It's a doable goal. But will I actually do it? That's what I have to find out, and get over the fear that at least half of what I write will be laughablby bad form. Here's 15 minutes for you (brand new as another test):
Percy dug through the stacks of old ditto pages.
"You'll see Clem wrote letters to the editor in some of these," he said, handing Dave a stack bound with an aged and cracked rubber band. "They are from The Chesapeake Rocket News, a fanzine from the late 1960s. There's a mimeograph of him in one of those, showing him at a Worldcon in California, I don't know which one; it was old when it was copied, so it's older than the date on the cover."
Dave flipped through the yellowed pages. Some were pink, and obviously of a low-grade paper. Some of the mailing labels were so old, they didn't have zip codes on them. Heck, it looked like some of them were the kind of glue you had to get wet first. He thumbed through the copies while Percy looked deeper into the musty garage.
"I have a book somewhere here with some more recent photos, from the 70s, I think. Clem was in those, too. We had this party, I think it was the Chessie Party, where we had a ladies cotillion make us some finger sandwiches. They don't do that nowadays," he said, with a forlorn look on his face, "what with women's rights and all. Still. It was a fun time to be a fan."
"Why was this called the Chesapeake Rocket?" Dave asked, noting the odd hand-drawn logo of a serpent with cartoon-like eyes, sticking his head out the porthole of a 1950s style rocket, controlling it with a level wrapped around it's tail.
"Oh, gosh... well, see it was started by some guys at Goddard, back when they worked on rocketry from the space program. Heck, Clem even claimed one of them knew Werner Von Braun. I think that was Clem. I can't recall. You know, Clem is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, you know?"
Dave looked up. "No, what do you mean?"
Percy pushed himself upright off an old bike rack. "Oh... well... it doesn't seem like Clem ever really.... you know, it's odd. You always see Clem, talking with people, and he knows some of the greats who know greats, you know, never actually knowing the greats himself, but hangs around them. Like he's never met Ray Bradbury, but has 20 to 30 friends who have. One of them is Ray's wife! A friend of ours introduced them, you see..."
"Did Clem run some of the first Worldcons?"
"No. Not exactly. It seemed he knew people who did, though. Clem was always in the background, giving some advice here or there. Like a comforting presence. I mean, if Clem was there... it was a happening place, you understand? I... I guess maybe you don't. I must sound like some old fool, talking about the war, to someone your age. Except no war, just a bunch of old people you never heard of talking about science fiction. Pathetic really..." but he trailed off in a smile. "But ... I wouldn't say any of those days were ever wasted. Some men like strong drink. I like strong conversation."
"What was Clem's job back then? Where did he work, Goddard?" Dave's eye fell on Clem's face, faded by the black dots that bled into the grade Z paper. Except for the suit, he looked the same, almost ageless. The same goofy driver's cap dropped to the side. More hair under it, perhaps. But the same wrinkle in his eyes, the same smirk the tilted to the left.
"Well... he worked for Xerox, I think. No, no... that was Joe. Joe worked for Xerox. You know, I was always under the impression Clem did some government work. I don't recall what, though..."
Percy whistled, "Oh, goodness, no. No no... Clem was very anti-war. Him and his sister were from pre-war Germany, I think."
Dave's ears perked. "His sister?"
"Yeah... um... he had a sister, I think. Died in the early 60s, very sick, you know. He lived with her until she died. Clem never was the marrying type."
"What did she die from?"
"We never asked. We always assumed it had something to do with... well, being Jewish from Europe in those times was very hard. But these are not words that Clem would say, you understand, don't put THAT in your program book. I shouldn't have said what I did."
Hey... 751 words. Not bad for 15 minutes! I only stopped to spell check, the bad grammar and erroneous facts are there for your pain.