A brown limousine pulled up to my curb when I parked in the garage tonight. The driver jumped out and opened the back door. He didn’t look very professional to my eyes. He wore black shoes and pants with a black hoodie pulled over his head.
Lorelei* stepped from the back in that sexy catlike manner. She had on a short black dress, black stilettos, and a lace veil. She looked really hot.
“What’s the occasion?” I asked.
“I want you to meet someone,” she said and gestured toward her driver.
I turned toward the driver and stumbled back. “Gaaah!” He didn’t have a face. It was just a skull with two glowing eyes.
Lorelei snorted and quickly composed herself. “Craig, meet Charon. Charon, this is Craig.” She turned back to Charon and said, “This is the writer I told you about.”
“Oh God? Is this it? Is this all there is?” I asked.
“Pleased to meet you,” Charon said. “I like that whole Coldhand nick of yours.”
It sounded like someone shoveling wet gravel.
Lorelei snorted again, and said, “He’s not here for you. He’s here for your career.”
She took out her iPad and made a few keystrokes. She held it up toward me.
“Oh wow! Wild Concept has an Amazon review, and it’s four stars. That’s good right?” I asked.
She put two fingers on the iPad and zoomed on the view. Charon started laughing.
Lorelei held the review closer, forcing me to look at it.
“Oh God, no! Mom? Really?”
Lorelei and Charon busted out laughing.
“Not funny you two,” I said. “My career’s really over now. Readers will either make fun of me, or accuse me of posting fake reviews. I swear, I told her not to do that.”
“She loves you,” Lorelei said. “Take comfort in that. Some people don’t even have that much. It’s actually more valuable than a few silly book sales.”
“Yeah, but, but – What if no one ever downloads it again because of that?”
“I’ve told you all along, I don’t care if you ever publish,” Lorelei said. “Just write the best stories you can. Try to make each one better than the last one.”
I turned to Charon and slumped. “So what happens now?”
He reached inside the limo and grabbed a bottle of George Dickel #12. “Here, man. This will kill you a lot slower than that whole self pity shit will. Get over it and move on.”
“Th, th, thanks. I think.” I turned back to Lorelei and raised an eyebrow.
“I know it’s your favorite. We stopped off at the liquor store and picked it up on the way here,” she said.
“So you and Charon then?” I asked.
“It’s complicated,” she said. “He’s my cousin. Don’t ask. Have a drink, and get over it. Maybe someone else will post a review soon and it won’t look so bad.”
“Maybe. What the hell? My own mother only gave me four stars.”
“You know she reads a lot. You’ve got some tough competition,” she said.
“Just have a drink, man. Get Panama ready and post it online. Then work on the others and post them all,” Charon said. “I’m kind of excited for Panama. It’s more my style than your science fiction.”
Lorelei hugged me and said, “Come on Charon, let’s pick up Artemis and head for Persephone’s welcome home party.”
Charon closed the door and pointed a bony finger at me. “I’ll see you around, man.”
My legs wobbled and I broke the seal on my bottle. “Um, yeah, sure. Just not too soon, okay.”
* Lorelei is my Muse. She has a shitty sense of humor.