Abigail entered the restaurant on Sunset to meet the reporter from some Hollywood weekly recommended by Abigail’s publicist. Abigail was wallpaper compared to the crowd that met at this ambiguous cafe everyday to lunch without the bother of tourists gawking at them. She could be anyone. Not a very vivid imagination could easily see her torso curled up in fuzzy flannel pajamas, pasty complexion with no color, curled hair tied back out of her face as she munched on a bowl of Raisin Bran. Another time, she could walk in that cafe painted and accessorized carrying a very high maintenance profile. Someplace else, she could be the mousy librarian hiding behind thick black eyeglass frames. Abigail was a chameleon. That day, she projected more of her true self in a business suit, moderate makeup, and the only jewelry was her wedding band.
“Hello, I’m Abigail,” she smiled and extended a warm soft hand.
“Everyone knows who you are,” he said.
The bearded ferret of a man from the 1990’s held on to her hand until they sat in the booth her back to the wall to view the parade of plastic people strolling by on Sunset. “It is a pleasure to meet the queen of erotica,” he said.
“What a stupid title,” she said.
“No offense, but your book is the number one erotic thriller novel.”
“Soon to be a movie,” she added. “But, let me correct you. First, I agree anything erotic can be thrilling, but, I write romance. That’s the genre.”
“Okay,” he nods, “however, what about those very descriptive scenes?”
“You mean the ones about moist body parts, the touch of soft skin, the electricity of entangled nerves,” she teased.
The comment did not fit the straight laced woman next door sitting across from the man. He swallowed, “Yeah that kind of sums it up.”
“And, you and your friends would label me a poet of pornographia?”
“You mean pornographic?”
“No, pornographia. Ancient Greek. Some refer to pornographos as the writing of harlots,” she paused. “I’m no harlot and neither are my characters.”
“There’s a line of study about ancient languages. You should check it out sometime. Names can mean a lot when you dig deeper.”
“Look, not to get off on the wrong foot, I did not mean any insult.”
“Really. Erotica? Based on your description of my work,” she said. “I assume you think John Updike was a pornographer?”
“Of course not.”
“Have you read some of his long intense meticulous scenes with beautifully articulated descriptions of bodies and the acts his characters performed? That’s why I hate labels, genres, and comfortable little slots to mold, shape and identify someone.”
He had no retort to give.
Her smile did not quiver as she sat with feline superiority knowing she was the stronger sex in the conflict of words and meaning, “Well,” she said with un-flinched smile, “What do you want to ask?”
“What’s your inspiration for your characters?”
“You want to know if I have done some of the things my characters have done, is that it?”
He paused caught in the moment, “How much is imagination and real experience, yes.”
Abby punches back, “How much of anything is real? Maybe all there is comes down to illusion.”
“That sounds new age.”
“There’s nothing new about it. Ideas are around all of us all the time. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented that they had the idea about my books first. They all say they thought of that. Well, the difference is I did something with the idea and wrote a book. They did nothing with the idea. The truth is ideas come to all of us because the ideas were there all the time. The secret is to tap into those thoughts that are already there; ready to be taken.”
“If the ideas are already there, how does that ring true with imagination?”
“Imagination leads us to the answers. We don’t create the ideas. We just find them. I would say the process is more about finding the key parts of an idea and putting them together.”
“That can’t be right.”
“Have you interviewed anyone about quantum physics and quantum entanglement?”
His blank stare was answer enough.
She seemed to delight in taking him down, “Einstein called it ‘spooky action at a distance.”
Abby waited for a reaction and thought for a moment she had delivered a concept way over the reporter’s head. However, he returned the volley, “I have not had the opportunity to interview anyone about quantum physics; until now. The subject is interesting and I have watched several documentaries on the topic and found a lot of holes in the theories. Coming from a skeptic’s point of view, I enjoy approaching topics the way an atheist scrutinizes religion.”
“Not a believer, huh?”
“Religion or a spooky universe? Both,” he smiled off the concepts.
“Well,” Abby began to explain, “The scientists that dig into quantum physics have a theory that particles have no definite state. Each atom is just a probability of one thing or another until they can be measured. Then, these particles become something. That’s why I say all the ideas floating around in the ether of space become real in the minds of those that are creative enough to put the answers together.”
“Now you’re mentioning the fake argument about some mysterious ether.”
“Nothing fake about it. We could get deep in the weeds about gravity, energy, plasma and all the stuff scientists rant on about, but to keep it simple, there is a connection in the matter that fills the universe and floats all the planets and solar systems. That’s the probability, we just have no way to measure it; yet. That’s where some religious ideas come from.”
“Here we go,” he said.
“Can you prove that all there ever was and ever will be does not exist in some spiritual realm?”
“Can you prove that it does?”
“There are too many near death experiences and psychic interactions to just deny that these things happen all the time.”
“Unreal,” he said. “The writer of dirty books has all the answers about the universe, religion and spirits. What’s next; some thoughts on praying? Is that just a spooky universe too?”
Abby lost her stoic smile. The guy had just pushed some button that stabbed her, “You enjoy that, don’t you?” she said.
His lips posed a superior curve in the smile that revealed more than he could write in some five thousand word essay for the opinion page of his useless rag. Abby prided herself as a real writer paid handsomely compared to the smart ass jerk relishing in his own stew of imaginary glory. She took a deep breath and waited for him to raise an eyebrow coaxing an answer, the said, “You like to come at a story with your mind already made up. You have a pre-conceived idea and the information you find just fills in the blanks. You probably came here today to get some angle to get a good headline for click bait. You called me the queen of erotica. Now you find that there is a great deal more to all of us. Here’s a good line for you, ‘The queen of erotica has more between the ears than between the sheets.”