that he's the real author of the popular Siren franchise.
And it looks like Simon Hayes is stepping up to the microphones now.
I'm Sally Carmichael.
And I wrote the Siren novels.
For the fans of the books...
It's Perry Quinn. ...I just want to say, I've been a real jerk, and I'm sorry.
What a guy. What a guy.
I... Sally Carmichael is my way of protecting my privacy, and it...
It grew into something else.
I just wanna make one thing clear.
No one at the Valley Voice, the newspaper that printed my editorial, was a part of any deception or had anything to do with any of this.
Please don't punish the paper for something that I did.
Tess Perkins, the owner of the Valley Voice, she didn't even know who I really was.
I wasn't honest with her.
At the same time, I was deceiving everyone else.
I don't know if the fans are ever gonna forgive me.
And, frankly, I don't expect them to.
I don't know if I deserve that.
If you're watching, and I really hope you are...
I just wanna tell you...
Sorry, folks. It looks like we're having some trouble with our live feed.
Uh, we'll get you back out there as soon as we...
Got it? Somebody call 911.
There's some sort of accident. Don't touch him.
Pick it up. Check his pulse.
Could you tell us what's going on?
Okay. For those of you still watching, I have some breaking news.
Simon Hayes has been struck by lightning.
I'm told that he's unconscious...
Paramedics are on the way.
Simon. Hey, buddy.
Come on, Sime. You're all right.
Where am I? Oh, you're in the hospital.
What happened? Oh, you were struck by lightning.
What? You were struck by lightning.
On TV, and it was awesome. The whole thing is online.
When you slow down the footage like I did, you can see the exact moment the bolt hit your head. Zap!
Dude, you are so lucky.
To be alive.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's what I meant.
Oh, by the way, there's some people waiting for you, and the doctors won't let them in, because they're not immediate family, you know.
How did you get in here?
Oh, no one ever stops me from going anywhere.
Hey, man. Hey.
I got a surprise for you.
Told me what?
Are we okay?
But give it some time.
Take the hat off.
Put the hat back on.
Oh, hey, Simon. Hey.
Oh, hang on.
Hey. You don't want it anymore?
Of course I want it. But I want you to sign it.
How's that? Good.
Bye, Mom. Have fun.
See? I told you.
I've been so busy today, I skipped lunch.
Hey. Excuse me.
Aren't you Sally Carmichael?
Uh... Yep. I am.
Give it some time.
No one would ever accept us.
Above the tide or below, you could never survive in my world.
And your people would destroy me as they have with everything that's unlike them.
But I can protect you. We can protect each other.
I can't put you through that. I won't.
Do you love me?
Don't ask me that.
Just tell me what's in your heart.
Actually... my heart is right here.
I can feel it beating. It's so strong.
You and I are so different.
We might be from different places and our hearts might be in different places, but what matters is that we're right here, right now, in the same place.