I knew she was trouble when she walked through the door. Big trouble. Woman like that, dressed like real money, comes to a dingy place like mine and it could mean only one thing – she was at the end of her rope.
“Isn’t that a little cliche? You channeling Sam Spade or something tonight?” I asked.
“Eh,” said Pink. “You gotta better idea? I’ve been reading....”
“O gads,” I said, grabbing the paper from her hands. “I know I’m in trouble now.”
Pink, if you don’t know, is my writer’s muse. A personification and projection, if you will, of my creativity and drive to tell stories. She’s also a four-foot tall pink anthropomorphic Easter bunny- looking thing, with permanently red eyes from the endless quantities of stuff she drinks. And she thinks she’s the reincarnation of Cecil B. DeMille.
A real pain in the butt sometimes, and a perfectionist, but when it works, we make beautiful words together. Go figure.
But not tonight, I suspected.
Looking at the papers I grabbed out of her hands, I saw the following: “Lester Dent’s Master Plot Formula. This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story...”
“Pink, where’d you find this?” Cold shivers ran up and down my spine as I felt the weight of yet another one of her harebrained schemes hanging over my head.
“It’s all over the internet, doof,” she said, taking a swig from her bottle, then wiped her chin with the back of a pink hand. “You ought to try looking there sometimes if you could stay off the games at Facebook. You’d be amazed at what you can find. And I am not a hare. I’m a plot bunny.”
“Yeah, right,” I muttered.
“So, ol’ Dent says you gotta start with something different. The villain needs to kill someone differently, or looking for something, or the locale needs to be different, or there’s some weird menace hanging over the hero’s head.” She took another swig.
“Weird menace,” I said. “Maybe something like a crazed plot bunny?”
“Keep it up, wise guy,” Pink said. “There’s other writers out there.”
“So,” I asked. “What’s so different about what I just typed?”
“Well,” said Pink, reaching for her popcorn bowl. “Maybe your narrator’s not Sam Spade after all. Not a detective. What if it’s a computer repair shop?”
“Not techie enough to pull it off,” I said, reaching for the coffee. “You know I’d have to research it.”
Pink gave me an evil look, then wiggled her nose. “No way. Last time I let you go off researching, you didn’t come up for air for three months. And you call me compulsive.” She flicked her left ear. “It was easier when you were just doing fan fiction.”
“Yeah, whatever.” I stared at the computer screen, and then started typing.
“Hi,” she said shyly as I looked up from my magazine.
It was five o’clock. Nobody else was in the shop but me. I knew I had one last appointment for the day, but I didn’t expect someone like her. I looked down at the appointment schedule: Kelly Raeburn, it had in bold handwriting. Shampoo and cut.
“Can you help me,” she said, shyly, then pulled off her hat to reveal the most beautiful, long cascade of red hair I had ever seen. It went past her waist, past her behind, in lovely shimmering ringlets. Beautiful hair. Hair that I would kill for to have growing out of my mousy brown roots. I wanted to touch it, caress it, glorify it.
“I can’t stand it any more,” she said, with pleading, doe-like green eyes. “Please. I just have to cut it off.”
“Pulp hairdresser, heh. I think I like it,” Pink said. “It’s different. A touch film noir.”
“You sure it’s not horror?” I asked. I could tell it was going to be a long night.