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Authors: Danny Wallace

Yes Man

BOOK: Yes Man
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Are You Dave Goreman?
(with Dave Goreman)

Join Me!

Random Acts of Kindness

An imprint of Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Text copyright © 2005 by Danny Wallace

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

SIMON SPOTLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT and related logo are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition  10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Wallace, Danny.

Yes man / by Danny Wallace.

p. cm.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-0066-5

ISBN-10: 1-4169-0066-7

eISBN-13: 978-1-439-10729-4

1. Wallace, Danny. 2. Conduct of life. 3. London (England)—Biography. I. Title.

CT788.W319A3 2005




In Which We Set the Scene

Chapter 1:
In Which the Story Begins

Chapter 2:
In Which Daniel Becomes Increasingly Excited

Chapter 3:
In Which Daniel Lifts Up His Head and Beholds the Sun

Chapter 4:
In Which Daniel Makes an Unfortunate Error

Chapter 5:
In Which Daniel Receives Word from the Sultanate of Oman

Chapter 6:
In Which Daniel Breaks the Law

Chapter 7:
In Which Daniel Proposes a Theory, Attends a Party, and Vexes a Rival

Chapter 8:
In Which Daniel Lands Himself in a Spot of Bother

Chapter 9:
In Which Daniel Upsets a Stranger

Chapter 10:
In Which Daniel Undertakes a Most Unusual Search

Chapter 11:
In Which Daniel Finds Himself Central to a Very Disturbing Predicament

Chapter 12:
In Which a Friendship Is Brought into Doubt, and Daniel Buys Some New Spectacles

Chapter 13:
In Which Daniel Receives a Very Pleasant Piece of News

Chapter 14:
In Which Daniel and Lizzie Climb a Mountain, Visit a Brass Rubbing Centre, and See a Bad Play

Chapter 15:
In Which Daniel Receives Some Unexpected News

Chapter 16:
In Which Daniel Is Tempted by Evil

Chapter 17:
In Which Daniel Meets with Hugh the Incredible, a Tiny Soldier, and a Magical Dog with a Hat On

Chapter 18:
In Which Daniel Finally Has a Polite Conversation

Chapter 19:
In Which the Reader Is Required to Read Between the Lines

Chapter 20:
In Which Daniel Travels to the Goodly Castle of Dobroyd, and Chances Upon More of the Wisdom of Maitreya

Chapter 21:
In Which Daniel Meets His Match

Chapter 22:
In Which Daniel Goes Far Beyond the Call of Duty

Chapter 23:
In Which Daniel Faces a Terrible Crisis

Chapter 24:
In Which Daniel Is Content

Chapter 25:
In Which Daniel Makes a Terrible Admission, Searches His Soul, and Finally Accepts That He Must Be Punished

Chapter 26:
In Which Something Remarkable Happens

Epilogue 1:
In Which Ian Gets His Just Desserts

Epilogue 2:
In Which We Must Finally Say Good-bye


For my mum and dad, And for Sammy

—Jack Handey

“The wise man can pick up a grain of sand and envision a whole universe. But the stupid man will just lie down on some seaweed and roll around until he’s completely draped in it. Then he’ll stand up and go, ‘Hey, I’m Vine Man!’”

In Which We Set the Scene

It was nearly midnight. I was standing in the rain, outside the house of a rich banker in Las Vegas

I checked my pockets. I had everything I needed. The photos. The keys to the car. The silver pocket watch.

Most important, I had the gun.

Because I had been asked to kill a man.

And I had said yes.


I wasn’t, really. And I hadn’t, really.

I mean, when was the last time
were asked to kill a man? It very rarely happens to me. And I’m not sure I could even do it, to be honest. If you asked me today whether I would kill a man for you, I’d most likely flat out refuse, and even if I asked for more details, my decision would still most likely be not to do it.

“No,” I’d say. “Surely you can resolve your issues with this man another way?”

And you’d see my point, and say yes, and I’d suggest you beat him at chess instead, and you’d walk away shamefaced yet impressed by my wisdom.

Nope. I can honestly say I have never killed a man. Not on purpose, anyway. And the only reason I forced you to imagine me on the verge of undertaking a messy assassination in Las Vegas was to give you an idea of how my life
have gone. How this story
have started. Me, standing in the rain, charged with a terrible and sinister mission, gun in hand. I mean, I
rain. And I’d look
with a gun. I wouldn’t
be out on my own after midnight in Las Vegas. I rather frown upon murder. And I really don’t know
a silver pocket watch comes into all this.

So thankfully the real story doesn’t start this way. But the real story did take me to some strange places, meeting some strange people, doing some strange things. And the real story takes place over the course of several months; not so
long ago. Several months which changed not just my life, but my entire
of life and my entire
to life.

I should just say thanks to all those people I’ve written about in the next few hundred pages. Their names are real, apart from those few cases where I’ve changed a name or detail to save anyone from any obvious embarrassment, or, in one rather central and vital person’s case, just because they thought it would be cool and so asked. There is also, I’m afraid, the odd occasion where I’ve moved an event to a slightly different time or place … but this is for your own good. I don’t want you falling asleep on me. I’ve got some very important things to say.

I wrote this book after keeping a diary. Some of that diary I have written more on than other bits, some I didn’t include at all, and some has made it in word-for-word. I recommend keeping a diary. Diaries are cool.

And lastly do me a favour. While you read this book—however long it takes you, and wherever you end up doing it—make a note of all the times you could have said yes to something. And think about where that yes could have led you. It might come in handy one day.

You look lovely today, by the way.

Danny Wallace

St. Petersburg, January 2005

January 12

I have started this diary to record all that is going on in my life. All so that one day I will be pleased I had recorded the things that have happened to me, for posterity If you are a historian from the future, please, save your thanks. Your time will be better spent reading up on my thoughts and philosophies.

So, with pen in hand, I say to you, Life: I am ready! Throw at me what you will!

January 19

Nothing yet.

Chapter 1
In Which the Story Begins

It is quite incredible how a bus—a simple, red, London bus—can change your life

There were other reasons for why what happened eventually happened, of course. I’m not saying it was all about the bus. But the bus was pretty high on the list. Or, more accurately, the man sitting next to me on the bus. Here he is, right now, flicking through his
Evening Standard
, checking his cheap, black watch, mere moments after uttering a sentence that, quite without him knowing, has had the most unexpected effect on me.

It’s like one of those moments in a cartoon, when a second of complete and total revelation hits an unenlightened fool, a moment in which they’re bathed in a golden light from the heavens above; their face a picture of comfort; the only sound the chorus of a thousand angels.

Of course, real life isn’t quite like that. I’m on a crowded bus in the East End of London, for a start, and so the only thing I’m bathed in is an unpleasant mist of sweat and coughs.

But it’s still an epiphany. And I’m still smiling from what I’ve heard, smiling from what I’ve learned. I start to wonder whether anyone else is feeling the same. So I sneak a chance to glance around. To see if one of my fellow passengers has been struck by the man’s simple message; his message of hope and optimism and all the things I hadn’t realised I’d been losing sight of.

BOOK: Yes Man
3.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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