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Paperback Writer - Tihomir Gankov

He has adopted many names over the years. Francis Quinn, Tyree Patton, Cayden Osborn, Kyle Hudson, Jon Young, Jeremiah Holt, Isaac Small. It’s one of the privileges of being a paperback writer, the anonymity of it all. Crime is his specialty. He loves nothing more than good fiction. It’s what he lives for.

He travels often, never sticking to one place for too long, and always stays in motels. The more rundown they are, the happier he is. Not only are they cheap, but you see, these places often tell the best stories. It’s where the runaway teenagers escape to. Where the abused wives hide. Where the cheating husbands do the business. Where the helpless addicts OD. And if they fail to deliver a good story, he makes sure they do. Crime is his specialty.

He spends more time listening, than writing. Looking through the peephole, instead of sleeping. Watching your every move. Hearing every sound, you make. Recording each one of your actions. You are the characters of his books. The powerless victims, or the cold-hearted wrongdoers.

You dare fail to live up to his expectations, he makes his presence known. A kidnapping? Torture? Perhaps murder? You don’t have to worry yourself, he will be the one to decide. He needs to see you shriek in horror. No time to explain himself, that would ruin the authenticity of your reaction. It would spoil his fun.

You might not think so, but he cares about you deeply. To him, you are fragments of his imagination. He must put you down on paper. He must gift you the glory of life, only to later take it away. After all, writers need to learn to kill their darlings. To leave them behind in the motels they spawned from, with a slashed throat and an expression of terror.

So, the next time you’re at a motel, and you feel like you are being watched, he’s also listening. Keep him entertained, and you won’t have to meet him.

Image Credit: Sebastian Seck

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