Joesph: I was pulled out of the fictional world and brought into reality without being consulted. Just because it's out of the ordinary and magical didn't give that writer the right to yank me out from the life I was used to. In my humble, apparently fictional opinion, a measly writer has no right to interfere with his characters' lives.
I belong on pen and paper, in a world where I am a protagonist and my life not only has a stated purpose, but is full of meaningful context. The writer was giddy to bump into me in the aisles of a supermarket, his hand stupidly frozen at his mouth, as if he were trying to keep from telling a secret. He stammered, "J-J-Joseph? What are you doing here? I didn't know you shopped at this store. I didn't know you even shopped for groceries. Do pirates shop for groceries? I can't believe I hadn't thought of that. I might have to do some rewrites."
"I want to go back."
"Back? Back where?"
"You brought me to life and I hate it here. There's nothing fun to plunder, consequences if I do. I need to think of my own dialogue, and I have no idea where to put my hands unless you write me a description."
He seemed thoughtful, and disappointed. "You're not happy here? Everything here is real. You've got freedom. You're no longer subject to my pen and plot twists."
"Just send me back, Alan. This world is like an intense hungover compared the constant buzz I was living in before." I thought of my wife and our child. My bold little son, who could pick up a sledgehammer at the age of two. To think that I would miss his upbringing, miss watching him grow into the person he's meant to be, miss, in fact, the entire point of my story:rescuing him from drowning on his first plundering and realizing that the life of a pirate is not what I want for him. My eyes felt funny and it took me a moment to realize that I was tearing up, which would be way out of character in my real world, which was better at adhering to a set of rules I was comfortable with. "Just send me back, Alan. Please."
His writing had been impressively empathetic ever since the first chapter, and it must have come from his actual ability to understand the characters- real or imagined- who were around him. He immediately pulled out a pen from his pocket and patted his pants for a scrap of paper. "I don't know if this will work. I haven't sent anyone into fiction, I don't know if it works that way. I might not have those powers."
I reached out my hand, which he had once described as "extensive and powerful like the sea" and offered it as a writing surface. "You have to try."
His pen lingered for a moment, and while he thought of the words that would send me home, I wondered if anyone was writing this scene, if Alan was a character in some other writer's story. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine a world that far away. Alan's pen tickled and I tried to guess each letter as the ink curved across my hand and then made its way onto my forearm. By the time Alan capped the pen and I felt the last punctuation dot my skin, I was too afraid to open my eyes again and find myself stuck in the real world. So I waited to feel the sway of my boat, and listened hard for the ocean's familiar song.