A short story.

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For almost two hours the page remained blank.  Tomorrow would be the deadline for the submission of the manuscripts for a poetry contest in a national magazine.  Even up to the last hour I could not bring out whatever was left in my creative mind, if I had a mind at all.  I tried once more.  I scribbled a word, and then a phrase, whatever it is that came to my mind.  I was giving my mind something to bite—nothing coming of it.  The pen I was using began to run out of ink.  Frustrated, I got up and threw the useless pen into the wastebasket.  I went out of the room, feeling like a second-rate, trying hard, good-for-nothing writer.

What a waste of time, I thought, as I went downstairs.  It was about 7 p.m. and my ten-years-old brother Mike was watching TV in the living room. I sat beside him.

“Will you buy me a soft drink and junk food?”

“What if I don’t buy?”

“I won’t help you in your homework.”

“Where’s the money?”

“On top of the fridge.”

This had been going on for two years.  The same excuses, the same dialogue.  What a monotonous, unproductive life!  No doubt, the drinks and junk foods made me cheerful, but that would be followed by an empty, unproductive feeling.

The last time I had my articles published was two years ago.  What a feeling!  I thought that would never end.  That was also the time I started to get addicted to soft drinks and junk food. Unfortunately, subsequent submissions never saw the light of day.

Now I had my one liter bottle of soft drink and a big canister of potato chips.  I hurriedly turned the cap counterclockwise, poured all its bubbly content into the glass and took a sip.  I was about to devour the potato chips when I noticed that Mike was holding a shiny, silver pen.

“Where did you get it?  You stole it?” I asked.

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