The Author

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He yawned. It has been a grey and unrecognisable day, his work blurring the day’s edges until it was hard to say where or when it had started. He read the last chapter on the screen and wasn’t pleased. Shitty 500 words for a new erotic noir style story and he had been working on it for hours and wasn’t able to work out a functioning storyline. No wonder the previous author didn’t finish it. The editor said he simply wouldn’t answer calls anymore. Probably the guy just recognised he couldn’t do it. Anyway, he sort of vanished and left them with just a few words of a rough outline.

Of course they called him in, well knowing he’d need the money and would deliver. And he’s been stupid enough to agree to finish this mess of a story. It even sounded quite appealing at firs. But now it seemed his characters were trying to have it their own way, only it was the most smutty and cheap way possible. Who had ever heard of a more cliché thing than an hardboiled detective in a shabby office? With a name like Alexander Brookfield? A bloke having an old fashioned vibrator in his desk — obviously intended to be the funny bit of the storyline. And of course this guy would have Trisha Tyler, a sexy-as-hell secretary. He had to rewrite the whole nonsense.

„I’d really laugh at you, if you guys would even be real,“ he said between sips of coffee. „You’re just too unreal, even for a ‚gun for hire’ like me.“

But probably not today — since he moved into this old house nothing seemed to work as it should. Maybe a coffee would lift his spirits up so he could get this odd story finished. He grabbed his mug and made his way into the kitchen. He really should unpack the last of his boxes, especially his coffee machine. But at least he found an old kettle and some leftover coffee from his Aunt. It’s all been fast, much to fast and now he’s in this empty house in the middle of nowhere.

He grabbed his coffee and propped himself back in front of the laptop, re-reading his story. He would need to get some more lamps, it already had gotten dark and it only was early afternoon. Staring at the screen didn’t seem to do any good, a sudden dizziness crept into his head.

By now the dim light from the hallway had almost lost the fight to the gloom, his phone and the typewriter appearing like some misplaced sculptures, ancient gods of a forgotten cult. Probably he shouldn’t have procrastinated when they told him to sort out his shit. He hesitated, finally reaching for the desk lamp, its sharp circle of light cutting into the darkness, exposing a blank desk pad with the distinctive circles his mug has left over the last year. Something wasn’t right, but he couldn’t quite figure it out.

A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. A quick look in the drawer, but no, there was no gun. Wasn’t there always a 38 in the top right drawer? What was going on? And what was that thing looking like a hairdryer with a rubber plunger doing in his desk? Knock, knock!

“Oh hell, yes. I’m not here. Go the fuck home. I’ve got work to do.”

He hadn’t heard a car and for a second wondered why a visitor should come to this remote place. Maybe some guy from the phone company to figure out his line? The footsteps approached and he recognised them as the characteristic clack-clack of high heels. The doorknob turned and he was looking directly at a light chocolate version of Laren Bacall or maybe Rita Hayworth – he always got these two mixed up. Anyway, she looked fabulous and whoever tried to pull a prank on him has put in some serious effort: Hair in some fancy 1940s look, pencil skirt, tight white blouse and heels to die for.

With an elegant move the lady sat on the table, turned to him and crossed her legs in the sexy fashion one knows from the golden days of Hollywood with their barely hidden wet dreams of hot secretaries. He tried not to stare, but her legs were irritating close. Were these real nylons she was wearing?

He tried to concentrate on his laptop instead, but he couldn’t find it. She must’ve shoved it from his desk. His desk? It didn’t looked like his desk at all. If only it wouldn’t be so dark, everything look almost black and white.

„Good afternoon, Mr. Brookfield,“ a soft sultry voice said. He passed out.

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