It's not a good idea to wait on inspiration, but when it strikes, you grab that shit and hold on. It can be a winning lottery ticket, and if you tell it to wait until later, you might never get to scratch off those numbers and hit the big score.
I was leaving work late today, as I have done for weeks now. It's the busier time of year, made busier because I'm trying to get everything done so my holidays can be holidayicious. AND I had skate practice tonight, for which I was running late. As I hustle to the elevator, I hit the button, the down arrow lights up, I hear a ding, and...
...nothing. The doors don't open. Another door behind me opens. I look. That arrow is lit up too and there's a person inside. I watch the opposite elevator the entire time. I step in, watch, the doors close, I watch to the last. The light was on, but the doors never opened. How strange! Especially since I just listened to a piece on NPR's Marketplace about the science of elevators. I've been paying attention, and that was certainly weird.
Wouldn't it have been horrible if I had gotten on that elevator and then it broke down and then I missed skate practice entirely rather than just showing up late.
What if... what if... what if...
So many possibilities come to mind, and then I hear the first lyrical construction of what becomes the first few lines below. After I finish my current rewrite, I have two novels on deck. One is a larger fantasy I've tried to write twice before. The other is a science fiction who-dunnit with the working title of FAMILY JEWELS. I may have done a wind sprint for that one previously. I dabbled on it because I couldn't get it out of my mind. And I admit, I was unimpressed with the wind sprint. This, however, these few paragraphs capture the tone and attitude I want for the story.
BAM! Inspiration to the face! Hop past the break (if you see a break) to read the first few paragraphs. I'll let this simmer on the back burner for when I write the full thing. This may move it up to the next-to-bat position even though I've been world building on 7TH SACRIFICE a lot lately. We'll see when we get there. For now I still have a lot more to do with BLACK MAGIC AND BARBECUE SAUCE.
Chapter 1: Benedict Quick Hated Running
There is always a singular instant, a domino moment, when What Is deviates from What Should Be and becomes What If. All of a person's nicely ordered and freely chosen decisions become the victims of causality, falling one after the other. For Benedict Quick, lead detective at Quick and Easy Investigations, that moment occurred on Saturday the 15th of April at 0731. He stood on the fifth floor of the Bellanton Building, waiting for the uppevator to turn into a downevator, but when the up-arrow light turned off and the down-arrow light turned on, the doors did not open.
Another down-arrow light turned on, and a synthesized bell dinged as the doors to a second downevator opened behind him. Ben stepped into the metal box, an old-style pulley/engine conveyance that worked against gravity in both directions to move a person to differing floors while keeping their feet on a solid plane.
“Backward fucking planet,” Ben grumbled for the billionth time, punching a plastic circle marked “G” that lit up after he touched it.
That kind of antique novelty was common on planet Wozniak, the odd and eccentric, the vogue and the retro. Most members of the Galactic Cooperative of Planets used anti-graviton movement tubes, uppevators, downevators, leftevators, rightevators, and so on. These old style boxes only moved up and down and had a tendency to get stuck, even back when they were the only method of transport from the first to the fiftieth floor.
The first downevator's light remained on, but its doors never opened. It sat there, waiting for someone to call for service, while Ben made his way to the ground floor. Ben Should Have gotten on that first downevator. It Should Have gotten stuck between the fifth and the fourth floors with him inside. Then he wouldn't have reached the lobby when he did. He wouldn't have spotted Xio Xiolin--a white-collar biometics counterfeiter with a bounty on his head--walking toward the exit. Xiolin wouldn't have made eye contact. Xiolin wouldn't have run. And Ben wouldn't have had to chase him.
Benedict Quick hated running.