Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo'09, Words 8233-8712

William Bentler was a father of seven, and a writer. This was how, and the order in which, he identified himself.

William was writing. Half-an-hour ago, after wiping up toothpaste spray and soapy water from the kiddy sink and mirror, and making sure the lights were out in most of his house, he had entered his study to do his second job. He had spent about twenty-five minutes thinking and five minutes writing. William was thinking when a door slam interrupted the process.

A few seconds later, the study door swung open.

"Hi, Dad!" shouted Jeffrey, who had not yet developed an indoor voice.

"Not sleepy, Jeffrey?"

"No. And Terrence kicked me out again."

"Were you teasing him, again?" asked William, looking seriously at Jeffrey.

"No, I wasn't! But I wasn't sleepy, and I was talking a little."

William smiled at Jeffrey's "a little." "Well," he said, "you'd better stay here until you are sleepy, then." Jeffrey hopped nimbly up onto the study's second chair, and began to spin it. William looked at his free, uninhibited, confident child, thought about what he had just been thinking about, and felt sad.

"Are you writing?" inquired Jeffrey.


"Are you scared?"


"When are you going to publish?"

"When I finish. I've only just begun this one."

"What are you writing about?"

"I'm writing another story about Roci."

"Can you tell me?"

William hesitated. "This one is—this one is very sad, Jeffrey. I don't want to make you sad, tonight."

"I'm not a coward," stated Jeffrey.

"Of course you're not," said William, puzzled. "Why would you be a coward?"

"Kerry says nobody reads your articles because they're cowards. She says they don't want to know what's going on, because they'd rather be happy and stupid than knowing and sad. I want to know what's going on. I want to know about Roci."

William made a mental note to himself, to talk to his daughter about the wisdom of badmouthing humanity to a seven-year-old.

"If I don't know, I can't do anything about it," persisted Jeffrey.

"Why don't you tell me what you already know about Roci," suggested William.

"All right," said Jeffrey. "I know . . . "

Two hours later, after carrying a sleeping Jeffrey to his room and checking once more for lights, William returned to his story. It was indeed a very sad story, and William was tired, and suddenly found himself crying a little. William had a vivid imagination; and he was seeing his son and his story's representative Coryan child side-by-side as he worked. He saw light, joy and freedom on one side; darkness, fear and helplessness on the other. He saw that only an accident of birth separated the children, and from there he easily saw Jeffrey in the Coryan child's place, and wept harder and typed faster, far into the night.

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