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A Fairytale Of New York

Emerging from the subway I checked inside my document case for the tenth time. In it was my story and a letter inviting me to meet with Abel Zanzinger.

As the icy wind bundled me along West 51st Street, I remembered the promise I'd made to myself. Either get my story included in Zanzinger's forthcoming anthology of new writers or return to my job at the bank.

Inside the Hotel Raphael the reception clerk glanced at my invitation, then indicated a girl  nursing a document case just like mine. 

"The young lady is here on a similar errand. Take a seat, while I call Mr Zanzinger's suite."

I offered my hand. "I'm Harry Crane. It's a pleasure to meet a fellow writer."

She smiled sweetly. "I'm Jennifer Fonda. Why is that man waving at us?"

We took the elevator to the penthouse floor. The writer's suite was bigger than my apartment. He sat at a desk by the window. Arranged on it were a typewriter, an electric fan and a pile of closely typed pages held down by a heavy  glass ashtray.

Zanzinger patted the manuscript. "My novel. The finest one written since the war. This is the only copy. Can't abide carbons."

We sat together on the bed, hardly daring to breathe.

"You recall I asked all of you short listed writers to send a picture?"

He paused for effect, like an old stage actor.

"That's because, when you get to my age, you often prefer to watch."

I glanced at Jennifer. In my mind I saw the last of my bridges burning.

Zanzinger eased himself upright. "Take your time. I have to go consult with the manager about a reception I'm holding"

There was silence, except for the steady beat of the Art Deco clock on the wall.

"I guess there are just some tales that are not for sale."

Jennifer grinned. "This one is not ended yet."

I watched as she made some quick adjustments to the room.

Out on the street it was still windy, though too cold for snow. We clasped hands and stood together, while  sheets  of paper streamed  like giant snowflakes, through the wide open window of the penthouse suite.

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