Rick wadded up yet another less-than-perfect story idea and pitched it toward his trash can. He missed.
Sighing, he rose from his swivel chair and surveyed the sea of crumpled up rejects just beyond his desk. So close, yet so far from their intended target.
Why should this one be any different?
He wasn’t always this crabby. In fact, most days, he downright loved his work. How many people actually got paid to write novels?
“How’s it going, Honey?” Melinda’s voice floated into the study from out in the hall.
As soon as she stepped foot through the doorway, she knew she shouldn’t have asked.
“Mmmmph,” Rick grumbled.
“Not such a great morning, huh?” she said, her well-worn sneaker parting the waves of litter.
“It’s this character, Josephine. She’s driving me insane!”
“Yeah. Picture a twenty-something. Well-off.”
“Stuck up debutante type?” Melinda offered.
“Yeah, so far.” Rick scratched behind his ear and grimaced. “Something hasn’t clicked yet. I’m still trying to flesh her out.”
Melinda leaned over and planted a kiss on Rick’s scrunched-up forehead. “Well, don’t let her ruin your day, Hon.”
“Pbbbft,” he snorted, his frustration evident.
“I’m going for my run. I’ll be back in five miles or so.”
Melinda turned and went, leaving Rick alone once again with the elusive Josephine.
He put his pen to the paper and willed greatness to flow from it.
“Josephine, her skirts floating down the stairs as she descended, was a vision in red. Her soft, blonde curls framed her delicate face perfectly.”
Oh, brother. I’m going to have to start leaving the room when Melinda watches the old movie channel! Frankly, my dear Josephine…
Another ball of nonsense went sailing toward the trash can.
“Josephine was a spoiled young woman. She was used to having the finest things in life.”
Cliché. No, no, no.
Swish! Another wad joined the growing pile.
“Eyeing the server’s tray, Josephine ever-so-discreetly helped herself to another salmon pate finger sandwich.”
Oh, for crying out loud!
Rick dropped his head to his hands in exasperation.
“You know, I hate red,” came a female voice.
“You finished five miles already?” Rick turned, expecting to see his wife in the doorway. There was no one there.
“And blonde? Really?”
“Wha…” he started, his face twisting in consternation.
OK, the sleep deprivation is catching up with me. Suck it up, man. Get back to work!
He returned to the sheet of paper, picking up where he left off.
“Didn’t you hear me?” the voice said.
“Who are you?”
“Don’t you recognize my voice? I’m the one who is, and I quote, ‘driving you insane!’”
“Insane?” He thought for a moment, recalling his earlier rant.
“Josephine?” Rick asked incredulously.
“Yeah, only don’t call me Josephine. Sounds too, I don’t know, full of myself.”
“Full of yourself?” he repeated.
“Do you repeat everything a girl says?”
“Uh, yeah. I mean, no?” He shook his head in confusion.
Yeah, I really, really need a nap.
Rick tried again.
“Call me Joey,” she said. “And I’m a brunette, thank you very much.”
“OK, fine,” he sighed.
“Joey was a fickle girl. She was accustomed to having her pick of suitors…”
“Now wait just a minute,” Joey protested.
“I’m writing this story!”
“What, can’t take a little criticism from a giiiiiirl?” she snickered.
Great, now even my characters are critics!
“I think I liked you better before!” he retorted.
“Before what? Before, when I was a blonde? Before I set you straight? Before, when I was eating salmon pate finger sandwiches?” she said. “What kind of a man writes about finger sandwiches, anyway?”
“I was going for an opulent feel,” he stammered.
“Umm, no. No fancy-schmancy parties. No yuppie boyfriends with names like Blaine and Chandler. And definitely no salmon pate! Besides, I’m allergic to salmon.”
“Are you finished?”
“And I am not fickle,” she said with an air of finality.
“Fine! I give up! Why don’t you tell me what you’d rather be doing?”
“Gee, Grumpy, I thought you’d never ask.”
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