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Saturday, August 20, 2005

What you do when you imagine yourself unobserved

I'm trying to remember the last time I was alone in the house, and I can't, but out of the blue it's happened tonight. Everyone else is somewhere else. It was just me and Maddy, but then, after an afternoon of running a lemonade stand with three friends, Maddy decided that she and her friends needed to have a sleepover. I tried suggesting vaguely that I'd be happy to take her and all her friends to a movie or something, but that didn't work. They need to give each other makeovers and do the things that only almost-eleven-year-old girls do, I was assured, as I dropped her off at the friend's and waved her goodbye.

So I came home to an astonishingly empty house, picked an ear of corn from the garden, cooked and ate it, and, faced with an infinite number of things I could possibly do in a house on my own, I decided I might as well carry on working on an extremely overdue short story. Which, I decided, my pen being empty, I would write in brown ink. This plan stalled immediately, as I was unable to find a bottle of brown ink. Not a problem: I simply decided finally to utilise the as yet untouched Private Reserve Ink Mixing Kit I was given for my birthday last year to create a shade of brown that would be glorious and lovely and the perfect colour to write a short story in. How hard can it be to make brown? I thought, It's just red and green, and I have lots of different reds and lots of different greens, so I'll just put a bit of each in, and I'll be away, which I did, and before long I had managed to transform lots of pretty ink colours into an entire bottle of ink the colour of toxic sludge: an unhealthy-looking liquid the exact shade and texture of industrial run-off after a heavy rain. It didn't look like anything you'd want to use to write a short story with, unless it was a very strange story about things with too many legs writhing up out of the old dump, and this story wasn't meant to be one of those.

Luckily, somewhere in all the messing around with ink bottles, I'd found an overlooked bottle of brown ink, so I filled my pen with that, and now I shall go and write, leaving the bottle of Toxic Sludge Ink to squat malevolently alone on the desk in the office, waiting patiently and inevitably for its time to come.
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