Me: Hi Mr. Poe! It is so great to meet you! I’ve imagined this moment in my mind so many times, you would not believe! I’m a huge admirer of your work! And I really don’t mean to bother you, but…uh…Mr. Poe?
Poe: [Remains sitting at desk, unmoving; Head lays on top of hands].
Me: [Pats his shoulder lightly] Mr. Poe? [Again] Mr. Poe? [Starts shaking him now; Yells] Oh my God, Mr. Poe?! Somedody - somebody get some—!!
Poe: [Lifts head sharply] Agch! [Rubs face groggily] What’s all the ruckus?
Me: [Yells] OH WOW! YOU’RE OK! YOU’RE OK!
Poe: [Winces; Groans].
Me: [More quietly now] You’re ok!
Poe: Yes, yes - [Hiccups] - and who - [Hiccups] - might you - [Hiccups] - be? [Squints, looks around] And intruding in my - [Hiccups] - cottage, no less…
Me: Oh never mind that. [Leans down to him] Although, you might wanna drink something for that hiccup.
Poe: Indeed - [Hiccups] - and I know just the thing [Rummages around papers on desk; Opens drawers; Finally pulls out a flask].
Me: [Straightens] Oh, well, I was thinking more like—
Poe: [Takes long, deep gulps from flask].
Poe: [Lowers flask; Squints at me] Oh yeah?
Me: Well, I’ve heard it helps better. [Points at flask] Well, better than that stuff, anyway.
Poe: [Wipes mouth] Oh it does, does it? [Rises from desk] So you some sort of doctor?
Me: [Backs away] Well, I wouldn’t say that exactly…
Poe: [Continues moving forward] Oh?
Me: [Backs into window; Stumbles into window sill; Sits; Looks up wide-eyed at Poe].
Poe: [Stops just before me; Cocks head to the side; Smirks] You are quite the flighty one, aren’t you?
Poe: [Reaches hand toward my face].
Poe: [Hand continues past me to a rag hanging on nail by window; Laughs outright at my reaction; Then looks me up and down curiously] How odd. One would think that for a girl who walks in public wearing pants, that she’d at least pack some courage in her back pocket.
Me: [Stiffens] Well maybe if your cottage weren’t so dark, I wouldn’t be so “flighty” as you call it. [Stands up] And how is a writer supposed to write with no light? [Gestures with arm; Knocks over pail of water onto stray papers on floor].
Poe: NOOO! [Drops to floor] My new piece!! [Lifts soggy papers; Tries unsuccessfully to shake water from them] Look at what you’ve done!
Me: [Crouches down beside him] Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to! [Helps gather papers; Angles head; Reads words on topmost sheet] Oh, Annabelle Lee! That’s my favorite! I know it front and back! I could help you rewrite it!
Poe: [Freezes; Lowers papers; Directs full gaze at me] What do you mean you know it “front and back?” I’ve barely even completed it.
[Both slowly rise to feet]
Me: Oh no… [Frantically pats jeans pockets] I seem to have misplaced my —
Poe: [Points finger, and wet papers, at me] Just what do you think you’re doing? Have you got something else hidden in the pockets of those unseemly pants?
Me: [Raises hands; Steps backwards] N-n-no! I only wanted — ah!! [Loses footing; Stumbles; Falls to the floor].
Poe: [Rushes down to my side; Gently sits me up right] Oh, I’m sorry — I didn’t mean to frighten you so. Are you alright?
Me: [Rubs back of head] Yeah, it’s my fault, I should’ve looked where I was going. Oh look, there’s a floorboard come loose.
Poe: No, no, never mind that! [Hurriedly tries to get me to my feet] Come along, just come along [Grabs my arms; Almost frantic now]. Up you go!
Me: No wait, what is that? [Angles head to look underneath floorboard; Squints] It — it looks like [Eyes catch a glint of red then look slowly up at Poe].
Poe: [Stiffens; Glares back].
Me: Ne-ne-never mind. Can I have a sip from that flask?