I restarted the wood-stove in our basement early. I thought I jammed it full enough to last ‘til morning, but alas, it fizzled out. I rifled through our waste cans. I crumpled up obituaries, Superbowl ramblings, and Michigan State fallout stories to lay a new bed on which skinny logs could lie. With the flue and the metal doors wide open, a struck match touched the edges of news print in hopes of warmth and less furnace action.
The Muse draped her arm around my shoulder as the edges of wood started crackling.
“So, how you been?” she said.
“You’ve been waiting for me, and here I am.”
“What took you….”
“It hasn’t been that long Jerbear.”
“Hey! Only my sisters can call me that!”
“How long have we known each other? I should be one of your sisters by now, for crying out loud.”
“Oh, now you’re invoking Mom phrases. Great.”
“Listen, I’m here now, in front of this fire with you because this is where your hearth is.”
“Ah, playing with words eh?”
“What’s the matter? Don’t you want to play?”
“No. I mean yes. Oh, I don’t know. It seems I get the keys under my fingers, and…. Nothing.”
“Well, look at you go now.”
Dear Mrs. Muse, (or is it Miss, or Ms.?)
This letter is a curtsy, I mean, a courtesy to inform you that sneaking up on me in a quiet moment of reflection is an unacceptable duty of your employ. Please do not show up unless I am at my desk with Microsoft Word open to an empty page, Times New Roman, 12 point, doubled-spaced.
May I remind you that your duties are to total memory recall with appropriate inspiration when I am at the aforementioned location. You must evoke my full frontal lobe capabilities, especially early, when distractions are limited to the hum of appliances, computer fans, and distant snoring.
This warning letter will be kept on file.
“Well now, I see what you’ve done here GTW. I’d say I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I certainly hope a second letter is unnecessary.”
The Muse then snatched the letter from the queue and laid it on the glowing embers. The smoke rose up the flue like a winter moonrise.