An Editor’s Rejection Mistake
by Paul Beckman
having a bad streak of luck—another story rejected today. This was a sure thing
so all I can figure is the editors have it out for me.
Mikey “the Blade” Morgan, six months out on parole when this story came back.
Not even an attaboy or personal note. It was the standard fuck you—your story
doesn’t fit into this issue at this time but consider buying a subscription or
hire our editing service. The Editors.
what you know and I did. I
wrote about slicing a guy open because he didn’t pay the vigorish he promised
me last week. My character, Slim Tim, broke into the weasel’s house and took
everything of value, filled a pillow case, and poured himself a glass of rotgut
bourbon and sat in the comfortable leather chair to wait and then dozed off.
“the weasel” woke him closing
the door when he got home about midnight and Mikey confronted him and got his
attention by pushing the button on the switchblade. In out in out in out.
was waiting in Editor’s house drinking Chivas when he got home. His wife went
up to the bedroom and Editor went to pour himself a drink. I was standing in
the shadows holding the bottle.
Weasel” swore he’d have the
money in two days and Slim Tim glared at him pushing the knife button so the
blade went in and out. “I swear on my children On my wife On my mother I’ll
have the money in two days.”
have two minutes,” Slim
said wiggling the blade under the Weasel’s chin.
are you?” Editor asked and I told him and I let him know that like my character,
Slim Jim, I had no conscience and didn’t think much of his rejection letters
and rejection in any form.
one of my interns made a mistake,” Editor said. “They’re always fucking up.
Come into my study and I’ll pull it back up on the computer and take another
Mikey. This is a fine story. I don’t know what that bitch was thinking about.
I’ll add it right now and call it our feature story of the month. Whaddaya
think? Sound good? Say, would you pour me a drink while I insert your story.
I’m also sending you an acceptance letter asking to see more of your work.
Sound good, Mikey? All good, huh?”
flicked his blade in
Weasel’s nostril and the blood gushed. “Feel like Jack Nicolson?” he asked. Then
he slashed Weasel’s bicep and Weasel began begging, making quite the racket, as
he was crying. “I’ll give you the money,” Weasel said. “It’s in the kitchen, in
the refrigerator freezer. Cold cash. Okay? Like that—cold cash? Get it?”
pulled the cash from behind
the Hungry Man TV dinners and held it out to Slim just as Mrs. Weasel who’d
been awakened by Weasel’s screaming and crying stood watching in the doorway. As
Slim held his hands out for the cold cash after putting his blade down on the
table Mrs. Weasel, with a two-handed police stance holding her 9mm Beretta took
out Slim with a double tap right above his ear.
Editor said. “Take a look. How do you like it—framed right on page one? It’s a
beaut and my readers are going to love your story.”
Mikey was looking at the large display on the desktop, he thought he saw a reflection
on the screen of a woman in a nightgown holding a rifle.
In his younger years
Paul Beckman was a numbers runner, a fence, and hung around with the bad crowd.
He still hangs with a dubious crowd.