Tag Archives: tale

1888. I can’t think of everything at once

“I can’t think of everything at once” was Bella’s way of not only trying to find a reason for what happened, but her way of coping with the situation.

Dale had left Bella quite unexpectedly. One minute they were happily married, or so Bella thought, and the next minute he’d upped and left and was cohabitating with that floosy from the confectionary shop down on the corner of Shelley Street. Bella had no idea what he saw in her. And now Bella was on her own. The dividing of the matrimonial goods hadn’t as yet happened, but Bella was ensconced in the joint house and she wasn’t budging for the time being. Besides, it was winter and the house had a log fire and lots of firewood stack in the shed. She would cope.

On a rather chilly winter’s evening Bella discovered she had let the log fire go out. Dale had always set and lit the fire but she wasn’t entirely impractical. She screwed up some pages of newspaper and wigwammed some kindling over the top of it. That was when she discovered that she couldn’t think of everything at once. Dale had always lit the fire with his cigarette lighter. There were no matches in the house. Matches had not been on her grocery list.

Of course it was a silly idea, but Bella had heard since early childhood that primitive humans started a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She didn’t have a clue how to do it, and suspected very much that it wouldn’t work anyway. For a time she thought she would stay warm by wrapping herself up in blankets. She would buy some matches tomorrow. But then Bella thought of a solution.

She rolled up a sheet of newspaper tightly. She went to the kitchen, turned on the toaster, and from the element of the toaster she lit the rolled up newspaper. On the way to the wood burner with her burning torch she brushed past the lacy curtains in the dining room.

It’s always a shame when nothing is insured.

(Note: Today’s story number of 1888 is out of sync. That’s because a month or so back Story 1888 was missed – so this is a catch-up!)

1984. Honey, I never made it

Granville had made his wife, Doreen, the most beautiful rocking chair. It had taken him months of secret working in the shed out the back. Doreen never knew what he was up to. She supposed he was simply messing about, and then one day he produced the rocking chair and said “I made this for you, Honey.”

What a beautiful chair! Carved legs! A perfect, perfect rocking motion! Even the sweetest cushion on the seat!

“What a clever husband I have!” declared Doreen. “Who would have believed?”

But the truth was, Granville had started to make a rocking chair and things didn’t work out. It was a mess, so he had a rocking chair made. It certainly was a magnificent rocking chair, but he had merely pretended to have made it himself.

“What a clever husband I have!” repeated Doreen. “Who would have believed?” She was over the moon.

Sometime later, Granville was diagnosed with a terminal disease. He grew weaker by the day. He knew, as he reviewed his life, that entrance to eternity perhaps demanded sorrow for sins. He simply had to tell Doreen about the rocking chair.

It was clear that the end was near. Granville still hadn’t confessed to Doreen. And then, with one gigantic effort he declared “Honey, I never made it”. Within seconds he was dead.

Doreen always thought, as she rocked her way through widowhood, that Granville’s final “Honey, I never made it” was some premonition that he had been refused entrance through the Pearly Gates.

1983. Bird of Paradise

Rita and Carmen had been best friends for years. They were both widowed, and both had three children and four grandchildren. They lived not far from each other. Every Wednesday, to prevent a certain humdrumness, they would go on an outing. Sometimes it was just a cup of coffee in a café in town. Sometimes it was a bigger event, such as a visit to the city art gallery or a concert. Today they were going to the Botanical Garden’s Tropical Conservatory.

“Would you look at this one,” said Rita. “Such a pretty little flower!”

“I would’ve missed it if you hadn’t pointed it out,” said Carmen. “Smell this one here. It stinks!” And indeed it did stick!

“Look at this Bird of Paradise flower. It does look like a bird, doesn’t it?”

“They say,” said Carmen enthusiastically because she knew a little about the Bird of Paradise plant, “that the flower produces no pollen, so it’s generally great to plant if people are worried about allergies. Not only that, but they say if you rub a leaf on the palm of your hand you feel compelled to blurt out the truth whether you want to or not.”

“That sounds a bit dangerous,” declared Rita, rubbing the palm of her hand on a leaf. “And I might add that the way you slurp your coffee makes me want to spit.”

“That’s nothing,” said Carmen. “When I was having an affair with your late husband he gave me your bank account number and password. You wouldn’t have noticed, because you’re too thick, but a bit here and a bit there goes a long way.”

“You strumpet!” declared Rita. “So you’re the crumpet he so disdainfully spoke about; how your breath reeked of garlic and you were in need of a hefty dose of deodorant.”

The insults continued for another five minutes. It was a weekly event. In fact, one suspected that both had prepared the insults to hurl well in advance.

1978. Bedtime story

A change of tone… This is a fairy story to read to children at bedtime.

Once upon a time a man had three wives. The three wives were very jealous of one another. The first wife caught the second wife and put her through the mincer to make ground meat. She fed the ground meat to the third wife who died having the most terrible convulsions caused by the horrible meat.

The first wife was now the only wife left. When the husband found that she had brutally murdered the other two wives he cut her head off. Out popped a terrible venomous snake from her neck. The snake bit the husband and he died of snake poison.

Now there were four dead people. The snake escaped and has been seen only twice, each time under a bed.

I’ll turn the light out now. Sleep tight.

1971. Oh sugar!

Pamela was a sound sleeper. She lived alone. She locked the house thoroughly each night before she went to bed. The neighbours were a bit strange – especially the wife. She was a bit of a recluse. Pamela had met her just the once. Word had it that she had been in and out of psychiatric care centres throughout her life.

It may have been because of this that Pamela was nervously suspicious. She had suspected for quite some time that strange things happened in the night. She was always meticulous about things, and sometimes she noticed that some household items had been moved ever so slightly, or even that she ran out of tea bags faster than she should. In fact she counted the tea bags. She used two tea bags a day. The seventy-eight tea bags in the box should last for thirty-nine days. She marked the date on her wall calendar.

Ashley, the neighbour, was a bit strange, but not as strange as his wife. He would come over once a week to Pamela’s for a cup of coffee. Pamela had never warmed to him. But a neighbour is a neighbour and it was after all only about thirty minutes in her week that his visits lasted. His wife never came with him.

Now the doctor had told Pamela to go easy on the sugar, so she filled the sugar bowl (in case visitors came and took sugar) and put the sugar bowl high in the cupboard. That was the last time she used it. It was a lot easier to give up sugar than she had expected.

When Ashley came over next she filled the conversation with the usual small talk. She had given up sugar. Did he still want sugar in his coffee? Perhaps he would prefer a cup of tea?

“Oh,” said Ashley, “I think you’re out of tea bags.”

1970. Gadget man

Morton was a fiddler in the gadgetry sense. He could fix anything. He could make anything. He could invent anything. Somethings were useful; some were not. The silliest thing he made was probably “A box of birds”. A little white box with a button sat on the coffee table. Next to the button was a little sign that said “Press me”. Guests would press the button and recordings of birds emanating from all over the room suddenly began to play. Loudly. If the guest had been left alone in the room while Morton was out making coffee for the guest, the pressing of the button could prove to be a hilarious humiliation!

Morton more often than not was the one who was out making the coffee because his wife, Catalina, was useless. She never lifted a finger to help. In fact Morton was often left alone to entertain visitors. Enough is enough! Morton decided to construct the perfect murder!

He took an old cell phone, removed its innards, and replaced the inside with a poisonous dart. There was nothing to show that it wasn’t a phone. The next time he was out shopping with Catalina he spied a tourist near the village green and asked if they would be so kind to take a photograph with his phone. Of course, the tourist was most obliging. “Just that woman over there. I don’t want to get caught photographing her, because I’m a spy and she’s some sort of foreign government agent. Just point the phone at her and press the button.”

“A spy! Which button do I press?” asked the tourist.

“That one there,” said Morton, leaning over the phone and pointing.

Morton is a gadget man no more.

1968. Planet of Flowers

(This is the seventh and final Science Faction story in Science Faction Weak).

Floranarcissus was known on earth as “The Planet of the Flowers”. Space travellers had landed on Floranarcissus and taken photographs. Of course no one was permitted to take seeds or cuttings as it was forbidden by interplanetary law. Introduced flora could create problems for the host planet. It was best to keep flora on the planet where it had evolved. But Floranarcissus! Oh goodness me! The flowers were unbelievable.

“Seeing them in the real is nothing like the photographs,” said Barbara Cheesebrick, one of the last astronauts to have visited Floranarcissus. “The flowers are a million times more spectacular. That is because Floranarcissus is an unspoilt planet. There are no intelligent beings to mess things up. The flowers simply evolved lovelier and lovelier over tens of thousands of years.”

There came a time when Planet Earth began preparing to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of that systemic racist, Captain James Cook, getting stabbed to death in the neck in Hawaii. It was a special occasion. Could Planet Earth perhaps gather some particularly special flowers from Planet Floranarcissus? The cosmic committee decided it could. The committee was after all, in that particular year, chaired by an Earthling. But no plants must be taken.

A special craft visited Floranarcissus. Tens of millions of flowers were gathered, hastily shoved into vases, and speeded back to Earth. Not a flower was left. But the plants on Floranarcissus would rejuvenate. Flower plants do that. Every country on Earth, especially the country once known as Hawaii, were festooned with blooms.

By morning all flowers were dead; dead, dowdy, and frizzled up. It was so disappointing.

It was years later that Earthlings learnt the bitter truth: they had exterminated all forms of intelligent life on Floranarcissus. The planet’s extinct intelligent life had evolved as flowers.

1966. The whimsies of tourism

(This is the fifth of seven days of Science Faction).

The twenty-four Doglocians had paid good money to travel from their home planet to Planet Earth. The voyage, travelling at the speed of light through a Worm-warp, would arrive at Earth after ninety days. But things went wrong on the voyage.

“It never rains but it pours,” said Okrogowia, the captain of the Doglocian space craft. It was an old Doglocian cliché, but true nonetheless.

They had wanted to arrive on Earth to see the Fall foliage. That’s what the trip had been billed as: Travel to Earth, celebrate upon arrival, and see the most spectacular autumn colours in the cosmos! But with the Worm-warp warping in the wrong direction (something it did roughly once every one hundred years or so) they had ended up shooting off on a tangent. It took days of catching one Worm-warp after another to get back on course. By now it was estimated that the voyage was going to be six weeks late.

And then something spectacular occurred. The Worm-warp warped wondrously and the Doglocian craft skedaddled faster than imagined. The lost six weeks were made up in a matter of minutes. It was the 12th of October 2020 in Earth dates.

“We made it!” announced Captain Okrogowia.

“We made it! We made it! Now we can celebrate!” danced the twenty-four passengers. And indeed they had made it on time!

They had made it on the very day they had wished their adventure to start: Canadian Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

1958. Apple-Song and Acorn-Rain

Phyllis had a fairy as a friend. No one believed her. In fact most people thought she was nuts. She would talk to her fairy and her fairy would talk back. They were inseparable. Phyllis’s fairy was called Apple-Song. So there you have it! If Apple-Song didn’t exist how come she had a name?

Phyllis didn’t have many friends apart from Apple-Song. I mean, who wants to be friendly with a girl who is nuts?

One day some naughty boys came along and they pretended to kill Apple-Song. Phyllis was very sad. Then people thought she was more nuts than ever. She still didn’t have any friends until Acorn-Rain came along. Acorn-Rain and Phyllis were inseparable. He was a boy fairy, whereas Apple-Song was a girl fairy.

These days Phyllis is a famous writer. She is a multimillionaire. Everyone else works their guts out achieving little in their humdrum jobs.

See? Who now doesn’t believe in fairies?

1957. Class break

A group of pulchritudinous young ladies at St Ursula’s Finishing School for Girls were sitting in the sun during a class break discussing Ms Heidi Antrobus-Biddlecombe, their omphaloskepsic teacher.

“She’s a trichotillomaniac,” said Sylvia. “Her head’s all patchy.” All agreed.

“She looks like a pig,” suggested Angelique. “Her nose has been xenotransplantated!” Everyone laughed.

“Thank goodness she’s not polyphiloprogenitive,” said Denise. “We’d be overrun. AND she has ants in her pants!” It was a nice play on their teacher’s name!

“What a relief we’re not myrmecophilous!” exclaimed Petra. “Ugh! How disgusting!”

Again everyone laughed, except for Susannah who had been silent up until now and admitted she didn’t know what the word “omphaloskepsic” meant.

“I know the word omphaloskepsis,” she said. “But I have never heard of omphaloskepsic.”

Oh dear! What an ignorant little girl.

“Come along class!” called out Ms Heidi Antrobus-Biddlecomb in her wheezy smoker’s voice from the window of the Infants’ Classroom. “Playtime is over!”

“Good gracious!” exclaimed Minnie. “She sounds like she’s got
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis.”

All went inside for their favourite class of the week: colouring in with crayons.