OK, I have a question. For all of my blog readers… all 12 of you!!
A lady from church gave my son an entry form for the Miami Book Fair / de Groot Prize Eligibility Terms and Conditions…
It is a prize giving for a novella (Yes, I didn’t know either, but it is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel – I looked it up!) I tried to be published before but they say as long as they didn’t print over 2500 it isn’t really a publication, I think they might have published 10 of my stories. ANYWAY I am wondering if you might give me a yeah or nay on the idea.
Pressing send, Peggy sent her latest manuscript to her editor and felt the familiar separation anxiety. Elated that she had completed her manuscript, scared that it wouldn’t be liked or nobody would want to read it. After her husband Jeffery passed away almost 5 years ago Peggy had given up the travel agency that they had owned, it just seemed like it was too much work and just didn’t seem to be worth while with Jeffery gone.
She started writing travel articles and a couple of travel books. Writing had been Peggy’s main means of support, which helped her support herself. Her grandmother had left her a small house in Idaho Springs Colorado, which she used as a “Home base” from her travels. Peggy remembered spending summers with her grandmother here when she was growing up. She had always loved the small town feel of the Idaho Springs with the closeness of the skiing and just a short drive to everthing to do in Denver.
Sitting back in her desk chair, she missed Jeffery more at times like this. Had he been here they would have both gotten dressed to the nines and driven to Denver for a celebration. Looking at the clock she decided to rethink that idea. It just didn’t seem worth the effort of all that work to celebrate on her own. If she started now she wouldn’t be back until the wee hours of the morning. Working most of the day had left her emotionally spent, getting enough energy to do a really big night on the town was beyond her.
The grumbling in her stomach made her realize that even if she didn’t do the whole heels and hairdo thing she needed to make some kind of move for food. After checking the refrigerator and cabinet she was faced with the decision either go to the store and cook or go to Ron’s Place. Ron’s was a local hang out and she enjoyed going even if it was in jeans and a sweat shirt. Still running with the feeling of completing her latest project she decided a little celebration at the restaurant would be well warranted.
Walking into the restaurant she felt warm and welcome. Noticing that Todd was tending bar she walked up and shifted her slight frame onto the elevated bar stool. Seeing her struggle Todd made her feel even smaller by asking “Are you sure you are old enough to be in here young lady?”
She enjoyed talking to Todd even indulging in a light flirting now and again. Laughing she answered back “Several times over! Are these things getting taller?”
“Same as always, maybe you are getting shorter?” the laugh in his voice meant he knew Peggy would take it with good humor.
“I am feeling very tall this evening!” came a reply that sparkled with joy and enthusiasm. “I just sent off my latest project to the editors. So I am here to celebrate! Open the Champagne! Make it a good year!”
Suddenly the light in Todd’s eyes became very thoughtful. “Well, I am not sure about the Champagne. You may have to settle for beer.” as Todd wondered how to phrase the next question, he at least tied to make her feel better by saying “But I can put it in a fluted glass?”
“Fine, fine but make sure it is a good year!” Peggy didn’t seem to notice Todd chewing his bottom lip in deep contemplation.
When he came back he had been as good as his word. “Golden, Colorado bottled 2011. Best in the house!” As he set down a glass of beer in a Fluted glass.
Lifting the class Peggy said “A toast to my latest project, I just hope someone wants to read it!” Giggling she lifted the glass to her lips and took a big gulp. “At least the bubbles don’t tickle my nose! Now for dinner – steak, yes a steak a big thick one! I will have it here, so you can keep me company?” The last was a kind of question more than a statement.
Todd looked around noticed that the place was fairly quiet. “I may just join you, if you don’t mind?”
“I am glad of the company, I will even buy you a beer!” Peggy was glad now that she hadn’t gone into Denver for her celebration. She and Todd had flirted off and on for a while. A couple of months ago when his boss Ron Shurtz had gotten married Peggy was Todd’s escort, you really couldn’t call it a date. They had both been invited and by going together they insured that they would have someone to dance with. Peggy liked Todd but it just seemed that it never seemed to work out for the two of them. Either Peggy was busy traveling and writing or Todd was involved with his schooling.
Todd was studying at the Colorado School of Mines Bridge to the Doctorate program. With the ultimate goal of earning a PhD and entering the Professorship. He had entered into military with a B.S. degree in geophysical engineering he got his Masters in the military but after 20 years, he had retired as Lieutenant Colonial in order to get his doctoral degree with out tdi’s or having courses interrupted by military duties. He wants to become a civilian Professor of Geophysical engineering..
Todd looked at her rather sheepishly. “Actually, I have a favor to ask you, so maybe I should be buying.” It was on the tip of her tongue to say something funny but once she got a look at Todd’s face she decided better of it, he seemed to be genuinely in need of something.
“OK, well do I need to eat first or is the favor that will spoil my appetite?” She wished she hadn’t been so flippant, Todd looked really upset.
59 pages later…
By the time the waiter came back for an order the ladies had both decided on the salad bar. Between trips the conversation continued in a way that just yesterday Peggy would have thought impossible. She started telling Chris things that she hadn’t spoken of in years.
“We had a travel agency, Jeffrey loved to travel. I really just liked being with him, no matter where we were.” Taking a moment to enjoy the memory of traveling with Jeffrey. “He was kind of like you he didn’t fly very well. He hated take-offs and landings.”
“Pat always wanted to travel, but we never had the money to do too much traveling. He would always pick up brochures and we would have dinners from different places.” Peggy could tell that Chris was enjoying the memories of those dinners.
“This is rather odd, I don’t remember the last time I talked about Jeffrey that didn’t involve sadness and death.” The smile that was on her face let Chris know that she really was enjoying the conversation.
“My Mom always said that death is only one part of life, fun and laughter are just as much a part of it.” The restaurant had closed around them so they moved their chat to the lobby, sitting next to the fountain in comfortable chairs.
“So how about your travel agency? Do you still have it? Could you have given us a better deal that what we got?” Peggy could tell that Chris was getting sleepy, she felt rather guilty about keeping her talking but Peggy really was enjoying herself
“No, sold the agency. I am not sure what kind of deal you got, it looks like you are getting really tired. How long are you all going to be here? Maybe we can talk again tomorrow?” Just about the time she mentioned what time it was Peggy and Chris heard what could only have been the return of the partying group.
“Wow you are back rather early. What’s up?” The arrival of the group seemed to have perked Chris back up a bit.
The answers that came rapid fire were almost intelligible. But they all seemed to be the same type of answer – the travel day had worn on them as well. The group had grown some, now it included a couple of younger men. Peggy could only think that the men didn’t look like they had called it a night willingly. They were trying to get some of the women to join them in the hotel bar for drink or two. But to no luck. The group said good bye and Peggy joined in the exodus to the rooms. As they got to the elevator Chris asked Peggy “What time are you going to the beach tomorrow? Want to join us? We are planning on spending the day on the beach and go out tomorrow night. Care to join us?”
“Sure, about 10ish?” Peggy agreed with no thought of returning to Idaho Springs.
OK, synopsis – lady looses her husband. Lady finds hunky looking bartender, guilt happens, travel happens, I think in the end they will get together.
I am currently at 20,000 words so I have just between 1 and 19,999 words to get their world ironed out. Do you think I can do it? Do you think I should do it? and lastly do you think that making some poor judge read through it would be worth while? Let me know