The Hub and I have not partaken of what he calls the “Veteran’s Day Scam.” In the US, businesses offer free coffee, free appetizers and free meals. USA Today writes that “Veterans can cash in.”
I disagree with this outlook and see it for it’s intent: to honor our military who have served or are serving. Being short on cash, cashing in on free meals came in handy. But what I didn’t expect was that a muse of sorts would meander through the veterans at the restaurants we visited.
These veterans, including the Hub, started telling stories. It reminded me how important stories are to understanding what we have experienced in life and sharing it with others. May these muses move you to continue the story-telling process.
Muse by Irene Waters
“The advance terms stipulated ‘complete by the 20th October.’ That was two days ago.”
“I know but I just can’t find the inspiration.”
“You have to write. Call on your muse why don’t you.”
“Mnemesone, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Meopomene, Erato, Calliope, Urania and Polhymnia have never visited me. I don’t expect them to start now. I need some more time.”
“Another week. That’s all.”
Polly sat and pondered but no words came. A coffee and the newspaper afforded a small reprieve. The headlines jumped out at her ‘ Camel milk expert says government ban pathetic.”
Coffee forgotten. The words flowed.
The Beat of a Butterfly’s Wing by Geoff Le Pard
Peter the dog dropped the ball at Mary’s feet. Mary smiled. “It was your predecessor that started this, you know.”
The dog wagged his tail. When would she throw it?
“Him dying, dad’s heart. That kick started all this.”
One silly mistake, not leaving the car window open, had unleashed chaos.
Mary hurled the ball as far as she could. She knew it would come back to her. The ball was hers to control now. Only she could bring order. While Peter searched in the grass she pulled out the copy email. Her birth certificate. The hunt was on.
Amuser to a Muse by Lisa Reiter
Impatient with her morning rituals
He calls, encourages, impatient to begin
Finally she lifts the steaming vessel; “Come on then!”
Glancing over his shoulder, checking she will keep up, he runs
Pushing impatiently at the door to see if it is open
Rushing to their station, delighting in her caress
Twining his limbs with hers and whispering adorations in her ear
Gently licking her fingers as they begin their work
She hugs him tight then yells at him to take his place!
From amuser to a muse
Feline scion of Mnemosyne and Zeus
Sith lord, both mouser and mousa
Visitation by Paula Moyer
I was 15.
In my dream, I walked onto Life’s Path. I received a bag. “These are your burdens,” someone said. “You carry them throughout Life.” Its weight on my back bent me over.
Then I saw the girl standing beside me. She looked vaguely like me. She was my Guide, she said.
“This bag is heavy,” I complained.
“These are your burdens,” she answered. “I can’t take them away. Lift your arms forward. Raise the burden on the person before you. When you share her load, it will lighten your own.”
I woke up. I knew my calling.
A Dream! by Ruchira Khanna
Laura was stirring the soup while humming her favorite song, Choices by George Jones.
“I’ve had choices since the day that I was born
There were voices that told me right from wrong
If I had listened, no I wouldn’t be here today
Living and dying with the choices I’ve made.”
Just then she got a call, and that made her jump, twirl and weep all at the same time.
Hung up, wiped her tears, grounded herself and texted her better half, “Finally! Dreams do come true! My publication will soon be seen on celluloid worldwide”.
Submissive Submissions by Rachel E. Bledsoe
Last week her muses were Deborah, Samantha, and Edith. The names forever change in the address lines. Each time they give her hope. Each piece she carefully crafts to their whims. Too many hours are lost worried about the emails she will receive back. Will they bear the news she craves?
She is losing herself in this vocabulary world. She is panting with warm breaths carefully crafted stories.
And yet she forgets; they’re not just stories. These words are her life. They are her childhood. They are her teenage youth. They are hers. They are bought for a price.
Failure by Norah Colvin
She spluttered out the splinters of pencil: no longer tasty, never helpful. The assessor’s steely eyes pounced. She wiped the last vestiges from her mouth; staring blankly, as blank as the paper in front of her.
Outside the sunlight danced like fairies on the leaves, beckoning. Below, in the shade, the unicorn pranced and called her name.
“Why do I have to do this stuff? Who cares anyway!”
She grasped the broken pencil and scored a large “F” on the page.
Then she closed her eyes and was away, riding to freedom and joy on the unicorn’s back.
Festering Thoughts by Amber Prince
The tile was cold against my cheek as I lay down on the floor. I could have put down a towel first so that my face wasn’t touching the nastiness that lies on a bathroom floor. Today, I didn’t care. Let the dirt and piss splatter mix with my tears. What did it matter?
My insides felt like they were burning – every nerve ending, sinewy muscle, hair follicle- felt alive with an angry searing pain that couldn’t be calmed down. My throat blazed with unheard screams that couldn’t escape.
It wasn’t fair. Why? Why did she give up?
The Muse by Anne Goodwin
At first, I laughed at what he claimed to see, in me, a girl like any other. Why flee my playmates in the park to stand just so for hours? I did not care if dukes and lords might hang my likeness in their galleries.
I hungered for his ardent gaze, his all-encompassing concentration. What lover would regard me so intently? What mirror reflect such light? I did not tire to stand just so while he found my essence in his canvas.
So when he chose another muse I thought I’d drown, Ophelia-like, singing in a stream of flowers.
Peter Grew a New Heart by Love Happy Notes
Peter Cheater, web-slinger of dishonesty
suffered from kindness poverty
He lied, stole, cajoled oodles, kits, caboodles
from humans, to butterflies to labradoodles
Penelope had the world on a string
Thunderstruck, Peter’s ‘petered out’ heart began singing
Penelope received more by giving
without expectation or misgivings
Shamed by ill-gotten gains
Peter harangued a self-blame campaign
“Begin with self-forgiveness,
redemption, compassion. Be fearless!”
Bemused by his new muse’s request
Peter returned hijacked bling from his nest
Of name-calling, he’s deserving
but was unprepared for the joy of serving
Peter discovered the treasure of giving.
His hollow brick heart brimmed with living!
Muse Refused by Larry LaForge
“Damn. It’s stuck on 72 degrees.”
**Sir, I know you can’t hear me but please wait. I admit to being a desktop weather station of questionable quality. And yes, I’m permanently on the fritz. But there’s a reason I’m stuck on 72 and SUNNY.
“Say hello to the trash can, you piece of crap.”
**Please. Just hold on sir. You need me, even in my current state – ESPECIALLY in my current state.
“What else will go wrong today?”
**That’s what I’m talking about. It’s your negative attitude, sir. My permanent sunny disposition can help sooth and inspire you.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
Merlin Learns the Truth by Tally Pendragon
“… To me, only two characters in the play of these events are blessed with anything approaching sense …” After this oration I stop for breath, or perhaps just for peace. Elbows on knees, hands outstretched, as if in supplication to my almost full Moon Mother, I lift my face to her and receive her cool Wisdom as a breath of her Spirit. She shows me the way, she always does, yet it’s cloudy and needs to take shape a while. I’m not conscious of having stopped speaking, not really. Not until he speaks, my old friend.
“And who are they?”
Quest of Two Winds by Charli Mills
Two Winds hiked to the peak his Grandfathers called Beehive. Gray rock rippled, shaped like an upturned hive, rising above the tallest of the tall pines. His steps required the aid of his hands and he scuttled like a baby bear to reach the top. No man could walk upright to the Beehive. If he were arrogant enough to try, he’d tumble to a dishonorable death below. Two Winds must reach the top to tie his offering on the old wapiti tine and wait until inspiration answered him. It took many turns of the sun to write a wife-poem.
Sick Muse by Georgia Bell
Each morning she vowed that it was the last time. Swearing to herself and whatever deity she decided might be listening that day, she created elaborate rules and rituals to keep thoughts of him away. To keep the memories of his hands and his eyes and his warm, rich voice out of her head, away from her heart. And each night, her chest heavy with defeat, she succumbed. Picking up the pen, she hunched over her notebook, fingers smeared blue with ink and face smeared wet with tears. It was the only damn way she knew to fall asleep.
Go Ask Alice by Sarah Brentyn
When Alice was three, her teddy bear told her how to shape play-doh into intricate fairy houses with working windows and doors.
When Alice was seven, her Barbie doll showed her blueprints for an underwater city and she won a sand castle competition with her “Mermaid’s Mansion” sculpture.
When Alice was fifteen, her parents brought her to doctors who tried to stop Alice hearing voices and hallucinating.
When Alice entered the psychiatric ward, her doctors said it would be temporary. It was. After Alice died, they found her paintings—now in a gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
It strikes me at work, rippling through my brain. Heeding the call, I make an excuse to leave. It’s ridiculous, being alone to write about people. But I can’t slow the words, the furious pace. They’ve arrived, like anxious guests. Now I have to get it down.
Brushing along. Please don’t talk to me. Why yes, the game was incredible. Uh huh, love that show. Now please, move. Let me go.
The pen is dead. I pound it on the page, gashing, hoping for it to come to life. I try another. It writes…I write.
But now, no words.