“Hi, Sam!”

“Roopa? It’s 11 PM, lady! All ok?”

“Huh? Oh yeah! Sorry to bother you so late. But I am upset. And I need to get this sorted out. Tell me, why did you reject my post?”

“Heavens! Did you call me at this time to ask this trivial question?”

“Trivial? Sam! I put my heart and soul into this story for the contest. But what do I get in return? A notification from you! With a hurtful message, no less, mind you! Something to do with substandard entry. Like, seriously? 

“Erm, Roopa! Substandard is too mild a term to describe your story.”


“Yes. Take the title. The Missing Massachusetts! What is that supposed to mean, for Christ’s sake?

“Uh! Massachusetts? When did I write that? Oh, sorry! Now I recollect. It’s actually machete. Damn this autocorrect! But.. did you go through my work?”

“Roopa! If you failed to notice this error, I guess you’ve been wabbit for too long. Or is something wrong with your eyesight? I can recommend a good optician, if you want.”

“No. No. Sam! I am perfectly alright. Fine, I admit this oversight. But even the best authors commit errors. Don’t they? That’s why they have editors to, well, edit their works. It’s the emotions that matter, Sam. My murder mystery would have struck a chord with the readers. You have deprived them of reading my masterpiece.”

“Mass…? Masterpiece? Well, let me tell you, Roopa. Your entry deserves to be shredded. Remember the eyewitness of your story? The tramp who claims he is the happiest under the inky firmament of the night! Which beggar speaks like Shashi Tharoor? I know you’ve got to be imaginative, but this..?”

“Umm. Actually..”

“No, Roopa. I’m done with your crappy story. You couldn’t even tie the loose ends in your so-called thriller properly. I’ve only a few strands of hair left on my head. Please don’t make me pluck them out.”

“What’s the harm in approving my post, Sam? Let the readers decide – is what I say! Here’s the deal. If they criticize my story, I am out of this group. I will also withdraw my entry from this contest.”

“Umm.. I am actually liking this quid pro quo.”


“No. Quid… Wait! Really? I thought you were a graduate in English Literature.”

“I am.”

“Heck! From which college?”

“Thalaiva Engineering College of Arts and Humanities. I was the college topper.”

“No wonder! Your demeanour exudes an aura of overconfidence. Apt, I have to admit!”

“That’s called swag, Sam!”

“Yeah! I know. Anyway, back to your deal. I will approve your post. I hope you stick to your promise.”

“Ofcourse. But no worries. When I become a published author, you will come begging to me for a free copy of my autographed book.”

“I would rather believe in flying pigs. Ok. I need to disconnect this call. Good Night, Roopa.”

“Bye, Sam. Brace yourself for the flood of appreciation that’s going to come my way tomorrow.”


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