Biscuits, Triscuits…


“Sunny’s Magical Tea Party”- Patrick Maguire
October 8, 2013, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

 

 

All the guests finally arrive.  There is Teddy and Mr. Flamingo, Puff Puff the lion, Piggy Squealson, and Joanna.  Teddy had asked if Ribbit the evil frog could join but Sunny would hear none of it.  A blue blanket, suspended by a great many push pins, hangs securely overhead.  The tea party is lit by a single electric lantern.  The animals intentionally distance themselves from where the lantern’s circular cover creates a diagonal pocket of shadow. 

Upon the tent’s construction, some weeks prior, Sunny explained the purpose of the false azure sky.  “It keeps all the bad things out so we can stay safe.” 

To which Puff Puff the lion retorted: “But we would protect you, Miss Sunny!”

“I know, but this makes it so you don’t have to.”

And Sunny’s words ring true.  The loud, angry voices emanating from the kitchen are wholly swallowed by the magical tent and the dining party is none the wiser.  Though if she could hear them yelling, the subject matter is anything but unfamiliar.

Small plastic wafers are being heated in the fluorescent pink oven, which was purchased from a catalogue.  It was featured on page thirty-seven beside a baby blue workbench for boys.

Each of the attendees has been allotted the plate and saucer that presently sits before them.  An additional bowl filled with honey occupies the center of the irregular friendship circle.

The children’s stove dings twice to signal that it’s contents are ready for consumption.  Each plate is given two cookies and Sunny accents the treat by pouring a dab of honey over it.  After Mr. Flamingo complements the scrumptiousness of the golden sweetener Sunny describes it’s acquisition to the table.  She was given the honey from a group of apologetic bees that routinely buzz the hedge out back as an act of atonement for a stinging incident.  The noble queen had commissioned her best worker bees to tap the most elegant flowers.  The purpose being to prepare a gift for Sunny.  In an extravagant ceremony thirty of the strongest bee soldiers flew a ceramic pot out to her.  In return she promised never again to use the spot as the setting for her jungle adventures. 

The guests love the story, well, all but Teddy who mumbles ‘hogwash’ under his breath.  Sunny has half a mind to exile the curmudgeonly bear to the haunted closet where Ribbit the evil frog is no doubt reconsidering past transgressions.  Ribbit knows what he did.

With the tale completed everyone concentrates on their meal.  Sunny scans her band of friends.  Joanna sits to her left.  At one time the rag-tag pound puppy was incarcerated behind cardboard bars on a felony count of cuteness.  Sunny would have none of that and sprung her free for 12.95.  Though quiet, Joanna often provides Sunny with moral support.  Just one look at her marble eyes beneath those big floppy ears prompts an uncontrollable grin.

Going further around the circle sits Piggy Squealson.  Piggy has fluffy white hair covering the majority of his body.  His left ear hangs half off and sometimes when hugged with an unusual tightness his stuffing puffs out.  Some time ago Sunny wanted to see if the serrated knife she stole from the kitchen was sharp enough.  Piggy Squealson’s ear was the litmus test, mostly because Sunny knew he would forgive her.  In the end she was too scared to use the knife as intended but loved Piggy all the more for his sacrifice.

Puff Puff the lion takes the place directly across from Sunny.  His name comes from an unfortunate incident with the dryer.  His once ferocious mane is now a permed poof.  Puff Puff is a regular sidekick on Sunny’s adventures since his hand puppet form makes for easy traveling. 

Mr. Flamingo is the next around the continuum.  He nibbles at his meal with a certain refinement.  Sunny adores the uneven lumps that contort his neck and bulge his torso.  She made him in a crafts class from a pattern the teacher had handed out.  His many deformities and miscolorations are what makes him so charming to Sunny.

Finally, Teddy holds the place to Sunny’s right.  His old button eyes are no longer sewn in tight and his once smiling face has fallen to more of a frown.  Once the prized toy of her father, Teddy and Sunny have a strained relationship.  But, as bitter old friends sometimes do, neither will give up on the other.

“The tea is made from all that is good and it will ward off all that is bad.”  Sunny announces the reason they are all here.

“But oink what if oink it doesn’t work?!” Piggy Squealson wrinkles his nose.

“We have to try Piggy!  How will we know if we don’t try?”

So, they all gulp down the putrid potion.  It tastes so awful it has to work.  She used the reddest leaves from the tree in the front yard, milk from the refrigerator, cereal dust from the bottom of the box, and squeezed the juice from a single blueberry.  All of which was stirred and mashed with a cinnamon stick left on the kitchen table from yesterday’s diner.

Each looks into the other’s eyes to see if there was any signs of the potion taking effect.  The front door slams but the magical blanket holds it’s will.  Though if she could hear it she would recognize that this is her mother leaving without her.

Sunny yells distractingly: “Let the parade begin!”  With full stomachs the party takes to it’s feet.  Sunny swishes her oversized t-shirt left and right.  The drums kick on over an angelic chorus of horns.  Joanna joins behind, shaking her head so that her ears flop to the beat.  Piggy Squealson gets up on his hind legs and moves his hips to bounce his curly tail.  Puff Puff the lion lets out intermittent growls to match the melody while imitating a windmill with his arms.  Mr. Flamingo flies up and down while conducting the band with his beak.  Teddy doesn’t join the line but he does eek out a smile which catches Sunny’s eye.  In an instant she leaps on him and the other animals follow.  Teddy mistakenly lets his happiness show while playfully trying to get out from under the mound of bodies.  When the pig pile is over each lies exhausted beside the other. 

And then her father enters the tent.  The festivities quickly end.  The magical blanket has failed.  Today’s concoction is no good.  He lays down beside her and folds his hands around her.  They will have to attempt a different recipe tomorrow.

Advertisements


“Early Morning Pluck”- Patrick Maguire
September 23, 2013, 7:14 am
Filed under: Micro Fiction | Tags: , , ,

I’ve never had much love for early morning spiders; those careless arachnids that spin their one strand webs over shaded paths.

Their uselessness astounds me, baffles me even. Never have I seen an insect stupid enough to be caught by such a flimsy trap so this can’t be the way they acquire food. They could be using it for transportation but how much traveling could a spider do to justify remaking such an extravagant bridge daily? It could be the beginning of some grand web by a particularly ambitious eight legged beast but I’ve gone on vacation and come back weeks later to no more than the few strands that are built daily.

Even if I cannot figure your reasoning, you tiny creature, I know that every morning I will meet your web on the way to my car. Every morning, every morning for more than a decade now. Lately I’ve been thinking perhaps we aren’t struggling against each other. Perhaps we struggle in parallel. You know you try so hard not to be as useless as those early morning spiders but sometimes…



“Positive Qualities” – Patrick Maguire
September 4, 2013, 8:02 am
Filed under: Micro Fiction | Tags: , , ,

I’ve often thought that the lies we tell ourselves are the most interesting of all. They are pure; they are innocent. They are not tarnished by malice, regret, or some other disgraceful sentiment like the lies that we tell others.

And I knew it as soon as it slipped past. I was immediately caught in that aha moment, knowing full well that this was a lie that I was telling myself. Two words, contradictory words, that attempted to nullify truth.

If I told you there was a boy and he had positive qualities you’d know. You’d know immediately that he is a bad person. You don’t look at Gandhi and list off his positive qualities. It’s a lie, meant to excuse the inexcusable and it will work more times then not.

I look past my cigarette, out on to the open road and mumble the phrase so I can hear it’s deceit with my own ears.



“Memories of Old and Young”- Patrick Maguire
August 28, 2013, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Micro Fiction | Tags: , , , ,
 
My grandfather came to live with us for a time when I was eleven. His first night was the first night I heard the screaming.
As small boy’s are known to do, I immediately looked to the shelter of my parents. My mother soothed my fear as only she could. “Grampa sometimes makes noises in his sleep. He’s done that ever since I was a little girl but it’s nothing to worry about.”
Back then we didn’t have words like PTSD in the popular vernacular. My mother lacked the resources to accurately describe what WW2 had done to my grandfather but her words were a comfort. The screaming was something you got used to like the popping of radiators when the heat comes on. The thing that was hard to get used to was the crying.
One day when I got up to use the bathroom I found my grandfather crying on the hallway floor. This was not the first time I had found him in such a position but it was the first time I did not retreat back into my room to stare at him nervously through a barely cracked door. This time I walked up to him and said, “I’m sorry about what happened to you.”
He looked up at me with such a look of relief, which I at first mistakenly attributed to my saying sorry. With tear stained checks he then said to me, “Don’t worry son. I’m not crying because I was there. I’m crying because I’m so happy to be here.”