The two immortal, eternal, timeless phrases that every writer has to know.
How badly do you want to be famous?
What price are you ready to pay?
All his life, Allan Foisy had dreamed about writing a timeless, immortal poem that would make people cry and think for generations.
He was a teenager before he dared to show off his first poems. His teacher read them, thought silently for a while, then said, "I don't want discourage you, but it's seems that Pegasus has never visited you."
It was a sunny day, but the daylight dimmed for Allan. He ran home, hid himself in the attic and for a long time, he could only cry.
But soon the youth calmed down.
If I'm not gifted, he thought, then why is my desire to write so strong? All I need is more study and work.
And oh, how he tried!
He took writing courses. He attended all the writers' meetings that he could. He used Internet sites, and books for writers, and it seemed he started to be successful. A few magazines had published his poems, he got several prizes from some contests, and then, a collection of his poems was published as a book.
But all this was not enough for Allan.
Big deal, he thought looking at his book on a shelf in the bookshop. Just a few years from now, no one will even remember my poems. I'd sell my soul to a Devil just to find at least two, oh God, just two phrases, two lines that would resonate forever.
Suddenly he noticed a book next to his. "For Inspired Writers and Poets" was the title, and Allan grabbed the book. It was wrapped in cellophane to prevent people from reading it in the shop, so Allan went to the cashier, and the clerk scanned the bar.
The register beeped loudly, rudely. The seller looked at the code and typed it in manually. No success. He called his supervisor.
"...by Dev Ilone#, let's see..." The manager checked his catalogue, and asked, surprised, "Where did you find it?"
"Here!" Allan pointed at the bookshelf.
"Okay," the manager said to the clerk. "It's probably because it's the last copy. Charge the same price as for other titles on this shelf."
Allan did not argue.
* * * * *
When he got home he started reading. The first part consisted of the usual advice, most of which Allan already knew and used, but the second part astonished him.
'But if you want to get real stuff,' he read, not believing his eyes. 'You should try this magic spell, and summon Pegasus. If you can hold him, you'll be famous.'
"What the hell is this garbage?" Vexed, Allan threw the book away, and checked his mail.
'Dear Author,' it read. He skimmed the standard cards with rejections from publishers. 'Dear Writer, we're sorry...'
But the last letter struck him to the bottom of his heart.
'Dear Allan Foisy,' he read. 'We regret to inform you, that in light of the fact that no copies of your book have been sold for the trial period, we have to withdraw our offer, and cancel our contract.'
The paper fell from Allan's weakened hands.
He heard a rustle, and looked at sound. The book was lying on the floor, and a draught had moved the pages.
Allan saw an illustration, showing Pegasus. The picture seemed three-dimensional, like a window to another world, and the winged horse appeared ready to gallop through it with its next leap.
Very slowly, Allan picked the book up.
"Aber! Glory! North and West!" Allan started reading the spell aloud.
The eyes of Pegasus flashed with yellow light.
Allan felt his hair stand on end, but he did not stop, and he would not go back.
"Morgon! Flat! Mortalla! Claf!"
Pegasus waved his wings. The cold wind lashed the man, or was it just a thrill of excitement?
Staring at the picture, Allan pronounced the entire spell, word-by-word, without stopping. His heart was pounding into his chest, and it echoed into his head, like a beating drum.
A powerful blow threw Allan down. A mighty neigh sounded like thunder, and the floor shook under the sturdy hooves of the magic stallion.
Allan sprang up. Not losing a second, not hesitating, he jumped onto the back of Pegasus, grabbed its mane, and together they shot up to Superlative World.
The shiny vortex of expressions sucked them in. They fell into an abyss of clauses, and passages, sparkling like electric discharges. They flew thorough billions of sentences and phrases, shimmering similar boundless fireworks.
The kaleidoscopic stream seemed endless, but suddenly Allan realized he could not reach any of these words; it would be same trying to catch a rainbow with a butterfly net.
"Stop!" he shouted, and punched Pegasus. "Stay still, stupid animal!"
To his surprise, Pegasus did stop, and Allan saw they were in his home again.
"Okay," Allan said taking a breath. "I admit. I'm not gifted. I can't use this source."
"What do you want then?" Pegasus asked with a human voice, but nothing could surprise Allan anymore.
"I want to get two phrases." He was shaking with desperation. "Damn! Just two short sentences! Give them to me! But these words have to be immortal! They have to sound like new to all generations of people to the end of the history of mankind! Give them to me - and I will let you go."
"What's it?" Pegasus guffawed. "That's all what you want? I'll give you them!"
Allan fell from the Pegasus, a pen appeared in his hand, and he wrote down two lines, but had no time to read them.
"The contract has now been fulfilled!" bellowed the creature and smashed his head with its powerful hoof.
* * * * * *
Allan opened his eyes and looked around his ruined home. Papers and torn books were piled everywhere.
"What happened?" he mumbled, sick with headache.
Suddenly he recalled the spell, and gazed at the paper that he still had seized in his hand.
He saw two phrases.
Yes. They would never get old.
Yes. These sentences will sound real in any century, and in any country.
Every human being would say them to himself at least once during his life.
The immortal, eternal, timeless phrases:
"To be or not to be.
That is the question." ##
# Dev Ilone = Devilone = Devil one
## William Shakespeare, Hamlet