A crack addict was huddled in the doorway of a condemned house in the centre of a city where criminals were more common than flies. Half in the shadows, half in the inhuman glare of the damaged sodium light, he drew his filthy blanket tighter around his thin shoulders and shivered. His eyes bulged and in his ears throbbed the awful sounds of men beating up wives and psychopaths torturing small animals.

A philanthropist passed and stopped and said to the addict, “I'm a rich eccentric and can give you enough money to get yourself back on your feet and out of this truly dreadful place and you don't have to do anything sordid in return. What do you say to that?”

“No thanks,” replied the addict.

The philanthropist was amazed but decided to try again. “I see you are too proud to accept charity. In that case I can give you advice on how to become self-employed and earn your own money. The end result will be the same and your life will improve.”

“I'm not interested,” insisted the addict.

The philanthropist was flabbergasted by this response. “But surely you don't intend to remain there forever?”

The addict shook his head and answered:

“Not forever, no. But I don't want to change my situation. I'm waiting to be used as a character in a novel by Gary McMahon or Joel Lane or that other bloke, Nicholas Royle. They are writers who write a style of fiction called miserablism that feeds on the bad things of modern urban life. I think they represent my best opportunity.”

¶ Misery loves a publishing company.