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Friday, June 30, 2017

The Writer's Life 6/30 - MIA

Here's a brief excerpt from Five Cents, my most recent novel. It's a few minutes read:

  On the final day of the fall semester, he was seated in his office, working on grading. He hadn't even looked at the most recent papers he’d assigned. He evaluated each student by previous work, giving the benefit of the doubt to those who fell in between a B and C, still stingy with A’s.
  The door was slightly ajar, kept so for a measure of privacy. The crack informed others he was present and available for discussion, provided the matter was of importance. Finished, he removed his glasses, leaned back, and closed his eyes, hands behind his head. He was dozing when someone knocked politely.
  A young woman stepped into the room, furry coat draped over her arm. She was tall, lean, sharp-featured, her chin, cheeks, nose and elbows rather pointy. Her short, sandy hair was cut in a becoming shag. Neither plain nor pretty, she projected a robustness that made her attractive.
  “Hi, Cathy,” said Tom warmly. “What can I do for you?”
  “I’m dropping off my final paper. I’m sorry it’s late. Things have piled up in my personal life.”
  "No need to worry. You’d already earned an A. Besides, anyone who wears an MIA bracelet gets special consideration from me.”
  She lowered her head, obviously troubled.
  “What’s wrong?” he said softly.
  “My brother’s MIA,” she choked.
  “Have a seat.”
  He stepped past her and closed the door, then poised himself beside her at the edge of the desk. Tears were pouring from her eyes. Tom caressed her shoulders, ashamed he’d fantasized about her sexually. When are you gonna grow up? he said to himself, recalling how he’d almost lost Kitty.
  “He was a helicopter pilot.”
  “Those guys saved our butts so many times.”
  She looked up, face brightening momentarily. “Really? You were there?”
  He nodded. “Just about all of sixty-nine.”
  She took a tissue from her bag. “I’m sorry. I've just been holding it back for so long. We love him so much.”
  “I’m the last guy in the world you’d have to apologize to about this. To me, anyone who served there’s a hero.” Except you, he said to himself.
  He let her stay as long as she needed to gather herself. He didn't know what to do other than to let her cry. When finally she rose she kissed his cheek, said “Thank you,” and hurried away. Eyes glazed, hands shaking, he wondered why he had survived and more worthy men had died. It seemed ridiculous to believe it was God’s plan.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought books today. June's take was less than half of May's, which was unusually high. I had a long conversation with a young man named Joshua, who purchased Sex: A Man's Guide by Stefan Bechtel & Laurence Roy Stains. He buys only self help books and wants to write his own. I encouraged him to give it a shot, to start slow and trust his instincts. Good luck, sir... Boris donated two works of non-fiction, one freakishly timely: All Things At Once by Mika Brzezinski, the victim of one of President Trump's latest tweets. I laughed out loud. And a fellow resident of Atlantic Towers, who has done three prison stretches for selling marijuana, bought a People magazine 1997 annual that had JFK Jr. and his wife on the cover. And when I returned to the apartment there was a bag o'books at my door, courtesy of a young man who approached yesterday, whose family lives on the top floor. Each of the blend of fiction and non is eminently marketable. My thanks.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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