The wall

D: A? A, where are you? Why is it so dark in here? What’s going on? Why is my voice echoing? Mommy, hold me!

A: Chill, D. I’m here.

D: Good heavens, woman! Don’t do that to me.

A: Ha! Didn’t know you could jump that far, Druid.

D: I didn’t jump . . .  I was practicing my calisthenics.

A: Do you even know what those are?

D: . . . they have something to do with vigor and attempting to assuage your sedentary bodies now that you no longer hunt for your food.

A: Fair play, D. Speaking of. . .

D: Oh no you don’t. Where did you go? Why was it dark and more than a little creepy up here?

A: Are you telling me that you’re afraid of the dark? The big bad Druid, the man who made old gods real? The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey master who is tying my brain into knots with his plot holes is afraid of the dark?

D: Does it make you feel better to think so?

A: . . . yes.

D: All right. I will fall on my sword for the greater good. It won’t be the first time.

A: And if there is a god in the heavens—

D: Oi! No wishing for my death. I was speaking metaphorically.

A: And I wasn’t?

D: No.

A: You know me too well, D.

D: {Sob} I know!

A: Well, if that’s all, I think I will-

D: Not so fast, woman. You are avoiding the question.

A: No, I’m avoiding the answer. You’ve already asked the question.

D: . . .

A: I went nowhere. I went everywhere. Despite having to re-write four chapters over the last two days, I am thisclose to finishing book 1 but hells-bells, D–

D: A, I’m a Druid. I don’ t do hell.

3u5ov3

. . . Yeah, D. Listen to Capt. Jack.

A: I would soooo beg to differ. Your shenanigans have my brain twisted all around and inside out. It hurts, D. Stuffing the plot holes alone is giving me brain cramps. So, I evacuated the land of the socially functioning and bypassed much of the rest of the world for a few days. This is my sole come-up-for-air moment.

D: I’m sorry, A. I really am. That’s a nice word, too, shenanigans.

A: What’s wrong with you?

D: What do you mean?

A: You never like my words. And you said you’re sorry. Oh my god, are you dying?

D: We’re all dying A – it’s simply a matter of time.

A: I hate you.

D: No you don’t, A. You’re tired and I think you’ve hit the proverbial wall.  And to answer your question, I’m not the D you know now. I’m an older, relaxed version of myself who has gone through the publishing process with you. We’re going to have great fun, A. Just you wait and see.

A: God, why do you do this to me?

D: Wibbly wobbly, A. Wibbly Wobbly.

A’s telling the tale tonight, Baby!

Actually I’m not because I have no tale to tell – and neither does D. Side effect of writerly-hibernation: we have no idea of what’s  going on.

D: Speak for yourself, woman.

A: Pardon?

D: I happen to know that Dean, of Dean’z Doodlez won Green Embers’ contest.

A: Oh?

D: Yes. And Charles not only has some incredible news about Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, but he’s also funny. You should take pointers, A.

A: I’ll consider it–

D: Then there is Helena’s twisted associate, Jessica Bell, who has begun a delightfully creepy series, the Bayou Bonhomme Serial, which everyone should check out.

A: Indeed. Is there more?

D: Of course. Andra’s tribute to her father’s birthday month, as well as his rather ingenious acquisitions is heart-warming and charming.

A: As is her style.

D: And finally, even though you like the man, I’d like to congratulate Ms. Melissa Janda for saying what we all think: Hemmingway can sometimes be boring, confusing and oh yeah, a drunk.

A: I don’t think she said that, D. She was talking about the ‘rules’ of writing that Hemmingway breaks with reckless—

D: Drunken.

A: Abandon as he sets out to tell a tale of the Lost Generation. I’d think you’d appreciate that, D. Besides, Hemmingway’s comments on the state of one’s first draft are, I find, spot-freaking-on.

D: You’re just mad because you don’t understand time travel.

A: (Whimper).

D: Now, where were we? Ah, yes: I encourage you all to visit The Community Storyboard, where new artwork – courtesy Dean of Dean’z Doodlez– graces the space, depicting the twelve editors  in their superhero guise. Very well done, Dean.

A: And while you’re there, take a moment to read some of the fantastic work – and even consider submitting some of your own!

Inspiration or muse’s fool?

D: I think you’re mocking me.

A: What?!

D: You! You’re mocking me.

A: Okay, normally I’d say yes. But I’m not really sure what I’m mocking you about–

D: How about yesterday’s little limerick, A?

A: Oh, that. Ha.

D: And then the ghost-town story, with the guy. And his hat.

A: Uh. . .

D: Shameless.

A: Yeah, about that. . .

D: You have no defense, do you?

A: Not really.

D: So you admit it?

A: It’s not like it was planned.

D: Limerick, A.

A: Okay, that was planned, and that was awesome.

D: I had nothing to do with Naill and his Nine Hostages.

A: So you think.

D: You are not allowed to outline without me anymore.

A: Killjoy.

D: Limerick writer.

A: So not an insult.

D: (Bloody woman)

A: (Also not an insult)

D: Would you let me have the last word?!

A: Never!

A Invites the Audience’s participation!

Am I the only one who abuses her mental muse by mocking him mercilessly? Granted, he gets his jabs in too, but the limerick might have been a step too far for his ego.

The prayers heard 'round the world

D: Have you heard, A? A? What are you doing – stop eating and pay attention!

A: I’m allowed–

D: A! I mean it, put down the peanut butter.

A: Fine, fine – what has your . . . is that a kilt? You’re older than kilts, D–

D: Woman!! Have. You. Heard?

A: What? Oh, well, yes – I have but since you seem so emphatic about the whole thing, why don’t you help spread the word?

D: Cheers, A. For those who haven’t heard, the Queen, the Phoenix, the lovely Ionia Martin had surgery to eradicate the cancer that had decided to make her body its home. The . . . what is it called, A?

A: Cyberknife.

D: A, sometimes your world is truly remarkable.  Charles gave us an update that the surgery with the cyberknife was a wonderful success – thank you, Charles.

A: And Dean, of Dean’s Doodlez, recast Marvel’s Phoenix with Ionia: The Phoenix has risen! It is fantastic! I’m certain there are more tributes, congratulations, and news (like this, from the Grand Dame herself) out there, but we just had to share.

D: We continue to keep Ionia in our thoughts, hearts and prayers as she recovers from giving cancer a beat-down–

A: A beat-down?

D: Isn’t that how you say it? What? You said kicking cancer’s ass, yesterday!

A: I did, and that’s about as close to slang as I get – unless it’s weird and/or old fashioned slang.

D: Are you calling me weird and/or old fashioned? Is that what you’re implying?

A: Well, if the kilt fits. . . !

D: Well, yes it does – thank you.

A: Oh boy – you’ve been listening to Ionia too much – lady, you’ve created a monster! Get better soon and keep him in line, will you, please?!?

PS: this is this blog’s 100th post – I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than with this post. Sorry Charles, “a better person who cannot be named” will have to be named at a later date!

The Druid Tells the Tale . . . for Ionia

There is a woman on this place you call the blogosphere. Her name is Ionia Martin, and she is Queen. It has been my honor, in my travels, to serve as advisor to clan lairds and sing at their hearth; I have known kings and scholars, and yet I have known none like Ionia.

I have the deepest respect for this fiery woman, who could slay man and beast with her words and her wit, and yet is kind and strong. Both A and I bow before her talent with words as she brings them to life. She has graced us with her friendship, an honor of which we are scarcely worthy.

Tomorrow, Ionia does battle against a foe none can see, but is insidious. Tomorrow, she enters the fray and by the grace of the gods, she will come out on the other side victorious. I have seen war, but I have seen none battle so valiantly. On all days, both A and I hold Ionia in our hearts and in our minds, but tomorrow it is even more important. We ask you to do the same.

~ Dubh an Súile mac Alasdair (D)

 

Ionia, we love you, lady. Thank you for being you – you are fantastic, and I know you will kick cancer’s ass.

~ Katie (A)

 

PS: There are so many people out there praying for Ionia. Head over to the full list at Green Embers’ blog or the Community Storyboard.

Hot Rods and Custard

Guss-Drive-In“Hold on tight baby, we’re going for a ride.”

“But Sam, my hair.”

“Baby, hair ain’t got nothing to do with it. Jump on and let’s go!”

“Fine – are we really going to that dinky little drive in?”

“Dinky? Dinky? Only all the best hot-rodders are seen there! We have to go. It’s Saturday night – he’ll be there.”

“Oh no, Sam baby, I thought you were over that.”

“Over it, honey? No way. He’s got the best damn custom hot rod this side of the Mississippi – hell, he’s got the best damn custom hot rod on either side of the Mississippi. And he’s going to be there at that ‘dinky little drive in.’ He always is, every Saturday night.”

Mary Ellen sighed. Gus’ did serve a great custard. “Fine. We’ll go look at the cars. But I’m telling you, if he pinches my butt one more time . . .”

For Day 15 of the Creative Writing Challenge: Stranger. I saw a couple on their bike, heading to Gus’ (It really is a place, they do have great custard, and yes, every Saturday night, April – November!). This flash fiction originally appeared on the Community Storyboard as The Stranger’s Hot Rod.

***

D: Do people know that this is how you view the world?

A: Considering this is a public blog, yes, I think they do.

D: Hm. . . that settles it, then.

A: I’m not sure I want to know, but settles what, D?

D:  The modern world is no place for a Druid like me.

A: You’re just mad because you can’t have the custard.

D: . . . . maybe.

What’s in the box?

A: I think, when I grow up, I want to be Therese McMurphy.

D: When you grow up? It’s a little late for that now, isn’t it, A?

A: I’m always in the process, D. I mean, when I’m old – I hope I have enough stories.

D: You talk to a time-travelling Pict in your head.

A: In other words, the asylum workers will be wholly entertained?

D: Yes.

A: It’s a start.

Fast times at Divine Savior Holy Angels High

 Or, A Box of Memories: the life and times of Beth Gregory, the exciting conclusion to McMurphy’s Little Box. For the Day 14 Challenge: Yearbook.

buy-broken-jewelry

Image Courtesy: Google Images

“Beth, I’m telling you, you have to take it.”

“Mrs. McMurphy—“

“Beth, how long have you known me?”

Beth looked up from the necklace in her hands – her red-knuckled hands that washed too many dishes. Hands that had smoothed brows and touched wrinkled cheeks. Hands that she barely recognized – hands swollen with arthritis, knuckles too big to remove the wedding ring her dead husband had slipped on twenty years before.

They’d been high school sweethearts – sort of. She went to the local girls’ school, Divine Savior Holy Angels, and he to the boys’ school, Marquette. Beth had gone to DS on a scholarship – none of the other girls would have work-worn hands like these, she mused. Then again, times weren’t easy. Perhaps they all had work-worn hands by now.

Roger Gregory – her husband, her love – had not gone to Marquette on a scholarship. But he hadn’t been as lucky in life as his trust fund had thought he would be. Maybe that’s why he had jumped to his death the day the Bear Sterns had collapsed. Regardless, the trust fund was dry and the life insurance was a joke.

Thank heavens for Therese McMurphy.

Beth had gone back into nursing when Roger had passed. Elder care was her specialty. She’d bid farewell to too many patients when Therese called in, looking for a ‘companion,’ as she put it. It was a charming, if old-fashioned notion. Beth agreed immediately.

The pay was good. The company was better. Therese regaled her with tales of her husband: a prospector, gambler, womanizer and spendthrift. She told Beth tales of his children – not hers, of course. She was the second wife. The first had disappeared. So had the gardener.

Beth looked up from the necklace in her hands. “Therese,” she amended, “I can’t take this. It’s their legacy. It’s –“

Therese cackled. Beth loved the sound – so free, so knowing.

“If they can’t figure out what I’ve done with the final piece, then those ungrateful wretches don’t deserve their father’s wealth. It’s not too hard to figure out. Of course, if they come to you for it. . . “

“I’d give it back in a heartbeat,” Beth assured her. “I don’t need anything—“

“Don’t tell them about the pin, Beth. I want you to have that. To remember me by.”

“And where are you going that I need to remember you?”

Therese sighed and moved fretfully in her bed. She hadn’t left it yet today. It had happened before, but Beth fought the rising fear that Therese was getting ready to leave them – leave the children to their machinations and leave the town to their talk.

Beth patted Therese’s hand and stood to leave. “I’ll put them both somewhere safe,” she said. She arranged the necklace in its case. It was Old Tom McMurphy’s first gold nugget. Therese smiled at the idea that a man could still be a prospector – could still strike gold in the jaded technological age. She slipped the case into her coat pocket.

Closing the door on the old manse, Beth Gregory put her hand to her trouser pocket and smiled. The gold nugget was a bit of fun, but the pin was a real prize. The pin she wanted to keep close. Beth wasn’t a religious woman, but the pearl-crusted gothic crucifix had been Therese’s own, gifted to her by her father upon entry into the nunnery, before Old Tom McMurphy had stolen Therese’s virtue and her god.

Beth laughed to herself. Those two had been quite a pair. The kids could have the gold; Beth had the stories, and that was all she wanted.

Her smile lasted all the way home. When the phone rang, she answered it with a grin in her voice.

“Is that you Little Miss Ballard? Tea? Why, of course! How does Saturday sound – not working yet, are you? Good. We’ll see you at the manse at 1. Say hi to your mother for me.”

Words . . . and more words

Wordle: I love words

Wordle Word: I love words

D: I can think of a few choice words.

A: Can it, D.

D: See, there’s your problem. You never use your pretty words with me. It’s always short and terse and generally dismissive. I love words too, you know.

A: . . .

D: I do.

A: (Sigh) I know you do, D. If it’s any consolation, I’m turning off the internet now to simply write and enjoy some side-by-side child time. The words will flow, I promise.

D: Do I have your pledge?

A:  You have my oath that I will try.

D: That is something, at least.

Wacky world of words

For the Community Storyboard Day 12 Prompt: Definition.

I realized that while I love the idea of this prompt, what I really love are words – the words themselves, and the way they sound. Instead of making new definitions (does making up my own pronunciations count?), I will explain what I love about these words:

Predilection – to have a preference for something or a penchant (also a favorite word). I just love the way it sounds – the sharp rhythm of the consonants.

Pfeffernüsse – They’re German cookies flavored with anise. While I dislike the cookie itself, I love the word. It is a ‘p’ word that doesn’t sound like one. I like ‘p’ words. Yes, I did just say that.

Penguin – Say it. It is a funny word. It is a funny bird that doesn’t fly, and it is a funny sounding word when you think about saying it. Okay, maybe it’s just me. Also, a p word. I wasn’t kidding.

Fastidious – it is a fluffy word for someone who is fussy and hard to please. I love it.

Flibbertigibbet – Me (sometimes, according to the Pict in my head and the child who rules the house).

Ornery – a good old-fashioned grouch. Of course, I’m not sure you can say the word ‘ornery’ and stay irritable. Actually, I like a couple of words for grouch, such as cantankerous and curmudgeon. I blame the Pict in my head.

Rotund – it’s a rounded shape, or a rich, full sound. I never complain that I’m feeling fat … I will however announce that I’m feeling a bit rotund and should probably step away from the snickers salad that was at work today! It’s a nicer, softer word.

Gobsmack – Actually, I always think of god giving someone a smack-down with this one. I know it means to be astounded, and it’s really just slang, but I love the sound of it.