"Daddy, Daddy! Here he comes!" cried little Bebe from the front bay window where she'd been waiting for her favorite visitor and I too wanted to see his approach as his distinctive gait broadcast his mood from 2 blocks away. His pace was quite brisk with that familiar forward tilt and arms almost shadow boxing as he was deep in a reverie. "Daddy, Who's he talking to?" and as he made his way to the stairs Bebe raced to the door with her puppy following alongside and before he could knock Bebe wrenched the door open and welcomed our visitor with: "Who were you talking to Uncle Mossy?"
Bebe's giggle started it's ascent at 'Fancy Pants' as she darted back to retrieve the construction paper staged on the sideboard. "Look at my picture I did for our story....here is me and Sugar Wimsey, and you when you were little with your puppies" They went on discussing other such particulars for several minutes before I interceded and had her give Uncle Mossy a good night kiss as it was already well past her bedtime and Bebe had given s solemn oath to go to bed without protest if she got to show her 'Uncle' Mossy that drawing she had worked all evening on.
|Jimmy Marlow- newspaperman for Chicago Telegram and narrator|
(Robert Duvall in The Godfather)
Bebe was of course excited by our visitor but it being nearly an hour past her bedtime she fell asleep almost right away so when I came back downstairs Mossy had already fixed himself a drink and was in the drawing room pacing back and forth with those same animated gestures deep in a reverie but his spirits appeared high. I had just gotten back from London that day but had heard things were going well with Mossy and the project and by the vague yet assured tone of his message but preferred to hear it from him in toto.
"How's Hank doing? Is he feeling better?" I inquired not wanting to let on .
|Henry "Hank" Montague aka The Master world renowned author who hasn't published in over 40 years after fleeing the public eye.|
(Anthony Hopkins pic ©Retna)
"Hank doing great and getting stronger every day. You'd barely recognize him. His colour has returned and his voice has that deep rich timbre I haven't heard in years."
"Has he been writing?"
|Peter Jamison Jr. Editor whose late father edited Jack's early novels.|
Mossy enlisted Peter to assist in Jack's comeback.
(Philip Seymour Hoffman)
"I think you were last there about 3 weeks ago just as he began getting into a nice groove and a day or 2 before you left everything really came together. We were going about 16-18 hours a day every day. Hank in his study working and Peter in the living room editing and transferring the post-edited work from Jack's longhand into his laptop. All I did was run out and get food and keep music playing softly in the background...we'd do piano concertos one day, do a day on Verdi, Bach, Brahms, or Beethoven or mix it up with Hank just calling out what he was in the mood for. Peter and I would take him to the park a coupla' times each day for fresh air, and to stretch our legs. Peter slept in the guestroom and I took the couch in the den. The Good Doctor stopped in every evening and we'd use that break for dinner and that was the only time there was any real conversation indoors. It was great. Doc would just come in, take the vitals, check out a few things...he took some blood samples a couple of times but this was Hank's favorite time of day just talking to the Good Doc about little everyday stuff but it was the gesture of Doc stopping in on his own time, unpaid, and with nothing to gain...just the humanity of that interaction and Hank knowing that the Good Doc also does the same thing for Viet Nam Vets who are South Side sheet metal workers who nobody has ever heard of that added so much. I wish you could have been there to see it. You know how Doc can be socially clumsy and drone on but give 'em a patient, his doctor's bag and he's a maestro."
"It sounds like things are going well"
"Two or 3 times a day I'd step outside with Peter when he needed a cigarette and we'd talk about how we're going to do this...you know working primarily with the independent book sellers, how to work with or around Amazon, press, reviewers, all the different aspects of the rollout as we want to make Hank's comeback go even beyond this book....well anyway in talking about all these other things I'd ask Peter how's it coming?"
"You haven't been looking at it?"
"No, I don't want to see it until it's done...I'm in too close and Hank has been hearing me talk about my grandiose notions on literature for years so I want Peter not to have to contend with me and deliver our baby with no complications."
"What's Peter think?" I asked and with this Mossy took a long deliberative pause.
"Jimmy, around page 30-40 Peter was at: 'Jesus Christ this is good', which around page 100 went to: 'so far this is a masterpiece', and then every update after that he couldn't finish without tearing up."
"When do you think he'll finish?"
"It was finished at precisely 3:02 am this morning"
"So what's next"
"Everything is moving quickly; Peter thinks they can give it's final buff and polish in less than 10 days and in talking to everyone we've put an initial print run of 250,000 in the pipeline and we'll have books on store shelves in less than a month
"I've never heard of a 1st printing of 250,000 for serious fiction."
"A lot is going to be different about this rollout and we have a part for you to play Jimmy...Hank... and this project in general need a Boswell and you're perfect for that as we've already discussed you doing a piece in The Telegram but there is much more to this story than a novel. There are a few things I haven't told you about...such as how I found Hank and encouraged him to write again; enlisted Peter, and....well, I might as well tell you now....I even arranged that first meeting between you and Vanessa...Jimmy, I have a few confessions...."
Jimmy will soon find out that Mossy loved her first...
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