One out of Three ain’t False

One of these vignettes is true. The other two were dreams. Can you guess which?

Uno

They came in cars. A Mini and a Morris-minor both painted a shade of teal echoing the plumage of their passengers. There were no less than five inside each vehicle and a few more perched on the roof. Native parrots. Kea, Kākā, kakapo, kākāriki. All as big as the humans the cars were originally built for and by. Each bird had learned one or more phrases of human speech. They would shriek their pet-phrases at random intervals as if afflicted with Tourette’s and the bird-brained cacophony was hilarious. Then another vehicle pulled up. A white van this time. My grandmother hopped out of the van and kicked Liz up the ass. Then she got back in the van and drove away.

Dos

Young kids don’t think that way. That’s what a lot of women say. Bullshit! I was only five years old the first time we visited Toronto. School starts at age 6 in that part of the world. My age was more suited for the equivalent of what we call Kindergarten in New Zealand. Standing-desks were not trendy back then, but very common in school-type environments. So there we were standing by some table busy working away at … Goodness knows what … I can’t really remember, but that was probably when I was playing with the plastic castle that had a trapdoor leading into a secret room that could be accessed by locating the camouflaged sliding door on the side. The girl standing next to me was engrossed with something equally fascinating so I looked around to make sure no-one was watching, then bent down and looked up her skirt.

Tres

The beautiful and mysterious world of calligraphy. I don’t think the teacher was explaining it very well. Not my fault that I couldn’t read the blackboard from where I sat. Fortunately, my pencil-case was loaded for bear. I stopped scribbling with the blue ink and switched to felt-tips in bright colours. Then highlighters. At least two other kids at the same table followed my lead — either from boredom or rebellion — and we were soon making a fine mess on our pages. By the time my masterpiece was ready for grading I had used a decent amount of cellotape to ensure that the remains of my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwhich would remain fixed to the page. The thesis scrawled in bright red tomato-sauce “Remember: The bigger the spider, the bigger the mess.”


© Grumpy Axolotl

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Jessica and The Moon

Tell me the legend of Jessica and the moon again?  
Well, it all happened long, long ago …


Jessica lived with her Momma and Poppa in a little cabin at the edge of the forest.  During the night, the moon kept watch over the earth, providing light for the nocturnal creatures and those walking home late or making trips to the outhouse.  Jessica would lie in bed watching the moon through the window.  “I wish I could go play with the moon” she would whisper longingly. “But the moon is very high” spoke Hooters. “Much too high for a little girl to reach”.  Hooters was a giant, wise old owl. He was also Jessica’s friend and he spent many nights perched on the limb of the old elm that crossed her window. He would tell her tales of the far-away places he had visited and the people and exotic creatures of those lands, until Jessica fell asleep.

One night, Farmer Brown inadvertently left a gate open and Daisy – his Friesian cow – wandered into the field where the happy-grass doth grow, courtesy of some trespassing louts. It tasted mighty fine, she thought, chowing down.  Now, there is a certain inevitability inherent in particular conditions: call it fatalism, or even chaos-theory, if you will.  The bottom-line is, Cow gets stoned – Shit happens! In her delightful delirium Daisy could see the farmer’s cat playing the fiddle right there in the meadow whilst the dog ran around barking and laughing madly at such sport. High as a kite, Daisy took it into her head to attempt a jump clear over the moon.  But she wasn’t high enough … And crashed head-first into the helpless moon.  AUE! Cried the moon in shock, and his light went out, plunging the earth into darkness.

“Jessica- Wake Up!” Screeched Hooters. “Huh, wha.. What’s wrong? Why is it so dark?” Jessica managed, not sure if she was dreaming. “The moon is hurt Jessica, we must tend to it”
“But no-one can reach the moon, it’s too high, you told me that” said Jessica.
“Too high for girls, but not for mad-cows and owls. Jump on my back.”  So Jessica crawled out her window and climbed onto Hooter’s back, and off they went. It was the first time Jessica had flown and it was as exhilarating as it was terrifying. “I can see my house from here.” whooped Jessica as Hooters circled, but it soon vanished in the dim as they flew upwards. Higher and higher they climbed into the darkness, Hooters navigating by the stars in the heavens.

“Moon straight ahead.” Announced Hooters as a round black shape emerged to blot out even the stars.  The moon was almost completely black with his lights out and Jessica could see he was crying.  Her heart was filled with compassion and she knew instinctively what had to be done. “So long Hooters” said Jessica, climbing gently onto the moon. “You can go and tell my folks not to worry. I will stay here and nurse the moon.”.  “Hoot-hoot, good luck” called Hooters and he dropped out of sight into the seemingly-endless dark. “You poor old moon”, Jessica said, kissing the moon on the cheek and massaging the area where Daisy had struck. “You just get some rest and I will do your job tonight.” And as the moon dozed off, Jessica dropped her pyjama-pants, bent over and mooned the earth.

The legend of Jessica lives on to this day. After the moon recovered, he and Jessica were married. Hooters would visit regularly and tell stories of far-away lands, despite Jessica being able to see it all from her vantage-point. Daisy soon got over her bruises and Farmer Brown never forgot to lock the gate again. Some say that on a full-moon if you look carefully, you can still see Jessica’s bottom as she helps the moon light the earth.


(C) Grumpy Axolotl
Featured Image: Pixabay

Pies.

Guest post by Linda G.


Ben was every woman’s dream, with his blue eyes, copper hair, and straight white teeth. Strong but gentle. Confident and in control, whether commanding the boardroom or the bedroom. And he was mine. Mine! … Until my best friend Kelly stole him. For days I cried and cried. I felt angry and betrayed. Kelly and I had been friends since 1st grade. After a couple of months I wondered if I should bury the hatchet, but then I heard that they were getting married and I totally flipped my wig. Now I wanted nothing but revenge. Revenge!

Kelly was hesitant at first, but I assured her that I was over Ben and wanted to maintain our friendship and invited them both over for some of my homemade steak and kidney pies. When she and Ben walked into my house, my heart burned so that I thought my chest would burst, but I kept my cool and choked down the emotions. Ben and Kelly loved the pie and I was seething inside when I saw how much they loved each other. As we wished each other goodnight I promised more pie in the future.

A few days later Kelly rang frantically “Ben’s gone. Missing. Totally disappeared. He hasn’t answered my calls for 2 days.” I hurried over to her house and wrapped my arms around her as she sobbed on her living room floor. “I should call the police.” she said. “No.” I reasoned with her “You know Ben is often called away on important meetings. He’s probably lost his phone. Give it until tomorrow. In the meantime, you can have some of the fresh pork pies I just made.” So that afternoon, I dropped off a box of pies to a tearful Kelly, assuring her I’d check back in the morning. “Enjoy your Big-Ben Pork Pies, you bitch.” I thought to myself as I high-tailed it to the city’s international airport.

The Pipes Produce

This short-story was written for me by blainearcade in return for providing a writing prompt. Please join me in rewarding their effort by heading over to their blog and reading The Pipes Produce.

Excerpt: The mayor, one Herman Lefawn, of Wheatlow, a small town that farmed golden grains for the governing bodies of the Grand Chivalrous Alliance, had endured much in recent weeks. He’d endured his gardeners accidentally opening a hole to a cavern older than sin directly beneath his impressive homestead (all he’d wanted was a simple spot for his chestnut trees), he’d endured the hideous arcane creatures that had slithered out from it, and he was now enduring the worst music he’d ever heard. It will all be over soon, he thought. Better screeching pipes than dragon roars. Smile and nod. Can I even manage both at once through this din? Continue reading →

Ballerina Fireman Astronaut Movie Star

The ballerina was hot for the astronaut. And why not?, after all; The astronaut had a thundering sturdy rocket to boast of. The astronaut went to work in a suit. And it was no ordinary suit; It was a suit that only those such qualified could wear and designed to bear the unique pressure, or lack thereof, of the job. It was an expensive suit. The ballerina wished to shoot for the stars. Maybe the Movie-stars. The ballerina had hot legs and the astronaut was her lift-ticket out of this two-bit opera-house. But when the astronaut fired up his rocket, the stage-curtains caught alight and everything was fucked.

Ballerina Fireman Astronaut Movie Star

No Caterpillars. (Meanwhile …)

I was most disappointed. I took the seat by the window where I had a panoramic view of the plants. Observing from the window, I could see the milkweeds, but no caterpillars. Why were there no caterpillars on the plants outside the window? I like to see caterpillars while I eat. Is that really too much to ask?

Jacob shook his head in bewilderment as he read the surreal comment in the suggestion book. It must have been the old codger who was in here for lunch most days: The retired entomologist whom, it now appeared, was evidently cultivating butterflies in the attic. “Harmless old chap, but a few paninis short of a cafe” Jacob chuckled to himself.

I chose a bacon, chicken, apricot and lettuce panini for myself and placed it confidently on my plate, despite the almost-overwhelming temptation of the scrumptious BLTs on the menu. I love a good BLT. How can anyone NOT find paradise in a good BLT? Firstly, it has bacon. Secondly, bacon. And the letuce and tomato – glorious! Meat, salad and toast all at once. And it MUST be toasted. limp-wristed, flaccid bread is a no-no. The only thing that beats the BLT is the BLAT. Bacon Lettuce Avocado and Tomato. And if you’re a true fanatic, there are endless variations. But be careful: I once embarassed myself by asking for the LGBT special. Too many fucking acronyms. They should have declared a moratorium on acronyms after ROM and RAM were forced down our throats. Liz wanted a panini too, or maybe she didn’t, because the BLTs sounded pretty good. “and he wants to see fucking caterpillars!” exclaimed an animated voice from where I imagined the kitchen would be. OK – that was unexpected. “but It’s not a BLT without Avocado” says Emma. “No, that’s a BLAT” I replied. “blit, blat, splat-the-cat, whatever, I want avocado on it, but that panini looks good”. Liz is nowhere nearer a decision either and is still comparing my panini to the BLTs on offer. She probably wants a variation not on the menu. “caterpillars! – can you believe it?” snorts the kitchen.
“What’s this about caterpillars?” Emma raises an eyebrow.
“no. nothing – just a strange man’s request” the charming twenty-something waitress behind the counter chirps with a nervous smile. “ooh Yuck – I’m not eating a caterpillar” sneers Emma. “there are NO caterpillars here. All the food is thoroughly washed.” The waitress is becoming impatient and I see a woman in a blue summer-dress at the nearest table start to examine her sandwhich closely; examine it as one may wish to examine her ample breasts. I can imagine cupping one of those beauties in the palm of one hand, finding the nipple with the thumb and then … remember where I am.
“Ok Emma. Are you having a BLT or a BLAT?”
“Well, maybe a BLAT if it has avocado. but it needs to be gluten-free and insect-free.” I see the woman in the blue dress put her sandwhich down quickly. “Will you stop that!” snaps the now-indignant waitres. “you’re upsetting the other customers and there are no caterpillars here”

“That’s right They don’t have any caterpillars here” mutterd a soft and sad voice from the open doorway behind us. We looked round to see a well-dressed elderly man shuffling into the room. “I come here several times a week and I never see any caterpillars” he said, slowly making his way to a table by the far window. “There used to be hundreds of caterpillars in those gardens and I would watch them while I ate my lunch. Is it really too much to ask?”

“OK forget it, we’re going somewhere else.” I said to my companions while motioning towards the door.

Meanwhile, Liz had eaten the panini.

 

photo: http://www.public-domain-image.com

Julia

Julia took another bite of her Moro bar, spat it out, and burst into tears again. Five kilos in two months. She just kept getting fatter. It wasn’t fair. Cindy had quit smoking without gaining all that weight – so why couldn’t she? Chocolate tasted good though. It was one thing that made Julia feel better. She was getting fatter, but at least she wasn’t smoking. As for her prick of a (now ex) boyfriend – He’d simply said he’d prefer a smoker to a lard-ass before dumping her. Wasn’t she suffering enough already? Her ex was a total dick.

Julia had been on her way to Muzza’s Bar when she’d stopped at the dairy to buy chocolate. It was better than getting drunk. Or was it? Getting drunk wouldn’t make her any fatter, or would it? She could forget her sorrows for a while. No. She’d only ever been drunk a few times and that hadn’t ended well. Think of what drink did to your mother, she thought. Not pretty. That isn’t for me. Seated on a bench in the park, she could see the top of Muzza’s on the next street, peeking over the trees as if it were on the lookout for potential punters.

There was a small playground only a short distance from where she sat. A “smoke free area” sign sat perched above the seemingly obligatory pile of cigarette butts that spontaneously formed at the edge of every public playground. That used to be you. She glanced at the swing, thinking the frame looked like a gallows. It would be easy to hang yourself on it. Just toss the rope over the top. The kids will come down to play and find a skeleton swaying in the breeze. Julia shook her head at the ridiculous thought. She’d hated swings as a kid, especially the school ones. None of the other kids would let her have a turn. She’d always had to wait forever and usually miss out. Eventually she simply feigned disinterest. There’s no one to stop me now, she thought, contemplating the empty swings. No, I’m too heavy – and I’m not a kid anymore.

Her chocolate bar was nothing but an empty wrapper now. Muzza’s Bar was still subtly peeking at her over the trees, bathing itself in the afternoon light. Well I’ve never been an alcoholic – so one drink isn’t going to fuck me up, she rationalised. Besides, I don’t need to get pissed.

Checking her compact, she decided she didn’t look too much the worse for wear, despite having packed a howly. She walked purposely into Muzza’s looking far more confident than she felt, or was it the other way around? Whatever. At the far end of the room, three young men seated around a table became noticeably quieter and three heads turned to track her path across the room. Boob detectors are obviously working, she thought to herself.

There was a cigarette vending machine on the wall, containing her favourite brand. She looked away quickly and continued to the bar.

“Beer please”

“Which one, Luv?”

“Whatever tastes good after chocolate.”

She didn’t even bother to ask what she was handed. It was beer-coloured. Good enough.

Picking up her beer, Julia was about to find a table when she noticed one of the young men had approached her. It had started already.

“Name’s Andrew” he said, offering his hand

“Julia” she replied, ignoring his hand

“Come here often”

“No”

“Can I get you a drink”

“What do you think I’m holding?”

“Uh,um, you know…”

“So far, not impressed”

She managed to suppress a smile. Andrew was young and, she admitted begrudgingly, kinda cute with his blue eyes and dark-blonde hair. He was blundering badly but was making an effort.  The other two men still at Andrew’s table were making an obvious show of trying to not be obvious, though it was clear they were taking in every word, awaiting the outcome of this little dance with great interest.

“You, um… You’re good looking. Totally hot” Andrew managed.

Julia could say nothing for a moment. She stared at this young rooster with her mouth agape as if he had just called her a whore.

“I’m not good looking, I’m FAT!” she spat at him.

“Sure, but you’re not that fat. I mean, just a little plump …”

Julia slammed her glass down so hard that it cracked, spewing beer across the bar. She stared at the mess for a moment, bewildered at her own rage, then turned and bolted out the door.

Well, that was interesting. Sitting on the bench again, Julia tried to make sense of what had just happened, and burst out laughing. What a story to tell Cindy. Julia would write it down, make some minor changes and Cindy could post it on her blog. No. Stop! Julia was sick of hiding behind friends. She would start her own fucking blog. She had always enjoyed writing. She had things to say. She had a score to settle with the universe. She was angry. She was full of adrenaline. The climbing frame! Would it hold her weight? Tentatively at first, she gave the ropes an experimental tug. They were thick and strong. Why didn’t she write? She had never felt she was good enough. Fuck it! With both hands over head and one foot on a horizontal, she pulled herself up. It held – and so did Julia. Repeat. As a child, she had always imagined herself as an author. Up another rung. Who cares what anyone else thinks of my writing? Go lard-ass go! Yes, slowly up to the top, so far so good, carefully does it over the top, and down the other side. Heart pumping from the exertion but already recovering. How much harder it would have been had she had still been a smoker. She could write her novel, definitely the novel, though she hadn’t written anything in years. She didn’t read much anymore either for that matter. What was the last thing she had read “Fifty Shapes”? No “Fifty Shades” or some crap like that. She hadn’t liked it. Her ex had liked it and had left a welt on her thigh that lasted a week. Well, he was gone now and good riddance. She should have told him to piss off back then. Life was better without him. She could write a better novel than that too. How hard could it be? I’ll ask Cindy how to set up a blog tomorrow.

 

Julia sat down heavily on the bench, exhausted, but smiling.

Whoa girl – Chill! The light was starting to fade. It wouldn’t be wise to hang around too much longer. As she stood up she noticed a lone figure walking on the other side of the street. It was Andrew. “Andrew, over here!” She called and waved to him. Andrew stopped, hesitant, then came over, managing to look both pleased and bewildered simultaneously. Given Julia’s outburst at the bar, she wasn’t surprised that he seemed a bit apprehensive.

“I um, sorry about, I didn’t mean” he started.

“No, forget it. I over-reacted. Bad-hair day. Look, you still want my number? after what happened?”

“Hell yes”

“It’ll cost you a coffee” she chuckled “but first there’s something else you can do for me”

“what’s that?”

 

Julia walked over to the swing and sat down, looked at Andrew and grinned.

“Give me a push!”

Julia

Update: This is an early draft.  An expanded version of this story can be found here

Julia took another bite of her Moro bar, spat it out, and burst into tears again. Five kilos in two months. She just kept getting fatter. It wasn’t fair. Cindy had quit smoking without gaining all that weight – so why couldn’t she? Chocolate tasted good though. It was one thing that made Julia feel better. She was getting fatter, but at least she wasn’t smoking. As for her prick of a (now ex) boyfriend – He’d simply said he’d prefer a smoker to a lard-ass before dumping her. Wasn’t she suffering enough already? Her ex was a total dick.

Across the street, Julia noticed a plump young mother screaming at her young child outside the supermarket. The child, maybe five years old, was also plump and screaming – throwing a classic tantrum. The exasperated and shaking young mother lit herself a cigarette and then comforted the child with a bag of sweets from her handbag. Julia’s emotions were riding a rollercoaster now, as the scene playing out before her smashed through the fog of her depression. Both child and mother were quiet now, but were either of them happy? Suddenly, Julia’s Moro bar was an illusory pleasure, just a drug, no more a pleasure than the cigarettes she had given up. The child, already overweight, was being trained to consume sugar as a solution to every problem. Julia was doing the very same.

For the first time in two months, Julia laughed out loud. She stood up, squashing the remainder of the chocolate under her shoe with a grim satisfaction, as if it were some disgusting bug. She didn’t need the comfort foods. She was free to be herself, by herself. She forgot her ex. Cindy’s house was nearby. They hadn’t seen each other for a while. Smiling, Julia set off on a gentle run.