Ray Greenblatt is an editor on the Schuylkill Valley Journal and teaches a poetry course at Temple University OLLI. His fiction has been published in periodicals such as Boston Literary Journal, Innisfree, and The Moon. His latest work is an experimental novel—half prose, half-poetry—Twenty Years on Graysheep Bay.
THE ROSE AND THE CHAIN
Porter glanced around the humble apartment as the man opposite him read. Some minutes passed, too quickly he thought. Then the man looked up.
“You are mistaken. I didn’t write this book.”
“What do you mean, Bill? I was your editor. I remember every scene. The Rose and the Chain was so powerful I cried at the end. That was your break-through work. Now it’s called The Pink Velvet Sky which misses the entire point. The author I never even heard of. But it’s a runaway best seller, breaking all records! I can hire attorneys—it would be worth a fight to prove you wrote it.”
“This is not my writing.”
Porter sat down and noticed Bill’s glazed eyes. “You were in agony when you lost the manuscript. You retraced each step that day. You went to the bus company. You put ads in the paper. You didn’t sleep for weeks.”
Silence was heavy in the room. “I was a newspaperman for many years,” Bill said. “It was grueling work but I made a living. Writing fiction was just a sideline at which I was not nearly as successful. Now that I’ve retired, all I want is peace and quiet.” He slowly stood up.
Porter was slumped in his chair, drained and dazed. He felt like weeping.