Wed Jul 1 05:18:22 EDT 2020
A woman sat at the bottom of the staircase in front of her apartment, smoking a cigarette. The staircase was off a side street, but the front was toward a busy city intersection. People always came by here asking for cigarettes as people would smoke. Smoking was a hassle really, that gave her no real relief. She smoked here because she always did, even often contemplating why she would waste her time, money, and health, all the while wondering what to say to the next person asking her for one or just the money. She'd picked up knitting as a diversion. It wasn't the same, of course. She ended up missing even the strangers asking for cigarettes when she didn't come out here. A man was coming up the street now. She steeled herself. She would decline him his request but the conversation would be pleasant. Or he would just walk by. That would be rather anticlimactic and depressing! Perhaps she would give him a cigarette after all, grateful for his thanks, avoiding him flipping out or something... you never knew around here. No. She was sick of giving up her poison. Now he was near, and she could tell he was about to ask, so she cut him off, "I'm sorry, I really don't have an extra cigarette, I hope you understand I'd rather give you one." The man stared at her for too long then pulled out a cigarette of his own and lit it, juggling a folder. This was a stranger stranger than most, she realized, but at least he brought his own cigarettes if he was going to smoke. He was probably a drug addict or something she thought, with a bit of rising anxiety. "I'm a writer," he said a bit shortly and abruptly, not reading her mind exactly, but certainly on point. She didn't know what to say so she just stared back at him with a bit of an amused expression. "What do you write about?" she asked him. "Stuff like this. Daily life. I could hand you something right now and then ask who or what you think is real. You and I certainly aren't," he chuckled. "Then you're a crazy writer," she was about to laugh at him. "I know I'm real." "How do you know you're real?" "I think, therefore I am." "That only proves yourself to yourself. How do you explain me?" She couldn't help but laugh. "I certainly can't." "Well thanks for trying," he said jokingly, and began to turn as if to continue on his way, with an exaggerated slowness. He turned all the way around in a circle and met her eye again. "Would you like to read a sample?" He reached into the folder and pulled something out. It looked short. "Sure," she said, and took the paper from him. She began to read. A crazy writer sat alone at his electronic typewriter. It handled all the bare essentials of producing a stream of text from his mind into words on a reproducible sheet of paper, without any of the paranoia he would be enveloped by with a more general purpose machine. And furthermore... well. He could stand to get out more often, but right now he was committing himself to fighting through the urge to do nothing to type some gibberish arguably worth reading. He chuckled a little at the thought. It was still gibberish, it would always be gibberish. That was ok for this purpose, he intended to hand people gibberish. He typed about that a bit and planned out how it would go. Once he had something typed up he would put it in a folder and walk around handing it to people. The woman stopped and looked up at the writer. "That's such a weird effect. You're more crazy than you are a writer. So this is the gibberish?" "Well it's supposed to be a little loopy, I dunno. Someone suggested writing for an audience, I'm probably a bit confused writing the audience into it or something... I'm not sure what the main point is. Writing something worth reading I suppose. I'm aware it's gibberish." "No! It's quite compelling in a way. I feel really absorbed into the story, almost inseperable from it by my very existence." "Maybe you would be delusional to think you are seperate from it or anything else," the writer said with half a smile. The woman wasn't sure what to make of this. She was quite sure one of them was delusional and that it wasn't her. What he was saying made sense though, it was the weirdest thing. She skipped down a ways and continued to read. Enjoying his cigarette while his reader continued to scrutinize the work, the writer was beginning to run out of steam. Which world was he in? He decided to make the most of the situation. Things were starting to get garbled even if it was supposed to be gibberish, and again, and here he nods to the audience, as writers often do in great works of pomp and literature. He chuckled again at the thought of himself sitting back at his typewriter. He took a small notepad from his pocket and wrote the gist of the idea to himself to ponder later. Perhaps for years, during late nights of sleeplessness in the darkness of worrying about the next morning, whatever next thing life brought, the future. He puffed again on his cigarette, by his more existential logic admonishing himself for enjoying it so much. "You're still here," the woman said to him. The woman was startled. She looked up at the writer. "Who were you planning on handing this to anyway? Seems like you planned this all including me. I'm not sure I like this." "Ah, sorry," said the writer, blushing a bit. He snatched the paper back from her. "I don't mean to be offensive or anything. Someone said write for your audience, I dunno. I'll be on my way, I hope I wasn't too much of a nuisance. Never sure which way's up around here anyway, eh?" He stifled a laugh. The women quietly nodded her agreement, looking a bit skeptical. "You take care of yourself. Keep working on it, and stop bothering me."