Short Story Fiction
The Underwood Story
Scott A. Gese

It was said this old Underwood typewriter once belonged to a famous author. Apparently it still does.

the underwood storyImage Source/Piqsels

I had purchased the old Underwood typewriter from a guy on Craigslist. The young man 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 in the state of Connecticut. The man of the house was an author. (He didn’t know his name.) The story goes that this author was about to begin writing a new novel. He said it would be his masterpiece.

Unfortunately he passed away before he had a chance to start it. Due to his passing his wife became very distraught. She couldn’t bare to live in the house any longer. She sold it and all of her belongings and went to live with relatives in North Africa.

The woman gave the butler (the man’s great uncle) the typewriter as a parting gift the day he was let go. The butler wasn’t a writer and had no use for it. Since it was a gift he couldn’t bare to part with it. He squirreled it away in his attic and never looked at it again.

When the butler died, the typewriter started to get passed around. It went to a second cousin who gave it to another family member. By this time typewriters were now a thing of the past. An antique that nobody wanted. It was about to be donated to the Goodwill.

The guy I got it from rescued it before that happened. He kept it for awhile. When he realized he could get a hundred bucks out of it he posted it on Craigslist. I happened to see the ad.

I’m an author myself and a sucker for old typewriters. Especially Underwood’s. I’m not sure if I believe the guys story. True or not, this is an old Underwood still in its case. The seller said it hadn’t been used since the “Author Dude” owned it. It’s in pristine condition. A hundred bucks was a steal. I bought it and took it home.

I’m about ready to start my next book, so I decided what the hell. I think I’ll give the old Underwood a try. I’ll use it to write my story outline.

I spent a couple of hours with it. As I typed, my mind kept wandering. 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. Would it really have been his masterpiece?

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 I went to bed.

In the middle of the night I woke to a tapping noise. It sounded like a typewriter. It seemed to be 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 several renditions of a book title. As if someone was trying to decide between them.

“Could it be?” I thought. “Who else but the “Author Dude” would have done this?” I had no other explanation. I quickly dismissed the thought of it being the ‘Author Dude’. That just didn’t seem possible. I know for a fact I sure as hell didn’t do it.

The following night I left another clean sheet in the Underwood. I slept soundly and got up later than normal. My curiosity had gotten the best of me. I went into the study to see if the Underwood had been used. The “Author Dude” had been hard at work. Neatly stacked on my desk was a full chapter. I read it and it was damn good.

Seems now that the Underwood was back on a desk the original owner had come back to write the masterpiece he had in mind before he died. I still didn’t know his name, but I figured he’d sign off on it when the book was finished.

For now, I set a full ream of paper next to the typewriter and closed the door.

© Copyright 2024 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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