[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. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
WHERE’S TOD BOADKINS?
Hello All, Melanie here!
With all the various writing awards flying around, I think it’s time we start handing out the “Spouses/Life Partners of Writers Awards.” After all, without their patience and willingness to endure the many mini crises a writer goes through in a single draft, where would so many writers be?
Without further ado…
Subject: I seem to remember having a boyfriend
You’re probably wondering why it has taken me so long to write you today. Now that I’m a HUGE success as a writer, my availability to write emails has significantly reduced SO BE PATIENT GLADYS.
Well, that and I went shopping and found this cute pair of 8” pink stilettos that I just had to have.
I’m a different person now than I was last week, Gladys. I have WON the Cradensburg Flash Fiction Contest, and next week the contest will announce it TO THE WORLD.
Now that I know this, I’m more secure in my writerliness. My genius has been proven ONCE AND FOR ALL. I don’t have to feel I’m a mediocre writer. I no longer worry that I’m writing crap BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY I’M A WINNER. No writer who’s ever won a contest has doubted themselves AGAIN. Those are the RULES of the UNIVERSE.
IT’S EASY STREET FROM NOW ON, GLADYS!!!!!
The only thing left to do is GLOAT and Gloat in Front of Friends. That’s how I’ve run into one teensy tiny problem.
I was going through my list of PEOPLE TO BOAST TO and once I boasted to you, Tryxy, #bestkitten, the terrifying leopard in my backyard, and the mailman, I had the hunch I was missing someone. Someone important. Someone I’m supposed to care about. Someone who is not you.
Didn’t I have a boyfriend at some point? I’m sure I did. What was his name??? Smodd Hoaxkins??? Country Bumpkin???
Anyhoo, let me know, because I’ve got to re-read my winning story two or three more times and can’t be sitting here wasting time trying to remember.
P.S. Nevermind Gladys!!! I can search my old emails and find his name!!!! I WILL NEVE RDOUBT MYSELF AGIAN!!!!
Subject: OCCAM’S RAZOR SAYS IT’S NOT AN EMERGENCY
Since I’m stuck in traffic and the police aren’t looking, I have a few seconds to catch you up.
I went through my emails and discovered that my misplaced boyfriend’s name is Award-Nominated Fantasy Writer Tod Boadkins and that he is IN LOVE with me and we are a WRITING POWER COUPLE. I also discovered he lives alone in Bleakwood, NH and Tryxy pointed out that the fact that we haven’t heard from him COULD MEAN HE IS IN AN EMERGENCY AND NEEDS OUR HELP!!!!!
Of course, when your boyfriend goes missing for two or three days, weeks, or months, you CAN’T let your mind jump to the worst case scenario. There’s a little thing us smart people know about called—oh, I don’t know—OCCAM’S RAZOR!!!!!
You see, Occam was a barber from Massachusetts (Lynn to be specific) who had a side hustle as a cocaine dealer. Occam needed a gimmick to compete with all the other local cocaine dealers in Lynn (as you know, historically the market has been flooded there.) So Occam came up with a gimmick: he’d use his ELECTRIC HAIR CLIPPERS to slice lines of the powdery white stuff, but every time he plugged his clippers in to trim his cocaine stash, the buzzy razors BLEW THE BLOW EVERYWHERE. His profit margins tanked. THAT’S when Occam uttered those famous words: “Gosh darn it, I need a RAZOR.” And then he was shot by a horse.
And that was the only thing good to ever happen in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Anyhoo, the moral of the story is that you have to be REASONABLE and think of the most simple explanation because that’s probably the most likely. And because I’m a REASONABLE person, the first place my mind went to was the Boyfriend Drop-Off Depot outside the discount fabric warehouse in town. So I threw on my new shoes and toddled out to the car and immediately began my search!!!!
If he’s not at the Boyfriend Drop-Off Depot, I’m sure he’s at the Ink Black Coffee Club kicking back a few mocha lattes and talking about book outlines. If he’s not there, he’s probably digging through the dumpsters out back looking for a lost rough draft of the declaration of Independence or something.
—except, now that I think of it, I was just at Ink Black COffee Club last week with my writing critique group and my boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins WASN’T THERE. And he’s part of the critique group GLADYS!!!!!
Okay, so that means he’s DEFINITELY at the Boyfriend Drop-Off Depot… or the Run From Zombies Fitness Center but that can’t be because I heard they ran out of zombies and had to install treadmills and now no one feels motivated to run.
Jeez Gladys, the TRAFFIC IS OUT OF CONTROL!!! I’ve been stuck at the town green for the last ten minutes next to that Mysterious Complex that’s being built. There are angry New Englanders in LL Bean gear zigzagging across the road yelling, “What’s going on heaaah???” and it’s making things worse.
Hang on, Gladys, someone’s banging on my window.
Okay. It turns out all the people in LL Bean gear are PROTESTERS from the Cradensburg Preservation Society and things aren’t going to calm down any time soon. A new wave has arrived hoisting signs with catchy slogans like “Keep Cradensburg Quaint!!!” and “Save the Clock Tower” and “What’s going on heaaaah???”
According to the protester at my window, the Cradensburg Preservation Society is angry at the construction of the mysterious complex. You see, the scaffolding around the mysterious complex has blocked the western view of the Cradensburg Clock Tower. Everyone agrees the western view of the clock tower is the most quaint, and they don’t want “corporate greed” to “glom up our idyllic New Hampshire ambience.”
Oh no, Gladys, IT JUST GOT WORSE!!!!! The crowds from the Cradensburg Opera House and Bingo Emporium let out and all the people who didn’t win a TV this afternoon are headed down here AND THEY ARE COVERED IN GREEN BINGO BLOTTER STAINS and they are MAD!!!! You know how these people are, Bingo people are a brass knuckle wearing demographic!!! They’re just teaming for a fight!!!! I’m never going to get out of this traffic jam if this keeps up.
If I want to find my boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer TOd Boadkins, I’m going to have to get out of the car and WALK to the Boyfriend Drop Off Depot to look for him and that’s at least a half a block away and I’m not wearing my walking shoes!!!! As it is, I can barely drive in these heels!!!! Every time I take my foot off the brake I knee myself in the ear!!!!
Oh! That’s the police. I think he sees me typing!!!!
Gotta go, Gladys!!!
sent from my iPhone
Subject: SECOND BOOK SYNDROME
I had finally made it to the Boyfriend Drop-Off Depot when I realized something HUGE. As I looked around at all the dropped off boyfriends playing video games, drinking craft beer, and generally looking relieved at not having been dragged around a discount fabric warehouse, something HIT ME.
I had never seen this place before. I don’t even shop at the discount fabric warehouse!!!!
This was a massive breakthrough and it led me to my next lead in the search for my long lost boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins. I had just texted Tryxy to let him know that I had never been to the Boyfriend Drop-Off Depot and he replied with the following words:
Why hadn’t I thought of that???? So I squirted some WD-40 on my knees and floored it all the way out to Bleakwood, NH. Ten minutes later, I pulled into the driveway of my long lost lover and something was WRONG.
Not only were his Hogswatch decorations still up, his front door was ajar. The house looked like it had been ransacked!!! Of course, I tumbled inside and touched everything so that, if my boyfriend came home after I’d left, he could tell that I’d been there from my fingerprints, but mostly because I can’t walk in these shoes and had to hold myself upright.
There were books splayed open on the floor, pink pencils spilled from the pencil cups. Pictures hung askew on the walls including one of our first date at Fish! Fish! Fish! Entire drawers had been looted, the contents dumped on the carpet. There was a squiggly orange line on the wall above the computer desk that read, “Why god, whyyyyyyy” in orange crayon.
I don’t know what an unreasonable person would gather from the scene, but I have OCCAM’S RAZOR!!!!! Any practical person could gather that my boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, is a victim of SECOND BOOK SYNDROME!!!!
Perhaps you’re not familiar with it because you’re not a writer, Gladys. While second book syndrome is rare, it’s symptoms are unmistakable: a writer’s mind slowly wastes into a catatonic state as they force themselves to outdo their previous novel.
I know that my boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins has been working on the second book to his novel, Broken Tides, and had been unsure of his ability to create something as good as the first. I used to think he was pretentious, but now I understand that not everyone can win the Cradensburg Flash Fiction contest and have my level of self confidence.
Anyhoo, I immediately went driving through the fields and byways of Bleakwood looking for him. Out in the tick infested wastelands beyond that old ghost hotel, I spotted him wandering through a field with a gnarled beard and mud-stained sweater, gripping a tattered completed manuscript in one hand and an electric toothbrush in the next. I lured him into the car with promises of gluten free cookies (he’s a celiac) and have taken him back to my house so that Tryxy and I can nurse his burnt out book-writing brain back to health.
If you’re worried about the traffic jam, apparently the zombies that used to work at Run from Zombies Fitness Center were recruited by the local police and were used to clear the crowds.
Pages next week, Gladys!!!
I’m so glad that Tod turned up safe. I was worried. Based on Occam’s Razer, I figured he might have been shot by a horse.
My feet hurt just looking at those stilettos.
Wasn’t expecting to see fetish gear on File770 on a Monday morning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballet_boot )
Those boots were not made for walking.
The shoe comments remind me of a story a friend shared. She was six months pregnant, broke, and friends with a well known personality whom I’ll keep anonymous. He flew in to visit her family on a whim, and she picked him up from the airport in her run down car. It also happened to be mud season, and about twenty minutes into her drive, her car became stuck in the mud.
She and her boyfriend climbed out of the car as did Mr. Very Famous, but as her boyfriend and her pregnant self pushed the car out of the mud, Mr. Famous stood on the side of the road looking on.
She said, “We’d get out a lot faster if you lent a hand.”
He replied, “Lend a hand? Honey, these are $500 shoes!”
Thanks for reading, all!