What was the blonde doing in the story anyway?
May 29, 2016
HE WAS UPSET when he walked through the door.
He threw his hat across the room.
He slumped down in the sofa.
His jaws were clenched.
His hands had tightened into fists.
He waited until I finished writing the paragraph before he spoke.
Shelton knew it wouldn’t take long.
I write short paragraphs.
“Do you realize what you’re doing?” he asked.
I had no idea what he was talking about.
“This is my story,” Shelton said.
I nodded in agreement.
“This is my journey.”
I nodded again.
“I’m the hero.”
“No doubt about it.”
He paused a moment, then asked, “What page number are you working on.”
I glanced at the screen.
“Page two-forty-two,” I said
“That’s why I’m mad,” he said.
“I don’t understand.”
“I haven’t been in the story since page two-fourteen.”
“I haven’t needed you,” I said.
I must have said the wrong thing.
Shelton crossed his arms in defiance.
I do believe he was sulking a little.
“You’re spending too much time on the girl,” he said.
“I’m telling her backstory.”
Shelton stood and began pacing the floor.
“What’s so good about her backstory that you have to spend twenty-eight pages to tell it.”
So that was it.
Shelton was jealous.
“Her backstory is better than yours,” I said.
“Why?” he wanted to know.
“What does hair color have to do with it,” he said.
“The blonde hair got her into trouble,” I said.
He glared at me.
“How she got out of trouble,” I said, “now that’s a really good backstory.”
Shelton wasn’t convinced.
He pleaded his case.
“I crossed the desert barefoot,” he said. “I worked behind enemy lines as a spy. I got inside Berlin and mapped the location to Hitler’s bunker while the war was still going on. I shot down two German officers during an escape attempt. I kidnapped Himmler and led him out of town on the back of a donkey. I broke into an Italian prison and led a revolt. I flew a glider single-handedly into France and wrecked it in the streets of Paris. I stole ten million dollars from an overseas account and used it to finance the building of the Atom bomb. What else do you want from me?”
“Check the color of your hair,” I said
He glanced in the mirror.
“So what?” he said.
“It’s not blond,” I said.
“You don’t need a blonde for this story,” he said.
“Maybe not, but blonde helps.”
“She just gets in the way.”
“I like the cute little way she gets back out of the way,” I said.
Shelton hammered my desk with his fist.
“One of us has to go,” he said.
He glared at me.
I stared at him.
I looked toward the leather chair at the far end of the room.
The blonde smiled.
She did look good in black.
I wondered how she would look in red.
I turned back to the story and decided to find out.
“I’m leaving,” Shelton said.
“You really don’t have to go.”
“I’m resigning,” Shelton said.
“But I’m in the middle of the story.”
He threw back his head and laughed.
“So what are you gonna do now?” he asked. “You sure as hell can’t finish the story without me. “
He slammed the door, and I barely caught a glance of his shadow in the darkness outside my writing room.
The blonde raised an eyebrow.
She crossed her legs.
The red did look good on her.
Shelton was out of sight and walking down the road when I wrote the next sentence.
He never heard the shot when I pulled the trigger.
In Night Side of Dark, the hero makes it all the way to the end, but there is a blonde involved with the story.