I apologize for this outbreak of the total jerk who lives inside my head.

by Alaina Mabaso

That article’s finally done. What should I make for dinner?

If you call that an article.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Oh, nothing. I just thought you were a professional.

Well I am. Aren’t I?

Sure you are. If you didn’t want to read through that mess one more time before filing, that’s your business.

What do you mean, mess? That’s 800 words of solid journalism.

Sure, just like that article from last week when you forgot a preposition in one of the sentences and your editor at NewsWorks had to ask to you fix the sentence before the story could run.

That was totally not a big deal. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a big deal. He literally said it was a great article.

Maybe when you can remember all your prepositions you could write a great article before robots start doing it for us anyway.

Screw you.

Hey if you don’t want to listen to the voice of reason that’s fine.

Yeah, it is.

So you admit I’m the voice of reason.

That’s not what I meant.

You’re not on TV or the radio.

What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

I’m just saying that your colleagues are getting great regional media exposure while you’re writing essays and local news. It’s not like they’re older or better educated than you are. YOU’RE not breaking stories on NPR. What’s wrong with you?

Just because I like writing better than other kinds of media-gathering doesn’t make me a failure.

So you like listening to the radio and hearing your friends?

Yeah. They’re good reporters and I admire them.

And there’s NO part of you that wonders why you’re constantly stuck in hyper-local coverage?

Shut up.

Geez! Touchy, touchy. I’m sure you’re really good. In your own little way.

Dammit, I’ve done a lot of HuffPost Live segments, a G-Town Radio show, and in August I’m doing a WHYY radio interview about a story I wrote.

Other freelance writers are regularly working for national outlets.

So what? It’s not like they pay any better than local outlets anymore.

Sure, settle for steady pay over a shot at being Zerlina Maxwell.

I could be like Zerlina Maxwell.

How many blog subscribers do you even have? Like, less than two thousand, after FIVE YEARS of weekly toil? Whoop de doo. If you were any good you’d have a book deal by now and you’d be on Fresh Air with Terry Gross making people laugh and cry. You know who’s never, ever calling you? The producers of The Daily Show.

I don’t care that I’m not famous. I like my regular readers and I have fun.

Your friends are publishing novels and memoirs and writing for the New York Times. They’re smarter and harder-working than you are.

Good for them.

Yeah, tell it to all 270 of your Twitter followers. Way to win the internet.

Why can’t I ever just finish a single goddamn story in peace?

Oh come on, you know you’d be nothing without me. I keep you SHARP.

Do you realize I have an illness that hurts so stinkin’ bad it drives people to suicide? And I keep working anyway?

You’re weak.

How am I weak?

You have to take rests during the day.

Oh so lying down for an hour is a crime. This is why I freelance, so I can set my own hours. For my health.

I thought you were ambitious.

Just because I have an illness doesn’t mean I’m not ambitious. If anything, I’m MORE ambitious because I have a lot to overcome.

Ok so do you want ten “Congratulations!” balloons, or 50?

Fuck you. My friends would never talk to me that way.

Good thing I’m already inside your head then.

I don’t have time for your crap.

Yeah, you need to do the dishes and the laundry and mop the kitchen floor.

I WILL as soon as the Advil kicks in.

The sink needs scrubbing.

Yeah, it does.

You’re a rotten wife.

What?

Hm? Sorry, what?

Shut up. I am not.

You’re not what?

I am not a rotten wife.

Tell it to your best friend. Oh wait, you don’t HAVE one, you’re a wary, emotionally withdrawn workaholic.

I wonder how that happened.

You know it’s better not to trust anyone anyway.

I guess.

Oh what are we eating now? A spoon of ice cream without even closing the freezer door?

Look, I really have a lot to do tonight.

No problem. I can wait. When are you doing your meditation and PT exercises?  I’ll come back then.

Like hell you will. I need to do my diaphragmatic breaths.

Yeah, breeeeaathe into that fat tummy of yours.

Newsflash: A writer isn’t an athlete.

It’s pathetic how much time you spend writing.

You JUST said I don’t work hard enough.

When did I say that?

Like two minutes ago!

I’m trying to help you.

Oh yeah?

Yeah. I AM you, you NSAID-popping mental sloth. With a dirty sink.

Oh for God’s sake I am just going to go watch The X Files on Netflix until you shut the fuck up.

Why don’t you just admit the two of us are better together?

There is no ‘us.’

That’s what you told the psychiatrists.

Are you telling me you LIKE antidepressants?

Because I can call outpatient psych right now.

Hello?

That’s what I thought.

It fucking sucks when we can’t eat anything or get out of bed or write.

So let’s stay off the tricyclics, shall we?

And the SSRI’s.

And the SSRI’s.

Mid-90’s David Duchovny is so handsome.

Mmm-hm.

Hey. You’re married, Don Draper.

Do we need to discuss Hugh Jackman’s campfire scene in Australia? The one where he takes the water bucket –

You know you have another deadline in the morning. If you go over your notes now —

Lay off, bitch. I know.

Geez. Sorry.

No you’re not.

No I’m not.

I know.

Then shut up.

Fine.

Fine.

You are gonna write the piece, though?