Peter Taylor stared at the scrap paper on his coffee-stained desk, as he attempted to keep his shaking hand, which equipped a nearly-depleted pen, steady. His left hand rested uneasily on the desktop, tapping the drum rhythm of the song he was trying to write. He didn’t feel like writing any more cheap, superficial rubbish this time, and instead tried coming up with deep, subtle and metaphorical lyrics. So far he had come up with one verse, in which he introduces the protagonist of the story depicted in the song.
The protagonist was a down on his luck musician, who was neither extraordinarily good with an instrument, nor was his voice of notable range. Wanting nothing more than to become a famous artist, the protagonist summoned the devil and closed a deal with him – he would indeed become a great musician, but a great price.
Peter sighed as his inspiration had completely dried out, and promptly stood up, shoving his chair backward to the wall of the small cabin he had retired himself to. He had to be alone for a while; it was then that he was at his most creative. There was no one to judge him when he wrote a terrible song or sang a false note – even though he rarely did – or when he succumbed to what must have been his greatest flaw.
Peter swept the sweat off his brow as he grabbed a blotter, dipped it into a glass filled with some sort of liquid solution, put the blotter onto his tongue and closed his eyes. He walked to the living room and plumped down into a dark blue, cushioned sofa, and lowered the needle of his gramophone onto the LP where he had left off. Peter rocked out to the Doors’ “The End”, singing along and jumping around the room for a full nine minutes until the song’s climax, upon which he sat himself back down into the sofa and felt himself sink away into it.
Peter saw flashes of a childhood trip to the beach, and himself as a child diving into the sea as he felt like he was sinking further and further into the couch. He felt his conscience be reduced to his flashbacks while the real world faded away into the fabric of the sofa. As Peter listened to Jim Morrison repeat the word “fuck” countless times, a sudden surge of inspiration overcame him, and he pushed himself upright from the chair, and ran towards his desk again, awkwardly stumbling along the way.
The lyrics flew from his mind to his pen and then to his paper, and before he knew it, Peter had finished his last song. He threw the pen across the room and allowed himself to slip from the chair and fall to the ground. He watched the roof change into a starry sky, and before he knew it his field of vision had transcended the universe and he witnessed something truly divine and indescribable. Tears rolled down his face onto the carpeted floor, and he was overcome with a sudden fit of incessant laughter.
The song had meanwhile come to an end, as did the LP, but Peter was too comfortable where he was to notice. What he did notice, however, was that another song suddenly stopped playing – it was the first track from a fairly new album he had brought along with him to the cabin: “Sympathy For The Devil”, by the Rolling Stones. He loved the song, and it had partly inspired him to write the song he’d just finished, but the issue was simply that he hadn’t put the track on himself.
Peter’s field of view was again minimized to the shallow sight of the cabin’s roof as he was pulled back into reality by the illogicalness of the situation. He had not invited or allowed anyone into the cabin, and no one knew that he owned the cabin, which was in the middle of the woods as well.
Peter rolled over and pushed himself upright, and saw a handsome, suited man stand next to the gramophone and look at him. A smile appeared on the suited man’s face, while panic overtook Peter’s.
“I hope you don’t mind me putting this one on. I’ve always liked it. Makes me feel… you know, proud.”
The suited man started walking around the couch, slowly making his way to where Peter was standing.
“Why are you here?” he asked, trying to sound tough but failing miserably at covering up his immense fear.
“Did you forget, Peter? You’ve published nine albums so far. Please, do tell me why you just wrote another song regardless of our deal.”
“I was never going to bring out a tenth album. I… I just wanted to write another song.”
The suited man was getting ever so close.
“I do have to say, you did make the most of it after all. Remind me, when do you become twenty-seven again?”
“Ah, just a few more months then? Now, do you remember what we agreed upon?”
“It ends at twenty-seven, and I can only publish nine albums.”
The suited man now stood in front of him and was visibly angered by Peter’s last remark.
“No more than nine!” he shouted with a voice that sounded eerily inhuman, “I thought I made myself very clear when I said you were allowed to make nine albums, and no more!”
“I swear I wasn’t planning on making another one! I just wanted to write one more song!”
“It ends at twenty-seven, or it ends after nine. You broke our agreement, and now you shall suffer the consequences of it prematurely.”
Peter’s pleas for forgiveness were ignored, and the suited man put his hand on Peter’s forehead, whose eyes turned black and his voice turned mute.
The suited man was then suddenly gone, and Peter’s eyes were normal again, but he remained silent. He walked outside for a minute and returned with a jerry can filled with gasoline, which he spilled all over the cabin. After walking around the small house and covering a big part of it with gasoline, Peter emptied the remainders in the jerry can onto the couch. He threw the empty container aside and sat down into the soaked sofa.
Peter took a cigarette from the chest pocket of his jacket and lit it. After taking a few puffs, he lowered his hand onto the handrail and dropped the cigarette into the oil-soaked carpet.