They say that writers live with a chorus of fictional voices in their head. Maybe that’s why so many creative people were committed to insane asylums before society realized that Art was actually a thing not to be afraid of.
Still, it is admittedly strange to live with so many other characters contained within…and some of them are not even of my own creation.
The alarm rings at 5: 38 a.m. Lover finds it quirky that I never set the time for a reasonably roundish number, or even one that arrives in increments of fifteen.
Of course, he has one of those Satan-inspired apps that makes him do math in order to silence the blaring beep!-beep!-beep!
I peeked over his shoulder once and nearly died of shock and horror at the alphabet soup mixed with numbers of every flavor on the screen.
I myself can barely do math when I’m awake, much less when I’m rubbing sleep out of my eyes.
I’ll stick to 5:38 a.m., thank you very much, with the simple sixties tune of the Batman theme song bringing me back to life.
With a yawn I swing my feet over the edge of the bed, curling my toes against the piranha-like nudge of the Bengal cats circling near the nightstand.
“Soon,” I croak, but they mutter and grumble dire threats against me anyways. Untangling from the twisted slipknot I’ve made of the top sheet, I grope my way to the master bath.
Squinting against the glare of the vanity lights I see Patrick Bateman lurking in the corner. He immediately tells me I’m brushing my teeth wrong. “You have to reach way in the back.” He demonstrates with a wide open mouth like a shark.
Not today, Patrick. Not today.
A hot shower clears my head, even as I hear Razak’s Roughnecks noisily shuffling in to take over with lots of giggling and shoving as their clothes hit the floor. I tell Rico to keep it clean while at the same time winking at Dizzy Flores. Keeping a firm grip on my towel, I ease between all the bodies; there is no honor among soldiers when it comes to swiping someone else’s linen and using it on all the private parts usually covered by clothes.
Clothes, clothes, clothes– I have to get dressed for work. Effie Trinket and Miranda Priestly quietly debate in rabid agreement about the lack of color and verve existing among the plain grey slacks and simple white dress shirts. “I do need something steampunk for this weekend,” I mention casually. “Would you mind checking the costume closet in the office?” Effie sashays away with her beglittered hands in the air, leaving me with only Miranda simply staring at me, glasses in hand.
“What?” I ask, buttoning up and tucking my tail into the back of my pants. “I’m not supposed to draw attention to myself.”
“There’s never any excuse good enough for dressing like a drudge, dear,” she huffs back at me.
On the stairs I stumble into Captain Janeway and I ask her, for the umpteenth time, not to make my coffee black.
She’ll do it anyway. Janeway believes in five miles before breakfast and an iron constitution that prohibits things like whining and soy milk substitutes.
The kitchen is crowded with gossip and elbows in a complicated social dance to the start of the day. Outside Lisbeth Salander and Constantine stand talking in the midst of a smokey grey haze. I am tempted to join them, to inhale that burning glory of tobacco even though I haven’t smoked since my college years. But I can’t go into the office smelling like char and sin, so I merely wave through the window. Still, they look so cool and collected in their black leather and indifferent complexions, nodding back to me and then resuming their intense debate on how best to dismember a body.
“At least they’re smoking outside, dear,” whispers Molly Weasley, bustling by with six plates and a stack of pancakes.
Peeking around her I can see that Bilbo is cooking something delicious over the stove while Merry and Pippen perch on the counter.
“You’re as incorrigible as the cats,” I tell them, but they only smile and shrug, fixated on the food. When Bilbo turns to say, “Good morning!” I see Merry pinch a bit of sausage from the pan, juggling it in his greedy fingers and yelling, “Hot, hot, hot!”
“Serves you right,” Bilbo said serenely, stirring the scrambled eggs. “Spot of tea?”
“No, thank you,” I murmur, picking up the usual mug of black coffee.
A slice of toast and a sizzling slab of bacon, tasting all the better for having stolen it off of Pippen’s plate, and I’m reasonably fortified for what comes next.
“Don’t forget your lunch,” Starbuck calls out as she hurtles my lunchbox with pretty good accuracy across the room. She’s not a top Pyramid player for nothing, even if she is making a mess out of my downstairs bathroom.
I catch the bag, almost fumbling my keys and coffee, but in the end it’s all OK.
It’s just that kind of day.
I turn the key on the top and bottom locks of the front door as I leave, wondering what projects await me at work.
Slowly the house grows cold, and characters turn to ghosts lurking in the grey shadows.
That is, until I come home again.