by Ann Stafford
Something a writer could go through. Very short piece.
The cursor sits there blinking at him. Scoffs at him; ridicules him. Tormenting him. It had been for days. It didn’t move. It could not go forward or backward. It sits there waiting.
“You fiend,” he hisses.
Five o’clock shadow becomes five day stubble.
He paces like a mad-man, mumbling to himself. “It’s there. I know it’s there.
The room is in disarray, crumpled papers scattered. Scribblings tossed carelessly to the floor. Ashtray overflows from days of neglect. Cans of half-drank beer and soda liter the shelves, the tables. Neglected plants droop, thirsting for moisture.
Eyes blood-shot, there is no rest, no sleep. No peace. Clothes smell of sweat and a carton of Marlboro. He put them on a week ago, or was it two? He couldn’t remember.
He lies on the sofa, closes his eyes. The blinking cursor remains, etched in his memory, lingering like a bad dose of medicine on his tongue.
He opens his eyes. The screen stares back at him. The cursor blinks its one evil eye. “Give it to me,” it teases. “Quit wasting my time.”
“I’ve tried. I’ve tried in vain,” he whimpers. “It will not come. It eludes me.”
He paces, ranting. He sits and scribbles, tosses the paper to the growing pile. He takes a sip of beer; only to find a cigarette butt in the bottom of the can. He spews flat Guinness and ashes across the screen. Still the cursor blinks, growing impatient. Haunting him. He drops to his knees, hands grasping greasy, ratted hair.
“What is it you want from me?” he cries out.