Kayla I squeeze my stress ball in total frustration. What has happened to the day? About an hour ago, after my usual morning jog, I felt like I could take on the world. I was ready to put fingers to keyboard and watch the words fly onto the screen, but now I’m sit-ting in my office, and nothing is happening. My gaze travels, and I contemplate the elaborate certificate displaying my name and its various meanings, a present from my mother some years ago—one she bought during her travels to Cairo. It used to be at home, but when I took this job, with my own office and view, I decided to hang it up at work. According to the elaborate gold-lettered writing, Kayla has several different meanings, depending on what country you look to. To some, it means “wise one.” I have to say…I don’t feel particularly wise this morning. Time’s ticking, and I’m not producing. With a sigh, I randomly hit some keys on my keyboard so my screen no longer looks so white and empty. As I bring my coffee to my lips, I cringe. Can the day get any worse? I hate cold coffee. I bite my bottom lip. I haven’t produced anything this morning, and I cannot justify a coffee break already. My eyes look at the little clock in the top right-hand corner of my computer. Maybe if I write for thirty minutes, I can reward myself with a break and get a fresh, strong, and hot coffee. My fingers hover over the keyboard. I don’t know how long they stay there without moving. With a sigh, I rummage around the top drawer of my desk, looking for a notepad. Sometimes words seem to flow faster and better if I use the old-fashioned writing tools: pen and paper. Slowly I unscrew the top of my gold nib fountain pen. I draw a few swirly lines to make sure there is still ink in it. Good, no further excuses. Part of me had hoped that lack of ink would mean I’d have to duck out and buy some more. But alas, I really have run out of stalling tactics. And so I let the pen do the work. Suddenly, a few scenes come to mind, and I make random notes.
“Good to see you working, baby cakes.” I cringe and look up, my pen stopping midword. The last word now looks more like a drunken spider walked across my page, and I curse Ed quietly. “Don’t call me that,” I say and look up. “They still make pens, huh?” Ed ignores my comment and comes up to my desk, sitting on the edge of it. He takes the pen out of my hand and pretends to examine it. “Or is this one a relic from the last century?” Instead of a reply, I pull the pen out of his hand and screw the top back on. “Only people who’ve been taught the craft of writing know how to use one of these,” I pause before I continue. “Oh, I forgot, you weren’t taught the craft of writing.” Ed is the one reason my job is harder than it should be. Ed is the bane of my existence at the moment. He ignores my comment and throws some papers onto my desk. “Some notes for you for the second half of the season. I thought I better give you a hand, since you are new to this gig.” If I could, I’d like to wipe that smug look off his milky face. Ed, as far as I’m concerned, is the opposite of sex appeal. His skin’s so pasty, I wonder if he ever goes outdoors. The expensive designer suits do nothing for his short stature and thin body. Exercise isn’t high on Ed’s agenda as well. Even the mere thought of seeing Ed in shorts and a T-shirt makes me want to throw up. Knowing Ed expects me to look at what he has given me, I randomly scan the pages. I read a paragraph here and there, and then I feel the world turn up side down. Is he serious? “You want me to do what?” I know my voice is no longer cool, calm, and collected; it probably rose an octave or two despite my best endeavor to sound perfectly in control. “What’s the matter, baby cakes? Not up to the challenge?” Ed has picked up my stress ball and looks at it. “What do you do with this?” “I told you not to call me that,” I hiss at him. Lines have to be drawn. Ed’s taking way too many liberties with me. Producer or not, I’m still the head writer.