“So what did you say your last name was again?” Amy asked as they walked through a park full of greenery and children playing on swings. She glanced at the children, wondering what her brother was doing right now, and realized that this Ian had never told her his last name.
“Woon,” Ian replied. “Mr. Ian Woon.” He glanced around and tossed his coffee cup as they passed a trash can.
Mia jumped up and approached Ian. “You definitely don’t look like the Mr. Ian Woon I saw,” Mia told him.
“Why, of course I don’t,” Ian replied. “If I looked alike to everyone, then everyone would be forced to use the exact same character. No, Mia, I’m not just a person, but a personality, a facet of NaNoWriMo.”
“I know that,” Mia said. “You told me this. But why aren’t you wearing a pink suit? Where are your battle wounds?”
“Well, I can wear a pink suit if you want me to,” Ian said. “But that wouldn’t be an appropriate outfit choice for an afternoon with this fine young woman.” He adjusted the collar of his red shirt. Close enough to pink, anyway.
Mia nodded. “Yeah, I’d be pretty weirded out if a date of mine wore a pink suit too. But why did you decide to show up now?”
“You should have known earlier,” Ian replied. “Why else would a second character named Ian enter your story?”
Amy was now standing away from the pair, but she didn’t look impatient at all. Instead, she checked her phone, glanced again at the kids, and eventually pulled a paperback out of her bag.
“To confuse me, apparently,” Mia replied. “Now I declare your name to be Jacob.”
“Nope, sorry,” Ian replied. “My name is Mr. Ian Woon, always has been and always will be. Now let me continue my afternoon with this fine lady.” He turned back to Amy, who looked quite annoyed at having to stash the book back in her bag. “And yours?” he asked Amy.
“Cramer,” Amy replied. “You know, Woon’s a really interesting name.” She took another stab at making conversation with Ian. “I’ve never heard it before.
“No!” Mia exclaimed, jumping on front of them. “Of course you’ve never heard the name Woon! Stop being a dumbass, Amy. You’re blowing it.”
Amy stepped away from Ian and toward Mia and made sure that Ian couldn’t hear them. “Mia,” Amy whispered.
“Yeah?” Mia asked.
“He’s not the kind of guy I want to date.”
“And you can tell that in half an hour?”
“Of course!” Amy whispered back. “Can’t you tell when a date’s going to be bad in the beginning?”
Mia shook her head. To be honest she hadn’t been on too many dates lately. “Whatever, Amy. Just finish your date, but do me a favor, okay?”
“What is it?”
“Tell him sooner than later. He’ll thank you for it. And please don’t make a fool of yourself.”
Amy stepped away from Mia and toward Ian, and the pair continued to walk through the park. “You know,” Amy told Ian. “We should stop by and pick up Ian.”
“Me? Why me?” Ian asked.
“No, not me,” Amy replied. “My brother. My friend Brenda’s babysitting him today, and he’ll want to meet you.”
Mia slapped her face with her hand. Why, Amy, why?
“Your prose is so shitty!” Mia yelled to Amy. “Just stop it. Stop it now.”
“I can’t help it,” Amy told her, now walking with Ian out of the park and toward Brenda’s apartment. “It’s just the manner in which I speak.” Mia sighed. “You’re going to get edited, Amy!” She shook her fist at her character, hoping Amy would see it. Amy didn’t see a thing, though.
At Brenda’s apartment young Ian spotted Amy immediately, and he ran toward her and wrapped his arms around his legs. “Hey, Ian,” Amy said, picking him up. “How was he?” Amy asked.
“Oh, he was delightful,” Brenda said. “We played cars and trucks and even took a walk around the block.” Amy’s date, however, looked less than pleased with her little brother. “Oh, is this Ian?” Brenda asked, walking up to him. “Good to meet you, Ian. I’m Brenda.” She offered her hand, but he didn’t shake it. Brenda frowned.
“Hello, Brenda, I’m Mr. Ian Woon,” Ian said to her. Then Amy figured out his disdain. Someone was pulling on her legs.
“Mama, can we stay here longer?”
Brenda and Amy looked at each other, and Amy’s eyes met Ian’s.
“You never told me you had a child,” Ian said blamingly.
“I didn’t,” Amy replied. “That’s because I don’t.” Ian looked from the child tugging at Amy’s feet to Amy’s face, which held no evidence of a lie.
“I can’t believe you’d do this,” Ian said.
“What’s wrong with you?” Amy asked. “It’s a first date. It doesn’t mean we’re getting married next week, in which case I’d hope we would have talked about it by now.”
Ian turned away. “Never mind,” he said dramatically as he pushed the door open and left.
“Well, goodbye, Mr. Ian Woon,” Mia said as she typed the last sentence and checked her word count, sighing loudly when she saw 13401 words. Still on track, but barely, she told herself. Now let’s stay there.
I am so sorry. The presence of two Ians in my novel didn’t even occur to me until I had written this part, and of course finding and replacing would only make matters worse. Another fun fact: Amy’s name was originally Maria. You can probably figure out why I changed it.
Feel free to link this on your blog, Twitter, whatever. Just don’t pass this off as your own, and we’re cool.
I highly encourage you to donate to the Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organization that runs NaNoWriMo, if you enjoy this tale of noveling madness. If you donate in the new year, your donor goodies will appear in the month before the event you donate to (NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy).
If for some strange reason you’re really into giving money to Internet strangers who write somewhat humorous things, I won’t complain. You can do that at the link below.