Black Friday is in full swing at the Office of the Ombudsman for Fictional Characters.
As National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) enters its final week, the lobby has become packed with desperate clientele.
Behind a wrap-around counter, the receptionist holds court. She wears a white uniform, blood red lipstick, a black headband, a retro hairstyle and an expression that screams just shoot me.
Glancing up through her eyelashes at what appears to be a cartoon cut-out, she exclaims in mock surprise,”Wait! Wait! Don’t tell me, two dimensional villain – seeking substance!”
The villain nods vigorously, causing him to shimmer in and out of existence.
“If I can’t have depth or nuance,” he says, “I’ll settle for a hobby.”
“Take a number,” she tells him.
By now, a long line of private eyes, Victorian chamber maids, abused children, cowboys, star-troopers, ghosts and apprentice wizards stretches out the door and zig-zags down the sidewalk past Great Clips and Papa Murphy’s Pizza.
“At least you have dimension,” grumbles a deep voice resonating from nowhere in particular.
“Who said that?” the villain asks.
The receptionist rolls her eyes. “Around here,” she explains, “You rarely see a first person character.”
As she speaks, the LED light display on the ceiling flashes a new number.
A waif stumbles up the center aisle, desperately waving a ticket.
“What’s your story, hon?” the receptionist asks.
“I am the illegitimate child of the second son of the Earl of Gramford,” she sobs, “Suffering from amnesia brought on by…”
“You are a mess aren’t you?”
The little waif nods her head.
“So what do you want to lose first, the back-story or the syrupy melodrama?”
“I don’t know,” she wails, “If, if…only my author would listen to me….”
The receptionist nudges a box of Kleenex across the counter, and sighs deeply as the last hours of NaNoWriMo tick slowly away….