Jack was alone in his tiny dorm room, sitting straight in front of his tiny laptop. He had a soda can on the side. He had a $900-textbook open, passages highlighted. He was writing the term paper.
Everything was quiet, the rush of the world far, far away, everybody gone. But Jack had a problem. Jack’s head was empty.
It was as if he had a hole in the back of his brain and all the thoughts were trickling out, creating a gooey mess on the carpet. The only thing left was the image of a desert, a trailer, a Native-American boy sitting on a director’s chair, waiting for nothing to happen.
The word processor was open on the screen, imitating a white page. The heading was there, From Berrier to LaCandu, A Look at La Fleterie d’Amonique and Related Schools of Craft, and so was Jack’s name, but no content. He knew he was supposed to focus on French flutemaking between the 12th and the 13th century, but he could not bring himself to do it. The Native-American boy was on his mind, and Jack knew there was a story to tell there. He wanted to write it.
He opened a new window of the word processor and set his fingers over the keyboard, but realized he did not have a title. She he type Untitled? Or better yet *untitled*? No, that would be childish. A simple title would…
Suddenly, the door flew open and Molly burst in, her curly hair a storm of cheerfulness.
“Come on, Jack! Ben’s in town. We’re going to see the new movie. Let’s do it!”
Jack pondered for a while, the calm and quiet of his workspace melting slowly in Molly’s heat. The paper was not due for another week. And nobody would read the story anyway. Jack got up, now tiny wings growing out of his feet, jumped to Molly’s side and hollered,
And then the sniper got him.