It was a real page-turner. The way he described walking down the avenue on Saturday afternoons made the whole scene light up like something out of a never-ending mystical bazaar. It seems you could buy everything there, but his favorites were obviously the ethnic foods.
When he finally decided upon which vendor he would try for lunch, his description of everything had my mouth watering, with special recognition for the sugared, puffy, flakey, cream-filled confection he chose as desert:
“Of course, I saved the pastry for last, not just because it was obviously a dessert, but because I’d had it before, and if the other things, such as the grilled lamb sandwich, turned out not to be impressive, at least I’d have the tried-and-true to savor last.
I bit into it, eyes closed, and realized”
I flipped the page. It was the beginning of the glossary of Yiddish terms. What? I turned back a page. Realized what? What did the author realize? I flipped to the beginning of the glossary.
There must be pages missing, I thought. I flipped back and forth. The page numbers were consecutive.
What the hell kind of strange way to end a book. I walked over to my desk and sat at my computer. I looked up the book’s reviews. They were the raves I’d expected. I went to Amazon. The page count was the same.
How can you end a story like that? I wondered. I rarely get so caught up in any piece of writing that I feel betrayed by its ending. I could feel my anger and frustration building.
Was this supposed to be some kind of a cliffhanger? A come-on to buy the next book? I scanned a few reviews. None of them mentioned an odd ending, any kind of suspenseful finish whatsoever.
Just as I was about to curse the author, the publisher, and anyone else associated with the book, the doorbell rang.
I threw the book down on my desk and stormed out to the front door.
As I swung it open, demanding without looking who it was, I realized that I’d probably scare whoever stood there.
There was no one. I stuck my head out in the hall. Nobody. I could smell that someone was cooking a teriyaki-something. Maybe more beef than chicken, my nose told me.
Scratching my head, I closed the door somewhere between puzzled and outraged.
My phone rang. I went over to the kitchen counter and picked it up.
“Is this Mister Lee?”
“Yes,” I said, a bit curtly.
“Mister Lanning Lee?”
“Yes, this is Lanning Lee. Who is this?”
“Mister Lee, hi, this is –”
I looked at my phone. It was charged up, hadn’t died. I stood there waiting for it to ring again. Nothing.
I looked at my recent calls. I didn’t recognize the number. It certainly wasn’t in my contacts list.
Did I really want to call this person back? I waited another minute. Finally I hit the call button. The number rang twice and went dead. I dialed again. The same thing happened.
Usually reading for an hour or so relaxes me. But not tonight. What with the abrupt story ending, not to mention no one ringing my doorbell, and this weird call from who the hell knew? Cripes.
I went back in my room and picked up the book again.
“I bit into it, eyes closed, and realized”
I turned the page.
“that my memory of how good it was –”
What? I flipped to the previous page, read the last line, went to the next, and there it was: the next page. And there were many more ahead, long before the glossary began.
I rubbed my eyes. Whatever.
I went back and lay down on my bed. Aw yeah. Now I’d find out how good that pastry puff tasted. I could taste it. This guy was a master of description.
Yes, the page had had definitely been restored.
* * * * *
Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )