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The End of the Week



The prompt was light filtering through the trees on a sheet of paper.

He thought he would read it over once more, one more time before sending it in. He had the whole day before him and if he got started right now he'd be done by the end of the week.

He knew he'd find mistakes. He always did - not just the grammar, but mistakes with his characters too. His people, the people he created. What color was the hero's hair again? Sort of reddish, wasn't it? Balding at the crown ... and did he still walk with a limp? All that would show up as he read along, making his little marks in the margin.

And as he read along, he knew he'd try to read it as though it was the first time. He would try to be objective, as though he were reading it through someone else's eyes. Would someone else see it as he did? Would the scene be clear? Would they feel the thrust of the battle as he did, hear the rattle of the small arms fire, feel the concussion of the 155's?

Maybe not ...

He thought, maybe there would be a letter from Scribner's two months from now. "Dear Alex," it might read ... "Good to hear from you. Your manuscript arrived June 4th."

But by then he knows it'll be Labor Day -- more than two months from now ... meantime he'll be holding the house together with string ... Buddy needs his braces now ... Sylvia is taking her SAT's next week ... Carole will be after him about the washing machine ... and Scribner's will be sitting on the manuscript for two months!

"A little different genre for you Alex ... " they'll go on. "... lengthy little devil, isn't it? I'd like you to get together with Mr. Cutter next week if you have time, Alex. He's got some constructive ideas."

He knows what Mr. Cutter will be like. They'll set up a date for lunch -- at Lutesce maybe. Cutter will be late ...

"What a morning, Alex! Sorry to keep you waiting. You're looking well. Been away?" He won't wait for an answer because he really doesn't give a damn if you've been away or not. He doesn't care if you look well or not either. He'll just gripe about the book business -- how bad things look for Scribner's, and how they can't afford to take chances right now. "The reading public, Alex. You never know what they want next. The board really doesn't want to take chances right now ... have you ever thought of writing Romance?"

He looked up at the mottled light filtering through the trees. It promised to be a lovely summer's day. It wasn't too late to get the family together and head for the beach ... but there was work to be done and he better get started if he wanted to be finished by the end of the week.

The End

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