The personification of my creative muse hasn’t budged from my couch in 30 days. His give-up-on-life pants are earning their name ten times over, while his stained t-shirt is not officially holier than the Vatican thanks to ash burns. If assembled into a pyramid, the mountain of been cans nearby would have contained so much aluminum it would take five men to lift it, and 22 immigrant laborers would likely have died during its construction.

“Well,” he says. “I kept my part of the bargain. How did your attempt to write a fantasy novel AND serve as a municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month go?”

“Bleargh,” I reply.

“As I thought,” my muse cackles. “You stretched yourself too thin.”

“Buh. Sneh.”

“Look at that,” my muse says. “You can’t even muster the creative juices to respond in plain English.”

“Brain hurts,” I say. “Stop with talky-talky.”

“Only once I’m through gloating,” my muse snaps. Rousing himself, he peels off the couch leaving a shadow not unlike the kind you’d find after an atomic blast. Stumbling over to my computer, he clears away the detritus of frenzied creation and moderation (the internet forum kind, not the doing-less-of-things kind).

“No read-y,” I croak in what sounds about halfway between a hiccup and a sneeze. “No edited.”

Ignoring me, my muse peruses the work. “Huh,” he says. “I’ll give you this: you made it further than I thought you would.”

I don’t respond, and looking over he sees why: I’m passed out in a puddle of my own drool.

“It’s a good thing you’re not conscious to hear this,” my muse adds. “But even with all the stuff that went wrong, I’ve read worse. By you.”

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