So I went to a concert Sunday night to watch a performer I had first seen in person twenty years ago. Both great shows, but it got me to thinking about time and the difference between the type of show a person does when he is younger and the type of show he does when he’s older. The younger show was brash and funny, the older show more thoughtful and introspective.
Apparently introspection is catchy.
Anyway, as I was getting ready to leave for work yesterday, two of my characters started a scene that takes place years from the present set of stories, my fictional equivalent of the gap in the concerts. I could tell it was just going to be a scene or two. Short, sad, poignant. But I had to get to work so I took off and hoped I’d get a chance to write it down later.
But when I got to work, it started to transform. More characters wanted in on the action, the poignant moment turning into an inciting scene for an entire story. And every scene that showed up diluted the original by half. Soon nothing would be left but a watery gruel. The argument in the men’s room was the last straw. Do I want this to be sad or stupid?
I chose sad.
As soon as I get home, I crank up the computer and get to work. And, yes, the characters have decided on short and sad as well. I am deep into it, typing as fast as I can and then….
“MwaaaaaAAAAaaaaaAAAAA” at my bedroom door.
Which is Siamese for “Let me in.” Or at least it is Calvin for let me in. I’ve found that no two Siamese sound exactly alike. Calvin is more of a loud tenor, Hobby is more of a cranky baritone. And neither of them say “Meow.”
I ignore him and try to keep writing, but Calvin will not be ignored.
“MWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! MWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! MWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
You get the picture.
So I open the door. “Okay, okay, come in.”
“MwaaaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAA,” he says, trotting around the bed and trying to judge the distance up to my Wacom tablet. I use a tablet instead of a mouse. Unfortunately, it has buttons on it that scroll or hide windows. I never use the buttons, but Calvin likes to sit on them and activate them with his butt.
“So what do you need?”
“Mmmmmmmmmm.” Now the Mmmmmmm sound is a funny little noise made without even opening his mouth. It is a considering sound, a maybe sound. If he’s not quite sure what he wants or whether or not he likes something, he will mmmmmmm.
After two tries (he is seventeen years old so some days are better than others), he gets up on the tablet. I remove him before he can activate any buttons and set him on the bed.
“Do you want to go outside?” I’m hoping this is the right answer. Calvin likes to go outside and pee on the car tires. He learned that from our old Dobie Spencer. Spencer is gone, but Calvin still likes to pee on tires.
“Okay, give me a minute. I’m right at the end of this story.”
“Okay, okay, you can go out right now.”
I let him outside, leave the door open a crack so he can come back in and return to the computer. I get one sentence typed and then…
“Waaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Imagine whiny child inflection.
“Not right now, Hobby.”
Now Hobby has been sick (he’s also seventeen) so it is important that he eats. So if he wants to eat, I have to go feed him. Right now he will only eat tiny bits of chicken so I cut him up a few chunks, wash my hands, go back to the keyboard.
But before I can close the bedroom door…
“There’s chicken in the kitchen, Calvin.”
He comes around the bed, eyes the tablet, wiggles his behind.
“Calvin, can I just finish my story?”
Of course, by this time, I’ve totally lost the flow of the thing. I’m not sure exactly how the story ends anymore, but I remove Calvin from the Wacom tablet and type something.
Maybe it’s finished, maybe it’s not.
I’ll try again when I have less company.