by Matt Potter



Instantly he's in the doorway, face pale with concern.

“I was just about to email my story,” I say. “And I've realised I got the fucking theme wrong!”

“Oh,” he says. “Can you re-write it to make it fit?”

“That's not the point!”

This bloody story! I even downloaded Rhapsody in Blue to help — I loathe those blaring trumpets and that stupid circling clarinet at the beginning — listening countless times, pretending — hoping — to be inspired.

And all I kept seeing in my head was the black and white opening sequence from Manhattan.

“Write a story about how you got the theme wrong,” he calls out, safe on the other side of the house now.

“I hate this-is-a-story-about-how-I-can't-write-a-story stories,” I say. “It's a hack's cop out.”

I glare at my laptop. I'm to blame. No one made me mistake v for c. Or c for v.

For two days, I bashed out words with grimacing fingers, wrenching images from my whining consciousness — a weak, lumbering, uninspired piece — and now for what?

I thump my fist on the desk, like so many of my characters, and stare at the keyboard.

Urban concert. All those fabulous images I hoped would inspire me — skyscrapers, bridges, traffic lights, traffic jams, parks and gardens, freeways, taxis, rubbish trucks — all stuck nowhere, lame and hopeless and wrong wrong wrong.

Urban concert?

No. Urban convert. Whatever that means.

The deadline ticks closer, outpaced only by my lack of enthusiasm.

Blank blank blank.

Fuck it.