Everyone Is Writing a Book
by Jeff Baker
It was the early spring of nineteen-seventy-five and I was trying to be a writer.
I would park in Old Man Emmerdale’s lot in front of the store and then go into the back of my delivery truck, pull out my notebook and write, and write, and write. Usually until Mr. Emmerdale would show up and let me into the store with his order.
Now, usually Mr. Emmerdale wouldn’t get there until around Nine-Thirty but he said he would be there at Eight, so I was there by Seven-Thirty in the morning. This sometimes left me with about two hours to write. Which would have been wonderful if I had anything to write about, instead of random scribblings.
That one morning in that spring, Mr. Emmerdale got there just after Eight. I started unloading his order, several stacks of heavy boxes which I wheeled down the ramp from the truck and then into the store.
I had them all in and he was checking the order when the front door banged open and a youngish man with a growth of beer staggered in, smelling of whiskey, gun in his hand.
“Gimmie everything in your register!” The man barked out the order, but the gun made it a command. I just stood there terrified. Mr. Emmerdale fumbled through the register and pulled out a couple of bucks swearing it was all he had.
“Don’t bullshit me, man,” the gunman yelled. “I used to work here. You got the money in a deposit bag under the register. Under the floorboard!” His voice was slurred. He was smashed.
Emmerdale stared at him for a second, like he was trying to remember him. Then he pulled open the floorboard, fished out the bag and handed it to the man.
The gunman staggered out the front door. In another instant we heard a crash.
The gunman had passed out right there on the front stoop. We called the police.
That evening at home, I sat at my desk and wrote. No random scribblings, this time I had a story to tell.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: For the record, the picture was taken by me from my delivery truck before I quit my job to write. And I’ve been watching a lot of “The Waltons,’ and I see the influence of the opening/closing narration of that show here. Oh, the title is from Cicero. —–jsb