Chapter 1 The Deadline
Bree’s novel, “Stella Prize” about a black female journalist that discovers undercover crimes in Harlem NY in the 1950’s, have got her stumped. Her latest publishing company has agreed to publish her book after reviewing the first three chapters, but she has not written anything since contacting them two weeks ago. The publishing company wants the entire manuscript by Friday which is in three days, or there will be no deal.
Bree has been in her office for hours staring at the laptop, hoping that an amazing idea will magically leap off the screen and possess her fingers like they use too, but she is heartbroken. John, her husband, walks in Bree’s office with the biggest smile on his face and sat a rusty old typewriter right in front of her, almost crushing her computer keyboard. “Now,” he says, as he wipes the dirt and dust off of his calloused hands, “You can write your masterpiece.”
John Waters, 32, a handsome fireman with sky blue eyes, broad shoulders, and salt and pepper hair, is immensely proud of his wife, Ambrosia ‘Bree.’ Bree, 31, is a tan African American woman, slender built, with long blonde braids to her waist is excited to see her husband of three years. Still in the newlywed phase, he brings her gifts weekly, and she looks forward to it. The expectation of a surprise present always leaves her in suspense, but the gift that John brings through the door this day would be the most unusual.
“A masterpiece,” Bree says sarcastically as she looks at him and shakes her head, “You must have inhaled too much smoke running in and out of those burning buildings. Bree then begins to look more inquisitively at the typewriter.
How old is this thing anyway?” “I don’t know, John replied, “but, I got it at the fire rummage sale, when I saw it sitting on the pile of things, it seemed like it was calling out to me. “I hope not because you know that I am super scary and superstitious,” Bree continued with her sarcasms, “Oh, I see that you also got the typing paper for it and two ribbons.” Bree then looked around her office, snubbing the historical value of the typewriter and in her mind imagining where she would place it once her husband left the office.
Bree was very particular about the décor, and the booklet green color old typewriter that looked more like the color of gooseberry green, did not match anything in her burgundy and cherry wood office. “I know that you like this sort of thing and I wanted to bring you home something special, that could possibly connect with you,” John said.
Bree then realized her snobbish ways and took a deep breath. Bree remembered then what was her real gift, her husband, and by John being a fireman, just coming home unharmed in Bree’s mind, was the greatest gift that he could ever bestow upon her. Finally, she came to her senses and said what she should have said in the first place, “Thank you sweetheart,” and kissed him softly on the cheek.
“You know we had three major fires this week,” John said, “and four of those old houses downtown on Bradford and third street burned straight to the ground. This old typewriter was the only thing in one of those old houses that did not get disintegrated in the fire, ain’t that crazy?” John looked excitedly at Bree, his eyes stretched, beaming, as if he bought her a dozen roses instead of a dusty old relic. Bree wasn’t thrilled about her gift, but she knew that John’s heart was in the right place, and he was just thinking of her writer’s block.
Bree had been an adjunct professor for seven years at a local college and desperately applied for full time work because she knows undoubtably that she has a gift for teaching. However, her dream job is to become a full-time paid mystery writer. Although things were tight financially, John insisted that she took the summer off to pursue her dream full time especially with the offer of a book deal. Bree’s heart and soul poured out when she was writing, and she normally got lost in the creative world. But lately, her mind just could not focus. Maybe it was the pressure of just depending on John’s income, although she did not bring home much as a part-time professor, it was better than nothing.
Previously, Bree had self-published four novels and the last two were published by a small publishing house in Atlanta. But Bree was still vigorously searching for that one story that would make her words as timeless as her favorite authors work “ Charles Dicken’s, A Tale of Two Cities, Dicken’s words, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,” was forever tied to an unforgettable classic. Bree often felt like the human embodiment of Dicken’s, A Tale of Two Cities, struggling with the extreme counterpart of each part of herself. Bree meditated on the famous phrase and often wondered, what phrase in one of her books would finally distinguish her from every other author in the world?