A lie, really, because it isn’t by Jack London, and it isn’t even three paragraphs. I was looking for inspiration and saw a quote (which London did write). Immediately, something within me said: flash fiction. So I got ready to write three strong paragraphs and produced this desperate, clichéd trash*. It just goes to show that forcing yourself to have an idea, even with all my practice, produces mixed results.
*Author’s appraisal. Reader experience may vary.
“His hunger fed upon what he read, and increased.”
I suppose I should have known by the way his glasses had that opaque kind of shine to them. That’s something that only really happens in comics and films. I know that now. In my defence, I don’t think there was ever any chance for me. From the first moment he opened his little black notebook and began to scribble, that was it.
I saw them all, a whole wall of soft, leather-bound notebooks. When he wasn’t writing them he was reading them. I saw his chair, the upholstery almost worn through but the seat as firm and proud as if the springs were put in that morning. I don’t even know what I was doing there; I just was. I don’t know why I put my hand on that particular notebook but I did.
I should never have begun reading but, when you think about it, how could I not?
Because there was everything in there. Everything since I first looked into those opaque glasses at the park. Everything including breaking into that house and seeing the notebooks. Everything except what I do next.
Even this thought process – these exact lines – it was all in there. But I can see out of the corner of my eye that the writing will stop soon. And then what? Do I have to wait until he comes back and writes more? What happens when he closes the book forever and puts it on his shelf?
I already know the answer: it will be the end of me. After that I’ll exist only for him. After everyone who ever knew me is dead, there he’ll be, reading the story of me in the same chair, and when he’s sucked every last breath of me from my story I expect he’ll throw the book out.
He’s got plenty more.