I slide the last of the dusty tome into the cramped shelf, wedging it between it’s sister editions. Goodbye Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, hope I never see you again. The stretched leather squeaks as I force it into its place. A life on a shelf for the delight of generations of monks seeking the knowledge of the wise. But a pestering fly dives down my throat sending my body into a coughing fit to force the invader out. Between hacks I find my footing and climb from the ladder to the solid floor.
“Scribe!” calls my oppressor from the doorway. His wild beard hangs to his belly which squeezes into his work robes. “Are these cat paws across Saint Edmund’s Sermons!” He holds the manuscript open to the page where tiny paw prints trail across the virtuous words.
“Uh…that’s probably Mister Fluffyface.”
“Mister…what? We don’t own a cat!”
“I’ve been meaning to tell you about that…”
“And this!” He drops Saint Ed, pulling a second book from under his arm, and flips to a rather lengthy passage. “Is this a dragon’s rear in the margin of Summa Theologiae?“
“I thought I removed that page…”
“Useless! Give me one reason why I shouldn’t throw you in the alley I pulled you from?”
“If I’m gone…who’s going to feed Mister Fluffyface.”
“FIX THIS NOW!”
The slamming door rattles the shelves. Mister Fluffyface emerges from between the crates and nestles on the bench beside me. His grey fur, sprinkled with soot, brushes the planks as he approaches. His loving nudge and soft brown eyes grants me the courage to pull a fresh parchment from the stack.
Saint Edmund, we meet again. I sigh, dipping my quill into the ink pot. I copy the same words, reliving the same sermon I have done countless times before. There’s no life behind these letters, energy in my ink, or passion in my blood. I finish the page and pull a fresh one from the stack. The blank void stares at me, dares me to dream and perchance to create. But my quill pauses, a delicious thought glows like an ember in my brain. Taking hold of a new idea, the quill’s sharpen point across the page.
Forever in the Muses (gracious?) service,
—The Scribbling Scribe