his eyes ached and itched. he had been at it since 10pm. it was now well after 4am. the only things he had accomplished were to adjust the drapes several times along with the candles. which were the only illumination in the otherwise dark room. paper and pen. typewriter and paper. and computer had gone untouched other than the occasional tap of his fingers on one or more of them. he sighed and slid further down in his chair. a few moments later he was asleep.
the sun was out as were the blue jays. who were well into their morning foraging with their unmistakeable squawks coming in somewhere just beneath his sleeping conscience. the candles were out in a pool of their own wax. a breeze rustled the drapes. as the phone on his desk rang he stirred in his sleep only slightly aware of it’s ringing. the phone. the ringing. now almost awake he cursed under his breath.
finding the phone he cursed again. why had he agreed to have one of them was something he never fully understood.
‘who else maury.’
‘ok. i never know who’s going to answer when i call you. you know your aversion to the phone and all.’
‘hmmm. yeah, i suppose. though i tossed everyone out rather early last night. you know work and all.’
‘yes, exactly why i’m calling. how’s it going? any progress?’
‘progress? ah…yeah…i tossed everyone out last night. early. then i spent the night here at my desk.
‘mmm. not really writing. thinking about writing mostly. i did have everything i needed close at hand though.’
at that point in the conversation a blue jay began creating a racket on a the window ledge.
‘look maury i need to deal with henry. i’ll call you back.’
‘henry, the bird?’
‘yeah. i’ll get back to you.’
he hung up and went to the window.
‘good morning, henry. sorry about the drapes. let me move them out of your way.’
the man moved the drapes and a squawking blue jay flew into the room and landed on his desk. the jay stood on a piece of paper and stared at the man.
‘ah, good. the paper. perhaps you’re housebroken after all. excellent.’
he went to his desk and sat in his chair while opening a drawer. the blue jay moved closer and he made a deposit on the desk.
‘well so much for housebroken. where’s lady?’
the jay squawked a reply.
‘i see. out doing other things this morning. fine. here you go my little friend.’
he scattered some unsalted peanuts in the shell on the desk top. henry the jay made a bee line to the closest nuts. he poked at one until he got it open then he ate it. he did the same to several others. the man tapped the desk with his index finger. looking up at him the bird walked over and put its head down.
‘yes yes, my little friend.’
he began to gently ruffle the jays feathers on it’s head. the bird closed his eyes and settled in to the attention. it had taken weeks for bill to get the blue jay to come inside the house after days of feeding the bird peanuts out in the yard. actually the pair of birds. husband and wife as it were. both would come inside now for the nuts and a bit of petting. which had taken even more time and patience to accomplish. the petting went on for a few minutes before bill spoke again.
‘ok. henry. i’m in no mood for our next adventure today. we’ll work on our trick again tomorrow. i have things to do today. you grab a few nuts while i visit the loo.’
after one last pet, bill got up and left the room. henry shook out his feathers and grabbed a nut in his beak. then proceeded to fly out the window with it. he returned a minute or so later and grabbed another. henry repeated this a few times until he was satisfied. at least for the time being. bill returned to the room with a damp piece of toilet paper and cleaned up the desk. the analogy wasn’t wasted on the man. after he swept the peanuts back into the drawer he closed the window and opened the other drapes.
sighing bill went back to his desk and dialed maury’s number.
‘good morning. maurice wienstein and associates. how may i help you?’
‘morning, anne. how’s it going? is the man still there?’
‘morning, bill. all is well. yep, i’ll put him on for you.’
‘good. how about drinks later in the week?’
‘ah, ok. i’ll let you know. i’ll put maury on now.’
‘thanks. talk to you later.’
‘bill? the birdman of sherman oaks. i’m honored.’
‘jesus. cut me some slack, maury. i’ve put a lot of time into those birds and well…’
‘you know, bill, a little more time hammering something out would be nice as well. time is tight. the season starts again in three months. it would be especially nice if i could hand the producers a completed script. soon. i might add it would be a win win for both of us. along with money in the bank for unsalted peanuts.’
‘you’re just jealous.’
‘and how many times have i asked you not to date my help?’
‘jealous once again. i’ve lost count. and drinks aren’t dates. we agreed to that long ago. remember?’
‘one of the dumber things i’ve agreed to in my life. did we get it in writing? ah, crap. never mind. so, do you even have an inkling of an idea? perhaps even a germ that’s sprouted something or another? anything at all since we last spoke? what last thursday? you’ve had all weekend.’
‘sprouting idea germs? good one, maury. i may eventually use that one.’
‘yes, please use it. just use something anything and get it on paper or in the computer and give it to me. getting you to write something is not the easiest thing in the world to do.’
‘tell me about it.’
‘i’m your agent not your mother. if it weren’t for the fact you have one of the best track records going i’d have moved on to other writers long ago, bill.’
‘yes. yes. yes. maury, the same old song and dance man. i’m only as good as my last…’
‘look. bill. the sand in the glass has about run out. they need something soon. very soon. or they’ll be looking elsewhere. sure it won’t be up to your standards but what is? the point being, they will have a play to produce and perform. capisco?’
‘yeah. i know. ah, shit. alright. i may have something. an idea. want to hear it?’
‘yes. please. continue.’
‘alright. there’s this guy. a politician. a minor one. a hack not really going anywhere. not real bright but interesting in a hail fellow well met kinda way. babes like him and men too.’
‘ok. maybe. what else?’
‘ah, his old lady. she’s the balls and brains of the outfit. a real harridan. she prods him into doing stuff so they can move up the political ladder. ah, sorta engineers him into doing whatever it takes. mostly murder, i guess. not sure just yet.’
‘i like it. yes. not last years romantic comedy either. yes. ok. when will we have it, bill?’
‘soon. it…it…it’s coming together. i’ll get it done. no screwing around until it’s finished. count on it.’
‘fine. let me know when it’s done.’
‘sure, maury. talk to you soon.’
bill hung up the phone then noticed henry and lady out on the window ledge.
‘sorry, kids. not now. work to be done.’
bill sat at his desk and typed on the computer. he had the title. macbeth by william shakespeare. the seed had germinated. the rest would come easy.
this originally appeared in january of 2015.