I was sitting at home when there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find a small man wearing an orange suit and tie. He seemed to be of middle eastern or perhaps even east Asian descent and was completely hairless except for a large amount of jet black hair piled on his head. His tie had a metallic gleam to it.
“You're Christopher, right? The guy who does this blog?”
“Um yeah,” I said, not liking where this was going.
“I'm here from the Midwest Literature Co-Prosperity Sphere. We're revoking your creative license.”
A shudder ran through me. What I had feared most come to the door dressed like some kind of Indonesian enforcer. “I—I didn't know you could do that.” I stammered.
“Can I come in?” He said, pushing his way past me and sitting smartly in my living room. He smiled at me expectantly and my instincts kicked in—this man needed hospitality. I went into the kitchen opened a can of spam which I shaved into paper thin slips and rolled. Grabbing a can of Pringles I rushed back to the living room to find him scratching the ears of the Fluffbucket. That stupid dog was loving the attention.
“Ah,” He said. “The finest in processed meats.” He sat and ate quietly for a moment, taking bites of the spam and feeding the scraps to Fluffbucket's eager tongue.
“I'm sorry if the dog's bothering you.” I said, just to start conversation.
“Leave me alone,” said the Fluffbucket.
“Leave him alone,” repeated the man.
“Look,” I said. “I've been busy. First the baby came and ...”
“Yes, I know. I've read the scraps of your novel. Quite a story. But it's not done yet.”
“I've tried but ...” He put is hand up for silence.
“This is going to take a while. Go get some ouzo.”
I quickly fetched the liquor and brought it to the table with a pair of glasses and a pitcher of iced water. We sat and drank silently and I marveled at how his hair seemed to absorb light. I smiled to myself for a moment at the dichotomy of the infinite mass of hair atop a body so bound by a color that used to be fashionable in the 1970s. And so it hit me again—the ease of seeing things twice—and I for a moment grasped being one with the universe again. I suddenly knew the true nature of God and why we could only park on one side of the street. I could understand advanced calculus formulas and the logic of a watering schedule based on house numbers. It just all made sense and once again I felt compelled to tell my story. But now this man was here to take it all away.
“Don't worry—it doesn't hurt,” he said interrupting my thoughts.
“But I was so close.” I said.
“Not close enough. You didn't even tell anyone here about JakeJake.” He glanced out the window into my back yard. “Does he still live here?”
“I think so. He spray painted another message the other day on my garage. I leave him offerings but he never takes them.”
“I guess he's going to be a problem you going to have to live with,” he said. “Anyway, I need to get going. Can I have it?”
I wanted to be stubborn for a moment, to put up a fight. “My what?”
“Your creative license. We don't have to make this hard. I mean I could call the police.”
“Oh, sorry.” I handed over my papers.
He looked them over. “Everything appears to be in order. As of this date your license has been officially revoked.”
“Yup,” I said nonchalantly as if it was the ouzo talking. It wasn't though—i was giddy as if I had completed some Sisyphean task only to find that it actually was done and you didn't have to do it anymore. It was like being fired or arrested or even mowing the lawn extra short for the last time in the fall.
He leaned forward so that his intense hair was only inches from my face. “You're pretty nonchalant about this. You do know what this means, right?”
“Yes,” I said. “I'm unshackled.”