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David & Judy Elliott Meet with Bailey Herrington

“David, why did you ask Mr. Herrington to meet us at the Moon Under Water?”

“ I wanted you to see it. I think it’s the coolest pub – ever. Here, right through these double wooden doors.”

“What a great place. My gosh! There’s a photograph of George Orwell pouring stout from a Guinness bottle into a china cup.” Judy grabbed my arm. “That’s Hermione Granger sitting at that table with Ron Weasley and Harry!”

Sally the barmaid approached. “David, glad you’re back!”

“Hi, Sally. This is Judy.”

“Judy, you are totally lush!”

Judy blushed. “Thanks, Sally.”

“Can I get you a table and a couple pints of Newcastle?”

“I see the man we’re meeting sitting at that table next to the kitchen. Please bring the pints to us there, Sally. Thanks.”

Bailey Herrington stood when we approached. “Hi, Judy! What say, Dave? I assume Sally took your drink requests. I’m curious to learn why you asked for a meeting.”

“We have some serious stuff to take up with you, Judy began. “You call yourself a writer. Correct?”

“Writing is more in the vein of penning a thank you note to your grandfather for his graduation gift. I’m an author. More to the point, I’m your author. And Dave’s.”

Sally plunked the Newcastles on the table along with a large dish of French fries, uh, chips. Thanks, Sally. Put those on Mr. Herrington’s tab, please – and be sure he pays in cash.”

“OK, you’re our author,” I resumed. “We found out you’re republishing “Pack of Scoundrels” in paperback.”

“The current term is softcover,” Herrington said. “My wife, Karen, is reformatting it and working on a new cover. It hasn’t officially ‘launched’ yet, but progress is being made.”

“I hope you treat your wife better than us,” said Judy.

“Pack of Scoundrels resembles your first two books: What the Barber Knew, and Dead to Rights. You mess with our personal lives and stick us into nasty situations, but ‘Scoundrels’ is the most dangerous story. Judy and I nearly got killed. Enough’s enough, Bailey.”

“ I don’t want to pull rank, but I”m the guy who created you. I made you up. You are Fictitious Folks. Apocryphal Amorphouses. Make-believe Mortals. Mythical Units. Imaginary Entities. Cooked Up Kin.”

“OK, spare us the Monty Python dead parrot imitation.”

“You’re saying we’re not real? That we don’t have minds of our own, or feelings?” Judy took a swig of ale. “Have you forgotten how hard you tried to keep us from falling in love when we thought we were cousins? If we’re only figments of your imagination, how come we successfully resisted you on that?”

“Besides,” I chimed in, “if we didn’t have real emotions, your books would be pretty crappy.”

“My books aren’t crappy. Thanks to me, you two are exceptional young people, intelligent, likable. I gave you both exceptional moral character and courage.”

“There you go,” I said. “‘You gave us.’ I suppose you think you discovered the identity of Cholla, and solved that teenager’s murder. It’s all about you, is it?”

“Well, I wrote the story, not you.”

“You wrote the story,” Judy said. “So this is your story, your book?”

“Of course. That’s my name on the cover of the ebook, and it’ll be there on the softcover.”

“David’s name is on the cover, too.”

“Yes, but . . .”

“But you’re insisting that it’s your book. And your story.” “Yes, Judy, I do insist.”

“OK. So you arranged for David to walk in on a double homicide with nothing to defend himself.”

“That was a significant part of my story.”

“Do you have nightmares about that scene, Bailey?”

“No. Why would I?”

“David, your imaginary, make-believe, figment of your imagination does. He’s still being treated by a psychologist for what he went through. But I forgot: David and I don’t have any feelings.”

“As your author, I’m the one who creates the plot, the characters the whole works.”

“Yeah, you’re the one who had Judy kidnaped. Those two butchers nearly killed her.”

“That was very rough on Judy, very frightening. That’s the way it is for characters in books. I do put you two into some dangerous situations, but I’ll always get you out.”

“You’ll get us out. This always come back to you, Bailey. Tell you what: In your next book David and I will just be blips of ink on paper. We won’t say or do anything on our own. So you just write your story, and see how that works out. Come on David. Let’s go.”

“The Moon Under Water” is a 1946 essay by George Orwell, originally published as the Saturday Essay in the Evening Standard on 9 February 1946, in which he provided a detailed description of his ideal pub, the fictitious Moon Under Water. Source: Wikipedia.

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