I’m having a little fun lately with a novella I’m writing for a contest. Never mind that I submitted an excerpt before I’ve even finished the story and now I have a whole different 750 words I should have sent. Regrets are regular but disregarded here at the Robinson Ranch.

My heroine in Spell Check is the unlucky victim of a magic spell gone awry. Her husband, in a quest for potency and progeny, blows himself up in 1789, leaving his widow to pick up the pieces, ha ha. She begins to get a little worried when she never gets any wrinkles, and spends the ensuing centuries trying to find a way to grow old gracefully. When she meets a hot guy who spends his days writing instruction manuals and his nights writing thrillers when he’s not thrilling her, she hopes to cast a spell on him.

When Juliet confesses all to Cade, he thinks she’s nuts. Slightly edited passage:

As she said one crazy thing after another, Cade had watched Juliet get paler until she was the color of the paper in front of him. He could tell she believed everything she said. If she was acting, she was way better than Meryl Streep and that Queen Elizabeth chick combined.

It was bad enough before when she threw a shoe at him. This timeline she’d just recited had wrapped around his throat and was choking him to death. He’d thought Juliet was a little quirky and original; now he guessed she was just plain insane.

“You don’t believe me,” she said in a flat voice.

He tried to smile. “It’s a little hard for me to understand, Julie. Are you saying you’re a witch or something? You don’t think you’re a vampire, do you?”

She gave a brittle laugh. “Don’t be ridiculous! Have I ever bitten you?”

Cade just looked at her.

“Well, apart from ordinary loveplay. A harmless nip here and there. I am not a vampire! In case you’ve forgotten, it’s daylight outside and I haven’t yet turned to ash. And I’m most certainly not a witch. Oh, no. I have absolutely no power. Do you think I’ve liked living through four centuries? I assure you, it’s very taxing keeping au courant. Just when I think I know the game, the rules change. And you must see how inconvenient it is for me to keep moving.” She framed her face with her hands. “No amount of plastic surgery could produce this result. While my friends become grandparents, I still look like the au pair.”

“So you’re not twenty-eight.” Cade looked at his watch. He needed to go. He was getting a headache and its name was Juliet. “Look, I can tell you’re sincere about this—”

“Read those papers, please. Read them and you’ll understand.”

He’d humor her, and then he’d get the hell out. He’d wasted a year of his life pining for a nutjob, a beautiful girl who thought she was going to live forever. Who said she was like some kind of Black Widow who killed her lovers. Maybe she really had whacked somebody. He probably should call the police. Or Social Services or something. He looked up to see her huge brown eyes, pleading with him to read the bullshit she’d written down on copier paper. She was the one who should be writing a novel. She had ten times the imagination he did.

Juliet has lived too long and seen too much. If you could trade places with her, what historical event in the past 250 years would you like to live through? Maybe I’ll stick it in the scene in Spell Check where Juliet proves to Cade she’s every bit as ancient as she claims!

Come out of the circle of time

And into the circle of love. ~Rumi