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X finished (standard:drama, 6143 words)
Author: Kenneth BroskyAdded: Dec 18 2006Views/Reads: 1911/1693Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
After years of success as an author, Terry has fallen into a slump. And only a very special muse can help him get out.

“X” By: Ken Brosky 

“Jim could only shake his head at the thought,” Terry said aloud as his
fingers pecked at the keyboard. “Killing someone for a lover he hardly 
knew? This was insane.” 

He sat back in his chair and lit a cigarette. “This is insane,” he
muttered. Camel between his lips, Terry took a deep drag and exhaled 
slowly towards the window next to his desk. In the building across the 
street, people wearing sharp-dressed suits busily walked from cubicle 
to cubicle, exchanging documents and discussing even more documents. 
Terry envied them. 

“How could he kill someone he doesn't know for a woman he's only known
for two days?” He asked himself quietly. He let the cigarette dangle on 
his dry lower lip as he completely deleted the last three paragraphs. 
“Dammit it all.” 

Terry wanted more than anything to jump out of his pajamas, put on a
nice suit he usually reserved for publishing deals, and head over the 
building next door. He could sit in an empty cubicle and shuffle around 
with a few documents and discuss them with his neighbors. His job would 
be secure; he would have objectives to keep him busy, and—best of 
all—he wouldn't have to feel the pressure of a hundred thousand fans 
weighing down on his chest, day in and day out, demanding something 
bigger and better every year. 

The phone rang. Terry ignored it. “Does he love this woman so much that
he's willing to kill for her?” He knew a few people who had “flings” 
with women; none of them seemed willing to even pick up the check at a 
restaurant, let along kill for them. 

The phone's ringing stopped for a few seconds. Then it began again.
Terry picked it up. “What?” 

“Terry my man, how's it hanging?” 

“It's not, Clint.” 

The man on the other end seemed un-phased. “Listen, I've been talking to
Phantomhouse Publishing, and they're expressing interest in an advance 
on your next novel. The only problem is that your last two books 
haven't been, you know, on par with the rest of your work.” 

Terry winced. “I was just rushed by our last publisher too much.” 

“I know!” Clint exclaimed. “And Phantomhouse wants to give you plenty of
time for your next novel. They'd love to put out a collection of short 
stories to quell the public demand. All I need is a few chapters, 
Terry. Can you throw together a few chapters, just so we can wet their 

“How long can you give me?” 

Terry pictured Clint on the other side of the phone, biting his lip.
“One week is all I can get.” 

Terry heard his sigh through the earpiece. “Okay, I'll do what I can.
I'm in a slump, Clint. I'm in a damned slump and I don't know how I can 
possibly get out of it.” 

“Hey just settle down and let the ideas come to you.” As though Clint
has any idea what the Hell he was talking about, Terry thought. “Get 
back to me soon, okay?” 


Terry let Clint hang up first, and let the phone cradle on his shoulder.
He stared at the open document on his computer, taunting him like a 
hungry housewife with a low-cut top would a repairman. 

“Why the hell would Jim be doing all of this for a woman?” The idea
hadn't occurred to Terry in the first ten pages of the story. His usual 
system of approaching a story from the ending to the beginning didn't 
seem to be working at all. Terry had no idea whatsoever what was going 

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