The Muse by HeadBoy

muse n 1: in ancient mythology any of 9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne; protector of an art or science [syn: Muse] 2: the source of an artist’s inspiration; “Euterpe was his muse” v : think about at length and in depth; “I mused over the events of the afternoon” [syn: chew over, think over, meditate, ponder, contemplate, reflect, mull, mull over, ruminate, speculate]

Hesiod once said, “He is happy whom the Muses love,” and Jerry sat at his computer, hearing the footsteps of another deadline coming. Charging. Rattling the ground like the hoofbeats of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Deadlines were Jerry’s Waterloo, the bane of his existence. He hated them, but he loved writing, even if his present job was ghost writing cheap, tawdry, soft-core porn that called itself romance novels. And he was stuck this time. With a manuscript due in two days. He stared blankly at the flashing cursor on screen, and slowly drifted off to sleep. He didn’t stay asleep long. He felt a gentle shake on his arm, and a whisper in his ear. Jerry recognized her in an instant, it was Erato, the Muse of love poetry.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, stunned, and blinking, convinced he wasn’t yet awake.

“You’re awake, Jerry, and I’m here to help you,” she replied, her olive-completed, blemishless skin looking so soft and touchable, and cascades of black, curly hair tumbling to her hips. “You have a novel to write, and I’m here to inspire you.”

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Jerry sat there, and his mind sang an old song by the Jam, where Paul Weller asked the question “is my inspiration dry?” But Jerry didn’t say it out loud, he just looked at Erato.

“No,” Erato said, smiling and able to read Jerry’s thoughts, “your inspiration will be overflowing in a few minutes. Come with me.”

She led Jerry up the hallway to his bedroom, and laid him down. “No, we’re not having sex,” she said, again knowing his thoughts, “you’re going to sleep, and when you wake up you’ll know what to do.”

“But, I just woke up,” Jerry said, “and I’m nowhere near tir…” and he was asleep.

Erato looked skyward and spoke to her sisters, “I’m gonna need some help with this one,” she said.

Clio, the Muse of history, was the first one to stop in. She giggled with her sister, and gave her a good idea. Next came Urania, the Muse of astronomy, then Euterpe, who is the Muse of lyric poetry. The others weren’t far behind. Polyhymnia of songs to the gods, Melpomene of tragedy, Thalia of comedy, Terpsichore of dance, Calliope of epic poetry, all came by, all lent a hand to Erato and all left winking and giggling.

Visions of all nine Muses danced in Jerry’s head as he dreamed. Wild, sensual dreams, the stuff of myth, the stuff that makes a guy wake up stiff, smiling and embarrassed with himself.

Jerry did awaken, and was convinced it was all a dream. He smiled and headed into the kitchen to grab some coffee and get to work. He smelled something cooking in the kitchen, which was odd, since he lived alone.

Jerry made a dash for the kitchen, and there was Erato, standing in front of the stove, making pancakes for Jerry. His coffee was already poured and waiting at the table.

“Good morning,” Erato said, “how’d you sleep?”

“Wow!” was all Jerry could muster, and he took a sip of his java. “My God, this is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted,” he said, and he reached up to rub his head.

“Hey,” he said, feeling cool, smooth flesh where a full head of hair had been when he laid down just two hours before. “What happened?” He darted up the hall to look in the mirror. Sure enough, Jerry’s scalp was as naked as a cue ball.

He ran back to Erato, gasping, shocked. “My hair, what did you do to me?”

Erato said nothing, instead she kissed his naked skull, sat him down and motioned for him to eat. Jerry’s mind was stuck on his new lack of hair… “Will it ever grow back?” he thought to himself.

“No,” Erato answered, which made Jerry gulp.

“But I really loved my hair.”

“Something had to be given up for inspiration’s sake,” she said, kissing his head again. Jerry found himself loving the way it felt, Erato’s lips gently caressing his dome. “In a short time,” she told him, “you won’t miss it at all. In fact, you’ll come to prefer it.” Then she added with a large, knowing, grin, “So will the ladies.”

Jerry ate fairly quickly as Erato rubbed his bald scalp. It was soothing, inspiring even. Erato knew how to get into his mind with ease, and Jerry felt every creative cylinder fire at once.

He sat at his computer and felt his fingers fly faster than they’d ever typed before. He slowed down only once, to lean up and kiss Erato on the cheek as he wrote a story of two people falling in love, one of them a mythic character, one of Apollo’s daughters, inspiring the other with bizarre, sonorous, dreams and massive sessions late at night with a pair of Osters, firing up and clippering away her hair to different styles every night.

It was a story of Erato and Jerry, a story of the pleasures of the flesh, and the peculiar pleasures of a Muse allowing herself to be clippered and shaved and snipped nightly. Jerry’s hand got quite steady, or so the story went, as month after month passed, with him pulling Erato’s hair back into a thick, black ponytail, and feeling the scissors slide through it like it was butter.

He’d know the pleasure every evening, after he’d write his now-Best Selling books that the women of America, and later the rest of the world, would line up to buy. Erato’s beauty grew each day, to the point where Jerry would see an image of her, with her hair cut into a thousand different styles, and he’d try a new one every night. She’d giggle as he’d clipper away, around her ears, up her neck and, sometimes, over the top of her head.

She’d grin, knowingly, as she’d kiss his bald head, and it never failed to send shock waves of erotic bliss through his spine, down his arms and into his typing fingers. They’d end up, in the wee hours of the morning, lying in bed next to one another, feeling spent and sated. Jerry would sleep, Erato would disappear for a few hours and return later in the day, her black hair as curly, and long, as when they’d first met.

Jerry looked in the mirror, six months into this arrangement, and saw himself for the first time in ages. He hadn’t cared to look in a mirror, and didn’t need to for the longest time. He saw how clean and enticing his bald head had become, he rubbed it, still as smooth as the day he woke up with Erato there to inspire and entice him.

His book signing tours had turned into juggernauts of a cramped left hand from signing autographs, and ritual exhaustion from all the women who offered unspeakable acts of pleasure to him, all the thousands that lined up to get photographed with the man named “Sexiest Man in America” by People Magazine.

Erato sat still the night he returned, giggled like she had so many times as Jerry used a straight razor to peel away the last vestiges of her hair. She smiled at him. “How’s it feel to be a raging success?”

Jerry thought about it for a moment, he couldn’t remember when writing fiction had turned to living reality, or vice versa. He only knew that when he was asleep, he felt like he was alive, and when he was awake, he felt like he was dreaming.

At the market one afternoon, he felt a kiss on his skull, he turned to look, and it was a stranger, giddy with her face-to-face meeting with Jerry Harris, author.

“Can I get your autograph?” she asked, sheepishly.

“Sure,” he said, never getting tired of the acclaim. He looked at the lady’s hair, with the sides clippered to 1/4 inch, and the top slightly more than 1/2 inch. “What’s your name?” he asked, signing the first page of his book for her.

“Erato,” she said. “What’s yours?”

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