Just a Girl [Repost]

Prompt: Costume

flapper-costume

I was dressed as a flapper, whatever that was, with a cloche hat and a blue fringed sleeveless dress. My older brother was a robot, a costume he made himself from cardboard boxes and silver paint. We were handed white pillow slips and told to limit our Halloween begging to a three block radius, and under no circumstances cross the busy street behind the house.

The house at the top of the block was in total darkness, as it was every Halloween, because of the owners’ religious beliefs. We got an early and annual education in the sinister side of church-going, since the idea of denying us chocolate and caramels and Tootsie Roll Pops seemed dark and ungodly.

A few doors down from them was the over-decorated house, with sheets meant to be ghosts hanging from the trees, half a dozen carved smiling pumpkins hosting flickering candles, and the black silhouettes of bats and witches on broomsticks bedecking the windows. Mr and Mrs Williams were always jovial but asked too many questions and talked to us as if we were toddlers. “Oh my goodness, what do we have here! What are you all dressed up as, little lady?” A flapper. “Oh!” Much chuckling on their part, and scowling and blushing on mine, until they move along to the next victim, who was not my brother, because he’d got his Mars bar (the full size candy bars being the only reason we bother with the Williams) and escaped from the porch.

Many houses later over on the next block was the scary place, where someone had made a graveyard out of the front garden, and the house was dimly lit inside, and you had to knock on the door in the dark, and you never could remember if the people inside had criminal records, or living children, or had somehow harmed a friend of a friend last Halloween. This night, a teenager with a scarred green face and blood dribbling from his mouth tosses packets of gum into our pillow slips. Maybe we’d skip the scary place next year.

The night wore on and there were fewer and fewer children on the street, but my brother’s stamina was legendary, and he had a special new goal: The haunted house across the busy street.

I had almost reached the status of non-girl in his eyes, as in not as dumb or as weak or as scaredy cat as a regular girl, as in almost tolerable. Was I to risk all this advancement, this near-shattering of the plastic ceiling, because I was afraid to disobey our parents, and terrified to go near the haunted house?

Hell, no.

The haunted house was only haunted late at night, when you were adrenalin-pumped and jittery, and almost ready to go home from trick-or-treating, if you could survive. By day it was a very old Victorian-style wooden house, with the requisite peeling paint and boarded up windows. Tall weeds impeded progress to a sagging front porch, which ran the width of the facade. It was a eyesore, perennially rumoured to be the new location of a Baptist church, or Harvey’s Drive In, or a pet store.

Me, my courageous brother, and his best friend, Donny, approached the house from the north, on the sidewalk, walking nonchalantly so as not to alert anyone or anything that we were possibly frightened and possibly going to do something stupid, like walk up to a house that was surely the site of past atrocities, and damned for eternity. I was trembling. Also shivering. I told my brother I was cold. “Too bad,” he said.

Donny, who was dressed as a cowboy complete with chaps and side arms, was strangely silent as we navigated through the weeds to the front door. For some reason, my brother thought it was a good idea to knock. Logic was never a strong point in my family. So he knocked on the front door. It was a cold, hollow sound.

The door flew open! There was an inferno! A piercing scream!

Donny fell backwards off the porch and landed on his head. Blood poured from his skull. My brother ran down the stairs and dove into the tall grass. I alone stood, paralyzed with fear, on the porch, staring at what I saw was some kind of industrial-strength flashlight, wielded by a boy much older, but no taller than I was. He was wrapped in dirty bandages and his face was lit from underneath, so his yellowish face was in hideous shadow.

He grabbed my pillow case, and slammed the door. The house was dark and silent again.

My brother and I dragged the bleeding Donny to our house, where our parents cleaned him up and called his mother. “It’s not as bad as it looks,” said my mother. My dad, showing more spunk than I thought him capable, went out in the car to check out the haunted house, but no one was there. Our punishment would wait.

Donny was sniffling. His head wound probably hurt. His cowboy jeans were soaking wet. No one said anything.

My brother turned on me, “You’re just a baby, screaming like that and scaring everyone.”

“I didn’t!” I felt anger tears welling to the surface, but dared not lose face by crying.

“Cry-baby scaredy cat,” said my brother. His robot head was off, but he was still wearing a crumpled silver box around his midriff. He scowled at me and took the wrapping off a Tootsie Roll for Donny, just as his mother knocked on the front door.

Donny’s face was a smeared mix of blood and sticky chocolate as his mother picked him up in her arms and carried him out, as if he was a little baby.

My brother laid out his candy haul on the kitchen table, sorting it by weight and value. My mother told him he would be sharing his bounty with me, his younger sister, since my pillow slip had been stolen. He sighed, frowned, and rearranged the piles of chocolate and wrapped candies.

“It wasn’t me, it was Donny,” I said to my brother. “I didn’t scream.”

“I know,” said my brother. “But he would have felt bad if I knew it was him.”

I feel bad because of what you said.”

“Too bad,” he told me. “You’re just a girl.”

Our punishment was harsh. No television, no playing outside after supper, so we basically had nothing to do but meditate upon our sins. Or read, which I did, so I didn’t have to think about Donny.

My brother gave me the full size Mars bar as part of my share of the loot, but it wasn’t enough. Not by a mile.


  • Original Prompt: Rearrange, October 28, 2016
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Suspicion

Prompt: Suspicious


Hello Wednesday!

Wait. You look different. Why do you have that look on your face?

You are hiding something.

I thought you trusted me.

Why won’t you look me in the eye?

You are not saying anything.

What?

Oh.


cartoon mole


cartoon customer service


cartoon clown happiness


Wednesday?

Are those for me?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

~~FP

The Stablest of All

Prompt: Bewildered

IMG_1073

Wednesday! You look bewildered. It is impossible for a thinking day of the week, or person, not to be bewildered by the power allotted to a certain politician. I know I am bewildered, as are most of my countrymen.

And we are not actually bewildered that such a human being exists, but that so many millions of people thought him worthy of high office. That is a crazy sandwich.

To wit:

cartoon trump genius


cartoon trump power


cartoon trump stick


Be careful out there.

~~FP

Peeps for Leep [Repost]

Prompt: Leap

jeep cg mud b&w 112908

My name is Leep. At school I was called, inevitably, Leep the Creep. It affected me, I can’t pretend it didn’t.

So it was as Leep the Creep that I put on my ski jacket and went out to mug someone for beer money. I drank Budweiser, which I know is terrible beer, but it was cheap and most of the guys at the club drank it. Leep the Sheep. I admit I sometimes do things to be a part of the gang. I’m weak that way. And yeah, I am saving some money for a vacation. That’s why they sometimes call me Cheapo Leepo.

I couldn’t touch my vacation fund, which sat in a Seville orange marmalade jar on my bedside table. It was up to one hundred and seventy-seven dollars. I could have dipped into it for beer money, but I made a vow to save for the camp. This was one vow I meant to keep. Leep keeps. Leep’s deep.

It wasn’t just the paintball, though I longed to play. At the vacation camp they also had wilderness mud rides, down steep slopes, in a Jeep. Leep in a Jeep going Steep. I heard too they had girls at the camp who liked people like me, shy ones who were also pretty interesting. Peeps for Leep.

So I had to get beer money, without spoiling my plans for camp. My future family depended on it. As in, if I didn’t go I wouldn’t meet the girl, the mother of my future children. See, that was really two vows I meant to keep. The one to my future bride too. I’m shy, and pretty interesting, and loyal. Just what the girls at the vacation camp are looking for. Or so I heard.

My gun was on the bedside table beside the marmalade jar with the one hundred and seventy-seven dollars. It was a deterrent, should anyone have the idea of breaking in and stealing it. I would use the gun to prevent them from stealing. Or maybe I wouldn’t use it, but they wouldn’t know that. Peeps needed to think that you couldn’t walk all over Leep, because he has a gun which might be loaded.

So what makes me pretty interesting? A good question. Well, I mug people, just for small amounts of money, or whatever they have on them. Even ten bucks is ok. My most successful mugging earned me almost two hundred dollars. I kind of wasted it. I bought a digital watch and forty bags of pork rinds. They were kind of a guilty pleasure, at the time. Don’t like them much, now. They were on sale so I stocked up. Cheapo Leepo strikes again.

I also write children’s books. One might be published. Anyway they are for children ages three to five. My publisher said I needed to establish a niche. Not really my publisher, but a publisher who gave me some advice, and if they publish the next one, he will be my publisher. The newest one is called The Joy of Toy. Or The Joys of Toys. I put some illustrations with it, but noted that they didn’t have to use my pictures. I’m not a professional artist. This last book was a departure, since it was so generic. Usually my books are more personal, like about people. One was about a boy who wanted a bicycle, that kind of thing.

But that is interesting, right? An author of books?

My job isn’t that interesting, so I wouldn’t mention that right away. Doesn’t pay that well either, which is why I was always looking for ways to earn a bit more cash. But work had a good employees’ club, nothing fancy, but where I hung out with the gang. Some of the guys are married. Their wives come pick them up at six o’clock. One of the guys, Vincent, met his wife at the vacation camp.

It was a black ski jacket that I put on as Leep the Creep, and I put the hood up to perform a mugging. My face would be in shadow. No one has ever identified me, at least I’ve never been caught. I have one of those everyday faces. Nondescript.

People were always taking short cuts, even late at night, so it was easy to find someone walking alone, off the main streets. It was surprising how careless people were, really.

So I walked around for awhile, just getting some fresh air, when I saw this guy walking alone, down a side street full of shops that were closed. He was no bigger than me, and kind of skinny.

I said, “Give me your money. I have a gun.” My usual script.

This guy looked up into my face. I backed away into the shadow, but he saw me, and I saw him. It was Vincent.

He reached into his leather jacket and pulled something out. I was afraid it might be a weapon so put my hand on the gun in my pocket, just in case. It wasn’t a gun or a knife. It was a jar, my jar.

“This all you got?” Vincent asked me.

I shot him in the face. I didn’t want to, but he could have identified me in a court of law.

__

Photograph by Erik Hinote


  • Original Prompt: Leap, February 29, 2016

Luggage Reunion

Prompt: Conveyor


Hello Wednesday! You are looking very sunny, but very cold.

I’ve decided to start a Throwback Thursday here at Fluffy Pool, wherein I’ll repost some old favourite stories that you might have missed. Tomorrow I’ll republish the very first Leep the Creep story, from February, 1016.

So that’s: Cartoon Wednesday, Throwback Thursday… and what next? Will theme days help me fulfill my daily writing promise? How about Food Friday. Sexy Saturday. Simple Sunday. Mystery Monday. Titivating Tuesday…?

Fickle Friday, Serendipitous Saturday, Sandwich Sunday, Martian Monday, Tortilla Tuesday?

Flying Squirrel Friday, Sanctimonious Saturday, Seething with Unsaid Thoughts Sunday, Marionette Monday, Torso Tuesday?

Hmm.

As the recondite Daily Prompt is “conveyor”, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, loosely connected?

cartoon airport dogs


cartoon conveyor belt


cartoon baggage carousel


Have a sunny, warm, healthy, Seething with Unsaid Thoughts week!

~~FP

Rosa

Prompt: Inscrutable

spectrum-planet

As Angel began to breathe on her own, Rosa developed a cough. It was a dry, rasping, deep-lung cough, that startled Radical out of his deep sleep on the cot beside Angel’s bed.

It was only day two of the induced coma, and Rosa was pleased that Angel’s temperature had come down a little, and that her breathing was less laboured. But I was concerned for Rosa.

She shrugged off my concerns, which was very like Rosa. She was the member of the crew least interested in intimacy, and would help populate the planet out of duty, not lust. She dismissed my worry not out of courage, but from disdain for my weakness and lack of focus. Of course she cared about her health; she cared nothing, however, about my frivolous opinions.

Radical’s routine had been disrupted and he was sleeping more than he ever did before we were quarantined. This alarmed me too. Yes, we three were stuck in a small space with a sick child, but I seemed to be the only one completely unscathed. I slept well, considering. I had a good appetite. I walked the treadmill. I kept my spirits up. I tended to Angel, keeping her clean and fresh. I distracted Radical, who should have been much more restless than he was. Perhaps boredom caused his sleep cycle change?

I just wanted Angel to get well, and for us all to get out and back with the rest of the crew, back to our regular activities and duties, get the children back in school and back to their active daily life.

“How is she?” Radical asked me, climbing, uncharacteristically, into my lap as I sat by Angel’s bed. Rosa was preparing to bring the child out of the coma. Angel’s parents observed from the monitor, tense and agitated.

Radical asked me because Rosa would have ignored his question. “She is doing well, Raddy,” I said, trying to hug him. His sharp elbows and ribbed spine impeded my attempts. “Look! She is breathing just fine on her own.”

And Rosa crumpled to the floor.

Radical tumbled unceremoniously to the floor as I stood and rushed to Rosa’s side. She wasn’t breathing. I threw protocol to the wind then, for which I could have been severely reprimanded. Rightly so.

I broke quarantine and let the others into the hospital unit. Ed was second medical officer. Rosa needed him.

Christopher and Sara gave Ed a wide berth and went directly to the other side of the bed, leaning over Angel. Christopher then threw protocol to the stars, and picked their daughter up, cradling her in his arms.

Protocol didn’t matter any more.

Angel opened her eyes.

Rosa died.

I went to get a blanket for Rosa, and saw my son, Radical. He was in the shadows behind Angel’s bed, watching everything, alone and unmoving.

Before I Kill You…

Prompt: Dominant


Oh, Wednesday.

You now remind me how little I am writing. I see the gaps in the calendar, Wednesday to Wednesday. You are becoming a nag. I would like to transfer all my frustration and laziness to you, if that is ok.

Thank you, Wednesday.

As for today’s prompt, “dominant”, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, which are marginally relevant to the theme?

cartoon mantis sex


cartoon patriarchy


cartoon bossy too


Wednesday, I forgive you.

~~FP