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Quest for the Missing Muse: “Cowboy”

June 25, 2018

To reconnect with my missing Muse and reestablish my writing habit, I charged myself with writing to a daily prompt. I happened to have an ancient (December 2000) edition of Writer’s Digest magazine with 365 prompts. The guidelines are to write about 75 words. I needn’t worry about whether the writing is any good, or if the story will ever be finished much less developed further. The goal simply is to write, every day.

One prompt seems to have caught fire. I worked on it all weekend and I plan to keep working on it. It stemmed not from a daily prompt, but an old Writer’s Digest monthly challenge, “Your Assignment #131” from that same edition, and also a writer’s group prompt. We were to write to the one word, “cowboy.” I didn’t want to write about cowboys but you can see that I got the job done, in a way. I won’t have to show up at the next meeting empty-handed. 

Assignment #131 was to stage a meeting between two famous heroes (or villains) and imagine their conversation. Here’s the start of what may be a work in progress. Working title,  Cowboy:

Superman bit into the bagel. Warmed by the toasted bread underneath, the soft, smooth cream cheese topping slid across his tongue. The bagel took a little work, the dense and chewy texture not yielding to his teeth without a fight. It required concentration, the application of a degree of superhuman strength to overcome the resistance. He didn’t remember having to do that as a young man.

No problem with his sense of smell, though. The pleasing aromas of sliced onions, peppery pastrami, and tangy pickled herring wafted from the deli counter.

The waitress appeared at his elbow, a carafe of caffeinated coffee in one hand, decaf in the other. “Top up?” she asked.

“Thanks, Diana.” he replied but he didn’t need the name tag pinned to her pink uniform to identify her. In her prime she too had fought for justice. Now white haired and slowed by aching joints, she was the civilian Diana Prince. All that remained of her career as Wonder Woman were the metal cuffs around her wrists.

“I can get away with it,” she explained once. “People just assume that The Bracelets of Submission are statement jewelry.”

“Why do old … err, older women wear such big jewelry?” he asked.

“Dainty pieces get lost in those saggy skin folds,” was her sardonic reply.

Superman reached for the sugar dispenser and knocked over the salt shaker which poured a small crystalline cone onto the Formica table. “Oh, crap,” he grumbled.

“Don’t have a cow. Boy, are you touchy today.” Diana wiped the spill with a rag.

“I didn’t used to be a klutz,” he said.

“And I didn’t used to have arthritis,” she replied. “I used to heal in an instant.”

“Being a demigod isn’t the same as being immortal.”

“Don’t I know it,” said Thor. “We do age. We do … die. I’m not the man I once was. Less God of Thunder, more Mr. Jane Foster these days.”

 

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