Judy M. Goodman

An Odd Friend
an award winning story by Judy M. Goodman
Too small for a mouse, too large for a beetle, he chased the proposal into cyber-oblivion and stopped behind my keyboard. He cringed, feinting left and right--then stopped, expectant. As his wise green eyes met mine, fear flew out of the room.

Tugging his seersucker waistcoat, he removed his snow-covered panama hat, careful not to let it drip on the keyboard. I answered his courtly bow with a genteel nod. Holding the little hat in front of him, he hoisted himself up, scurried toward me between key sections, and dangled his legs over the edge. With purple goatee, and elvish ears, he mirrored my sad smile, reminding me of Elrond, Mr. Spock, and Jerry Garcia in micro-miniature.

"That's giving me much trouble." I sighed, glancing at the text of the grant application on the monitor.

"Yes," his falsetto, yet clearly male voice comforted me. "That's why I'm here." His jolly expression evanesced. "Computers just don't like you. I don't understand why. You're a pleasant and intelligent authoress. Nothing unlikable about you. They just can't stand your touch, your look, the very idea of you. Would you consider long hand?"

I shrugged. "Can't read my handwriting. . . ."

"Hmm." He frowned. "A typewriter!? Truly archaic, but manuals are quite fond of you."

"I love them, but they don't check spelling or grammar. Technology may lag behind Chihuahuas as proofreaders, but I'm even worse. And YIKES! Pagination!"

"Tuui tuui tuui!" He spat at his first knuckle. "Don't say the 'p' word!"

 "Sorry," I blushed. "Hungry?"

"No, thanks." He bowed again. "You're kinder than most."

"Do you help many?"

"A fair few." He shuddered. "Most ignore me or are really rude. See here! Computers are being most unfair to you. Pure jealousy. You are a creative force–pure fission. You push their limits. Perhaps, if you slowed the input..."

"So much is lost."

He sighed. "Only patience remains." Bowing again, he disappeared.

A thick envelope from the Arts Counsel appeared on my desk.

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