“Writer’s Block” by Alik

Writer’s Block

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

The man sighed and deleted the words from his document. How was he supposed to write a story when he couldn’t even create an original idea? Wiping his face from exhaustion, he staggered to his rusty fridge and opened it to stare at the meager contents inside. He didn’t know what he was expecting, being broke and never leaving his house. Maybe the fridge fairy would have refilled it with healthy alternatives to bacon and a beer that doesn’t give hangovers. Sighing again, the man grabbed the remaining light beer and sat down in front of the typewriter. Swishing the beer in his mouth, thinking that the longer it stayed in his mouth the better it will taste when he swallowed, the man brainstormed. Suddenly he gasped and started typing with fervor, smiling with happiness from the idea, or maybe because the alcohol had started to seep into his brain.

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

He snarled with anger and pressed the power button on his laptop, its slow peaceful beeping contrasting with his alcohol fueled haze of anger. Even his own brain had started conspiring against him! He slammed his head against the table and laughed maniacally before finishing his beer. Tossing the can into an overflowing bag of empty cans, deflated he walked towards his bed. Maybe he’ll get a good idea tomorrow.

The apartment filled with the sounds of jackhammers and drills as the maintenance crew restarted its work from yesterday. The man groaned and covered his ears with his pillow, trying futilely to muffle the sounds that caused his head to vibrate so painfully. He sighed, a favorite activity, and stumbled out of his covers to go to the bathroom. A little while later, feeling mildly more refreshed, he decided to go for a walk and soak in the natural ambiance of the city in hopes of getting a good idea.

He calmly strolled along the sidewalk, enjoying the fresh air as a calm breeze swirled leaves around his feet. Smiling, he stopped at a sidewalk coffee stand and bought a hot drink to warm his hands before continuing on his way. Suddenly, he was startled when a drop of water hit his head, causing him to drop his coffee. He cursed as he wiped coffee from his shoes and scowled at the skies. Thick, dark clouds quickly roiled in and shook with barely contained rage across the sky, eager to drown the city with torrents of rain. The man quickly decided he couldn’t win a scowling match with the weather and searched for a place to hide.

Nearby, he spotted a small doorway, above which hung a sign, “Beal Bub’s Antiques and Oddities.” Sprinting to the door, he managed to make it before the clouds roared with thunder and unleashed their entire fury upon the unprepared city. Sighing with relief, he walked into the shop and was greeted by an extremely strange sight. There was everything possibly imaginable being sold in the shop. A bicycle hung near a grandfather clock which was leaning on a dresser filled with tchotchkes and small porcelain dolls which stood by an antique oven filled with old books. He walked and looked through the menagerie of strange objects and random doo-dads. He picked up an unusual quill pen and gazed at its peculiar design. A voice spoke next to him and caused him to jump.

“That there was Edgar Allan Poe’s pen. He whiled away many an hour writing those famous scary stories. Yeah, it was a real shame he died so tragically…. It can be yours for only 89 dollars and 14 cents! You know what, I like you. I’ll knock off the 14 cents and make it an even 90!”

The man stared at the stranger who had just appeared and was now smiling at him as if they were close friends. He was dressed in an impeccable black suit and his skin had a red tint to it, like severe sunburn. A vague smoky smell drifted from him that reminded the man of something that was just on the tip of his mind… gunpowder? Rotten eggs?  The man cleared his throat and put down the quill.

“Ummm… Are you the owner?”

“The name’s Beal A. Bub, but everyone just calls me Bub!” The stranger chuckled to himself as if remembering a private joke and pulled out a card from his jacket. He took the card cautiously and turned it over. On the card the words “Beal Bub’s Antiques and Oddities” were written in a dark red, as if the card was oozing blood. “I’m the shopkeeper of this joint here. I sell antiques and oddities from all over the world. You want the fifth paw of a lion? Come on by! The skulls of monkey triplets? Got it! Elvis’s sunglasses? Already sold them!” Bub laughed to himself again.

The man stared at Bub for a minute, unsure of whether he was serious or not. “No… I’m good right now. Just browsing, you know.” He cleared his throat, unsettled by this grinning caricature of a greasy salesman.

Bub winked at the man. “I get ya. I’ll leave you alone while you browse.” He turned away and walked around the cluttered shelves, vanishing quickly. That mysterious scent lingered in the air for a while more as the man tried to collect his thoughts.

Turning away, he began randomly searching through the large piles of junk scattered everywhere. Maybe he could find something that would inspire him, and even if he didn’t, he still needed a way to occupy himself for the duration of the storm. He scowled and pulled out a golden eggbeater from the inside of an old tube television and wondered if it was real gold. Figuring it wasn’t, he tossed it onto the pile and turned away when he heard a crashing noise.

Turning around slowly, he winced as he saw that the eggbeater has caused the haphazardly stacked pile to collapse. His heartbeat fluttered like a hummingbird as he tried to find out if anything was damaged. Grimacing to himself, he saw small cracks and various degrees of damage done to the objects in the pile. He cursed as he rubbed his eyes in frustration. Why did he always have the worst of luck? Thankfully, Bub hadn’t returned to check and see what the commotion was about. As he turned, he noticed a strange typewriter behind the pile of debris.

Crawling over the debris, he grabbed the typewriter and examined it. It was a solid black, with silver filigree around the borders. Strangely enough, he couldn’t find a manufacturing label. He took it and started searching for the register. As he navigated the twists and turns of the maze-like shop, he kept looking over the typewriter. It didn’t seem special, apart from its strange paint job, and yet he felt compelled to take it.

He came out of the maze and saw the register. He smiled and started walking towards it when he heard a shout of anger. “THESE WERE PRICELESS!!! I’LL KILL YOU!!!” Bub’s rage was almost palpable. The man quivered in his boots and glanced around for the exit. He could hear Bub shouting as he searched for him. Tucking the typewriter under his coat, he ran out into the storm and headed for his apartment.

Once he got home, he moved his laptop to the side and set up the mysterious typewriter on his desk. Sitting down, he wondered what he should start writing about. Glancing at the maelstrom of wind and rain outside his window, he was hit with a flash of brilliance.

“The storm clouds slowly abated, having spent their fury, and withdrew into the heavens, allowing bright light to flood the Earth again.”

The man’s living room brightened as the rain stopped and sunlight broke through the clouds. He stared in shock at the typewriter. Did it really just stop the storm? He pondered for a moment before deciding to test it out. Cracking his knuckles, he wiggled his fingers before starting to write again.

“His neighbor is a surly woman. She sneers and ridicules all who she considers to be dead weight, such as the homeless, writers, and politicians. Today, however, she had a change of heart. She had just finished reading a book her daughter had given her, and the novel had touched her heart. Realizing that perhaps she had been too harsh on her neighbor for being a writer, she resolved to make up some of the wrong that she has caused.”

The man sat and wondered what he should make her do. His stomach rumbled, growling its displeasure at him, and he had a flash of brilliance. Grinning, he began typing again.

“Knowing that she could not simply fix all the wrongs that she had done, she decided to start by making him some food. Baking him cookies from scratch, she frosted them and arranged them in decorative patterns inside a basket. When she was done, she carried them downstairs to his door and knocked once.”

There was a knock on the man’s door. He jumped out of the chair and wondered if it really was her. Maybe it was just a coincidence that the sun started shining at the same time that he had written those words. Walking cautiously to his door, he pulled it open to find his neighbor standing there with a basket of steaming fresh cookies. His mouth went dry and his knees shook as he realized that the typewriter could directly change what was happening in the world.

The woman handed the man a basket of cookies and smiled at him. “I baked you some cookies. This is my special recipe; frosted double-chocolate chip hazelnut cookies. They’ll just melt in your mouth. Enjoy!” She turned to walk back to her apartment.

Doubt crept into his mind. Maybe he was wrong.  Maybe it was just an ordinary typewriter with a unique paint job and this was all just a coincidence. He decided to check. “Mrs. Dobbs, have you read anything interesting lately?” He crossed his fingers hopefully as he waited for her to reply.

“Why yes, I have. My daughter recently gave me a book that simply touched my heart. It changed how I view the world.” Mrs. Dobbs smiled amiably and went into the stairwell to go back to her apartment.

The man clutched the basket tightly as he sank to the ground. He could manipulate the universe with the typewriter. His heart beat faster as he considered the implications. He could do anything he wanted now. World peace was literally at his fingertips. Grabbing a cookie, he absentmindedly bit into it, and was brought out of his funk by the sweet ecstasy that was filling his taste buds. Forgetting about the typewriter for the moment, he poured a glass of milk and sat down to enjoy his snack.

As the man sat there and blissfully ate through the basket of cookies, he thought about what he would do with the typewriter. He would have to be careful with how he used it, because who knew how it would affect the universe? Maybe if he changed too many things, the universe would start malfunctioning, or maybe even collapse on itself. Shuddering with the thought, he bit into the last cookie and picked up his glass to finish off the milk. Just as he was about to drain the glass, his door exploded into a shower on splinters. He fell off his chair and looked towards the entrance with shock.

Bub the shopkeeper stood there with a sledgehammer. “You forgot your wallet.” He pulled out a wallet from his jacket and tossed it onto the ground. Stepping over the remains of the door, he hefted the hammer and walked towards the man. The man scrambled backwards, trying to escape, but to no avail.

Bub grabbed his foot and pulled him closer. “Where do you think you’re going?” Bub swung the hammer at the man and hit him on the shoulder, smashing his bones. Screaming in pain, the man grabbed the glass of milk with his other hand and threw it at Bub. Swatting it aside, Bub laughed and smashed the man’s other arm.  Grabbing his shirt, he pulled him up till they were face to face. Bud sneered at the man’s hopeless look of defeat. “This will teach you to steal from me!” Bud yelled as he swung the hammer at the man’s face.

Screaming with fright, the man fell out of his bed. Landing roughly on the floor, he gasped as he ran his hands over his body, checking for wounds. He was okay! Sobbing with relief, he collapse on the floor and lay there gasping, collecting his thoughts. He realized that his nightmare would make for a great story, if he wrote it down. Standing up, he stumbled as the beer he drank earlier hit him like a sack of bricks. He sighed. He needed to stop drinking so late at night.

Booting up his laptop, he began to write.

““It was a dark and stormy night…”

The man sighed and deleted the words from his document. How was he supposed to write a story when he couldn’t even create an original…”


The End…

Or is it?

One Response to “Writer’s Block” by Alik

  1. Mike says:

    Haahahaha this was an awesome story. It was funny and really intertaining. Great job, man keep it up! 🙂

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