“Alaina, I need help,” Mia said. It was day four, and Mia was barely on track. Five thousand two words, the word counter said that morning as she sat down to write. She stared at the screen, knowing that she had already written about Amy’s day on the job. Now what?
But Alaina wasn’t there. She was nowhere to be found, in fact. Where Mia expected Alaina to stand stood a big burly created with a scruffy beard and hair that hadn’t been combed in years.
“You’re not Alaina!” Mia yelled. “Who are you?”
“Me?” the man said. He patted his belly. Mia took in his appearance, which was very uninspired. He was short and squat with scraggly hair, blue eyes, and wearing a flannel shirt and blue jeans. He was barefoot. “You don’t have anything to write about, so I came.”
“Well, you better have come to help,” Mia said, poking the computer screen as if that would help words to come out. It didn’t work, of course, but that didn’t stop Mia from trying.
“Oh no,” the man replied. “I’m a disguise.”
“A disguise?” Mia asked. “No, wait a minute. This is like Spiderman, isn’t it? Where you’re Peter Parker during the day but at random times you become Spiderman and rescue people. Or was that someone else?” Mia could never get her superheroes right. According to her sister, this meant she wasn’t a true geek, but Mia didn’t care. She could analyze a painting much better than her sister could any day. All her sister could do was analyze the paint of comic books, which was actually a fine art form in itself.
“Oh no,” the man said. “I can tell you now. But I come in a disguise so you can write me in your novel. That’s your inspiration. Now,” the man felt around and reached near his belly button. He pulled a zipper up and stepped out of his costume. Mia stared and watched as another man, this one much skinnier than the man previous, dressed in blue stepped out.
“I am writer’s block, destroyer of novels,” the man said. “Hello, Mia, I hear you called.”
Mia got up. “I do NOT want you!” she yelled. She stepped toward this man who called himself Writer’s Block and stood right in front of him. He was exactly her height and he had brown hair that hung just below his shoulders and bright blue eyes. If Mia didn’t know better, she would have called him attractive. “You’re not supposed to be pretty!” she said.
“I’m not pretty,” Writer’s Block said. “I look pretty on the outside, sure. But you remember all those guys in high school who were pretty on the outside? What did they do?”
Mia remembered those days. They were the ones who would hook up with the girls and break their hearts, then dump them to the curb. They would cheat, lie, and steal to get to the top.
“They were the dirtiest scumbags on the earth,” Mia said.
“Of course,” the man said. “That’s why I’m pretty. Besides, if you’re ever going to turn this book into a movie, you need someone to play your characters. And you know all movie stars are hot.”
Mia had to admit that this was true. Not entirely true, but everyone found some movie star hot, and every movie star was hot to someone. Writer’s Block had some good logic going on here.
“So what are you doing here?” Mia said. “You never answered that.”
“Oh, I’m just here to represent the block you’re facing in your novel,” Writer’s Block said. “I thought it’d help you a bit.”
“Oh, it’ll help me a lot for my word count,” Mia said. “I’ll write you in my novel and kill you off just for the word count. Why, I bet I can get a good five hundred words out of that. And considering I haven’t written a thing today, that’s nearly a third of my daily quota, which is a good way of keeping myself on track. Now how to work this into my plot.” Mia pondered this for a minute. Amy had just gotten out of work and was on the way to pick up Ian if she remembered correctly. Maybe there could be a murder. Or maybe…
Then Mia remembered. She felt through her bag, hoping it was still there. Sure enough, it still was. The traveling shovel of death. She fingered it lovingly, pondering the perfect way to kill Writer’s Block. Should she hit him over the head? Stab him in the heart? Knock him off his feet? No, knocking him off his feet wouldn’t do. You don’t kill someone by knocking them off their feet.
“I can’t kill you,” Mia told Writer’s Block.
“Why not?” Writer’s Block said. “Is it because I’m dashing?” He stepped away from his ugly costume, which lay in a heap on the floor. “Is it because you really don’t want to write right now?”
Mia clenched her fists. “No,” she said. “I do want to write. I just. Just.” She looked at the traveling shovel of death, which she was now gripping more tightly than ever. “But killing you just won’t fit in my novel.”
“Why not? Murders are excellent word count fillers, and I’m here for the taking. I can’t promise that for the future.”
“Wait, you’re offering yourself to be killed?”
Writer’s Block didn’t say anything; he just whistled innocently.
Trying to bide her time, Mia kept talking. “But Amy just got out of work, and she’s going to pick up Ian from his first day of preschool. He’s excited about it because had a good day of school, and no one can get out of the preschool because a killer’s on the loose.”
Writer’s Block cringed and clutched his heart. Mia smiled and kept talking, looking Writer’s Block in the face. “Don’t,” Writer’s Block pleaded. “Don’t do it. I never did anything to you.”
“But you did,” Mia said. “You blocked the paths of inspiration. Now shut up and let me keep going.” Mia thought for a moment. “So then Amy begs all the teachers and the director of the preschool to let her take Ian home, despite the fact that there’s a killer on the loose, but they won’t let her take him until providing substantive proof that she is in fact his sister, so she goes home and starts pawing through her parents’ stuff for Ian’s birth certificate. Of course, she already has hers thanks to going to school and applying to a passport and fun stuff like that.” Mia intentionally brushed over the details, knowing that she could fill them in later. “But she runs into something interesting while looking for Ian’s.”
Writer’s Block fell to the ground, writhing in agony, and it was then that Mia noticed that they weren’t alone. Alaina approached the pair and set her hand on Mia’s shoulder. Mia noticed that she was holding the traveling shovel of death in the hand closer to Alaina and moved it to the other hand.
“Shall I do the honors?” Mia asked Alaina.
Alaina shook her head. “Not this time, Mia,” Alaina said. “Unfortunately, Writer’s Block has suffered so many hits by that thing that he has come to enjoy it. A masochist, this one is. Let me try.” She walked toward Writer’s Block and stood over him.
“Writer’s Block,” Alaina said. “By the power of the muse and all that is literary, I declare you to be gone from this place. Mia has a novel to write.”
Writer’s Block jumped up. “It’s you!” he exclaimed, still writhing.
“Yes, it’s me,” Alaina said. “Now go away. You won’t be haunting Mia today.” Writer’s Block stood there, unable to move. “GO!” Alaina yelled.
Writer’s Block gave Mia one last glance and ran away from them. Mia started typing out all that she had just said, then looked up. “Alaina, we need to talk,” she said.
“About what?” Alaina asked, making herself comfortable and drawing circles in the air.
“Why weren’t you here, oh I don’t know, when he showed up?”
“No one said writing was easy,” Alaina replied. “You made me show up.”
“Wait, I did?” All thought of the story was forgotten.
“Yes,” Alaina said. “Remember when you started talking about the story?” Mia nodded. It was the only thing that kept her from hitting Writer’s Block on the head with the traveling shovel of death in the first place. “That was you, Mia. You were creating your own works.”
“Really?” Mia asked. Alaina nodded.
“Really.” And with that, Mia kept typing away on the novel. Today would be a good day after all.
“I’m glad I got you out of there safely,” Amy told Ian as she held him the next day. “Why did it take a birth certificate, anyway?”
Of course, Ian had no clue what a birth certificate was, but he walked along with Amy, and Mia walked around the square with them in tow in search of a good place to write. The eraser benches were getting old. Where can I write? Mia asked herself as she kept wandering around.
“Hey, are you going to play with us today or not?” Amy asked.
“Of course I am,” Mia replied. “Just give me a minute to find a good place to sit down and write.”
“A good place to write?”
“Those eraser benches are cool, but eventually you get eraser on your pants, and it just feels funny. It probably wears off after a few days though. I’ve heard that some people write on them all month. Then again, I hear that some people handwrite the whole novel.” They passed the many genre forums when Mia passed a posse of characters, all wearing long cloaks and carrying wands. One of them, the leader of the group, it appeared, had black hair and a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. He was talking to five friends. The boy to his left was tall and gangly with red hair, while the girl to the leader’s right also had red hair the same color as the boy’s. Next to her was a girl with bushy brown hair who carried an armful of books. A blonde girl wearing radish earrings and a bottle cap necklace and a plump boy carrying a frog completed the bunch, and Mia stared at them, along with what appeared to be the Wrimo leading them.
“Wait a minute,” Mia said aloud. “Aren’t those Harry Potter characters?” She didn’t get to think about this for long, for other fictional characters began to wander around the square, many of whom she didn’t recognize, but one of whom was dressed like a Mountie with the notable exception of fairy wings attached to his back.
But then the unthinkable happened. Cedric Diggory entered the square arm-in-arm with Edward Cullen, and they started to kiss. “What?” Mia asked. “People are crazy.”
“Well, that too,” goddess of insanity, the Wrimo accompanying the fairy Mountie, told Mia. Mia looked up and noticed that it was the other genres forum. Was that where they were coming from? “But they’re fanfic writers.”
“You mean you can write fanfiction for NaNo?” Mia asked.
“Of course,” goddess of insanity replied, and then Mia noticed that this Wrimo wasn’t alone; a large dog accompanied her and the fairy Mountie. “There’s nothing in the rules against it. How do you think big bang fics get written?”
“Big bang fics?”
Goddess of insanity shook her head. “Never mind. If you’re into fandom, come check out the thread for us.”
“But where is it?” Mia asked, looking around the square. All these forums got confusing sometimes.
“The twenty-something forum. And pretty much the whole fans and critics forum. See you there!” Goddess of insanity waltzed off, and the fairy Mountie and the dog followed, the wings now fluttering softly. Mia wasn’t bothered enough to pay attention, and she certainly wasn’t bothered enough to find out what these big bangs were. She had a novel to write, after all.
“Okay, Amy and Ian,” Mia said. “It’s time to write you up.”
“But don’t you want to see the Fans and Critics forum?” Amy asked. “We can wait. Really.” Mia sighed.
“No, you two are getting written right now, eraser bench or no. Besides, I don’t watch TV. Haven’t watched TV in years. So what would I do there, anyway?”
“Books,” Amy said. “Didn’t you see all the Harry Potter people going around earlier?”
“You’re just as savvy about popular culture as I am, and that’s saying something,” Mia said, and she plunked herself down on the nearest eraser bench to write.
Today’s a long one, mostly because the second little scene was too short to merit its own part.
I start editing my first NaNo novel today! And what have I done? Piddled around like a good procrastinator. Go me. Maybe that’s why I’m posting this early. No more excuses, I tell you.
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