We confronted the man by the fire. He had a cat in his lap.
What are you two doing? Those two patricide-driven lovebirds and the story that surrounds them needs narrating! And apart from what I just clarified, they aren't getting any, now, are they?
Meow! Mew Meoww, purrr... meow?
Sir, did you cat just narrate the story?
Yes, it did.
I didn't understand a thing. Just meowing incessantly, and the occasional purr.
Me neither. Not a word made sense. And it was hard to read.
It takes getting used to.
Oh, I bet it does.
Y'know, sir, you have an awfully deep voice. It's very bold.
Stop narrating me, and go find those two characters!
Wait, wait-wait. If we are narrators, who are you?
He's like us.
Hello, I am an extrapolation of the co-writers' desired authority over you. My purpose is to set you straight... and, yes, to watch this lovely fire.
Woah, we're being co-written? Gnarly!
Gnarly!? What does that mean? Wait - co-written? That's not good. Co-writers are bad. They clash in style and format - in word choice and flair. We're doomed!
You're such the pessimist. And look, you used a contraction just now. See? They're already letting us down.
Are you two mocking me?
Maybe. Yes, sir. Perhaps.
Mew -- meow.
That cryptically unreadable cat is disturbing. And, please, watch it. You were in my paragraph, just now. I don't like it when you get into my personal space.
You are correct, it is a creepy cat. But I disagree: the paragraph is not yours and yours alone.
Oh, right. Yeah, the story. You did it again. Sorry, I cannot help it. Arrgh.
The man was reclining in a lazy-boy armchair, enjoying his early retirement with a fresh mug of coffee. The cup he had been given earlier tasted strange, so he changed the filter and mixed a new cup. His daughter-in-law-to-be had offered to help, but he declined. After all, it was she who had mixed the strange-tasting brew.
Hah hah, poison.
What did I say about patronizing the reader?
Oh, I'm sorry. It's just, making this gray-haired old man into our protagonist is a little odd, don't you think? I mean, how exciting is this: old man Cain, enjoying his retirement, sits down in an arm chair to enjoy a week-old newspaper and a cup of poisoned coffee.
What is wrong with that?
Well, I think we should approach the story differently. The only interesting part about that is, well... the poisoned coffee.
And you called me the pessimist.
Umm... can I go now? Are my services needed any longer, or do you two have it under control?
We're fine, I guess. Yes, sir, we're fine.
It's ma'am, actually. I draw upon the co-writers' anima.
Woah, you do not know what an anima is, do you? Admit it!
You call yourself a narrator and you know nothing of archetypes!
I know about literary archetypes.
Well, psychological ones count too! Especially if we're going to make this story at all interesting to the, err- sophisticated reader.
Fine. Have it your way. What's an anima?
Well, he had implied that our co-writers, however many there are, have thus far been male. The anima is an archetype of the collective unconscious, just like the literary archetypes that we unknowingly recognize in fiction.
If we were to read anything?
Yes, precisely. Though we are narrators.
And an anima represents the inner female within the male.
I'd love to go now, you two, but you see - well, you're just not telling the story! Get on with the show, and stop squabbling. You're not here to narrate a textbook on the psychological works of Carl Jung. You're here, as far as I know, to narrate a literary action-adventure story about a father-killing, greedy young couple. Now, go!
Yes, ma'am. We are sorry. Or at least, I am. Me too.
Woah. She's gone. Just like that?
Hey, look! She left her strike-through feline.
Forget the unreadable cat. Where in this old mansion did our characters run off to? Even the old man's armchair is empty.