by Laura Bickle
He listens to me when I wake up in the middle of the night with a harebrained idea. At least, he'll mumble something reasonably cogent before he rolls over and goes back to sleep. He’s the first reader for any of my work and carefully marks it up before it goes to crit partners or my agent. He can be pressured to edit a book in four days before a deadline. He tells me when things are working and when they are not. He’s more broadly-read than I am in a variety of genres, so I trust his opinion. One of his strongest editorial skills is looking for WTF moments:
“Dude, your main character would have bled out fifteen minutes ago with that kind of head trauma. Don’t beat her up so much if you don't want her brains leaking out of her ear.”
“That guy is kind of a douche. I mean, I know that he’s supposed to be some kind of hero or some such stuff, but he’s a douche. I want to take away his man card.”
“This frankly violates the space-time continuum.”
“WTF is this platypus doing here?”
And he provides ego petting whenever I need it. When I’m in the throes of “I suck,” he’s able to give pretty rational-sounding reasons why I don’t. Sometimes, I believe him.
A successful muse, all the way around.
But he’s not only that. He’s the Guy Who Runs the Cheezburger Masheen.
This is from the cats’ perspective. And, make no mistake, they rule the roost. They adored him from the moment they laid their eerily-reflective eyes on him. I knew he was The One because they didn’t barf in his shoes.
They sensed that he had supernatural powers.
He brought fish into the house. I’m not a seafood fan, but my husband will bring in all manner of things that I don’t like and which the cats adore. Salmon. Tuna. Scallops. And he shares. They look upon him with adoration for this simple fact alone.
But what’s more…he came with a Cheezburger Masheen. A propane-powered barbecue grill, which is something I lacked before he came into my life. He’ll grill a salmon filet specifically for the cat whenever he tosses one on the grill. I’ll turn up my nose and go scorch a cheeseburger. But he’ll grill them a tuna steak to the perfect temperature, allow it to cool so that they don’t burn their little tongues, and flake it into their separate dishes. He knows which cats prefer salmon over tuna, which ones like a little cheese on their burgers, and which one dislikes “well done” anything.
I think we all came out of this arrangement pretty well. I’m proud to have married the Guy Who Runs the Cheeseburger Masheen.