“Where’s Margery?” / Memorable Fancies #141

Vince Darlington’s first novel was about to appear. He’d spent almost three years writing a gentle, loving, almost-fictitious story about his and Margery’s long affair and then marriage. Write. Write. Edit. Delete. Desperately search for the deleted file. Write more. Was that love scene strong enough? Too obvious? Perhaps – he shivered – boring?

Finally, the manuscript was done. He’d had many doubts about it, but finally found a publisher who thought it could sell, asked for only a few revisions.

One day a FedEx envelope arrived at Vince’s door, with a note “Hey, Vince, give me your read on these covers, will ya? We like ‘A’ here, but open minded as ever!” (signed) Sandy. Yeah, Sandy the open minded. Sure. He knew if he picked anything but “A” there would be unending go-rounds before he finally acknowledged that anything but “A” would doom his novel to the remainder bin at Barnes & Noble the day it was published.

He tore open the envelope. Vince had suggested hearts and flowers to his publisher, and a model’s gentle smile. Margery, the sometimes hard-edged, wouldn’t have liked that at all, but Vince did. He looked at cover “C.” Hearts and flowers, all right, but superimposed on a bloated question mark that filled half the cover. What was that for?

He looked at “B” and then the unavoidable “A.” Question marks again. They were skinny or fat, beige or salmon or pink, but they were there. Margery wouldn’t have liked the question marks, especially in beige. But she wasn’t the to-be-famous author, he was. Vince could have a damn question mark if he wanted to. But in fact he didn’t like the enormous symbols any more than she would have.

It was good that Margery wasn’t around anymore; she’d never have let him forget those stupid covers. She was always doing things like that, riding him for some innocent mistake even though it was never his fault. She hadn’t liked his novel, either, the drafts she’d seen of it. But now he’d show her that he could be a famous writer. He’d wished he’d been able to show her that. When she was alive.

Vince picked up the phone and called his publisher. To his surprise, he was put right through to Sandy. He explained his discomfort with the question marks. “Look, Vincent,” (she called him “Vincent,” not “Vince,” when she was annoyed. Margery used to do that, too.) “Look, Vincent, our marketing and graphic experts here like it, and we’re the ones taking the big risk with a new author.

“Besides,” she said, “Margery’s still missing, isn’t she? Sounds like a question mark to me.”


Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: Try Try Again – A novel of deadly U.S. political intrigue from Ashton Publishing Group (Australia).

TTA cover

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