I awoke as the vice was twisted and my skull squeezed to resemble a Portobello mushroom cap. Upon first opening my eyes, it appeared as if the spindly, red veins that encased them drew back their hold of my cornea, kept at bay by the dawn of new light. I stumbled my way to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, where the veins in my eyes seemed to wave like victorious captors holding clear vision hostage. I tried to subdue them with a couple of eye drops and treated the pounding in my head to a double dose of ibuprofen before making my way to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee.
Breathing in the morning, I wasn’t quite sure where to start my day. Though I tried as hard as I could to convince myself that the daunting task of writing this supposed book was nothing more than an exercise in self-defeat, the stubborn idea that it was something that I needed to do continued to churn in my head.
The coffee maker gurgled and sneezed as I leaned against the counter waiting on it to finish its course. The dark liquid dripped into the clear pot, and the rising volume kept pace with the bile that filled my mind. Aside from the constant nagging of the alcohol headache that pushed forth from my temples, visions and memories of my complete inadequacy and unworthiness for this task filtered through my thoughts.
Beyond the fact that my knowledge of the business world was abysmally short of any kind of merit, there was the pounding reality that I met my challenge the night before by searching for answers at the bottom of a bottle, many of them to be honest. What kind of leadership does that make? I was again struck with the same sense of hopeless shame that rendered me unconscious the day before in the park.
I poured myself a cup of coffee, creamed and sweetened it to taste, and shuffled to my desk. The failures that had plagued me before last night leapt to the forefront of my mind, each of them vying for the top spot as the greatest screw up in the long and agonizing death march which was my life. What of all of the different jobs that I’d tried and failed? What of all of the knowledge I missed because I wasn’t paying attention in school or failed to reach the end of a book I’d started? What of all of the intentions I proclaimed that I didn’t follow through on. If I wrote this book, and put it out there as some kind of authority figure, wouldn’t all of my former transgressions be brought to light by the muckrakers and pundits who have been placed at such high levels of our society’s consciousness? Wouldn’t I be mocked and humiliated to the point where I would surely have a nervous breakdown?
I slumped into the chair behind my desk and stared at the charcoal colored screen, taking momentary solace in the fact that there was nothing there. I had an unfathomable fear that once that screen went white to offer me a canvas for the words I was supposed to write, no good would come of it except for hopes that would never be achieved.
I swallowed a bitter sip of coffee, and dismissed the idea of the book with the sincere hope that yesterday was just a dream. I clicked on my mouse and the computer screen came to life with a sizzle.
I went directly to my email to find that beyond the handful of spammed messages I quickly deleted, I had only one. It was another one from Bob. As I read its contents, my jaw slowly gaped as new fears arose.
Wow, Steve! Looks like you’re really kicking ass and taking names.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –
SARASOTA, FL – Amazon.com reported today that it placed an order for 1.3 million copies of The McAllister Code, the largest initial order in its history. An Amazon spokesperson said “this book was only announced on Monday, but customer purchase requests for Tuesday and Wednesday both shattered the previous one day record. We’ve been praying for another hit like The DaVinci Code. This could be it.”
The yet to be published book is said to provide some very intricate yet plausible details on how innovative aliens form a “creative cluster” in Southwest Florida with a plan to take over the marketing fortunes of the region. Pelican Bay Books’ Monday announcement to publish the book also sparked unprecedented traffic for other internet sites, particularly creative marketing forums, extraterrestrial chat rooms and UFO web sites. Several sites found themselves hosting heated debates as to whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, with some web surfers asserting it’s a cunningly clever mélange of incredible facts and an active imagination.
Steve McAllister, the author and CEO of Second Thought Productions, only further fueled the sensational atmosphere surrounding the book today, when he claimed: “Anyone who understands my views would know the creative community concept that the story is built on is something I have been wholeheartedly promoting for some time. But I honestly don’t recall writing the
book…it’s possible, but I just don’t know It’s been such a busy year for STP. I suppose it’s just as possible that there’s another Steve McAllister out there who could have authored it.”
For further information,
contact Lester X. Prince, Jr.
Gulf Gate Public Relations
Lester Prince?, I thought. Who the heck is Lester Prince?
“I thought it had a nice ring to it. Don’t you?”
I spun around in my chair praying that I was schizophrenic. But alas, making himself comfortable in my easy chair was Iman.
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Come back weekly for the next part or order your copy in ebook or paperback today!