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An Editor's Rejection Mistake

The Rye Whiskey Review 2020

April 15, 2020

An Editor's Rejection Mistake

An Editor’s Rejection Mistake by Paul Beckman


Once again, I’m having a bad streak—another story rejected today. This was a sure thing so all I can figure is the editors have it out for me.

I’m Mikey “the Blade” Morgan, six months out on parole when this story came back. Not even an attaboy or personal note. It was the standard fuck you—your story doesn’t fit into this issue at this time but consider buying a subscription or hire our editing service. The Editors.

Write what you know and I did. I wrote about slicing a guy open because he didn’t pay the vigorish he promised me last week. My character, Slim Tim, broke into the weasel’s house and took everything of value, filled a pillowcase, and poured himself a glass of rotgut bourbon and sat in the comfortable leather chair to wait and then dozed off. 

Jimmy “the weasel” woke him closing the door when he got home about midnight and Mikey confronted him and got his attention by pushing the button on the switchblade. In out in out in out.

I was waiting in Editor’s house drinking Chivas when he got home. His wife went up to the bedroom and Editor went to pour himself a drink. I was standing in the shadows holding the bottle.

“The Weasel” swore he’d have the money in two days and Slim Tim glared at him pushing the knife button so the blade went in and out. “I swear on my children--On my wife--On my mother-- I’ll have the money in two days.”

“You have two minutes,” Slim said wiggling the blade under the Weasel’s chin.

“Who are you?” Editor asked and I told him, and I let him know that like my character, Slim Jim, I had no conscience and didn’t think much of his rejection letters and rejection in any form.

“Maybe one of my interns made a mistake,” Editor said. “They’re always fucking up. Come into my study and I’ll pull it back up on the computer and take another look-see.”

“Hey, Mikey. This is a fine story. I don’t know what that bitch was thinking about. I’ll add it right now and call it our feature story of the month. Whaddaya think? Sound good? Say would you pour me a drink while I insert your story. I’m also sending you an acceptance letter asking to see more of your work. Sound good, Mikey? All good, huh?”

Slim flicked his blade in Weasel’s nostril and the blood gushed. “Feel like Jack Nicolson?” he asked. Then he slashed Weasel’s bicep and Weasel began begging, making quite the racket, as he was crying. “I’ll give you the money,” Weasel said. “It’s in the kitchen, in the refrigerator freezer. Cold cash. Okay? Like that—cold cash? Get it?”

Weasel pulled the cash from behind the Hungry Man TV dinners and held it out to Slim just as Mrs. Weasel who’d been awakened by Weasel’s screaming and crying stood watching in the doorway. As Slim held his hands out for the cold cash after putting his blade down on the table Mrs. Weasel, with a two-handed police stance holding her 9mm Beretta took out Slim with a double tap right above his ear.

“There, Editor said. “Take a look. How do you like it—framed right on page one? It’s a beaut and my readers are going to love your story.”

As Mikey was looking at the large display on the desktop he imagined he saw a reflection on the screen of a woman in a nightgown holding a rifle.
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