We are lying side-by-side in the grass, the horse and I, staring up at the fleecy clouds scudding by across a luminescent blue sky. Each of us is chewing on a stalk of grass -- me contemplatively, the horse as more of a snack.
"You're going to have to get back on me sooner or later," says the horse.
"Tomorrow," I say. "I've been sick."
"No, really. I mean, you call yourself a writer, and here it is nearly the end of NaNoWriMo and you haven't written a word since you finished Chapter One over two weeks ago. That's pathetic."
I chomp my stalk for a moment before replying. "I finished the outline. 1700 words. Now at least I know where I'm going."
The horse snorts. The sound vibrates through the damp earth between us. "Doesn't count."
I raise myself on one elbow and look the horse in the eye. "Give me a freakin' break. First there was OryCon, and we had Lise in town before and after."
"And she kept up her daily NaNoWriMo word count that whole time..."
"Shut up when I'm talking. I was so heavily programmed I didn't even attend one program item I wasn't on, nor did I see the art show. Good con, though. And then, on the day Lise leaves, I come down with a cold."
"No really, I was miserable. Achy, feverish, sneezing... I wasn't good for much more than watching TV and sleeping for almost three days."
"And you went to Thanksgiving dinner with your friends like that."
"I washed my hands a lot." I sigh. "At least I didn't spread it to all the square dancers in Vancouver."
The horse finishes his stalk and begins chewing on another. "Okay, I'll admit it was a bummer that you had to miss the square dance. But look on the bright side -- you got to see the BNL concert instead, and you aren't fighting your way back home from Canada through a snowstorm right now."
"Yeah, thank heaven for small favors."
We look at each other for a while. "You're still going to have to get back on me sooner or later."
"Tomorrow," I say. "Tomorrow."