Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cylons vs. Klingons

Cylons vs. Klingons

“Vodka is not meant to be drunk straight.”

“Russians do it.” Jesse looked at me, still holding the bottle.

“Well they're Russian.”

“I could be Russian.”

“You're not Russian.”

“God, it burned my lips!”

I squinted at him. I don't wear my glasses when I'm sitting at my laptop, so things far away tend to be blurry. “God, how much of that have you had?” He'd been making himself screwdrivers for a couple of hours.

“Not much.” He showed me the bottle, which to my unglassed eyes looked as if it had been pixellated. In other words, it was blurry as hell. But it was clearly still mostly full.

“I just wanted to know what it tasted like.”

I repeated, “Vodka is not meant to be drunk straight. It tastes like fire.”

Still, I shouldn't be one to criticize him for drinking. I'd gone through entire bottles of sherry in one night before. I'd gone through entire liters of whiskey in two or three nights. Recently, I'd started to cut down a bit, but tonight I had a shiny new bottle of Wild Turkey burning a hole in my cabinet, and it needed to be addressed. I got up from the laptop and poured myself another. Adele was singing about chasing pavements, her sweet British voice emanating from my laptop's tinny speakers, which really didn't do her justice.

Jesse came back into the room as I was settling back down at my laptop. He made some kind of odd noise, startling me, and then came over and attacked me with a smooch.

“You're being very annoying tonight.”

“You should get an Irish accent,” he suggested.

“How exactly would I accomplish that?”

He didn't seem to have an answer, and so he shuffled back into the other room to watch his television show on his own laptop. I had a novel to write, so I went back to staring at the blinking cursor. The damned thing just kept blinking, and the page kept being blank, so I typed some words onto it. I think I had the idea to write some kind of an epic science fiction adventure story, but it wasn't starting out well. I'd been watching a lot of downloaded episodes of old science fiction shows lately, which, now that I thought about it, had been the entire problem, the entire reason why I hadn't gotten any writing done. I'd just been zoning out in front of the desktop computer, watching episode after episode, killing my evenings one Cylon at a time. Now I was afraid that my writing would just be full of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, and I'd end up with Cylons fighting Klingons. Nobody would want to read that. Unless there was porn in it, and then there would certainly be a market for it on the Internet. Still, tonight I had put the television watching to bed, and I was determined as all hell to write something, anything, even if it was utter crap. I was sick of wasting my time.

I sighed. The Wild Turkey certainly wasn't helping matters; in fact, the more I had of it, the less I liked it. How could Jim Beam make a delicious rye whiskey, and this Wild Turkey stuff, which was more expensive, tasted like bathtub death?

Suddenly I hit on an idea, and started typing furiously, my fingers blurring over the keys like another metaphor I didn't have time to think of because I was too damned busy coming up with the next great science fiction epic classic adventure thingy. This was it, this was the thing that would be optioned for television, movies, and the inevitable Internet porn. There were no Cylons, no Klingons, nothing but a brand new science fiction universe that I had created myself, that was entirely mine, and that would make me millions. There would be at least twelve novels in this series, if not more, and that would just be the start.

“ dog stand burned to the ground,” explained Jesse, who was standing in front of the open freezer door eating ice cream out of the carton.

I blinked, realizing that I had hyperfocused again.


“The hot dog stand – you know, the one we go to sometimes – apparently someone burned it down. It's on Oregon Live.”

“Shit, that sucks. Go away now – I'm creating a masterpiece of unbridled genius.”

He shrugged, put the ice cream back, and wandered back into the other room.

But by then, of course, all was lost. My work of unbridled genius stared at me, unfinished, the cursor blinking, waiting for me to figure out what comes next. I imagined my lead character sitting there in his fighter jet, twiddling his thumbs, staring at me expectantly. Ok, buddy, I thought. You tell me. What are you about to do? He shrugged. A lot of help you are.

I sighed, saved the document in progress, closed my laptop, and went over to the desktop computer. Another episode of Battlestar Galactica should help me focus my mind...