When I wake up in the morning, I’m afraid to open my eyes. So I do it slowly, peeking out through my skimpy eyelashes. Sometimes there are only a few of them standing around my bed, other times the bedroom is full, all of them crammed together like so many sardines in an oily can. If I slide back down under the blankets and throw the duvet over my face they will go away.
Coffee, that’s what I need. It’ll help clear my head.
When I get to the kitchen, Ethel is standing next to the sink. “What are you doing here?” I ask her. “I killed you off in Chapter 5.”
“There’s always hope,” she says. “I can be undead in a single keystroke, or resurrected in Chapter 6.” Her eyes meet mine. “There’s no Chapter 6 yet, is there?” she says.
“You don’t need to remind me.” My stock remark flows from my mouth. “I’ll work on it later.”
Ethel disappears into the steam drifting from my coffee cup.
The worst part of the day is when I go to my computer. So many of them huddled around me, jockeying for a better view of the screen.
“It’s my turn,” Marvin whines. “You abandoned me mid-sentence, and I’ve been dangling there for weeks. Do I ever get home?”
I click an icon and begin downloading my email. Nothing from any of the agents or editors I queried the day before. I am the only one who sighs.
A tall, handsome man with a mustache pats me on the shoulder. “You need to move on. For God’s sake, you haven’t even named me yet. Will I ever be more than a poorly organized paragraph? Look at me! I’m full of potential!”
“Me too,” I mumble. “Full of potential.”
I slowly move the mouse and click on Facebook. The shadowy figures, so full of potential, fade away.