The Muse gets an ultimatum

“But the fact is, she [the muse] won’t be summoned. She alights when it damn well pleases her. She falls in love with one artist, then deserts him for another. She’s a real bitch!” ― Erica Jong

I had been giving the Muse a hard time for bringing into my condo her modern incarnation of Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Hades. She had named it Homer for some reason. Homer’s ugliest-dog picture was no doubt in the dictionary, illustrating the word scrofulous or maybe squalid. Even a bath didn’t help.

“What the hell were you thinking?” I asked while picking up cigarette butts from the coffee table. “You know it’s against condo rules – you’re the damn president now.”

[pullquote]He was, I swear, keeping his eyes on me as he noisily chewed slowly and purposefully. It was chilling.[/pullquote]Much to my surprise – and the Muse’s for that matter – she had been awarded the presidency of the Alhambra Condo Association election when her opponent had won the PowerBall lottery and moved back to Nebraska. He wanted to rub his newly found wealth in the face of his high school buddies. He would have made a perfect condo overlord.

“I thought you could use the companionship,” the Muse said with a straight face. She was sitting in the dining room with her yoga-pantsed, chubby legs crossed casually as she fed Homer pieces of the leftover filet mignon I had brought home from Ruth’s Chris last night. He was, I swear, keeping his eyes on me as he noisily chewed slowly and purposefully. It was chilling.

“Can we talk about why you are here,” I asked, “why you have this job in the first place? I suppose it’s because you have to work, right?”

“Let’s not go overboard and start the embourgeoisement now,” she said with a certain amount of exasperation. “I am not among the landed gentry, but I, unlike you, don’t have to work. My daddy was a pilot – I called him my god in the sky – and he was able to leave me a little pin money.

“I am doing this musing gig because I was tired of working in public relations and marketing,” she said. “And it’s almost as easy….”

“Yeah, especially if you don’t actually do anything.”

Homer started growling at me, and the Muse said to me sarcastically, “Hey, hey, HEY! Easy now big fella. Let’s avoid the tergiversation. It’s unbecoming.”

Just then Homer started the lengthy canine horking method, with rhythmic, noisy contractions of his distended gut that seemed to go on for several minutes while taking a step forward with each muffled hork, followed by the appearance of several day’s worth – based on the odor – of partly digested “stuff.” All over my favorite pair of Birkenstock’s I had left by the front door.

What? He needs a target?

“That’s it!” I said, feeling a bout of trichotillomania coming on. “Either the mutt goes or you go!”

“Oh, so that’s the way we’re rocking today, eh? Dog-hater. Well, since I am under contract and a proud union worker, I suppose Homer needs a new home,” she said.

The mutt didn’t seem to know what was going on: he was too busy licking up his own retch or else I am certain he would have been growling at me.

I left the Muse and her mutt to work out the departure details. I repaired to my bedroom, where I had set up a small office in hopes of gaining inspiration from solitary confinement. I certainly wasn’t getting it from the Muse….

I sat up in my bed, laptop on lap, fingers on the middle row, and awaited inspiration from either the ether or the Muse. Neither arrived, and I fell asleep and dreamed a dream of calliopes.

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