I heard the Ogre thinks I am not bright, well check this out:
For every writer, artist, photographer, entrepreneur who is struggling, keep going….
I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope I will wake up. I pinch my arm to check if I’m dreaming. The expensive, painful, carefully drawn dragon has vanished.
This morning, while showering I noticed the ink was fading. Soap trickled into my eyes as I attempted to solve the puzzle. Had I been conned? Money taken for a cheap tacky job. No, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap. It hurt.
The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from my husband. I suppose it was an incredibly stupid act of rebellion but I did it. I got a tattoo, at thirty eight years of age.
Once dressed I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy. Despite the recession, many of us are escaping age or misery by acquiring a tattoo.
The door bell jangles as I enter. The artist looks up. He scowls, then flicks the chewing gum from his mouth into a waste bin by his side. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from the boy.
“Lo. You’ll have to wait.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture in my direction.
“I.” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”
He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly. His voice canons into me, “I want whatever you are on.”
The boy in the chair glances at me, “Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore him and focus on the artist who is staring at my arm. I glance down. Disbelief washes through me because I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me.
I feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggles from the boy.
I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”
“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.
I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”
“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and think. I can understand that. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.”
I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result. A black shriveled mess.
To prove his happiness he begins to dance, tap dance if I’m not mistaken all the way up and down my arm and along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow with a white hanky. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To reinforce his point he releases a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keeper’s hanky. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice soft thud.
Standing up, I step over the keeper saying, “George, this is interesting. Would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.
He wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming infusion of her. The simple scent of citrus was driving him beyond reason. He never wanted to let her go. His hammering heart warned him that if he didn’t do something soon, he would be tempted to push the boundary of their new and tentative friendship.
She smelt sweet, tasted like heaven and he knew he needed more than friendship. Her constant claims of not looking or wanting a boyfriend puzzled him. If she didn’t like men then why did she hang around with him?
Only five hundred and fifty five more sacks of nectar to collect and I’m winner of the collector of the week, Horace thought as he paused for a break.
It was hot. Humid and hot, not two of his favorite words but work was work and families had mouths and they needed to be fed.
He paused and with a neat flick his straw-like tongue zipped outwards and got …nada… zilch…nothing.
Again, it can’t be happening again. Oh gosh, that’s the third time today. I’m overworked, I’m finished I won’t make the top of the pollen charts today or tomorrow. I must be ill. As he ranted and raved, he paused, the other insects around him were mostly bees or the odd horsefly, but he could have sworn he heard a giggle. He looked around no one appeared to be watching him.
“Oh god, its worse than I thought, I’m going cuckoo, mad, batty.” He shuddered – he hated bats.
Horace considered his options. To return home now would be to admit total and utter defeat. “I’m not a quitter, ” he muttered. “I’ll move on to the next plant and try once more.”
As he took off, he noticed that taking off was becoming harder and harder. I feel as though I am gaining weight. Must go back to Moving and Meditating Classes, they did me good the last time.
He landed with a thump and gave himself a minute. He closed his eyes and pictured a calm scene. Night time and his bed.
Meanwhile Lolita ladybug had unattached herself from him and was busy collecting nectar. She hummed as she worked. Moths were famous for being less than clever but today she had hit the jackpot. So far she had robbed him of six sacks of nectar and if she played her cards right he would even give her a ride back home.
The air fizzled. She looked up and noticed he had one eye open. Humming stopped and she became one with the stem of the plant. Hoping was all she had now unless he was exceptionally stupid….
Flash fiction piece inspired by this photo on Dragonfly Photography’s blog page.
She sashayed towards him. Every ounce of her two tonne body issuing an invitation: I’m a woman – come get me.
He gulped, discovered he couldn’t move. He was incapable of thought, mesmerized by that great supple movement of her hips and felt her eyes pierce his soul.
He knew at once she had to be his, “what’s your name?” he growled, his eyes fastened on hers.
Stupid question he thought, it doesn’t matter, because this was one whole lot of woman and this time he was going to win the Grace Waltz. He was going to take her to the Hippopotamus’ Mud Ball in November or die trying.
“Breeze, its a weird name. How did you get it?” Tulip asked one afternoon.
He smiled. Flicking an annoying squirrel off the branch they sat on he said, “To answer that we need to climb Sugar Loaf mountain.” He pointed into the distance.
“Let’s go.” Tulip said.
One hour later they were sitting on a ledge looking down on the forest. “I can’t see our tree.” Breeze moaned.
“Let me help.” Tulip flicked her wand towards the trees. She said, “Wait, give it a minute.”
Breeze counted. At sixty he was rewarded. A rainbow volcano erupted from a tree, showering the forest below with sparkling, dancing lights. “Thanks,” he said and began his story.
Mum was nursing me outside our cave, the day after I was born. I was crying. Two birds flew close to her and asked her to make me stop. Then they asked, “What is his name?”
“He doesn’t have one yet, because an Ogre takes his name from whatever or whoever makes him smile, but he hasn’t stopped crying.”
“We know,” they said putting their wings over their heads.
A breeze blew softly across the mountain tops. It drifted down to the crying baby. It danced across his toes and worked its way up to his nose. His crying stopped. He smiled.
The birds popped their heads out and asked, “who did it?”
She said, ” the breeze did it. His name is Breeze.”
Tulip looked at him. “I don’t think that could be true.”
Suddenly she felt a flitting breeze tugging at her wings. It pulled her hair from its pony tail, tickled her nose. She smiled.
But Breeze was way ahead of her as it worked its magic on him and he laughed so hard he rolled half way down the mountain.
For an image of Breeze and Tulip check out this link
Breeze loved to sit in trees.
It was generally regarded by those who believed they knew Ogres, that Ogres hated trees, but he was the exception to the rule. The bonus for sitting in trees was; he could spy on his neighbors.
It was Monday afternoon. Breeze climbed his favourite tree in the forest and almost crashed to the ground. His favourite branch was bent at an ninty degree angle which meant he could not sit on it.
He grinned, then said, “I could use it as a slide.” And he did.
On his third slide to the ground, he let out a tremendous roar of ‘Wheeeeee.’
The female voice that roared back was not tiny or polite. When she had his attention, Fairy Tulip declared,
“You sank an entire batch of fairy cakes so you can come to the party and explain why they look like pancakes.” Her foot was tapping the air as her wings flapped close to his nose.”Stop scowling at me. You thundering big oaf.”
“Ogre” he corrected her. “I’m a thundering big Ogre.”
Her answer surprised him.
She laughed, so hard she tumbled upwards until she was level with his eyes. “Well for a TBO you have surprisingly nice eyes.”
They went to the party together.
Days passed before Tulip met Breeze. “I have an order for two hundred cakes. Come to the tree at two o clock, I will sit with you to protect the slide and my cakes.”
He scratched his head. “Ok, if you bring a large fairy cake for me.”
Tulip said “Yes.”
At two o’clock he saw her struggling with a huge package. She said, “I couldn’t carry the cake up to the branch but you could.”
He climbed to the branch below his favourite one, in case he was tempted to slide.
“This cake is huge.” He said.
“Don’t worry I’ll help.”
They sat for a long time eating and talking.
It was late when Tulip said, “this is odd, we are sitting high in the sky and we are sinking instead of the sun.”
“That can’t be right.” Breeze said and finished the last of the giant cake.
Tulip looked down and smiled. She said. “Getting back on the ground is usually a long flight for me. But watch.”
With a flick of her wings she took a step and landed on the ground. Breeze stood up and walked after her. Together they looked at the tree. Instead of one branch bent towards the ground now there was two branches bent over like steps on stairs.
Breeze smiled at her. “Tulip you have solved the mystery. Thank you.”
“You are very welcome, but perhaps you should stop eating fairy cakes for the next few weeks.”
Together they strolled off into the forest.
This story was inspired by pictures on miartedoris.wordpress.com site.
I was clearing around Mum’s grave yesterday evening. I don’t tend to stand and pray but yesterday I felt compelled to say ‘thank you.’ I had three decisions to make in the past few weeks and was, as usual, dithering.
In the end I made the decisions in a hurry and two have worked out for the best, but it was due to a conversation I had with her in the previous week. I know it sounds as though I have lost the plot, visiting a grave and having a one sided conversation doesn’t sound like a sane choice, but…
It worked for me.
So to make a long story short, I was thanking her yesterday when it dawned on me that those are two words that are vanishing from our lives.
We never think of the trouble people go to on our behalf and say “thank you” to them.
My husband made a comment a while back, that he doesn’t like opening doors for younger women. The reason being they either think he is up to some evil trick, or they think it is demeaning to them, inferring they need a door to be opened. His question of – “Haven’t we gone too far?” – got me wondering again,
In the past I volunteered with delight for various groups that were looking for help but today if you volunteer you are required to go through a garda vetting (which is only right) but also you have to do a number of courses to allow you to volunteer. So here I am looking at unemployment once again and being left with a choice: I can retrain at 54 or volunteer.
The question is which role am I more capable of filling? I know that the second choice is probably the way to go but … with a string of courses already to my name I am now discovering that some wise man or woman has moved the goal posts and I will have to redo most of the courses, ( possibly trek over and back to England if I wish to volunteer with Ellie my collie cross ) if I wish to return to the role of volunteer.
Bewildering isn’t it?
Do you think that helping others has become too complicated?
Mum’s ten year struggle ended on 30th May 2013.
The turning point in her life was a freak accident. A horse box ramp fell back on her pinning her to the ground. Two operations later, she declared she was alright.
I noticed a change in her, she was still bossy, inquisitive and loving but no longer the driving force for family events. Gradually, she stopped doing the things she used to love, driving, going to the local historic society, watching her grand son run at athletic meetings, until her days were spent at home, reading the papers, cooking and watching tv.
Her decline continued, she relinquished her cooking and cleaning duties to Dad, who was hopeless at both but did his best. Questions like, “How do I cook a turkey?”, her answer, “Put it in the oven”, became the normal for him.
In late July 2012 she suffered numerous strokes. She was given the last rites and declared, “I don’t want to die.”
Confined to bed by a body that was weak and wouldn’t work the way she wanted it to brought more change. A liquid diet and constant attention meant that by October she was ready to be released.
She came home. My husband worked a miracle and transformed mum’s sitting room into her bedroom. Lizzie, my sister and me were dad’s support in his care of mum. Rolling up our sleeves we did so with great enthusiasm, and ignorance to the amount of work and vigilance that is needed. The house often shook with everyone’s laughter as we learnt to cope.
The decline of her health robbed us of time. My parents were robbed of their daily banters, outings, visits to friends and simple things like shopping. Most importantly she was robbed of her independence.
Dad’s life was stressful, watching for signs of infection, having carers arrive three times a day for thirty minutes, nurses, doctors, travelling with her by ambulance to the hospital close to us to be told she couldn’t be given the correct treatment but the hospital ninety miles away could take her, sitting in a & e’s while teams of doctors discussed what could be done or travelling by taxi in one instance.
Mum’s wicked sense of humour helped.
Her stubborness frustrated. I doubted everything I was doing.
My mental health was being thrashed. On impulse, I rang a lady who offers help, she claims to be neither a medium or clairvoyant. Her first words to me were, “Come see me now.” I didn’t hesitate.
She didn’t give me a magic formula or the winning lotto numbers, but the truth. She described relations who were surrounding me in her room and with her first words, ” The old lady with the limp says your mum is the contrariest woman in Ireland and she wants to have a haircut.” I knew she would only tell me the truth, as she was talking about my grandmother who died when I was around six years old. And mum did need a haircut.
I left her house that day and sat in the car crying. Oddly it helped. I owe her a lot for giving me hope and strength.
Life didn’t get easier in the following eight weeks.
We are still dealing with the fall out of her ill health. I had many rough moments, my brother attempting to pick a fight with me, and an answer to the question, should we resusitate her if… being the toughest two moments I had to deal with in the past year.
Truthfully your health is your wealth, protect it and ..
Survive & Thrive
Listen to your inner self..it has all the answers..
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