No. 605


“There’s not much I can do for you,” said the young man at the reception desk. “All I have here is a note suggesting that your book isn’t publishable.”

“There isn’t anything else to the message?” said Donna Harden. “I can’t talk to your boss?”

“I’m sorry,” said the man. “You have to understand that we see a lot of submissions.”

“We?” Donna asked. “Did you see my story?”

“’We’ is this office,” said the man. “I really am sorry.”

“I have a copy here,” said Donna as she rummaged through her bag. “What’s your name? Maybe if you had a chance to look at it?” She placed a short stack of papers on the desk.

“My name is Andrew,” said Andrew. He looked around Donna to make sure there wasn’t anybody else waiting in the lobby. “Normally, we don’t do this, but it’s slow today.” He picked up the papers and began to flip through.

“Well,” he hedged, “I understand the note, now.”

“What do you mean?” said Donna.

“This isn’t publishable. It’s just pictures. There are no words.”

“But there’s a story,” said Donna.

“They’re very good pictures,” said Andrew. “But we’re not that kind of company.”

“So, you would…,” Donna prompted.

“I would add some words,” said Andrew.

“Right.” said Donna. She gathered up her story and began to walk toward the exit. She made it about halfway to the door before she turned back to Andrew. “I’m an illustrator,” she said. “Do you want to add the words?”

Andrew smiled, and shook his head. “It’s your story. You’re the only one who can tell it.”

“Thank you,” said Donna.

“I look forward to reading it,” said Andrew.