I had gotten a little turned around (as my grandmother used to say) and I suspected Coyote had something to do with it. We were making soup from the remains of the vegetable bin and we were each holding a knife. Not that I expected that to have any bearing.

“You’ve told stories for ever so long,” I said, starting in on an onion and hoping a little flattery would catch him off-guard, “so what do you think about The Tourist? Should I keep going with it?”

“That was a good story,” he said, separating some cloves from a head of garlic, “but it surprised me a little.”

“Well, me too,” I poured a glug of olive oil into the pan. “I thought I was just writing about the bookshop from a different point of view and suddenly the story had Post-It notes and backpacks in it.”

“Maybe you just needed a break. Hand me those carrots, will you?”

“I’ve got a drop-dead deadline of August 15 to finish the draft – something you are well aware of, I might add,” I waved the knife in his direction, “and suddenly I am writing the story in a completely different timeline? How did that happen, I’d like to know?”

I couldn’t help sounding accusatory. I was under a little stress.

“No possibility you can handle it then?” His voice had that silky Tempter Trickster tone in it.

“Why should I?” I demanded. “Haven’t I got enough to do? This story in the novel is complicated enough and now I’ve got someone almost 200 years later trying to find it too?”

Surely he could see how unreasonable the whole thing was. He kept making the most beautiful brunoise of carrots and acting all innocent.

“OK,” he said, not looking up, “what’s the down side?”

“I’ll get completely distracted and miss the deadline. I wasn’t worried at first but now the forsythia is blooming and the trees are starting to leaf out so there’s no different season between me and D-DD-Day.”

“So, what’s the problem? Don’t keep going with The Tourist. Just get back to the novel.” He scraped the carrot into the pot and began making lovely little slices of butternut squash. It was the last squash I had and I wanted to use it up before it got all squishy. Squishy. That’s an industry term.

I added my onion to the pot and some green peppers I had hacked up. I was in no mood to be as precise as Coyote. Let him show off. I had other concerns.

“But it’s fun,” I sulked.

“So do it, then.” He was peeling potatoes. “Keeps your brain active. Multi-tasking.”

“But there are only so many hours in the day, you know,” I complained.

“Abundance!” He countered.





“I’m confused.”

“You’ll get over it,” he said, getting down the soup bowls.