An Unsolicited Manuscript
"You'll never believe what I got in the mail today!"
I said to my son,Bill, as he walked in the front door. I looked around. Where had I put the mail?
"You won a million dollars."
"Don't be silly." There was the stack of mail, on the coffee table.
"Someone finally sent you anthrax." Bill dropped his backpack on the chair.
"Put your backpack in the closet." I picked up the mail and leafed through it. "No, this was from a publishing company where I submitted my picture book manuscript. You know, the one with the princess and the argument over colors." Where was that postcard?
Bill sat down on the couch and reached for the clicker.
"They didn't even open my envelope to read the story. They're not accepting unsolicited manuscripts since the anthrax scare." I looked more slowly through the stack of mail. It couldn't have just walked away. Could it?
"What?" Bill turned on the television and put his feet up on the coffee table.
"Put your feet down. Yes, they said they were sorry, but they discarded it unopened because they are not accepting unsolicted mail due anymore due to the anthrax issue of a few years ago." I paraphrased it from memory.
"They dont know anything about anthrax then. According to my science teacher, if your envelope contained anthrax they wouldn't have had to open it to have been contaminated." Bill flipped through the channels. "And since when have publishers been sent anthrax?"
"I don't know. But I'm sending them a reply by postcard so they won't have to open it. I'm saying that I understand their position, that I accept their apology that they threw away my manuscript but luckily I have more copies and I'd be happy to send my manuscript to them as solicited mail." Then I thought of something. "How would they know if it's solicited or not. Would I mark it as solicited? And wouldn't someone sending them anthrax be able to mark their envelope as solicited, too?"
"Oh, and if I still don't hear anything from them, I'll just send them my story by postcard. One a day, with a paragraph on each. It will be perfectly safe for them to look at."
"I thought you didn't want to be a famous published author. Why are you going to all this trouble?"
"I want to be rejected because I'm a bad writer, not because of a toxic white powder that I don't have anything to do with. Besides, as irritating as your father was yesterday, I don't think fame and fortune is so bad. That woman he leaves me for who cooks and spends money is welcome to him. See how long she lasts."
"What about us, your children? Weren't we going to drive fast cars and die?"
"I've thought about that, too." I smiled at him. Planning was everything. "You're not driving. The chauffeur is."
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