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The Runaway Bestseller - Your Story 58 Finalist

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:36 pm
by TiffanyLuckey
The Runaway Bestseller

A December to Remember is an international bestseller. Quentin Tarantino optioned the film rights. You are a Pulitzer finalist. My audience would love to know how you came up with this fabulous story.” The affable host of television’s top variety show smiled broadly at the 48-year-old first-time author. The question hung in the air for what seemed an eternity to Michael Schaefer as he replayed in his mind the series of events leading to this moment:

Walking through the Naples Waldorf lobby—what a beautiful place—departing his family’s annual vacation. Tipping the bellman loading the luggage in the back of the Suburban—I told everyone we had to get on the road an hour ago—while scrambling to check out. The delays—I knew the traffic back into Atlanta would be brutal—on the long drive home. Falling into bed exhausted—I would love to call in sick tomorrow.

Unzipping his black canvas Samsonite the next morning realizing instantly—what in the world?—that nothing in the bag remotely resembled his things. Discovering a six-inch stack of white lined paper—how did this happen?—held together by a green rubber band just below the words “A December to Remember” and just above “Jonathan Bradford”—stupid bellman. Cautiously moving other items around the bag—running shoes, jeans, books—to locate the owner’s contact information—nothing.

Calling the hotel to get Bradford’s contact information—they better give me something for this hassle—only to be put on hold. The hotel manager thinking he was Bradford’s relative—I just want my bag—apologizing for his loss. Learning of the horrific accident near the hotel—that must have been just after we drove away—killing everyone when one of the three cars’ exploded. Fumbling through words about needing to return something to him—why aren’t you asking him about your bag?—and hanging up the phone in haste.

Returning to the bag—did I pass this guy in the lobby?—intrigued about the man who died in proximity to him and whose possessions were staring at him. Finding an article about the crash—“the singed remains”—and officials’ attempts to locate next of kin. Reading a short obituary several days later—I can’t stop thinking about this guy—with no mention of family. Tracking down scant information—this is a good mystery—to uncover that Bradford had moved around foster care growing up and held a few odd jobs as an adult, most recently a Philadelphia stevedore—that’s the sums of his life?

Reading the hand-written papers from the suitcase—this guy was a great writer. Staying up all night finishing Bradford’s novel—this is an amazing story. Setting the novel aside—work is killing me—forgetting about Bradford and the bag in his closet. Watching the economy collapse—it’s all Obama’s fault—and the company implode. Eating through savings—no honey, they don’t need anyone with my skills—mounting credit card debt; emptying the 401k.

Months later, noticing the bag while getting dressed for one more interview and flipping back through the novel—I wonder if they ever found his family. Searching online for subsequent information—I know the mortgage payment is late, tell them I’m not home—and finding nothing—it’s as if he never really existed. A desperate idea—someone had to know this guy was writing a book. Increased collection calls—the check is in the mail—bills stacking up, stressful arguments—can’t your parents loan us a little more?

Typing Bradford’s notes for hours at a time—stop changing the story to make it your “own." Researching book publication—who am I kidding? Laboring over a synopsis for the cover letter—my writing is horrible. The calls, the offers of advances—this cannot be happening—the industry buzz surrounding publication of his book. The stellar reviews—they are comparing me to who?—the book signings, the additional printings, the whirlwind tours, the accolades, all leading to this place.

Smiling sheepishly, the first-time author answered, “Well, Sarah, they say there are no new ideas under the sun.” Looking at the men and women around the studio smiling at him, Michael grinned and continued, “Ultimately, it is really difficult for me to say where A December to Remember came from.” The rapt host and audience laughed in unison, with the exception of one slender young woman, dressed in black, staring intently at the thief.

Re: The Runaway Bestseller - Your Story 58 Finalist

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:59 pm
by Elibet1
Ooops sorry, I'm going to keep my feedback until the competition is over.