A short story
Photo courtesy of the author, Henery X
Living dreams comes at a cost.-Henery X
2023, Henery X ©
January 24, 2023
8:30 p.m. EST
I had made it. Achieved success at its grandest level. Wrote six bestselling books, helped hundreds of creative writers to become published authors, and the greatest achievement of all, my second book, “It Was Destined… Urban Legend,” which took me nine years to complete, was converted into a movie. Yes, you read that right. A movie, family. But not just a movie, a blockbuster movie to boot. This blessing left me no longer rich, but wealthy. Not only did I get cut a fat check for the right to convert my book into a movie, but I also secured a forty percent take of the box office earnings as well. Well, my lawyer handled that latter revelation. Oh, and here’s the kicker. I still maintain the exclusive rights to my book. Yeah, they saw the value in it so much that they agreed to all our terms without haggling.
Now, here I sit, poolside, at my magnificent mansion, and on my bornday, mind you. You may think that everything is all good in my world. Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t. After over 28 years of writing daily, I lost my motivation. No matter what I attempted to do to get the writing juices flowing, the tap didn’t even have a drop to drip.
The sound of a familiar voice pulled me up out of deep thought.
“What’s good, G’?”
Gerald Washington was my lawyer and a good friend of mine. He, and a few hundred other people, was enjoying the party my wife had surprised me with. Our spacious backyard had been designated to host the special occasion.
“How does it feel to be an old man?” Gerald said cheerfully. He was dressed casually and held a champagne flute in his right hand, which was filled with the finest bubbly, of course.
“I feel blessed, G’. So many people I grew up with never made it out of the eighties. And look at me. Not only did I make it out, I surpassed my wildest dream as well.”
“No doubt. So, are you going to lounge in that chair for the rest of the night?”
I chuckled. “Isn’t that my prerogative?”
Gerald chuckled. “Indeed it is, my brother. Indeed, it is. Well, I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing. I’m about to go mingle with this cutie I peeped earlier.”
“Alright now, G’,” I chuckled.
Gerald walked off toward the crowd of joyful people.
As if by magic, a beautiful woman appeared before me. She was dressed in an elegant white dress, and her dread-locked hair was flowing freely.
“Hello, Henery.” Her voice sounded like the month of June felt…. amazing.
“Greetings. Where did you come from?”
“The same place I’m about to take you. Well, the spiritual portion of you, that is.”
“Am I dead?” The nervous sound in my voice matched my facial expression.
The woman chuckled. “No, you’re not dead. Well, at least not physically. Your motivation has died, though.”
“How do you know that? Who are you?”
“I’m your muse. But you can call me Sam, which is short for Samantha.”
“Yes. Whose name is Samantha. But who everyone calls Sam.”
“Wow! Can anyone else see or hear you?”
“No, Sir. In fact, you appear to be sleeping right now. Listen, time is of the essence. I need you to take my hand.”
Samantha held her hand out towards me. I cannot tell a lie. I was leery, yet intrigued at the same time. I placed my hand in hers and, just like that, we were in a wide open field.
“Where are we, Sam?” My eyes looked for signs of anything other than what they saw, but there was nothing else to be seen.
“This is The Land of Imagination. Where the real magic begins.”
Without warning, a well-dressed man appeared before Samantha and me.
“Welcome, Henery. My name is Q. I oversee the Land of Imagination. Myself and Sam work closely to ensure all your ideas are made vivid.”
“I see. So, am I your only client?”
“You’re not a client yet. And to answer your question. No, you wouldn’t be our only client. We have hundreds of millions of clients, maybe even billions. Young and old. Men and women. It’s just like Sam isn’t the only muse. Every person has his or her own muse. That spiritual being that whispers ever so softly to you when an idea you really feel comes to mind. The muse makes you strongly desire to act on that idea, but their encouraging words are so whisper quite, it seems as if they’re your thoughts.”
“This is good stuff, Q. I’m getting motivated just from listening to you.”
“Excellent. But what if I told you we can create your next bestseller?”
My eyes lit up like Las Vegas at midnight.
“I’d say… you have my undivided attention.”
“Excellent. Not only will we allow you to see what to expect, in it’s entirety, but we’ll complete the manuscript as well.”
“Absolutely. All you’ll need to do is submit it to your publisher.”
“What’s the catch?”
“It'll cost you seven years of your life.”
I looked at Q as if he had just offended my mother.
“Seven years of my life. Are you serious, man?”
“I am indeed, Henery. You must keep in mind that we’re going to do all the work, and I guarantee our effort will produce exactly what you desire. Which is another bestselling book that will become a blockbuster movie, right?”
“That is my desire. But in exchange for seven years of my life. Come on now, Q.”
“Didn’t you invest twenty-eight years into establishing an awesome writing career?”
“Well, why wouldn’t you invest seven more years to get what you now want?”
I was thinking about everything that had been said. It sounded like a good idea, but I know everything that sounds good isn’t.
“I’m going to need some time to think it over, Q.”
“Of course. But let me give you a little preview of what I can do.”
Q waved his hand and the once empty field displayed a scene from my bestselling book, It Was Destined… Urban Legend.
“Look familiar, Henery?”
“Yeah. That’s Hamilton Street, which is on the west side of Detroit. There’s A Cut Above barber shop. And Lucy’s restaurant. Wow! This is incredible.”
“I even have a name for your next bestselling book. Destined To Survive. The sequel to It Was Destined… Urban Legend.”
“I love it, Q,” the excitement in my voice was apparent. “I’ll have an answer for you tomorrow.”
“Sounds promising. Meeting you in person was a pleasure. Sam has told me so much about you. Looking forward to resuming our conversation tomorrow. Good day to you, Henery.”
And with that, Q was gone. Samantha grabbed my hand without warning and we were now back in my backyard.
“See you tomorrow, Henery,” she whispered softly.
Samantha disappeared. Shortly after the fact, I shot up in the lounge chair I was lounging in and looked around. Everyone present was still enjoying themselves. I thought to myself; I had to be dreaming. That is until I looked down at my lap. Sitting there was a business card. I picked it up, and it said, “Q . President and CEO of The Land of Imagination. Where We Help Make Dreams A Reality.” I guess I wasn’t dreaming after all. I slipped the card in my pocket and thought about everything that had just happened, as well as about what I should do tomorrow.
To be continued.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Fair Exchange.
So, question. If you could exchange seven years of your life for a predetermined goal, would you do it?
Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my offering. May all you deserve and desire flow abundantly into your life, as a river does into a sea.
Remember. I’m not here to convince you to believe. I’m here to offer you something else to consider.
May we never lose our desire to outdo what we’ve already done.
Continue to be a lighthouse for all those who feel lost in the sea of life.
Peace, Love, and the utmost Respect.