Photograph & digital magic:  H.J. McEnroe

​Okay, so…shit happens.
One moment, we’re marching along a production schedule toward a December 5th release date for the novella, “The Worst Hospital in Prague.”  The next, I’m sitting among a small circle of friends, on our back patio on a gorgeous Indian Summer day in November, chatting – over afternoon tea – about ongoing issues with my right hip, owing to the fact that a freak accident in a foreign country left me with not one, but two, incision scars…and missing “parts.”  

At a certain point, I casually chimed, “Yes, all complements of the butchers of Prague.”
My editor/publicist immediately said, “Oh, my God!  That’s IT!!”
What’s it?” I asked.
She said, “It’s the answer!  Yes!  It’s the answer!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked.
“The title!  That’s the title!”
Confused, I asked, “What are you saying?”
“Your title…it’s flat.  And everyone I’ve spoken with says so!  Your beta readers say so!  It’s just too bland.  It doesn’t grab you...”
“You mean, all this time, you didn’t like the title?  Why the hell didn’t you tell me?!” I demanded.
“Because all this time, I didn’t have a better solution.  But you just said it!”
I pressed, “Said what?”
“'The Butchers of Prague’!  That’s what you said.  It’s perfect!!
Turning to a long-time, trusted friend and colleague, I asked, “What do you think?”
He didn’t hesitate, “I think it’s perfect!  Didn’t really care for the other title.”
“Well, shit!” I exclaimed, “nobody tells me anything!!”
At that moment, my wife arrived home.  My editor/publicist nudged me, “Ask her!  Go on…ask her opinion!”
“Okay, Maria…” I asked, “’The Worst Hospital in Prague’ or….’The Butchers of Prague’…which do you like better?”
She thought and thought…seconds turned to…well, many seconds.  She finally replied, “Hmmm…yeah!”
“’Yeah,’ what?!” I asked.
“Yeah…I like it!”
“Better than, ‘The Worst Hospital in Prague’…?”
“Yeah!” she replied, “…less politically correct.”
                            The Butchers of Prague

                                                            …coming, December 5, 2020

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