Andrew Wilson had been staring at the blank sheet of paper for the last five minutes. He tapped out a handful of words on his 1955 Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter that he had bought from a pawn shop in Phoenix for $10 bucks more than twenty years ago. Since then, the typewriter traveled the country with him and helped write hundreds of short stories, twenty-seven novels including a few best sellers, and a motion picture script or two.
Andy didn’t see the harm in it, a line at a time was a pain in the neck. Andy bobbed his head from side to side. He sat down and wadded two sheets of paper at a time and tossed them over his shoulders. When he finished going through the stack beside the Royal, pulled another from the drawer to replace it. Checking the mirror, he saw that the paper was satisfied.
Now go spend time with your family. Save the editing for when the story is finished. We will continue our work in the morning. And remember, do not tell anyone about us.
Andy tipped over the trash for the paper. He returned to his desk and picked up the manuscript pages to begin his end of the work day ritual. He set the manuscript on the document feeder and activated the scanner. The machine came to life and started processing the pages. His computer displayed several options and Andy tapped the selection that would import the text from his manuscript pages into his word processor.
With a quick glance Andy checked the trash can and found that it was full of paper. Placing the bin under his desk, he pushed his chair under it, hiding the can from view.
Andy returned to his printer and removed the manuscript. He flipped through it quickly, pleased with the progress he had made. According to his word processor, he had written twenty-six pages and nearly eight thousand words. He returned the manuscript to its place beside the Royal and laid a bookmark on top of it. When the computer indicated that the import had been completed successfully, he saved the document and sent countless copies of itself out into the cloud, where it would reside until he forwarded it to his editor.
Andy picked up the plate that had once held his breakfast sandwich and made his way for the door. Leaving his office behind for the night, he joined his family for dinner before retiring to the living room with them. While his kids watched television and played a board game, Judy read a book, while Andy went against the paper’s suggestion and edited his manuscript from his tablet.
After the kids were tucked away in the beds, Judy came back to the living room and sat beside him. “You’ve been editing something on your tablet all evening. Can I assume that your trouble with writer’s block has been cured?”
Andy considered his words carefully. The paper had warned him not to tell anyone about them. He didn’t know what they would do if he did tell her. Would they stop helping him? Would the writer’s block return, if he betrayed his subconscious? He wasn’t sure. But, there was one thing that he did know. He couldn’t tell her the truth. She would make him stop writing and seek psychiatric help immediately. Finally, he said, “Yes. I got over it. I’m on a roll too. The story is just flowing onto the pages. I’ve set a personal record too. I’ve got the first two chapters done.”
“That’s good news,” Judy said with a smile. “You’re happier when you’re writing.”
“You can say that again,” Andy said. “Have the kids noticed?” Andy tried to keep calm whenever his children were around.
“They’re very observant, especially Jessie – I don’t think she misses anything. They knew something was bothering you yesterday, but they were pleased to see you in a better mood today,” Judy said.
“How are they doing?” Andy asked.
“Tabby is still pushing for her learner’s permit,” Judy said. “We’ll have to come up with a decision soon, although I appreciate how helpful she’s been lately. She’s really trying to show us that she’s responsible enough to get behind the wheel.”
“Do you think we can milk this until the end of summer?” Andy asked with a sly smile.
“Maybe,” Judy replied. “Jenny just discovered kangaroos on the Internet and wants to see one in real life. I think the local zoo may have one. I’ll take the kids on an adventure tomorrow to find out.”
“That sounds like fun,” Andy said.
“Maybe,” Judy said. “Brian has all of these adventures planned out for his action figures and their sandbox fortress. He won’t be pleased to postpone them for a trip to the zoo. But, he’s been asking for a new action figure or two to add to the mix. Perhaps, I will take him by the toy store afterwards if he behaves.”
Andy laughed. “If he wants them bad enough, I’m sure he’ll be on his best behavior,” Andy said. “What about Jessie?”
“She’s been wrapped up in a new story, but she did look up long enough to make a formal request.”
“She wants you to read one of her stories. Here it is,” Judy said, handing him a note.
Andy took it from his wife and looked it over. He smiled and said, “Tell her to forward her story to me, and I will work it into my schedule at my earliest convenience.”
“She will be pleased,” Judy said.
“What about you?” Andy asked. “How is your sculpture coming along?”
“With Tabby stepping up and helping me with the other kids, I’ve been able to make a lot of good progress on my sculpture. I’m ahead of schedule.”
“That’s good to hear,” Andy said.
“It’s the reason why I agreed to the field trip to the zoo tomorrow,” Judy said. “And, what about you, my dear husband? Have you made enough progress to join us on our little expedition to find a living kangaroo?”
Andy took a moment to consider the offer. Finally, he said, “I had a great day today, but I still have a long way to go. It’s probably best not to tempt the fates with another hiatus so soon.”
Judy was disappointed, but didn’t let it show. She just nodded her head and said, “I knew it was a long shot, but I had to ask.”
“You made a very tempting offer,” Andy said, “but I’m still behind schedule. Rain check?”
“One of these days I’m going to cash in all of these rain checks,” Judy said getting up from the couch. “I’m going to bed.”
“Sounds good,” Andy said. “Let me finish reworking this paragraph and I’ll be right up.”
“Don’t be too long,” Judy said, walking away.
The paragraph turned out to be the rest of the page, before Andy finally, saved his work and made his way upstairs.