My desk lamp was flickering, and the laptop screen had a crack in it, but I was determined to finish this thing, once and for all.
The honeyed whiskey glowed invitingly in the bottle I opened, not bothering with a glass.
I could hear the rain on the window, and the slushy sound of tires on the shiny black road spattered with neon down below. Two cats fought in an alley, and people were out who’d otherwise go stir crazy indoors.
I had nothing but whiskey and nothing else but this novel, and nobody until she appeared. Smooth, slender hands slipped over my shoulders and chest, and a tongue tip flicked my earlobe.
“Maxine.” I grinned like an psychiatric inmate. “Long time no kiss.”
She laughed, soft and low, like a piano in the dark after midnight. “Against the rules, handsome, you know that.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
She poured herself a drink, and sat down, crossing legs from Heaven.
“Whatcha got goin here, sweetie?”
“Ahhh,”she said, covering her ears in mock pain. “Honey don’t use polysyllables this time of night; they hurt my head.”
“Anything for you, cookie. I’m stuck.”
“That’s better. How can I help?”
I told her where I was in the story, and where I wanted to go next.
She came over, sat in my lap, squirmed around a bit, getting comfortable.
“Having fun?” I said.
“Loads, sugar. Oops,” she put her hand over her mouth. “Was that naughty?”
“Not even close. What’s with the wings?”
“A girl can’t accessorize?”
“Probably, if I knew what it meant.”
She laughed, kissed me quick on the lips, tasting like cinnamon cigarettes.
“I like you, Al. Wish I knew why.”
“Because I made you up?”
She considered that, her finger in the corner of her mouth.
“Nah, that’s not it, ’cause you can’t be sure who made up who.”
“‘Whom.’ That story’s been done, Maxine. Let’s get to work.”
“So grumpy,” she squirmed a bit more and leaned over, looking at the screen.
I poured another drink; she moved her lips when she read. How’d I miss that?
“Ah, right here. That’s where the problem is. I see it.”
“Can you help?”
She put an arm around my shoulder. “Anything for you, cookie.”
I don’t know how long we worked, but the bottle grew empty, the page grew full, and the sky grew lighter.
“Oh, sweetie, I have to go.”
“No, Al. I mean it’s time for me to leave.”
“Aw, c’mon Maxine…”
She kissed me, and we both tasted like honey-whiskeyed- cinnamon cigarettes.
“Baby,” I said, catching my breath when she was done.
“You know the rules.” We said it together, like schoolkids: “No hanky-panky!”
“Can I ask you a question?” I said.
“You just did.” She winked at me.
“That hanky-panky thing, is that sex?”
She put her finger in the corner of her mouth again.
“I don’t think so….”
“Whee!” she turned on my lap, facing me, and my chair went over backward…
She stayed with me through the morning too, but not a lot got done.
Well, not a lot of writing…but that’s another story.