Out of Ideas, Out of Time: Chapter 9

A collaborative story

Mark Starlin
Nov 11, 2019 · 3 min read
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument — Jemez Springs, NM • Photo by Mark Starlin

I woke up in a cabin in the desert. Hey, it’s New Mexico. It’s mostly desert. I was tied to a chair. Ed was tied to the chair next to me. Which was not surprising. He was unconscious or asleep. It’s hard to tell with him. What was surprising, though, was Karen Fayeth was also tied to a chair.

I had a major-league headache thanks to the whack I received leaving Red Sage. But thankfully, the Pepto-Bismal had finally kicked in, and my stomach had settled down. Now it was just hungry. I bet they have some excellent Tex-Mex around here. I could go for a burrito. If I wasn’t tied up, that is.

As I was shaking off the grogginess, Karen spoke.

“You’re finally awake.”

“I think so. You sure I’m not dreaming?” I asked.

“If I was in your dream, would I know it?”

That question made my head hurt even more.

“I doubt it. I am going with this is not a dream for now. What is going on?”

“We are all tied to chairs.”

“You really have a way with the obvious. Why are we tied to chairs?”

“Oh. I was in a bookstore browsing for writing advice books, when a man came in. I instantly recognized him as George R.R. Martin. I couldn’t believe it. He asked me if I was a writer. I said yes. He said he was looking for a ghostwriter for his final two A Song Of Fire And Ice (Game Of Thrones) books, and he started waving a giant wad of cash in front of my face. I told him I don’t normally write fantasy. He said it didn’t matter. He just needed someone to whip his notes into something readable. So I said yes. He flew me out to Santa Fe in his private jet, and we drove out to his secret writing cabin. Here.”

“So why are we all tied up?”

“Well, when I got here, I found a typewriter, a microwave, and a fridge full of frozen burritos. Plus his notes for the next two books. When I looked at the notes, and they consisted of 120 pages of:

“I saw the look of panic in his eyes and knew I was in trouble. I turned to him and said, ‘I don’t know what to write either.’”

“That put him over the edge. He tied me up and told me I couldn’t leave until I had completed at least one of the 1200 page books. I told him I couldn’t type with my arms tied to the chair. But he stormed out, saying he had an HBO meeting to attend.”

I knew I had to do something. But what? So I grabbed one of his note pages with my teeth and proceeded to fold it up using my mouth and nose. Mostly my nose. Then using my advanced bird whistling skills, I whistled for a carrier pigeon. As fate would have it, there aren’t many carrier pigeons left. The only one who showed up was some scraggly old pigeon from New York City who was out here on vacation. I gave him the note and hoped for the best.”

“So that’s how the note got to me,” I said. “Well, there is only one thing to do. We have to figure out how to get to those burritos. I’m starving.”

Just then, Ed woke up. And we heard a very expensive sounding vehicle pull up outside.


[Obviously, this is fiction. George R.R. Martin writes his own books and doesn’t kidnap people. Please don’t sue me Mr. Martin.]


Out of Ideas, Out of Time

A place where collaborative stories go to lose momentum and disappear in a tiny dust devil in the middle of the desert.

Mark Starlin

Written by

Old bones. Young heart. Focusing on a wide variety of creativity.

Out of Ideas, Out of Time

A place where collaborative stories go to lose momentum and disappear in a tiny dust devil in the middle of the desert.

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