Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I'll tell you what she said. She said, "If you're really drunk, how come you don't make a pass at me when I turn off the flashlight?"
I was seventeen then, and it was the first time I had tasted beer, but I wasn't drunk.
She said, "Do you remember where you left your sleeping bag?"
Those are the opening lines of a short story called "What She Said" in the Beloit Fiction Journal. The Spring 2006 edition. It just arrived.
The story is mine.
I like seeing it in print. Holding it in my hands. It's been a long time coming.
I say that not because the spring edition arrived in November, but because I wrote the first version of the story, then called "Good Thing Going," back in 1977, when I was fresh out of college.
I hit upon the new title and a new emphasis sometime around 1990. It felt like a breakthrough, and I sent the story to about a dozen magazines in quick succession.
No one wanted it. Not even the city magazine I worked for at the time. My boss wanted to run it but her boss didn't, and that was that.
I gave up. For a dozen years, I did nothing with the story.
Little did I know, all that time, that I was one more submission (and two or three changes) from success.
A small success, I suppose, but a sweet one just the same.