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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)

TITLE: The Editor Meets the Reject
By Jean Beier


His blue eyes take in the words of the manuscript. They are horrendous words that contain little meaning. The grammar is such that Carl has never in his 30 year experience as Editor of Lexington Publishers, ever read. There is no way that he can save it. It is his responsibility, as the mediator between the writer and the reader, to put it to a quick and forever death. So, he picks up the rubber stamp, and with a mighty force, stamps the top page in bold lettering, “REJECT”. With a letter explaining it will have to be completely rewritten, he places the manuscript in the outgoing mail tray.

Darkness descends upon the day, and with weary eyes and tired body, Carl leaves the ten story office building, and climbs into his 1964 restored red Porsche. It is unusual for Carl to drive the Porsche, other than in parades, at vintage car shows, or to thrill a date, or take a family member on a drive in the country. He often enjoys going “back in time” with his latest girlfriend of the day, while buzzing the Main Street. He can not recall ever having driven the Porsche to work. But this morning Carl had awaken to the strong feeling that today was not to be an ordinary work day. He felt it in his bones that this day was going to be different, in a way he could not fathom. And he strangely felt that driving the Porsche to work was the thing to do.

Carl normally could just let work go when the day was finished. Tonight is not such a night. He decides to take a drive in the country, rather than head home to his penthouse in New York City. He, for some reason, can not get that last manuscript out of his mind. The author, a woman a few years younger than he, and fairly new to the writing world, was not going to take the rejection well. He knew this as she had submitted several projects before, and they were no better than this last. She had made tearfully and pleading calls to Carl, begging that he do another review. Each rejection seemed to devastate her more.

The author, a woman in her middle forties, is single. She has never married, and lives an uneventful life. That along with the name, Jane Smith, does not qualify her to write, as she is trying to do. No one has told her that you must, if at all possible, live the life you are trying to write, and have the imagination to expand. And no one has suggested that she choose a more catching pen name. The one thing she does have going for her is the fact that she proclaims herself a Christian, and writes accordingly. The woman, in Carl’s estimation, just doesn’t have the experience and education needed to be a writer, and he just doesn’t have the heart to get that blunt with her.

Carl determines that since he probably will never come face to face with Jane that he might as well just push her out of his mind, and he turns the car around, and heads for home. As Carl reaches New York City limits, he doses a bit at the wheel, and strikes an oncoming car. With screeching tires and crunching metal, Carl’s work day takes a sudden and unexpected turn.

After waking up in the hospital bed, Carl attempts to sit up, but the pain that shoots through out his body, nails him to the bed. He is able to reach the call button, and soon a nurse is at his side. She assures him that his injuries are not serious, and that she heard the police comment that the Porsche is restorable. Carl then whispers his worse fear, was anyone else hurt?

The nurse, Bea, tells Carl that the driver of the car he had run into was driven by a woman. The woman was leaving the city to return to her country home, where she is a writer. When he fell asleep, he hit her car head on. Bea said that everyone was calling it a miracle that neither of them received serious injuries, and that they both will live to tell their tales. Bea tells Carl, “Later we can get you a chair and wheel you down to visit her. She is in room 315, and her name is, Jane Smith.”

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This article has been read 408 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon06/03/10
WOW! I enjoyed this immensely. Loved how the story unfolded and the ending was superb. Loved your title because it was right on. Good job. God bless.
Susan Montaperto06/05/10
The title does fit the story very well. My attention was caught at the beginning and never let go. The ending is quite a surprise. Keep writing.
Dusti (Bramlage) Zarse06/07/10
I wonder what he'll say to Jane when he sees her....
Phee Paradise 06/09/10
I loved the twist at the end of the story. I was prepared to hear he had killed her, but you gave it a better ending.

One problem I observed in the story is the change in tense. You switched from past to present several times.

You did a good job of showing that the editor as a real caring person.