This short story is dedicated to Alison Dasho, a fine and hard-working editor, currently on the road to recovery after major surgery.
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Alison sighed in exasperation. She was trying to enjoy her fabulous dream and someone kept trying to wake her up by shaking her foot.
“Alison, please. I need you!”
She cracked open an eye. A handsome stranger was kneeling at her bedside, clutching at her one and only coverlet. “Who the hell are you?” she growled, furious. It had been a very good dream.
“It’s me. Javan. Captain Rhodes.”
She pushed herself to sitting. Was she still dreaming? Rhodes was a character in a book she had once edited. What on earth was he doing here? For that matter, what was he doing on Earth? He was supposed to be off in the galaxy somewhere, trying to stay out of trouble. She rubbed her eyes, shook her head, and looked again. Yep. That was Javan Rhodes alright. He was already trying that charming smile on her. She sighed. “What do you want, Rhodes? I’m supposed to be recuperating and avoiding any excitement.”
Javan swept back the coverlet, exposing her brushed flannel nightgown (with pink satin bows and fluffy little bunny rabbits) to the world. He dropped a gentle kiss on her foot. “Your foot is perfect.” He kissed a little further up. “Your shin is divine.” He headed upwards. “You knee is–”
“Married, Rhodes! My knee is married.” She kicked him off the bed. “No point trying to charm me. I’m your editor and I know all your tricks. What are you doing here?”
Javan collapsed on the floor. “You have to help me, Alison. You’re the only one who can control…” He uttered a broken sob. “…her.”
“Dooley, of course. I need Dooley to write me a nicer, kinder, gentler love interest. I need you to make her, using the full force of your editorial superpowers, if necessary.”
Alison finally understood. She was very familiar with the quirks of Javan’s lady love. “I thought you and Sola had everything worked out. What’s she up to this time?”
“The usual. The lies. Says she’s off to the store for a packet of smokes, comes back two weeks later carrying the severed head of one of her enemies. That sort of thing. I just can’t live like this!”
Poor Javan. Alison understood his problem, but knew there was nothing she could do to help him. “I think you need to have a talk with your creator, Javan. Explain the problem to Dooley. Talk it through.”
“The last time we talked Dooley threatened to delete me. She’s so cold. And cruel.” He grabbed her by the foot. “Please, Alison, you’re my only hope.” He jumped as the bedroom door slammed open.
It was Sola de la Vega. And she was pissed. “What the hell, Javan! I’ve been searching the galaxy for you and I find you here? With this…this…” She swept a disdainful arm towards Alison. “…flannel-clad floozy! Why I oughta–”
“No, Sola. Don’t hurt her. She’s The Editor.”
Sola lowered her arm. “Our editor? Alison Dasho?”
“That’s me,” Alison said. “And I’m supposed to be recuperating, you guys.”
Sola dropped to her other bedside. “Miss Dasho. I’m sorry. Especially about insulting your nightgown. It’s adorable.” She snuck a glance at Javan, then bent to whisper in Alison’s ear. “Could you get Dooley to write the sex scenes a bit, you know, longer?”
Javan jumped to his feet. “I heard that!”
“Oh, sweetie. Our sex scenes are wonderful. I just wished they were a little…” She shot a glance at Alison. “Longer.”
Alison had had enough. This was no way to recuperate. “Out!” she yelled at the couple. “Now! Or I’ll make Dooley write a sequel in which you both die hideous deaths. Out!”
The couple scarpered out the door and Alison leaned back on her pillow. Finally some rest. She glanced over at her nightstand, wondering if it was time for a painkiller yet. On second thoughts, when characters were showing up unannounced in her bedroom, maybe it was time to start cutting back on them altogether? Yeah, she thought. Definitely time to cut back on the painkillers. But first… She logged into Twitter. “You guys! I just had the weirdest dream…”
* * *
Hope you enjoyed that, Alison. You’ll be pleased to hear that I had your stern editor’s voice in my head as I wrote it, resulting in the death of many adverbs. The ellipses and exclamation points, however, refused to die. Get well soon!
More of Alison’s authors are joining in!
Even Egyptian Gods Need Editors Sometimes by Veronica Scott.
For My Wonderful Editor by Darcy Daniel
A Blessing of Unicorns by R.L. Naquin
A Valentine To My Editor by J.L. Hilton
For Alison by Shawna Thomas