The First Email

When I woke up the next morning, the previous night’s events remained as only subtle strands of ether wafting through my head. I’ve never been known as a morning person, per se. Actually, I’ve never been known as much of an afternoon person either, but that’s a discussion for another time.

On this particular groggy morning, I brewed a pot of coffee and slumped behind my computer as it geared up for the day’s activities. My eyes washed over the room, one of them intending to clean up my accumulated mess, and the other searching wildly for some explanation as to what I had witnessed the night before.

When the Windows finally opened, I went directly to my email to clear away all of the spam that had accumulated. However, as I looked in my inbox, the obligatory messages from online predators were not there to greet me. Instead, there were three messages from known addresses, all with the same message: Congratulations!

The first message was from Bob. I met Bob a few months earlier through the Economic Development Corporation. He was a publicist trying to advance his career through the connections he found in the EDC. Considering that I still wasn’t doing much to develop much of an economy, I don’t know if meeting me was what he had in mind.

His message read, “Congratulations, Steve! I just read the report in Page One. That’s awesome! I had no idea. Keep up the good work.”

Page One? No idea about what? I knew that Page One was a daily email newsletter from SRQ Magazine, but had never actually read it. I thought it must be time to start. I went to the next email.

It was from a graphic designer I knew named Tony. “Great job, Steve! I knew you had it in you.”

What? What do I have in me? I went to the next email.

It was from Burt. Burt was a documentary filmmaker. Leave it to him to check up on the facts.

“Steve, is this real?” he wrote.

I scrolled down the page to read the forwarded article. “Local Author gets Publication Deal”.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE _

SARASOTA, FL – Pelican Bay Books announced it has signed an agreement with Sarasota author Steve McAllister to publish his manuscript entitled “The McAllister Code”. The electrifying plot centers on aliens temporarily grounded by a hurricane and are so captivated by the Gulf Coast’s sun and surf that they decide to stay. The book cleverly details how the ultra-creative creatures, with a new concept of community, plan to transform Sarasota into a global marketing mecca. When asked if his book is fiction or non-fiction, McAllister, who heads up Second Thought Productions, stated: “Yes, it is a novel excursion into the inner realities of today’s markets.”

For further information,

contact Lester X Prince, Jr.

Gulf Gate Public Relations
I thought it was an interesting concept when I read it, but not nearly as interesting as the fact that I hadn’t written the book.

Somebody’s pulling my chain, I thought to myself. I leaned back in my chair and stared at the article. Who would do such a thing? And why? I reread it again and decided to do a little research.

I googled Pelican Bay Press to find that it didn’t exist. I googled Steve McAllister to find that he is a knife thrower, a singer with the George Bush Singers, he’s walked across the country on two different occasions, he’s a musician, but there was no mention of a book called The McAllister Code.

When the clock rolled over to nine o’clock, I called SRQ Magazine to get some information on the source of the story.

“Good morning. SRQ Magazine,” The voice answered. “How may I direct your call?”

“Hi. This is Steve McAllister. I’m calling about the article that was written about me today.”

“Congratulations, Mr. McAllister. I was just reading it. You must be very proud.”

“Well, I would be, however, there’s a minor glitch in the story.”

“A glitch? We spelled your name correctly, didn’t we?”

“Oh yes. That’s not the problem. The problem is that I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’ve never heard of this book.”

“You have to have heard of it. You’re the author.”

“Believe me. Nobody wishes that were true as much as I do, but the unfortunate fact remains that it just ain’t.”

“But we received a press release about it.”

“Did you check your source?”

“Mr. McAllister, we always check our sources.”

“Obviously. May I have the information on the PR firm that distributed the release?”

“Of course. Let me find it and email it to you.”

I gave the woman my email address and within five minutes, I had a new message. It stated that the press release emanated from Gulf Gate Public Relations. Included were an email address, a local phone number, and an address on Orange Avenue.

I sent an email to the attached address in hopes of shedding some light on the mystery of the book I had not written.

I called the phone number. I heard a series of clicks, a number of beeps, and a soft whirring sound. I hung up and did a map search for the address. I put on some clothes and set out to find out who was writing my career without me.

Estralarian_IMAGEThis is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy now!

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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