Your message said I should show face,
Though I live in a far-away place.
If you just want a photo,
Here’s one from Lesotho.
I’m sending it first, just in case.
You see, I just can’t make the fare
To fly all the way to you there
Eight hours on a plane –
Do you think I’m insane?
I’m a writer, not a billionaire.
Your letter said we need to meet,
Now, you know that I’m not one to bleat,
If you just want to gripe,
We can do it on Skype,
From the comfort of our favourite seat.
While not wishing to sound too contrary
We could use the old-fashioned Blackberry;
Or with phone on your lap
We could chat with WhatsApp.
No journey should be necessary.
You know I’m not trying to be funny
(Though I’m writing this sat on the dunny).
You know that I would
Be right there if I could,
But I seriously don’t have the money.
Just tell me what info you need
And I’ll get it to you with best speed
No need to be vexed
I’ll send you a text.
[Quick, think of a rhyme] All agreed?
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 162, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.
“Bit of a test, really.”
“Test? What do you mean, test?”
“Not so much a test; more an experiment.”
“Look, Boss. A few of us are getting worried about you.”
“Worried? Worried? What kind of silly talk is that?”
“Some of the council have had concerns since you turned yourself into a swan just to seduce that mortal woman.”
“Well, even you have to admit she was more than just a little bit phwooaaar.”
“I’ll grant you that. But a swan? What were you thinking?”
“Worked, didn’t it?”
“It did, but you’ve got so many other powers that would have done the trick.”
“Oh, come on. What can’t you do? Anyway, Boss. The council is worried. There’s even talk of an intervention.”
“I haven’t got a problem, and there’s an end to it.”
“What are you talking about. I’m tempted to banish you for insubordination.”
“Okay. Listen. You don’t need to do an intervention. If I promise not to take on other forms anymore, no matter how much I want a mortal woman… Can we do a deal?”
“What’s the bloody point? You guys have never respected my authority anyway. I might just as well give up this lark and take a job I can cope with.”
“Depression… and one to go.”
“Alright. Have your damned intervention if you must. Sure, I can’t always control my lustful urges—”
“Or your angry ones.”
“That too. But I can try. Maybe I need friend or two I can lean on.”
“And we’re there. Now. Tell me about this experiment.”
“Oh, yeah. I wanted to find out how the dominant intelligent species on the planet would react to a sudden and unexpected intrusion into its environment of something totally alien.”
“But a plasticine dragon?”
“Yeah. Small spelling mistake on the requisition. I meant Pleistocene. You know, Quaternary period, between the Pliocene and Holocene epochs. Anyway, they screwed up and sent one made of FIMO® – bloody baked hard so I can’t even make anything else with it when the experiment’s finished.”
“Should’ve gone to SpecSavers?”
“So you’ve put this… this thing—”
“This dragon into the environment. How did that go?”
“Look for yourself. Neither the dominant species nor its companion animal has even noticed it.”
“They do look pretty cool about the whole thing.”
“Tell me about it. The dominant species, Canis familiaris, is totally nonchalant, and its companion, Lawnmower man, clearly doesn’t give a—”
“I get the picture, Boss. Come with me?”
“There’s a meeting I think you should be at…”
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 161, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.
Let me take you back to the beginning. Throughout my teens, I had enjoyed… yeah, that’s the word… enjoyed a kind-of-casual, on-off relationship with the prettiest girl in school. Ambra, she was called. A lot of the lads said it was best to keep away from her, she being, according to them, a touch on the weird side of strange. Sure, she was often distant, unapproachable almost, and her mind went on some unfathomable journeys, but God, she was so pretty. And gentle and kind. Mostly.
Weird stuff? Sure, you could call it that, but nothing bad. Not usually, anyway. Certainly not that I noticed. I always thought that with her good looks, what’s a bit of strangeness to worry about? Really.
What sort of thing did she do? Well, there was the traffic light thing for a start. Whenever she and I went out together, whichever one of us was driving, we never had a red traffic light. Never. Always green. And if my speed crept up a bit, no-one ever seemed to notice. Certainly not the cops, anyway. Haha. Makes me laugh thinking about it. You know when you go into a really crowded place, like a concert arena or a sports stadium, say, and you have to push and barge your way through to get a decent spot? Never did when I was with Ambra. She didn’t do anything or even say anything, but it was like Moses and the Red Sea wherever we were. People just parted to let us through then closed up again behind us. It was as though we were in some kind of impenetrable bubble or something.
I miss those days.
Thinking back, it probably started to go wrong when we became serious. Suddenly, what had been just our little games, inconsequential and harmless, became a fundamental part of who Ambra was. I had either to learn to live with the inconsistencies and contradictions or live without Ambra. What choice was there?
After a while, having every obstacle cleared from your path, every difficulty straightened out and every inconvenience removed becomes tiresome. I found myself beginning to yearn for challenges, for problems, for the possibility to make the odd mistake and have to face the consequences. I tried to explain, as gently as I could, that although I really appreciated everything that she did for me, making my life easier and more predictable, it’s in the nature of a man to face challenges, trials and difficulties.
“Oh, is it?” she asked angrily, “Then perhaps I’d better give you the means to prove your manhood.”
At first, it was small things: the odd red traffic light, even a speeding ticket. That was good. It led me to change my driving, to become more considerate of others. Then my car broke down in the middle of nowhere and I couldn’t get a signal on my phone to call anyone. I had to walk home. It took me nearly three hours. When I arrived home, Ambra was waiting for me. No, she wasn’t wielding a rolling-pin, just the sharpest tongue I had ever met.
“Trouble?” she asked.
“Car broke down,” I said.
“Why didn’t you call?”
“What a pity you didn’t have a girlfriend with you, one who could help you with these things.”
I can’t remember what my reply was, though I do remember regretting whatever it was I said. Straight away, I found myself back at my car. Happily, there was a strong signal on my phone. I called Ambra.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “can you help me, please?”
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“Car broke down,” I said.
“Call a tow-truck,” she replied and hung up.
Things went quickly downhill from there. Every day, something happened that I had been used to her dealing with in that special way of hers. Only she didn’t. No matter how out of practice I was, I had to deal with all these things.
We had always held separate bank accounts, and both had always been inexplicably topped up. The feed to mine stopped, and I had no access to hers. I had to get a job. The only work local to us was at the blacksmith’s shop run by an old school chum. He took me on as an apprentice. I was delighted to learn that I had something of a natural aptitude for the job and soon became reasonably proficient. So much so that he sometimes left me alone when he went out tending to horses’ hooves, which he often did as a profitable sideline.
One afternoon, whilst he was out on a job, Ambra came into the workshop in a mood that I couldn’t read.
“How’re you getting on without my help, Mr He-man?” she asked.
“I’m not doing too badly,” I replied.
“Wanna leave this and go have some fun together?”
“Love to, but I have this work to do.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“What’d you call me?” I asked.
“Chicken,” she said, “and you know where chickens belong, don’t you?”
“Yeah, cooped up,” I replied with an ill-advised sneer.
“No. In an enclosure made of chicken-wire,” she said, pointing at me and cackling.
Like I said, it was all good for a while. Beyond good, in fact. Why did I have to go and ruin it?
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 160, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.