Frank, My Ideal Reader, Takes a Holiday. What Now?

Hello Lovely Reader!

Frank, my ideal reader, has left for the Bahamas, taking a holiday after reaching the halfway point of our novel. I’ve moved well beyond 50K words and plowing toward 60. It took sixty four days to reach the halfway point, though only portions of that was spent writing. I fully expect to finish by the end of November, if not before.

So why did Frank go? Why did he give up the free coffee and head for the beach just when we’d crossed the downslope?

I found out yesterday while I prepared to write at my little corner table inside Steveston’s fabulous coffee and bookstore: Village Books.

“Stephen, my boy,” he said, offering me a bag of Kicking Horse coffee beans, the dark roasted variety called, 454.

“I’ve done all I can for you in this romance novel of ours.”

“What?” I said, mouth dropping open in shock. I took the beans, noting that a card was attached with a red, silk ribbon. If I’d know he was leaving, I’d brought a gift, too.

“What do you mean? We’re just getting to the good stuff!”

“That’s the point, kiddo,” he replied, kicking his booted feet atop my table at Village Books. Fortunately, no one noticed. “The good stuff’ll need a different ideal reader if you want it to connect.”

“Ah,” I said, nodding. I had wondered if this might be the case. Apparently, I was correct. I took a sip of my maple macchiato.

“Please, continue.”

He smiled, hoisting his mug of dark roast. “I talked to a friend of mine,” he said. “And she’s willing to sit in for me, so you don’t feel so alone.”

“Willing to meet her?”

“Hell yea!” I said, leaning forward. “What’s her name?”

“Francine,” he said, sipping his coffee and smiling at me over the top of the mug. “She’ll be here in a few moments.”

“You’re going to introduce me, right?” I mean, I’m sort of shy. I don’t just walk up to random women and invite them to be my ideal reader. Surely he understood that.

He shook his head. “Nope,” he said. “I can’t be seen here, or she’ll get suspicious.”

Oooh, I thought. That sounds intriguing. What did he mean by suspicious? My mind went to thoughts of a hot, torrid affair that Frank might be a part of. That sly…

“Ah,” I said, choosing not to ask.

“She knows who you are,” he said. “She’s accepted the job and will meet you here.” He took a final sip, then placed his mug on the table.

“Well, lad,” he said, pushing his chair away from the table with a screech.

“I’m off for sunnier climates. Keep going, work with Francine, and I’ll catch up when you’re done.”

Tears formed in the corner of my eye as I watched him stand.

“You’re really going?”

He nodded, hoisting his courier bag atop his shoulder as he pushed the chair back under the square, wooden café table.

“Not for good,” he said. “Just for now.”

“Connect with Francine. She’ll give you what you need.” As he walked toward the door, he turned and tipped his hat.

“Adios, amigo!” he exclaimed. “Write on, brother! Right on!”

He vanished through the door as I stared, watching him fade into the setting sun of sugar white sands and green, rolling waves. But not alone, I noticed, smiling to myself.

Two kids, a bikini-clad woman and a fluffy, black dog joined him on the beach, gathering together to wave back at me.

“Thank you,” the voices whispered from the fading scene, and even the dog barked a farewell. For now.

“Thank you, Frank,” I whispered, daubing my eyes with a paper napkin. “Thank you for everything.”

Sighing, I flipped open my Surface and opened to the document about Simone, imagining the scene as I stepped forth into the writing. She was about to experience tragedy, and I really needed to connect with the horror in order for you, my lovely reader, to experience it.

Bells jingled from the Village Book’s door, drawing my eyes toward the sound – hearing the click of thin, spiked boot heels upon the concrete floor.

“Hello,” a raven haired woman said to me, standing by the chair that Frank had recently vacated.

“I’m Francine. Mind if I join you?”

Fair Winds and Following Seas my lovely reader, wherever your horizons beckon.

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