You know how some writers say their muse whispers in their ear? Mine does too, well, she did. Her name is Gunn. Lately she’s not whispering. She sits beside me making suggestions conversationally.
“So, wanna tell me why you’ve abandoned Butter?”
“I haven’t.” I protest.
“Yeah you did. You haven’t worked on her story in ages.”
“I got stuck. I had to let her story percolate. Like coffee. I need coffee…I wonder if there is any left in the pot.”
“How would I know, I’m not your assistant.”
(Gunn has a wee bit of attitude)
I roll my eyes and go into the kitchen. There’s no coffee, so I make a pot of half and half. Half decaf, half full strength.
“You know it won’t make a difference in how much sleep you get. You still won’t get a full night’s sleep.”
“I know,” I agree. The dog will still take most of the bed, right where I want to put my legs. The birds will still sing in the tree outside the window at four in the morning and my wife will still snore at five thirty. It makes no difference how much coffee I drink, decaffeinated or not.
“So you think you might finish this one?” Gunn asks as she leans toward the computer monitor.
“Yeah, I want to submit it to that online mag we found the other day.”
“Thought you were collecting your short stories and micro-fiction to put into that anthology you’ve been dreaming of for years?” She asks me.
“I am.” I pick up my mug, but it’s still empty. I give it a disapproving look and put it down.
Gunn watches me type for another few minutes. “No, you don’t want to have Devi do that yet. She has to flirt a bit before they hold hands.”
I side-eye her and re-read what I’ve written, and get disgruntled when I realize she’s right.
I hit the backspace key repeatedly, then re-type the scene. She must approve of the changes, because she says nothing more as I finish the section.
Finally, the story is at the three quarter mark. I’ve been worried about the five thousand word limit. When I hit my stride, I can be wordy. But I think I’ll make it this time. I move the cursor to the beginning and re-read the whole thing, nodding. Yep, I like this one.
“So, you’re really going to submit this?’ Gunn asks.
“Yeah, I think it might be one of my better ones.”
“And if that place doesn’t take it?”
“I might shop it around, or I might decide to keep it for the anthology.” I respond.
“You know, I think you could get a few stories out of a woman who can hop through universes. It’s not quite the Doctor, is it? Especially if you give her a girlfriend.” Gunn sounds ever so slightly impressed. “Never thought you could write speculative romance, but this is good.”
My coffee maker beeps to let me know the pot is done, and when I glance back toward Gunn, she is gone. I re-read the story again, smiling. I didn’t think I had it in me to write speculative romance either. I think I like where ‘what-if’ has taken me this time.
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