“Good writing always comes from passion.” Laura scribbled down the line even though she had heard it before. She always wanted to be a writer but never quite rose to the level of publishable. This seminar with an author in residence would be the key.
When the seminar was over, she approached the Author. “Is that true?”
“Is what true?” He turned to answer Laura.
“That writing comes from passion.”
“Of course. Emotion is what brings the reader into the story. Think of the passion you have for your lover.”
Laura’s blush signaled that sex was not something she often discussed. She wasn’t a virgin, but sex with the few men (and one woman) she’d dated had never been a source of excitement or much pleasure.
“I’m sorry, I’m embarrassing you.” He stroked her arm while apologizing. “Listen, why don’t we get together later for coffee and we can talk about it.”
“Sure, that’ll be good.”
Coffee turned into dinner, which resulted in drinks and, eventually, the Author’s apartment. Laura did what she thought was expected, but sex that night left her as distant as ever.
“I will bring out the passion in you.” He told her when he was done. That night, the Author agreed to be her mentor, and she consented to be his unpaid personal assistant and lover.
A few weeks into the seminar, the Author came into the seminar room arm in arm with a young woman. “I know we’ve already been going, but Carmen here is an exception. Some of you may have already read her critically received and best-selling novel, My Sister, My Self.”
The woman slowly stroked the Author’s arm. “That was just luck. I’m here to really learn the craft from a master storyteller.”
“Please.” He said with false modesty. “Laura, why don’t you move over so that Carmen can have a better seat.”
In the first few weeks of the seminar, Laura had secured the place next to the Author. “Sure.”
At the end of the class, Laura collected the other students’ manuscripts. Usually, she and the Author went through them together before dinner at his apartment. Meanwhile, the Author and Carmen were holding what appeared to be a private conversation.
“Laura. Can you take care of those while I get Carmen up to speed?” He asked as he and Carmen were leaving.
She nodded and said, “Okay.”
“Great, bring them by the apartment when you’re done.”
It was late by the time Laura was done with the manuscripts. As she usually did, she had proofread them, so all the Author had to do was make some comments on each. Opening the door to his apartment, she heard a woman shrieking. “Oh, Jesus, YES! Right there. Oh, My God!”
Pushing the door open, Laura saw Carmen naked on the bed, clawing the sheets with her heels on the Author’s shoulders. He had his back to the door, so he didn’t see Laura come in.
Laura shouted. “YOU BASTARD!” and threw the manuscripts at him.
He pushed Carmen’s heels off his shoulder and turned to explain. “Laura, let me . . .”
She grabbed the Writer’s Guild Award on the dresser and swung it at the Author’s head, driving the point into the side of his skull. His eyes rolled back, and he slumped to the floor. The blood sprayed over Carmen, who started to scream.
Laura put her foot in the Author’s chest and pulled the award out of his skull breaking off pieces of bone and brain matter.
“Shut up bitch.” Turning to the hysterical Carmen, Laura brought the award straight down into her skull, slamming her mouth shut and causing her to bite her tongue off. For good measure, Laura pulled the award out again and backhanded Carmen with it (all that tennis paid off).
Laura looked at the two naked bodies and remembered another line from the Author.
Carmen’s screams alerted a neighbor who called the police.
Laura heard a knock on the apartment door, and a policeman announcing, “Hello. This is the police.”
“Back in the bedroom. I’m almost done.”
The patrolman drew his weapon and edged his way into the bedroom. Laura was sitting on Carmen’s body, scooping out bloody tissue with a soup spoon and talking to herself. “A great writer has to have heart.”
She looked up and saw the policeman. She pointed the spoon at the Author’s corpse. “Sorry, I already finished with him.” Swallowing the mass of blood and tissue that was in the spoon. “But I think there’s a little of her left if you’re thinking of being a writer.”
NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS. The literary world has found a new shining star in Laura Morrow. Her book, Heart, landed in best seller’s lists as soon as it was published. Critics and academics agree that it is a remarkable and innovative exploration of the search for creative passion.
Ms. Morrow is currently being treated for mental issues at a hospital in Pueblo, Colorado.
Mike Kanner has been writing short stories and flash fiction for several years. His published stories range from fantasy to historical fiction. He lectures on international security to pay his bills and can be found biking and hiking Boulder County Colorado in his spare time.