500 Word Short Story
The Underwood Story
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

It was said the old Underwood typewriter once belonged to a famous author.

My name is Quinton Shep. I had purchased it from a guy off Craigslist. The guy didn't have any paperwork to prove his claim, but he did have a good story.

Seems his great uncle worked as a butler for a wealthy couple back in Connecticut. The man of the house was an author. (He didn't know his name.) Apparently this author was about to begin writing a new novel. Said it would be his masterpiece.

Unfortunately he passed away before he had a chance to start it. His wife went to live with relatives in North Africa. The woman gave the great uncle the typewriter as a parting gift the day he was let go. The guy put it in his attic and never looked at it again.

When He died, the typewriter, still in its case, went to a second cousin who gave it to another family member. The typewriter, being a thing of the past was about to be donated to the Goodwill. The guy snatched it up and posted it on Craigslist which is where I happened to see it. He said it hadn't been used since the “Author Dude” owned it.

I'm an author myself and a sucker for old typewriters. I'm not sure if I believe the story, but true or not, this is an old Underwood still in its case. It's in great condition. I bought it and took it home.

I'm about ready to start my next book. I've decided to give the old Underwood a try and use it to write my story outline. I spent an hour with it. As I typed, my mind kept wondering. I kept thinking of the original owner. The “Author Dude” as the Craigslist guy called him. I wondered what the book he never had a chance to write would have been about.

I finished off the evening by rolling a clean sheet of paper into the carriage so I'd be ready to go in the morning, then went to bed.

In the middle of the night I woke to a tapping sound, like a typewriter. It was coming from my study. I figured it was my imagination. I must have been dreaming and went back to sleep. The following morning I went into my study to continue with my outline. To my surprise, the clean sheet of paper in the old Underwood had been typed on. It looked to be the title of a book.

The following night I left another clean sheet in the Underwood. I slept through the night. The following morning there was a full chapter on my desk. I read it and it was damn good.

Could it be. Had the original owner of the old Underwood come back to write the “Masterpiece” he had planned to write while he was alive? I set a full ream of paper next to the typewriter and closed the door.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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