SparkWord: Apollo.

Hey! Bin a while, how you been?” The sound of the disembodied voice is so close, it could be inside my head.

Startled by the intrusion, leathery winged creatures of the night drag a scantily clad angel into the terrifying shadows. A trail of ooze from her partially amputated wings glistens in the half light.

Hi, Monique.” I would open my eyes, but knowing I am asleep, there seems little point. “I miss not having you around. Written hardly anything since you disappeared. To what do I owe the pleasure of your company at this late hour?” No more than two hours could have passed since I stumbled to my bed in an absinthe-induced coma.

Thought you should know. You’ve been tagged on a Spark Word.”

Spark Word?” The name dredges through the guts of memory from a distant past. “You don’t mean SparkWord as from Mel’s Diner?”

The same, although who resurrected the diner, I have no idea.”

Thoughts of Evil Dead scurry through the dregs of sleep in my head. Whether they come from Monique or me, I am unsure, such are the uncertainties of communicating telepathically with an undead muse.

Do you know who tagged me?” Monique is unable to guess; I continue, “I bet it was that Miss Vish, may the lament of a thousand tortured, medieval poets torment her dreams. So, what is this sparkly word we are supposed to embrace?”

Apollo!” I sense smug satisfaction in her reply.

The NASA lunar expeditions of the last century,” I confirm, deliberately inserting my thoughts in conflict with hers.

My muse is bemused. “Everyone else is going for the Greek God angle, but it’s up to you… I suppose.”

I sense the disappointed apathy in her response. I’ve no doubt we will soon be writing about Greeks too, although I would much prefer a jaunt into the Sci-Fi world. But I am only the poor, deluded writer and must submit to the inevitable as demanded by the muse.

What have you got on Greek gods then?” I ask.

I was reading what some of the others have written, and…”

Do I pay my muse to glean inspiration from what others have written?” I interrupt.

You don’t pay your muse, not even in compliments! So…”

I feel admonished. She continues, “They seem to have the idea that Apollo, Lord of all muses, patron saint of art, poetry and music, is some young, muscle-ripped, tanned Adonis going around performing grand acts beneficial to humans.”

I suppose you are going to refute this romantic notion, then.”

I’m a muse. I’ve met Apollo. I know Apollo quite well.”

I chuckle silently. My muse amuses me. I sense a deeper knowledge than she cares to admit.

She sighs loudly enough to convince me she draws her last breath until I remember she has not breathed air in the last fifty years. “Maybe he was an Adonis three millennium ago, but he has aged, and not in a good way.”

I thought Greek gods were immortal.”

They still age, especially if they won’t pay heed to their diet. Too much wine and ambrosia, I suspect. If you can imagine a pot-bellied, 250-pound flabby pig dressed in a toga, you would be nearer the truth. He’s almost bald yet resorts to wearing a wig in public. Most of his teeth are missing and he has bad breath. He has that disgusting body odour of a dirty old man with a urinary problem. A twitch on the left side of his face makes you think he is winking at you. That’s really creepy. The worst, though, he still thinks he is God’s gift or Zeus’s gift to the opposite sex. Same sex too if stories I hear are correct. He claims conquest over most of the muses, both male and female.”

You seem to know a lot. Have you ever…?”

This muse doest not do kiss and tell.”

For a moment, I wonder if I’m pushing her too far. She seems offended. “Come on Monique. This is me you’re talking to. It’s not as if you’re telling the whole world. What’s he like in bed?”

She pauses for several moments as if struggling to keep the knowledge from me. Hiding the truth when communicating telepathically, however, is almost impossible. “I’ve certainly known better.”

As a prostitute in your previous life, I guess you do have ample experience to pass judgement.”

If Monique had been a dog, I’m sure she would have growled at me for reminding her of the events leading to her death. “He convinced me that sex was part of the indoctrination ritual of a new muse. It was only the one time, though. He called me a frigid bitch. That was after I told him his dick was too small to satisfy even a cockroach.” She giggles. “I hadn’t intended the pun. You see what I did? Dick, cock roach?”

Her sense of humour hasn’t changed since I last saw her. “When does the writing need to be complete?” I am still tempted to explore moon landings, aliens, and the dark side of the celestial sphere.

Whenever. The weekend should do, I think. If you need my help, just call.”

Just one thing,” I say. “Did Apollo not have a sister, Selene, goddess of the moon and magic?”


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