Grayson's two story collections--With Hitler in New York (1979) and this new one--together suggest the literary equivalent of a kid's messy room: cozy for the kid, junk strewn everywhere, but a little horrifying to anyone standing at the doorway. Grayson's most constant character here is himself-as-writer: ""Please: you can see I'm a sick person. What would it take, a few pages in your lousy literary magazine, to make me happy? . . . If I can't have your respect, I'll settle for your pity. . . ."" And pitiful indeed are many of these stories--cheap, silly, little more than names, puns, and jokes about the author's desperation for readers (hence the title). Still, there is something boorishly, oddly charming about Grayson's ability to stop in the middle of some childishly junky piece to ask, sincerely: ""When I write myself into a corner, as I have done once more, do you have to give me credit for trying?"" And there are two real short stories here--""A Hard Woman,"" ""What Guillain-Barre Syndrome Means to Me""--which, though sketchy, indicate that Grayson can be a writer when he wants. For the most part, however: juvenile literary clowning, only faintly--and erratically--amusing.