Monday, March 29, 2010

And you are?

As I sit here writing, I catch a glimpse of a new face amidst the mountains of paper and milling characters. He looks a little familiar, older maybe than the last time we met. The dark-skinned young man stands against the wall, minus an armored coat (or armored suit) -- which is good, there seem to be too many of those around here these days -- looking like he might be up to no good. Or maybe he's just trying hard to look up to no good.

"Don't I know you?"

He nods but doesn't have the courtesy to fill me in.

I glance over his slim form, not finding any of the usual lumps and bumps of weaponry that other discarded characters often show up with. “You’re not from the first novel, are you?”

“Not exactly.”

“I don’t remember writing you in the sequel.”

He shoots me a look that makes me wonder if perhaps he is up to no good after all. “That’s because you deleted all my set up from the first novel, reduced me to a few scant mentions to flesh out Ms. Mc. Then you dropped me from the sequel like I fell off the known universe. I wasn’t needed."

"Sorry about that. You're not alone." I point to the host of characters around him.

"Oh, I know. There’s a whole bunch of us coming. I’m just the first to find my way here.”

“Find your way? Where have you been between the first novel wrap up and the sequel revision?”

“Hanging out on the hard drive in your character reference file. I was hoping you’d reconsider.”

I run through the reference file in my head. “You must be Xander Tuck.”

“I still can’t believe you cut me. I was a good kid. Then Mr. MC sent me off to a school I where didn’t fit in. My grades sucked. My dad was pissed, and then I totally embarrassed Ms. MC and Mr. MC had to give me a new job and name for a fresh start.” Xander stares up at my computer longingly. “I always wondered what role I’d have in the sequel. Now I’ll never know.”

“You and Mr. MC had some good, touching moments. I always liked how you brought out the mentor side of him and mirrored the relationship he had with his own father figure.”

“Exactly!” His face lights up with a wide grin. “We had a good thing going. I was supposed to work with him, under him, you know? Mr. MC was going to help me regain my father’s respect, and I’m sure I was going to do more of that mentor/fatherly bonding thing with him. Can’t you find a place for me? Please?”

“Sorry kid. I made him a father instead. I don’t have a use for you anymore.”

His shoulders slump. “I see.”

Darn it, now I feel bad. It’s always easier to cut them when I don’t have to do it to their face.

Muffled swearing comes from under my chair. I look down to see Ms. Wildstar poking at the armored suit with the end of an unfolded paperclip.

“Xander, I take that back. I do have a use for you. See that girl?”

He nods.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, see if you can get her out of her clothes and keep her busy.”

He glances at her and then at me and back to her. “All right!”

“No. Not like that. Or like that.” I shake my head. “Just be careful, and I don’t want to know about the details, okay?”

“No problem.” He heads over to Ms. Wildstar with his charm turned on high.

What have I just done?

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