It had been the best life Mo Logan could manage. She hadn’t had much to work with, being born to a single mother who waited tables in a Kentucky diner, but she had grasped the nettle anyway. Fired by a deeply-burning passion for living, she had made her life into a bubbling, heady brew of adventure and passionate romance.
Never mind that most of it was largely fictitious. Never mind that she never had surfed on the roof of a minor rock star’s car down the length of the Burlington Pike. Never mind that she and Harold never had crept into a deserted White House between election and inauguration and made wild, patriotic love in the Clinton Bedroom.
Never mind that Harold never had run out on her, leaving her to raise her daughter alone, but had stayed and helped to paint a nursery after he told her that, so far as he was concerned, it was her decision to make and he’d support her whatever she chose.
Mo looked nervously around at the circle of other autobiographers in the waiting room. All were thirty, of course. Some had thick sheaves of paper and some barely more than pamphlets. One lad, called Billy, had gone into the judging room armed only with the back of an envelope on which he had scrawled “I rock”.
The gunshots had seemed particularly perfunctory on that occasion.
Mo’s life was average-sized, about three hundred pages, and that seemed about right to her. Though she had tried to cram it full of incident, even the best life palls if overlong.
Some of it was true. Like the surprise birthday that Penny had sprung on her one June, when she’d been called away by Gina the babysitter, crying down the phone. When she’d left her own party and walked into that dead house, where Gina had discovered what lay in the cot, asleep but no longer dreaming.
That chapter had been hard to write, but now, waiting for her life to be judged, Mo felt it was worth it – that the pathos might tip the scales in her favour.
In the waiting room with the other applicants, Mo sat in silent worry. Soon her number would be called and she would walk into the judges’ room, place her life in their hands, and wait to see whether they felt it deserved a sequel.