Percy the Space Chimp got fed up with all the company and went to the kitchen. Presumably for coffee, but something told me he was going for a walk in the National Forest.
I texted Lisa. “See if you can get rid of, or distract, Conversia and Libraria. Wiki isn’t as old as they are and might not be as devious.”
No idea why it worked, but a tour of Lisa’s closet seemed to do the trick. I’m sure she could make a girlie museum out of that place someday.
I looked across at Wiki. “Got time for a couple of questions?”
She looked up from her iPad.
“I haven’t seen Lorelei around lately, but I keep getting ideas. Do you know what’s happened to her.”
“All the Muses got really busy with the lockdown. People were cooking, painting, all kinds of artsy things. Lorelei started working the night shift just to keep up. She’s been around. Have you woken up with fresh inspiration?”
“See.” Wiki wrinkled her nose in smile.
“That’s another thing. I love your little smile. How do I describe it if I want one of my characters to do something similar?”
Wiki clicked away on her small iPad. “These days it’s often called a bunny smile. There’s a warning that it leads to bunny lines on the nose as someone ages. Maybe I should stop doing it.”
“Please don’t. It’s adorable. I don’t know where I’ll include it, but probably in the hat series. Don’t know if Joyeux DuPont fits into the next book, or not. Maybe the one with moths if I can figure something out for it.”
“What seems to be the problem?”
“So many problems. I don’t see how a moth would be all that dangerous. I just had a cool victim scene I wanted to use. There seems to be a complete lack of legends or deities that have anything to do with moths.”
Wiki slid over, then patted her beanbag. “Check this out. Calyptra moths have been known to exhibit vampirism. That’s real-world, and ought to be creepy enough for you.”
I sunk in beside her. “Wow! There’s even a North American species. Lizzie’s staked a lot of vampires, so I’m not sure just yet. Why can’t there be a demon or something from Aztec legend.”
She passed me her iPad again. “Check out this story. There’s a legend of The Killing Stone in Japan. It was said to contain an evil spirit known as the Nine Tailed Fox. Just recently, this rock split in half. What if the demon escaped?”
“How’s that help me? I can’t just send Lizzie to Japan.”
“I’m not a Muse, so you’ll have to figure some of it out. Why couldn’t it be a Native American shaman who trapped a demon in a stone. When it breaks, your demon could escape.”
“Huh! The hat lived through a lot of history, so he could explain some of it. I’m just stuck trying to work out all these problems. Moth monsters, the Kentucky Derby, gremlins, a talent competition. Some are going better than others. Lorelei has to have been invading my sleep.”
“Hmm, you’ll have to step your gremlins up for modern times. Lizzie lives in pseudo-St. Louis, right?”
“Yeah, but I never call it out, so I can make up my own streets and parks.”
“Good plan, but you know what is there? The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. They’re one of the major players in the spy game.”
“What do they do?”
“It’s like a warehouse of computer data involving satellite photos, maps, weather, all kinds of things. Gremlins can’t just chew on airplane cables these days and hold someone’s attention. Put them into those servers, and you might really have something.”
“That’s pretty good, and gives me something to think about.”
“There’s more. Look at this video. A guy is playing two saxophones at once. That ought to score some points with your talent judges.”
“Dang. It would, too. I can probably use that, but that story is years down the line.”
“Never too soon for research. I can get Conversia to take you to Japan and the Kentucky Derby. She likes people to get first-hand knowledge for their stories. Maybe interview a few old-timers. I’ll bet Libraria could help you learn Japanese so you could talk with them.”
“That’s the part I can’t do. I’d love to go gallivanting around for research, but I still have to hold down a job. It’s traditional research, or nothing.”
“Check out this Bugs Bunny cartoon. It has gremlins in it.”
I watched the video, and caught myself laughing even after all these years. “That’s awesome. Got any more?”
“Sure. How about some old Kentucky Derby footage?” She clicked away at her device. “Do you know the difference between a Muse and a Siren?”
“Don’t tell me there’s a video for that, too.”
“A Muse shows up to inspire you. A Siren’s job is to crash your career on the rocks of research. Did you get any writing done today?”
Wiki pointed at herself. “Siren.”
And there was the cute bunny smile.