Friday, July 30, 2010

the box

Carolina's mom died last year. She was still sad, of course, but some days she was more sad than others.

She got out the box on those days. The box was full of special things that reminded her of her mom.

On bad days, she sat alone in her room, carefully removed each item from the box, and laid each on the floor in front of her.

First, she pulled out the half-used lipstick that she had taken from her mom's purse on the day that she died. Carolina remembered her mom putting on the lipstick every morning. Sometimes she would pass it to Carolina when she was done. Carolina would apply it to her lips just like her mom had done, but she could never make it look as perfect as her mom's did. Her mom would smile, grab a tissue, and wipe off Carolina's clown mouth.

Next, she pulled out the bookmark she'd found in one of her mom's favorite books. Sometimes, when her mom was reading, Carolina would slip next to her on the sofa and curl up in the crook of her arm. Her mom would smile down at her and then go back to her book. Carolina would rest her head on her mom's chest, feeling the rise and fall of breath going in and out of her mom's lungs, and let her eyes close as her mother twirled Carolina's long hair through her fingers.

The final thing Carolina pulled out of the box was the last picture that was taken of the two of them. Carolina's dad had taken it on their beach vacation. Carolina's mom taught her how to body surf on that trip, the gentle waves carrying them to the shore, giggling and gasping for breath. Afterward, they'd all sit on their towels under the beach umbrella and snack on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, drops of thick jelly falling on their tanned legs.

Carolina crawled into bed and put the picture of her mom on the pillow next to her. She closed her eyes and imagined her mom sitting next to her on the bed, reading her a story. Carolina even imagined she felt the ghost of a soft kiss on her forehead, just before she fell asleep.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Frank, part 2

Frank's favorite part of the day was the late afternoon. It was usually quiet and he could concentrate on his stories. Each day, he recorded his soap operas and, once he got home from work, he would pour himself a glass of milk and settle into his favorite chair to catch up on the daily goings on.

You might think it strange that a dragon has a day job, but his duplex doesn't just pay for itself. Frank used to live out in the woods, in a cave actually, which is a pretty typical place to find a dragon. In fact, Kim and Clark had found the cave that Frank used to inhabit when they were on their dragon hunt and, had they looked a little closer, they would have found evidence in the form of old People magazines and Poptart wrappers (Frank could toast them himself, without the need for toasters or pesky electricity).

Eventually, Frank decided to move out of the cave to a place with indoor plumbing and soft beds and cable. Especially cable. Which meant he had to get a job. He found the perfect job at a firefighter training facility. At first they balked at hiring a dragon, mostly on the grounds that none of them actually believed in dragons, but Frank was now an integral part of the team. The Rowling City Fire Brigade was the most accomplished group of fire-putter-outers you could ever dream to find, all thanks to having a dragon on their side.

Once he'd procured employment, finding somewhere to live was easy. He decided on a small house at the end of a quiet road, close to the woods he'd once called home. He still had friends there that he liked to visit from time to time (under cloak of darkness, of course) and, as he was too big to fit in a car, needed to be within walking distance.

And so, jobbed and housed, Frank settled into a comfortable routine. He didn't know yet that his much beloved routine was about to be rudely disrupted, which is all the better for him, really, because Jake had just told Chastity that he was leaving her for another woman who turned out to be Chastity's long lost twin sister. You really need all of your concentration for a storyline of that kind.

Frank's concentration was interrupted by some shouting on his front lawn. He couldn't make out what was being said but it kept getting louder. His temper was rising, but he tried to calm himself. Not many people know this, but when a dragon gets too upset, they have absolutely no control over the whole fire-breathing thing. It's a real problem at dragon sporting events.

Frank was getting angrier and angrier as the yelling outside continued. He started pacing around his house and, unfortunately, his anger reached its most dangerous point as he entered his kitchen. He opened his mouth and let loose a great ball of fire, which flew directly at his stove. His gas stove. His gas stove that then exploded, taking the house with it.

Luckily, dragons can withstand a lot more than a mere house falling on them, so Frank was fine. Annoyed, but fine. Through the remnants of his house, he heard a tiny voice ask, "Did we do that?" He cleared his throat.

"No," he said. "I did." He tossed away the bricks and boards and blown up furniture and broke free of what was left of his house. And that's how he met Kim and Clark.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Frank, part 1

When Kim and Clark went dragon-hunting, they never expected to actually find a dragon. They especially did not expect to find a dragon named Frank. They especially especially did not expect Frank to live in a duplex at the end of their street.

They didn't even find him while they were on their dragon hunt, although they had prepared for their hunt so carefully. They made sure to bring several different kinds of sandwiches (as they were not sure what kinds of sandwiches dragons prefer), some rope, and they'd even swiped a fire extinguisher, just in case they met a less-than-pleasant dragon.

As expected, however, they left their hunt empty-handed. They found their dragon when they were on their way home. And they didn't so much find him as he found them, wrestling on his front lawn.

They hadn't meant to wrestle but, being brother and sister, these things tend to happen. It doesn't matter how it happened, but let's just say the words "fartsniffer" and "buttgrabber" were thrown about.

Kim had just gotten the upper hand, as she often did, by virtue of being older, taller, and heavier. Clark was facedown on the ground, pouting into the dirt, and Kim was sitting gloriously atop his skinny back.

"Get...OFF," Clark said, shifting his weight from side to side and trying to dislodge his sister.

"Say it!" she shouted, and poked a wet finger in Clark's ear. He swatted her hand away and shook his head.

"I won't!"

"Saaaaay it..." she warned, readying another finger for a Wet Willie.

"FINE! I'M A PRETTY PRETTY PRINCESS!" Clark shouted and that's when the house in front of them exploded in a great roar of noise.

"Holy crap," said Kim. "Did we do that?"

"No," said a voice buried in the remains of the house. "I did."

Kim and Clark looked at each other. Kim stood up and helped her brother to his feet. They brushed themselves off and walked toward the pile of house in front of them.

And that's when a dragon emerged from the rubble.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Magic Socks

Marjorie woke up for school early on Friday. It was the day of the big race so she put on her magic socks.

Her magic socks came all the way up to her knees. They were striped, like a rainbow, and kept her legs toasty warm no matter how cold it was outside.

Marjorie's magic socks let her do anything. She could run faster than a cheetah when she was wearing them. She could jump higher than the tallest building in town. If she ran so fast and jumped so high at the same time, it was like she was flying.

Marjorie did a few test jumps in her bedroom. She jumped over her bed without touching it. She jumped over her dollhouse without upsetting it. She jumped over the block tower she'd made without knocking it over. She nodded and decided she was ready.

She went downstairs for breakfast and ate oatmeal with blueberries (her favorite). Her dad mussed up her hair and she grinned through the big bite of oatmeal she'd just taken.

"All ready for the big race?" her dad asked. Marjorie nodded. She put her dirty dishes in the sink and picked up her bookbag. Her legs felt loose and wobbly and she had a mad fluttering in her tummy. She gave her dad a shaky smile and headed out the door to school.

On the way to school, she met her best friend Billy.

"Are you nervous?" asked Billy. Marjorie nodded.

They walked to school in silence. Marjorie wished she didn't have to wait until after lunch to run the race. She didn't remember anything the teacher said all morning and she was too nervous to eat her lunch.

After lunch, she and Billy walked to gym class together.

"Good luck," said Billy. He pointed at her socks. "You don't really need it, though," he said and smiled at her. He was missing two teeth up top. He looked a bit like a jack-o-lantern which made Marjorie smile.

She looked down at her magic socks. She stomped all of her nervous feelings out of her legs and took her place next to the other runners. They were all bigger than her, she noticed, but no one else had magic socks.

The gym teacher approached them with a starter flag. He held it up, above his head, and brought it down quickly.

"Aaaaaand GO!" he shouted.

The runners took off. Marjorie pumped her little legs as fast as she could and was soon out in front of everyone. It seemed she was running on air, almost flying, and even after she crossed the finish line (first, of course), she kept running. She ran outside, past the playground. She ran to the middle of the woods and jumped to the tallest trees to talk to the high-flyingest birds she could find.

Marjorie wanted to know how the birds flew so high. The birds wanted to know where Marjorie had gotten her magic socks. Their legs get very cold in the winter, you see.

Hurricane Bill

Hurricane Bill was angry. Hurricane Bill wanted to rage and storm.

Hurricane Bill wanted to lightning-strike the ground and thunder-clap the air.

Hurricane Bill wasn't always Hurricane Bill. He used to be just Plain Old Bill.

Until one day, one very sad day, when Bill's dad got sick and had to go to the hospital. Bill's dad didn't come home, even though Bill wished and wished for it.

Bill's dad died and Bill was angry. He was so angry that he became Hurricane Bill.

Hurricane Bill was a mighty terror.

He threw his toys and broke them.

He hit his brother and made him cry.

He kicked the wall and hurt his toes.


Hurricane Bill's mom told him not to throw his toys when he was angry. Instead, she gave him some scrap paper and showed him how to rip it into teeny tiny pieces.

She said not to hit his brother. She gave him a pillow to punch, so he wouldn't hurt himself or anyone else.

She told him to stomp, stomp, STOMP his feet on the floor, to stop himself from kicking anything.

But he was still angry.

So Hurricane Bill's mom gave him a big hug. She held him in her lap and told him that it was OK to be angry. She was angry, too.

Sometimes this made Hurricane Bill cry. Sometimes it made him even more angry.

But most times it made him feel better and, even if it was just for a little while, Hurricane Bill became Plain Old Bill again.

New Project

So, because I don't have enough to do, really, I've started a new project where I write a story every day. My goal is to get something published, and I'm concentrating on children's stories. Mostly because I have the mentality of a child.

NOTE: My main goal is to get some sort of picture book published that deals with grief and death and dying, not because I'm especially morbid or anything, but because I volunteer with a group that helps grieving children and do you know how hard it is to find the perfect grieving book to read a six-year-old? It's hard, is what I'm saying. So I figured I'd just write some myself.

Also. Um. What else. Oh. I won't be posting on the weekends, most likely, although now that I've said that, I'll probably post like a BAJILLION times on the weekend and break the internet. I apologize in advance.

Also also. I'll probably post more than one thing today, so this blog is not so empty and barren.

That's all.