No Time To Sleep, Part 1
Michael sat down in the middle of the road and began to cry. How could he have possibly ended up in this predicament? Just twenty-four hours ago he was sitting outside a quaint café, sipping a cappuccino while marveling at how blessed his life was. He had just signed his first book deal with Madison Publishers, an up and coming publisher interested in mysteries and thrillers. He’d worked, no, bled nearly two years of his life on his book, Now She Sleeps. To find someone interested in a first-time author was rare, and he knew it.
When he received the call from his agent with the incredible news, Michael was sure it was a cruel prank. But knowing Liza, she was not one to make light of a publishing contract. Liza was as pragmatic as agents come. He’d often try to joke with the seemingly aloof woman for her to only smirk at his apparent failure. Still, she was a great conversationalist and often gave him solid advice, and not just about publishing. Over the last two years, Michael had come to appreciate and even enjoy Liza’s company.
He was feeling ecstatic from the news and realized he didn’t really have anyone to celebrate with. On impulse, he decided to ask his sensible agent out to celebrate. “I feel like drinking a toast. Hell, several! Would you like to help me celebrate this amazing news?”
There was a small pause on the other side when Liza finally said, “I think I could manage one drink. But I have an early start tomorrow, so that’s it, one drink.”
“Sure, sure. We could start earlier if you want. I’ll probably hang out for at least a couple of rounds. Gotta celebrate this up right.” Michael grinned into his phone. Hell, I may even treat the bar to a round, he thought to himself.
They agreed upon an early happy hour at 3 pm and after he hung up, high-fived himself. At last, I’m a legit writer. No more pretending my crazy ideas are just manic hallucinations. He looked at his cell phone, Damn, only 11:11 am! He started pacing around his small New York City apartment. It was barely big enough to turn around in, but the tiny studio had served him well as a base in the heart of “Creative Central.”
Should I call my mom and tell her? No, let’s sign the paperwork first. You never know what will happen between now and this afternoon.
“Fuck it! I’m gonna get some lunch and fresh air,” he decided out loud. “But first, I need some smokes.” Michael threw on his weathered bomber jacket that he had scored from the thrift shop down the street. The supple leather still had a few years on it before it became too shabby to wear. Michael grabbed his keys and headed to the rickety elevator. Hopefully, this old hunk of metal will take me to the first floor today. As the wheezing doors closed, the elevator groaned and began its descent.
Michael strode out of his apartment building with new confidence in his step. Holding his head up high and an almost cheesy grin on his face he walked down a couple of blocks to the local Stop-n-Shop to grab a pack of Winston’s. I know I need to give these up. After the book tour…surely there will be a book tour.
“Que pasa, dude?” Mateo, the clerk asked him.
“Muy bien, amigo! Muy bien, indeed! I think I have a publishing deal. Gonna see my agent in a couple of hours to get the details.”
“That’s awesome dude! We need to celebrate. Maybe grab some drinks and pool. Let you give me some of your hard-earned cash to me, eh?”
Michael took his change and cigarettes from Mateo and grinned. “Sure thing pendejo, but it will be me lining my wallet.”
“Whatevs, man. Is that the psycho killer story?” Mateo inquired.
“Yeah, it is. Don’t worry, it’s just a story.” Michael laughed.
“Sure thing, you keep telling yourself that. You gotta be a little nuts to write that shit. But hey, if it makes ya money, sweet.”
Michael looked at his cell and grimaced. “I need to grab some food and head to my agent’s office. Catch ya later.”
Mateo waved. “Later amigo.”
To be continued…