The Muse wears darkened swim goggles

When I walked through the front door of my condo one morning last week, I was greeted by….no one. It was weird and hard to believe that The Muse had finally gotten rid of that scrofulous mutt, Homer, her purported service dog.

[pullquote]I had thought The Muse was gone as well – be still my beating heart – but, no, that was not to be.[/pullquote]He never did learn how to fetch her a PBR from the fridge, the “service” he was to perform. He didn’t like me at all, growling at me for no apparent reason. Honestly, at first I thought that was the service he was performing for The Muse.

I had thought The Muse was gone as well – be still my beating heart – but, no, that was not to be. But the condo was quiet, too quiet. I put down the many bags of groceries I had just purchased – mostly to meet her copious caloric needs — and hauled up three flights of stairs and began looking for her.

I found her in the den, with the drapes drawn, the white noise machine on low, sitting at my computer with darkened swim goggles covering her eyes. She was removing the keys on the keyboard one by one.

“Hey! What the hell are you doing?” I shouted.

She winced as if I had slapped her. “C’mon, Elwood, easy now,” she moaned. “I have a yourgrain headache.”

“That’s migraine,” I said.

“That’s what I said,” she said, while popping off another key, “Yourgrain. Ya going deef or somethin?’

“Anyway, just what the hell do you think you are doing?”

“These keys make too much noise during those few times when you aren’t deep into the throes of writer’s block,” she explained while taking a break to rub her temples. “I can’t take the din.”

“But how will I know which keys produce which letters?”

“Hell, man, you type doncha? What, you don’t have the keys memorized yet? Who was your typing teacher?”

“Hell, I am a journalist!” I said with clenched teeth. I was quickly getting a migraine, too. “I have to look at the keys. Now what am I going to write with? I’ll have to get a new keyboard.”

“What? With your phthisic hands? You think they write well enough to deserve a new keyboard? I bet your writing will actually improve were I to put the keys back randomly.”

“Wait just a minute now, I…”

“I know, I know, you represent that,” she said, with a look on her face like a triumphant teenager’s. “Big deal. Listen to me. You want to write better? Don’t wait for me to be nice to you. I think it was Harper Lee who said ‘I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.’

“You came up a little short in the thick hide department,” she added, with obvious satisfaction. “Thick head maybe. But thick hide?”

I was steamed, but I suspected she was probably right, though I would never admit it. Certainly not to her.

She was still pulling off keyboard keys as I grabbed the iPad and headed for the living room. “Let’s see her get the keys off a touch screen,” I said aloud to no one.

Then I sat on the couch and tried to mentally thicken my hide. I tried texting Muse International Headquarters in hopes of receiving inspiration in return. Instead I got a come-on from AT&T.

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