I went to the nearby stationery shop and asked the shopkeeper “Boss, do you have the typewriter ribbon?” I said.
He gave me a strange look “What? Typewriter ribbon? You mean the old typewriter, in which you type?” he said.
“Yes. The same one. Do you have the ribbon for that?”
“No. Sorry. I mean who uses typewriter, these days.” he chuckled.
I expected this sort of response, so I didn’t respond to him and I left. I finally couldn’t find anything in the local shops. Then I thought of ordering it online. I thought, there must be some website which sells it.
The story of my typewriter is really strange. As an aspiring writer, I was struggling with a severe Writer’s block. I would sit in front of my computer for hours, but wouldn’t write a single word. I would get blocked completely. I was searching in the web for anything and everything related to writer’s block. In one website, they mentioned that using a Typewriter solved a writer’s problem. He also gave some scientific justification that the sound of the typewriter is so rhythmic that it acts as a creative inspiration and helps writers write.
Normally, I wouldn’t have budged. But this time, the situation was different. I had quit my job just to get my writing career started and all my savings ran out. I had to desperately write something and get it published. Even I have got a publisher ready, he once saw my short story and he told me that if I give him a published manuscript by this month end, and if it’s good, then he would publish the book.
He had originally given 6 months for me to complete my work, but I had taken five and a half months now and haven’t written a single page. I was so desperate with writer’s block that, even if they would have told me I needed to run naked at midnight, probably, I would have done so. I had reached desperation levels of epic proportions.
So, buying a typewriter wasn’t that big a deal. So I started searching in nearby shops. No one had one. That’s when I saw an old typewriter at the local waste paper mart.
I bargained with the shopkeeper and bought it for just Rs. 300/-. I had to save cash as well, so that worked out well for me, in the end. I also got a pack of A4 sized paper from the nearest stationery.
To my amazement, the typewriter actually worked. I was curious how the ink didn’t get dried up. But I chose to ignore all those, as long as it was working.
And I was all set to work starting the next morning. I had everything ready, so I just needed to get up and start typing. I even had the paper fixed in the typewriter. Then I went to sleep, that night.
I had kept my alarm at 4.00 AM.
But I woke up to a strange sound, even before the alarm rang. It was the sound of the typewriter, like someone typing the keys of the typewriter. I got frightened, and I rushed to my other room, where I had the typewriter. There was no one. I thought it was just my dream.
But when I went and saw near the typewriter, I saw there were some words in the paper. I was frightened.
“Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. Three writers have become big shots using me so far, and I started their writing career. I understand how it feels to have a Writer’s Block that makes one go insane. So, my deal works out like this, I type the title of their novel and the opening line. Then the writers would continue writing further. If you want to get rid of your Writer’s Block and interested in writing a bestseller, just type the word TYPEWRITER. But there is a warning. I will help you just once. If you try to use me for another book, consequences will be severe. After one book, you have to take care of yourself. If you are ok with it, then proceed.”
I was confused and started to think, how come it was practically possible. Was it a dream or something, I started to wonder and finally realized that it wasn’t a dream. Then something struck me.
Maybe it was the muse but just in another form. Maybe the God is with me on this. Maybe He wants me to write with this and become a bestseller. Maybe, He understood my feelings and sent me this.
Whatever was typed looked too good to be true, but I was at a stage I would try anything to write. So I sat down and typed “TYPEWRITER”.
Then what I saw was amazing. The typewriter began to type on it’s own.
“ONE MORE STEP TO GREED
I was at a cafe on a beautiful sunday evening, when I saw this beautiful girl.”
And then the typewriter stopped. Seemed a very simple title and very simple opening lines. How can it become a bestseller?
But by then, I had already started trusting whatever was happening.
I started to type. And to my surprise, it was just happening. The words were just flowing from my mind to my hands to the typewriter and finally onto the paper. I typed, I typed and I typed. I couldn’t believe it, but it was happening. I was writing something, finally I was out of my Writer’s Block. I felt relieved and happy too.
I sat for 20 hours straight, taking a few minutes break in between, and finished the first draft of my novel. It was amazing, and unbelievable at the same time. Never did I think that I would finish my novel in a day. And despite my doubts after seeing the title and opening lines, it indeed came out as a fascinating story, the one which I enjoyed writing.
Then, as they say the rest is history. I started editing the manuscript, once I gave the manuscript to the publisher, he was so impressed that he was instantly ready to publish the novel.
We signed a contract and then it all happened. It was a bestseller and it still is. It’s still among the top 10, in Amazon top sellers list.
A writer always wants to write. No matter, if he had written one book or hundred, the urge to write would always be there. I also had the same urge. To add to that, I have tasted how it felt being a bestseller too. So again, I was desperate to write.
Then as fate would have it, I got into another writer’s block. I pondered a lot and that’s when I decided to use the typewriter for another time, despite the warning.
But when I tried to use it, it wasn’t typing anything. Maybe the ink had dried up.That’s why I was searching for the ribbon. Finally I got the ribbon ordered online and fixed it inside the typewriter.
Then, the next morning, I woke up early, I went and sat at my writing desk, then I typed the word “TYPEWRITER”. Then I waited to see what happened. The typewriter started to type. But I was surprised that it didn’t stop after the title and the opening line. It typed :
“GREED GOT THE BETTER OF HIM TOO
Once upon a time, there was a writer who was struggling from Writer’s Block. He was so desperate to write that he tried everything possible in the world to write, but he just couldn’t. He went into a deep depression and finally, he committed suicide, but unfortunately, since his wishes didn’t get fulfilled, his soul went into the typewriter he was using. The typewriter became possessed with his spirit.
Then that spirit wanted to do good for the other writers, that spirit wanted other writers not to suffer, what it had suffered. it would find some good writer who was very good but was struggling with Writer’s Block. One such writer was Abishek. I helped him by getting in his radar, and I helped him write the title and opening lines. The title of his book was FIRST LUCK.”
“Oh my God. First luck by Abishek Kanawar, it was a best seller. But he died in mysterious circumstances after a few months of release of his first book.” I thought, and then read the next paragraph. By now, I was growing suspicious.
“He became a bestseller, but man’s greed never stops. He wanted to write another best seller, not from his own efforts, he again wanted to use my words as a starting point. Such people deserve to be killed, as they would never stop being greedy, only thing that will stop them is Death.
Next, I met two writers, Mani and Dharma, who finally became authors of the book WILL GREED WIN? And IS THERE ANY END TO GREED?.”
Then I remembered, they also were bestsellers but they also died under mysterious circumstances in their writing desks, respectively. What the hell? I thought, but continued reading.
“Next one was you. I wanted to help you once, but what you did? You became lazy. The first time around, Writer’s Block was a block, a real one. But this time around, your Writer’s Block was just your laziness, your lack of will power, your greed for achieving extraordinary results without putting extraordinary efforts, all these combined and manifested in the form of Writer’s Block. Now, tell me don’t you deserve to die?”
Then, I felt my fingers were going apart, that’s when I realized that the typewriter keys were growing in size. My heartbeat began to race. The entire typewriter grew in size right in front of me, I immediately took my hands off the typewriter and I started to move away from the typewriter. In a few seconds, it had grown to occupy the entire room, as it grew, the area where the paper was, was beginning to grow a face. A blurry and severely damaged face. After it grew, I was so terrified.
Then it started to open it’s mouth so big and it gulped me. After that, it slowly shrunk it’s size and became a normal typewriter. I could see myself killed. Yeah, I could see my body, but my soul was now inside that typewriter, as one of the typewriter keys. Beside me, I could see three spirits, I guessed that it’s mostly those greedy authors.
I remember, a few days later, there was a search in my house. Police had arrived. Someone had apparently complained of foul smell coming from my house. They thought, it’s a suicide.
They cleared the body and they gave the typewriter to a nearby paper shop. I was in transit inside the typewriter, I moved to a lot of places changing hands and came to another waste paper shop.
Finally, a guy came to the shop where I was there. He asked the shopkeeper, “Can I get that old typewriter? I need it.”
“Sir, what are you going to do with that old typewriter? Why do you need it?” he asked.
“Sir, I am a writer and I need that typewriter to write my first book.” the writer said.
Dear readers, please feel free to comment/critique my stories. It would be of immense help. In case you already don’t know, I am writing this as part of the A to Z short story challenge
Here are the other stories that I have written as part of this challenge :
Please do take your time to read and drop in your comments. Thanks.