Written Trevor Boelter
Illustration by John Waltrip
October 2nd, 1954: I’ve arrived. It’s funny, you know by this time people will be battening down the hatches in Indiana. Crops will have dried out, harvest in a fortnight. Soon the fields will be bare and clear, ready to be blanketed by however much snow falls come November 5th (Guy Fawkes Day for the Brits), for the Indianans (not Indians) it’s Snow Day.
And yet, as the weather turns quickly dark, here I am in the sun. Arrived. I have arrived. I’ve got my Royal typewriter, a ream of fantasy magazines and a goal. I’m going to write in this town, I’m going to write and live and love. That’s my goal. I think it’s pretty apparent that if you have a goal, you can certainly aim for something.
Not like Don, back at the farm, all giddy up with the horses and manure, the cows and the shame of having a dream. That’s what he said to me, “Kent, you’re a dreamer. No fool ever put food on his table from a day working hard on dreams.”
But Don, I’ve got you beat. I’ve got an appointment with an agent, one Mr. Harvey Sinclair. He’s the one who finds the food for dreamers, he’s the one makes the table setting possible. Harvey may be the fork and the knife and the spoon, but who ran away with whom?
It doesn’t matter. I can dream and Don can grind, grind all day long. What does it matter? My big brother is a dope.
Aren’t all big brothers dopes?
October 4th, 1954: Hooray! That’s all I have to say, Hooray! Mr. Sinclair read my story in one sitting while I picked my fingers in his lobby, trying not to look nervous in front of that choice secretary. I managed as well as any fella could and he called me back in.
“You’ve got talent, Mills!”
They all call each other by their last names here but since I’m still technically a “kid” at 22, they’ll still call me that as well.
“I’ll represent you right this very moment, but this story is amateur…”
I have to admit; I was a bit disheartened to hear that considering that story took me three months to write.
“The ticket to the bigtime, to writing for television, for movies, for the moon is to start small…”
He definitely seemed lively, his eyes were shining.
“I want you to write me a story a week. I want it dropped off here at the office next Monday morning, no later than 10AM. If there isn’t a story, then you haven’t got an agent, capisce?”
And with that he shook my hand, and well…I have an agent.
October 9th: I can’t sleep. I have no idea what I’m going to write about. Maybe I should write about my finances, I have two hundred dollars left to my name, and a ten dollar deposit on a room in this flophouse. I share it with about a million other guys, but since I paid ten and not five, I get my own space with a door. The bathroom is on another floor, but at least I’m not stuck three to a room like the fellas next door. Snoring, farting, swearing and occasionally throwing some punches at each other. I’d be punchy too if I lived in that squalor.
A whole bunch of other writers live here as well, you can hear their typewriters late into the night.
I sat there all night, as the hum of writers above, below, side to side, clicked and clanked, sang and drank. I just sat and drank a soda pop and nothing would…
Another fight again…Jeez Criminy, these guys, you’d think one of them had a bar of gold sewed into his stomach with the way they’re rolling around…
October 11th, 1954: Dropped off my first story to Mr. Sinclair’s office. “Bar of Gold,” was a mess, but it was start. The idea came as I sat here listening to that fight and I started thinking, what if a guy had a bar of gold sewed into the lining of his stomach? Or at least that’s the rumor heard by a couple of bandits. They think this old guy’s body is lined with gold, and they plan to rob him. But it turns out; the guy doesn’t have gold, but guts, lots of guts. He beats them silly until he explains he’s a prizefighter, he could take any punches in the gut without flinching. That was his gold.
Like I said, it’s a mess. But it’s a glorious mess. And I wrote it in a week, actually until 8AM Monday morning. I ran it down to the office, didn’t even fix the typos.
Mr. Sinclair said nothing about typos.
Now it’s to write something new and the terror starts all over again.
October 15th: Friday night. Date night. What a drag. Nobody wants to meet up with a writer. I’ve met more than my share of beautiful dames, but no one likes me. I have no car, no nice clothes, my hair is getting shabby, and I stink of this place. Still have no story idea, so I’m back to typing you just to sound like I’m doing something.
At least it’s quieter tonight, the rough housers next door have gone out with a bottle of Rye and an idea they might get some ladies to dance. Yeah, I’ll bet myself a dollar that it won’t happen. But what if it does? We’ll, I don’t have to pay myself.
Hey…wait a minute…
October 18th: Dropped it off, and picked up my first story. I’m too nervous to look at it. There is a whole bunch of Mr. Sinclair’s scribbles on every page. I can read it, if I can sit down and decipher but it doesn’t look good. Lots of slashes of the red pen.
Hey, at least he read it.
I quite enjoyed the second story. Once again, typing to you (whoever you are Dear Journal) seems to be my ticket.
This one I called, “The Welcher” and it was all about this guy who’s always placing bets with himself. Harmless bets, “If I toss this paper into the bin from across the room, I’ll meet a great girl tonight.” And he throws the ball of paper and of course, he misses because he’s a loser.
But then, he gets bored and starts betting money with himself, instead of these intangible items (a job, a girl, a car, a million dollars, a trip to Tahiti) and bets himself a dollar. And he pays himself when he wins or loses. From one pocket to the other.
But you know what? Luck starts to work in his favor, he is slowly crawling out of his hole; meeting girls, landing a job at a newspaper, upgrading his life from a stinking flophouse to a respectable apartment. All the while he keeps betting, one dollar goes in one pocket or in another, depending on the outcome, until he gets really successful.
Until one day, he forgets to place a bet and then things go south. He starts catching his reflection looking at him funny and his shadow doesn’t jive with the rest of his body. In fact, the shadow trips him up a few times. This guy, he can’t believe it, he thinks he’s going mad, but things just keep getting worse.
By that time, he realizes he hasn’t paid himself in a few days, and he figures that he owes his reflection principal plus interest. And he gets beat up, knocked out and when he comes to…he’s broke.
While unconscious, his reflection went to the bank and cleared him clean out. When the guy looks in the mirror, he sees nothing. The damned reflection absconded with all his dough and is living the highlife wherever reflections go (the mirror emporium?).
That was a fun story to write. I felt myself spinning in my chair. Almost like a fever, I was writing and writing and all the while, the world is spinning around me and all I can see is the blur of my fingers on the keys. Even the Landlady mentioned it, “You’re on a roll,” she said. I asked what kind? I prefer a dinner roll, myself. The landlady cracked a smile. Yes, indeed, I’m on a dinner roll here.
Okay – time to look at Mr. Sinclair’s notes.
October 19th – Midnight: Oh boy, Sinclair hated Bar of Gold. But he hasn’t fired me yet. He wrote you have 51 stories to go. You better impress me.
October 21st: I am so excited. I’m shaking. I’m…I want to leap to the moon and back. I want to kiss any broad who will let me get near her; I want to scream at the top of my lungs.
I sold my first story.
Mr. Sinclair called; he loved the “Welcher.” He said it was “dog-shit writing” but it had a great hook and he sold it to a fantasy comic book series. They’re going to illustrate it and I’m now twenty-five dollars richer.
Twenty dollars minus the five that Sinclair gets and on second thought, aren’t agents just supposed to get 10%?
Oh well, no matter. I sold one and now I’m onto the other one.
And good lord, I haven’t a clue what I’m going to write today.
October 24: Okay, I’m in trouble. I’ve got nothing. And my finances are worrying me some. I blew through that twenty that night with the fellas next door. We drank, and danced, and Mitch, he got to dance with a real nice girl. Me, I just got drunk and sick…and somehow, I got home.
Counting my coins, I’ve got exactly three weeks left till I’m in the red. I better write something to tide me over, or I better start looking for a job.
I’m in deep; I can feel Don out there, cackling. I hear corn is priced pretty good this year, so I’m sure that smug son of a gun is smiling ear to ear.
Smug like a cob of corn.
October 25: It wasn’t pretty, but “Smug,” did the trick. This time it was short, but that was on account that I had to keep retyping the story because I couldn’t get into the flow. Finally, when I wrote it from Don’s perspective, it came.
I even named the main character, “Don.” A farmer in Indiana who thinks his idiot brother is a fool for leaving the fold. He makes these little voodoo dolls out of a cob of corn, but he doesn’t realize, he’s actually making a doll out of himself. And he winds up hurting himself in the process.
Like I said, it wasn’t pretty but I’ve got story number three. You can’t always capture lightning in a bottle.
I got my check for twenty from Sinclair’s office. I have to immediately cash it and pay Bob back for last Thursday night. God, I hope he doesn’t ask for interest.
October 27: I met a girl at a bookstore today. Her name is Tammy, and she’s a beauty. I think I fell in love with her right then and there. She loaned me her copy of Henry Miller and an early book of F. Scott short stories. I’ll read Scott first, then try and digest Henry later.
Her eyes grew bright when I told her I was a writer. She agreed to see me for a bite tomorrow.
I think I’m in love.
October 26: An amazing day. I met Tammy for lunch, we talked for a good two hours, but then she had to make it home to help her mother. And I, deciding I could not be beat, I made a bet with myself, that I could go down to Sinclair’s office and see if I could get notes on the latest story.
I wanted to know what he thought about Don.
Sinclair was out, but his secretary had the story waiting for me. She was surprised I dropped by. She wouldn’t give it to me said I had to turn in a story first. But she smiled and said I was getting better.
And I am.
But I have no clue what I’m going to write for this week. It’s the same old thing; the terror of something new, of the act of creation on the page.
Maybe Tammy will inspire it.
November 1st: Last night was some doozy. Demons must have been dancing in my brain; I was a man on fire.
I not only wrote about Tammy, but about the bookstore she worked in and how all those famous books stuck together would come alive during the night. And one aisle would be a swashbuckling pirate, and the next aisle over there would be cowboys shooting real lead out of their guns. She meets up with this dashing type (me, I guess) in the Romance section…but then they have to fight Count Dracula and she winds up staking him in the heart.
It was a fun story. I called it, “The Book Report.”
I turned it in and took my story about Don.
November 2nd: Sinclair sold “Bars of Gold.” I cannot believe it. That story feels light years from me now. Did I ever really write it? And it was almost a month ago.
Tammy agreed to meet me for dinner – but I have to meet her folks first. And here I was, upset that I couldn’t afford a new tie.
Well, I’ve got 30 smackeroos to do as I please. Of course, I paid 6 dollars to Sinclair for the pleasure.
What a guy.
November 5th: The meeting with her folks was a disaster. I think Tammy likes me more than ever. Her father sneered when I told him I was a writer. He actually crinkled up his nose and his mouth dropped into an unmitigated frown. I guffawed out loud. I didn’t mean to. But how you can help not have such a reaction when someone responds to you with such distaste? Tammy winked at me. I don’t think anyone will ever be good enough for his little girl. Her mother was all right, she mentioned how refreshing it was to meet another “Dreamer.” The question is, who is the other dreamer she is mentioning?
Turns out, Tammy’s dad was a writer a long time ago. Well, well, what do you know? I had to laugh. Tammy promised to see me again and wished me luck my on story.
November 6th: Been blazing all day on the typewriter writing “Father-In-Law,” which is a science fiction story about a guy (yep, I’m the one) who meets a great gal and her parents that are robots; turns out the “father-in-law” detests anyone with emotions. But what do you find out in the end? The robot is actually human? It was the only way to prolong his life and being the opposite of Baum’s “The Tin Man” this robot has a heart, but not much else. Toward the end of my story, I lost the key’s E and J. The J’s I can live without, the E, not so much. So that’s why you’re seeing this in long hand. And until I sell another story, it looks like me and a pencil and a permanent shade of lead on my right hand.
November 8th: Turned in the “Father-In-Law” and got notes back on Don. Sinclair hated it, said it was no Welcher, but it had guts. And I liked that. He asked for rewrites on the Don story because he thinks he knows a magazine that may have interest in it. He wants it done by tonight.
I’ve noticed he’s started to spend a little more time with me every Monday that I come in. He invited me to soiree later tonight, he told me to come with leg empty, whatever that means.
So finish the story and then hand it off to him at the soiree.
November 10th: I slept all day yesterday. I don’t have a lot of memories of Monday night, but let’s just say, I came to soiree (at a huge Hollywood mansion) with my revised story and two empty legs. And the rest is…a blur. I woke up this morning feeling like someone sawed them off halfway through the night, or day…Oh boy, I’ve never had a hangover like this. I don’t recall writing it, but there is a story on my desk. It’s called, “Ham Sandwich,” and I’m a little bit afraid to read it. But it’s in my handwriting. Oh, and putting on my pants, I found $200 stuffed into the bottom. There’s a little bit of blood on the bills, but looking at the cut on my right thumb, I’m pretty sure that’s mine.
November 10th (later): This story is madness. Absolute madness. It’s about a Cub Scout group that sells sandwiches as a fundraiser. Everyone is crazy about the sandwiches they can’t get enough. Turns out the Cub Scouts cooked their Scout Master. But what you think is a story about cannibalism is really an allegory about the end of Childhood. You can’t live forever on Pleasure Island, Pinnochio was told. And I think these Cub Scouts didn’t want to be become Boy Scouts.
November 11th: Sinclair called me on the communal phone. He asked how “Ham Sandwich” was coming along. I was flabbergasted. He knew about this? I told him it was finished. Strange Tales Magazine wants first crack at it. Somehow I’m getting some woozy memories of pitching an editor before a roaring fire. What were in those drinks? I wanted to ask about the $200 bucks, but Sinclair asked if I had bought a new typewriter yet. So I’m thinking I might have sold Ham Sandwich before I even wrote it. Good lord, this lifestyle is something.
November 12th: I went big this time. Bought myself an Olivetti. The sales clerk said you couldn’t go wrong with the Germans. Um, pretty sure something went wrong with them about fifteen-twenty years ago. But it does move with a fluid ease that I never experienced with my Royal. I’ve still got a good $160 left. I think it’s time to fly the coop. I’m tired of living with all these mouth-breathers.
November 13th: I’ve officially landed in North Hollywood. On Beck. There is a writer above me, Chuck Beaumont. He’s been published. Strange guy, seems outgoing, but goes off into these weird lapses…I think that’s when he is writing. I don’t hear him on the typewriter till shortly after midnight. He’s got a wife and kid. They’re nice. He talks to himself, but it’s in character voices and I have to say that’s inspiring. I invited Tammy over to see the place. Her smile was a mile wide. She is already coming up with decorating ideas. Her parents are inviting me over for dinner again. Oh boy.
November 14th: Sinclair called me on my new phone. “I sold Ham Sandwich for $350 to the New Yorker, you’re going places, kid. With my $200 advance and my $70 take, I’ll have a check for $50 bucks for you, on account of the interest from the loan. Glad you got a new typewriter.”
Well, that finally explains where the money came from. Ouch on the interest. These agents sure like to take their cut.
One thing he said nearly dropped my heart into my shoes.
“Looking forward to your new story tomorrow.”
When I reminded Sinclair that I had already given him the story earlier this week, he laughed.
“That was on spec; that isn’t part of the assignment. Get cracking, kiddo. Write something in a fever.”
November 15th: I had to cancel dinner at Tammy’s. She was disappointed, but understood with the curveball Sinclair sent my way. Using that idea of a curveball, I wrote a baseball story about a pitcher who could throw a baseball through the space-time-continuum. He’d pitch the ball and it would disappear and reappear in the catcher’s glove. For weeks and weeks, he’s throwing no-hitters every time he’s on the mound. But then this new batter shows up. He’s this little old man. The crowd laughs. Who is the pinch hitter anyway? The old man licks his lips and says, “Give it to me!” The pitcher winds up and before he throws the ball, the batter swings and what do you know? It’s a home run. The crowd is astounded, how can a batter hit a homer when a pitch hasn’t been thrown? The pitcher is amazed as he watches this little old man run the bases. On the back of the jersey is a name. It say’s, “Einstein.”
I called the story “Curveball” and threw it to Sinclair like I was a pitcher. I said, “Thanks for the…” and it slid across his desk.
November 16th: Sinclair not only sold “Curveball” but the film rights to MGM for a cool $1000. After Sinclair’s cut (which was upped to 30% for film rights), I got $700 and a hankering to take Tammy out somewhere nice.
November 17th: Tammy invited her parents to the dinner and made an announcement about “Curveball” being made into movie. Her father grunted and kept his eyes to the menu. I decided to play a gag on the old man and told the wait-staff it was his birthday. You should have seen that dinosaur’s face when they sang. He was nearly purple with rage. Tammy was less than amused, but her mother, she thought it was the bees-knees.
Still, something her old man said caught me by surprise. This was after everyone had stopped singing happy birthday and Tammy and her Mom got to work on their sundaes.
“You may think that’s funny? But what I find funny is what happens when you run out of stories. There is a time and place for everyone, buster.”
Not sure what to think about that. But I just figure the codger is jealous.
November 20th: Another story submitting to Sinclair. This time it was about this guy being chased in the jungle, not by a wild animal but by his wife who wants his wallet
November 25th: Sinclair sold that terrible Jungle story to Paramount for $5000. I’ve been asked to write the screenplay for an extra $5000. I’ve never written a screenplay before, and Sinclair tells me he has a ghostwriter who would do it for $1000. I’m not parting with this bread; guess I’m a screenwriter now.
November 27th: Chuck had to help me with my latest story. He heard me stop/start on the typewriter all weekend long. Finally around 9PM on Sunday he knocked on my door. He carried in a cheap bottle of vodka and a couple of lemons. We got to our drinks and I told him I wanted to write a story about the family pet. But I couldn’t figure out if I should write about a cat or a dog. Chuck came up with a parrot and it had witnessed the murder of its former owner. This was a fun idea and shortly after I was able to knock it out. When I typed up the last page, and sat there in silence…it must have been 4 or 5 in the morning. I heard him knock on my ceiling, “Is it done yet?” he called out. “Yeah,” I told him. He knocked again, “Good work!”
I dropped it off at Sinclair’s, but he wasn’t in. The secretary said he might not be in for a while. But that I was to keep bringing the stories in like clockwork.
December 4th: Dropped off a story about a Cowboy who is really an astronaut.
Tammy wants to talk about the big “M.” Oh geez. I might have to buy a ring.
December 11th: Dropped off a story about an ambulance driver who is a vampire. None of his patients live but no one is the wiser.
Tammy is really pressing me about marriage, says if she is going to stay over any more, I better head to the jewelry district.
December 18th: Dropped off a story about a Medicine Man on the hunt for a mythical shrunken head. Everyone screams when they see him. He doesn’t realize he’s the one with the shrunken head. I liked this one, but still no Sinclair at the office. No notes. My last two stories are sitting in a stack on his desk. Secretary won’t say where he is. I’m beginning to worry.
December 25th: Merry Christmas. I proposed to Tammy; her mom is thrilled, her father looked like he was about to choke. Oh well, old man, I’m the son you got. Make do, you know.
Being that it’s the holidays, I don’t think Sinclair’s office is open, so I’ll save my story till tomorrow and drop it off then.
December 29th: I’m in dutch. Deep. I can’t believe I’m going to even write what occurred.
So my last entry describes that it’s Christmas and I figure Sinclair’s office is closed and I’ll just drop it off tomorrow. I mean, c’mon, we’re selling stories and Sinclair isn’t even in town. I get a call around 10PM that night. Tammy and I are about two bottles into the bubbly celebrating our upcoming nuptials and it’s Sinclair’s secretary. She’s been waiting all day for the story. Can’t go and spend time with her family until I drop it off. This is ridiculous, I say. It’s Christmas. She responds, “That’s the rules.”
So I hoof it down to his office and turn my story into her without about 15 minutes left to spare. And this is where it gets really weird. I mean it’s like I’ve been suddenly thrust into one of my own kooky tales.
When I dropped it off, I sort of ran in without knocking. He says turn it every week and I’m going to be damned sure that I get in there on time. The front door is jimmied open already, so I open the door, I head down the hall and just burst into her office, and…
Oh I wish I could forget it.
I see Sinclair, but it’s not him. It’s something wearing his clothes. Whatever this thing is, the head is huge and misshapen, bald except for some wispy hairs and this gigantic mouth of razor sharp teeth. There are more teeth than I have ever seen and it’s got these beady little mole eyes and its skin is like mottled cream.
This thing has got the secretary by the shoulders and she two is the same type of…thing. I don’t know what to call them. They’re like misshapen, nasty tumors with legs.
They’re kissing each other under the mistletoe that’s hanging from one of the doorways. And there is this smoochie sound; it’s like dipping your hand in a bucket of cold grease, like what I would imagine digging your brain out with a spoon might sound like.
And they stop kissing and just turn to stare at me. And I’m so shocked by this that I just toss my story on the desk and say, “Sorry to make you wait. I like this one. Tell Sinclair this should sell.”
And they just continue to stare at me. And I notice their hands, oh god, those long skinny fingers with razor sharp talons attached and more of that awful wispy hair, like Cotton Candy with a poisonous flavor. And I throw up my hand, like everything is normal and say, “See you in the New Year!”
And I got the hell out of there.
But this is the thing. After seeing those two kissing, I’m having a really hard time, because I’m seeing these things more and more. They’re tending bar, they’re driving the bus I take to get home.
The worse part: When I came home to Tammy, I couldn’t bear to look any further. She was fast asleep in bed, but there it was, those wispy hairs poking out from under the sheet.
January 1, 1955: I turned in my story…I don’t even remember what I wrote. I think it had to do with a haunted bakery or something. But other than that, I came straight home.
Tammy cries on the phone all the time. She doesn’t know why I don’t want to see her.
Chuck’s been knocking on my door. I’m afraid to open it up and see he’s one of them too.
January 2nd: I don’t want to write anymore. I think I’m done doing my story a week.
Chuck came to my door again and I opened it. Thank God, he’s human. He saw the fear in my eyes and seemed to understand.
“Deadlines are a bitch,” is what he said. And he turned around and walked back upstairs.
January 4th: There was a knocking on my door. It was persistent and I knew it might be Tammy. But it was certainly masculine.
I finally relented and Tammy’s father was standing there. He didn’t look angry, but just very, very sad.
And he was normal. There was no grotesque head, not misshapen face or wispy hair.
Could I be having a mental breakdown?
“You’ve seen the truth, haven’t you?” He asked me. And that’s when I knew I hadn’t gone crackers. Well, not yet, anyway.
“What are they?” I asked.
Tammy’s father shook his head, “I’ve never found out. But, it’s why I no longer write. And it’s why you should no longer write. After awhile, everything will go back to normal.”
“What does the writing have to do with it?” I asked. I didn’t feel like writing, but then again, I didn’t want anyone telling me I couldn’t write, either. I know it’s a weird conundrum.
“You push and you push and you push each and every week to write something new. And after awhile, you build up the muscle, not just with your brain, but with everything. You see things differently; every notion or thought can be the entry to a new story. You come to a point where you are no longer censoring yourself or the world around you. Instead, you are becoming open to every vibration in the universe. And thus…the façade begins to fail.”
Tammy’s father sat on the couch in my all-purpose room and sipped his glass of water slowly.
“Your daughter…” I began to say.
“And wife, and friends, relatives…it’s most people nowadays.”
“What about us? What makes us different?”
“You realize that we’re the freaks here. They’re the normal ones; we’ve just been using our filters to keep out the truth. We’re writers, we’re liars, we’re the ones whose imagination runs amok.”
Tammy’s father swallowed the last of his water and set it on the table.
“That’s why we are terrible to be employed. Your brother, the one you’ve mentioned out in Indiana? I bet you he’s one of them. All the schoolteachers, all the preachers and politicians. They are what are considered “normal.” You and I, we are the outsiders.”
“So do I just ignore them?” I asked.
“You can. But you don’t want to; doing that is what nearly drove me mad. I was this close from jumping off a bridge,” he said.
“So if I stop writing, all of this goes back to normal?”
“You will cease to be different. Get a job, marry my daughter, have children. Live, but don’t live someone else’s adventure on the page. It’s not worth it.”
And with that he headed out the door.
“Sir?” I asked. He turned around, “I’ve never learned your name.” I was embarrassed, but beyond Mr. Thompson, I never knew anything else but calling him Mr. Thompson.
“It’s Bert,” he said, “But you don’t call me that until you marry Tammy.”
Tammy’s father left and I was left alone with my thoughts.
March 5th: I didn’t drop off a story on January 8th and for a few days Sinclair called me on the hour, every hour.
I wish I could say that he sent goons to come get me.
But instead, I just stopped getting checks.
They made a couple of movies off the stories, so I got some residual income for that. But I was too busy going to Pharmacy school.
I figured that if my vision never got back to what it was, maybe I could cure it with some drug cocktails of my own doing.
And even when I had to swallow my horror and take notes from the monstrosity of the teacher before me at school, things started to get easier.
The less creative I got, the more relaxed I became and before long, the huge head grew smaller, and the wispy hairs went away, and before long, I entered the class room and saw that it was
just some guy teaching the class.
The students were normal as well.
I called Tammy shortly thereafter and after much begging and pleading, she agreed to see me.
It didn’t take long for us to reconnect, and her father, he actually looked happy for once.
February 27th, 1958: Wow. It’s been quite a while, and reading this reminds me I need to burn you in a bin. But before I do, I figured I could add one last entry.
Tammy and I got married a couple of years ago, right after graduating from Pharmacy school. It’s been a pretty good job. I’ve never needed to concoct my own cocktails of drugs to knock out whatever I thought I saw. It’s funny how a life crisis can change your thinking, but either way, life is settled and we are dandy.
We had our first child late last year. He’s a sweet boy that we named Albert, after his grandfather. And we have another on the way.
I guess you can say I’m proud to have written what I did and to have gotten some notice for it. But I have no desire to go back into that world.
But funny thing, I ran into Chuck Beaumont again; he was thrilled to see me. He said, “Hey, I’m working in Television these days with a guy named Rod. Pretty cool character, we could use a writer like you. We have a new type of show that you would be perfect for.”
I laughed it off and told him I was retired from that game.
“It’s too bad,” Chuck said, “We’re going to set the world on fire, trust me, you’ve never seen anything quite like it before.”
As he was leaving, I asked him, because I couldn’t help it:
“How can you handle it? I mean, with all that you see?”
Chuck nodded at me, he didn’t look at me bewildered.
It was as if I asked him, “How can you stand that the sky is blue?”
“You just deal with them. Besides, it’s nice being the best looking guy in the room!” And with that Chuck Beaumont winked at me and left.
But as I watched him walk away, I noticed him step out of the way of a guy running past; as if he were dodging someone with a head size two times big and with long fingers that ended in razor spikes.
For a fleeting second, I was pretty sure that I saw it too, and then remembered that I’m not a writer, and I certainly don’t have to think of that kind of stuff ever again.
“Counter Offer” by Jim Norman
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