And all of a sudden, there it was. I had it! I had an ending!
For two weeks and three days, I had been stuck. Like many fellow geniuses before me, I had written a book, but I didn't know how to end it. For two weeks and three days I had painstakingly lounged on the couch, binging Netflix and eating ice cream in a shrewd attempt to trick my brain into coming up with a finale for my finest work.
It rested in my study as it had for the past few weeks. I had furiously typed it up and printed it as I wrote it, page by page. It sat in tall stack of brilliance next to my laptop. It only lacked an ending, something to tie it all together.
The Curse of Lasting Promise. My masterpiece, and, quite possibly, a book of mine that would actually sell.
And that day, floating in the air before me, in front of that soul-humiliating message, “Are you still watching Supergirl?” I saw the ending. I saw it in perfection. It tied everything together, giving meaning and purpose and beauty to the story. A classic hovered before my eyes. I stared for a moment into space, transfixed, and then bolted into action.
I had better write it down right away, before I die. That’s the way of the world. You think of the one thing that could literally fix everything about everything, and a millisecond later you die. I jumped off the couch and began to run to my study.
Halfway down the hall I began to feel shortness of breath and dizziness. I had googled this once! The symptoms of heart attack. I was dying! I began to experience a cold sweat. Panicked, I stumbled down the hallway.
I had to write the perfect ending down before I expired. The world had to know.
In my haste and my fuzzy Iron Man socks I slipped, crashing to the ground. Aaaaahhh! I was running out of time! Oh why, why, why had I polished the floor?? Love, blind love for cleanliness you have dragged me down.
Wait. Wasn’t Blind Love the name of that Wilkie Collins book that he had never finished? My brain was already shutting down and only running on thoughts pertaining to unfinished works. I didn't have much time left.
I began to army-crawl down the slippery hallway, feverishing sweating with the effort of dragging my dying self.
I could just see the stack of paper, my almost-finished novel, through the open door of my study. My brain began to freak out. The ending was too perfect to be lost! I had to get it down!
The audience would never know! What if they thought I meant the prince to be dead? What if they thought Lana was evil? They would never know that Cassidy was the one who framed Devin!
I thought desperately of all the famous books that had gone unfinished. Quickly, I fished my phone out of my back pocket and googled “famous unfinished novels.”
Charles Dickens! Charles Dickens didn’t finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood! Mark Twain didn’t finish The Mysterious Stranger! All the unfinished books have mystery in the title, I thought hopelessly.
Ernest Hemingway didn’t finish The Garden of Eden! We would never know what happened there!
I wriggled down the hall like a fish. My phone rang, the Star Trek theme breaking into my panicking brain like one of those “freak out, everybody!” air raid sirens. I didn’t have time for this right now!
It was Dessa. “Yo, what are you doing little loser?" she said lazily. "Mom told me to check up on you and make sure that you weren’t living on ice cream and potato chips.”
“Don’t talk to me right now!” I shouted into the phone. “I’m trying to save my book before I die!”
“Little freak,” she muttered. “Don’t tell me you’re flopping around on the floor like an eel like you did when you were five.”
“None of your business!” I shouted. “This is about fine literature and changing the world and the fate of the universe! This is above you! You are…below it,” I concluded slightly lamely.
“Are you living on ice cream and potato chips?”
I glanced over my shoulder at the empty bowl on the couch. “No.”
“Great. Check. He’s alive, Mom. Stop flopping on the floor and get a life.”
Older sisters are so helpful.
“Wait!” I yelped. “Dessa, Dessa! If they try to publish my masterpiece and I haven’t finished it, don’t let them! But if I have, then publish it, okay?”
There was a silence. “Publish your own stuff,” she snorted almost pityingly, and hung up.
I flopped for a second, exhausted, then renewed my efforts to drag myself down the hallway to finish my book that would change the world before I had a heart attack and died.
I grabbed ahold of the kitchen door jamb and dragged myself down the hall by the arms.
Halfway across the doorway I froze. The Aeneid. The whole course of history might have been different if only Virgil could have finished The Aeneid. I madly kicked and squirmed in my efforts to reach the study door.
I scrabbled at the edge of the carpet and dragged myself across until I was under the desk. Now I just had to somehow reach the keyboard and type out the ending.
Grunting with the effort, I swung my arm up to try and grab the edge of the desk and pull myself up. I missed and slapped on the floor.
I could hear the Star Trek theme music again. Someone else was calling, but to me it was an appropriate background for my task. I was filled with resolution. This was to be my final act. I would finish the story for the rest of humanity.
I swung again. I could practically hear the deep voice of a narrator. “This is the story of the timeless and majestic novel The Curse of Lasting Promise.” I missed and collapsed on the floor.
“It’s final resolution and beautiful, touching ending came to the world through a tremendous sacrifice. The author's mission: to type up the brilliant ending. To boldly write what no man has written before!”
I swung for the third time and grabbed ahold of the edge of the desk, dragging myself upright until my right hand could slap the keyboard.
‘I’ I typed desperately. ‘T.’
And then my strength failed, and I slid down to the ground. I stared up at the ceiling desolately. Up on the laptop, the cursor blinked. “It…”
“Alas!” I cried. “Oh, what an artist dies in me!” and died dramatically.