The would-be wordsmith’s nightmare

He cracked his knuckles and started writing, and his curiosity was piqued by the character who appeared on the page before him.

“Ya think I’m some circus animal who can just pop out of nowhere and do my tricks, don’t ya?” said the curious being.

It was an amazing sight. The voice sounded like a cross between Jack Benny and Jerry Seinfeld, that wry whine with a youthful energy, but he didn’t look like either. He was wearing a puffy down jacket of some kind over brand-new blue jeans, loose-fitting over slightly bowed legs. His eyes bulged from behind round glasses that looked more like goggles, and he smelled like a circus peanut. He leaned against the wall for just a moment, then sprang up and walked swiftly toward the writer.

“So you think you’re smart conjuring me from nowhere on command, do ya?”

“Well,” said the writer, typing contentedly away, “yes, I’m kind of pleased with myself.”

“Really? I have news for ya. You’ve only just begun,” said the odd being. “Here’s the trick, son: Ya need to do it again, and again, for the rest of your life. Once you conjure us up, ya need to give us adventures and reasons to live. Don’t just make us up and tuck us into a corner. We want to live, loser. Ya think you’re up to it? Do ya, punk? Do ya?”

“That’s why I’m here,” the writer said after an awkward pause.

“OK, then,” the being raised his chin defiantly. “Go ahead — make my day, then make my week, and a few of my years. Do that for me, and then conjure me a family and friends and enemies, and do the same for them. Then, maybe, we’ll call you what you claim to be.”

He zipped up his puffy down jacket, turned, and waddled into obscurity.

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