The chirp

2 am. Dreaming middle-of-the-night dreams about a new and improved world where writers write and agents query them, politely, correctly, in concise emails with no typos and not addressed to Dear Writer, asking to be permitted to represent them and submit their work to publishers. A new world where writers who spend 10,000 hours on a single novel may choose to respond with form rejection letters if they feel like it, or they may simply ignore agents’ queries on a strict policy that No response means no and I’m too busy to deal with your request. Ahh dreamland, predictor of the future, take me away.


Tiny sliver of consciousness sparks. Knows what that is. Ignores it. Goes back to sleep. Tries to find the dream to replay.

30 seconds pass.


Repeat. Four times.

Sit up. Swear. Drag lazy ass out of bed.

Turn on light.

Squint. Scratch. Yawn.

Stand under fire alarm until next chirp. No. Not that one.

Repeat. Five times.

Found it.

Stall. Hope husband hears it.

Two more chirps pass.

Go find the ladder in basement. Move heavy new corn hole game. Try not to cut bare feet. Pull ladder down from peg on wall. Don’t hit the wall, or doorway, or ceiling fan with ladder. Carefully place it under chirping alarm.

Wait one more chirp.

Listen for husband. Nothing.

Climb ladder. Wonder how to open it. Is it this button?

Nope. That button makes every alarm in the whole house scream like we’re all on fire.

Woke husband. Hit button again and wailing turns off.

Somehow find cleverly concealed battery spot. Open. Remove 9 volt battery.

Find new rectangular redox-powered galvanic cell (battery) in junk draw upstairs. Put it in. Chirp stops.

Husband puts away ladder. (Thank you. Hug.)

Stay awake for one more hour making list of agents who always respond, even if they don’t represent my genre. I could never work with the ones too busy to respond anyway.


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