He tried different ways of luring it. He had read, once, that the creature was attracted by pleasant smells. So he ran down to the nearby Asian grocery store and bought fifty dollars worth of incense. He didn’t mind the cost, really. The creature was so valuable that he would have paid that price a hundred times over. The creature, those rare times it came, brought with it such incredible power and future promises of freedom, productivity and prosperous ease. So he didn’t feel bad as he handed over the fifty-dollar bill. Nor when he lit half of them at once, setting twenty-five dollars on fire.
He sat in his usual spot and waited, hands hovering above the keyboard. Silent. Anxious.
A minute passed. Five. Ten. Twenty. The incense burnt out. The creature didn’t even come close.
Depressed but undaunted, the man lit a pipe. The pipe had attracted the creature in the past, but it wasn’t 100% reliable. He smoked, leaning back in his chair and glancing at the window, admiring the regal look the pipe gave him. The pipe calmed him. Focused him. Gave him determination. But it did not attract the creature.
He shook his head and stood. Paced the apartment a little. Went out to stand on the balcony – maybe he would see the creature from there. It had happened to others, he heard. He stared at the towering apartments. Gazed at the urban skyline, garnished with the thick woods that, he imagined, set Toronto apart from other heavy urban centers. It was nice. It was peaceful. But still the creature did not come.
A walk, he said to himself. A walk to clear the head. He picked a hat and jacket and headed out the door, down the stairs and onto the street. A walk. Or maybe a hunt. Of course! The creature would never just walk into his apartment building. Why would it? It would be unnatural. As unnatural as doing the work without the creature. He had never found it on a walk before, but who was to say that he wouldn’t today? Any effort was worth it.
An hour later he was back at his desk. No luck during the hunt. It was a nice walk, yes. Good to stretch the legs and get a little sun on his pale face. But no sacred creature.
He looked at the clock. Shuddered a little. So much time had gone. So much opportunity lost. What could he have done if had found what he was looking for?
Time was gone. Nothing done. But this week that was unacceptable. He needed something. His customers wouldn’t care about his stupid creature-hunting. So he put his hands on the keyboard again.
He couldn’t dance with the keyboard. Only the creature let him do that. But he could walk. He could crawl if he had to. It wasn’t fun, like it was when the creature came by. But it was productive.
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