It was all starting to fall in place, the lessons I'd so desperately tried to learn from that one trip to a Zen master in Marrakesh, mindful breathing, mindful breathing, would I become one with the gerbil?
Gerbils? How many? I wondered was it possible to become one with more than one. That trip to Marrakesh had me thinking about Charpa again. Charpa, Sherpa, yes, there was a Sherpa. I remember now.
I ordered another glass of stout as I set about to what? What was it exactly I was asked to do? Write yet another brilliant piece about wormholes and basements of the likes of Stephen Hawking where all the wonders of the universe dwell, only to have it fall so far short of all the points the Juan, the number one, as he called himself so many times, could pick up in mere minutes when mentioning gerbils and Katie Price in the same sentence.
"Mindful breathing, mindful breathing," it was all becoming quite clear to me now. Sure, I could be the chump that writes the important stuff, stuff that has a ring of truth to it, stuff that makes people think when they read it, but that was the problem, could I continue to take the self-lambasting for passing up on a story that might make Mark a rich man just to go for what?
What was I going for? Was I ready to take down the Juan with something, m-m-meaningful? A feeling of dread came over me as I stifled a cry. Was I being asked to do the impossible?
Out of nowhere, again, Skoob appears and fills my glass, reaches under the long pea coat he wears even while apparently bartending, and pulls from it a book. It is not a book like I've ever seen before. It has a strange inscription on it, but seems to be some sort of tally. Skoob set it before me on the table on top of the piece of paper that had not yet one word written on, and for a short time, I could actually hear him speak. He was no longer just words on a screen, he was in the flesh, though always in a shadow as to maintain that cool, calm-wait, wait, that's not Skoob at all, or is it? Mindful breathing, mindful breathing.
Never mind, it was Skoob, as this is a fantasy, I thought, he has his cool, calm moments as we all do, and he muttered these words, "before you write, see a man who lives just a few floors up from the bar. You'll find him in #3, no not Carina, room number 3. He's always there, writing, writing, writing but you won't hear much from him. He may hold the key to what you are looking for in finding a balance between the old world and the new, between the William Faulkners and the Perez Hiltons.
"But why?" I asked, but Skoob was gone and on the table was just a name written on the paper-Erskin, Erskin Quint.