“You know what?” Theo asked. “We haven’t been seen a lot lately.”
She, as well as Charlie, Wolfgang, Heathcliff, and Dennis were sitting inside of a stereotypical actor’s movie trailer. They had been unexpectedly transported after the latest events in their story. After they had adjusted to their new surroundings, Theo had explained the whole “we’re controlled by authors” and “this is a parallel universe” thing to Dennis who had never been in the situation before (as well as to the others, who had mostly forgotten). Now they were comfortably lounging around the trailer. Theo was perched on the wooden coffee table, her right leg crossed over the other. Dennis and Heathcliff were sitting on the couch beside her, Dennis completely lax against the cushions while Heathcliff hovered closer to the edge of his seat. Wolfgang leaned against the window across from them, his arms crossed. Charlie was sitting on the floor cross-legged, all despite the protests of the others and them offering him a chair.
“What do you mean, haven’t been seen a lot?” asked Charlie.
“Well, I feel like there’s been…longer pauses in our appearances. In the story I mean.”
“How is that even possible?” asked Dennis. “Time’s been passing at the same rate as always.”
“For us maybe,” said Theo, “but I can imagine that there have been longer pauses for the authors. Haven’t you felt that weird lag?”
“Huh, I just thought that was a weird headache,” said Wolfgang.
“You’re probably right, Theo,” said Charlie. “I mean, there’s only been 10 chapters this past year, while in the past there’s been 20, even 70 done in a year.”
There was a silence as the rest all looked at him in bewilderment. “How did you know that?” asked Theo.
Charlie just shrugged. “It kind of just popped into my head.”
“The authors must be planting information in our heads,” said Dennis. “If that’s even possible.”
Heathcliff looked alarmed. “Does that mean they know everything that I think? That they control everything I say?”
“We already went through this before, Heathcliff,” said Theo.
“Yes, the first time this happened, we did.”
There was another lull in the conversation as they shifted, trying to process the new information.
“Since this is the most peace we’ve had in awhile, how about a game of rock paper scissors?” offered Charlie, holding out his hand.
Theo and Wolfgang cracked a smile. “It’s been a while since I’ve heard that,” said Wolfgang.
“Definitely way too long,” replied Theo.
“Anybody?” asked Charlie.
Dennis held out his hand, and he and Charlie played a few rounds. They tied a couple, and started alternating between wins and losses. Theo and Wolfgang watched bemusedly as the speed of the game picked up.
“Well, that’s just unfair!” exclaimed Heathcliff. Everyone froze and looked up at him. Seeing that he had accidentally blurted out his thoughts, he coughed. “I mean, isn’t it unfair that we’re getting less attention than before? This is our lives that they’re dabbling with, our fates, our destinies!”
“They have lives too,” pointed out Theo.
“They could very well be just ignoring us,” said Dennis, retracting his hand held in ‘scissors’ from the game and sitting back into his seat.
“Or worse, they could be focusing on other writing projects! Abandoning us!” Heathcliff bemoaned.
“There were those other characters we met before,” Theo said. “And they did mention that they came from the other stories the authors created…”
Heathcliff threw his arms into the air. “See!”
There was a collective silence in the trailer.
Charlie, with his hand still in ‘paper’ said, “Well, wouldn’t most people make a formal complaint or something? If you can’t use actions, use words, right?”
“Like what?” asked Wolfgang.
“A letter would be suitable in this situation, I think,” said Charlie.
“But can’t they just read our thoughts?” asked Heathcliff.
Charlie just tilted his head. “It’s nice to have a formality like a letter, even if they can read our thoughts.”
Theo looked around the room. “Well, that would be great, but only if we had the supplies to actually write a letter.”
There was a knock on the door, and everyone straightened up, alarmed. Charlie finally dropped his hand.
“Who’s there?” called out Wolfgang. There was no reply.
“If it’s something dangerous, I’ll protect Theo!” exclaimed Heathcliff, immediately standing up as if he was going to rush over to her.
She stood up. “No need, Heathcliff. If my suspicions are correct, I know exactly what that was.” She walked over to the door and the others scrambled up to their feet. With the others hovering close behind her, she slowly opened the door.
On the metal steps was a pile of white paper and a blue ballpoint pen. Theo picked it up, wondering why the authors really had to make a show of giving stuff to them.
As she stood back up, she noticed that outside of the trailer beyond the steps was pure nothingness. It was a complete white blank, for lack of a better description. If the void was inversely coloured, this is what it would’ve looked like.
“They didn’t even bother with an outside setting,” Theo shook her head. She shut the door behind her, facing the apprehensive faces of the others.
“So?” asked Dennis. “What is it?”
Theo held out the paper and pen. “Stuff to write a letter with.”
The guys all sighed in relief. They made their way back to their seats. Theo pulled up a chair next to the coffee table and set the pen and paper down. She sat down, picked up the pen, and started writing. Dennis stood up and peered over her shoulder.
“To K and G,” he recited as she wrote, “this is a formal complaint issued by the characters of your novel. Our general feeling is that we are being neglected, which is duly your responsibility as the creators of our universe. We also have individual complaints.”
Dennis looked at Theo. “Isn’t this…overly formal?” he asked.
Theo looked up at him. “If we’re writing a formal complaint, we should be formal. And if you could stop breathing down my neck, that would be great.”
Dennis complied. “Speaking of individual complaints, could I state mine first?”
Dennis cleared his throat. “I, Dennis North, have been feeling sorely underdeveloped and neglected. You have placed me into the protective and reliable older brother role, having to take care of this troublesome bunch. I would like it very much if, in return for me performing this role, you could reveal a tragic backstory and add in a love interest, maybe a girl with brown hair and blue eyes and a much nicer personality than Theo’s-“
“And I’m stopping you there,” said Theo, raising an eyebrow at Dennis. He sat back down on the couch.
She turned to Heathcliff. “Heathcliff, anything?”
He opened his mouth, and Theo cut him off before he could even say anything. “Keep it short, ok?” she warned.
“Of course my darling,” he said. “As Heathcliff Carolus von Curtis the third, I feel as though everyone, all of your esteemed audience, would thoroughly enjoy more of my grand presence in their lives. For my humble sake and theirs, I wish wholeheartedly that you plan out a happy end for all of us, where I get to marry my darling Theo-“
Theo threw the pen at Heathcliff as she and Wolfgang both yelled “How many times do I have to tell you? I/Theo won’t marry you!”
Dennis laughed as he picked up the pen from the couch and handed it back to Theo. She cleared her throat and tried regaining composure before accepting the pen. Heathcliff sulked on the couch, hugging the closest pillow tightly.
“What about you, Wolfgang?” asked Theo.
“Just for them to stop lagging so I can stop getting this weird headache every time we jump back into the story,” he said. He then grinned wickedly. “Well, there are some things I’d like to change about the story…”
“I probably don’t want to hear this, and you probably don't want to see what my reaction would be.” Theo waved the pen at him.
“Charlie, do you have anything to say?” asked Dennis.
Charlie sat back and stared up into space, pondering. “I’m satisfied with my role so far, I don’t have any complaints to make. You can put that in.”
“You can’t just say that!” exclaimed Dennis. “There’s got to be something you’re unsatisfied with.”
Charlie pondered some more, and shook his head.
“Suit yourself,” said Wolfgang.
“Well, I’ll write my own complaints then,” Theo said. She quickly jotted down her thoughts, making sure the others couldn’t see it.
As soon as she finished writing, the letter, along with the pen, vanished out of existence.
“What the…” said Dennis.
“Guess that means the authors have taken the letter,” said Theo. She sat back on the edge of the coffee table. The others settled back into their seats, relaxing again.
“What now?” asked Wolfgang.
“I guess we just wait,” Charlie said.
And wait they did.
Here's to hoping you had a good 2014, and to hoping you have a great 2015. Happy New Year!
- K (and G)