Let Down Your Hair

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A desperate hag stood on the step.

As Hezbella opened the door, children spilled outside in a game of chase. “Can I help you?” Hezbella, a generous person, really meant this.

“Take her back. Please.”

“Do I know you?” Tugging at Hezbella’s skirts, a small child made a hiding place.

“I have your first born.”

Hezbella tried hard to remember, but so much had happened. “That was ages ago. Something about arugula?”

“I can’t keep up with her.”

“Teenagers can be tough. But you have so many advantages, being a witch and all.”

“Wicked young crushes wicked old every time.”

It Could Happen Anywhere

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In the closet where pillows were stored for the pandemic, stuffing lay scattered. Fabric soiled. So many had become mouse nests.

When first furloughed, the smart-looking cushions had done humorous impressions of the Nobel prize winners whose rears they recalled. Now that their padding had thinned, their numbers were also thinning. The best rotated among the dining room chairs. Not every guest could have a back support.

“Listen here,” the plumpest whispered. “A mouse ran under the Queen’s chair .”

The others cried in unison, “Where will it end?”

The door opened. Pussy Cat walked in. “I hear you’ve got problems.”

Independence Day- Stone Soup

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“Where ya goin’?” Not that Fred needed the wall anymore. The war was over.

“You want some soup?” Neville, prone to compromise, hoisted a weathered quartz.

Fred sneered. “What’s it now? Stone soup?”

Neville nodded, making his way across the field.

When Fred joined the other villagers, he saw three strangers. Soldiers. Fred spat at their feet.

“What’s independence with nothing to eat?”

“There will be.” Despite tattered clothes, the speaker had a commanding air.

Fred sat on the ground. Neville joined him. “There’s more than stones. Sausage, potato, and carrots. A right good Independence Day. We can start again.”

See the Stone Soup entry at Wikipedia if you’re not familiar with this folk tale.

Gnome More Mr. Nice Guy

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The gnome winked. “Disturb you, did we? Meant to, didn’t we?”

Annoyed, I watch the ivy root I’d been hacking slither into the ground.

“Burrow they do. Like rumors they monger, multiply.”

I slump in the dirt. “It seems hopeless.”

“Aye, Whac-a-Mole.”

“Then what, let them take over?”

“Nae, ye be between Odysseus double monsters. Then strap yourself down and through it ye go.”

Churning waters, sailor’s oars pulling strong. A group effort. Is that what he means? “I don’t understand. Is it restraint or escape that let us resist the siren’s song?”

“A bit of both. Then dig in.”

Fashion Masks

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Despondent when fashion shows were cancelled, Barbie longed to buy Capri pants, sexy PJ’s, and thong swimsuits. An action figure with years of experience, Barbie leapt to the rescue. E-mail sped to the White House offering a line of summer designs that included matching masks.

Convincing Ivanka to market the clothes and Melania to model was a piece of cake. Both had their original Dream Houses. And Trump’s campaign needed more than MAGA juice. 

With the promise of a rollout in August, Barbie said, “Perfect. September is the new June.” Then she relaxed at Malibu, assured she could shop later.

A Short Conversation Between Two People Who Are Sometimes in Love

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– We can’t hug? Can’t touch?

– Too close. It’s not safe. We still can talk through masks.

– So I drive three hours and that’s it?

– That’s love. The point is… listen. Find the balancing point between desire and friendship. Then sit with me. We’re close enough.

– And watch the sunset. With two lemonade glasses. Wait for dusk and twilight and stars.

– Think ahead, days and weeks and months.

– Make a wish for time to stand still until we find ourselves together.

– A wish on a promise, on an anniversary candle, a wish for the world.

– The stakes are high for us.

HoJo Sunday

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“Donald Trump: the most powerful man on the planet.” The president rinsed his toothbrush. With a lockdown in place, the mirror shot was as close as he could get to a rally. “Don’t you forget it.”

Knotting his robe, The Donald ran ten short feet to bed. “You’ve still got it, baby.”

Picking up his phone, he got to work. Fox News flashed on the TV. His fingers flew, red hot tweets stacking up like dollar pancakes on Sunday morning at HoJos. Invoking emergency powers, he had invalidated the election, clinched by a 5-4 ruling from the Supremes. Now that’s Justice.

Aces Low

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In the kind of stunning reversal the president is famous for, Trump declared that he will be going back to Germany, where he came from. Pouting, Trump said, “No one appreciates my genius. I made America what it is. The Dems broke it.”

It’s not the first time a Trump fled their country. Trump’s grandfather came from Germany as an economic migrant. His grandson would have kept him out. Friedrich dodged the draft in Germany, so they didn’t want him either. Like his grandson, he was not a patriot.

Trump might decide to stay here. Germany might not have him.

Thinking About Birthdays

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Agapanthus always seem too big for the vase at the cemetery. So I bring something smaller, something that doesn’t grow in the yard.

Samuel’s life was brief. Before he died, he held my finger. Breathing through a respirator, breathing through pain, breathing away the last hours of his life; he loosened his grip. The tight fists that fought to stay alive loosened so his cold hand held my finger once before he passed.

I’m glad we had that contact, just like I’m glad to be part of my two son’s lives. Still, I sometimes wonder who Samuel might have become.

Birthday Wishes

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“He’s not old enough for live ammunition.” As if settling the issue she said, “He hasn’t even made his first communion.”

“He’s a good shot.” The boy’s father turned up the stairs. He wrapped the box of bullets in teddy bear paper and stuck a yellow bow on top. He never had been good with bows. But he knew she wouldn’t wrap it. Not after that tirade.

Timmy’s kindergarten buddies would come sit around the festive table. His father set the ammo carton near the cake, pride trumping judgement, fear overcoming reason.

She would pray for them both.