The Lazy Author

Once there was an author with a deadline and no story. Unfortunately, the author was lazy. “I do not want to write this story,” the author said loudly. The deadline didn’t change.

She sat down at her computer. “Shouldn’t you just write yourself? All the other authors say that their characters just take over the story and do all the writing for them.” But the story did not write itself. Perhaps the problem was that it didn’t have any characters yet.

The lazy author called for her oldest child. “Will you help me write my story? I’ll give you a cookie.”

“Sure,” the child said. “What do you need help with?”

“The whole thing.” The lazy author said. “It needs to be twenty thousand words, and the topic is hairless cats.”

The child frowned. “But I don’t know anything about hairless cats.”

“Neither do I.”

“Twenty thousand words sounds like a lot of writing.”

The lazy author shrugged. “I think it’s only like 40 pages. And…”

“I think I have homework.” The oldest child left and didn’t come back. The author frowned. Homework was important. Why had the oldest child put it off this late? She would have to talk to the child about the dangers of procrastination… later.

The lazy author called for her second child. “Will you help me write my story? I’ll give you a cookie.”

The middle child looked skeptical. “Do you really have a cookie? The last time I helped you, you promised to give me a cookie later, and you never did.”

Patting her pockets, the author realized she didn’t have a cookie. “I’ll get you two cookies later, to make up for last time.”

“Hmmmmm.” The middle child didn’t look convinced.

“It’s only twenty thousand words, and the topic is hairless cats.”

Rolling his eyes the middle child held up a hand and started counting off demands on his fingers. “I expect a written contract this time. I want to be paid in cash within three days of completion of the work. I expect to be paid by the hour. I expect to be paid for research time. I expect an entire package of cookies to make up for the back pay.”

“An entire package of cookies?”

The middle child shrugged. “You owe me interest and late fees.”

“I’m not paying by the hour. You type one key at a time!”

“Take it or leave it.” The middle child was perfectly calm.

The author sighed. “I’ll get back to you on all that. Later.”

The middle child wandered out of the room, apparently completely uninterested in his mother’s looming deadline. The lazy author realized that she was running out of options.

But, she really, really didn’t want to write the story. So, she called for her youngest child. “Will you help me write my story? I’ll give you a cookie.”

“A sprinkle cookie?” the youngest child asked.

“Sure. It’s just twenty thousand words about hairless cats. Can you do that?”

“Uh huh.”

And the youngest child sat at the computer and started typing. Thrilled that the story was at last being written, the author hurried out of the room. She didn’t once stop to think that the youngest child didn’t know how to type. Or how to read.

This of course meant that the child finished writing much sooner than she expected. She looked up from sending emails on her phone to see her youngest child looking at the screen, inches away. She jumped. “Where did you come from?”

The youngest child giggled. “All done.”

“You wrote the story?”

“Uh huh.”

Thrilled, the author raced back to the computer. There was a ten-page document waiting for her. The word count said there were 100 words. The word count was generous in its definition of words.

The youngest child beamed. “Sprinkle cookie?”

The lazy author sighed. “I’ll get you one later, okay? It’s mommy’s turn to type.” And in the end, she wrote the story all by herself.