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It’s seven pm on a Wednesday, time to relax and write my novel. Writing a novel is an art.  At least it’s my form of art. I generally start out by making a nice fresh cup of Columbian coffee to unwind myself from the stresses of the day and get into the optimal writing mind set. So, I add six cups of water to the back of the coffee machine, gently put in the filter, grind the beans, and, after removing the lid, pour the coffee grinds into the filter. I plug in the coffee maker and hit the ‘on’ button. Even the calming sound of the coffee dripping gets me in the calm mood for writing. My wife and kids went to the local movie theatre for a few hours so I have this quiet room with my laptop all to myself. “Drip, drip, drip,” goes the coffee maker . I sit down in my green leather chair in front of my laptop, take a deep breath, and start to type. I type the word, “The,” but then I don’t hear the normal drips of the coffee maker. I hear drips with longer pauses coming from somewhere else. So, after one word, I get up and see what’s happening with my gourmet Columbian coffee.  

Shit. Apparently, I didn’t put in the filter all the way, so the part of the coffee maker that holds the coffee grinds is full of water and hot coffee is all over the tile floor. So, I unplug the coffee maker, take out the glass container holding the coffee (put it on the stove), and dump the coffee grinds into the garbage disposal.

Then, I hear little foot steps. Shit. It’s Donk. Donk is our Jack Russel Tarrier, who has the fur of a small cow. He’s running toward me with a dog toy ball in his mouth, his tail wagging, and he’s running toward me and the hot coffee is on the ground.

“Go away!” I say.

He runs toward me into the coffee and yelps. Shit. So, I put everything on the kitchen counter and pick up Donk. Maybe Donk’s okay and just got scared. He’s not screaming. So, I touch his bottom paw, and he screams and shakes ‘cause he’s scared. Shit. Now I gotta take him to the emergency vet.  

The vet’s ten minutes away. So, I make sure everything’s unplugged and pick up Donk, put him in the car, open the garage door and am about to take him to the vet, when a thought comes into my head. Why not take my laptop with me so when Donk’s getting examined, I can write my story? Heck, maybe they’ll even have fresh coffee at the vet. So, the engine is on, I put Donk in the car, and I go into the house and collect my laptop. I come back to the garage and try to open the car door and it’s locked. Shit. I forgot. This car automatically locks if you turn the engine on and leave the car. Shit. So, the dog’s screaming because his paws hurt, he’s at risk of suffocating in the car, the fucking kitchen is a mess, and all I have to show for it is the word, “The”. Shit.  

So, I remember an old trick my parents did to unlock the car when I was young. They’d put the side of a metal hanger into the side of the passenger window to try to hook the lock so it would open. I try this for half-an-hour and it won’t hook. An hour has gone by and all I’ve written is “The”.

Then, the fucking cell phone rings and I recognize the number. It’s my parents, so I have to pick up.  

“I’m kind of busy right now, can I call you back?”

Then I get a lecture about how I never call them, what am I doing nowadays, how’s the wife, kids, and all the other usual bullshit.

“I gotta go,” I say and rudely hang-up.

So, I wind up calling 311, the non-emergency police number. They say they’ll have an officer right out.  

   So, I decide to start writing.  I’m waiting anyway. So, I unfold the laptop, get it booted up, then the officer comes and is able to gently ply the door open with something that looks like a crowbar but isn’t a crowbar. I thank the officers and they say it’s no problem.  So, it’s been two hours and my family is probably near the end of the movie, but I have to drive Donk. So, I drive him and suddenly hear a loud bang and the car feels uneven. So, I get out of the car with the door open so Donk won’t get locked in again and see I have a fucking flat tire. I’m heading back to the car, we’re only three miles away and I have a temporary tire in the trunk. So, I’m heading back to pop the trunk and suddenly a light windstorm conveniently comes and blows my fucking door closed. Shit.  

So, I reach into my pocket for my cell phone and it isn’t there. Where the hell is it? Then, I look in the car and it’s on the seat right next to Donk. It fell out of my fucking pocket. Shit. I’m really tempted right now to smash in the window and tell my wife and kids I was robbed but there’s gotta be another way. So, I look down the road and there’s a local diner. Then, my cell phone rings. I look at the screen and it’s my wife. More than likely she’s wondering where the hell me and Donk went. I can’t answer it, so, I walk about a mile and tell the greeter at this diner I need to use their telephone ‘cause I got a flat tire, my injured dog is in the back seat, and my cell phone fell out, and I’m writing a story which will be spectacular and published if I ever get started.

The greeter smiles and asks what the story is about.

I say, “It’s about ‘The’.”

She looks puzzled and says, “Ok”.  

So, they let me use the phone. I call 911 since I’m obstructing traffic. The same cops come and do the exact same fucking thing. Three hours of writing time and all I have to show for it is the word, “The”. Shit.  

  So, I push unlock on my car 20 times.  Then, I get the car jack out and the temp tire out of the trunk and start to pump the car up. Bonk is silent, the car door’s pried open, everything’s going well. I put the temp on and am about to lower the shitty car when Donk decides it would be a great idea, on his injured paw, to jump out of the fucking window and run to God-only-knows where?

“Donk,” I scream, “Come back!”  So I start to chase after him, as any good master would do and I trip over the fucking car jack and the right back corner of the car falls on my lower right leg and I hear a crack.

Please God let the cell phone be in my pocket. Please God. And, while I’m watching Donk go God knows where, I discover my cell phone is in my right pocket. So, I call 911 again.

“911 emergency.”

“I think I broke my leg,” and I give them the location, and they send an ambulance. I tell them I need to find my stupid dog, too.

They tell me they’ll contact animal control. My wife’s going to kill me. So, they call triple-A and explain the situation and triple-A gets a tow truck and relifts the car off of me and the EMTs take me to the hospital, but I am able to convince the EMTs to let me take my laptop and my phone.  

So, the EMTs take me into the X-ray room, they see where my leg is broken and place a cast on me. Then, the moment I’ve been waiting four hours for; the nurse comes and asks if I’d like something to eat. 

“Yes. Coffee. Hot Columbian coffee,” I say.

They don’t have Columbian coffee, but they have coffee. I reach to the side of my bed and try to pick up my laptop and an alarm goes off. The bed has an alarm so I don’t try to move ‘cause of my broken leg.  

A nurse comes and asks what I need.

“Coffee and my computer on this bed,” I say.

So, she lifts the computer onto my bed and goes to fetch some coffee.

I open the the laptop and push on, it’s booting up. I’m in a lot of pain. I get my non-Columbian coffee which tastes like shit, and open up Microsoft Word. The word, “The,” is still there after five hours. I take a sip of coffee and take a few deep breathes. Then, the fucking phone rings and it’s not my wife. It’s some weird number. I answer it and it’s animal control. They found Donk.

“Is he alive?” I ask.

“Yea, he’s alive. We got there just in time. He was about to drown in the septic tank,” the man said.

I thought about this. “Could you please drop him off at the animal hospital? He’s injured” I say.

“Nop, you got to pick him up yourself,” the man says and gives me the address. 

So, I write down the address on the pad next to. My bed and hang up. Why a septic tank, Donk, why?  

I stare at the computer screen: “The”.

I sip my coffee and I’m about to get back into my zone when a nurse comes and says it’s time for my pain medication. I take the pills and ask for some alone time.

Again, I see the word, “The”.

Then my wife calls and I do my best to explain about the coffee, the car being locked but she interrupts me:

“Where the hell are you?” she asks.

“I’m at Fairgate hospital, but . . .”

She groans, “Me and the kids’ll be right there,” she says.

“But, I . . .”

It was too late. She hung up. I look again at the blank screen. Maybe I can write something before they come. I look again at the screen of, “The”.

Then the nurse comes in with my dinner. It looks terrible: unseasoned fish, vegetables, a plain potato, and a cranberry juice.”

“But, I want time to . . .”

The nurse tells me it’s important that I eat.

So, I eat this food. It tastes like vomit. Then, the nurse sees I’m finished eating and says she’ll be back later to help me to the bathroom to wash up or go to the bathroom.  

Again, I look at the screen of, “The” and am about into my zone when my wife and kids show up.

“The doctor said the car fell on you,” my wife says. “Where’s the car? Where’s Donk? What the hell happened?” She asks.

“Shit,” I say, “‘The” is all that’s happened. “Just ‘The, the,’ just fucking ‘The.”  

My wife looked at me confused and asked, “The? You mean a direct article?” She sighs.

“Where the hell is the car?” she asks.

I think about the policemen and policewomen and honestly don’t remember where they took it and say, “I don’t know”.

“Where’s Donk?”

I smile, “It’s right there on the sheet of paper next to my bed.”

She looks at me blankly and then picks up and reads the sheet of paper.  

“He’s in a septic tank. Of course. I can pick him up on the way home and . .. .”

“No, wait. He has to go to the vet, because. . .”

And I explain about the Colombian coffee, Donk, the car, the police, and how I just wish today hadn’t happened. Then, she has the motherly look. Thank God.  

“The city probably has the car,” she says, “I’ll have to call 311”.

Both my boy and my girl hug me. They show me the get well card they made on the way to the hospital which was sweet. It was a folded red heart with “Get well soon” written in pink crayon.

So, we talk a while and I assure them I’ll be okay, the car will be okay, Donk will be okay. Everything will be ok. Then, they leave and I open up my screen and see the word, “The”. I think about the other people in the hospital and wonder if any of their injuries are as weird as mine. I’m thinking the next word will be “dog,” but then the nurse comes and tells me it’s time to wash up and go potty. Really.

“Why can’t I just push the button when I’m ready?” I ask.

They’re on a schedule and this is the time to use the potty.

So, I do this, brush my teeth (who knew toothpaste could taste bad?) and am back in bed. I’m about to type the word, “dog” when the nurse says it’s now time to take my pill.  

“Pill. What pill? What now?” I ask.

“The pain pill for your leg,” the nurse says as she patiently smiles.

So, I take the stupid pill. I write the word “dog” and have on the screen, “The dog,” but then I feel sleepy.

I call the nurse and ask why I’m feeling sleepy.

“Oh, yeah. That’s a side effect of the pill,” she says.

I look at the screen of “The dog,” and fall asleep. At least my sleep won’t be interrupted. 

October 07, 2019 03:06

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1 comment

Philip Clayberg
22:19 Sep 16, 2020

Thanks for writing this story. It definitely makes the reader feel sympathetic for the poor writer (the story's narrator) and what they went through. Two words typed in and around everything else going haywire or interrupting (for good and not-so-good reasons). Maybe after he wakes up in his hospital bed he'll be able to write more words maybe everything and everyone in his life will leave him alone long enough to finish not just one sentence, but maybe ... just maybe ... a whole page. One can hope. Btw, after I read the final sente...


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