Leonardo stands back and looks at the building. It is a beautiful structure, one that he designed himself. Strangers pass by often just to admire the work of his hands.
“It is beautiful!” an elderly woman says.
“A stunner! ” a young man with a multi-colured shirt declares. Of course he would be the one to use such a phrase. Because people with multi-colored shirts don’t do business with conjunctions and interjectives.
This house is truly magnificent. The client is coming to see his new home, and Leonardo is certain that he will be impressed.
Leonardo, as the Architect, is standing tall, slightly taller than the civil engineer, the interior designer, the electrical engineer (even though the lighting is magical) , and all the other men and women who have been toiling for months to make this a reality. Leonardo intends to claim the credit and hog the glory. He is, after all, the Architect.
This baby has taken three years to build. Three years of toiling under the hot sun. But he never lost focus, and now here he is, standing next to the new royal residence. King Abatambi of the Araji people may not have political power any more, but his financial muscle and social status (read royal blood and heritage) makes him someone even the President wants to impress.
A faint roaring sound in the distance signals the arrival of His Royal Highness. Leonardo glances at the helipad. It is enough to accommodate the helicopters of a small Air Force.
Then the earth suddenly trembles, and Leonardo wonders how big the helicopter is. But he soon realized that it is not the helicopter that is causing the earth to tremble. It is a mild earthquake.
To his horror, cracks appear on the pillars of the mansion. As the earth continues to tremble, the cracks continue widen, and the mansion starts falling apart.
“You should have made stronger pillars!” he yells at the Civil Engineer.
“I thought you wanted to take credit for this one. You are the architect!” the engineer snaps back.
As a low flying helicopter passes over the rubble, Leonardo and his team bow their heads. They cannot dare look at the disappointed face of the King.
Folks, I am Leonardo today. Writing your favourite novellas takes two weeks of toiling. It all comes together on the second Wednesday, when I finally finish the draft and pass it on to the proof reader.
This Wednesday I was behind schedule, so I toiled the whole day trying to land the story gently on a runway that you would love.
Le Wife asked what I wanted to eat for lunch, but I told her that I did not have time for lunch. So she placed a flask of tea, bread and bananas on my desk. Those too went untouched.
Finally, I penned the last word at 4pm. There is usually a feeling of excitement that comes with concluding a story. I planned to take a one hour break, then go through the story well into the night, firming it up before handing it over for proof reading on Thursday morning. If all went well, I would publish it on Thursday night as usual.
Since I did not have much to do while the book was being proof-read, I had already downloaded “Black Panther” to watch. Every one has been talking about it since the actor died, and I have been feeling like the Neanderthal Man because I have never watched it.
Then, just as I was pouring my tea into cup, the screen of my laptop went blank. I waited for it to come up alive. It didn’t. I switched off the machine and switched it on again. Nothing.
In panic, I called our resident IT guru Arnold. Guy laughed at me.
“I told you to be typing those things on Google documents. Now see!” he quipped.
The Prime Minister of my Domestic Government had a “I told you so” moment of her own.
“Didn’t I give you a flash drive to be saving your work into?” she asked.
By then my hunger had been forgotten. Since Arnold lives in a different town, he advised me to find someone nearby who could retrieve the story from the hard disk-assuming that it was not the hard disk that was problematic.
I quickly drove to town and found a nice young man called Patrick. After pressing here and tinkering there, he dropped the bombshell. The hard-disk had gone to its ancestors, and with it my work.
So ladies and gentlemen, I am re-building the royal mansion, brick by brick. But don’t worry. Since I had already written the story to completion, it is all in my head. It will not take two weeks to re-write it because it is flowing nicely from my head to my fingers. If I toil hard enough, the novella will be ready on Sunday night.
Please bear with me. If it makes you feel better, I have proper backups this time around.
See you all on Sunday.