Sticks and Carrots

Short post this week as the negotiations with Little Miss Muse continue.

Give and take.

Pout and huff.

Carrots and sticks.

Mostly carrots for her (promises of purple pretties and lavender lovelies. She’s one expensive muse…).

Sticks for me (deadlines, completed projects, and some resemblance of rhythm and routine).

But we are making headway.


Life for Mae is a daily struggle. Born with a deformity and reared in the foster system, she’s faced obstacles that no young girl should ever face. But Mae has what it takes to overcome. Mae Dae has heart.

Mrs. Price said human brains have two parts: The smart part and the heart part. And she told me ‘twas okay that I didn’t get much of the smart, because I got plenty of heart. I adjust the headband on my bright blue City Burger visor and look out the dust-covered window of the Blue Line bus. Blue Line to 24th Street stop. I have to pay close attention or I’ll miss my get-off. Because I have more heart than smarts, Mrs. Price said to concentrate real hard on the stops and where the lit-up street names above the bus driver’s head says we are.

Twenty-Second Street. That’s one…two more stops. Three people get off and two get on. A little more wiggle room. A little less summer stink from all the hot bodies.

I fiddle with the ends of my ponytail. I’m glad I got my white daddy’s smooth hair and not my black momma’s kinky curls. Not so glad I got a daddy in jail and a momma in the ground. That’s caused me all kinds of worry. I remember their hair, though. I remember playing beauty parlor on the floor of our old single-wide trailer before Daddy burnt it down. I’d run my doll’s combs through their hairs and feel how different. And put makeups on Momma and sometimes Daddy when he was sleepin’ off whatever he took in.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on the first Monday of every

month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.

Copyright © 2019 by B.A. Paul
All work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All work published on this site, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Beth's passion for writing started in grade school with an epic outer space adventure scribbled on 158 sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper with not-sharp-enough pencils. That manuscript was lost in a basement flood.

Thirty years, marriage, two kids and several dogs later, she's garnered enough story fodder to resurrect her passion—and this time she backs up her work!

She currently resides in Indiana with her family and a couple of meowing fur babies who enjoy walking across her keyboard.