Meringue Dress

 

I Wish I Could Take It Back

I wish I could take it back: first time

I gushed and said, “I do.” 

But he was oh-so cute, you see,

we danced to the Cutting Crew, 

the decade was the eighties, so 

my dress was a meringue,

with puffy sleeves and hula hoop,

we drove off in a Mustang.

It wasn’t long before I knew

it wasn’t going to work, 

we were both too young to settle down,

and, besides, he was a jerk.

My second husband came at me

with oodles of sex appeal,

his olive skin and sea-green eyes, 

made me want to squeal,

the day he got onto one knee

and took my hand in his,

without a second thought, I swooned

and said, “Let’s order fizz!”

The wedding—paid for by his folks!—

was a dazzling, winter affair,

now in the nineties, at least there was no

Flock of Seagulls hair.

Instead, the gel he wore was thick,

his aftershave divine,

I could hardly wait for the honeymoon,

when he would be all mine.

This marriage soon fulfilled its course,

on account of how he strayed,

since quarter past committing to me,

he had played with my bridesmaid. 

Number three, I guess I should have known was wrong,

his eyes were close together,

he looked like he’d been caught in the wind,

his face frozen by the weather.

But he called me sugar, stroked my cheek,

his touch, it was electric

within six months, I walked the aisle, 

who cared about aesthetics? 

Our love affair was hot and fun,

it makes me blush to think,

but all too soon we fizzled out,

and our marriage started to sink. 

It’s been said I fall in love too quick,

I need to wait and see

if I really want to go the distance,

if our love is meant to be.

And so I waited for my current beau;

numbers four is the one, I know!

 

  • This is something I wrote a couple of years ago. I came across it yesterday, and thought I’d share it with you. I have to stress, this is not written from personal experience!

Sisters

Yesterday, my family held a surprise party for my Mum’s sister, Josy. It is her 70th birthday, so we all decided a party was in order. Mum was one of ten children—seven girls and three boys—and I’ve heard so many stories about their childhood. Although their parents had very little money, in many ways I would have loved to be one of them. They were always (and still are) very close, and their childhood sounds like it was idyllic. Josy is the second-youngest, but my dear Auntie Gwenda (who was the youngest) died in 2008, so Josy is the youngest living. She’s had a hard life, all in all, but she’s the most generous and giving person I’ve ever met. She genuinely would give you her very last pound if you asked her for it. She’s just a lovely lady.

The story I want to share today is based only very loosely on reality. It’s the kernel of an event, taken and changed into a short story. I’ve changed the names of all the sisters, but I can tell you that, in this story, Henrietta is Josy. I hope you enjoy it. (In the photo, Josy is second from the left. Mum is the one in the wheelchair at the front.

 

Sisters

IMG_0274

“Henrietta Joyce, outside. Now!” Edie grabbed her sister’s wrist and yanked her from the chair. The rest of the siblings trotted behind.

“What have I done now?” Henrietta asked, huffing as she struggled to keep up.

Ten children tumbled outside, and were met with a thick blanket of humidity. This whole summer had been hot and sticky. Hannah and Cherry lay a blanket on the grass, whilst Gillian produced the boxing gloves; the Carmichael children’s most revered playthings.

“Seriously? The gloves? What am I supposed to have done?” Henrietta looked from sister to sister, none of them meeting her eyes.

“You took my floral jacket without asking and left it at the dance hall. Now, I challenge you to a fight.”

Henrietta shifted feet. “Come on, Edie. You never wear it now you’re going steady with Charlie. You only have eyes for the leather jacket he bought you. I think it’s because you love hi—”

“Shut up, Henrietta! I do not love him. What do you know about love, anyway? You’re nothing but a silly, little girl.”

Henrietta sighed. “Hannah, hand me the gloves.”

“Ha! I knew I’d get you.” Edie beamed as she stretched in preparation. “Best of three. Loser carries the other’s school books every day for a month. They do all their chores, and that includes Little Gran’s shopping.”

“I hope you’ve got a free calendar, Edie.” Henrietta turned to her sisters and whispered those words that were a red rag to a bull: “She’s too chicken to do this.”

Edie flew at Henrietta, but the younger sister was more nimble. She ducked and dodged Edie’s gloves, finally delivering a sucker punch that knocked her sister to the floor. Pauline counted to five, and the first round was over.

Henrietta bounced from side to side; throwing fake punches. “Round Two,” said Pauline, throwing her arms dramatically in the air.

As the two girls fought over the floral jacket they all knew Edie didn’t even want, the rest of the sisters knew better than to pick sides. Seven neatly-ribboned heads watched the punches fall.

There was never any question who the winner would be. Bespectacled Edie was at a disadvantage the second her glasses fell to the floor. Cherry leaned over to Hannah and whispered in her ear, “Edie’s crazy, I swear. She was never going to beat Hetty, was she?”

“I know,” Hannah replied. “But that doesn’t matter. Edie had to fight as a point of honour. You know how it works, Cherry.”

Shaking her head, she sat back in time to see her older sibling crumple to the floor. Caroline (always the saviour!) rushed a glass of water to her side.

Peering through narrowed eyes, Edie glared at her sister. “I hate you, Hetty. Why are you so good at this?”

“I’m not good. You’re rubbish.” Henrietta laughed and skipped back inside.

“I hate her,” said Edie to the rest of her sisters as she felt in the grass for her broken spectacles.

Canada’s Nectar

A little, silly something for today …

Maple Syrup

 

Canada’s Nectar

My favourite vegetable, by far,
is not what you’d expect
(No, not chocolate, although that
would come in second best.)
The veggie that I most crave
comes from Canada, so fair,
I eat it with my pancakes,
which my hubby makes with care.
Yes, Maple Syrup is my choice
of vegetable supreme,
And before you argue, “It’s not veg,”
my case, I must convene.
The syrup comes from Maple Trees,
the liquid: rather plain,
but boil it up and watch it change,
It will be hard to abstain.
My point is this: the Maple Tree
is a plant, complete with leaves,
and, surely, that means Canada’s best
into me, good health breathes!

 

I had planned to share this yesterday as it was Pancake Day in the UK, but, well, you know about best laid plans and all that jazz!

Impromptu Contest

My prompt for today was to write a piece of flash fiction containing as many names of US sitcoms from the 80s and 90s as possible. Quite a task! Very enjoyable. So, I’m going to share with you my writing. It occurred to me I could make a little contest out of this.

The contest is to read it and reply to this post with how many titles you think I’ve included.

You have until midday GMT tomorrow (so, 24 hours from now), and the person who guesses right (or nearest to right) gets to feature a poem or piece of their writing on my blog. How does that sound?

If lots of people guess correctly, I’ll feature all of you. It will be wonderful to be able to share some of the talented people I’ve met through blogging.

So. Here is my story:

The Memory Chest

treasure-pirate-chest

 

Emptying my mother’s house is harder than I anticipated. This intricate little box incites butterflies to float and dance in my stomach. The box, which is shaped like a pirate’s chest, is a deep plum purple and decorated with tiny green rhinestones and cut-out silver spoons. Mum was obsessed with spoons. I have already taken five complete sets to charity shops. I kept her favourite for myself. On top of the chest, Mum has written “Small Wonder”, her nickname given to me following my miraculous, if somewhat arduous, fifteen hour birth. It is a perfect title for the snippets of life I find inside. I lift the lid to a plethora of old photographs, newspaper cuttings, and letters.

The photographs are bound together with a length of purple lace so dark it reminds me of aubergines. I smile without trying when I see the first picture. It is taken at our old house, 227, Benson Road. Three girls, as yet untainted by the traumas of adulthood, smile awkwardly at the camera. On the reverse, Mum has written “Roseanne, Kate & Allie”, 1989. My smile falters when I look at the background scene. I see the looming figure of Mr Belvedere, our creepy next door neighbour. I could never understand how he made a living out of driving a taxi. He smelt of mildew and feet and was always watching us from his garden. One time, I ran straight into him when I was late for the school bus. I got to see his (not so) lazy eye study me carefully. It was too close for comfort. I was happy when we moved to our new house on Alf Tyler Street. Our new neighbours, The Jeffersons, were much less intimidating and, as far as I know, they never once smelled of feet.

I dig deeper into the chest and find my mother has lovingly documented every stage of my growing pains; all my happy days. There is a newspaper cutting, which evokes the fondest feelings inside of me. The picture is of my two friends and me. This time, we are smiling with all the confidence our new-found adulthood and sexuality has brought. The heading reads, “Three’s Company For This Homegrown All Girl Group” and underneath, the article continues, “The Golden Girls of Tucson land their first top ten hit.” Not just our first, but our only hit. I read the whole article, which gushes huge helpings of praise onto Saved By The Bell, a decidedly average song which, somehow, made it to Number 6 on the Billboard Chart. Mum almost burst from her pride in me. It was a magical time, a different world to the one I inhabit now.

Today, I am married … with children. Three children, they are my world and I am a full time mother to them. My life is still full of cheers. My full house of loved ones is more rewarding than all the bright lights and fame in the world.

Even so, I think I’ll keep this treasure trove of memories. When they are old enough, I will show it to my children. Maybe I’ll create my own box and fill it with my new beautiful family ties.

Pink Fluffy Unicorns

Unicorns seemed to be everywhere at Christmas last year. In fact, all year they grew and grew in popularity. And so, for today I am posting something a little different to my usual dark and gloomy writing.

Unicorn1

Shaun, The Pink, Fluffy Unicorn

Shaun was a pink, fluffy unicorn
who lived on a cotton cloud,
as cute as a coot, one day he was born
and his parents shrieked out loud.

“He’s pink!” cried his Mum with eyes so wide,
his Dad backed away on his hooves:
“How can it be that you and me
such a creature could produce?”

When Shaun opened his eyes and they shone bright green,
his mother’s heart did melt,
for he stared at her and uttered a word:
“Mumma.” It was heartfelt.

On trembling legs, baby Shaun stood up,
encouraged by his mother’s nose.
He shook his hair, and it sprung to life,
“Oh my God,” said his Dad, “it glows!”

His brothers and sisters gathered round,
all perfectly white, pristine,
guffaws from each one and sneers and snides,
poor Shaun felt so unclean.

“Don’t you worry, my son, for in my heart,
beautiful is how you’ll stay,
they are only jealous of how unique
you were born. When they’re wet, they look grey!”

Shaun kicked his heels and squealed in glee,
his confidence was restored,
with a wiggle and a shake and a slice of cake,
he spread his wings and soared.

The Saga Of Serge The Snail

My lovely hubby is trying to help me get my mojo back. Just lately, my confidence has dissipated. I think confidence is dependent upon you mental state, isn’t it? So, yeah, mine has kind of gone right now. But, my husband has said he will give me a prompt every morning for me to write 500 words or so about. Just so that I’m writing prose, which is where I want to be.

So, I agreed, Sounds like a good idea. Then, he gave me my first prompt: write about a snail that is trying to stop someone from eating it. (Did I say my hubby is a little odd? No? I probably should have!).

This is my effort:

Snails

 

The Saga of Serge The Snail

 

“Oh, monsieur, monsieur. Arrêtez-vous, s’il vous plait!”

The fat man hovered his pudgy hand between the plate and his mouth. “Huh? What?”

“This is a little delicate, monsieur. I need you to put me down.”

“What? Put you down? Who said that?”

Sweat beaded across the man’s forehead. Flicking his dark eyes around the room, he shook his head and continued raising his hand.

“Non, non, monsieur. I ‘ave asked you nicely. You must forget this treacherous path you are on. It will not end well. Bof!”

Claude yelped as the realisation hit him: the snail was speaking. “Non, this is not possible. I must have drunk too many Cabernets. Or, maybe those truffles were poisonous. I told Chef they did not taste as they should. Garcon! Garcon!” He tried to click his fingers, but the garlic butter dripping from them made the sound fall flat.

“Oui, monsieur? ‘Ow can I ‘elp you?” The waiter blew a strand of russet hair from his face.

“Those truffles you fed me. Where did you get them?” His eyes narrowed, and the boy took a step back. “Find out! Now. Allez!”

Bowing as he backed away, the boy scurried through the kitchen doors.

“Oh, monsieur. You do not understand. Those truffles came from the finest source. They have not made you ill. I am speaking. And there is a reason. My name is Serge. You must not eat me. Must not. I implore you, monsieur.”

A rash of panic shot through the snail’s body when Claude lifted him to his face once more. This time, though, he brought him to his eyes. As he turned the gastropod and examined his under-carriage, Serge’s head became woolly and light.

The kitchen doors crashed open, and the chef strode over to Claude’s table. Red-faced and covered in a film of sweat, he nodded at his patron. “Monsieur, I can assure you those truffles have not upset anyone else. It must be something else.”

Looking from Serge to the chef, Claude took a deep breath. “Okay, bon. Then, why can I hear this snail talking?”

“My name’s Serge. I told you that.”

Claude and the chef snapped their heads in unison to the plate where Serge sat alone.

“Wait, you heard that, too?” Claude studied the chef’s face as it contorted in an attempt to understand.

“Of course he heard me. Why wouldn’t he? Look, I do not wish to cause distress. I simply need you to set me free. Please.”

Pulling out a free chair, the chef took a seat and poured himself a large Cabernet. “But, but, you are escargot. You do not speak.”

“And yet, here I am, speaking with you. I understand it is slightly irregular, but if you just set me free, we can forget all about this.”

The men gawped at each other. Claude tried to speak, but the words got lost behind the hysteria filling his thoughts.

“Okay. I take that as agreement. Bien. Your forager ventured to a part of the woods where permission is not granted. Protected animals and plants live there. Some of us—well—let’s just say, you do not wish to consume us. A price must be paid for those who do. A dark magic spell will be cast over all who sink their teeth into our flesh. A curse upon your home, monsieur. Un malediction!”

A heartbeat passed before either man spoke. Eventually, the chef lifted Serge and looked directly at him. “Hmm. Un malediction, you say? Bon. The only problem with this tall tale is I forage my own food and plants. So I know you are not a special snail of magical properties. You lie, and I shall eat you to prove it.”

Despite his brave words, Claude couldn’t help but notice the tremor in Chef’s hand as brought the snail right up to his teeth.

“Non! Arrêtez-Vous! I beg you. I implore you. Ne mangez-moi pas. I will tell the truth. Okay. The truth. My wife—‘er name is Celine—needs me to help with the babies. Ten babies, and they are so badly behaved. If you don’t keep your wits about you, they run riot. The stories they tell, especially the youngest. Oh, monsieur. My Celine will go crazy without me. Please, spare my life for her.”

The two men looked from Serge, to each other. “Well . . . ” Claude no longer wished to eat the escargot. How can you eat a creature with whom you’ve had a conversation?

“Well, nothing,” said the chef as he pushed the little snail into his mouthed and swallowed. As he licked his fingers, he proclaimed, “Mmm. Delicieux!”

“Garcon, l’addition, s’il vous plait. Bring me the bill!” Retrieving his wallet from his jacket pocket, Claude left a pile of bills on the table and, as he fled the restaurant, shouted over his shoulder, “Never mind. These should more than cover it.”

The moment the door closed, the chef and waiter descended on the money. “Oh, dear me,” the chef said through a barrage of laughs. “It worked again. I don’t know how you do that, Michel. You throw your voice so well. Today, a snail. Tomorrow, a shrimp. Oh, so clever.”

The smile vanished from Michel’s face. “But that wasn’t me. Monsieur Claude always tips well. I saw no point in conning him.”

“What?” The air grew cold. “Say, what?”

“Honestly, monsieur. I thought you had mastered the art.”

Clutching his stomach, he ran to the restroom. As he entered a stall, a tiny voice from deep within said, “I told you, monsieur. I am special!”

 

That Darn Diggin’ Dog

Digging Dog

For today, I had a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction under 300 words. I love the challenge of restricting the word count. It’s not easy, but it is enjoyable.

 

Introduction: It’s the Kennington’s 16th decade, birthday celebration! The whole town is invited to the events. Detective Hall, was just about to “close shop” for the day and leave a skeleton crew on to answer phones and 911 him if an emergency arrives, then, suddenly his phone rings …

Prompt: “Yes, this is Detective Hall, speaking. What! You found a gun buried under Elmer’s sycamore tree? How did you think to look there? Oh, his neighbour’s dog dug it up. Yes, we’ve had complaints of that dog digging in yards all over Kennington. Wait, what’s that you say? There was a metal box with lots of cash buried with the gun?”

 

That Darn Diggin’ Dog

The detective yawned as he pulled his old Plymouth onto Elmer Ryland’s driveway. It had been a long day, and his bones ached for his bed. When Elmer met him on the porch, the eighty year old’s blue eyes sparkled like diamonds.

“You better come on in, Jimmy, you’re gonna need a drink when you see what that dog unearthed this time.”

Detective James Hall sighed. Nobody called him Jimmy any more, not since he was twelve, but he didn’t have the energy to explain that. Instead, he simply said, “Okay, show me where it’s at.”

The old man led the way through his worn out house, to the large kitchen at the back where a metal box—that was caked in dirt—sat on a rickety pine table. The detective gasped and steadied himself on the table. His eyes widened, and he turned to Elmer and said, “Is this what I think it is?”

“You see them faded initials as good as I do, sonny—T.C. That’s what it says, and we all know who T.C. is.”

Hall took a step closer and traced the letters with fingers that shook. “T.C., Top Cat, the cat burglar of Kennington.” He prised open the lid, barely daring to breathe from the weight of possibility.

Sure enough, this crazy digging dog had dug up the famous ‘Top Cat Stash’: the one the cops had been hunting since before he was born.

When Detective Hall turned to Elmer, his jaw dropped as the old man said, “I knew it’d be found in the end son. Tell the truth, I’m glad my secret’s finally out.”