Being such a straight arrow was part of the reason for this amazing fecundity, but Annie herself was a bigger one. After all, it was her single hesitant suggestion about the bee-sting which had shaped the book and given it its urgency when Paul had firmly believed he could never feel urgent about Misery again.
He'd been sure of one thing from the start: there really was no Misery's Retum. His attention had been focused only on finding a way to get the bitch out of her grave without cheating before Annie decided to inspire him by giving him an enema with a handful of Ginsu knives. Minor matters such as what the f**king book was supposed to be about would have to wait.
During the two days following Annie's trip to town to pay her tax-bill, Paul tried to forget his failure to take advantage of what could have been a golden opportunity to escape and concentrated on getting Misery back to Mrs Ramage's cottage instead. Taking her to Geoffrey's home was no good. The servants - most notably Geoffrey's gossipy butler, Tyler - would see and talk. Also, he needed to establish the total amnesia which had been caused by the shock of being buried alive. Amnesia? Shit, the chick could barely talk. Sort of a relief, given Misery's usual burblings.
So - what next? The bitch was out of her grave, now where was the f**king story? Should Geoffrey and Mrs Ramage tell Ian that Misery was still alive? Paul didn't think so but he wasn't sure - not being sure of things, he knew, was a charmless corner of purgatory reserved for writers who were driving fast with no idea at all where they were going.
Not Ian, he thought, looking out at the barn. Not Ian, not yet. The doctor first. That old ass**le with all the n's in his name, Shinebone.
The thought of the doctor brought Annie's comment about bee-stings to mind, and not for the first time. It kept recurring at odd moments. One person in every dozen...
But it just wouldn't play. Two unrelated women in neighboring townships, both allergic to stings in the same rare way?
Three days following the Great Annie Wilkes Tax Bailout, Paul had been drowsing his way into his afternoon nap when the guys in the sweatshop weighed in, and weighed in heavy. This time it wasn't a flare; this time it was an H-bomb explosion.
He sat bolt upright in bed, ignoring the flare of pain which shot up his legs.
"Annie!" he bawled. "Annie, come in here!" He heard her thump down the stairs two at a time and then run down the hallway. Her eyes were wide and scared when she came in.
"Paul! What's wrong? Are you cramping? Are you - "
"No "he said, but of course he was; his mind was cramping. "No. Annie, I'm sorry if I scared you, but you gotta help me into the chair. Mighty f**k! I got it!" The dreaded effword was out before he could help it, but this time it didn't seem to matter - she was looking at him respectfully, and with not a little awe. Here was the secular version of the Pentecostal fire, burning before her very eyes.
"Of course, Paul." She got him into the chair as quickly as she could. She began to roll him toward the window and Paul shook his head impatiently. "This won't take long," he said, "but it's very important."
"Is it about the book?"
"It is the book. Be quiet. Don't talk to me." Ignoring the typewriter - he never used the typewriter to make notes - he seized one of the ballpoints and quickly covered a single sheet of paper with a scrawl that probably no one but himself could have read.
They WERE related. It was bees and it affected them both the same way because they WERE related. Misery's an orph. And guess what? The Evelyn-Hyde babe was MISERY'S SISTER! Or maybe half-sister. That would probably work better. Who gets the first hint? Shinny? No. Shinny's a ninny. Mrs R. She can go to see Charl. E-H's mommy and
And now he was struck by an idea of such intense loveliness - in terms of the plot at least - that he looked up, mouth open, eyes wide.
"Paul?" Annie asked anxiously.
"She knew," Paul whispered. "Of course she did. At least strongly suspected. But - " He bent to his notes again.
she - Mrs R. realizes at once that Mrs E-H has got to know M. is related to her daught. Same hair or something. Remember E-H's mom is starting to look like a maj. character. You'll need to work her up. Mrs R. starts to realize Mrs E-H MAY EVEN HAVE KNOWN MISERY WAS BURIED ALIVE!! SHIT ON A SHINGLE! LOVE IT! Suppose the ole lady guessed Misery was a leftover of her f**k-'em-and-leave-'em days and
He put the pen down, looked at the paper, then slowly picked the pen up again and scrawled a few more lines.
Three necessary points.
1. How does Mrs E-H react to Mrs R's suspicions? She should be either murderous or puke-up scared. I prefer scared but think A.W. would like murderous, so OK murd.
2. How does Ian get into this?
3. Misery's amnesia?
Oh and here's one to grow on. Does Misery find out her mom lived with the possibility that not just one but two of her daughters had been buried alive rather than speak up?
"You could help me back into bed now if you wanted," Paul said. "If I sounded mad, I'm sorry. I was just excited."
"That's all right, Paul." She still sounded awed.
Since then the work had driven on famously. Annie was right; the story was turning out to be a good deal more gruesome than the other Misery books - the first chapter had not been a fluke but a harbinger. But it was also more richly plotted than any Misery novel since the first, and the characters were more lively. The latter three Misery novels had been little more than straightforward adventure tales with a fair amount of piquantly described sex thrown in to please the ladies. This book, he began to understand, was a gothic novel, and thus was more dependent on plot than on situation. The challenges were constant. It was not just a question of Can You? to begin the book - for the first time in years, it was Can You? almost every day... and he was finding he could.