Prose Challenge No. 1, "A Day in the Life"

Reply Wed 23 Jan, 2008 05:24 pm
I've just read "Nobody's boy".
Congratulations to this text, Aidan. Really great.....
You described Fletchers feelings very well.

I guess, I will try to write an own story, even though English is not my mother tongue.
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Reply Wed 23 Jan, 2008 06:48 pm
thanks Helmi - I'm looking forward to reading what you write.
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Reply Mon 28 Jan, 2008 04:16 pm
More than one Surprise
He named his manuscript "Book of surprises". I guess because he could not think of anything else to call it. Then he found one of those self-publishing companies and had a few copies printed. It was not so expensive... not too thick, just an evening's worth of reading.
He stared at the bronze colored book, and the pen name at the bottom. It was kind of a let down- still- somehow he was satisfied that it was done. All the questions, tension, phrases-- that had pocked his brain-- flowed out on those pages. It was a sort of walking away feeling, he thought.

One ordinary night later, he came home from work and swept the cap to the chair, then he saw the red light blinking on his message phone. Most people knew his cellphone number. He Being VERY curious, punched the play swiftly.
"Mr Wigham, this is Do it Yourself publishing... how're you today? I'd like you to give me a call when you receive this message. We have an offer on your book, and I just KNOW you are interested. Thanks now. G'day"

'I wonder why they did not say Mr. Rourke... or David? Oh, this is the company, they know who I am, of course. I wonder if the people just want to do a publish on my book, or maybe a movie? hhmmmmmmm, will they still let me be David Rourke?' Jimmy wondered all this as he looked up the number for the company in his papers. He couldn't find it-- 'awright. well, I am thirsty.' He went to his fridge and opened a bottle of water, slowly casting his eyes about for something to eat. He did not see anything on those shelves, so he went to his cabinet.

Jimmy heated a big can of soup and opened a bag of chips, then left the whole dinner to look in his papers again. Wishing he had been more careful, he began to dig down in the magazine rack his sister had brought over one day.
THERE. It was folded in the last issue he got.
Spreading the contract out beside his dinner, Jimmy found the number. He called Mr. Fountain, and said "This is Jimmy, what's up?"
"Ah, Mr. Wigham?"
"Yessir" Jimmy answered.
"We have a company interested in buying the options on your book. They seem to think it is one of a kind... (pause) Also, they wish to know if you are publishing this as a work of fiction or is it autobiograhical?"
"Well, most of it is... well, sir, it is true. I'm not sure of all who agree with me on everythin' -but it's true. I never heard any body tell of this experience before, but I tell you-- it is true."
"Can you verify any of these facts, Mr Wigham? I mean to protect yourself, should any one come forward and wish to claim a judgment against you?"
"I don't think I know what you mean, Mr Fountain. Why would anyone CARE about me telling what happened to myself?"
"OH, Sir- there are persons who make it their OCCUPATION to bring suits- especially if they believe they have an unsuspecting and unprotected target. Also, can you be sure there are not ONES out there who may feel you are blaming them, though unnamed?"
"No... I don't think so...(Pause)... I will talk to the publishing people about it".
"Umm, Mr Wigham, You will be dealing with us on the project, Sir. If you could just stop by with any and all validation information you have, and any other questions, we will be delighted to address your concerns." he gushed.
"Just who IS this publishing house?" queried Jimmy.
"Now do not trouble yourself with details, Mr Wigham. Just come here ANYTIME tomorrow, or when you can-- at YOUR convenience, and we will sign EVERY thing.
Jimmy shifted his frame, shuffled a little, and felt a protest about to burst from
his lips at any moment. But he slumped and posed a little smile, "C ya" Jimmy dropped the phone into the cradle, and started to slurp his cool soup.
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Reply Mon 28 Jan, 2008 04:33 pm
Sound as if this the introduction to a longer piece. Not knowing more about the manuscript and why it might be of interest to a publisher is frustrating. Your protagonist sounds like an adolescent whose biographically based writing could only reflect a limited life experience. There doesn't seem to be any conflict or elements from which a normal story arc would be built upon. You need to either tell us more, or find some way to enliven the story within its own limits.
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Reply Mon 28 Jan, 2008 06:30 pm
The rest of the story
(Really FAST response Mr Asherman). Appreciate your interest- there is more...

There was an idle hum as he switched to accessories to listen to the radio while waiting.
Mr. Fountain kept his eyes peeled in the direction of traffic, hoping to find this "Jimmy Wigham." Or "David Rourke" - didn't matter, he knew the face. He had snipped his fingernails almost into the quick, when he saw the young man emerge from a car at this address.

"Mr Wigham", he called loudly, as he pursued the man going up to the door. Jimmy turned, and gazed in surprise, "why Mr. Fountain, how did you find me?"
Fred Fountain ignored his witless arrogance, and asked with excessively feigned sincerety, "I have not been able to reach you by phone, and this has been frustrating. Surely young man, you have an interest in money??"
Jimmy stepped aside, and invited the man inside with a gesture of his arm, and opened the door.
Inside, he asked the man to sit down- which found Mr. Fountain looking over his shoulder, gazing into the chair seat and craning to look into the adjoining kitchen. Jimmy laughed softly, "All that did not happen here, Mr. Fountain. I have not found any spirits in this duplex."

"I find your experiences with trembling air very exciting reading, Mr Wigham, and I am not the only one. I believe the adventures related in your book could be expanded and written into a best selling novel." "Just think----
"Hold on Mr. Fountain, what do you mean, 'expanded?'", Jimmy looked quizzically. "I wrote this as I saw it happen, not to write a novel."
"But Mr Wigham..."
"PLEASE, call me Jim or Dave or anything except 'Mr wig Ham."
"O. K. Jim. I am just saying this could be a HUGE money making success. Does it matter if it is fiction or non-fiction, or a combination of the two?"
Jimmy sat quietly for a time, seeming to be deep in thought- maybe considering the prospect. Then he began to speak. As he did, he looked much older than his years.
"Mr Fountain, I really should say thanks; for your intentions. In the publishing business, money is your reason I know. But I did not start writing about myself for money. I wrote all this as a kind of diary, keeping up with the times it frightened me, from week to week- and whether anyone else could see, or why they did not.
I got so used to the same tweaks, It got to where I did not notice much. But then, the window shade would fly up and the floor had a jiggle to make me notice. I don't think it was really happening. Sometimes, I thought it was. And as I wrote in my book, I was not sure then and still can't say. I only wrote what I saw.
And I saw the tree fall. I felt the pain of it hit me and break my back. But when I was on the street after awhile, I was fine, and that tree was still in the ground. I hung by my neck, and was not dead, I lay in fire but I only FELT burned, I was not. Sometimes it came so close, I could feel it riding my back like a passenger."
Fred Fountain leaned forward, and asked him, "Did NO ONE else feel or see any of this. Or, let me ask you THIS WAY, Did anyone see you reacting?"
"Yes, they did. One time my sister asked me who I was running from. And she said what are you yelling about."
"Well.... (pause) what did you say to her?"
"I don't think I ever answered her. I could not explain, so I just left."
"Will you just consider selling the rights to this manuscript if I promise..."
Jimmy stood up, "Mr Fountain, it is not for sale. I would appreciate it, if you will give me all the copies you have, and not speak of this to anyone else. You did not REALLY have publishing prospects, did you?" He looked with appealing hopefulness that no one knew.
"Jim, I really don't understand" Fred protested as he also stood.
"I will only say this much, so you WILL understand. I think this is a thing DONE to me. I don't want to forget ANY details, so I wrote them down." Jim said passionately.
"One day, I will know WHO."
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Reply Mon 28 Jan, 2008 07:16 pm
The first response was fast, but the next will take some time. We just heard of a death in the family and won't know for awhile what response we'll be making. Option 1 is a 2-3 day trip to LA, by rail. Option 2, is a road trip back to the family ranch in southern Arizona for 2-10 days at the beginning of February. In the meantime, we have other fish to fry. Hang in there, I'll get around to you presently.

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Reply Mon 28 Jan, 2008 08:29 pm
Dear Mr Asherman,

I am sorry for your loss. Do be careful on your journey, whatever
the decision.
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