The Typewriter

15 Feb




Clack, clack, clack went the sound of his typewriter. Frank was furiously pounding away on the vintage keys that set him back a small fortune in a little boutique shop in a gentrified, once artistic part of the city. A small mountain of cigarette butts spilled out of one of the empty cardboard coffee cups that surrounded his work space. He was writing for hours but nothing of quality found its way to the endless reams of paper.

“It´s all shit!” he screamed, though the only sentient being to hear these words were his cat and his neighbor. The walls were paper thin in his tiny one bedroom apartment in a converted candy factory in another gentrified, once artistic part of the city.

Frank had some success of late selling a few stories here and there but the well seemed to have dried up. Everything he came up with was derivative of something he had already read or had already written. He had recently gone off his mood stabilizers in hope that it would spark some hidden creativity.

With a deft sweep of his arm, the typewriter went flying across the room. It would have taken out the cat if it didn´t have such keen reflexes. He sat there staring at the typewriter, upside down on the floor for some time.

Clack, clack, clack. The keys of the typewriter started moving by themselves. Frank sat up straight. The clicking stopped. He slowly walked over to the downed typewriter and turned it over. He saw a sentence on the page after where he had stopped.

Just keep going.

Those three extra words on the page he hadn´t written. Frank was perplexed. Surely this wasn´t for real. He decided his mind was playing tricks on him and he decided to go to bed for the night.

When Frank awoke he walked over to the typewriter on the floor. He looked at the page and there were more words.

You suffer for your work. Now others must suffer for your work. Make them pay and you will reap the profits.

“What does that mean?” he asked himself out loud. He felt stupid for saying these words because he knew exactly what it meant. He needed new life experiences to draw from as inspiration. He knew that hurting people would evoke deep emotions that he could use to write.

Frank always had a violent streak that he used to punish only himself. He had never even thought of hurting anyone else but he figured that this must be a sign from above. Frank decided he would go to the park late at night and do some harm to homeless people. This way, he could do what the typewriter told him to with minimal risks with the law. Frank was also a coward and a weakling. A sleeping homeless person would offer the least resistance.

That night, Frank filled the pockets of his parka with a small bottle of rubbing alcohol, some rags and a box of strike anywhere matches. He also slipped two mini bottles of vodka he had obtained from his last flight into the breast pocket for a little added courage. He then set off for the park.

He found his first victim. It was a woman sleeping under a makeshift tent made of a cardboard box. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out one of the mini bottles. He was not a drinker and could barely get the vile liquid down his throat. A little even made its way back up and he had to swallow it a second time. He took a deep breath just to keep it down.

From behind him he heard a voice say “Having a party and didn´t even invite me?” Then he felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck, saw a bright light then nothing. The metal pipe that had just smashed his brain stem cut off communication from his brain to his body. The homeless man slipped of Frank´s parka, then the rest of his clothes. He was left unconscious and stripped to his underwear in the harsh cold in the middle of the park.

When Frank came to he was in a white room with bright lights. His hands were restrained with fur lined leather cuffs. He looked to his right and he saw his case worker, John, sitting on the chair besides him.

“How do you feel Frank?” John asked.

“Terrible. What happened?” he asked.

“That´s what I would like to know. The only facts I have are, you were found in Jefferson Park in your underwear, barely breathing. You had alcohol on your breath. A nice homeless woman saw you around midnight and got the attention of a nearby police officer” he said. “Have you been taking your meds?”

“Well, uh, no” he sheepishly answered. “But…”

“But nothing Frank. How many times do we have to go through this. You must take your medications”

“Am I in trouble, John?” Frank asked.

“No, of course not”” John said with genuine concern in his voice.

Off the hook again. Frank thought. Mental disease has its advantages. This will make a great story.


9 Responses to “The Typewriter”

  1. Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger February 16, 2014 at 4:57 am #

    Ryan – I am a huge fan of your out-of-control endings. Please forgive me, sometimes I am no so perceptive in what I have read, but the words on the paper were typed by him, right?

    • Ryan February 16, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

      Hello Kendall! Thanks for reading. Really, I am not sure! As I was writing that part, no. But as the psychotic twist started forming in my head, it could just be the lack of meds.

      • Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger February 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

        Very interesting, candid response. I can appreciate that. Before blogging and instant access to the writer, it was a rare occasion to actually get to ask the author a question about their work. Sometimes readers would ask a question outside the scope of the story, and it author would say he didn’t know. But because the keys typing by themselves was a central scene, your honest response of not knowing was interesting. one part wants to say “how could you not know?” the other part wants to say, i can understand because sometimes writers get lost in our own when writing, but become readers afterwards. But now that you mentioning it, he was most likely hallucinating without is meds.

      • Ryan February 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

        Your comment about access to writers is interesting and hits close to home to e recently. A reader commented on a recent story and said, I love the analogy. Well, there was no analogy! He saw it. Was he wrong? Of course not! Once the work is out of our hands it is no longer only ours. Anyway, that got me to thinking how much symbolism and analogies, etc. are invented by the readers and not the writer themselves. About the keys, I never go into a story with a solid idea of a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes I start going down one path, in this instance the supernatural, but see another path so I abandon the other. That´s what happened here. Therefore, I didn´t give the keys a second thought after I decided to stray from the supernatural aspect. I guess as you put it, I got lost! Thanks again.

      • Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger February 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

        {big smile} even your comments have a twist at the end. {still chuckling} see you soon.

  2. mikesteeden February 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    Yet again a great post. Master storyteller at work.

    • Ryan February 16, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

      Thanks Mike. 🙂

  3. Eric Tonningsen February 17, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    Mental disease will make a great story. Okay, while I’m not entirely on board with that premise,I will acknowledge your writing talent. It is good! The more of your work I read, the more I detect small, common threads. And they are equal parts creepy and luring, both quality traits for a writer. Always a Ryan twist. I’ll consider adding same to my next martini. 🙂

    • Ryan February 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Thanks Eric. I really do not set out to go down the creepy road. It just naturally progresses that way. A perfect example is the salt mine story. I was washing dishes and the opening line came to me. I was just going to do an exercise, writing about a mundane job and the man who does not like doing it. Well, read the story. It got so creepy I had goosebumps while writing it! My own story freaked me out! As always, thanks for reading my work Eric. I always appreciate your feedback.

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