The kind compared it to sex with strangers. The rest — most — simply turned away. It was both too small and demanded too much of them.
Time passed. Words came at the expense of all else. Lives fell apart. It did not matter. Words happened; next to that nothing mattered. Money fell away. Things were sold, lost, defenses weakened by cheap diets. Friends and family gathered, circled like kind vultures.
The author was taken to a place that was cruel to be kind. Electroshock had been replaced with pills, they explained, and it was another death of imagination. There would be no great story to come from this, no real moment to twist into fiction. Just exercises and pissing in cups. Eventually the pills stopped making his urine smell, soaked right into the bones.
A cured status was pronounced, like a wedding ceremony gone slightly south. The author was bundled out into the world amid quiet warnings to never come back: the cured could not fall away from their new state. It was an issue of funding. Kindness, you see, comes at a price.
The author returned home. It did not matter where: it was a place to write from. Words came, and were understood. Praises were sang, a book deal offered — out of pity? the author did not know. Months from the world had shifted the author out of gear. The writing was distant, removed.
Polished, some said. Better, others opined. But better than what? And why? They would not say.
Everyone understood what the author meant now when he wrote. Everyone got it. Even he did, much as he didn’t want to.
The ending was inevitable.