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Rated: E · Fiction · Fantasy · #2265973
Liam meets his muse
You have to prepare a complex meal for a special occasion, all of your family and friends will be in attendance.

Oh, oh... You are completely out of every ingredient and you don't have time to go shopping. You have to send your muse out shopping, there's no other option.

What do you send your muse to shop for? What does your muse return with, and how does your dinner party turn out?

Liam woke tired. He had been up late, worrying about his Reaching celebration. It had come so late to him... and he was nervous, quite scared if you wanted to know the truth. The oldest boy and yet the last of his siblings to reach his Calling, he just knew something would go wrong. Why did he have to cook for everyone? How did that become custom?

No matter. He would cook and it would be what it was. If he failed miserably, well then, he would... would... take his muse and go live with the Mugwumps in the swamp. Surely, no one would bother him there. Besides, he and his muse would fit right in at the swamp. Who gets a frog as a muse? How was he supposed to be inspired by a frog?

In Liam's world, muses became real, tangible, when one reached their Majority. He was stuck with Gwendolyn, no matter how much he hated it. How does a frog get named Gwendolyn, by the way?

Swinging his legs out of bed, Liam rose and then dressed. It was time to head to the kitchen and begin preparations. No one was there when he went downstairs. Where is mom, he thought as he entered the kitchen. Why would she leave on a day I so desperately need her help?

Entering the kitchen, he was hoping to find his mother there. No luck. He would have to cook the Chicken Fricassee on his own. Taking his mom's cookbook from its place on the shelf, he turned to the page that contained the recipe.

"Let's see," he said. "Olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, an onion, garlic, carrots, thyme, flour, white wine, chicken stock...," the list went on. He wrote it all down and headed to the pantry to get the ingredients and start cooking. Half the village would be here to celebrate. The meal just had to be ready in time, but as he began to look, he found the cupboards bare. There was nothing in the house at all. Was this part of his test?

Thinking frantically, he decided to send his Muse shopping. He had no choice. He had tons of other stuff to do and had no time to shop. Calling Gwendolyn, he gave her the list and sent her packing.

"Be sure to get everything on the list," he told the frog. If you hurry, there will be just enough time to get it done for dinner."

Time passed quickly. Liam had chores to do, plus he had to write that stupid speech. He knew he would be red in the face reading it. Liam looked up at the time. He only had three hours before everyone would be there for dinner.

"Where is that stupid frog," he cried!

"Ahem, excuse me," said the frog. "I have returned. Here are your ingredients."

Liam opened the bag and cried out in dismay. "What is all of this," he said, holding up a bunch of stinky seaweed. Continuing, he pulled out sea cucumber, tadpole puree, dried caviar, moldy bread, bass fin chips, and a haunch of spoiled beaver meat.

"You've ruined me, frog," cried Liam. "This dinner is important for you too. How could you do this to us?"

"My name is Gwendolyn," the frog said angrily. "Just use the recipe you had opened earlier. It will be fine, you will see."

Having no time left, Liam complied. He saw the swamp in his future, but he just could not go without cooking something. After all, wasn't this his muse talking here?

Following the recipe as closely as he could, he prepared the ingredients, added them to the stinky beaver meat and put it in the oven. The smell was horrible. Hanging his head in shame, he headed upstairs to get ready for the party. He
hated that frog. When he was banished to the swamp, he would surely take care of her!

Some time later Liam's mother called up to him. "Come down, Liam," she said. "It's time."

Trudging slowly, Liam walked downstairs and into the great room. Just as he feared, half of the village was there. Everyone was smiling at him. "What," he thought. "Are they just here to taunt, to tease me?" Then he noticed the smell.

"What is that?" he said in wonder. "Why, that's your meal," his mom replied. "Doesn't it smell wonderful?"

Liam stuttered. "But how... who?" Suddenly a beautiful woman walked into the great room. Liam was mesmerized. She was so beautiful. He couldn't speak.

"Hello, Liam," she said in a voice as smooth as honey. "Don't you recognize me?"

"Liam," his father said. "This is Gwendolyn."

"That's impossible," Liam croaked as he finally gained his voice. "Gwendolyn is a smelly frog!"

His father smiled and Gwendolyn laughed. "No, my boy," his father replied. "That was part of the test, to see if you looked past your setbacks, to try to succeed regardless of the situation, to see if you would persevere through hardship. I am proud to say you did so brilliantly."

Everyone started clapping as his mother ran up and hugged him. He looked over at Gwendolyn. "Now there," he thought. "There
is a face to inspire."

872 words

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