Kati Stevens

If I don’t write, they’ll kill me. They’ll take me out back to the dumpsters, and they’ll shoot me across the belly. The top half they’ll put in one dumpster; the bottom half in the other.

After my killers are caught, because the aforementioned plan was a terrible idea, the detectives will ask them what I died for. My killers will say we had a contract, that I owed them a plot in which things worked out for all parties, a story in which they got away with their crimes or were caught but acquitted or were caught and convicted but were able to break out of prison and flee to Aruba. They will say how I got hung up on Aruba, took it too literally. Trinidad would have been fine.

They’ll tell the police I dillied and dallied and called it research, so they took my computer and my phone away and gave me a typewriter. They’ll say I asked for a notepad instead, because I didn’t like the sound of the typewriter, that it sounded like a gun to me. They’ll say they laughed at me, that typewriters and guns didn’t sound anything like, didn’t I know that, I had worked on enough cop shows. They’ll say I told them gunfire was added in post, and that telling them that ruined cop shows for them.

My murderers will say I finally wrote them a story for the perfect crime, and then the night before they were gonna steal the Firecracker Emerald of Tunis from a steel-reinforced safe in a locked supply closet on the third floor of an office building in southeast Dallas another crew beat them to the chase, implementing a plan awfully similar to my own. They’ll recall accusing me of betrayal, say they beat me up and asked me who I spoke to, that I insisted it was just a coincidence, that this happens all the time in Hollywood, that there are only so many stories, that there was no sabotage, remember Deep Impact and Armageddon, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, I could write them another story, I could write them a different, better crime, I just needed some new inspiration, I just needed some time.

That’s when they put the gun to my back and walked me outside to the dumpsters, they’ll tell the police. “You said you’d kill me if I didn’t write,” they’ll say my last words were. “I wrote.” “Not fast enough,” they’ll say they said, which they will – or did – in unison, to my amazement, but not theirs. And they’ll shoot me in the gut anyway. And my killers will cut a deal to help the police find the other writer, the one the other crew with the same idea as my crew kidnapped.

So actually I don’t write because of whether they’ll kill me, but because if I don’t someone else will write what I came up with first, and then what’s the point of living anyway?