The right place to write (a short short story)

Writing in the study never worked for Peter.

The author who had had a best seller every year for the past decade couldn’t make it happen.

His study contained a desktop computer, a desk made of oak and at last count 3,439 books — all but a handful fiction.

Guests and acquaintances loved seeing Peter’s study. The marble inlaid between the shelves of oak that matched the desk made for endless conversation.

Peter loved it too. It might have been his favorite room in the 10,500-square-foot mansion. But only to read or diddle around on the Internet.

For writing, he would’ve picked the bathroom ahead of the study. Though he never had.

He’d tried numerous times over the last six years, since moving into the place. But every time he sat in front of the computer his mind went blank. He didn’t know the reason. Maybe it was because he’d never had a study before this place. He’d always just sat down where his fancy took him and started working on his laptop. He’d tried that too once, took the laptop in the study with him and spun his chair away from the desktop. No luck there either.

A new novel had sprung to his mind on his walk this morning. It would be another best seller, he thought to himself, not that that mattered to him. He already had enough money to last him through his kids’ kids. The writing was the fun part for him. It always had been. He’d adored the challenge of getting to a finish line when he’d started there. He’d reveled in the plot when it started in the middle. But he preferred solving the puzzle when his idea started at the beginning of a book — as the one this morning had. He never knew where those stories would lead him, and as usual, he was eager to find out.

And he was determined to solve the latest puzzle in the comfort of his study.

He had the first few pages already drafted in his head when he opened the French doors to his oak-scented room. Had them nearly word for word when he sat down and pushed the power button to his computer. Felt them tingling in his fingertips as the word-processing document sprung to life.

He set his fingers to the middle row of keys and watched the cursor. It blinked at him, like an eager puppy awaiting a command. Soon, the cursor was mocking him. Here I am. Now I’m gone. Here I am. Now, gone. Here. Gone. Here. Gone.

He started to sweat. Felt the beads ooze through his skin, build until a few trickled down his temple. He had no idea what he was going to write. Didn’t know what the cursor wanted him to do. Didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

He took a deep breath. Held it. Exhaled. Then stood up and walked out. He closed the French doors behind him. Grabbed his laptop off the kitchen counter and walked into the bathroom. He sat down on the tile floor, between the toilet and the sink.

He began to type.

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