The room was dark when Author woke, wife lying next to him in the bed. The moon, off above the eastern horizon shone through the window in the early morning hours. The Sun had yet to cast its orange glow on the house next door, less than 15 feet from the window.
They had lived in the home for 16 years, longer than either of them had lived anywhere in their lives.
He reached out, putting his arm around his wife. This woke her. She reached for the iPhone on the nightstand next to her.
“It’s 6:30. I’m late.”
She got out of bed, walked across the hardwood to the closet filling the wall across from the bed. Fully 12 feet wide, Author had built it for her when he joined two bedrooms into the one, they shared now. The closet had the original 1960’s maple veneer bi-fold doors on the left and right. In the middle were modern mirrored bifold. He had to put them there, the two maple bifold only made 8 feet, he needed 12.
When he built the room, he made sure the closet had lights.
She flicked the switch on the wall near the closet. The wall illuminated in outline of the closet as the lights shone through the cracks between the doors and the frame.
She opened the right-hand doors, the doors on her side of the closet, and picked her clothes for the day.
Author listened as she walked through the room, down the hall, and into the bathroom. All rooms he had built from the train wreck the realtor had sold them 16 years earlier.
The house defined their relationship in many ways. It forged the two of them closer together than many marriages. They endured.
He turned on the toaster oven, it sat there on the Caesar Stone countertop, waiting. In it, one of the Bay’s English muffins he had picked up from the grocery trip this past weekend. 350′.
Then there was the egg. Boiled. Not properly prepared for peeling. He cracked the shell neatly around the middle of the colored egg’s shell, a shattered line of broken eggshell. Drive the knife through, split in half. Take the teaspoon. Neatly scoop each half out, careful not to break the shell anymore.
Water boiling now in the hot-water maker, its lid gone, shards of broken plastic on the hinge that had once held it neatly to the top. Press the button, pop it open. But not now. Simply tip and pour.
I am a teapot
Short and stout
This is my handle
This my spout
Tip me over
Watch the water pour out
Smashing the egg on the paper plate with the teaspoon, pour the extra-virgin olive oil on each slice. Gingerly sprinkle Zata on the halves. Place the egg on the spoon, put the spoon on the muffin half, repeat, eat.
Through the broken sealed window, condensation between the two panes made it difficult, but not impossible to see the shed in the backyard.
Drink some coffee, eat some muffin.
Now there is rumbling. Noise quietly coming from the center of where? Voice one and Voice two, but silent. Queer, they are there, non-seen, non-heard, but there.
“Hey author, going to get anything done today. Some big talk there yesterday.” Voice one comes to the table.
“I see you’ve made a muffin there. Looks good.”
Author settles back into the chair.
“You know I’ve made a commitment to doing this thing.” Munching away he goes. Nice he realizes, he doesn’t have to waste a chew trying to speak, spattering bits of muffin and egg across the table. The conversation goes along very nicely.
“Where’s Voice two?”
“He’ll be along shortly I’m sure.”
More muffin. A shift in time and space, simply for convenience.
“How about a summary there author, I’m sure you’re losing them all at this point.”
“Sure, I’m going to…”
He steps back from the keyboard, grabs his coffee and steps to the window. Unsure how to move forward. Which path to deal with, there are a few in front of him now. He has to choose. Down one path he finds the words, the way to move on, but before the path, a chasm of uncertainty. The doubt. The inner critic has come.
The beast, rising high above him, blocking all in front of him. And then a realization. Terrifying.
The beast laughs. “See, you should just give up. Go sit on the couch, fuck around on Facebook. Go do anything else, you don’t need to worry. Nobody would know any different, nobody reads this fucking thing anyway.”
The voices cower, Author is exposed. Alone. The beast breaths fire. Failure! Spreading its serpent wings, roaring in laughter.
“See, you can’t even type. Look at all those typos. You have to go correct them. Right now! Don’t move forward, I have you paralyzed. You can’t even spell paralyzed. HOHA!”
But the beast is wrong, the author did spell paralyzed. Small victory at any rate, but a victory. From deep within, the fear turns. Stands there in the author’s face, along with the beast.
No tools in the messenger bag will help now. The only way to kill this beast is to type, coherently, and keep the plot going. Tying it all together and bringing it back to where Author departed.
The Beast, Author, face one another.
“Use the keyboard!” Voice two says in a shivering voice.
“Yes, type you mother-fucker!” says Voice one.
Author takes a sip of coffee. Rereads the post. Assesses the situation.
“What is the word count? Where am I in this thing?” he types furiously into the keyboard. Mechanical clacking.
The keyboard, a Ducky Zero, clacks its mechanical keys, making and breaking contacts underneath the plastic keys, engaging the matrix position each key represents. The signals, decoded in the computer processor, translate to proper ASCII. Their position recorded in memory and displayed in green phosphorous glow on the screen.
The editor is set to auto-save, its cloud based. Writer, a google add-on. All the author has to do is type, the system will respond.
He throws more words at the beast. At first the words glance off the beast scaly skin.
More typing. “How do I end this thing. How do I get out of this loop?”
More coffee. A short walk. But if he does this, the beast will gain ground, any damage he has inflicted will be lost. Backspaces, backspaces, correct those typo’s as they happen.
The beast laughs. But Author types on.
“I’m going to finish this thought, I’m going to finish this thing, I’m going to make sense of this!
“Listen, I woke up this morning realizing that I had to write, and write a lot, write every day.
“I was standing in the kitchen just a few minutes ago, making this coffee I’m drinking. I have to write every day, every hour of every day, at least eight hours. I know that.
The beast looks down on him, he has closed the distance. In the time since Author came to this crossroads, the beast has pinned him against the wall, draws a sword from a sheath, placing it against the author’s throat.
“Yes, you have to write every day, it’s a fucking job, and you can’t do it!” the Beast howls in laughter as he draws the sword back, ready to thrust into Author’s throat.
“No!” And as he types those words, the screen goes blank, he has fat-fingered something and closed the browser.
“Shit, I’ve lost my work now. Fuck, the beast is right.”
But Author opens up the browser and clicks on Writer’s icon. Fast, nimble, and efficient, the app opens up, displaying the last save of the document.
Writer saves frequently, all the work is still there.
The beast is thrown back, off balance, Author lunges forward with the keyboard.
“Listen to me you mother-fucker, THIS IS MY BLOG and I’ll write the fucking thing anyway I see fit. Fuck the rules, fuck the grammarians, fuck spelling, and fuck you!”
The author lunges at the beast, shoving sentence after sentence into its mouth, stuffing them deep into it’s gullet. The beast begins to choke.
Hometown from cleaopatrick is playing on Spotifiy. Power chords rip through the shed. Author hits replay, and shoves this sentence down the beast’s throat, it gags, and in a puff, it is gone.
The document is bloody, there are red squiggles everywhere. The authors fingers have been flying across the keys in furious pace regardless of error.
“Here’s the deal” the author says. The voices come out from hiding, gather at his feet and look up at him.
“We are on the other side now. We have crossed. We are on the right path. For now, I know the beast will return. I’ve only held him back for today. It’s 9:30 in the morning. I’ve got five more hours to get through. I’ve got some copy to write, I’ve got a few short story ideas, and I’ve got you two. I think I’ve got enough to work with. All I need is to do it. To actually do it.
“Let’s get moving, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. I’ve got to get two pieces written for clients this week, and I’ve got a meeting with another. That’s going to give us enough money to move forward until some people pick up on what we’re doing here.”
“What if nobody finds us?” Voice one, fear in his eyes, looks at the author.
“Look, I don’t know if anybody’s going to find us, but we have to keep moving. If we don’t, we die. The dream dies. I don’t care what we run into; we have to keep going.”
“What about edits, are we going to edit this stuff?”
Author contemplates Voice one, “We’ll edit where we have to, we’ll come back if we see something is wrong or if someone call us out. But we’ve got to move. We’ve got to post every day.”
“What about Google? How are the crawlers going to rank this blog? There aren’t any keywords.”
“Look, we got a hit last night. A real visitor, I think. From the Philippines. I don’t think it was a bot because the page views and bounce rate made it look real, but I got to dig into it. I’m going to look at Analytics here when we close this thing.
“But even at that, I’ve seen enough stats to know that this is a decent thing. This blog has only been up for four days. I’ve had blogs up for much longer than that and never saw even one piece of data that told me a visitor was real. This could be something.
“And I’m trying to work social too. I’m not going to rely on Google alone.”
Voice two stands, cast an eye to the author, “But you killed your Facebook, you’re a #deletefacebook follower.”
“That’s true. But I’ve posted on Facebook before, nobody cared. They’re all my family and friends anyway. They think I’m crazy. Facebook is only going to do us good if we can get others to share. That’s it. I don’t need an account. If we need to set it up again, we will.
“But I’m looking on Reddit. I’m in a few writing and fiction sub-reddits there. That’s probably going to give us better traction.
“Come on, let’s roll, My back hurts. I’ve been standing here for over an hour. I need a break; I need to get on to other things.”
“Will you come back?” Voice one, looking less afraid, but none the less still concerned picks up his things.
“I plan on coming back at least twice a day. Maybe three. I haven’t got it all worked out, but I’ve got enough to get started. Let’s go.”
Author, and his voices, walk down the path.
The forest is deep and dark on both sides, from deep within, two eyes, burning yellow-red peer at the threesome.