It’s been a while since I’ve published any fiction on here, so thought I should do that. This is a three parts short story with the title If you’re going to san Francisco, just like the famous song. It’s a bit of a depressing read in the middle of this festive season, but I hope you’ll like it. Wishing you all a merry Christmas. My thought goes especially to those who are alone or grieving at this time of year.
It could have been any woman at any balcony in any big city at any time of the day and for any reason. But it was me, Julie Taylor 31, in San Francisco at 7PM. In front of me on the small table, there were two objects. A bottle of Whiskey and a small handgun. I don’t even like whiskey. The stuff makes me feel sick and nauseous. But I think I need it in order to get the courage to pick up that little handgun, put it to my temple, or perhaps in my mouth and press the trigger. I could have chosen so many other methods. Cutting my main artery was just too scary. I was too afraid of the pain. Even though I’d much rather handle physical pain than that dark nameless shadow of pain inside me.
I considered over dosing on pills. I’m not a crazy pill taking person, but I figure Tylenol, Yasmin or paracetamol, especially combined, would do the trick. But taking many pills would give me time to regret. I could stop, say after pill number five, and reconsider my action. But then I’d be in a pretty screwed position. I’d probably need pumping and then I’d have to explain why I was taking so many pills. “Yes doctor. You see my life is over so I decided to gently end it. But then I had second thoughts.” No. Not an option. So handgun it was. It would be quick and death would be instantaneous. I’d get a break. A never ending break. Because sometimes a holiday break is not enough. I just had to get a little drunker. I picked up the black label, took a sip and forced myself to swallow. A burning sensation spread down my throat and out to the tips of my fingers. And my mind was cast back to how and why I’d ended up here.
It had started two years ago. I’m British, so I was living in Manchester in my own little one bedroom apartment. I was fairly happy, but quite bored. I was working for a small PR agency that specialized in skin care and cosmetics PR and the job was very, very dull. Having always dreamed of being a writer, writing press releases felt like an insult to my intellect. I wanted to write a novel. Become the next young ish woman to win the literary Nobel price. I was single. My boyfriend Marcus of five years and I had ended it, on friendly terms the year before. It really was friendly. Not friendly in that obvious pretend way some couples exhibit when they try to convince themselves to everyone else that “it was all on friendly terms”. Marcus and I were so friendly in fact, that we occasionally met for coffee and we’d still kept all our friends since they didn’t have to take one party’s side over another.
Being single though, meant I had a lot of time on my hands all of a sudden. I spent that time doing ‘real’ writing. By the time my life was about to change, I had written 10 chapters of a thriller that was both fast paced and funny at the same time. I had a blog where I wrote banalities every so often. But since I thought my project was going so well, I decided to publish my novel chapter by chapter on the blog. Until I got an agent of course. But I knew getting published was hard. I’d tried when I was 21 and thought I’d written a master piece, but it had been rejected by so many publishing houses, I gave up hope. Back then, I’d not known having an agent was necessary. Or maybe I had known, but the arrogance I possessed at that age convinced me I could hold my own thanks. At 29 I knew that what I’d written now was a lot better. And perhaps creating some hype around this novel would make it easier to publish? So that’s what I did.Or at least get an agent who could lead me in the right direction.
My reader stats jumped from a few thousand to a few ten thousands. I got many comments on my work. People were crazy about my story. I got some bad comments to, but that’s always to be expected. My dad used to say that “You’re not truly respected unless you’re hated by at least a few”. So I didn’t let them discourage me.
One Saturday morning when I was moderating comments, I found one from a Curtis Harrison.
I’m writing to you because I love your novel. I hope you have thought of publishing it. If the rest of the story holds up as good as it’s doing so far, it would be my privilege to become your agent.
My name is Curtis Harrison and I’m based in San Francisco. I represent three other writers who are up and coming like you. One of them, Martin Garfield Brooks, is a name you may have heard of. His first novel Black hole, made it on the New York Times best seller list.
I realize my proposal might come a little unexpectedly. But please think about me and email or call me.
His email address and phone number was attached. I didn’t publish the comment since I gathered it was a way for him to email me. I thought about his offer for a few days before I wrote to him. I couldn’t really discuss the offer with anybody since I didn’t have friends or relatives who had been published.
That reply e-mail was the start of a close friendship between Curtis and me. And I would be lying if I –said there were no other feelings under the surface. After three months of talking and in which I also completed the novel and put everything on my blog except the final chapter, my work contract came to an end and I decided to risk it all, and go over to San Fransisco to live my dream. I’d had other agents write to me as well, but none were in the UK. One was in LA and one in New York.Looking back, I deeply regret not accepteing one of the offers from the two female agents who approached me. If only I had done that. If only!