Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Big Day by Michael C Keith

Mitch Connelly's first novel is about to be released to the world, and he is so excited he loses concentration at just the wrong moment; by Michael C Keith.

But the days of golden dreams had perished.
 - Emily Bronte

Mitch Connelly woke up excited about the day ahead. An advance copy of his first book, a crime mystery, was due to arrive from the publisher. His anticipation level had been building steadily since his manuscript had been accepted almost a year earlier by one of the better presses. It was one of his dreams come true. The other important dream he had already realized by marrying his college sweetheart. The whole thing was storybook, he thought. "Got the most beautiful girl on campus and now my book... oh my, God, my book!" he squealed and leapt from the bed. When he reached the kitchen, his wife, Jennifer, was already dressed for work and looking drop dead gorgeous.

"Coffee's ready, sleepy head."

"You're going to have to fight off the guys at the office looking like that. Just make sure you do fight them off," said Mitch, kissing Jennifer on the cheek and patting her behind.

"No problem with that. They know where I stand. Married to the best looking crime writer in the whole world."

Mitch gave her a second kiss. "Today is the big day! Hello Pulitzer Prize!" blurted Mitch.

"You need to gain some confidence, honey," joked Jennifer, reaching for her briefcase. "See you later, Robert B. Parker."

"Tonight we celebrate, so get home early, baby."

"I will," said Jennifer on her way to the door. "Wouldn't miss the chance to be seen with a famous author."

"Love you!" shouted Mitch, receiving the same shout-back.



Mitch readied himself for work but as he thought about it his mood began to darken. Teaching four English composition courses every semester to barely literate students at Last Chance Junior College - as he called Farpin State - had taken a toll on him. These kids haven't got a clue, and if they did, they wouldn't pursue it. What a waste of a perfectly good PhD, he lamented. He was right, too. Most of the students simply didn't seem to care. The only consolation he derived from his eight years at the institution was that he had his summers free to write. "God, let it be a hit so I can get out of here!" he mumbled, as he pulled out of the driveway and headed for work.

The campus was fifteen minutes from the Connellys' house, an easy trip through winding and tree-lined streets. Mitch had used the drive to adjust his attitude for the challenges that awaited him. What you're doing is important and necessary... even a noble calling. They're really not bad kids, just not Rhodes Scholars, he told himself in an attempt to exorcize the urge to tell his department chair what he really thought about the lowly institution of higher learning - Place only exists to give parents someplace to dump their little morons, he had been tempted to say on many occasions.

Ahead of him a school bus came to a stop to pick up a small girl standing on the opposite side of the street. But Mitch was lost in his thoughts of glory and fame. This book could do it all. It's good, really good. The pre-pub reviews have been great. Maybe a movie will...

When he saw the stopped bus in front of him, its flashing lights didn't register their significance. He kept driving to pass it. Then the small child appeared in front of him, and it was too late to avoid hitting her.

"Oh, my God!" Mitch screamed, climbing from his reverie. He looked through his rearview mirror and saw the child lying on the street in front of the school bus, the driver and a hysterical parent running to her side. Mitch hit the brakes, but then the consequences of what he had just done struck him and he pressed the accelerator and sped away.

Jesus, they saw you! They saw my license plate. I'm dead. Everything is ruined. The book... Jennifer. It's all gone. I'll go to jail. What about the kid? You didn't stop. Maybe you killed her. What are you doing, you stupid bastard? Go back... go back! Maybe you can help. But he didn't heed his own words. Instead he drove back home.



Mitch sat in the driveway, his mind swirling as the car engine ran. Get away! Run! Go to some place where no one knows you. Hide!

The sun crept behind heavy clouds causing the neighborhood to become as bleak as Mitch's thoughts.

Not without Jennifer. Never! What are you thinking, you frigging jerk? There is no escaping what happened... what you did was unconscionable. Everything was going to be so great, too. Now it's all destroyed. After a few more desperate moments, Mitch climbed from the car. As he moved up the walkway, the door to his house swung open and Jennifer appeared, waving an object in her hand.

"How did you know to come back? I forgot my cell and returned for it. When I got here, the Fed Ex truck drove up. Look, it came early."

His dire thoughts consuming him, Mitch didn't grasp the meaning of his wife's words.

It's Leaving the Scene... your book, honey! Your book!"

Mitch took the volume from her hand and tossed it into the street.

"What are you doing?" squealed Jennifer.

"Call the police," uttered Mitch, tears streaming down his face. "I have to report a crime."

10 comments:

  1. very effective,there is a lesson to be learnt here,when you´re happiest you´re at your most vulnerable?

    Michael McCarthy

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  2. Love the irony in the book's title. I was really liking Mitch (and rooting for him) until his holier than thou side came out with his thoughts on his students, which made me feel a little less bad for the bottom dropping out on him. So nice set up.

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  3. Life can turn on a dime!

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  4. The story nicely addresses the fall from the highest. Drama pulls the reader through to the correct ending.
    Regards
    Colin

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  5. Irony at it's best. An enjoyable read. Nicely done.

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  6. Good story. Long road up--quick one down.

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  7. I liked the story very much. A lesson to be learned here. I would have liked it to be a bit longer though. You perked my interest in Mitch's backstory. What was he like before, etc. Good work!

    James Cox

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  8. Loved it! He's fulfilled his dream, he thinks he can do no wrong but his unconscious mind, as mapped out in his novel, knows better. As Anonymous says, a lesson for us all (maybe he's teaching his students more than he realises). A lot of depth in an easy to read story. Keep up the good work!

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  9. I liked this! Didn't like him though. I got a chuckle out of the book title. A quick enjoyable read.

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  10. Hi Michael,

    This was a bit sad. I wish you would write about their feast at night. You know, these days I'm trying to avoid negative thoughts :)

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