It was one of those times.
Times when there was nothing to say.
But he was a writer, he was not going to let that stop him.
There was a page here, waiting to be filled with words.
So, he would fill it full of words.
It was what he did.
Maybe not this time…
Maybe this time there would be no words. Maybe he had nothing left to say.
He laughed, mirthlessly in that way that writers do when they need to up the word count a bit with some not necessarily superfluous bit of descriptive writing. Laughing mirthlessly (whatever that was, he wasn’t entirely sure) was one of those things a person in this kind of situation would do.
Or so he thought.
Thing was, he wasn’t so sure anymore.
He’d been a writer too long. He no longer knew what other people thought, said and did, even if he’d known in the first place. He was not sure about other writers though, either.
It wasn’t that he didn’t think other people existed… if he’d got that sentence the right way round – it didn’t matter he’d come back in the second draft and fix it.
What on earth was he about to write?
He couldn’t remember now.
The man with the gun stood in the hallway, just out of the writer’s line of sight.
‘Shall I come in now?’ the man with the gun said.
‘What?’ The writer looked up from his keyboard. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘It’s that Raymond Chandler thing again, don’t you remember?’
‘Of course I remember, I’m a writer, aren’t I?’
The man with the gun didn’t answer.
‘I see.’ The writer glanced up at the page he’d written, trying to remember what he was going to write originally.
‘It may not have been that good.’ The man with the gun leant against the doorjamb, the pistol held loosely at his side.
‘But I’m a writer, everything I write is good,’ the writer said, wishing he believed it.
‘Really?’ It was a revolver. The man rotated the… the… whatever that bit of the gun is that holds the bullets… the chamber?
‘You should do more research,’ the man with the gun said.
‘Research? Why? Who really gives a shit except for the obsessives?’
The man with the gun shrugged. ‘The obsessives are the ones that write the reviews delighting in telling the world how you get your facts wrong and leave one star.’
‘What if they are right?’
‘They can’t be though, no-one else cares that much. Most people won’t know if I get the details right or wrong. It will make no difference to them if the train service the protagonist and the murderer are riding on in 1938 wasn’t built until 1956, will it?’
‘It mattered to someone?’
‘The one who hired me,’ said the man with the gun.
‘Hired you? But you are fictional. I just created you.’
‘Are you sure about that?’ The man said, raising his gun. ‘After all, you said it yourself. You aren’t that good at research, are you?’
The gunshot was loud in the silent study.
I’ll have to fix this in the next draft, the writer thought as he fell into the bloody pool on the floor in front of his desk.
It can’t end like this….
But it did.