Last night on the edge of sleep was when the idea came. For a story. It was to do with bitten nails and wanting to scratch – a sort of kōan. The first two sentences presented themselves like smiling eager children, all polished and perfect. A gift. That was the moment to seize a pencil and write them down but she was so tired and her limbs felt heavy, her eyes heavier. She closed her heavy eyes and repeated the sentences to herself three times like a charm. She would remember it. In the morning she would wake up and the story would be idling like an engine warming up in a cold driveway waiting for her to get it down. She slept, the story safely inside her. In the morning, of course, it had gone. No surprises there really. Even studying her bitten nails could not summon it back. The story always calls the shots. When will you learn, lady?


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