Thursday, May 15

At my grand-dad's knee

I hate to break it to you, but, yes, it's true. There was a piggy by the railway who was picking up stones (foolish little piggy). Unfortunately for him a train came along and broke all of his bones (as was only to be expected, really). With his dying breath, the little piggy gasps that it wasn't fair (maybe alluding to the brevity of his lifespan) and then the engine driver who had gotten out of the train by now and was staring down at the dying piggy with a sneer, sniffed and expressed his total lack of feeling on the matter. Moral of the story clearly is to fear and respect engine drivers.

Talking about piggies, one has to mention that Orson Scott Card is an excellent story maker even if a rather poor story teller. And so, I do him the justice of recognising that just like my grand-daddy (who seldom made up stories but was an excellent raconteur) he would have never suggested that the piggies with the twig and hay houses fled to their more fortunate brother of the brick house. No, certainly not. They were eaten by the wolf. Wolves are not simpletons. Any wolf worth his salt would eat up any piggy who was foolish enough to build houses out of hay and any wolf who had the persistence to blow stick houses down is a wolf worth his salt. Moral of this story, give the Ender trilogy a shot. You might enjoy it. I did.

Talking about wolves, there's the other classic wolf story. The one where the pretty little girl with the red hood goes jauntering through the forest and sells her grand-mum down the river to the big, bad, definitely male wolf. The wolf then proceeds to kill the grand-mum and feed the little girl the remains (that's the way *I* heard it, at least). The woodman comes along and saves the girl but I never heard tell of the grand-mum's rescue until much later (my grand-dad was a formidable man and I think he was trying to make a point there (he was also endowed with much foresight and it must have seemed like a good idea to him at the time to tell his grand daughter about the evils of the world in general and male wolves in particular)). The moral of that story was quite clear, I always thought. Get yourself into any kind of trouble and it's your family that'll pay. And additionally, pretty girls and wolves are fatally intertwined.

Talking of pretty girls, you must have heard of the wandering spirit who snuck into her lady's chamber and finding an old man in there, picked him up by his left leg and threw him down the stairs. While this might very well be a reference to Cromwellian supporters or King Henry or priestholes, the moral could be only one thing. For pity's sake don't let strange creatures liable to grab people and hurl them down staircases wander around your house. Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber. Ugh. Creepy.

Wednesday, May 14

Alternate Universe or What I Thought of While Brushing My Teeth this Morning

She looked up at the ominously dark sky, hurrying her footsteps along the dusty path. Gloomy skies, wet winds and the terrible smell of impending rain. Any moment now the burgeoning clouds would sag lower, their yellow streaked bellies ripping open under the weight of all that water. And then the water would leak out, tearing through the air, coating everything with its dripping wetness. Making everything moist and slimy. Stirring the lovely dust into a murderous paste.

Around her were other townspeople unlucky enough to have strayed out under the threatening clouds. They shied away from the muck of water, grimacing as the first drops splashed on their bodies, slickly glistening moisture oozing on skin. Noone tried to wipe the water off, though. It would smear before evaporating, escaping into the air, droplets begetting droplets. Shudder.

She got home in time to avoid the torrent but still sufficiently covered in the watery slime to require a shower. She stepped into the glass cubicle, turned the knob and heard the satisfying gurgle in the pipes. A second later, she stood under a torrent of warm dettol, letting the cleansing stream remove the slime and microbes of water from her skin. She imagined the droplets flowing down the drain into the water proof gutter from which they would never escape. More stolen rain kept from the treacherous skies. Towards a day when mankind could remain clear of water forever.

Tuesday, May 13

Three Months, It's Been. Let's Hear a Rousing Welcome Back Cheer.

A woman went to the super market. She needed a can of soup. Not just any soup but a particular kind. She didn't think she'd be able to find it in just any old super market. She looked first in Aisle 2: Soup, Noodles and Assorted Instant Foods. Not there. She then looked in Aisle 22: Asian Cuisine. Not there either. Last shot, Aisle 14: Canned Food. Not there either. She did a cursory search through the rest of the super market. She couldn't find it. She walked back home, not at all surprised that she'd been right. It happened to her all the time.