The Red Typewriter: A Fairy Tale for Authors


Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was an honest, hardworking, humble young woman.  She had a decent job, enough to eat, and a clean place to live.  Her life was pleasant, but not all that exciting.

One day, while perusing the contents of a local garage sale, she came across an old typewriter.  It was a little dusty, but when cleaned off, it revealed itself to be a gleaming shade of scarlet, and it hardly showed any sign of wear.  The young woman fell in love with the feel of its keys beneath her fingers, the click it made when she pressed them, and the mildly musty perfume it emitted.  Her mind conjured images of lazy Sunday afternoons spent spinning yarns, a symphony of audible letters and words filling her apartment, of endless cups of tea and cozy sweaters.  What could be more rewarding than time spent crafting stories?

Of course she took the damn thing home with her. Isn’t that always the way with shiny new things that conjure bohemian fantasies like this? At first, she just played with it, typing out snippets of ideas here and there, enjoying how they looked when splattered on paper.  One day while working, she became a little bored with it, the novelty having worn off just a little bit, but she couldn’t seem to pull her fingers off the keys.  For a moment, she panicked, feeling like she was physically stuck to the thing, like her fingers couldn’t stop punching away, even when she wasn’t sure what she wanted to type anymore.  A good yank pulled her fingers free.

She didn’t touch the typewriter for a few days, fearing that the next time she used it, she’d truly be trapped by it.  She poked her head into the room a few times, admiring the shiny redness of the typewriter, catching little whiffs of the ink. Even from afar, with the terror of being stuck to it still fresh in her mind, it was still enticing.  The feel of putting letters and words together, banging them into a coherent whole as she clicked away, was intoxicating.  She missed it, and her regular everyday life seemed to pale in comparison to it.  This really wasn’t good.

Eventually, she gave in to its siren song, poured herself a strong cup of tea, and went back to typing.  Part of her wasn’t even surprised when her hands really did get stuck to the keys, when she couldn’t seem to stop them from moving from letter to letter at a frantic pace.  She typed for hours, days even, until her knuckles swelled, her hair hung in matted clumps, and her eyes could hardly stay open.  She knew she was pitiful, but she couldn’t help it.  The words just kept coming and she just kept typing.

The universe, in its infinite wisdom, (sort of) took pity on the poor creature and sent a magical fairy godmother to help her escape the enchantment under which she was slaving away. “All will be well” the fairy godmother said “if you simply chop off your hands…and stay the hell away from that infernal thing.  Seriously, what were you thinking, bringing it into your house?”

The young woman looked up from the typewriter, and her hands continued their frantic two-step over the keyboard.  She mulled the idea over in her head.  She’d have stumps, but at least she could go back to her old, simple life.  She’d have a little peace.  She’d…she’d be leaving all those ideas stuck in her hands.  Unacceptable. She hunched back over the typewriter, grunted, and told the fairy godmother to piss off. She had a deadline.

The fairy godmother sighed, her wand drooping by her side.  This wasn’t the first time this had happened, and it wouldn’t be the last.  With the sound of clicking echoing in her ears as she left, she went home and fixed herself a good stiff drink.

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