Friday, August 12, 2011
FICTION: Waiting for the Redeye by Andrew J. Stone
Across the table from Naomi, Trevor is looking through a “Buena Vista” menu. The chair holding him in place rocks back and forth every time he leans forward to take a sip of his ice water. He debates if he wants breakfast or dinner. It’s dark out, past seven PM, but life is timeless in an airport, especially in San Francisco. Trevor wants breakfast.
“I can’t believe this Trevor, my mind has been so damn twisted lately. The other day I was up all night and I didn’t get one idea. Not one. It’s complete bullshit man. I don’t know what to do.”
“You don’t understand Trevor. Have you ever had writer’s block?”
“You haven’t. You don’t understand. I wrote an outline and I knew everything I was going to say. It was easy. But when I opened up my computer and began to type, I couldn’t. My body froze. My mind grew so numb I couldn’t even talk. Not one damn word. It was like my mind was hijacked by a bunch of community college kids man. How the hell am I supposed to write a fifty page draft if I can’t think of one word? Don’t say you understand writer’s block because you don’t.
“Yeah. What are you gonna do?”
“That’s what’s pissing me off man. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
“Are you ready to order?”
Trevor looks at his lover over the sleek wooden table and nods. She returns with a nod.
“Yeah, we’re ready.”
“What can I get for you Miss?”
“Okay, would you like a soup or salad with that?”
“Very good. And you sir?”
“I’ll have the Dungeness crab omelet.”
“Would you like a biscuit or toast?
Her figure leans into the table watching the waiter walk away. Trevor stares at Naomi. She catches his gaze.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. What do you think?”
“When I have writer’s block I write a stream of random thoughts and after a few pages I usually have something to work with.”
“Damn it Trevor were you listening to anything I said? I said I can’t write. My mind won’t get one word on the page. I swear Trevor sometimes you… I thought I had it bad but you, you’re a whole different story.”
“This is bullshit Trevor. I’m thirty years old, damn it, and I don’t have my MFA. How am I supposed to get a job if I can’t put words onto the page? What the hell?”
“What will I do? You’re no help at all Trevor. You’re like talking to a wall. Why’d you even come with me? It’s not like I need you. I’m fine without you. I just need more time to write this damn paper. That’s all.”
“Ribs for you miss. And the omelet for you sir. Enjoy.”
“I haven’t slept for the past two days. I need to write. I only have two more weeks Trevor. I have nothing.”
“Damn it Trevor I can’t understand you with food in your mouth.”
“Sorry. How’s the ribs?”
“What should I write the damn paper on? You don’t understand Trevor, my professor’s a bitch. When he says draft he means final. I have nothing. What can I do?”
“This omelet is fantastic. The crab is incredible.”
“Is that all you think about Trevor? Your damn stomach? I need ideas, fifty pages of ideas, and that’s all you have to say? Why are you even here Trevor?”
“Is everything going alright? Would you like a refill?”
“That would be great, thanks.”
“Trevor are you listening?”
“How should I start it? What should I write about?”
“What’d your outline say?”
“Screw the outline, it’s useless. I have nothing.”
“That’s not true.”
“You’re full of shit Trevor. What do I have? What the fuck do I have? Exactly. I have nothing. Not even a word.”
The waiter sets the ice waters down on the sleek table. One for Naomi and one for Trevor.
“I’m full. These ribs taste like ass and I need fifty pages. I’m gonna go write near the gate. You got everything covered?”
Across from the empty chair Trevor’s omelet slowly evaporates before his eyes and his stomach ceases its growl.
“All done sir?”
“And the lady?”
“She’s done too, thank you.”
The waiter cleared the table and gave Trevor the bill. He paid forty-three for their food, left a seven dollar tip, and headed back to the gate. He spotted Naomi bolted into place staring at her computer. Her fingers weren’t typing. Trevor silently slouched into the chair next to her. He cracked his knuckles one by one and prayed that Naomi wouldn’t speak to him.
“Don’t you want to know how I’m doing Trevor?”
“How are you doing Naomi?”
“Oh just fine Trevor. I only have fifty pages to go.”