The Inspirator

Written in response to: Write about someone losing their lucky charm.... view prompt


Contemporary Fiction Funny

I stare at the blank page in front of me. Just like I did the day before and the day before that. The first two days I wasn't that stressed out. I write best under pressure anyway. And I like to keep my opinions fairly recent. No one likes to read my thoughts on the prime minister that was serving a week ago, when by the time my opinion piece is published, a new one is in office. But ideas are not coming to me.


I get up and make myself a cup of tea. It won't help, but at least I'm not staring at my screen. I don't get it, the circumstances are perfect. I had a nice meal with my best friend earlier today. We always have the best of conversations. Politics, celebrities, cheese, men. Whatever it is, we have something good to say about it. Often it inspired me to write a piece or add something to a fictional story I'm writing. And it doesn't even have to be about any of the subjects we talked about. The conversations are simply inspiring. That and I'm alone on the house this evening. Which isn't that rare to be honest. But still, it's that, the meal, the weather was nice and the news not that depressing. Maybe it's that. I need depressing news.


I switch on the TV and flip through the channels. There's bound to be a news show on somewhere. There is, but commercials are running first. So I sit down, get comfortable and pull a pillow underneath my legs. My hands both clutch my mug with my fresh herbal tea. I watch a commercial on shampoo and wonder why we all fall for all these ingredients that do nothing for our hair. Could I write about that? Then, I hear my phone buzz twice. Someone sent me two text messages. I decide they can wait and watch a handsome woman talking about insurance. Then my phone buzzes again. Someone is calling me. 'Since when am I that popular?' I mutter while taking a sip from my tea. The buzzing stops. Ah, cheese curls! Now we're talking capitalism I can get behind. While I wonder whether to go out to the store to get some after i finished watching the news, my phone vibrates again on my desk next to my laptop. It sounds like the caller is irritated. Or maybe it's just me who is irritated. I'm comfortable on the couch, and clearly someone needs something from me.


I sigh and get up. Two messages, two missed calls. All from the same person. I think for a moment. Why is he calling me at this hour? Doesn't he have his speech now? No, that's in about 45 minutes. Did he forget something? Like, what? He never takes anything with him, and he rarely changes clothes. He just gets in, says hello to people behind the scenes, gets on stage, does his speech, says goodbye to the people backstage and leaves again. And making good money while doing so. Good enough, so my weekly column and attempts to publish a bestseller is quietly being funded. This agreement was made without words. Just as quietly as our previous agreement was, where I was working an office job 5 days a week, so he could pursue his dreams. And how he calls me again, third time in 5 minutes. This time I pick up.


"Thank God you're picking up the phone, I need your help."


"I left my phone at the desk while I was..."


He interrupts. He doesn't care about me wondering to get cheesy curls. He also doesn't directly get to the point. "I really need your help. I... I don't know what to do. I have 40 minutes to solve this, 45 if you had been picking up the phone the first time."


"You texted first."


"I... what? Really? Listen Kim, I really, really don't know what to do."


He sounds different, he sounds somewhat desperate. I haven't met anyone who is as chaotic as he is. And the chaos is worse inside of his head. However, whenever he has to talk in front of people, be it in front of two or in front of thousands, he's composed. Completely in his element and nothing can disturb him. Not even that heckler a few weeks back who threw a bucket load of racism out of nowhere at him. He let the man speak, shook his head and explained to the audience how racism works. Before continuing what he was talking about in the first place. Being the aid video games can give people, old people in specific, in life. Him being agitated like this is something I haven't experienced before.


"Kevin, what's going on? Where are you?"


"Town Hall, you know that. They want me to talk about the importance of the elections that are coming up. Just met the major, really a nice guy. All the people are nice, and they have cheese curls backstage. Which I think is weird. You know how much mess these things make. I don't want yellow stripes on my good jeans."


These random things, like talking about cheese curls, make me feel a bit better. That's him being normal, talking side contents. Living with Kevin has proven to be one big video game adventure, in which he constantly picks up side quests. And he has those cheese curls that I'm graving, damn it. The most chaotic person I knew before meeting him, was myself. For some strange reason, we calm each other down. Still, something is up.


“Okay, just checking. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.”


He decides to get to the point this time. “I lost it.”


“You lost… it? Like in, your mind?” I wasn’t even trying to be funny. It was his biggest fear, losing his mind.


“Would I sound this calm when I’d lost my mind? No, no, I lost… well you know…”


“Know what?”


“It.” He sighs. “Fidel.”



“Fidel. I lost Fidel.”


I run my free hand through my hair. I hear Fidel. What is Fidel?


“Sorry, I don’t think I understand what you’re saying. Fidel? As in Fidel Castro?”




“Yes?” I have no idea what he’s talking about. And he realizes that at the same time.


“It’s… it’s a gnome.”


“What?” Okay, he has lost his mind. I hear some rustle and a closing of a door. When he starts speaking, his voice is low.


“It’s a gnome made out of felt. Two inches tall. My brother made it as an assignment in school. He gave it to me when I had to make a speech. For good luck.”


I had no idea. The way he speaks he sounds like he wasn’t happy telling me about Fidel. I don’t want to make a deal about that now. He lost his lucky charm and it clearly upsets him.


“When did you had it last?”


“If I remembered I wouldn’t have to call you, would I?”


“Are you sure you brought it with you? Where do you keep it?”


I know he wants to argue with me that of course he’s sure that he took it with him. But he refrains and tells me he keeps it in a box which was intended for watches. In his watch drawer. I walk into our bedroom and open his drawer and look at all the boxes. “How do I recognize…”


“On the right, in the back. The box is slightly damaged.” I nod, which he can’t see, pick up the box and put it on the bed. I put the phone next to the box and open it.




“I knew that! Kim, we’re wasting time. I need it.”


“Do you?”


“Yes. I’m not calling you to reason with me, that my power doesn’t lie in a charm but within me, blah blah blah. I know that. I just… I just need it okay?”


“Okay. Look, I’m coming over. How does that sound?”


“It’s a 15 minute drive and you need to get a ride first.”


I close my eyes. I know that in his mind he’s tracing back his steps. Simultaneously he is trying to figure out how to get me there as quickly as possible. My mind is racing as well. Trying to picture where he could have lost his charm. Then I open my eyes. It’s a long shot and impossible to perform, but I call it out anyway.


“Can you call that uber guy who brought you there and ask him to pick me up?”


“Yeah sure.” He hangs up instantly. I guess he doesn’t think it’s a bad idea either. Just a long shot. I pick up the box from the bed and place it back in his drawer. Figures he would keep a secret in the drawer with his most prized possessions. It doesn’t take long for my phone rings again.


“Kim, he’s there in 5 minutes. Just… I have no idea what to do until you get here.”


“Try to go to the places you’ve been since you’re there. Yeah, you probably already done that, but do it again. Someone might have kicked it underneath something.”


“Hmmm… Okay. Oh before I hang up, just so you know, Ishaan is a big fan of the God Father. I know you hate it, just don’t bring it up.”


“Why would I…?” He has disconnected the call. I have just enough times to put on some pants and sneakers before Ishaan, apparently my Uber driver, is picking me up.


“You know, if you had decided to drive together, this would have been cheaper.” I look over to Ishaan. He is right of course. I didn’t plan on going, but right now I’m on a mission. A mission impossible, but nonetheless a mission. I turn on the light of my phone and shine on the seat of the car and then on the floor.


“Looking for something? If you’re looking for a lipstick, a bangle or an earring, you can stop looking. He was in the car alone.” I stare at my Uber driver. Does this really look like I’m looking for clues on whether my man is cheating on me? “Oh nothing surprises me anymore. You know, I’ve had the weirdest people in my car. Some who would leave a horse’s head in someone’s bed. You know the kind.”


I don’t really know how to respond to that. Then I remember the warning Kevin gave me and I decide not to respond. “Did he sit in the back of the car?”


“He did. It was very uncomfortable. You never know right, someone might pull out a gun and point it at you, asking you to chase a certain car.”




“He never did. But he did change the final destination half way the ride. That’s strange isn’t it? In the end I dropped him off in front of an Italian restaurant. He really didn’t have to be that cliché, but it happened.”


“What are you talking about?”


“That guy who could bury a horse’s head in your bed.”


“I… I meant Kevin, the person who you just drove to the town hall. Did he sit in the back of the car?”


“Oh, you meant him. What difference does that make? He’s rather innocent. He sat in the front. Nice guy. Chatty.”


He sat in the front. I try to look at the empty seat in the front and try to find a 2 inch tall felt gnome. I can feel Ishaan’s eyes looking at me through the rear mirror. Would it be creepy if I’d ask to check the front seat when we arrive at my destination? It probably would. When he parks I lean over the seat and try to scan to floor. Nothing.


I’m paying Ishaan and say goodbye. Just before I want to close the door behind me, he says: “Some people leave weird things in my car, you know that?”


I walk up to his door and look at him through the window. He lowers the window and holds up a small, ugly, felt doll. “Like this, I mean, what is this anyway?”


“Fidel!” I exclaim. “Uh, I think. When did you find it?”


“Just before your man called me to pick you up. Is this you’re looking for?”


“I suppose it is.” He hands it over to me. He wishes me a good night and advises me to call him when we want to go back home, and travel together this time.


I quickly walk inside the town hall and don’t know where to go. Inside the meeting has just started and the security tells me that if I’m quiet I can still enter the hall. I shake my head and turn around. Then I see Kevin and wave at him.


“Where the hell have you been? I have been looking everywhere and I just can’t find it. I’ve been looking in the bins and got some pretty disturbed looks.”


I lift my hand and hold up the doll. “Is this Fidel?”


“You are the best!” He takes the doll and puts it inside his pocket of his jacket. He gives me a smile and places a kiss on y cheek. “Where did you find it?”


“I didn’t. Ishaan did. We were talking weird things people leave behind…”


“I told you not to mention the Godfather.”


“I wouldn’t have found Fidel if I hadn’t.” I smile at him. He looks his boyish self again. Sometimes I wonder why people even listen to him when he speaks. But I understand when I’m standing on the side of the stage, looking at him confidently talk to the crowd, cracking some jokes and making some really on point remarks. I’m confident that every person inside this hall will go and vote.


We decide to walk home. It’s a lovely evening and we enjoy walking together. We don’t say much, we usually don’t. It’s us trying to organize our thoughts. Do I want to know the history of Fidel? Of course I do. But I know better than to just ask. He never told me for a reason. He has it back and that’s what matters.


At home we have some snacks and he turns on his Xbox. I get behind my computer and look at the empty page. I start typing. About Uber drivers and lost items they find in cars. Lipsticks. Earrings. Books. A voting ballot. Kevin has inspired a lot of people tonight. 

January 08, 2023 17:02

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