Underwood Scotch and Wry Ch 42

Brian-Head-Shot-for-ExtremelyAvgOutside the auditorium the media waited for their sound bite.

Arthur let them quiet down and then said, “I’m pleased to get this whole misunderstanding sorted out.”

One reporter yelled, “Will you be pursuing any further legal action?”

Jerry said, “We are considering all of our options, but have no further comment on the actions of any media outlets that may have libeled my client.”

Another reporter asked, “Do you feel vindicated by today’s results.”

Arthur said, “Yes. I’d rather focus on the future, than worry about the post…two weeks.” He looked at Robert and smiled.

The next volley of questions were ignored.

Robert stepped forward and said, “Today, we are pleased to announce that Arthur Byrne has signed a one book deal for his new novel.”

A one beat pause was followed by a cacophony of questions. Over the next fifteen minutes Arthur and Robert hinted at the plot, discussed his long absence, and revealed that the advance was in the low seven figure range but wouldn’t give specifics.

Susan, who had built up a nice little following on her blog, was first to get the story of his new book deal out. It went viral and her subscriptions grew by nearly eight thousand over the next few days.

A. started dating Susan. Arthur never did learn his real name or give him any additional letters.

The crowd at Edgar’s Pit became a massive social media meeting. Everyone had their smart phones, lap tops, and iPads working overtime. People wanted to hear about the new book, which Arthur gladly described in as much detail as he could. Robert had asked that he not give too much away.

There was much less binge drinking than one might have imagined. At least a dozen people were writing blog posts. Arthur declared that they would all be getting extra credit in SM 301. The bar manager gave away hot wings all night long.

Arthur sat in the same booth where the problems had started.

Wen sat next to him, her laptop open, and she said, “You need to start answering some of your tweets.”

Arthur put his arm around her and said, “What are these tweets you speak of? I’m a wordsmith, I can’t be bothered with such trivialities.”

Wen elbowed him sharply in the ribs. “It wasn’t a request, bub.” She swung the computer so that the keyboard was within Arthur’s reach. “Here, I’ve got Tweetdeck up, it is logged onto your account, so go.”

“I don’t think this social media stuff is going to catch on.”

“You may be right, but there are almost three dozen people congratulating you on your new book.” She gave him a look that had three parts scary, one part cute as a button, and one dash of pending celibacy.

 Arthur shivered a little, ordered a scotch, and typed, “Thanks, I appreciate it. I’ve been away too long. I hope I can still craft an interesting tale.” He hit send.

Wen nodded and then gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Keep going.”

Two tables over a young man yelled, “I got a reply from the famous author Robert Byrne on Twitter.”

Everyone laughed.

Across the bar, in a quiet booth, Emily and Eric were midway through their second pitcher when they stopped kissing long enough to get back together.

Somewhere around midnight Wen let Arthur stop with his correspondence. Lawrence was sober and offered to drive Arthur home. Wen came along, too.

Kurt and his boyfriend were outside the bar smoking and gave Arthur one last congrats on his triumph.


Wen came out of the bedroom wearing one of Arthur’s tee-shirts. “Are you coming to bed?”

Arthur sat at his typewriter staring at a blank piece of paper. Next to him sat the completed manuscript. “You know the irony of all of this?”

She kissed him on the neck and said, “No.”

“I was trapped here and other than playing with Maltese some each day, all there was to do was write. I don’t think I’ve ever been so productive. Even the drive to New York gave me time to figure out the rest of the story.”

She rubbed his shoulders and said, “So, what are you going to put on that blank piece of paper and why don’t you use your computer?”

“I don’t use the computer because I like the sound it makes. As for this white space, it doesn’t haunt me like before. What Robert didn’t mention is that there is a second, secret book deal.”

Wen sort of hugged and wiggled onto his lap. “I can keep a secret.”

“You promise.”

“Cross my heart.”

“Well, I’ve always wanted to know if I could do it again.”


“Write a book that people would buy.”

“Didn’t you just do that?”

“Yes and no. The book will sell because of all the attention I’ve gotten. There will be people who liked the last one and some new folks, but what I want to know is can I sell a book as someone nobody has heard of?”

“I don’t understand.”

“The secret book deal is for a manuscript under a pseudonym.”

“What a fun idea. I’m sure it will be great.”

“I’m going to need to do all the marketing, probably use that social media stuff all the kids are talking about and do it anonymously. I might need some help.”

Wen chirped, “I could help!”

“I was hoping you’d say that. In fact, I’d like to hire you full time as my manager/social media consultant. You would have to list me and the pseudonym as different clients, but we can figure that out later, when you’re not so mostly naked.”

Wen gave Arthur the softest kiss he had ever known and said, “I’m not cheap, but you can afford me. Do you know what it is called, yet?”

Arthur was losing interest in talking about writing and said, “What?”

“Does the secret book have a title?”

“It does.”


“Give me my tee-shirt back and I’ll tell you.”

Wen smiled wryly and pulled the shirt over her head and wrapped it around his neck.

Arthur whispered, “Killing Hemingway,” and they stopped talking about books.


                                                                                The End  

tomstronach like.author.displayName 1 Like

Well, I'm back with abject apologies for my absence but, I think I actually preferred hitting chapters 31 to 42 in one go. A fine story with a triumphal ending with Arthur getting the girl too. Normally a murder death kill reader but thoroughly enjoyed this

ExtremelyAvg moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @tomstronach I'm so glad to see you are back. I was thinking about you on the way home from work less than 30 minutes ago. I hope you are feeling better.


As for the ending, I left out the part where seven minutes after the last sentence Author and everyone he cared about was killed when Mary, a collector of prohibition era Tommy Guns went on a spree. She, too, was killed fourteen minutes later when a high school boy with his learners permit t-boned her in an intersection as she fled the scene. The boy was texting a girl who was way out of his league. The boy, girl, and seven other people I never mentioned in the story were, that very evening, abducted by aliens...and killed.  The real end.  :-)

tomstronach like.author.displayName 1 Like

@ExtremelyAvg Brian, thank you for thinking of me, I am touched. Still no further on in knowing what's wrong, was back at hospital this morning (sat) for more tests, but feeling a bit better. I suspect the missing ending was just for me and to my predilection towards carnage and mayhem but I also find as I get older I get tearful very easily just the other night I was welling up at a particularly poignant rendition of a Michael Jackson song but performed by the Andre Rieu orchestra and singers either it's my age or the illness ......

ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @tomstronach  I meant to write, I've been known to tear up at memorial video's of guinea pigs and hamsters on Youtube.

MZazeela like.author.displayName 1 Like

Simply fabulous!


Good triumphs over evil.


I wonder how my college English professors would have analyzed this?

ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @MZazeela Thanks so much for making it all the way to the end. I really enjoyed your comments along the way.  If you are looking for something else to read, well, the next book is called "Killing Hemingway". I believe Ch 1 is the next post. I'd love to have you along for that ride, too.

BetsyKCross like.author.displayName 1 Like


Juliabarrett like.author.displayName 1 Like

Love this!  Hear me clapping???

ExtremelyAvg moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Juliabarrett I do! Will you hang around for the next novel? I'm very excited about it. Since I left the comment below, I've decided I am going to put up the first chapter of "Killing Hemingway" tonight.


Oh, and it's my Birthday...so you sort of have to.

StephanieBerget like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Love the name of the new book and I will stick around for your next one.

ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @StephanieBerget Awesome! Betsy is in, too. I'm going to either start with the new one tonight or tomorrow. I may take a post and explain what my plans are with regard to publishing these books, but I've not decided if tonight is the night for that.

BetsyKCross like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'm so glad that the mess got neatly wrapped up and thrown away. I thought that it was going to go on for a while. You left a lot to the imagination. Very good.

ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @BetsyKCross You think you can handle one more book? I'd really like it if  you hung out for the next one, too.

BetsyKCross like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @ExtremelyAvg Absolutely! I'm in! I used to read a lot of blogs. I'm down to a few keepers. This is one of them.:)