Birth of a Book #3

As you can see, editing is an art. I’ve changed at least one of the names of my characters, and I will more than likely change a few more, before this is finished. Josepha’s occupation has changed; she now works in a law office.

I am not showing all the changes, as that could be tedious. But do bear in mind that this story could go in many different directions.


Josepha stretched and looked around. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to fall asleep like that.”

Tim stood up, grasped her hand in both of his and deposited a sloppy kiss on her fingers. Josepha couldn’t wait for him to let her go, so she could head to the bathroom to wash her hands.

“You, you are … I have never seen anyone like you.” Loretta held Josepha’s other hand and wept, dripping tears on her.

Josepha tried to stand up, saying, “I think I need to get home to bed.”

Louise put her arm around her shoulders. “No, dear. After what you have been through, you are going to spend the night right here. I’ll fix up the guest room for you.”

The guest room wasn’t quite as creepy as the rest of the house. The bed wasn’t more than a hundred years old, and it did have a new mattress — at least it wasn’t original to the bed. She really was tired, so she permitted herself to be lead off by her mother, while Tim Allen and Loretta James let themselves out the door.

She tumbled into bed hoping that she could just get to sleep, so that she could get up early enough to get back to her house and put on a fresh skirt and blouse before going to the office. She did not want to have to call in late or sick, knowing her boss was in trouble. Though, truth to tell, it would be so lovely simply to forget all the problems.

The wind howled around the corner of the building and she could see by the light of the street lamp that the snow was still coming down. It looked like the storm was picking up. Most unusual for October. The whole mess should melt away within a day or two, and leave them a few more weeks of fall weather before winter really set in.

Odd, she thought she could hear the sound of a player piano — some rollicking melody that she could not identify. Her parents had owned an antique player piano when she was little. She and her friends used to insist on running all the piano rolls through it. As she recalled, one enterprising boy had tried to cut two fo the rolls up, and tape them together to make new melodies. The experiment had almost worked — until tape got tangled and stuck to the inside of the piano, and had to be cleaned out before it would play again. Her parents had been pretty angry with her for destroying antique property. Had that piano been a gift from her Uncle Jack? Perish the thought. Uncle Jack’s spirit — wherever it was — was not in her mother’s apartment. Absolutely not. And whatever had happened tonight, Josepha did not want to know about it. All she could remember was that she had dozed off for what must have been less than ten minutes, and whatever Tim Allen had said or done, some sort of parlor trick she supposed, was reprehensible, as far as Josepha was concerned. How could her mother be so utterly gullible? She would really like to give her a piece of her mind in the morning. And yet, there was that awful piano roaring away. No, it had to be in one of the neighbor’s apartments. Josepha would ask her mother about it in the morning. But why would anybody be playing a player piano at two in the morning? That is what the alarm clock by her bed said it was, and she truly wished she was asleep.

She scrunched around under the quilts, almost afraid to close her eyes, for if she did fall asleep, she was so weary, she was afraid she would oversleep in the morning. Maybe taking the day off — or even just half the day wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Her mother greeted her in the kitchen with a bowl of oatmeal, a plate of scrambled eggs, and a naval orange, peeled and segmented. “You need a good warm breakfast before you go to work. Though judging by the condition of the roads out there, I wonder if anyone is going in at all this morning. I heard on the radio that schools are closed, and a lot of other places too. Maybe you should wait till the storm lets up before you go anywhere.”

Josepha could see through the window that the man next door was shoveling the back sidewalk to the parking lot. “Mother, does anyone around here have a player piano?”

“Not that I know of. I still have the one we used to own, down in the cellar. Since your dad died, I haven’t wanted to do much with those old things of his.”

“He had quite a collection of stuff, didn’t he?”

“The gramophone is still down there, and the penny-farthing bicycle.”

“Yeah, I remember he tried to get me on it once. I always liked riding a bicycle — but that?”

“Your father acted like a little boy sometimes.. But I really want you to stay home today.”

“I’m going to call in to see what’s happening before I make up my mind on that.”

“I can’t understand it. You and Jack are so different. Why would he choose to speak through you?”

“Mother, I just fell asleep last night. I was so tired that as soon as I sat down in that chair, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.”
“Jack was speaking through you.”

“He was not! It was a parlor trick. It had to be.”

“I saw and I heard what happened, Josepha.”

“Tim Allen was playing games with you and Loretta, and I am really angry that I am at all involved with this.”

Louise stood up and stooped to kiss the top of her daughter’s head, as she gathered the dishes to take out to the kitchen. “You know, honey, we need to explore this further, for your own sake, you should learn how to control this.”

“Mom, there’s nothing to control. I fell asleep at the table.”

“It was more than that, dear.”

“Well, I hate to eat and run, but I’ve really got to go.”

She called her boss on her cell phone as she headed down the highway back to her apartment. “Hello, Rudy? I’m going to be about twenty minutes late.”

The side streets were still snowed in, but the main roads were plowed and sanded, and when she turned on the radio the weather announcer was predicting that the storm would be over by nightfall. Rudy told her not to worry, that he would be late this morning himself.

“The fact that you’re facing Federal charges has me really rattled.”

Yeah, well, I should have seen it coming. I did see it coming and I mace a conscious decision to continue what I have been doing, because it is the right thing to do.”

“We do what we believe is right.”

That was one thing about Rudy. He stood up for what he believed in. Sometimes he had to deal with some fairly odious characters as a criminal lawyer, but he …

She clicked off her phone and parked the car in her driveway, sat back and took a deep breath before getting out. Come to think of it, when she was in college, she’d awakened from a longish nap to find her dorm mates giggling hysterically. “All right — let me in on the joke. What is it?” she had demanded almost before they know she was awake. They had burst out laughing even harder at the sound of her voice. Josepha sat up and rubbed her eyes, trying to get her bearings. “Explain to me what happened.”

“It’s you. You talk in your sleep!”

“So?” Josepha was unimpressed.

“I mean you really talk in your sleep!”

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About Genevieve

Genevieve is a ghostwriter, specializing in memoirs, biographies and novels for her clients, since 2002. She loves her work, Her blog is a hodge podge of whatever happens to be on her mind when she sits down to write. Her essays may be about anything from family life, to politics, to good grammar. Come read it at and leave a message.
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One Response to Birth of a Book #3

  1. Mara says:

    What a lovely comment, it brings tears to my eyes. I think that the character would love nothing more than your help cooking it’s the contact she’s hungry for. Thank you for your comment it really made my day.

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