The day was working out pretty well. I got to the cabin before Lisa, and knocked the icicles off the eaves. The old logs held up well, but I might have to oil them come summer. I went inside and put on the coffee.
Lisa showed up with bagels and that salmon flavored cream cheese I like. “What’s the assignment today, boss?”
“Just banging away at the keyboard. I need to get words on the page, then go back over them to get some sense of the story.”
“I though you had a good outline?”
“I do, but I’m just getting a feel for these characters. I need to know their personalities, quirks, and style. Then I have to make sure everyone gets enough page time to feel realistic. That’s why the beginning is always the hardest to write.”
“You said the middle was hardest.”
“It’s hardest after the beginning.” I sat the toaster up and sliced a bagel. Lisa poured me some coffee and I went into the office.
Words flowed pretty well. Then I deleted most of them and tried again. I worked out a few personality quirks and forged ahead. I took my plate to the sink and went back to work.
Three people were in my office. Well, two people and one thing. There was a man in his thirties with a bald spot, a college sweatshirt that let his belly hang out, and a cheeseburger. The other had wild hair that stuck out everywhere and a white lab coat with bloodstains. The third was some kind of alien with insect looking legs and green hide. “What the hell are you doing in here?
Labcoat said, “Relax. This will be easier for you.” He opened a large pair of calipers and measured my head.
I batted his hand away and said, “Stop it!” He wrote the measurement on a notepad anyway. “Look, what the hell do you guys want?”
The alien emitted a stream of squeaks and burps. The old frat boy looked up from his burger and burped too.
The alien took out what looked like a Magic Microphone and squeaked into it. It sounded like bad auto tune music, but said, “Lorelei said you need foils for your story. She said it was a walk on part, but could develop into something more.”
Labcoat measured the height of the log I was standing in front of and smiled.
I pushed the page button and said, “Lisa can you come in here.” I addressed my guests, “You guys back off and get away from me. Lisa may look sweet, but she has a really big gun.”
The alien pulled out something that looked like a TV remote and said, “This will stop her heart immediately.”
“She doesn’t have one, so back off. Especially you, Labcoat. You’re freaking me out.”
Lisa came in, gun in hand. “Let’s all relax and tell the nice writer what this is all about.”
Labcoat said, “Work’s been hard to find. We’re looking for a little page time.”
The alien said, “And Christmas is coming too.”
Lorelei walked in wearing her best Barbarella getup. Clear bubble helmet, silver body suit, and thigh high boots. “I thought you could use some help.”
“I don’t get it. I have an outline and a good start too.”
“Sure, but if you want to be scary you need some misdirection along the way,” Lorelei said.
“These guys are creeping me out, and what’s with burger man?”
The fratboy licked his fingers clean and said, “Pleased to meet you, and I’m the perfect guy for this job.” He held out his sticky hand and said, “Red, Red Herring.”
“Oh hell no. I’m not writing about a guy named Red Herring. So I understand the need for misdirection, maybe even a half truth, but not these guys.”
“Do you have any idea what my power bill is like out at the laboratory?”Labcoat asked.
Lisa waved her gun and directed him to the couch.
Lorelei said, “Alright, I’ll take them away. Don’t you even like my space queen outfit?”
“Oh I like it. I just don’t think there’s a role for a space queen in this story. You know, some of this gives me an idea or two though —
“That’s all I ask. A Muse inspires. You don’t have to hire my friends, but perhaps a charitable donation to the Evildoers Christmas Foundation would help.” She looked at my iPad and said 5700 words. That’s a good start.