This is the office.
From outside at the front of the house, it’s noticeably different from the other windows, because the blinds are always closed and the light is always on. Always. If the neighbors could only see inside, to the obsession that lies at the heart of the three-story, modern little townhouse, they might worry.
Up two flights of stairs, one of the two small rooms has little folding Mission-style bookshelves lined up on one side, and far too many books to put on the shelves. There are books scattered on the floor, in a radiating half-circle from the cheap office chair and folding desk that sit against the middle of the wall opposite, facing away from the bookshelves. The writer here has a tendency to look up information in a book, then toss it somewhere around her and keep writing.
To the right of the desk is a cheap round table about a foot and a half in diameter, really cheap, the kind you find for free next to college dorms when spring ends, complete with faux wood top. Two mugs of herbal tea almost always occupy it, usually going cold as the writer taps away in a frenzy under the small lamp sitting on a white wall shelf above the desk. It is also a graveyard for tea bags, which dry out slowly in half of a plastic mint container.
The folding desk is black and sturdy, and occupied by a laptop eerily suspended via a Rocketfish laptop rest. It is not quite high enough, so Harry Potter books 4 and 5 support it. A vertical split keyboard menaces the edge of the desk. Around these central tools of the writer’s craft is a graveyard of 3×5 index cards and roller ball pens. Beneath the desk is a cushioned footrest of fake Turkish descent, gaudily red with a little skirt of plastic beads that rattle whenever the writer has to think, and shuffles it around with her feet. There is a hot air vent under the desk that dispenses enough heat to keep the room at around 75 degrees in the winter.
Prominent on the wall above the desk, visible from a seated position above the laptop screen, and protected from the fluorescent radiation of the small desk lamp that streams downwards from the wall shelf, is a certificate.
The title reads: Permission to Write Badly.
There is no phone.
There is, at night (when she isn’t puking) a writer tapping frantically away, shadowed against the window blinds and frightening the neighbors, who wonder why they rarely see her…. except for the shadow against the window where the begonias in the window box have died.