The Last Chapter is Missing ~ Prologue
“Dammit, I like this book, no matter how it ends… yes, I know we have to find “the real ending” — someone should write a novel about a novelist who disappears a few pages and a whole chapter before the work is finished.”
Jonas Keppleman looked up to the small table of two people watching him and smiled. They were looking at him as if he were some sort of a science fiction apperition rather than the Editor of a mainstream publishing company with Sixth Avenue in New York right out the window behind him. Janet smiled, she liked his sense of the absurd in the midst of a lot of folks who didn’t seem real or to have a sense of humor. But, she didn’t say anything.
“More to the point, Jonas, we need to get the missing six pages of Chapter 14 and the whole of Chapter 15 — I need not tell you that deadline is only 32-33 days away.”
Keppleman smiled at Alex Horn, who, if given the chance, would pull a knife out of his stiff suit jacket and plunge it into Jonas Keppleman’s heart. This, Horn thought, would assure him the next step up the ladder and…
“All right…” Jonas seemed magically to be holding a key in front of them — where had that come from, Horn thought. Janet smiled at these goings-on. Whenever these two were put into the same room… well, what did it
matter? She smiled at her boss. “Let me guess, your extensive connections in Northern New Jersey stole that key which opens Joesph Kellnur’s apartment door in Chicago?”
“How did you know… no, not about the key, but about my connections in Jersey?” Janet only smiled and looked down at her hands. Horn however snatched the key and handed it to Janet. “All right, enough of this… we want you to get to Chicago and find this guy’s apartment, use this (and he held up the key) to get into Kellnur’s place, open up his computer files and other stuff, find the missing pages and chapter, and FedEx them back to us.”
He smiled at Janet and put his hand over hers. “Then, Janet, we’ll send you a plane ticket to wherever you want to go and let you have a month to put together the outline for the novel we know you have buried in that thoughtful head of yours and bring it back to us for consideration.”
Alex Horn smiled at Jonas and Janet as if he knew, positively knew, that this was always off to the side of their hearts, and deepest wishes, that Janet wanted to be the 734th woman to write The Great American Novel.
“Does it matter that this is absolutely against the law?”
“Yes, Janet,” it was Jonas now, “it matters and No, it doesn’t matter, we have 33 days to get this on press for the Advance copies needed and we have, in hand, what we know will be a winning piece of fiction. We expect no Pulizer Prizes, all we want to do is make back our advance and have a good book in the next line up.”
Both the men looked at Janet Kidder. She in turn looked at each one of them and nodded at them, these two driven men.
“Fine… I’ll be in touch.”