"And start thinking about another of these stories for me. Ill give you a week for the next one. But dont fall asleep. And lets see if we can have a lower body count this time - todays readers like a slushy ending in which the greatness of the human spirit triumphs over adversity, that sort of rubbish."
"Yes, Don Basilio."
The deputy editor nodded and held out his hand to me. I shook it.
"Good work, Martin. On Monday I want to see you at the desk that belonged to Junceda. Its yours now. Im putting put you on the crime beat."
"I wont fail you, Don Basilio."
"No, you wont fail me. Youll just cast me aside sooner or later. And youll be right to do so, because youre not a journalist and you never will be. But youre not a crime novelist yet, even if you think you are. Stick around for a while and well teach you a thing or two that will always come in handy."
At that moment, my guard down, I was so overwhelmed by gratitude that I wanted to hug that great bulk of a man. Don Basilio, his fierce mask back in place, gave me a steely look and pointed toward the door.
"No scenes, please. Close the door. And happy Christmas."
. . .
The following Monday, when I arrived at the editorial room ready to sit at my own desk for the very Þrst time, I found a coarse gray envelope with a ribbon and my name on it in the same recognizable type that I had been typing out for years. I opened it. Inside was a framed copy of my story from the back page of the Sunday edition, with a note saying:
"This is just the beginning. In ten years Ill be the apprentice and youll be the teacher. Your friend and colleague, Pedro Vidal."
Excerpted from The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Copyright © 2009 by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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