Friday, January 04, 2019

Short Story – Keyboard in the Sky by R. L. Saunders

Short Story - Keyboard In The SkyJulie Montcalm had a problem, or two of them. Horace Hackett Jr. was behind deadline for a story she needed. But the worst of that is he had written her into the story itself, as a character.

Along with her friend and fellow classmate Micah DeWolf, she was living the story itself as Hackett wrote it.

Worse, it was a hack-job version of his father’s pulp fiction story about Caribbean wars between the English and Spanish. And the two of them were right in the middle of it!

Fictional characters aren’t supposed to die in real life, right?

Luckily, they both have their smartphones and can edit the story. Maybe even save their lives in the bargain.

These two find plenty of adventure and even romance as they work to fix the story before it fixes them…

Short Story – Keyboard in the Sky by R. L. Saunders

Excerpt:

Horace Hackett Jr. was head down on his desk, the laptop filled with rows of b’s and the machine bleeping. Horace’s nose pressed neatly on that letter, regardless of the machine’s discomfort.

Nearby were several empty bottles of a variety of alcoholic beverages.

“Looks like it was beer, then whiskey with a beer chaser, then straight whiskey as the beer was all gone.”

Julie Montcalm was looking over the disheveled mess of the dorm room though the open door.

Behind her stood Micah De Wolf.

Both students were in the same school as Horace. And both were similarly disgusted by the state of Horace and his dorm room.

Laundry was everywhere but the hamper, with scattered pages of print outs. The printer was blinking and obviously out of ink. Several empty cartridges sat nearby, and more on the floor. They had completely missed the trash can. Some of his school texts hadn’t.

Shelves for those books were filled with food wrappers and RPG manuals. In and amongst them were grade reports and various bills from equipment dealers and pawn shop receipts.

Micah crossed behind her to the keyboard on it’s stand against the wall. Moving some old shirts and unmentionables over to the bed, he clicked the device on and started a riff with the volume dialed low.

Julie meanwhile had crossed to Horace and pushed his head to the side, stopping the insistent beep. She brushed his thick locks away from his face with a soft touch, more as an elder sister than an editor asking after her story. The alcohol on his breath rose to her nose and she stepped back, raising her hand to it as if to shield it from further offense

At that, Horace moaned and slowly squinted his eyes to see who was bothering him. He saw someone standing there, sideways in his vision as it cleared. Slim, in tight jeans lit from the hallway light, it was obviously a her or a she. The curving hips on long legs was definitely not his room mate or any of the many female visitors that infrequently graced the male dormers. These were black jeans, cut for dual purpose of business while displaying her feminine charms. Not that he’d ever bed this one. He recognized the ring on her hand as it left his forehead.

His head jerked upright and collided with the unlit desk lamp. The effort made his vision swirl again. Rubbing the bump was more a habit than needful. His scalp was numb from the result of all those bottles that had emptied themselves into his mouth not far below.

“So it’s obvious that there is no story for me tonight.” The tight jeans had a commanding voice.

Horace’s ears felt assaulted by the volume. He opened his eyes wide at this. “Julie! I’d say this was a pleasant surprise, but apparently you’re here on business.”

“Do you even know what day this is? Do you know the Atworthy College Quarterly is due to ship for publishing tomorrow? Do you?!?”

Horace held his ears with both hands, knowing her voice could pierce through concrete and so his hand would do little to protect his throbbing head.

“Oh, is it that time already? I was just finishing up when I must have dozed off.”…

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