Apparently I'm the worst blog writer ever because this is the second time I've written for Magic Hat and this will be the second time I post an unedited first draft - essentially the writing as it happens inside my mind. Half of me wants to defend this, claim that it's because I'm fascinated by the unedited works to see how the writing process works - but the truth is I'm probably too afraid that something I've poured my soul into will fall flat. And so this is unedited and transcribed from the notebook I wrote in with no alterations. The prompt: A character study. Here we go:
~~~He was in love with a gypsy. Okay, so she wasn't really a gypsy, but she did read palms for a living, and that counts - right? The woman in question lived in an old converted speakeasy, the front half housing her business and through the old hidden doorway lay her apartment. It wasn't much, but it was hard to eke out a living as a fortune teller in an age when people weren't so sure they had a future. He didn't know any of this, however; I know it only because I created her and I gave her such a rough life so that she would never be able to find the vulnerability in herself to love him back.
His name was Eric. When Eric was nine, his mother tried to commit suicide and he stopped her. She never forgave him. The fortune teller didn't know this. I knew this. I gave him that backstory because it is my backstory and I'm sick of feeling alone with it. And so he grew up to be just a little neurotic - "a little" here meaning "a whole lot." He allowed himself only one indulgence in his strictly regimented life, and that indulgence he was quick to overindulge in. That indulgence was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I suppose this could be rooted in a psychological explanation: that PB&Js represent childhood - namely the childhood he missed out on. Also because peanut butter saved my own life once, when I was young and my mother tried to starve me to death.
When he walked into the fortune teller's abode, the smell of incense attacked his senses and the woman greeted him by name. A good way to know if your life's in shambles is probably that you frequent a palm reader enough that she knows your name. He nodded, almost got up the nerve to ask her real name, swallowed the urge, and addressed her instead as Madame Beaufort - the name on the outside marquee. "I gotta ask," She said, word-picking oh-so-slowly, "why you're here again so soon." She paused, considered that maybe he subscribed to string theory and in that case should she offer to read his future in other dimensions or maybe he was here because he was going to try and call her out on being a fraud - as happened about once a week from various smart asses - and of course that happened come on they were idiots anyway for believing she was for real in the first place.
Eric didn't know what to say. I made sure when I thought him up to give him the inability to speak to members of the opposite sex properly. It's not that I want him to fall into the usual "Type B male wins girl" type because 1) this man is never going to win at anything and 2) I'm so goddamn sick and tired in real life of being approached by boys who think they know how to talk to women and use that to try and get in my pants. At least Eric would be honest in his inability. He's going to lie to himself in a great many other ways, so no matter. Eventually this is what Eric said, after waiting a little too long to answer, so that any answer he gave would be weird. But he had to answer, because not answering would be weirder.
"I don't know."