The Week That Was
I am now writing short, short stories on my blog. It occurred to that people do not know that these stories are indeed original. They are, quite obviously, meant for children. It would please me if parents saw them fit enough to read to their young ones.
That is to say, "The One That Got Away", and "How Grandmother Spider Saved The Berries." The first one is a morality tale and not meant for children. "The Girl Who Walked Into The Sea."
“Tai-Tai!” called Aunt Mellon. “I am getting ready to bake a blackberry pie for supper and I can't very well do it if I don't have any berries.”
“Is that a hint you want me to pick the berries,” replied Tai-Tai with a smile, for she loved the woods where the berries grew and her aunt's pies were very good. “I'm all over it.”
“I'm sure you are. Just bring home enough for the pie,” joked her aunt. Kind of.
Their little house was in the woods so it was only a short walk to the berry patch. Tai-Tai carried a small silver pail that was only for putting blackberries in and it held just the right amount for one pies worth of berries. It had been in the family forever, and Tai-Tai was far from the first child that had carried it.
She had picked half a pail when she heard a sound not far behind her, it was sort of a grunt and sort of a grown and sort of a sign. The ten year old girl knew exactly what kind of animal made that sort of sound, and she knew why. It was a brown bear and it loved blackberries just as much as she and her aunt did. The berries grew in the woods and the humans and bear shared them as did other creatures that lived there.
But Tai-Tai knew she was in trouble because bears did not always ask politely if they could have some berried, sometimes they just took them an because they had long claws on the end of their paws, the person holding the pail could get scratched. Rather badly I am afraid.
Now Tai-Tai had an emergency plan for when something like this happened. She knew of a small cave close by and swift as could be she darted into the cave as far as she could go, because even though it was a cave to her it was really just a huge hole in the side of a hill.
The bear came after her with a roar that silenced the woods and made Tai-Tai tremble. In her agitation she picked up a stick and rolled it between her palms back and forth, forth and back. What to do? What to do? It seemed like she had been pondering that question for a long time, really three minutes, but a very long three minutes, and she rolled her eyes in exasperation at her predicament. As she did so she saw something on the roof of the cave.
It was a spider web that stretched from side to side and in the center was a spider, a rather large gray spider that looked down thoughtfully as the girl looked thoughtfully up.
“I think you need help my child.”
“Really,” she said scornfully, and as she said it she was sorry because then she knew she was talking to Grandmother Spider who had come to help her.
“I don't know what to do.” she admitted. “Aunt will be looking for me and she will be worried. If she comes looking here she will run into the bear and there will be trouble. Can you help?”
“That I can do,” answered the spider. “Put the end of your stick into the edge of my web and then turn it until it is all covered. It is very sticky. Put it out of the cave as far as you can
reach and the bear will grab it with both paws. Then you will be able to leave.”
Tai-Tai was not entirely sure of how this would work out but she trusted Grandmother Spider so she did as she said. The bear grabbed the stick and was so bewildered to find its paws stick together around it that it just sat right down and stared.
It looked funny, a huge brown bear sitting on its back legs while its front paws held a stick. Tai-Tai wanted to laugh but she put both hands over her mouth because she didn't want the bear to hear her. It looked like it wouldn't pay her any attention, but you can never be sure.
“Thank you Grandmother Spider.”
“You are so welcome, Tai-Tai, enjoy the pie.”
“I have to pick more berries,” she said or started to say, because when she looked down the pail was full. There were just enough for one pie, just enough for her and her aunt.
“Any trouble finding the berries?” asked her aunt when she arrived back home.
“Nope,” she answered with a smile. “No trouble at all.”
A very short story by Frankie. One with a moral.
The One That Got Away
Alonzo was an albino clown fish, one of the rarest of the rare fishes. Thus, the dentist, Dr. Tay Malfoy was pleased to keep him in an aquarium in the lobby of his office. His patients felt quite special to have such a dentist. They never thought to inquire as to how he could not only to afford one very, very expensive fish, but all the others in the aquarium that stretched from wall to wall and the floor halfway to the ceiling.
Did they think that he fed the fish and kept that ginormous glass prison clean? For that is exactly what it was, a glass prison for the fish, to hold them while people gawped at them. It was most trying for the fish but no one noticed that they had feelings.
They on day in a sequence of events that could never be duplicated, one of the patients had by accident caught up a sliver of Ivory soap in her handkerchief. The lady had allergies and as she took out the handkerchief the soap fell out of her pocket into the aquarium. And, of course it floated to the top.
Now, her son had been waiting for such a moment for he wanted all the fish to be free, but especially the albino clown fish, which he had named Alonzo after his grandfather. He had read up on the fish and knew where it had come from, it had not been raised in a pet shop, it had been captured in the wild, blue water. He wanted Alonzo to go home.
There was a box of disposable gloves sitting on a table and Hank, for that was the boys name, grabbed it and filled it with the aquarium water. As usual no one was paying any attention to him whatsoever. If he had had the strength he could have gotten the aquarium outside and down the street before someone thought to yell, “Hey, there boy, what are you doing?”
Alonzo went in the glove, the glove went into Hank's backpack. He grabbed a Kleenex and scooped up the bit of Ivory.
“Oh, look!” he cried out. “One of the fish has died. See, how it's floating on top. They always do that when they die.”
Of course Dr. Malfoy was with a patient and did not hear any of this. So when he came out Hank was just opening the door to the outside hallway. “One of the fish died,” he said, in as offhand a way as he could muster.
“Oh, my God!” said the Doctor. “Which one was it?”
“Just a fish, I don't know one from the other. But, it was a curious white. Only white fish I have ever saw.”
“Where is the fish?” the flustered doctor inquired, looking wildly around the aquarium. It couldn't be, but of course it was, because there was only one white fish in there. Correction, there was no white fish in there.
“I flushed it.” said Hank. “Isn't that what you do with dead fish?”
“Yes, it is,” answered his mother, who had settled with the receptionist and was ready to leave. “Flushed away,” and she gave her son a tiny wink which only he saw.
Well, they returned Alonzo to the place where he had been captured, and of course, he was not the only albino clown fish in this branch of the family. There were brothers and sisters and even an aunt or two. They were so happy to see him back that they made a plaque and put it on an outcropping on a reef, which was their mantle so to speak.
The One That Got Away
The Girl Who Walked Into The Sea
She could hear the susurration of the waves as they washed the rocky beach and receded, over and over, time without end. It was a peaceful sound, but she was in no mood to be soothed, she was too wounded in body, mind and spirit for such a simple panacea. She needed more.
She was seated on grass that came down to the rocks. The grass had been cropped by sheep and goats , it was soft and had a scent that was somehow sweet and innocent. The sky was turning purple in twilight, the colors fading as the light went.
She thought of just walking into the sea and letting it take her down. The fish would have her instead of the drunken Roman soldiers at the tavern. Other men looked at her as though they would like to do the same, but were constrained by something. She was totally along without one person to care. Her body had no discernible boundaries, sometimes she couldn't tell where hers ended and another began.
She heard the man approaching because he sloshed though the water, dragging his sandaled feet though the small waves. Startled, she jumped up, ready to run, then she recognized him and smiling, sat down again. There was no possibility this one was going to possess her. He was totally self possessed, she thought, and smiled again.
“It's going to storm,” he said, sitting down beside her. “
“I'm staying right here, tonight,” she replied in a hard voice and for a moment her face turned to stone. “I can't go back. I am bruised from head to toe. I hurt so much, and there is nothing that can be done to change it. You help others, I have saw you do it, why can't you help women like me?”
“I can heal the body and ease the soul, but I can't change the law of the land”
“Will it ever change?”
He was grief incarnate as he looked over the sea at the edge of the sun as it slipped below the horizon and it was night, deep, dark, black night, with only tiny bobbing lights far out at sea where a boat of fishermen were ending their day.
“It will always be as it has always been.”
“Then why are you here? How come those men get a boat to make money, to take refuge in from the dark and the cold? I know they are warm and eating supper out there, and here I sit cold and hungry.”
“A woman as beautiful as you can't get a man to buy her food at the tavern?” In the uncertain light of a waning crescent moon she thought she saw him smile and slapped him across the face as hard as she could.
“No, a woman as beautiful as me can't get food, just wine to make me compliant, wine to
ease their conscience about what they are doing to me and the other women. No food, no warmth. You're a man! Explain it!”
“Some have souls that from birth have been welcome to corruption and the devil dwells there like fish in water. Others learn to like it and go looking for it, like fishermen looking for fish, others just go along with their friends like dead fish floating on the surface of the sea. But, there are men who do not do these things, men who search their minds and souls and try to do right. The Father has seen fit to put women like you in this place, I do not know why, the Father does not tell me everything.”
She stood, glaring down at him. “This has to end tonight. I can't go on.” She briefly touched her stomach. “No more.”
He stood. “There is something lying on the rocks, it shines in the moonlight.”
She turned to look and saw the glint, when she turned back he was gone. Walking slowly over, she bent and picked it up. It was a fisherman's knife doubtless fallen out of his pocket as he prepared for the days fishing. She tested it's edge on her thumb, and blood welled up. Sharp. One slash, other slash, she walked over the rocks, two steams of blood trailing her. Into the sea she strode, back straight and head up looking at the moon, at the stars. When she was in over her head, she did not float, did not swim, but simply continued to walk.
Over her, though she could not see him, and could not know he was there, the man walked and the men in the boat cried out to him.