The Shopkeeper Mutters, “You Gotta Pay.”

You want one of these?

You can’t afford it. You have any idea how much work it takes to deal with one of ’em? Trust me, it ain’t worth your time, your money, your energy.

No, I ain’t blowin’ smoke in your face. Well, I am, but that’s cause my cigarette smoke’s gotta go somewhere, and your face is just such a nice target. Wouldn’t want to waste the smoke on the nice cracked linoleum floor, would I? But I ain’t lyin’. You can’t afford dealin’ with a new earth.

Now that guy, over there? See him? Big shot. He’s got all the time in the world to take care of a new earth like this one. He can sit on his tookus all day, dreaming up ways to mess with that blank world and put on all sorts of interesting people and situations. Authors. Real authors I mean, like that guy? He’s got what you ain’t.


Look, kid, try somewhere else. I’m not selling one of my grade-A blank worlds to a nothin’ like you. You’d work on it for a day or two, come back to it in a week, and then it would get all moldy in the back of your notebook or word processor or where ever it is you kids keep your stories these days.

Now stop clutterin’ up my store, y’hear?

Sure, sure, you can find some time between things. Put in an hour a night here, half an hour there. Keep pluggin’ away. But that’s no way to approach anything, is it? You gotta be like Mr. Bigshot here!

Well, yeah, I’m sure he’s gotta spend plenty of time editin’. And workin’ with his publisher. Yeah, updatin’ his social media and bein’ an all-around approachable guy. Cons? Well, sure, sure. He probably goes to a few of those every year. Maybe more than a few. But I’m sure he still spends a lotta time just sittin’ and starin’ at the sky ’til the muses sit on his shoulder and sing sweetly to him so he can just start typin’ on his antique typewriter.

Look, your money’s no good here, kid. Money won’t buy you a world. And I won’t sell a blank world to some kid who’ll throw it in a corner and neglect it. I don’t care how good you think you are. You aren’t a real author. Come back when you’ve published a book or two, all right? Then you can afford it.

Sheesh. Look around. Lots of people get published. Not you. You’re not good enough, kid. And you know why?

You ain’t got the time. You can’t afford the time. You got a job and a family and friends and you gotta keep up with those shows and have you put in enough time on your author’s page? And who can write if you ain’t got time to read. You read any good books lately? Now make sure you don’t copy them when you start writing. You don’t wanna be apin’ anyone’s style. You developed your own style, right?

See, that’s how you afford a new world that other people might want to visit. You pay with your time, kid. Your time! Not with money. Not with dreamin’ how big you’ll make it. Not even with talent. Talent ain’t worth nothin’ if you don’t put time into it.

You think you can pay? You think you’ll write? You think you’ll sacrifice your precious tv shows, or maybe readin’ so many of those pesky blogs, like this one?

What am I sayin’, kid? Look, over there. See that wall? No, the fourth one. Yeah. Listen, for all the people on the other side of the fourth wall, keep on visitin’ here, all right?

Never mind, kid. You wouldn’t understand.

Anyway, that’s what it takes. If you want a new world, if you want a story someone might enjoy, you gotta pay for it with your own time. And yeah, that means less for other stuff. Just like with money. You can only spend it once.

So, you really want one of these worlds here? You want to breathe life into it?

All right. Prove it.

You gotta pay for it.

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

4 thoughts on “The Shopkeeper Mutters, “You Gotta Pay.”

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