“When I am dead
I hope it is said,
'His sins were scarlet,
but his books were read.'”
Hilaire Belloc

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

I hope I'm not boring anyone with all the repeated shout-outs to InspiroBot, but one of its posters inspired this fictionette, and it was too good not to share.

The pseudo-quote was, "Originality and low impulse control go together like alcohol and paper cuts." How cool is that? It's very cool. It doesn't make a lot of precise, logical sense, but writing prompts don't have to. They just have to spark ideas, make the mind flash upon concepts and combinations it would not have thought of otherwise, that sort of thing. What does it make you think of? Me, I thought of drunken origami.

The accompanying image was the view from space of a waning gibbous Earth with the lights of North America glittering like stars on the dark hemisphere. I found a place for that image in the story, too, but I'm afraid the protagonist had too much on his mind to appreciate it.

Sal was already half-drunk when his made-up origami beastie came to life. It rocketed out of his hands, flew several panicked circles around the room, then finally calmed down enough to alight upon Sal’s left thumb. This wasn’t how origami was supposed to act. Sal tried to recapture the creature so he could unfold it and start over. It gave him a paper cut for his trouble. Faced with such an unexpected, impossible, and altogether aggressive phenomenon, Sal did the only thing he could do: He continued getting drunk.

Just to be clear, “made-up beastie” was not a euphemism for the unrecognizable crumplings of some unskilled artist. Sal was very, very good at origami. He could make delicate butterflies, majestic dragons, and cranes both floating and flying. But these accomplishments, splendid though they were, did not appease the demons of inspiration which some romantics dignify with the term “muse.” In addition to being more than proficient at the mechanical aspect of the craft, Sal was relentlessly gifted in the imagination department. It wasn’t a bragging matter. “Damn things get into my head,” Sal often complained, “and they won’t leave me alone until I fold them.” He didn’t consider it a gift. As far as he was concerned, it was a liability.

Tonight was a case in point. Sal sucked on his injured finger, dunked it in his drink, then hissed a curse as the margarita salt got into the cut and made it sting. The bartender looked on in amusement. The sight of an origami critter coming to life hadn’t fazed her; she was herself relentlessly gifted in the empathy department and was used to seeing her customers’ pink elephants.

The paper creature had now landed on top of Sal’s head. Sal peered at it sulkily in the bar mirror....

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for December 8, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1238 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

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