The Muse Sketch

The first piece I wrote for my Create Writing class was about writer's block and involved a Muse. Horrible piece of tripe, but what can I say? I had writer's block, and I had no real experience with writing fiction of any kind (The Demonic Creature that Invaded Bill's Room notwithstanding) it pretty much flopped.

Now, least I need to remind you again, I was still heavily influenced by Monty Python and Douglas Adams.

Flashback: In 10th grade, I wrote a sketch (this was before I even heard of Monty Python) in which the two main characters engage in an argument. For some reason, there's a certain humor I find in arguments: you have two (or more) parties stubbornly refusing to hear the other party and insisting they're right.

There was another sketch I wrote when very stressed (about the time my Mom was worried I might be moving to North Carolina) which was between a son and her mother. Very cathartic, very funny, and unfortunately, very lost.

So I tend to have an ear for arguments, as it were.

So, I have yet another writing assignment for Creative Writing (we were expected to have something every week). In fact, if you've been reading these sketches in the right order, you might see that there is some form of (tenuous) continuity. The type of continuity you might find in, oh, I don't know … a episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

I'm also particularly fond of the name Hrothgar. Hrothgar. It has a nice ring to it (once you know how to pronounce it). True story: I'm with some friends and we go to a restaurant. It's crowded so they ask for a name. I give the hostess the name “Hrothgar.” Had to spell it for her and when she called our “name,” we almost missed it since we didn't recognize the name.

And for no particular reason, the phrase “… third Hitler on your left …” I find highly amusing. And believe me, you don't know the depths of guilt I feel because of that.

I won't bother listing all the references and influences that went into this particular sketch. The astute reader will pick up on them.

Maybe.

And before anyone asks, I probaby won't write the “COME AS YOUR FAVORITE DICTATOR PARTY SKETCH,” as I have no idea how to even approach that, much less make it funny …

[An apartment, one of those high rise apartments where the main window opens out to a ledge. In front of the window is a desk with a typerwriter, a stack of paper next to it (the typerwriter has a sheet in it) and wads of paper litter the room, all centered about an empty waste basket. A knock comes from the front door. Pause. Another knock from the front door. Pause again. This time we hear a pounding as if someone with a sledge hammer is working at opening the door with it. And from what we can see, it looks like someone with a sledge hammer is working to open it. Still no response. Then the door opens and in walks a man who is wearing flowing white robes (much like what a Muse might wear) carrying a rather large sledge hammer. He looks around, sees no one, and exits off the other side of the set. So much for the setting.]

WRITER

[offstage, voice sounds kind of echoy] Hey! Do you mind?

MUSE

[for that is what he is] [also offstage, and his voice too has that echoy quality of the writer] No, not really.

WRITER

[until otherwise stated, all voices are offstage, and have that neato echo quality to them] Get the hell out of here, I'm busy.

MUSE

You're supposed to be working.

WRITER

I'm thinking.

MUSE

You're slacking off.

WRITER

Am not.

MUSE

Are too.

WRITER

Get the aich e double ell out of here.

MUSE

[Comes back to the set, grabs the typewriter and exits again. The voices are still echoy mind you, in case you forgot] [A large echoy splash is heard]

WRITER

Hey! That's my typewriter! [Sounds of water sloshing, and indistinct, echoy muttering, then something being dropped on a tile floor, and then the WRITER enters the set (very wet) wearing only a towel and carrying a very wet typewriter. He sets it down on the desk. Then he starts to go back off]

MUSE

[Blocking him with a very large sledge hammer] I think not.

WRITER

Who are you? Did Phillip send you?

MUSE

No—

WRITER

Because you can tell Phillip that these scare tactics of his are not going to work to get the book done any sooner. I'll get it to him when it's good and finished, understand?

MUSE

Listen—

WRITER

And well you should listen, buddy. You can listen when I tell you to tell him that the book will be ready by tomorrow, next week at the latest. Next month at the absolutely, positively latest, get that?

MUSE

You don't seem—

WRITER

Finished? Of course I'm not finished. I'm only just beginning, you— [MUSE knocks WRITER on the shin by lazily swinging the very large sledge hammer underhand] AHHHH!

MUSE

[WRITER hops over to the phone and starts to dial while the MUSE is talking] Listen here, you myoptic knee biting pair of fetid dingo's kidneys. Phillip did not send me, nor did Monique, Murray or anyone else you know. I as your—what are you doing?

WRITER

Hello, Wee, Bleedum and Howe? Yes, I'd like to talk to Mr. Bleedum please. Yes, I'll hold. [To MUSE] Don't mess with me.

MUSE

[Yanks phone cord out of wall] What you are going to do now?

WRITER

You pulled the phone cord out of the wall.

MUSE

Yes.

WRITER

Just because you wear a white flowy dress and carry a very large sledge hammer— [Pause]

MUSE

Yes?

WRITER

Why the hell are you wearing a white flowy dress?

MUSE

What? You don't think it looks good?

WRITER

It's not a matter of looking good. It's a matter of— [Pause]

MUSE

Yes? It's a matter of?

WRITER

And the sledge hamer. The sledge hammer … why the hell are you carrying a sledge hammer?

MUSE

Wait, you're changing the subject.

WRITER

And my door! Is that what the sledge hamer is for?

MUSE

What about my white flowy dress?

WRITER

What about my door?

MUSE

You're changing the subject again.

WRITER

What subject?

MUSE

My white flowy dress.

WRITER

What about your white flowy dress?

MUSE

You said, “It's not a matter of looking good, it's a matter of—

WRITER

Of what?

MUSE

I don't know! You didn't finish the sentance.

WRITER

I don't know … it's a matter of … that you're wearing a white flowy dress. Are you happy now?

MUSE

No, not if that's your attitude about my uniform.

WRITER

[VERY LONG PAUSE HERE] Your uniform?

MUSE

What, are you hard of hearing? Yes, my uniform.

WRITER

And the sledge hammer?

MUSE

It's from my previous job. Still comes in handy.

WRITER

Who the hell are you?

MUSE

I'm your Muse.

WRITER

I was under the obviously mistaken impression that Muses do not have a five o'clock shadow.

MUSE

Unfortunately, that's a common misconception people have today.

WRITER

Yea.

MUSE

Yea, that's everybody's response. [In a different voice] You're what? My Muse? Oh. [Regular voice] It bothers the hell out of me.

WRITER

So, I suppose you're here to inspire me.

MUSE

Yup. That's the deal.

WRITER

Okay. [Pause. Both kind of look about the room] So, what happend to … ah … what's her name?

MUSE

She's working for some hack named Stephen King.

WRITER

Oh.

HITLER

[Pokes his head in door] [In a distinctly non-Germanic voice] Pardon me, where is apartment 3450B?

WRITER

Uh … Adolf, right?

HITLER

No, Hrothgar.

WRITER

Oh … umm, down the hall, to the left.

HITLER

Thanks. [Disappears]

WRITER

Did he say his name was …

MUSE

Hrothgar. Yea.

WRITER

Excuse me. [Leaves apartment]

[Hallway, in front of a door with 3450B on it. WRITER walks up to it and knocks.]

MUSSOLINI

[Answers door. His voice is distinctly non-Italian] Yes?

WRITER

Is there a Hrothgar here?

MUSSOLINI

[Opens door wide. We can see a large gathering of people, all dressed as famous dictators (lots of Hitlers, Mussolinis, Mao Tse Tungs, Attillas, etc. …)] He's the third Hitler on your left …

WRITER

Thanks … [This takes is to the “COME AS YOUR FAVORITE DICTATOR PARTY SKETCH,” of which, is not written as of this time]