Bad Muse

“Write, write, write!” he screamed, each word punctuated with a tone that made her eyes water. The cadence was like some satanic version of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” She giggled with the thought and, only too late, realized how his counter-reaction would quite literally strike her.

Marla’s head slammed to the left and then right as punishment and the command came again. She tried to recover, but she was losing ground. Frozen with pain, she stared blankly at the page, groping desperately to find a cogent thought. She barely reacted to the next tortured scream: “Write, write, write!”

The wave of anger that answered surprised her, but she quickly gave in to it without thinking of consequences. Marla tilted her head to the side and shook hard. She felt something slide and hoped sincerely it wasn’t her brains. She needed those. For more force, she stood up and hopped on one leg as she tilted her head. The sickening feeling of something sliding was joined by an odd scrabbling in her ear. With one more shake, the tiny muse dropped on her desk and immediately continued to berate her.  Marla couldn’t tell if it was for the continued lack of progress in her work or for the indignity her muse had suffered in being ousted so unceremoniously. She opened her notebook and pointed to a hand-written passage of notes for her latest short story. As the muse jumped on the page to examine the text, Marla slammed the notebook shut and pressed down until she felt something give. She’d let that story sit for a while and come back to it later. Maybe. She started a new search for a muse for her next story.

[Updated: October 4, 2015; Original: October 3, 2015; Opening paragraph idea: March 31, 2015]


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