mad project was steadily piling up. Empty dishes from hastily eaten meals, notes scribbled on grocery store receipts, and research books were heaped up around him, the tragic debris of his literary battlefield.
Just then, his freckle-faced muse bounced into the room, flipping on the light.
"Hey!" she said. "Did you miss me?"
The writer glanced up at her, squinting. "Hey, Musie." He kept typing.
"So how's it going?"
"Great," said the writer, finishing the sentence. He turned in his chair. "I have a question for you."
"Me first." She flourished a hand and gestured to her hair - a pixie cut with crazy highlights. "Well? Do you like? Got it this morning."
"Um, sure," said the writer, who didn't really care at the moment, although normally he would have been very gracious about it. But he had more on his mind. He pulled one of the receipt notes out of the piles surrounding him and held it out.
"What in the heck ramsey days is this supposed to mean?" he demanded.
His muse took the note, and read it aloud. "Remind Mary of the idea she gave... in the dream -- phantom + check wallet for notes."
She looked up, delighted. "That's really mysterious," she said. "I wonder what they're talking about?"
The writer rubbed his bleary eyes, and forced himself to breathe slowly and deeply.
"You're the one who gave it to me. I found it last night and I've been trying to figure it out. Obviously it was brilliant, because you took the time to give it to me while I was at work."
The muse looked at it hard. She held it close. She held it far. She turned it on its side. She squinted. She closed one eye. She held it up to the light. She even sniffed it.
In the end she set it back in his hand, patting him gently on the shoulder.
"No idea, dude," she said. "Can't remember. Sorry."
The writer turned, and slumped forward, banging his forehead on the desk. "Musie... why do you do this to me?"
The muse poked her hand into a bag of potato chips and pulled some out.
"Ask your bloggy friends what they think it means," she said. She popped a chip into her mouth. "Maybe their muses can help."
The writer flopped his head on his desk so that he was looking up at his muse, his face squished against the wood. She smiled at him.
"Awwww, you're so adorable when you're frazzled," she said.
"Frazzled is not the right word."
She pushed him on the shoulder. "See? You were born for this job! I bet you know a better word."
"You're so good at that! Listen, tell your bloggy friends. It can't hurt. At the very least they'll conglomerate."
"Do you mean commiserate?"
"Yes, that, or offer suggestions on keeping better notes."
The writer struggled to sit up again. "Okay," he said. "And Musie?"
"I know. You think that I'm a genius." The muse beamed, and shrugged. "What can I say?"
The writer stared at her for a minute, and then just nodded. He hunched over his keyboard again. But then he thought of something else he wanted to ask her.
But she had already vanished.
The writer sighed and turned back to the screen. She'd been stopping in more often lately, sure, and for longer periods of time. She loved his mad project. But she still came and went as she pleased with no regard to any schedule. The writer's schedule was no exception.
He smiled in spite of himself as he typed. Oh well. She'd be back. That was the one thing you could depend on Musie for... she'd always come back.