The day was dark and dreary. The storm clouds spat their pebbles at the library windows, but Karen didn't care. She was lost in a world of fantasy and wonder, re-reading a favorite old book, when her quiet contemplation was disturbed by the appearance of several old friends.
James walked in first, his spurs and ten-gallon hat paired with a calculator protruding from the front of his western shirt. He spun his lasso 3 or 4 times before he settled it over Karen's shoulders with a flick of his wrist. Karen looked up, surprised, as he tightened the noose, her book dropping to the table with a loud thump.
"Ssshhh!" the librarian hissed as Tristi rounded the book-case, her fairy wings knocking books off the shelves that she immediately replaced with a wave of her magic wand.
Last came Julie in black biker leather. One gloved hand thwacked a thick pipe into the other with a repeated rhythm, as if she were about to burst into a song from "West Side Story" any moment.
"Hey, guys, what's up?" Karen asked, her voice shaking as she watched the menace in these people she thought were her friends.
"Well, now, we heard about you, Missy," James drawled in his sweet Georgia accent. "You've been messing around, reading them books when you should be working on that manuscript you've been asked for."
"Yes," Tristi-fairy said. "Some people are a tad disappointed with your behavior, Karen. Naughty-naughty." Triski tsked, her finger shaking at Karen as if she were her mother.
"It's time for some literary butt-kicking," Julie growled and stepped closer, her club thumping more vicously into her left hand.
"Ssssshhh!" the librarian hissed, a little louder this time.
Karen looked at the trio, panicked, her stomach tumbling like a load of boulders in a washing machine. "Wait, wait! I can do it. I - I - " she stuttered. "I'll have it finished by Saturday. Really. I will."
Julie snorted. Tristi rolled her eyes. James spat on the carpet.
All eyes followed the globule as it flew through the air and impacted the carpet. In a flash the librarian was there.
"Young man, we do NOT spit in the library!" The seventy-something woman took James by the ear and started to pull him toward the front door.
"Ow, OW! All right already!" he said, crouched over to follow the old woman. He dropped the lasso as he passed through the security gate, his hand to his ear.
Julie and Tristi turned back to Karen once James was outside, his face pressed to the glass, watching. Startling as it may sound, they looked more menacing without the tall cowboy hovering over them. Julie got in Karen's face. "You've got until Saturday, girl, then we settle this." Julie strolled out of the library. Tristi touched Karen's head with her wand, a flash of light blinding them both for a moment. Karen suddenly had the overwhelming urge to write until her fingers bled. She had to finish her book. She had to!
The librarian was back again. "No spells in the library!" She reached for Tristi's wand, but the fairy spun it over her own head and disappeared with a distinct 'pop'. The librarian grunted, then glared at Karen. "Anymore of your friends going to stop by today?"
Karen didn't answer. She had pulled her laptop forward and was lost in her book. Not a book that was between pages, oh no, this was her book, the book that lived in her mind, coming to life at last on the screen before her. It was time to finally get it done. Her friends had given her the butt-kicking she needed to move her back to the page.
This story is dedicated to James Dashner, Tristi Pinkston, and Julie Wright who are about the best butt-kickers around. Thanks, guys!