Joan was stuck. She had writer’s block so bad it hurt. She sat at her computer, staring at the blank white page, for hours. Every time she would think of something to write, she’d get three sentences in and realize it was a movie she had watched or a book she’d read only recently.
Her chocolate brown eyes peered through the thin, glare-free lenses of her designer framed glasses at the cursor, blinking in defiance. She growled under her breath, a sound sure to make her partner’s ears perk, if Marley had been around.
But Marley couldn’t help Joan this time. The lithe, blonde haired, blue-eyed beauty had gone on a sales trip two days before, not scheduled to return for another three.
Snarling again, this time with more anger and frustration, Joan reached across her desk to the ornate silver dish that held her special collection of hair accessories. She selected her favorite, lucky, polka-dotted black and white scrunchie and pulled her waist length chestnut hair into a topknot.
Sighing in relief and simultaneous disgust, Joan turned back to her computer to stare at the blank screen. Her hands flexed, poised over the mocking black keyboard, and she took a deep breath.
Before she lowered her hands, however, words began appearing, mesmerizing black on the stark white of the virtual paper.
Flowers bloomed and flowers died,
she only asked for one ride.
Moon shone high, above the night,
the night she undertook her flight.
Her heart did wither and wane
lying in the cold, dark rain.
Time, I took, with my pleasure
in the dying of your treasure.
Joan’s deep brown eyes widened in horror as the words took shape. Dazed, she watched the keyboard on her desk, under her trembling fingers, but not a single key was pressed, and no sound at all came from the black oblong thing.
The tall woman shifted uncomfortably in her desk chair, glancing around the room uneasily, the feeling of being watched suddenly in the air. The yellow light from the brass desk lamp was warm and cheerful, but the darkness outside her office window seemed to suck the safety from the room.
The cursor on the screen, blinking in place beneath the poem, mocked her fear, issuing a challenge to her shaking hands and frozen heart.
A voice, low and urgent, whispered in her ear, “Run!”
“Marley? What…,” Joan trailed off, realizing that while the voiced warning was from her lover, the athletic Marley was nowhere around.
Joan scrambled from her chair, knocking the faux leather monstrosity to the ground in her haste to obey her partner’s disembodied command. The towering brunette grabbed her purse from the desk, throwing both the keyboard and mouse from the desk. Her long legs carrying her quickly, she ran from the room, never looking over her shoulder.
The brilliant white of the virtual paper dimmed briefly and the cursor moved once again.
The salesman and the writer,
neither one much a fighter.
Pleasures untold, treasured,
marked and measured,
by the one so brash and bold,
as to take the brass and gold.
A pair of players, in a game,
whose winner has no name.