Musings on a Muse
Anne K. Edwards
I am a writer--or rather, I used to be. I wrote until my first muse who shall remain nameless, just in case she has found other employment which I doubt. She is probably living in a commune run by old hippies now and considering herself retired.
Well, after she departed, I had a vacancy and immediately set about finding a new muse. I contacted the Muse Employment Agency and they sent me an assortment of very unsatisfactory applicants. There was one, a tall thin muse, I thought might work out, but he complained of lack of sleep due to the cats I share my house with. He said it was either him or them. I chose them.
He was followed by a series of temps who, each in turn, failed in their creativity. They said they needed to be full time to work out the proper levels of inspiration and so on. But instead, they went off riding butterflies or chasing fireflies at night.
The agency finally notified me there was an applicant for the position and that he was from the Florida Keyes area. I should have known, Desperate, I said, Send. He came. Or should I say it.
I'd never seen a muse like him nor will again. He took the job on the basis that I wouldn't ask questions about his offerings and not rebuke him for any absences. Little did I know.
The first thing he told me after that was his name. He is calle Swamp Thingy. Then he made himself at home, or should I say, a home.
Being from the Keys, he was most comfortable living in a watery environment--a bog or swamp. He made my brain into a bog by connecting up an odd hose he found there. It flooded all the low lying places in my head and now I hear sloshing when I try to think. Sometimes the mind gets gummed up with the junk floating around in his bog. And swamp gas erupts frequently inside my head and anyone sitting too close will hear it explode. But those gas bubbles he sends out are the way Swamp Thingy transmits ideas to me.
It is most unsatisfactory, but I'm afraid to send him back. He warns me that not one other muse will live amid the clutter he found inside my brain. He complains about it, but doesn't organize it or clear it out.
The worst part of having Swamp Thingy for a muse is his absences. Often when he returns, he slithers crookedly so I know he's been drinking swamp water of the brown variety again. Among his fellows, his moods are famous. Fortunately, he doesn't have a temper. He ignores my complaints. Of course, the smell in my head is terrific when I go out in the sun for any length of time. That water gets downright hot so Swamp Thingy has taken to planting trees in it. I'm not looking forward to the day when a stray branch protrudes from my ear or a treetop comes out through the hole in my head that the doctor uses to vaccuum out the sawdust and hay from the horse barn. He may send me to a tree trimmer.
Then there's the matter of Swamp Thingy's absences when he goes seeking new friends or to visit old ones. He found a colony of alligators living in the sewers of Harrisburg and late at night, Swamp Thingy slithers out of his bog and slimes his way north to visit them. There have been complaints to the police up there about noises in the sewers and people are beginning to be afraid to be out after dark in some areas of the city.
At times, Swamp Thingy doesn't make it all the way home before dawn so he will make a stop over in someone's back yard, maybe a place with a pool or low spot he can fill with water from their hose. A few local writers have had to send him on his way when they found him sleeping in a large puddle or pond in their back yards. Their muses have disowned him as a muse.
There have been reports of aliens being seen on Route Fifteen in the early morning hours, but the police usually find it is only Swamp Thingy oozing along. They tell him to stick to the berm or he'll get a ticket. But when you have a Swamp Thingy drunk on brown swamp water slithering crookedly along a road, what do you do? He isn't a little thing. One state trooper gave me a ticket because he said he looked like The Blob, made famous in amovie in the 1950s. However, he added, Swamp Thingy didn't bounce like jello the way The Blob did.
For the moment, Swamp Thingy is home, behaving himself, but one night he left the water on and the overflow flooded the lower floor of the house. He said it was my fault. So I turned his water off. I have to pay the bill anyhow. Now, if he wants it on, he has to produce two ot three usable ideas.
And I'm back to hearing a lot of sloshing in my head.
Put on your water wings before you step inside.
Anne K. Edwards writes in a variety of genres and enjoys the creative challenge in each. She lives on a small farm in south central Pennsylvania with several cats. Her interests include meeting people and reading for pleasure and review.
Published by permission of the author.