|Degrees of Success
Author: Crimsonoaks PM
Plagued with chronic writer's block Kathrine struggles to complete a story to submit to a writing contest. Confronted with men, quirky friends, strange neighbors and frighteningly dirty dishes her chances of meeting the deadline are questionable.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 10 - Words: 52,559 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 01-01-10 - Published: 05-24-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2676601
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
What in a priest's robe is that? Oh, it's the phone. I scurry out of bed to get to the source of my arousal. It's not even a fun arousal, and that is just sad. I leap to get the phone before it goes to my message machine. I hate message machines. It's a major contributor to the awful game of phone tag.
"Hey Rin," comes Jacob's voice.
I glance at my watch to check the time. Yes, I do wear my watch to sleep. In fact I have these lovely little tan lines in the shape of a sports watch.
I groan, "Jacob, it's six in the morning. That's too early for anyone to be fully functional."
"Yeah, I didn't really sleep last night. Anyway I really need to tell you something."
Those are the famous last words, so to speak. Oh no, this is going to be as bad as being raped by an ugly old man.
"What is it?" I ask tenatively.
There is a small pause before he says, "I have to go home."
I know what he means but I have to ask anyway. "But I thought you were at your house."
"No no, I mean back home to my family."
"Why?" I demand.
He sounds more frazzled than I've ever heard before. He pleads, "Please don't be upset. There is this uprising and riots and I just have to go back."
"But why? Why do you have to go?"
"I just have to. I have to be there for my family. Helen was sent here because she is the only girl in my family aside from my mother, and she is too stubborn to go anywhere. She told me about what's going on and I just have to go help them. I'm not sure how, but I have to," he explains, stumbling over his words.
There's a silence and I don't want to time it.
"I'm sorry Kathrine, but I have to go. My plane leaves in two hours. I'm really sorry. Bye."
"Bye," I reply quietly.
The dial tone rings in my ear and I slowly put the phone back down on the receiver. We've only known each other for two weeks and yet somehow he became very close to me. I was going to celebrate my newest story with him, but he might not be back for weeks, if he comes back at all. There's only one thing to do now, and that is sleep. Some good sleep can cure just about anything. I walk back to my room and literally crawl back into the blankets. I wish Kurt was still here. He would make it all better.
I wake up and wander around my apartment. Jacob is probably on the plane right now. I don't really feel like working on my story right now. Besides with this sudden loneliness it will only make it crappier. Jacob left, Matt and Brian are in a hole for all I know, and Jen isn't talking to me anymore. Who do I have left? With the deadline so close I have to edit my story, but with everyone leaving I can't. This stress is crippling- wait, Dorian. It's early enough in the morning that I can go for piano lessons.
I jump in the car and speed over to the repair shop. Screw gas, in a week my paycheck will be coming so it should be fine. I jog into the store and get to the counter panting. Writers don't have good cardio, that's my excuse. What the hell, who is this guy? Oh, he's the manager. Aren't nametags wonderful things?
I ask, "Excuse me but where is Dorian?"
The man looks at me and says, "He doesn't work here anymore."
"I said, he doesn't work here anymore. He was fired," the manager explains a bit harshly.
"He did great repairs. Why was he fired?" I demand.
"There were complaints about him, he made people uncomfortable, so I had to let him go."
Enraged, I ask, "You got rid of one of your best workers because of some dumbass complaints?"
There is no regret in his voice or face. That little bastard. Dorian became really important to me so it's understandable that I don't take it very well. I leap over the counter to get to him, and quite frankly, I'm surprised that I actually made it. He towers over me but the art of female fighting rarely looses. I pull my hand back and swing it at his face. I would have given him a good slap, but he grabbed my arm before I even touched him. I struggle and lash out with every limb I can. He holds my hands behind my back, kicks my legs open a bit, and throws me against the counter like they do in those cop shows. My entire torso is being squished on the counter by his weight, and breathing is just a little difficult right now. Okay, height has failed me like it usually does, I've been out muscled my ninja fighting skills weren't up to par, and I'm in a very compromising position right now. Sex is all that's left for me.
"It's so small, but the force! Oh god is your pelvis is so strong!" I moan as loudly as possible.
As the other customers turn around to look at us I smile and put on my best orgasm face. The manager scoots away and has a nervous coughing fit. I skip around the counter and smile at the customers. I think a few of them got it, but the others I'm not sure about. I walk out of the store and back into my car feeling a bit better. There's nothing like a good practical sex joke to brighten your day. Still, firing Dorian was just wrong. From the moment I met him, I could tell that it was the love of his life, so to speak. If only I knew where he lived, then I would visit him and try to cheer him up. I bet he is really broken because of this.
I get home and slowly walk up the sidewalk to my building. Last night seems so far away. I make it up to my hall and trudge towards my apartment. It's been a long day and it's not even twelve o'clock yet. I need some coffee, but I don't have the money for one. This is really pathetic.
"Hey Madden, do you want to come over for some brussel sprouts? They're nice and leafy," the crazy lady offers.
If anyone asks, I did not wet my pants from surprise. There was only a drop or two, I swear. I turn around to look at her and smile. She is just as she always is, a complete mess, tripping over invisible things while standing, and with that strange grin she always has. Something about the idea of eating brussel sprouts with the crazy lady is really appealing.
The inside of her house is utter chaos. Sure there are those lovely little metaphors like "it was so messy it looked like a tornado passed through", but none of them live up to how messy her house is. In fact, the word messy doesn't cut it either. I'm just going to give up trying to describe it. I try to keep from stepping on anything, but following her example, I stomp my way through to the kitchen. At least I think it's a kitchen.
She takes a pot of brussel sprouts off the stove and we sit down on plastic crates. She places the pot in the middle of an overturned bucket and whips out two pairs of chopsticks. I attempt the raised eyebrow routine, and fail miserably. Fortunately she gets what I mean.
"I ran out of forks long ago and Chinese take-out always gives you extra chopsticks," she explains.
We eat the brussel sprouts in silence. They taste horrible, but for some strange reason I keep eating them. The crazy lady eats them looking insanely happy. Who the hell likes brussel sprouts?
"Aren't they wonderful?" she asks blissfully.
"Ten minutes and thirty-five seconds."
She giggles and almost falls off of the crate. We laze around her apartment, talking about bizarre things. I think most of the conversation consists of hysterical laughter, but that only makes it funnier. Finally I decide to go home due to stomach cramps, strange brussel sprout after tastes, and crate marks on my ass.
"I should be going home now. Thanks for having me over."
"Oh no problem, come over any time you want. I don't really go anywhere," she says.
She walks me to her door and I head to my apartment. I turn around before going inside and watch as she dances her way back into hers. The craziness somehow made me feel better. Oh wow it's already six o'clock. I take off my shoes and collapse on the couch. Yes, I should be doing my editing now, but I feel really drained. Maybe some television will make it all better. What the hell...... is with...... that bunny.......
In the morning and rummage through my fridge for some breakfast. Ooh an apple, and it's only a little bruised. Yes, sustenance! I pick it up and move to shine it on my shirt. What the performance anxiety is with this apple? Half of it eaten already? Ugh and that side looks kinda shady too. I dig through my freezer as well, but all I can find is ice crystals. Oh my god is that a bag of coffee? I take it out and open the bag. There is just enough to make one cup. Salvation has arrived! Where did my coffee pot go? Oh well I bet I can do it without the coffee maker. Damn these are whole beans. Oh well I can smash them up with this handy dandy knife I have here. I put the chopped up coffee beans in a mug and add some water. Popping it into the microwave I bounce with excitement. The microwave dings and I rush to take out my coffee. At least I think it's coffee.... Oh well, it's caffeine and that's what really matters. I force down the murky brown sludge that I made.
Since I'm all fueled up now I should go edit that story. I turn on my laptop and bounce with excitement again. You know what, since I'm so close to being done I'm going to watch some television while polishing my story up. I carry my laptop with me to the couch. The rug catches my foot and I land in a heap on the floor.
My computer does too.
Oh god please say it still works. Maybe the black screen just means I need to turn it on again. No, no, no it's not working. This just means I need to plug it in right? Right? I fumble for the power cord and plug it in. Why isn't it turning on? Oh fuck.... oh fucking hell..... this has got to be some fucking joke. My computer is broken. And it's all that fucking rug's fault.
I'm going to burn this thing once and for all. I yank it out from under the coffee table causing it to fall over with a crash. I grab a box of matches before storming out of the door and into the elevator. The few people in the elevator take one look at me and scoot as far away as possible. If anybody says a single word I'm going to fucking break their nose. Unfortunately no one makes a sound. The doors open and I stomp out into the parking lot. Once I'm in a relatively clear spot and throw the rug down and pull out a match. I strike it on the box and watch it ignite with a vengeful pleasure. I set it down on the rug and wait for it to go up in flames. The match sizzles out.
"Fuck no! Listen you little piece of shit, and listen well. You fucking destroyed my biggest chance at reaching my dreams! I want to see you burn to ashes you bitch!"
I try with five different matches and none of them work.
"Why the fuck won't you burn?"
I scream with rage and when I can't scream anymore I can still hear it echoing through the parking lot.
"Here let me try," the crazy lady says while coming out from behind a parked car.
She takes the matchbox and turns her back to me. Within seconds the rug is lit and burning bright.
"There you go."
I wail, "Thank you so much. I don't know what's wrong with me, this whole thing is driving me crazy. I was so close and it's just been snatched away. Ugh, I'm going to kick someone's face in! It was the perfect story and now it's gone."
I watch the flames lick at the rug and feel only a little better.
The crazy lady says softly, "There is this quote. Genius and insanity are separated only by degrees of success."
"Great now I'm insane since my shot at success is gone."
"It might come again."
I glance at her and ask, "So which are you?"
She smiles. "I'm sure you can guess, but I've had some success."
She walks away and leaves me to watch the smoldering remains of that damn rug.
God damn why does this pencil keep breaking. I can't believe that I've been reduced to using paper and pencil. I've worked for the last thirty six hours, trying to recreate the story I lost. Yes, new pencil.
So God created man in his own image. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in
How the fuck did I get sauce on this? It's a fucking bible for Saint Peter's sake. Is there even a Saint Peter? Oh god I just don't know anymore. I really really need to visit the crazy lady again to get back in touch with reality.
I bolt out of my apartment and knock on her door. She doesn't come so I try the handle. It's unlocked so I walk in and search for her. Oh hell, she isn't here. Why the fuck isn't she here? Wait, I can see a note written in crayon taped to the floor.
Hey Madden, I've gone to Ireland just for kicks. Be back in a week, bye.
"Who the hell goes to Ireland?" I shriek.
Some guy walking by looks at me and hurries off. I go back to my apartment and try to wipe the sauce from the bible. Maybe the judges aren't familiar with the Genesis and it'll be okay. I can try. Oh fuck what's after that?
Shit, I have half an hour to finish this and I only have three pages of utter crap. I start writing faster, trying to get those last two pages in. I can remember the story now and I just have to hurry up and- What the hell is wrong with these damn pencils? They keep fucking breaking! I search for another one and can only find this stub of a dull pencil. It'll have to do. What was the next part? My eyelids droop down, but I give myself a good slap in the face and keep writing. I'm just so damn...... No, no sleep! What the hell was I writing before I fell asleep? Unicorns? I erase it so hard it tears the page. They'll still accept it right? Ugh, what next? Oh I remember..... Adam tells Eve..... about.... the tree of......knowledge........
What happened and why is my cheek pressed into my pencil? Damn I must have fallen asleep. Okay, I can still make- ten o'clock!
"It's over... it's all over."
That's it, show's over, pack your bags and watch that last step, it's a doozy. It's all over. Everything. I missed the last three days of work so I probably don't even have that anymore. My friends are gone, Dorian's gone, Jacob's gone, Kurt is gone, my neighbor is gone, and now my chance at being published is gone. I try to keep from crying, but a sob rips through my throat. The tears burn my cheeks and something furry rubs against my arm. Wait, furry?
I look down and through my tears I can see a beautiful black cat. I reach out to pet it and it purrs. Oh god does it feel good to hear a cat purring again.
"Do you like him?"
I look up and my heart stops. "Jacob!"
He kneels down and pets the cat. "Matt told me that you lost a cat a while back so I decided to get you a new one. His name is Mark. I thought it was a good strong name."
"Jacob, everything's gone," I whisper.
"I'm not and now you have Mark."
"What made you come back?"
"I got there and my mom beat me over the head with a ladle calling me an idiot for leaving my girlfriend and job for some stupid riot."
I give a small smile. "Wait, is that eggs I smell?"
"Yup. I thought breakfast would make you feel better."
Mmm eggs. Just the thought of them makes my tummy growl.
"Food makes the world go round," I mumble
A silence stretches out. I get as many silences as a hooker gives blowjobs.
"You were thinking out loud again, weren't you?"
"One minute and eight seconds."
Actually, p.s. I got the days completely mixed up and put a few monkeys to use on a typewriter. In ten hours fifteen minutes and twenty-two seconds we got Shakespeare's Hamlet and this month long monologue cranked out in time for the contest.
And that's The End.
A/N: Going back to old stories is a really strange experience but hopefully you found it amusing enough. I'm a bit appalled at my ending but I swore not to change anything except typos so I'll have to live with it. Thanks for taking this test of endurance and reading through a dusty story. Cyber Cookies For Everyone!