Once More Part 1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The reclusive author Jack Hillerman decides to hold an impromptu book signing, his first in 35 years. He wonders how the fans will respond to this surprise move. If you haven't seen your hero in decades, is he still your hero?

Part 1 of 2

Submitted: July 08, 2017

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Submitted: July 08, 2017



Anonymity was a double edge sword for Jack Hillerman.

On one hand, he was a legendary author who wrote some of the greatest novels of all time. One in particular, "Othello's Revenge", was up there with the works of Hemingway and Pynchon as essential American classics. But like Thomas Pynchon and JD Salinger, Jack Hillerman was reclusive. Rarely leaving his ranch in Montana.

After a spur of the moment trip to meet a fan in person at her home in Boise Idaho, Jack Hillerman was coming out of his shell. He was slowly letting himself come back into the world. He started going out more and allowing his picture to be taken with fans. When ever someone came up to him, they couldn't really believe that they were talking to the legendary Jack Hillerman. He was in his 70's with dark hair and a greying beard. His voice had a little gravel due to the years of whiskey consumption. But Jack assured them that yes it was really him.

Jack was at his Montana Ranch when he received an email from his publisher. It was about two topics, his 50th year in writing and his new novel. The publisher loved it, claimed that it was right next to his classic "Othello's Revenge" and they were gonna pull out all the stops to make it his best selling book yet.

Hillerman chuckled at that thought. They had been saying that for 50 years. He continued reading and stopped when he read what their suggestion was to celebrate.

A tour of America.

30 cities in 30 days. Independent stores, Powell's, Books a million, festivals and even TV shows. Hillerman shook his head and reached for his phone.

He dialed up his agent in New York.

"Ken Lincoln's office, how may I help you?" The receptionist asked.

"Shelly, is he in?" Hillerman asked.

"Hi Mr Hillerman, I will transfer you over right now." Shelly said.

After a minute, Ken Lincoln answered.

"How's my favorite client?" Ken Lincoln asked.

"How is Thomas Pynchon?" Hillerman asked.

"Congrats on the new book, Jack. I'm hearing great things, destined to start at number two on NYT Bestseller list. Not to shabby." Ken said.

"It's this idea for a tour. They are out of their minds. It is not happening. Plain and simple." Jack said.

"Give it a chance." Ken said.

"The answer is no." Jack said.

He hung up the phone and walked over to his kitchen counter. He opened a Pepsi and let the idea of a tour sink in.

"I'm in my 70's, I don't need that stress in my life. A tour, who the hell am I, Neil Diamond? I'm happy to be right here in Gardiner. It would be one thing if say, I went to Bozeman or hell, even Idaho Falls, but a tour. No way in hell."

Hillerman walked into his bedroom and looked in the mirror. He was wearing a blue denim shirt and khaki pants with his cowboy boots. He rolled up his shirt sleeves and took one more look in the mirror. After he was satisfied with what he saw, he walked out and grabbed his keys to the pickup.

Leaving the driveway, he made his way towards town. One thing that had always amazed Hillerman about Gardiner was that it was literally the shape of a square. You could not get lost in this town, no matter how hard you try.

Hillerman pulled into the parking lot of Big Sky Books and Coffee. He stared at the window, which conveniently had a picture of his new book in the window. Hillerman smiled and started for the door.

Big Sky Books and Coffee was the biggest building in town. It had a great selection of over 11,000 books in store, not counting the warehouse three blocks over. Their coffee bar was modeled after the 1950's soda fountains.

Hillerman looked around for a minute, taking scope of the scene around him. The crowd was sparse. He found a counter where a worker was helping a customer.

Hillerman walked over to the counter. The customer walked over to where the book she wanted was at. The worker was a young guy in his early thirties with large black glasses similar to Hillerman's.

"Hi are you looking for a good book?" He asked.

"I have a good book in this store," Hillerman said.

"Ooooooooooh you must tell me," the worker said.

Hillerman shook his head.

"Well, Kyle, my name is Jack Hillerman and my book is Cool As A Breeze. I'm here to sign a copy for people. Stop standing around and let's sign books." Hillerman said.

"Hey Craig, come over to the counter." Kyle said.

Craig, a man with a more pronounced belly came over to the counter. Hillerman waited for the large man to make it over.

"Your Jack Hillerman?" Craig asked.

"Yes, now let's get to the books." Hillerman said

"Ok, we will get you to a table. Or would you like to stand behind the counter?" Craig asked.

"Counter for now." Hillerman said.

They made it to the back counter. Craig reached for the phone and spoke into the loud speaker.

"Ladies and Gentleman, we have a surprise author in the store. Making his first public appearance in 35 years, Jack Hillerman will sign copies of Cool As A Breeze at our front counter. Grab a copy and come say hi to our own living legend." Craig said.

Hillerman smiled. It was a nice intro. Now came the hardest part.

Waiting for the fans.

(To Be Continued)

© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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