Another day, another scene. Or, if he was unlucky enough, and the writer got into the flow, a complete bloody chapter.
He was getting too old for this.
Back when he started, it seemed like an exciting career choice, glamorous and sexy. To be the protagonist in action thrillers seemed like the dream job.
After all, his father had been the man in maths problems. True sometimes he played a farmer, a train driver, a builder or some similar character. But all he did was carry improbable loads from one place to another, build awkwardly shaped houses, plant crops in unusually shaped fields or take an odd assortment of livestock to the market. He never had to do the maths, though, which was a good thing as his father had been hopeless at numbers. He just had to do all the heavy lifting.
His mother had made a living working part-time in examples in philosophy textbooks, engaging in all manner of ethical quandaries and metaphysical dilemmas.
He, of course, wanted more.
He wanted a name for instance. A name of his own. He didn’t want to be the unnamed farmer taking six sheep, two cows and half a dozen chickens 17.6 mile to the market over a river 3 miles wide. Nor did he want to be the woman next to the train track switch as the out-of-control train thundered down the line, not knowing whether to switch tracks so that the little girl playing on the line was killed, or to let it carry on at full speed, eventually crashing into the station killing all on board.
He wanted to work in fiction, ideally have his own series.
He’d always liked the detectives with a troubled personal life and an antagonistic relationship with the rules. He wanted to be a maverick going his own way. Even if the sex was sometimes a bit problematic, and it often ended up with him savagely beaten in at least one chapter before he solved it all by the final pages.
At least then, he’d have a name. Something like Sam Spade. A good solid name that would be recognised down the Protagonist’s Arms on a Friday night. Out of the corner of his eye, he’d see all the other central characters huddled in a corner of the bar looking over at him with envy in their eyes. All because he always got the girl, and all they ended up with was even more existential angst.
But he was getting old now. He could barely cope with a paragraph of action without losing his breath. He was even forgetting which chapter he was supposed to be in and what clues he was searching for. In the last chapter of his latest adventure he’d found himself standing in the kitchen holding a spoon, not knowing why he was there or even why he was holding the spoon.
Luckily, though that scene was cut in the final draft.
He sighed. These days he even – sometimes – forgot his name.