Sunday, July 10, 2016

Collaboration (Fantasy)

As I limped from the bathroom to my bedroom, I was astounded to see Delilah Sampson wearing a Forties-era calf-length satin slip and 4" heels. It hugged her curves and appeared to be unencumbered by additional foundation garments. She was bent over my desk flipping through my half-finished manuscript. 

If my big toe hadn't been throbbing, I would've thought I was dreaming.But I'd just stubbed my toe on a leg of our claw-foot tub and celebrated with a string of expletives learned from my older brother. 

"Everything all right," my wife called from the downstairs kitchen where she was preparing lunch. "Do you need me to come up?"

Now wouldn't that be something, I thought. "Just stubbed my toe. Be down in a few minutes." 

You might think I'd be astounded, but my reaction went way beyond that. Delilah was a character I had created just hours earlier for my upcoming novel, Delilah Delivers the Goods. 

Still holding my manuscript, she straightened up and stepped out of the heels. I couldn’t keep the surprise from my voice. "You're not as tall as I imagined." 4'10" at best.

She arched well-groomed eyebrows and her full ruby lips twitched in mirth. As she bent forward to replace the manuscript, the loose lacy bodice revealed breasts that called to mind pink unblemished apples. She tilted her head slightly to the right and grinned. "My heightThat's what you notice?"

She then scanned me from toe to head. "You're not as well-built as I had pictured."

I recalled being teased in high school and a warm blush spread from my chest to my neck and face. "And just what's wrong with my looks?"

She sighed and glanced toward the ceiling, then back. Our eyes locked. "I rather imagined well-defined muscles and..." She paused and shifted her weight to her other well-turned leg. "Hair..."

"Yes..." I encouraged.  "What about my hair?

She smiled. "I rather imagined you would, you know, have some."

I turned and headed to the small office off my bedroom and she followed. Soon we were seated facing each other in my tiny, book-lined refuge. She grasped the lacy hem of her slip, raised it (unnecessarily high, I thought) and crossed her legs. She winked at me, then draped the slip over her legs again demurely.

The “no hair” accusation stung. My dad had been bald as far back as I could remember and I’d lost most of my hair in my thirties. Being appalled by the comb-over so many of my peers resorted to, I’d chosen to razor my head as well as my face at the dawn of each new day. 

I thought…hoped we were done talking about my appearance, but no such luck.

"I always pictured you’d look more like Stephen King."

"You know about Stephen King?" Her only reply was a smirk. "And how can you say 'always pictured'? You're my newest character."

"Do you think that I'm stupid or unread? Everybody knows about Stephen King."

I was flabbergasted. "How?"

"We talk to each other. Read newspapers, go online. Just like you do."

Did the ground just shift slightly…or was it my imagination? I decided the best defense really was a good offense.In your only scene in the book, you’re dressed in jeans, a Beatles sweatshirt and a pair of old Nike’s. Now you’re almost naked. What’s that about? “

She leaned forward, resting forearms on her satin-covered knees. Her voice was that of a mother scolding an errant child. "What gives you the right to dictate how I dress?"

"I should think it would be rather obvious." Her unblinking gaze was beginning to unnerve me. "I created you. Until this morning you didn't even exist."

She shook her head slowly from side to side. "I didn't take you for the religious type. Apparently you think of yourself as some type of deity, right?” She paused, then brightened. "Have you considered counseling?"

The conversation went on this way for a few more minutes. Then, without explanation, she slipped into her heels, stood up and headed for the front door.

"Will I be seeing you again?"

She paused and glanced back over her shoulder. "I rather hope so. I've always wanted to collaborate on a novel I appeared in." Then she slipped out the door and closed it quietly behind her.

(c) 2015-16 Charles E. Pierson

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