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The Perfect Ending
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The Perfect Ending
A tale about a wanna-be writer trying to create a story with the perfect ending. With unsuspecting help from his wife, he succeds, but pays the ultimate price.
Richard Koss, other titles
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (47)
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The Perfect Ending
Allow me to introduce myself. My nameís Benny Burger and Iím a writer. That is to say, I consider myself a writer. My wife Stella doesnít think Iím much of a writer though. She thinks I should get a real job like she has and get up and go to work every morning like she does.
I havenít had a real job in years, ever since I got the bug to write stories. I like to write short stories and Iíve had a few published. I even got paid two hundred bucks for one I wrote two years ago. Besides, itís 1958 and thereís a recession. Real jobs are hard to find.
What I really want to do is write a story with a perfect ending. A story that would keep the reader in suspense from start to finish and then give Ďem a real surprise ending they would never have dreamed of in a million years. I mean an ending they could never even come close to guessing. That would be a perfect ending. And that ending would make it a great story - a story that could make me famous like O Henry or Damon Runyan. Then Stella wouldnít tell me to get a job. Sheíd be proud of me.
Iíve been racking my brains trying to come up with an idea and I think I finally found it.
Iím going to write about another writer just like me. And heís trying to write a story with the perfect ending too, just like me. You know, sort of like Iím writing about a guy whoís writing about a guy just like himself, whoís writing about another guy just like himself, etc. etc. Iíve seen that before but I donít know what they call it.
Anyway, this guyís got a wife like Stella who works too, and sheís always picking on him the way Stella picks on me. Like this morning, as she was leaving, she told me the pilot light in the stove was off and she smelled something funny, like gas fumes. So she called the gas company and they said they would send someone to check it out.
Iíve got allergies and she knows my sense of smell is probably not as good as hers. I honestly canít smell anything funny. But thatís how she is, always making a big deal out of everything.
Well now itís almost noon and Iím coming along pretty well with my story. In fact, Iím almost done. Iíve just got to put the finishing touches on my surprise ending just like this writer in my story. Heís kind of stuck on his ending too, so he keeps smoking cigarette after cigarette.
Smoking helps him think, just like it does me. Except that Stella took my lighter and I canít find any matches lying around. So I guess Iíll have to get up from my typewriter for a second and go into the kitchen and light my cigarette with the matches Stella always keeps on top of the stove. Then Iíll be able to think better and figure out a real dynamite ending to my story.
UPI Services, November 30, 1958
Readers Digestís annual award for best amateur short story was given to a Mrs. Stella Burger of Chicago, Illinois, for her story, ďThe Perfect Ending.Ē In accepting the award, Mrs. Burger said she felt she should share it with her late husband, Benny Burger, because she merely finished the story, started by him.
Mrs. Burger was also in the news recently, for winning a lengthy court battle with the Omaha Mutual Life Insurance Company, when a jury ruled that her husbandís death in their household explosion was accidental.
Mrs. Burger said the $400,000 double indemnity policy proceeds would enable her to quit her job and embark on a new career as a writer and added, ďBenny would be very proud of me.Ē
|READER'S REVIEWS (3)
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"Great! I think the guy may have found the perfect ending after all." -- Paula S, Hamilton, Scotland.
"Yup - moral: the only way struggling writers can succeed in their career is ... :)" -- Hammund.
"Loved it! It made me smile. Ironic yet anticipated." -- M Smith.
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© 2000 Richard Koss
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