How To Deal With Rebellious Characters

~*~This is a short story I wrote several years ago. It’s not semi-autobiographical at all </sarcasm> 🙂 ~*~

I was late. Again. I’m in for a scolding from Jamesley, that’s for certain!

I yanked open the door to my office in the back yard and scanned the snug room. Miss Margot was there, fanning herself with the ancient lace fan that was so incongruous with her jumpsuit and knee boots. Ben was there, browsing my bookshelves as usual, his laser-rifle slung carelessly over one shoulder. How many times had I told him to leave that at home?

And there was Volka. Again. How many times had I banned the pseudo-vampire/space pirate from the meetings?

“We have been waiting for precisely three minutes and thirty-seven and three-fourths seconds,” came a stuffy, nasally robot voice from the corner of the couch that I couldn’t see.

I rolled my eyes and stepped inside. Jamesley the android butler, attired as always in his crisp black space-tux, rose and inclined his head to me coolly.

“Sorry. The baby spit up on me again and I had to change my shirt.”

Jamesley raised his unnaturally thin eyebrows. “Couldn’t you have changed into something more suitable for a business meeting?”

I looked down at myself. I was wearing purple sweatpants, an old ratty blue sweater with orange zigzags, and my enormous Tweety Bird slippers, as well as my old lime green coat. It did look a tad out of place with everyone else’s attire.

Volka grunted. “You look positively ridi—” He choked on his phlegmy growl and started coughing.

Ben crossed the room and whacked his arch-nemesis on the back. “Cough it up, Bloodsucker.”

Volka glared at him. “How dare you touch me!” His plastic fangs fell out, revealing his perfectly human teeth. He bared them anyway.

Ben stepped back and raised his rifle.

“Truce!” I snapped at them. “Remember, while you’re invading my office, there’s a truce. You’re not even supposed to be here, Volka, and you should thank me that I don’t throw you out on your fake vampire behind.”

“You’re not supposed to tell,” Volka muttered.

“As if these didn’t give us any clue.” Miss Margot wagged the fake fangs under Volka’s nose. He snatched them and discreetly fit them back into place.

Jamesley cleared his throat. “May we get this meeting started, please?”

I flopped in my office chair and swiveled it to face them. “OK, what complaints do you have this week?”

Volka grunted. “What about the usual ones? I die in the end, you make your hero too smart-alecky and too smart-brained, can’t I blow up even one teensy-tiny space station, why did you make me a pseudo-vampire instead of the real thing, and since when did laser printers become a major plot point?”

“No complaints. I like the way this adventure is going very well,” Miss Margot said. She fluffed her blued poodle cut hair.

“I have to say, Jana, killing Donny? That was a bit much,” Ben said.

“And I must protest at the extreme amount of danger that you’re putting my employer and her grandson in,” Jamesley said.

“Oh, Jamesley, don’t be such a wet blanket,” Miss Margot said, her eyes brightening. “I haven’t had such fun in years.”

“Aw, c’mon, Jamie, this is my job. I can’t help it that Granny Margot got mixed up too,” Ben said.

“And it’s their fault, anyway,” Volka gurgled.

The room swirled into argument as Jamesly firmly stated that Volka was, by the rules of our author-character agreement, not even supposed to be here.

I groaned and stared balefully at my computer. Too bad I’d picked up the only one in the store that actually made the characters come to life. Now I had this bunch in here once a week, with arguments, complaints, and suggestions on how my story should go.

Something snapped. I rose and shouted over the group. “SHUT UP!”

Even Volka’s head jerked toward me. They all stared.

“OK, look,” I said. “You guys are just going to have to deal with it. This is my story. My idea. You people are figments of my imaginations, for crying out loud! You’re just going to have to do what I want. So, any and all requests, suggestions, and complaints are DENIED. Got it?”

“You can’t do that!” Jamesley sputtered. “We’re people! We have rights!”

“Jamesley.” I pointed to my computer monitor. “In.”

“No, madam, I’m afraid I’ll have to refuse your request.”


When I opened my eyes, my office was empty. I slumped into my hair and sighed.

“Hey, honey?” My husband poked his head in. “Are you OK? I thought I heard some yelling.”

“I’m fine. I was just getting a few characters into line.”

My husband arched his eyebrows. So that’s where that look of Jamesley’s had come from. He shook his head, gave me a kiss, and backed out of the room. Smart man.

  1. Finally. Peace and quiet. I turned to my computer screen.

I do have to add that I am highly unimpressed with the dialog between Volka and Ben in their first meeting. It’s quite trite and unoriginal. Might I offer a few suggestions?


Published by H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home,

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