A Puzzling Delivery

Sarah typed. Words filled the backlit white screen of her computer. It would be her newest novel. Book three in her thriller series. In this book, she vowed to have more airplanes, more flying, and more drug use. It was time for the main character to have a relapse.

She’d sent book two off to an agent last month and heard nothing back. She supposed she could always self publish it like her first book, but she was trying to avoid another self published novel. The walls were breaking down, but they weren’t gone, and self publishing wasn’t profitable. It was a way to say “Hey, I’ve published a book,” but it said very little else. Sarah always imagined people thinking: she’s not good enough to get a real book deal, so she self published. Sarah half believed it. She hoped she was good. She hoped the agent would get back with her, but after a month, it wasn’t likely.

Sarah typed a few more words on the page. She was up to page 53. This novel needed to be 90,000 words. She needed to have enough plot and enough subplots to pull it off. Her first book has been 61,000 words. Her second book had been 85,000 words. She wanted 90k or more for this one.

She typed. She looked at the time. It was 1:30pm. Tuesday. She hadn’t checked the mail since Friday. Sarah stood from her computer chair, found a pair of sweatpants and slid into her stretchy black sandals. She turned to face the door and jerked. Someone knocked. That was odd. She wasn’t expecting any visitors or packages.

Sarah walked to the door and peered through the eyehole. It was the mail lady. She opened the door.

“I have a package. If you could sign please?”

“Sure.” Sarah signed the paper slip and took the package. She sat the package on the kitchen pass through and walked outside to finish checking the mail. Bills, advertisements, and nothing. Nothing important.

Sarah walked upstairs and sat down in her computer chair before she remembered that she had another package. It was in a large paper envelope. It felt as though there were a box inside. She cut the top off with a pair of kitchen sheers and pulled the box out. It was dark brown. It reminded her of puzzle boxes without the picture. She shook it. It sounded like a puzzle. That was odd. She checked the envelope. No return address. Well, her birthday was in 10 days. She figured it was a birthday present. Maybe the picture was inside.

Sarah opened the box. The top simply pulled off. It was a puzzle, and there was no picture. Someone had sent her a distraction. Most of her friends and all of her family knew she was working on Book three. It was why they left her alone. This was someone’s joke ‘” a way to get her attention without being overly distracting. She could put the puzzle together in her own time.

Sarah moved her keyboard and poured the pieces onto her computer desk. There was more white than black and a few pieces with some more bits of color. The sun? Sky? She didn’t know. She turned all the pieces right side up and started working. She started with the corner pieces and with shapes that were the most odd ‘” extra large holes, extra small holes, the tiny bits of color.

This was going to take awhile with so few colors and so many pieces. The box didn’t give a piece count. Sarah thought perhaps 100. She put the corners together and part of the edges. She found more colored bits that weren’t black or white. She started testing the fits. Two pieces went together, then three. Four. Five. Six. There were ten pieces with odd colors, and suddenly it made sense. It was a logo with a picture and words. It was a blue quill and an address. The address looked familiar, but she couldn’t get to her keyboard to look it up. Instead, she continued to put the puzzle together piece by piece.

Another word became clear, her name. It said Dear Sarah, A puzzle letter? A letter puzzle. Sarah laughed. Now, she really did expect it to say Happy Birthday. One of her relatives had gotten creative. She’d just talked to her brother about throwing a dual birthday party.

Sarah put more pieces together, more words formed, but they didn’t make sense. None of them spelled Happy Birthday. She still had the middle to put together. So far it read, Dear Sarah, We are pleased to — . Please contact us at 555-123-5555. Signed Mary Jones.

She needed the rest of the puzzle. Sarah looked at the clock. It was pushing 1:am. She wasn’t going to finish this thing until two, but she had to finish it. It was too intriguing not to. She wasn’t going to be able to sleep until it was finished.

She kept trying pieces, fitting the ones that matched until finally, she snapped the last piece into place and looked at the completed picture:

Dear Sarah,

We have read your manuscript, and we are pleased to inform you that you have been chosen to be represented by our agency. Please give us a call at 555-123-5555 so that we can discuss the details.

PS: We hope you enjoyed the puzzle.

Sincerely,

Mary Jones.

Sarah laughed and squealed. Book two had gotten representation. She picked up her cell phone then realized it was 2:am. She couldn’t call them or anyone else until later in the day.