“Nope,” the creature says, sponging up my ideas with his hands like the paper towel guys from those commercials. “Not today, you won’t.”

I try to pull his arms away. “Please, I’ll do anything. Just let me write.”

“Nope,” he says again with a smirk. He’s enjoying this, I know. “It’s my job, dear. Gotta do what I’m told to do.” He brings out a leaf blower from nowhere and starts it up, the noise invading my head. With skillful efficiency, all of my elaborate words are scattered around, backing into corners and sinking into the squishy parts of my brain. I try to think them back into order, but they refuse to obey .

“But why?” I moan, head in my hands. “What have I done to deserve this?”

He stops the leaf blower and looks at me. “Think of it this way. If the writing came easy, everyone would become writers. We’d have no doctors or teachers or roadkill scoopers–just a bunch of useless stories floatin’ along.”

“Useless? Let me tell you, stories aren’t–”

“Whatever word works for you, dear. I’m not in charge. Don’t shoot the messenger.”

“You’re no messenger! You’re destroying my work!”

He shrugs, plugging a vacuum into my cranium. “Just doin’ my job,” he mutters again. He sucks up my inspiration with a sweep of his hand. When he finally clicks it off, he faces me again. “Look, don’t worry too much. It’ll all come back eventually; my job isn’t to stop you, but to make it more difficult.”

He tips his hat and salutes. “See you next week!” He’s gone before I can reply.

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