Things were moving along pretty well, and by the end of a month we had a pretty rough working copy of "John, Your Name Is Famous" completed.
We were ecstatic about our accomplishment, partly in pride that we had actually worked together and created something, but also because when we read it through, it was pretty good.
Another week of polishing and we'd have it done. Lately our rap sessions were focused on the next stage of the project -- What do we do after we've finished?
We got a copy of "Writer's Market" from the library, and Mom picked out a list of all the major publishers. We'd just have to go down the list and send the manuscript off and hope for someone to pick it up.
But Dad wasn't too comfortable about the prospect. "Someone might steal the idea. That's why we can't rest, even for a second, after this is done. We've got to get as many of these Names books done as we can, so that when a publisher does take it, we can have a few more to go with."
But how do you find a publisher without giving away the idea? We'd just have to risk it.
The other, even more serious problem had to do with money. Working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week before this Names project came along, Mom and Dad had just barely kept up with the piles of bills. The past month and a half they never quite made enough to cover that $3000 in interest each month to the mortgage company and twelve Visas and Mastercards. Not to mention the thousands of dollars in new expenses, like xeroxes at the library, for example. How long would Visa continue extending their credit limits and how many new cards could they get with low interest rates to keep transferring balances from one to the next?
Unfortunately, no one could think of anything practical to make it easier. Jokingly, Suzie mentioned that a friend of hers had made quite a load of money having a yard sale, and suddenly I started to see dollar signs.
"We could sell all those books, and all the junk we've got packed into boxes and closets and up in the attic and down in the basement..." I burst out, really excited.
Mom and Dad laughed the idea away. "We need everything we have honey," Mom sighed. "And we'd only get a few dollars if we sold everything anyway."
"But you've got tons of stuff," I insisted. "Why I bet there's thousands of perfectly good books, just in your room alone!"
Dad gave me that "end of discussion" look, and I closed my mouth. But my brain was still going over this one.
Apparently the other kids were thinking about it, too, however, because later Davey pulled me aside. He told me that Mom and Dad had been invited to our cousin's wedding, and it was next weekend. If we could get them out of the house, we could have a yard sale while they were away.
"Yeah, right!" I laughed. "They're going to fly to New York to see Uncle Bill. We haven't seen him in ten years. And that's only when he dropped in unexpected."
"Uncle Bill works for Giant Publishing, doesn't he?" David pointed out.
My eyes lit up. My little brother was a genius!
Mom and Dad weren't totally against the idea. Even though Uncle Bill was just a children's book editor, he must know people there, and our chances would be much better if we could get him to show it to someone. And Giant Publishing was one of the biggest publishers...
Mom called Uncle Bill that afternoon, and he was ecstatic at the idea of seeing his sister. In thirty years I think you could count on one hand the number of times my parents have gotten out to see their family.
We were pretty excited that
next weekend when we waved goodbye to Mom and Dad at the airport, and
they climbed on board with their luggage, a wedding gift for Cousin
Peter, and the key to our future tucked under Dad's arm, its pages
flapping in the airport's air-conditioned breeze.