[7:35:44 PM] Al: Once upon a time…
[7:36:02 PM] Al: There was a baker. He was a very good baker, but he worked too much.
[7:36:50 PM] Al: And one night he forgot about his housemate
[7:37:15 PM] Al: Who was stuck at home STARVING TO DEATH!!!
[7:37:42 PM] Al: It was very sad.
[7:41:21 PM] Ethan: I told you I was working late tonight. Stop texting me.
[7:42:17 PM] Ethan: And that was an awful story. How did you ever get published?
[7:44:30 PM] Al: My brain is dying of hunger. You can’t expect too much from me.
[7:44:59 PM] Ethan: I never expect very much from you. Or anything, really.
[7:45:47 PM] Al: Cold man. That hurts right where it really counts.
[7:46:15 PM] Ethan: Don’t say your balls.
[7:46:15 PM] Al: My balls.
[7:47:12 PM] Ethan: I left food on the counter, drama king. I’ll be up at 9.
[7:48:01 PM] Al: You left chicken again. I’m sick of chicken.
[7:48:32 PM] Ethan: If you want something else you can get it yourself.
[7:49:51 PM] Al: I would call for pizza IF I HAD THUMBS!
[7:51:37 PM] Ethan: I have to make dough now. Leave me alone.
[7:52:52 PM] Al: Love you too, you friend-starving bastard.
“I told you that I’m working on it!”
“Last week you told me that you’d have this chapter to me by Friday! I’m looking at my desk right now and you know what I don’t see? That chapter, Alexander!”
I groaned. “You know I hate it when you call me that, Irene. Cut me some slack, I’ve been… dealing with some stuff.”
“You’ve been dealing with stuff ever since you moved to Hawaii three years ago. It’s time to finish dealing and get to work if you want to hold onto this book deal. I know you’re contracted for five more in this series, and you told me that you have an idea for another three, but at this rate we both might die of old age before you start on them!” Her curt voice came through my computer’s speakers like a razor blade, none of its impact lost for not being able to see my editor face-to-face.
“You might. I’ll have you know that I’m still young and spry and have many writing years still left in me.”
I could almost see her glower. “I suggest you start using them now rather than later. Neither of us wants me to have to start calling you more than once a week to check on your progress.”
“But I so enjoy these little chats of ours!” I said cheekily, and I heard her jaw pop.
“You’ll stop enjoying them quite so much, I assure you. Get me that chapter in three days or I’m going to burn everything of yours that has ever crossed my desk and consider myself well rid of you.”
“You’d never!” I gasped.
“Don’t try me. The chapter, Alexander. Write until your fingers fall off if you have to, but I expect to have it in front of me in three days or else I’m breaking out the matches and lighter fluid.”
“I love it when you talk ‘violent’ to me, Irene.”
The only reply I got was the ‘click’ of the call being disconnected.
On the internet, no one knows you’re a cat.
A hundred years ago I would have had a lot harder time of things, so I guess I can’t complain that much. Ethan says that I would have been burned at the stake by now, and he’s right (not that I’d ever tell him that). People were savages in those dark historical days. As it is, I just keep my webcam turned off and no one can tell that they’re talking to a medium-sized cat wearing a tailored Prada shirt rather than the regular Alexander Carabas.
Thankfully I kept my voice after that witch turned me into a cat—the only upside to this whole nightmare—so I can still talk to Irene when she calls to nag me about finishing my next chapter. I do miss our coffee dates though. It’s hard to get a table in a nice café when you only weigh twenty pounds. Well, twenty-two, but is anyone counting? I’m not.