Three clocks hang on the office wall.
The white one has stopped. The black one keeps ticking on.
Above them the red one is going backwards.
The fairy tale has started.
Every morning there was another episode of the story in my mind and I couldn't get the image of those damned clocks out of it.
I even tried contacting a script writer, for this was a TV series that I definitely wanted to watch if only someone would produce it, but he told me that collaborations seldom work and I was on my own. I knew that the story wouldn't go away by itself. I had once woken up with a children's short story buzzing around in my brain like a desperate bluebottle wondering how it had got in there, as I did. I never had any children to tell it to, so it is still lurking there, my intellectual property, occasionally flying around again to annoy me anew. I only have myself to blame. During my career developing computer systems I had always kept all the details in my head until I had them safely written down, so I knew full well that the only way to flush this TV series thing out was to write it all down. I wasn't capable of doing that myself, so I conceived a fictional writer to do it for me and delegated the task to him. The advantage of a fictional ghost writer is that they don't expect to get paid.
It took a while for my alter ego to get clued up on the basics and conventions and then he was away, typing out chapter after chapter in a matter of weeks. My mind was free at last, but then I read what he had written and realised that there was something about the story, something so complex that I could never have conceived it myself in the time. There were even references to other as yet unwritten stories, all cunningly integrated into the text. I tried writing a synopsis, but every time I read the story I wrote a different one and still I didn't believe that I understood what it was really about. A title had already suggested itself, as had every other aspect of the story, but I added a few extra words to it to express my suspicions.
That was some time ago. Now even many chapters of the other two novels in the trilogy are transcribed from brain to computer. Now the three clocks are so familiar that I am comfortable having them around and the characters in my story are old friends who even seem to suspect that I exist somewhere beyond their reality. Of course they are sane human beings and. like all of us, would never seriously consider the possibility that they were fictional. However I do wonder whether, if Descartes had been thought to be a fictional character, the premise cogito ergo sum would have carried so much weight.
There it is then, my first novel, albeit now a truncated version of the original until I rewrite the second part properly.
Never Upon A Time
(about something else)
Now just one thing puzzles me. If many disaster zones eventually become tourist attractions, why won't anyone read my novel?