Beginning to listen for other voices

Me: I know you.
Possible Future Protagonist: I don’t think so.
Me: I told your story once.
PFP (shakes head): No, not mine.
Me: Yeah, well–sorry about that. I didn’t know it was your story.
PFP (looks at me, a keen glint–a don’t-waste-my-time glint–in her eyes)
Me: You know, it’s disconcerting when you do that.
PFP (keeps doing it)
Me: I didn’t know it was your story, okay? I only knew it wasn’t working.
PFP: It began with me. How could you not know?
Me: I knew enough to stop sending it out. Years ago. That’s something, right?
PFP: You told a story about outsiders. Peasants. Foreigners.
Me: You’re a foreigner.
PFP: I could kill you for that.
Me (laughing): Yeah, I’d like to see you explain that to the Council.
PFP (not laughing): You’re a foreigner. There’d be nothing to explain.
Me: To be fair, it began with her, too.
PFP: That’s not my problem
Me: It’s totally your problem. That’s the point.
PFP: Listen, you don’t even have my voice right yet. I wouldn’t even be saying any of this.
Me: Except the part about killing me.
PFP (hides a small smile): Yeah, except for that. But you’re not done with your current protagonist. You have no business talking to me. Come back when you’re serious, okay?
Me: You know I’m right.
PFP: You don’t know you’re right. And I have things to do. Besides, those other protagonists of yours? They’re all idiots. Keeping quiet. Fearing to act. Hesitating to wield what power they have.
Me: Show me, then.
PFP: Show you what?
Me: How to get it right.

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