Bruce Holland Rogers

by Bruce Holland Rogers September 15, 2006
story art

In the dark before dawn I carried a notebook and a mug into the living room. I was in the habit of beginning my day on the couch, making notes, sipping coffee, waking up a little at a time. This morning, though, a silhouette already occupied the couch. Had someone broken in? A burglar who needed a nap? Or was this a houseguest I had forgotten? No, I remembered that my wife and I had stayed up late last night, working at our computer screens. Just the two of us. “Who?” I said. I felt for the light. “Who’s there?”

It was a statue. I knew the face, the rumpled jacket, the pen poised over the notebook, all of this rendered in bronze. It was me. It was a statue of me writing.

“Honey?” I said. My wife stirred in the bedroom. “Honey?” I tried again. “What is this?”

She didn’t answer right away. She said at last, “What’s what?” I poured coffee into a second mug, brought it to her in bed, then led her into the living room. “Oh, my,” she said.

“You didn’t do this?”

She shook her head.

I checked the doors and windows. “How did it get here?”

“It’s a good likeness,” said my wife.

“But why?” I said. “I haven’t done anything to deserve a statue.”

“It’s a statue of you writing,” said my wife. “You’re a good writer.”

“Good enough for a statue?”

“Well I think so.” She kissed my cheek. My real cheek, not the statue.

I put my hands under the bronze shoulders, but I couldn’t budge the thing. “I need to get it off the couch. This is where I work.”

“It’s too early to call anyone,” said my wife. Who was she thinking we would call? “Go write in bed, just for today.”

“I write on the couch. Beds are for sleeping.”

“Just try it,” she said.

I thought instead I would take a shower. I went into the bathroom. Behind the frosted glass of the shower door, a shadow surprised me. I cried out. I almost said again, Who? But I knew. Another statue. A nude holding a bronze bar of soap. Another accurate rendering, thicker around the middle than I would have liked.

My wife called my name. I found her in the kitchen with yet another statue. It hadn’t been there just minutes ago. Bronze hands held the front edge of the sink. The body leaned toward the window, facing the street, bronze eyes watching the mailbox for rejected manuscripts or acceptance letters.

“Ridiculous,” I said. “This thing is in the way. How will we use the sink?”

“You’re a famous author,” my wife says. “I knew you would be.”

“There’s one in my shower,” I said. “What does taking a shower have to do with writing?”

“That’s where you had some of your best ideas.”

“Had?” I said. “Had? I’m not finished yet.”

“Let’s take a walk,” my wife told me. She took my hand. “I can see you’re upset.”

I put on my jacket. “Let’s get out before it gets any worse.”

As we walked along the river, my wife reminded me that this was what I had wanted. Not only to write well, but to be noticed for it. “But statues,” I said. “Statues.” I was afraid.

She told me to just do my work. I could adjust, couldn’t I? Couldn’t I change my routine and work in spite of the statues? I said I would try. It would be okay, I supposed, so long as there weren’t a lot more of them. But as we came through our front yard, a man we didn’t know exited the front of our house. He turned to lock the door behind him. “Sorry, folks,” he said. He nodded at the sign where the hours were posted. “We’re closed.”

About the Author:

Stories by Bruce Holland Rogers have won a Pushcart Prize, World Fantasy Award, two Nebula Awards and the Bram Stoker Award. He teaches fiction writing for the Whidbey Writers MFA program, and also teaches annual fiction seminars in Greece and Italy. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.