He sat in the chair where he always sat. Staring at me.
The small oak table next to him had a well defined circle from his ever present glass of cheap booze. Bourbon. Bottom shelf. Ten bucks a gallon including tax is all he drank.
The chair wasn’t what I’d sit on to dispense advice but it worked for him. A little stenographer’s seat. Low back, wheels, not much cushion but solid. Perfect for a round bottomed girl who had abandoned her dreams of marriage and happiness long ago but found succor in taking notes that would become my pathetic attempts at literature.
But he was no round bottomed stenographer sitting there.
The fragile wings coming out of his shoulder blades was the first hint. That damned glitter coming off his puce tutu was the second. The cheap bourbon… well, that could be for anyone really but the smell was distinctly his.
My muse ladies and gents.
The magic to my stories; the flash to my simple words; my imagination come to life in all his hairy glory. Doug. Doug the muse. Doug the literary fairy who has made me a half-millionaire. Fucking Doug. My muse. God I hate this guy.
“You should write something about cats. Their claws, the whiskers; the way they poop in a box and demand their human clean it. What a fuckin life- poop in a box and the ‘owner’ picks it up. Who owns who? Cats rock. They get food, they sleep and shit and the human does everything for them. When they whine, the human massages them ON COMMAND. I wanna be a cat. Great fucking life.” He sloshed back another shot, chuckling the way any moron will do when they think they’re being funny.
“Shut up Doug. I am not writing about cats again. Some truths people don’t want to hear. Besides, some comedian already did that shtick. Maybe you know him?”
“You gotta write something. You’re moving into one hit wonder territory. Like that Goat-a-yeah guy. He wanted that song and it was great and all but hey… he kicked me out. Like yuse is gonna write that shit without me? Enjoying your fucking royalty checks ya knob- they’ll be as tiny as your dick.” I did not appreciate Doug’s fake philly accent as much as I once did.
“Doug… please not tonight. Seriously. I’m tired. It’s late. Don’t you sleep?” It came out like a whimpering dog begging for affection. Begging… whimpering… for this guy. Jesus. How had this ever seemed like a good idea?
He splashed more of the booze into the glass and pointed a tiny gnarled finger at me.
“You need to listen up buddy. We been good together. I gave you those short stories, I gave you that book wrapped in silken gold. Don’t go getting all ungrateful on me now.”
He slurped the bourbon like it was a Big Gulp. I could tell he had already stopped by a few of his other people before he got to my study; he wasn’t slurring- or not slurring too badly- yet.
“Doug this has been great, but the last story we started got rejected by the publisher. They just didn’t want a story about squirrels again. It’s been done. By the way- how many people did you pitch that story to? My guy said they had on run on squirrel stories like it was the weirdest thing. Out of the blue- squirrels everywhere.”
Doug stared at me with those bloodshot eyes rimmed in red. He was getting sloshed.
“Hey- you ain’t the only one I visit- you know that.”
“I know, I know- your “musings are far to wondrous and powerful for any one human to experience. Your tiny human brains will explode.”
Kinda wish mine would explode any moment now.
“Doug, I… I need… a break. A change; something. This just isn’t working like it was.” Words that I had not intended to utter now weighed a ton and I couldn’t move.
“Heh. Sure ya do kid. Sure ya do. Being a top selling writer is tough work. It wears on ya.. sitting at that typewriter everyday with that blank fucking look on that thing you call a face. Checking Facebook every 20 minutes, lookin up your stocks 17 times a day and oh… gotta tweet! Works just fuckin killin ya. it’s soooo hard. I can tell.” The sarcasm cut because it was true. How often was he watching me?
Doug’s little wings started buzzing and he lifted off the chair, drink in hand. As he floated toward the open window, he turned and said “Hey- before I go give my advice to someone that appreciates me, I got one last idea for a story- one just for you. I think you’ll love it. It’s about an ungrateful nut-sack who dreams of being a writer except here’s the conflict- he never fucking writes. He just sits on his ass and daydreams and when anyone tries to help him work, he just whines ‘its too hard’ or ‘it doesn’t make sense’ or ‘nobody likes squirrels anymore’. He just whines like a little bitch. Maybe you can have success with that. And just so you know- what kinda freak doesn’t like squirrels? Squirrels are awesome.”
I had never seen Doug this angry before. It was… exciting? No… more… terrifying. He could fly. And those fingers look like claws in the low light.
Doug buzzed over to the window, chugged the booze and threw the glass at the typewriter on my desk. It hit hard and blew broken bits everywhere. He turned and flew back to the chair and grabbed the bottle of bourbon.
“I’m taking this. And just so we’re clear, what kind of cheap-fuck feeds his muse this skunk piss? You want better stories, get me better booze.”
“Doug, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I’m just tired. And I thought you liked that stuff. Please- don’t go I spoke out of turn.”
“Nah, we’re done here. I got others who want my company.”
“Doug- seriously- I’m sorry. I think you’re over reacting. I’ll get you better booze. Want a better chair? I’ll replace that too. “
“Overreacting? OVERREACTING?!?! You little fuckwit! I’ll show you overreacting! You’re about to get your ass kicked by a furry muse with wings!”
I had hit a nerve. Crap. Who knew muses could be so sensitive?
Doug’s fluttering wings doubled in intensity as he charged straight at me. He swung the plastic bottle of rotgut at my head. I ducked just in time. He spun around- I have never seen that murderous little fairy move so fast. He swung again and got me in the shoulder- hard. I yelped in pain. “OW! FUCK! DOUG! STOP!” He hovered in place- that intense stare that only the drunk or psychotic can do. He didn’t speak.
“ok Doug. That’s enough. I think you can go now. I’m good.”
“no fucking way- you’ve cut me to my soul- this is to the death bitch.”
“No… seriously- I’m good. “
Doug looked at me like I was suddenly the dumbest guy he’d ever seen.
“Ya sure? I can knock ya around a bit more if you’d like.”
“Thanks but no. I’ll take it from here. Can you not hit the typewriter next time? I don’t want to fix it.”
“whatever- I’m gonna need the safe word before I believe we’re done.”
“Leprechauns are dog-fuckers”
“That’s my boy. Get to work. I really did mean it about the booze- this crap ain’t fit for the dead.”
“Get over it bitch.”
Doug laughed and headed to the window, cheap booze in hand.
“Next week? “ “Yeah, same time. Wife will be out.”
“No problem. Whatever ya need. 5000 words before I come back. I believe in ya buddy.”
“Thanks Doug. Fly safe. You’re the best.”
And with that, he was gone.