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He sat staring at the computer screen, the blank page of the open word document taunting him. The empty whiteness glared with a harshness that made his eyes burn. Or perhaps it was the lack of sleep and the long hours staring at the monitor waiting for inspiration to come. The ringing of the phone did nothing to stir his stagnating mind.
"This is Mike," came his voice over the answering machine, "you know what to do."
The long beep was followed by the all too familiar rant of his agent, asking him where the hell he was and if he'd forgotten about his deadlines. A couple more rants, some expletives and the usual request for him to pick up the goddamed phone. Or at least write something and send it in. And then the click of the receiver, followed by blessed silence, leaving Mike to his nothingness.
After a few more moments of staring at the screen, Mike gave in. He shut the computer off, pushed away from the desk and got up. He crossed the small space in his bedroom that separated his desk from his closet and opened the door. A pile of dirty laundry, maybe more than a few weeks worth, avalanched on to the floor. He stared down at the dirty clothing, a reminder of that phase of his depression when he refused to get out of bed to do anything. Food, clothes, writing, even hygiene, all were neglected in his dysthymic haze.
He'd been depressed before, but nothing like this. Most of the time he was able to put his dark mood to use. In fact, it was what had fueled his writing career, allowing him to produce tale after tale of twisted, macabre horror. True, he wasn't exactly Stephen King, but he'd sold enough to get by, without having to worry about keeping his mundane secondary school teaching job. Secretly, Mike wondered if that was the real reason he never sought help before. Most people, including the solemn faced shrink, assumed it was because he was, like most patients, embarrassed by his condition. But maybe what he was really afraid of was killing the muse, killing that dark part of him that gave birth to his creativity. And it looked as though he was right.
He had been on the pills for roughly six weeks now. His mood had improved sufficiently to allow him to return to some semblance of a normal life. But the writing was dead. Day in, day out he had stared blankly at his computer screen hoping for something. But the ideas refused to come. All he had, if he had anything at all were empty words and an agent breathing down his neck about deadlines. And Mike knew that if he didn't write something soon, he'd have to start worrying about bill collectors breathing down his neck too. Worse case scenario he'd have to resort to giving English lessons.
With a sigh he gathered up the laundry and stuffed them in a basket.