– Meanwhile, from the producer and his accomplice…
I never know when I’ll look up from my notebook or my laptop and there he’ll be on one of my kitchen chairs, tipped back against the wall, giving me his best dirty-boy look. He’s usually looking at the increasing pile of samples in boxes piled up on my printer. To be fair, I haven’t seen him in a while. Sometimes, he looks like himself, sometimes like one of his many disguises. Last night, he looked like himself, or at least that self I’ve come to know.
“You’ve got a surprise coming in the mail, baby.”
I looked up from the blog I was reading, and considering the bombshell I was trying to imagine from the words on that blog, that says a lot.
“I do?” This had been known to happen. Surprises usually came in windowed envelopes and were also known as ‘bills’. On rare occasions, they came in bubblepack envelopes from remote locations and had been known to cause spontaneous whoops of joy and a flurry of air guitar. “Oh, hell. It’s you again.”
“Yeah. Miss me?” The grin on his face was nowhere near five years old, but more like fifteen. It would be better described as a leer.
I’m not stupid. This was an entity – or a muse – that could cause writer’s block, imagination overload, impulse CD and DVD buys and the creation of a certain type of literature I could only publish under a pseudonym. “Always.”
“Cool! As I said, Doc Elly’s been busy. She’s found a few things to…throw in the mix. The ball is rolling, baby. This will be good.”
“Really? Like what?”
The chair landed with a thud on its legs and he leaned closer. His voice dropped lower. “Stuff no one else has ever used. And stuff that’s rarely used. Special stuff.”
“Oh! Did she say anything else?”
“Well, not exactly. She posted a cute picture of a satyr playing the pipes for a swooning mortal.”
“I saw that. I don’t know that you make me swoon.” I closed my laptop with a click. “Maybe you should.”
“Maybe…” The Devil helped himself to my lone glass of Friday night prosecco. “And maybe you should watch a little less TV and write a little more, read a few less blogs.”
“Oh, c’mon. It was one documentary. It was Sir Richard Burton, the explorer. I had to see that.”
He laughed. “Here’s what I know. I’ve been asleep on the job. There’s a perfume to make. We’ve got…something going on in that little black box.”
“The bass line. Wasn’t that what you called it?” It was more like a hard rocking lineup to die for, but I didn’t say that. He was the Devil. No reason to point out the obvious.
“A little drum, a lot of bass…we need more…percussion. Some rhythm, the beginnings of a riff, a melody line. A perfume that’ll make the whole world swoon.”
“I thought that was your job.” I reached out for my glass of prosecco, but he refused to hand it over.
“It is.” He drained the glass and placed it back on my desk. “Here’s your job.” He opened up my laptop, typed the password I didn’t need to tell him, and I found myself looking at an empty Word page.
“Write about it, baby.” He stood up, walked over and whispered in my ear. “You know you want to.”
When I looked up again, he was gone. I knew he would be back. He wanted to smell what happened next with that little black box.
Image: Hezico’s Tarot