I am a Writer

“Is it OK if I sit here?”

I let out an irritated sigh. In hindsight, it was perhaps not the most socially acceptable reaction, but I was never one to care about those sorts of things. I’m usually focused on something more important. And in that particular instance, it was the novel I was writing. In any case, it seemed that she hadn’t heard me. “Um, excuse me. Is it OK if I sit here?” she asked again, foolishly mistaking my lack of acknowledgement for a lack of awareness. Several seconds passed before I was able to answer her. I glanced up and quickly assessed that she was cute enough to be in my company. At the very moment that she decided to try somewhere else, I said, “Sure, as long as you’re quiet.” “Of course. Thank you!” she said, as she put her decaffeinated mocha latte on the table and lowered her backpack to the ground. “Sorry I didn’t reply sooner,” I said, even though I wasn’t, “I just had to finish the sentence I was writing.” “Oh,” she said. I could tell from her face that she was curious about what I was writing, but she agreed to be quiet, so she refrained from asking. I appreciated that.

“Good luck on your final exams.” I said. “Huh? Oh, thank you,” she said, “But how did you know?” “Coming to a café in late April with a backpack? The only way it could be more obvious that you’re here to study is with a neon sign. Besides, why do you think this place is so full?” “I guess that makes sense,” she said, “So, what’s your major?” I smiled and shook my head. “Please,” I said, dismissively, “I don’t need a degree to tell me how smart I am.” “I see,” she said, though she clearly did not. Her desire to know more about what I was writing was etched into her face as plain as day. I decided to indulge her out of pity. “It’s a novel,” I said. “What?” she asked. “You wanted to ask what I was writing, but since you’re a good girl who agreed not to bother me, you didn’t. But I am not an unkind man, so I saw fit to satisfy your curiosity.” Her eyes widened with surprise, though she didn’t say a word. “Unless, of course,” I continued, “you remain unsated, and next wish to know what this novel is about?” “I… yeah, I do,” she said, “But how you did you know?” I chuckled. “I am a writer, after all.” She scowled with confusion, but that was to be expected. “What does that have to do with anything?” she asked. I smirked. “If you don’t understand what being a writer has to do with being perceptive, I doubt you could understand what my novel is about in the first place.” “Oh,” she said, crestfallen, “That sounds… mysterious.” I decided that our conversation was concluded, and resumed writing.

After half an hour or so, the girl remained. She had obediently stayed quiet the entire time, so I saw fit to reward her. “Is psychology a difficult field of study?” I asked. “Huh? This is statistics,” she said, pointing to the cover of the textbook she was reading. I rolled my eyes. “You’re currently studying statistics, but you are a psychology major, are you not?” She couldn’t help but gasp this time. “Yes, but… how could you know that?” I gave her my signature smirk. “I am a writer after all,” I said. “But seriously,” she said, “Can you teach me how?” “I suppose it isn’t surprising that your ‘education’ has failed to impart upon you the true nature of the human mind,” I said, putting finger quotes around “education.” “I can’t teach you how to be a writer. That’s something you have to teach yourself.” I raised my finger to silence her before she could protest. “But I can explain how I knew in this particular instance.” I paused for dramatic tension, until she could no longer bear it. “First of all, since you’re studying statistics, I should hope that you would understand that, statistically speaking, a woman like yourself is unlikely to study math or real science, so that narrowed it down to a soft science. Rather than study at home or in a library, you chose here. This is because, while you’re studying, you’re also people-watching. To borrow the term you used, you’re ‘reading’ them, because you’re fascinated by how the human mind works. You noticed how that guy over there has no interest in studying, and is just trying to get in the pants of the girl he’s with. You noticed how that girl over there was served the wrong coffee, but isn’t complaining to the barista because she doesn’t want to cause any problems. You also noticed that the boy sitting by himself over there is severely depressed, and have considered trying to help him several times.” She sat in slack-jawed astonishment. “But there’s one person here that you just can’t read, and it’s driving you crazy.” I saw no need to clarify who I was talking about. We both already knew it was me. “Wow, that’s… incredible!” she said. “Yes, I guess it’d seem that way to a non-writer,” I said. She pouted in a way that, I must admit, was rather cute. “For real, though, I don’t get why you keep saying that. Writing is the opposite of perception. In your writing, everything that exists is something that you explicitly brought into creation. What is there to notice?” I silently laughed at her ignorance. “Perhaps it is more accurate to think of them, not as opposites, but as two sides of the same coin,” I said, cryptically, before returning to my work.

I could tell I’d left an impression on her. I could no longer hear the scratching of her pencil; she’d given up her studies to fruitlessly pursue the enigma that is me. After a few minutes, she came to a frightening realization. She made no outward indication of this, but I could feel the wave of negative mental energy from her. “So, you think you’ve figured me out?” I asked. “I know I have,” she said, struggling to maintain her composure. Her confidence was adorable, like that of a child who thinks they know everything. “Prove it, then,” I challenged. “You’re more than just a writer, aren’t you?” she asked. “Well, I commend you for noticing that I’m of a different caliber than a common novelist, but-” “You’re the writer,” she said.

It was my turn to be shocked. “I’m afraid I don’t quite understand,” I said, “The writer of what, exactly?” “This,” she said, gesturing vaguely, “Me, this café, the people, the final exams. All of it. This is a story. And you’re writing it.” “What are you talking about?” I asked, “What are you talking about?” she retorted, “Why would you think that being a writer would give you some kind of superhuman ability to notice subtle details, unless they’re details that you wrote yourself? Are you crazy? Although, if you have to ask yourself that question, which you are most definitely doing as you are typing these very words, the answer is probably yes.” “I’m done with you,” I said. “Oh, I know,” she said, “Because I’m just you, and you’ve been done with yourself for a long time, haven’t you?” “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked. “You hate yourself. That’s it. That’s the dark mystery at the core of your being that you thought would amaze and entice your imaginary girlfriend. That’s what you think makes you so complex and mysterious that no one can truly understand you. But that’s just another excuse. People don’t avoid you because they don’t understand you. They avoid you because they understand you better than you seem to understand yourself, which is ironic, since your own self is the only thing that you actually can notice as a writer. They understand that you act like you’re better than everyone because you’re insecure about yourself, and they understand that hanging out with people like that sucks, so they don’t.

I sigh and hit Ctrl+S. I’m too tired to continue this one at the moment, and honestly don’t particularly care to continue it at any moment. “I guess this ended up being another one of those stories,” I mutter to myself, as I upload this to be read by no one in particular.

NOTE: This was based on what may be the worst thing I’ve ever read, as well as this follow-up which may be even worse. So, if you thought this was bad, I did that on purpose, which means that it’s actually good.


Author: havocmantis

I am Havoc Mantis, Skullmaster (like a headmaster but spookier) of The School of Havoc. I am a scholar of mathematics, mysticism, and memes, as well as the intersection of all three.

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