I set an alarm this morning. I could have slept in, but I really wanted to write. Sometimes my daughter gets up and wants to talk, and that’s great. I wanted some insurance that several hours were at my disposal for writing. Turns out she had to get up and go to work. Even more writing time.
It was raining hard when I let the old pit bull outside. Maybe we’ll finally get some relief from the inversion we’ve been living under for weeks. I used radar to make sure I was headed for the writing cabin, and not crashing into Mt. Doom along the route.
I sent a signal to turn on the runway lights. The second they came on, Lisa* came over the speakers. “What are you doing here so early?”
“Time to beat this manuscript into submission,” I said on final approach.
“OhmygoshI’mnotready. Happy landings, gotta go.”
I parked the gyrocopter and headed for my office. The coffee pot was still gurgling, so I headed for the alternate writing room. I left some carrot tops and a can of dog food on the kitchen counter, per Lisa’s request.
I threw the archaic old switch and looked at the creepy room Lisa designed. Doubt** still perched on a huge hippo tusk along the wall. “No time to waste,” I told him, and hung my hat on the stone gargoyle’s head, and ducked as the Will ‘O the Wisp passed overhead. I slipped into my custom lab coat and sat down.
I reread my last two paragraphs and started writing. Lisa came in behind me and I turned to say hi. She wore a low cut Morticia Addams dress that was skin tight, and ever so slightly see through. Her strawberry blonde hair went clear past her ribcage. She sat a small iron cauldron beside the pentagram on the floor. Doubt flew down and started eating from it.
“How did your hair get so long?” I asked.
“Hair extensions,” she said. “Do you like them?”
“Yeah. They look awesome.”
She sat a black cup of something beside me. It produced a white bubbling fog that tricked off onto the floor.
“So, um, what’s this?”
“It’s coffee. I ordered it from Planet Anur. It’s a special strain that produces the creepy mist. Try it.”
I sniffed and it smelled good. “This isn’t one of those that passes through some kind of cat or something first, is it?” It tasted wonderful, I took a second sip.
“No,” she flipped a wrist at me. “They aren’t cats, more like really big weasels.”
I cringed, but it was good coffee. I pointed to the collaboration of glass retorts. “Can you make that smell like something besides cotton candy? It’s starting to get to me.”
She turned the valve off and asked, “What would you prefer?”
“Something more manly, like Hoppe’s Number 9.”
“I’ll check the instructions and see what I can come up with. In the mean time, I hung the bubbling coffee cauldron in your fireplace off to the side. Just tip it when you want more.” She turned toward the stairs and I admit to watching her walk away.
I wrote with a passion. Poor Patty never got more than a few seconds rest. Then there was another interruption. Lorelei*** showed up to check out Lisa’s decorating. She played along in her own lab coat and crazy steampunk goggles. Her skirt was so short the lab coat was longer. She looked like the assistant Frankenstein wished he had.
“Lisa did a wonderful job,” she said. “I just wanted to check it out, and bring you a gift.” She handed me a small box covered in black wrapping paper.
Lorelei’s gifts are questionable sometimes. That’s how I wound up with Doubt. I opened the package and it was a desktop spindle. For you kids out there, it’s a spike to hold papers. It had a bronze base with three clawed feet. I said, “Don’t fold, spindle, or mutilate huh?”
She grabbed a cup of the creepy coffee, and sat on the new couch.
“Do you know what I could do with this?” I asked.
“Hush now, you’re breaking the rules again,” she said.
“Alright, inspiration only. I get it. I can do whatever I want with it.”
We finished our coffee and she left me to it. Patty went to a funeral, had a couple encounters with her stalker, committed a felony upon public property, forged her mother’s name, and wound up with a spindle on her desk. I wanted to make an evil laugh, but didn’t want Lisa to hear it.
I kept writing, Patty twisted her ankle, got a bad sliver, then went to her first dance. I know, I’m such a softy.
Just before the beer horns went off, Lisa checked on me again. “Nice word count, 30,656. That’s 6,610 words today. The new decor agrees with you.”
“Most of it comes from using a good outline, but yeah. I’m sure it means lots of editing too. It’ll need all the sensory stuff I always leave out first pass, like weather, smells, and stuff. But, yeah, the new work space is awesome, thank you.”
She held her hand to her mouth and teared up. Whoever heard of an emotional robot, jeez.
I went through beer time for the sake of the enchanted beer horns, got my alcohol removal injection and headed back to the real world.
* Lisa is from a novel I’m going to self publish this year. She works as my assistant, and is a robot.
** Doubt is from Mt. Olympus and appears to be a raven. He was a gift from Lorelei.
*** Lorelei is my Muse.