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datatime: 2022-12-02 05:03:08 Author:WJusLZdj

Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery.

"Just a minute longer, Paul, and you can take a snooze."

Although Ian Carmichael would not have moved from Little Dunthorpe for all the jewels in the Queen's treasury, he had to admit to himself that when it rained in Cornwall it rained harder than anywhere else in England.

"Just a minute longer, Paul, and you can take a snooze."

"Annie, could you wait five minutes?" he managed. She looked at him, gaze narrowing slightly. "I thought you were in a lot of pain, buster."

"I am," he said. "It hurts . . . too much. My knee, mostly. Where you . . . uh, where you lost your temper. I'm not ready to be picked up. Could I have five minutes to . . . to . . . " He knew what he wanted to say but it was drifting away from him. Drifting away and into the gray. He looked at her helplessly, knowing he was going to be caught after all.

He remembered Geoffrey saying You must not cry in front of her, old man - that is the one thing you must never do

"Did ye speak, young sair?" Mrs. Ramage, the Carmichaels" crotchety but lovable old housekeeper, asked him as she came in from the pantry. As usual, her mobcap was askew and she smelled of the snuff she still firmly believed, after all these years, to be a secret vice.

Distantly, from the parlor, he could hear the rippling strains of Chopin, and he paused with the strip of towel still in his left hand, listening.

"To let the medication work?" she asked, and he nodded gratefully.

She took the urinal away from him and set it carefully on the floor. "Now let's get you back in bed," she said. "You must be exhausted . . . and your legs must be singing grand opera." He nodded, although the truth was that he could not feel anything - this medication on top of what he'd already given himself was rolling him toward unconsciousness at an alarming rate, and he was beginning to see the room through gauzy layers of gray. He held onto one thought - she was going to lift him into bed, and when she did that she would have to be blind as well as numb not to notice that the back of his underwear happened to be stuffed with little boxes.

"Of course. I'll just put a few things away and come right back." As soon as she was out of the room he was reaching behind him, bringing out the boxes and stuffing them under the mattress one by one. The layers of gauze kept thickening, moving steadily from gray toward black.

She took the urinal away from him and set it carefully on the floor. "Now let's get you back in bed," she said. "You must be exhausted . . . and your legs must be singing grand opera." He nodded, although the truth was that he could not feel anything - this medication on top of what he'd already given himself was rolling him toward unconsciousness at an alarming rate, and he was beginning to see the room through gauzy layers of gray. He held onto one thought - she was going to lift him into bed, and when she did that she would have to be blind as well as numb not to notice that the back of his underwear happened to be stuffed with little boxes.

Now I must rinse, he thought.

"Just a minute longer, Paul, and you can take a snooze."

Get them as far under as you can, he thought blindly. Make sure you do that so if she changes the bed she won't pull them out with the ground sheet. Get them as far under as you . . . you . . .

"I am," he said. "It hurts . . . too much. My knee, mostly. Where you . . . uh, where you lost your temper. I'm not ready to be picked up. Could I have five minutes to . . . to . . . " He knew what he wanted to say but it was drifting away from him. Drifting away and into the gray. He looked at her helplessly, knowing he was going to be caught after all.

Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery.

"Annie, could you wait five minutes?" he managed. She looked at him, gaze narrowing slightly. "I thought you were in a lot of pain, buster."

"Just a minute longer, Paul, and you can take a snooze."

"Yes." He actually had needed to urinate quite badly - in all the excitement he hadn't had time to think of such things.

"Just a minute longer, Paul, and you can take a snooze."

"Yes." He actually had needed to urinate quite badly - in all the excitement he hadn't had time to think of such things.

Oh, I am in so much trouble here, he thought. Tracks, he thought. Did I leave tracks? Did I - Paul Sheldon fell unconscious. When he woke up, fourteen hours had gone by and outside it wa snowing again.

Distantly, from the parlor, he could hear the rippling strains of Chopin, and he paused with the strip of towel still in his left hand, listening.

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