Rick O'Shea is a muse of Irish descent. O'Shea should tell you that. He is an amoeba-like rubbery creature who is blissfully invisible.
"Blissfully?" you may ask.
Well if you hung out in people's nostrils and enjoyed tickling their nose hair you'd want to be invisible too because this makes them sneeze.
JRR Tolkein sneezed a lot and would send Rick on a ricochet spree where he bounced about like a mad racquet ball. Rick loved it. Tolkein, not so much! It was the muse's idea to give hobbits hairy feet and to call the dragon Smaug. Unfortunately, muses must move out when their habitat dies.
Rick longed for warmer climes. He had had it with foggy, chilly Britain and jumped aboard a merchant ship, the Otaki, bound for New Zealand.
"Why not back to Ireland?" you ask.
Well, Ireland was too limerick-y for Rick. Have you ever had song lyrics stuck in your head for days? Muse O'Shea felt as annoyed about limericks that stuck in his rubbery one-cell-consciousness for weeks as you do about pesky songs or lame commercials.
Little Miss Muffet Sat on her Tuffet was one of Rick's. Some credit Dr. Thomas Muffet, whose step-daughter Patience, was mortally terrified of spiders but now you know, it was Rick.
Hickory Dickory Dock was his too. If that clock were to strike one just once more, Rick would have had a conniption and bounced to oblivion. In fact without this muse these quirky poems would just be called, 'Limers!'
Yes, New Zealand was the place for him. And from all he’d heard, JRR Tolkein would have approved.
How does a muse choose his conspirator, his cohort, his place of bouncy residence? It takes considerable work and due diligence. For years Rick had torpedoed up adult noses. After all, their nostril hair was fuller and more lustrous. But just this once, Rick thought he would like a kid to inhabit. He had abandoned the history-laced land of Druids, Saxons, and Celts for fresher vistas. A new beginning called for a new host.
"How did Rick pick?" you ask.
Well, he zoomed up and down the east coast. What a coast it was, unlike the icy, grey gloom of the Atlantic, the sea luxuriated here. It lay like a burnished shield whose waves dimpled and glistened, to the horizon.
Dolphins played off the bows of boats. Rick did something he'd never done before and dipped into a dolphin's blowhole. For a day he played in the sea but the incessant sonar beeps, chirps and hunt for fish drove him mad. Poor Rick had to retch on the shore. Dolphins it turns out were not a-musing at all!
So, Rick looked in on a primary school. There she was, a freckled, curly-haired kid who was bouncing on the playground. She and he would be kindred spirits. The best thing of all, as far as Rick was concerned, was that she had imaginary friends!
She rode a bright red bicycle with a bell. Every few feet she would talk to the bell. Her grumpy imaginar-ies were sitting on it scolding her. She had rung it and they were waving little, furious fists at her. One was jumping up and down in a right paddy.
Without a moment's hesitation Rick zoomed up her nose and whispered, "Put them on the spokes of the wheel."
"Ok," she whispered back as she dismounted. She unscrewed the bell and scooped her friends in her hands to place them on the spokes. "It will be like a Ferris wheel ride!" she said with a giggle.
"That's a good, wee lass," crooned Rick.
Of course she rode through puddles, which made her friends grouchy and muddy.
"Ha ha ha," laughed Mr. O'Shea.
"Who are you talking to?" growled a boy, a foot taller than her.
"Let me handle this," whispered Rick and he zoomed like a Lear jet up the boy's nose.
"Ouch!" screamed the bully, clutching his nose as he ran.
He never bothered the weird kid after that. Rick sees to it, still.
Writer Jenny Harp is a New Zealander grandmother who lives in the United States with her husband and loves God, life and family.