Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Hundred & Fifteenth

A dark forest sits beneath a starry sky. Creepy black goo drips over the scene. White whimsical letters read: “Fit the Hundred & Fifteenth: Do Demons Take Adderall?”

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA.]


Hello, All! Melanie here.

Last week, our usual routine was disrupted in a rather unexpected way. Instead of the familiar weekly email from Writer X, we found ourselves reading a message from her boyfriend and fellow fantasy writer, Tod Boadkins.

As it happened, X fell off the roof of the town hall in a time machine-related accident and broke both her hands. Tod has informed us that he’ll send weekly emails on her behalf for the next few weeks “lest the world cracks in two” while she heals.

But perhaps, like me, you’re still stuck on the words “time machine-related accident.” X and Tryxy are back to their time machine-related antics. If you’re new to these posts,

Cradensburg, New Hampshire (where X hails from) has a beautiful library from which town residents can check out time machines nearly as easily as they can check out books. The waitlist is long, and X and Tryxy have already been banned from checking out time machines.

So they’ve ordered parts off the internet and built their own, and that’s got Tod Boadkins worried. Tryxy’s been having trouble writing songs for his band DemonKitty. With a festival booking coming up at the end of this month, the demon needs a full roster of songs and doesn’t have them.

The solution? Jump into a future when DemonKitty is on their first world tour and copy the songs Future DemonKitty plays. Unfortunately, art doesn’t work that way, even if time does.

But Tod has a new concern about Tryxy’s behavior that I never considered. I admit, I think he has a point. What do you think?

Without further ado…

Subject: Tod Boadkins is sending you a message courtesy of Time Lounge™

Hi Gladys,

I don’t know how much time I have to send this message. I paid for a universal half-hour of connectivity, but Tryxy keeps floating over my shoulder pretending that he isn’t reading my screen and I might have to hit send to keep him from seeing this. If that happens, I’ll send you another message right away, and you can string the fragments togethe

Subject: Tod Boadkins is sending you a message courtesy of Time Lounge™


I’ll cut to the chase. I want your thoughts on this. Do you think Tryxy may have ADHD?

I’m not playing armchair psychiatrist, but the events of the last few weeks—last few years, as I think of it—have made me concerned for him. I think he might need help, but I’m unsure how to convince him.

My mother is a psychologist. I’d ask her, but she’s been renting her body to a mind named Tingus Morty for the last few weeks. Regardless of how much “squirrel!” is the punchline of ADHD jokes, untreated ADHD isn’t a joke. It has real repercussions and consequences that can make education, career advancement, and primary self-care out of reach for those with it.

I’m worried that if Tryxy doesn’t get help, he’ll be no-show for the Memorial Day festival gig. And I’m a little worried he’s going to get dropped from his college classes agai

Subject: Tod Boadkins is sending you a message courtesy of Time Lounge™

Hi again,

As I said earlier, I think “fear of the blank page” is going around. Fear of the blank page is simply when a writer wants to write but is overwhelmed by the expectation to create something brilliant. I started working on a new story last week, and I’ve been hit with a bad case of the stuff.

This is how I ended up writing to you from this time lounge while we wait for X and Tryxy’s time machine to be fixed by an eight-armed time mechanic with a bad temper and a love of gin.

“Lounge” is misleading. Ever been in a depressing truck stop at four in the morning where they rent showers and beds by the hour, and there’s an equally depressing number of cigarette butts and torn condom wrappers swept into corners and a free-to-use microwave that’s been cooking the same depressing frozen burrito for the last six minutes while a bored clerk smokes cigarettes and scrapes scratch off tickets with the pull tab off a beer can while listening to a horse race broadcasting in 1964?

At least they offer a pay-by-the-minute wifi connection that lets you send an email in your Point-of-Origin time.

I’m sorry, Gladys. I had to hop topics like that to throw Tryxy off the scent. He’s gone off to help X scratch under her casts with a ballpoint pen. She will have ink scribbles everywhere when they cut the casts off her.

It’s still true that I’m avoiding working on this new story. That’s a big part of why I decided to come with X and Tryxy on their attempt at time jumping. Someone needs to provide adult supervision.

For the two adults.

Who need supervision.

Here’s what I noticed. I asked Tryxy last week about focusing his efforts on writing one song a day. If he writes one song a day between now and his show, he’ll have fourteen or so new songs. Not all of them will be great, but he’ll at least have the material.

Something about how he’s reacting makes me think that Tryxy isn’t focusing on songwriting because he can’t focus. X said the promoter reached out to Tryxy to ask if DemonKitty needed anything for the show, but Tryxy never responded.

I’ve also noticed that Tryxy’s spent a lot of time doing anything—and I mean anything— random. I haven’t seen him work on school stuff, but I know he’s got finals and papers to write, and I don’t know how a demon with papers to write has so much time to piece together a time machine while X squeaks out directions…in German.

I’m starting to notice other things, too. Tryxy goes on “benders.” There was the time he watched ALL of the Golden Girls. The time he got into “making cozy food” rather than doing his homework. The time he went back in time with X to look for Ursula Le Guin and was dropped from all his courses. He got so involved with time jumping with X that he lost track of time and paid the price.

He would have crashed and burned that semester and lost his scholarship if X hadn’t laid siege to Miskatonic University with a potato gun in exchange for his reinstatement.

If it happens again, I don’t think X can rescue him. For one, X can’t shoot a potato gun with both her hands broken. For two, I think the university installed potato-proof windows.

I spoke to X and

Shit, he’s walking back across the truck stop. Will write again in a few. Regards,


Subject: Tod Boadkins is sending you a message courtesy of Time Lounge™

Hi Gladys,

Here’s the problem with writing a new story even when you’ve already written many stories: when you finish writing a story and all its subsequent drafts, you know how to write that story. That story exists. That story has a beginning, middle, end, plot, fleshed-out characters, and hopefully a theme.

But the one you write next? You have to start writing while you know the least about it. The first thirty percent of a new story always feels like a breaking atmosphere. It takes far more fuel to send a rocket into space than to land a space shuttle. And it takes the most nerve, too.

This story will have a romantic subplot; I’ve never written anything romantic before. I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull it

He’s gone back to X. Jeez, this kid has an eighth sense for when he’s being talked about.

Back to what I was saying: do you know if demons can have ADHD? I think Tryxy’s trapped, and he doesn’t know how to ask for help. I threw the idea past X, and she said that “not writing” is how “artistic artists” are.

I don’t know about that. All I know is that I’m stuck in a time lounge with no idea when the time machine will be repaired, and I’m starting to think we need to find a therapist who can help Tryxy rather than enabling him to bomb his music and college career in the same week. ADHD can do that.

Your input is much appreciated. Regards,


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