Tales from the Golden Age
by David Ackley
Ned, a writer of epics, a person of solitary disposition and questionable hygiene
Scene: A mudflat in really olden times, someplace like Phoenicia or Assyria, one of those places everybody's heard of but nobody can find.
Ned is writing on the mudflat with a pointed stick when Johannes enters, a scroll under his arm.
Johnannes: How's the latest coming, mate?
Ned: All right...if it wasn't for the wind and the friggin' rain.
--Every time I finish a chapter, the wind comes up and buries it in sand. Or the bloody monsoon washes it all away. So I got to start all over, and half the time I can't even remember what name I give the hero.
--Gilgamesh, was it?
--Somethin' like that. What you got there?
--This here? This here's a scroll and the stuff wrapped around it, that's your basic papyrus.
--What's it for, Johannes? A bed sheet? Something like that? Pretty handy bed sheet roll, I'll give you that.
--I was thinkin' it's something you'd be interested in, for the odd epic.
--What? To buy? Talk to the wife. She takes care of the bedding.
Johannes unrolls the scroll to show the writing on the papyrus.
--No. To write on. So's you could take the product round to your customers and wouldn't have to be all the time draggin' them out to the mudflats for a demo before the weather blows in.
--There's a thought...Let's have a look...Little curly, in't it? I prefer something that'll lay nice and flat for you. Can't beat your old mudflat for that. Your mudflat won't budge an inch in a year.
--Except for the wind and the rain. And the buffalo coming down to the waterhole for a drink.
--Fucking buffalo, the writer's curse.
--Here, I'll leave this off for you. Give her a test drive. Let me know what you think. Oh, and you'll need one of these reeds, and some of this ink. I think you're gonna love this.
He leaves and Ned stares after him in disgust.
--Bloody inventors, always trying to sell you a bunch of shit you don't need.
He kicks the papyrus, quill and ink out of his way.
--Give me a pointed stick and some good level mud every time. Now, where was I at? Ginger Mac? Gil the Mensch?
He sets contentedly to work with stick, in mud.