Flash Fiction: The Hungry Polka

“I don’t know! Don‘t look at me like that. I just don‘t know, alright?”

The words hung in the air between teeth clenching mother and bored looking daughter. They turned and stared at the fabric.

Reining in her frustrations Gabby reminded herself she should be patient with her teenage daughter. “Well do you like it or not?” Gabby asked gently.

Chewing gum smacked about in her mouth as Ann considered her answer. She was tired of this hunt for the perfect fabric for the perfect dress and all for the perfect day.

The perfect day – her mum’s wedding. Ann tried not to think of it. She would prefer to run, from the house, from their perfectly planned lives and most of all, at this moment from this flaming tweedie shop.

With a shrug Ann said,  “Yes, sort of.” Silently she thought, it looks like the type of fabric that would drive a person dotty. The words made her smile and she repeated them in her head.

Gabby ignored the nit picking irritation created by the “sort of.” Instead she concentrated on the positive, the only positive word spoken by her daughter today.

They floated home on a cloud of relief via the number nineteen bus. Once inside their front door, they parted company.

Ann to her room. Gabby to the kitchen where she filled the kettle. Tea was needed immediately to help her recover. The fabric lay on the counter.

It was spotted by Martin. “Nice dots!” he commented.

Gabby grimaced remembering the work it took to overcome her daughters objections.

Martin  rubbed his hand across the fabric. “Reminds me of a haunting Polka tune I learnt at school.  He left the room whistling.

Gabby draped the fabric over the banisters that evening. Gabby insisted, inspiration for the cut, shape etc would happen if she kept it there.  Martin was continually whistling that tune. She found it irritating. He said it was comforting.

She woke at three in the morning. The room felt chilly. She got up to investigate.

The light on the landing drew her out of her room. She could hear the trace of dance music rising to meet her. She crept down the stairs. Curiosity forced her on, even as she saw the dark shadow on the stairs. Her heart pummeled in her chest, her ears were filled with the loud swoosh as anxiety raised her blood pressure.

Martin stood clutching  the fabric as he muttered softly to himself. The music played on. Gabby wondered where it was coming from. She looked at Martin, in fact she couldn’t take her eyes from him. His eyes were alight but his face was pale as he said over and over again…”Polka dot. Dot. Dot. Polka dot.”

The doctors insisted it was a stress related breakdown. Gabby didn’t know what to think or believe. Martin was no longer her Martin. He was a shadow of his former self, all he did was hum that blasted tune day in and day out. If he wasn’t humming he was singing about dots.

Ann offered her opinion. “Pre-wedding jitters and stress has turned his brain to mush!” With a pop of her gum she left the room.

How Breeze got his name.

“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