It was still dark outside, a thin shard of a paler shade of black was beginning to creep round the edge of the curtains drawn across the window. Not long now, and he would be with me. Snug under my covers, I could hear him move about in the room next door, the room where he spent his afternoons and evenings. Sometimes, of course, he left the house altogether, leaving me to snooze, idle and unwanted; without him I had no life, no life at all. It was he who tickled me into being, it was he who could awaken the song in my heart, every fibre of my body vibrating, wave after wave of happiness ringing out in delight, filling my soul with joy, shuddering to an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction when he finally came to a halt many hours later.
Yes, I looked forward to our regular meetings, when he concentrated fully on me and my needs. The whole morning belonged to me, I had his undivided attention. Knowing how lucky I was I never stopped being grateful, served him well, taking hardly any time off. Very rarely did I suffer from any kind of illness, but when it happened, he wrapped me up tenderly and carried me to a hospital, where I sat on a bench while somebody else's rough hands poked about in my innards, dripping grease over my sinews and adjusting my muscles. I disliked being touched by anyone but him, but his pleasure at having me all to himself again, back home, after an episode of absence, made up for the indignity.
Finally, I heard the door open and he came over to where I sat, still hidden from view. I could feel his hands lifting the covers, folding them back carefully, slowly exposing me to his full gaze. I shivered a little as he ran his fingers delicately over my keys. Contrary to his usual custom, he did not sit down in front of me, but stood poised above me, looking at me with troubled eyes.
For the first time in our long and mutually satisfying relationship I had no idea what was coming next.
"Well, old girl," he said, "It'll break my heart. You have seen me through many a difficult birth. Sitting here, stroking you, pounding you for so many years, and releasing my creative energies into you has brought me success and recognition. But let's face it, " he continued, "you have grown old in my service, your smooth bodywork and efficient rhythms have become rough and unreliable. It's time to replace you with one of the new-fangled machines, which, I hear, even tell me when I get the spelling wrong. Admit it, you never did that. "
He patted me on the head. "I'll always appreciate your stalwart nature and true heart and I'll never love anyone as I have loved you. Believe me, and I mean this most sincerely, it's not you, it's me."
I was shocked rigid. My keys sat stiff and unmoving; a small tinkle, like a funeral bell, rang out when he picked me up with both hands and deposited me unceremoniously on the bottom shelf of his bookcase, and covered me up again.
Here I've been sitting for weeks now, drying up and silent. I heard the usurper being lifted into my rightful place. Apparently the upstart needs a lot of juice delivered via electric cables and something called a provider to get him going; he is clearly a lot less accommodating than I was. Heartless, I would say.
As for him, my lord and master, the one whom I helped to create deathless prose? I know he is not happy now, not nearly as happy as he was with me. I have heard him shout and swear in frustration. Far be it from me to gloat, but I know for a fact, that the upstart has managed to lose a whole chapter of the new book.
I have to admit to a little frisson of Schadenfreude.