“You’re nothing but a thief, a leach living off people’s dreams,” someone yelled.
Jay froze, hand inches from banging on Mr. Smith’s front door. He’d been thinking those same words as he slogged down the snow-covered driveway. So excited that a publisher wanted his novel, Jay didn’t think twice before shelling out thousands of dollars for editing, cover design, and postage. He even paid for most of the printing. All he had to show for his work and money was the box of overpriced books he bought from the publisher. The novel wasn’t even available on-line.
A second voice squeaked like a rat caught in a trap. “I’ll pay you your royalties. Just let me get my checkbook.”
It seemed Jay wasn’t the only one taken in by Smith Publishing. He peered in through the narrow window next to the door, but all he saw was a pair of shadows on the wall. One of them waved what looked like a weapon, just like the gun weighing down Jay’s pocket. The other held its hands in the air.
“It’s too late, Smith.”
“Please. I’ll give you anything.”
Three shots rang out. The smaller shadow slumped to the ground. Flakes of snow slipped inside Jay’s jacket collar, but he didn’t notice. He wouldn’t be getting any money back after all. Nor did he get to confront Smith himself. At least he had a new novel idea. This time he’d be careful and check the Writers Beware and Predators and Editors websites first.