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Brian Peters

 "Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?"

"I'm sorry? Oh, no, of course, please take a seat."

"Thank you. May I ask what you've been doing all afternoon?"

Brian raised his eyes to look at his inquisitor. He soaked up the glorious golden hair, the brilliant blue eyes and the luscious red mouth, lips parted playfully, expectantly. Sheís beautiful, Brian thought.

"Pardon?" he asked, shaking the possibilities from his mind.

"I don't mean to be forward. It's just that Iíve been sitting on the other side of the park and I've been watching you for a while now. You seem to be really engrossed in something. Like you're really concentrating. Thinking."

"I'm a writer. I'm working. Being creative."

"Writer's block?"

"Just waiting for inspiration. Thinking, you called it."

"What do you write?"

"Fiction. Iím a Tom Clancy wannabe."

"Really? How wonderful. Iíve read some of his books. I'm Rachael by the way."

"Brian," he replied with a sly smile, taking the delicate soft hand that had been extended.

"Do you by any chance have any of your writings with you now? I'd love to read you."

"And Iíd love for you to read me, Rachael." he quipped too quickly. "I just happen to have a copy of my latest novella right here," and without looking in his bag, Brian's hand delved into his rucksack in near slow motion and produced a copy of a fairly thick collection of papers, stylishly bound.

"Wow, Brian. Iíve always wanted to meet a writer. Do you mind?" she gushed hoisting the tome in an obvious desire to read it.

"Knock yourself out."

He watched as she read in silence.

Indubitably it was his dream to have his writing published and recognized. And he would be lying if he claimed he was not tickled pink by the prospect of his writing prowess being an aid to him in seducing beautiful women. Or even better, a catalyst to being seduced by them. Like now.

How he wished his dream would come true. From as early as he could remember Brian wanted to write, bewitched by the thought of being read. He experimented with poetry but collected his attempts in the wastepaper bin before moving on to grapple with adult fiction with only marginally better success.

But everything Brian presented for consideration was declined. His manuscripts were retained by the publishers, filed no doubt in an industrial strength paper shredder tucked in a dark corner of their office. Without exception every publisher gave the same rebuff, thinly disguised behind a different selection of polite words. His writing, apparently, was clear and grammatically excellent, but the content was somewhat flat, lacked substance, bordered on the plainly uninteresting. Some publishers were even less verbose, not bothering to waste precious words on Brian, "Great syntax, no character development." Others saw fit to pour salt into the wounds by insisting on creative explanations for Brian's rejection "Brian, let's say youíre a very articulate truck; you're just carrying a load that no one wants or needs. Go pick up some interesting cargo."

The publisherís rebukes and backhanded compliments were the worst an aspiring author could read about themselves. What pained Brian most about the snub was a self-held belief that maybe the publishers were on to something.

Deep down he only really craved one thing. Two if you counted sleeping with Rachael. At the very top of Brian's wish list sat a simple desire to see his name on the spine of a book. It did not fundamentally matter what book. Maybe he did lack the imagination and inventiveness to be a novelist. They acknowledged, though, that he possessed top quality writing skills and in addition he had gained a breadth of useful knowledge. All Brian required was to harness his talents more precisely to pursuit his goal.

Rachael returned the skiff of paper and displayed that same playful smile. "Interesting. Captivatingly elegant in its simplicity. Believable characters. Coffee?"

"Sure. And by the way, thereís plenty more where that came from."

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