Back in the bathroom, Brian had gotten back to his feet, swaying. He had calmed himself down, tried to logic his way back down to earth. He splashed a little water on his face, saw that there were no paper towels, and used his sleeve. He pushed through the bathroom door and crept back to his seat, casting a wary eye toward the librarian, who merely sniffed. Brian sat down and looked back at the blog. There was the description of his flight to the bathroom. He reached down without looking and pulled the gum off the seat of his pants, rolling it between his fingers and pressing it to the underside of the desk. He noted that his action with the gum was recorded in the blog and glanced around at the rest of the library. A couple of kids were bent over an SAT prep book, an old man with calf socks pulled up squinting at a book title, and a young woman in her thirties asleep at another computer – no one looked like they were watching him and transcribing his movements. Brian turned back to the computer. It was crazy, and he knew it was crazy, but he was a writer and writers have to embrace a little craziness. He cleared his throat and closed his eyes.
“Hello?” He whispered. The sleeping woman grunted, making him jump. “Can you hear me?” Brian scrolled down to see his query. It was there, but there was no good answer, since I’m not sure what to tell him. I mean, I can read what he’s saying but I can’t technically hear him. Besides, what good is it if I can? “Ah HA!” Brian yelled. The librarian shot up. “Young man, if you cannot control yourself you will have to leave!” Brian sat back, cowed. “Sorry, ma’am,” he said meekly. Quietly, he murmured “ah-HA! You CAN hear me!” Well, not technically. “All right,” Brian said, “but the point remains.” And he was right, I suppose. The librarian’s interruptions were getting tiresome, so it only made sense to point out to all readers that we can “hear” Brian just as well if he thought his comments instead of speaking them. You know I’m reading this, too, right? Thought Brian. I did, obviously, which is why I wrote it. Hey, no need to get touchy. Brian frowned. Are you some kind of God? Which was another interesting question. Since the story is in a third person narration, it would suggest that as the author I retain some sort of authoritative control over the story. However, several prominent writers recently have advanced the theory that writers should simply start stories moving and then see where they go. In that regard, and in the sense that I am a little taken aback by the audacity of the questions, I cannot claim to foresee every detail. On the other hand, it is absurd to say I was taken aback, since I had planned for Brian to ask these questions. All right, all right, Brian thought. I don’t need to know everything about it. You’re clearly not omnipotent. But then, what does that mean about me? The title says this is a metafiction. Am I real? Brian tried to remember anything before the beginning of the blog entry and was surprised to realize that he could, with great clarity, recall a number of details from his past. He remembered eating Ice Pops with a bandaid on his knee in early summers, his mom sobbing at his high school graduation, and the toast he had eaten that morning. OK, he thought, this clearly isn’t a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead scenario. But that past does seem a little canned. Brian realized he didn’t have a very strong emotional reaction to his past. So, he thought, I’m fictional? Like in Stranger Than Fiction? Brian was annoyingly quick on the reference, despite the obvious differences in the plot setup. There were similarities, but Brian was relieved to read that I had no intention of killing him off. It would be an act of literary suicide, since Brian’s character had a lot of the author in him. Really? Thought Brian. What are you like in real life? But there was no reply. Apparently the author hoped to maintain a level of mystique.
In Part 3, hopefully we get less pedantic