"It's been a dry spell."
"Yes, it has been. I don't know what to do about it. I don't feel like I'm turning into an empty husk, but I can't seem to get things going both here on this blog and in my private life. I feel sullen for some reason," I say. I'm waving my hands around trying to make a point.
There's a light rain as Mr. Gryphon and I walk along a waterfront dock. The night is heavy. The smell of the sea, the rancid smell of gutted fish fill the air. It's empty here, no sailors. The warm humidity and gentle rain thickens the atmosphere.
"It's been a long time Miss Turtle," he says with a sigh. We are not the same now, not after my last story "FailSafe." We've grown ever closer.
"I was going to wait until after I finished putting up the story but I've missed you and needed to have a chat," I say. I hear the strumming of a guitar, very comforting. We walk slowly past a young man wearing a linen button down shirt that sticks to his skin, a worn out hat, and threadbare trousers. Mr. Gryphon stops to drop a dollar into his money jar. The young man barely nods at him.
"You've made good progress on your novel," he says, standing up straight. He knows it's not the best thing to say now. I grit my teeth but only for a moment.
"Yes, I have. And that's all good. So many things I want to do but how do I decide what to do?" We are approaching the tired lights of the arcade after walking past a motel with bright neon signs. A few people, all grayed out by the rain and humidity, scuttle past us. They stare at Mr. Gryphon.
"Why am I so sullen lately? It's like I'm pouting over something," I push my hair back from my face, an old, constant habit. A young couple walks by, giggling. They hold hands and bump into each other as they walk along the sidewalk.
"You're good at pouting," is his only reply. I grit my teeth again but don't say anything. The worn out arcade is upon us now. It's a small place, two or three rooms. The lights from the games flash. A few people play, the lines on their bodies brought into sharp relief by the bright lights. Sounds of ringing bells, computerized beeping, snatches of sampled music, giggling, and talking float out of the entrance. I nod in the direction of the arcade. Mr. Gryphon shakes his head.
"Not in the mood for pinball?" He doesn't reply. "You know, you're becoming just like my bosses. I bring up things and make suggestions in email and they don't bother to reply."
"I'm not in the mood for pinball," he says, enunciating clearly. He opens his golden wings just a little, fluffing them as we walk away but he does not extend his claws. I keep looking at him but he does not look back.
"You're not being very friendly," I say. We are in a pull-push state. He's feeling closed off and I'm feeling, well, sullen.
"Your bosses are all engineers," he says, by way of explanation.
"I wish you'd open up a little, just a little," I blurt out. We're a block past the arcade and the rain has stopped. All around us is the drip-drip of water. Mr. Gryphon looks at me at last, his yellow eyes burning brightly. He says nothing but I've finally figured out what's going on with me. I take a deep breath feeling the sting of embarrassment.
"That's better, Miss Turtle. Much better," he says, nodding.
"Piss off," I say. I push up the sleeves of my shirt. The humidity is getting to me, sweat is running down my back in a trickle.
He smiles. We pass some sailors. Mr. Gryphon nods at them. We wait at the next block for the light to change. We hear the faraway sounds of a saxophone playing and I can see the gate ahead of us. A young man is coming in our direction. He has a parrot on his shoulder.
I nod at the young man when he gets closer to us. His parrot squawks a "Hello!" at Mr. Gryphon. He passes us by and I look back, watching him as he walks towards the docks.
"Think he'll find what he's looking for?" I ask.
I look at Mr. Gryphon, surprised. "You've become something of an optimist," I say.
"Yes, it's true, Miss Turtle. This is your world after all." I don't ask him to elaborate. We keep walking towards the gate. The rain has started up again.