THE BOOK I WILL WRITE by John Henry Fleming is a serial novel-in-emails about a would-be writer named John Henry Fleming who is desperate to publish a book. Fleming has been exchanging emails with an editorial assistant and a senior editor at Knopf, as well as with an agent. He’s been kicked out of his apartment, and was living at the library following a kidnapping episode with The Zeppelin Society. Fleming recruited a library memoir group to help him confront his would-be killer. After a tense showdown, Fleming disappeared, seemingly kidnapped again by The Zeppelin Society. This is the final installment. Thank you all for reading.
Mary Ann “Annie” Lankowski
New York, New York
I’m back at last, courtesy of my friends at The Zeppelin Society. My second stay at Headquarters was brief. I worked out a deal with Hans and Vik, a plan that would raise public awareness of zeppelins, and I guess it worked. It made the papers, anyway, as you saw. That was enough for Hans and Vik, and they released me and offered me a ride anywhere I liked.
On a whim, I asked them to drop me at my old house, the one where I’d been renting a room in the attic.
After hugs from Hans and Vik, I walked up the gravel drive, my nerves abuzz. The landlady must have been watching out the window. She swung the door open, stepped out and gave me a hug. She cried. I admit I got a little teary, too. Then she apologized for kicking me out and offered me my old room back. But no heat, she said, until I start paying the rent again.
So here I am.
I’ve missed you, Annie, and I’m glad to be in a place where I can write to you more often, without people looking over my shoulder or shooing me away when my time is up. The room is just as I’d left it. Computer, books, notes, all my personals. If anything, my landlady straightened up a bit.
It feels good to settle into my old writing space. I have a room of my own, and even if it gets chilly at night, it’s as comfortable as I have a right to expect. I have a little window where I can look out on the roofs and treetops of the neighborhood. Birds and squirrels are my only visitors. I open the window and feed them seeds when they come begging. The neighbors, if they see me at all, must think I’m a crazy nephew locked up for the public good. That suits me fine.
I’m back to work on my book, too, and the ideas are coming fast. I’m leaning away from tomatoes now. Michael Jackson, too. Yet Easter Island still lingers. I’ll use the setting somehow. My novel will be about love. I keep coming back to that. The love of people and books and moais. The interconnectedness of these things. The dancing foxes are still there, and still sporting their mirrored sunglasses, but now the image is much sharper. I can zoom in and see my reflection in their lenses, and the world behind me, the way the ground, the air, the laws of physics all must exist in their proper order just for me to stand there and view my own reflection, and I’m immensely grateful for all of it. The novel will be about this, too, and also about the world’s mysteries, all the unknowables that renew our affections daily. It will be about all these things and more. It will be about everything I can think of.
I’ve got what I need to write. Time and space. My desk. My computer. My whirring thoughts. And my one companion, a little dog that my landlady took care of while I had my adventure. She’s a hyper little toy poodle named Trixie that only calms down when I type. I borrowed her a few years back from someone you know. Guess I’ll keep her a little longer.
John Henry Fleming