For those of you not familiar with Steve, you can find him here. With a tip of the hat to J. A. Platt and Terry Pratchett's Small Gods.
“Steve, you have a visitor!” I called out.
“Who the hell would visit me, they only send visitors when I’ve done something wrong. And how many times have I told you, I'm the Demon Inspiration, not Steve.” In the two weeks that he had been hanging around me, he had grown to a little over three feet tall.
I was exhausted, I had slept maybe two hours a night, but the biography of Steve, “How I became the Demon Inspiration” was done. Yeah, biography, I had become a ghostwriter to a fucking imp.
“I'm not an imp. I am a demon, and you think it's bad now, at least I let you sleep!” He read my mind again. It was a talent he seemed to only employ when I was pissed off at him, which was coming more and more frequently.
Maybe this new visitor would help things out.
“Steve, I would like you to meet Carl. Carl is, how did you put it Carl?”
The inch tall demon looked back at me from the desk where I had blocked Steve’s view of him. “I am the cruel mistress of writer’s block.” He squeaked at me.
“Um Carl, aren’t you a guy?” I asked.
“Yeah, I'm stuck on this mistress thing. I have writer’s block…” Carl crossed his hands behind his back and looked down at his feet sheepishly. He could not have looked more pathetic.
The Demon Inspiration let out an exasperated sigh. “Really Jonathan, is this how it's going to be? Don’t you want to be famous?”
“Steve, what I want to do is sleep. What I want to do is get through any chore without having more ideas than I have places to write them. I have a bookcase full of notebooks of ideas. You’ve been here two weeks! I couldn’t mow the fucking lawn without stopping three times to write down the ideas.”
“But…” Steve began, and Carl, still only an inch tall interrupted him.
“Leave him alone Steve, Oh yeah, I remember you, that time you put mashed potatoes on my chair. You were a riot down there. But now we're on even ground.” Carl had not grown an inch yet, and if I had anything to say about it, he wouldn’t. If Steve had described it properly to me, if I told no one, at some point in the future I could stop believing in Carl and he would just go away.
“So, uh, Cruel Mistress, how does this work?” I asked.
“How does what work? Oh, the writer’s block thing? I don’t know, I have it though.”
Steve audibly slapped his forehead. “Really Jon..”
“Jonathan, my mom doesn’t even call me Jon.”
“Really JON, is this guy here the best you could come up with? A shrimp with gender issues?”
“Who you calling a shrimp” Squeaked Carl, “If I remember correctly, you weren't that tall when you got here yourself. And even so, you didn't want to grow, so aren’t I in a more enviable position? If I want to go back, all I have to do is get Jonathan here to forget about me.”
“Yeah, but Cruel Mistress?”
“I told you, I have writer’s block. I'm working on it. Geez.”
The taller of the two demons chuckled. “Hey Carl,” he added, “maybe the Unknowing Prophet, or, how about the Cock of Writer’s Block?” Steve could be vulgar just for the sake of it.
It occurred to me that while they were going back and forth like this, the tiny voice that I had come to think of as Inspiration, was silent.
“Stop, you're taking all of the good ones. I can’t use something you thought up. How would that look when I got back down there?”
“Why not something like Untappable Genius? Or even just Cruel Master?”
I left the two of them arguing, slipping out the front door while they were both occupied. I left my notebooks, my tape recorder, even the markers I sometimes used to write on my arms when nothing else was available, sitting on the counter. Even if all they did was bicker, I was going to enjoy the peace and quiet.
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