My Own Worst Enemy – Novel Extract

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A relationship in progress
it had been a long day for Erin Kemper as she hurled herself in bed the night. Working at a juice bar wasn’t exactly how she wanted her life to turn out, but it was providing her the funds she needed for her dream of becoming an author.

Erin tried falling asleep, but couldn’t. Staring at the ceiling, Erin knew something was bothering her but she knew if she addressed it, her plans for a good night’s sleep would be dashed yet again. As Erin concentrated on the ceiling pattern and the silence, she slowly fell asleep.

“I’VE GOT IT!” a voice thundered throughout the bedroom.

Erin looked across from her to see Chuck Magnum, the main character from her novel sitting up next to her. Ever since Erin started her novel, “Deadline to Murder” Chuck Magnum had become a helpful, although somewhat annoying presence in her life. It was a relationship in progress. Erin quickly learned Chuck would come out of nowhere, pestering her about the story when she didn’t have the time or desire to write. At the same time, when Erin did write, Chuck was never around.

“You know, I’m not entirely sold on the idea of a mysterious woman coming to my office offering me the case. Don’t you think that’s a bit old hat?” Chuck asked while drinking from a flask.
“Chuck, I really need some sleep. Can we talk about this tomorrow morning?” Erin begged him, turning to her side and putting a pillow over her head.
“All I’m saying is that you could come up with something different. Maybe an orphan turns up at my place with a letter. Or the cops approach me about a delirious woman they found on the street and the only thing she had in her possession was an envelope full of cash and a note that says “Chuck Magnum” Chuck continued to converse, one-sidedly.

Erin lifted the pillow over her head. “Are you doing this because I put you in a small office in the backstreets of the city?” Erin asked.
“I’m glad you asked me that” Chuck cheerfully replied “If I’m some famous detective who solves the cases the police can’t, I think I deserve something more appropriate. Perhaps a corporate office in a high rise building” Chuck casually stated.
“Because if you had a corporate office, everyone would know you’re a famous detective. That would make solving cases harder because you’d have a public profile!” Erin replied through gritted teeth.
“You could always give me a secret…..” Erin knew where Chuck was going with this.
“I am not giving you a secret identity” Erin angrily interrupted Chuck “We’ve already talked about this. Batman cornered that market. You need to deal with that. Now if you don’t mind, it’s 11.45 at night and I’m getting some sleep” With that, Erin turned around, closing her eyes. Erin felt that if she did this, Chuck would get the hint.
“I could whoop Batman’s ass any day” Chuck sarcastically commented.
With that comment, Erin got up.

“That’s it!” Erin stated, storming out of the bedroom and going to her computer. “I’m going to have you shot in the first chapter”
Chuck raced out of the room after Erin, getting on his knees by her side.
“Erin, I’m sorry. All I want is a different way to start the case. If you can do that, I promise not to complain about the office.” Chuck begged Erin.
“And will you stop bugging me about a secret identity?” Erin bargained.
Chuck sighed “I promise”
Erin had put up with a lot of Chuck’s complaining about her novel and sometimes wondered if J.K Rowling had Sirius Black hounding her about being killed off. With a deep breath, Erin started to rewrite the beginning. While Erin was doing this, Chuck was wandering around her kitchen. Finding a glass, Chuck poured out some whisky from his hip flask.
“Do you have any coke?” Chuck asked Erin.
“It’s in the fridge” Erin replied.
Chuck went to the fridge. Finding the coke, he was also amused at some of the other contents he found.
“I think that Ravioli you made on Monday’s going bad” Chuck observed. “Speaking of which, aren’t you supposed to be on a diet?”
“And I suppose you’d like to be shot in the backside?” Erin dryly replied to Chuck’s comment. Chuck took the hint and kept quiet.
Pulling up a chair, Chuck looked on as Erin changed the opening chapter of “Deadline to Murder” As Erin made the final touches, Chuck was happy. Unfortunately, Erin didn’t see this happiness due to falling asleep at the computer. Again. For the third time that week.

Erin was no stranger to waking up at 7 in the morning front of her computer. Writing a novel was one of those things that dictated when it wanted your attention. Erin would have normally panicked at waking up around this time, but it was Saturday. Erin looked across to see Chuck reading a newspaper and drinking a coffee.
“Chuck” Erin tiredly mumbled “I think I’ll have today off from the novel. I need clothes for work”
“That’s cool” Chuck said “By the way, Travis Norton’s at Borders today signing copies of his new book” Chuck knew how much Erin liked Travis Norton.
“I guess clothes can wait” Erin decided.

After the usual morning ritual of a shower, picking an outfit and buying a breakfast muffin and coffee, Erin was on the train to see Travis Norton. Chuck was sitting next to her, playing a game on his mobile phone, while Erin read Travis Norton’s latest book “Otaku Dude”.
Chuck looked at Erin. Erin knew when Chuck had something to say in public, so she pulled out her mobile and pretended to answer a phone call, lest anyone see she was talking to herself.
“I don’t know why you like Travis Norton” Chuck started.
“He’s a popular author. You’re just jealous that I created you instead of him” Erin replied.
“I’m jealous? Ok, I’m jealous because you created me instead of an anti-social drunk who is pissed off at the world for being a writer? He doesn’t deserve it.” Chuck argued.
“He’s just misunderstood” Erin countered.
“They said the same thing about Charles Manson” Chuck sarcastically replied. Erin ignored this comment, put away the mobile phone and went back to reading “Otaku dude”, subtly letting Chuck know that he’d hit a nerve, which kept him very quiet for the rest of the train trip.


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