Here Ends The First Lesson.

‘Anne, What if we chose not to feed that bird,’ Daddy pointed, ‘because it has a yellow beak? None with yellow beaks.’ Mummy joined in, ‘We could tell everyone how wicked the yellow beaked ones were, they would copy,and soon there would be nowhere for them to go.’ Tears welled in Anne’s eyes, her lip trembled. She stood, her eyes swollen with unshed tears. “No! Everybody needs kindness, you always tell me that. I will be very cross and sad if you do. Please don’t.’ They hugged her, assured her she was right not to discriminate.

Charli Mills set this challenge at the ranch as set out below. June 4, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about justice for all. It does not have to take place in America. Injustice exists anywhere. What is the story behind justice for all? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by June 9, 2020. To read or join in press the blue.

Press here

I believe tackling justice for all #BlackLivesMatter needs to begin at the knee of families. My response is, to show how we all can nurture our young to become a better race.

I am still unsure if my take on the prompt is worthy of such a profoundly emotional subject.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

A look At Life Along The Footpath.

On the day in question, she took the black tarmac path that snakes behind the row of terraced houses. Houses with their postage stamp gardens that are secreted away behind red brick walls. They sit prettily on the edge of the small English market town. Across the width of the path are the allotments. Every forty or so feet of its length are gates, if you stand still enough, you can sometimes hear the squeak and crunch, as rust drags itself across the warped hinges. The home owners can slip out of the doors of their walled gardens, and walk to their patch. Sectioned plots of land just big enough for fruit, vegetables and herbs to grow. Each one has a wooden shed, some are used for hiding Dads from noisy homes, while others are potting and tool sheds. Some, are the holders of secrets, places where illicit pairings take place.

Old Jack, wanders the allotment with a paint kettle, and a blackened gnarled brush. “A ten pound note will get your shed protected” he calls waving the brush. Jack sleeps wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard; close to the Brazier. Often he rests inside unkempt sheds that he tidys in return. He blows and snorts as he splashes his face at the ice cold pump. You can see where his stained hands are dried on the threadbare seat of brown corduroy trousers. The scent of Creosote wafts around him like midges beside a Scottish loch. Often people smell Jack long before they see him. A harmles but important character of the allotment.

As she walked, she looked at the bustle going on both in and around the allotments. Old men nod in acknowledgement to each other; men with no need to waste words on pleasantries. Years of shared knowledge and friendship, camaraderie and memories have passed between them. Women with their hair covered, and gloves protecting their hands, lean on wheelbarrows and forks. Girls laugh at secret stories. A young woman colours as she looks about; checking she wasn’t overheard. An elderly couple stop what they are doing to smile at each other, and touch fingertips … A shared silent moment. Father’s dig and tend the early veg. Cutting curly spring cabbage for dinner, digging in Manure, sold to them all by old Jack. She scans the scene spotting a damp steamy pile at each shed as she passes, pressing a fine linen handkerchief to her nose.

Life goes on around her as she continues on the path. The sun shone on the crisp morning, birds sang and dogs wagged their tails. A boy on a micro scooter passed her; head down, furiously concentrating on the pounding of his white trainer against the path. A cough pushed spit from his mouth as he passed her. It slapped against her stockinged leg making her gasp. The woman wiped it with her handkerchief, curled her lip in distaste as she lifted her head and screwed her eyes.  He poked up a middle finger and snarled back. A moment or two  passed before she straightened her collar and went on her way.

The path comes to a halt. Cobbles trail a curve around the periphery of the luscious green patch of neatly manicured lawn. Several keep off the grass signs are the only things to mar its perfection. A dozen impressive buildings stand around the edge like sentinels. Her eyes scan the area and her brisk steps echoed as she looked for the large black door of number 5; the doctor’s surgery.

Old Jack squinted, and blinked. His green eyes followed the woman. Drawn to her composure, he followed at a distance along the track. Something bothered him, like an over-wound clockwork mouse with no control of her speed. He watched until she pushed on the heavy black door.

Inside they were very efficient. Fifteen minutes later it was over, Her chewed raw fingers struggled to push the three oversized buttons through the fastening’s of her best coat. Fingertips twitched, she pressed her palms into the worsted fabric to still them. Silently she tugged on the cuffs of her pristine leather gloves. A sound, a crisp snap made her flinch as the door closed behind her. Standing for a moment, she took a shuddering intake of breath, placed her smart shoes one in front of the other. She walked the cobbles in the same manner she came. Controlled, back along the tarmac path. But old Jack saw the difference, he saw her legs tremble, the tightening of her lips. Oblivious, she concentrated on the rapping sound her shoes made against the tarmac surface … Click-clack, click-clack. Holding her head high she blinked furiously a fixed determined expression on her face gave nothing away to the onlooker; the passer-by. So she thought.
All was changed for her. Her world had tilted in a sentence. But life on and around the path continued. Birds sang the sun began to shine as the wind dried her lashes. He watched, until she closed the gate that shut herself behind those red brick walls. He listened for the clink of keys opening her door. His view obstructed not by the walls or the door its self … but the clouds in his eyes. Jack shakes his head slowly as he logs another look at life along the footpath.

What do you think happened? Leave me a comment I answer quick smart.

Five Paragraphs on the shaping of me.

 

“How many times must I tell you?” my Mother shouted. “How many times must I tell you, question mark” Is what my young self-heard. Like all good girls, I answered. A question should be answered, or you might be remembered as rude. I twisted my fingers like a church and steeple; stood on tippy toes and wore my most thoughtful look. “Maybe twice Mummy, I might not quite hear you with once … If I was doing something else … like reading.”  Shuffling backwards I sucked in my breath. “I might not hear … the first time.” I continued, I was careful with my answer, making sure to not say too many words or smile too much while I spoke. Unbeknown to me, that was not the right answer. I knew this because Mummy’s lip curled and her face twisted, into that not nice face, the one that made my knickers wet, which she liked even less than my answer; Five I was then.


My school uniform was still being worn when Mum came in looking for me; frowning. My buttons all skew-whiff, socks wrinkled into my shoes and my book firmly clasped between ink-stained fingers; behind my back. I stood straight and looked into her eyes while she spoke, knowing I should have changed before finishing that page, then she would not be as cross. Why hadn’t I? Simple, my book called me. I looked down at my shoe while I rubbed it against my calf; blackening my sock. Both hands were behind my back; clasping Black beauty. This left me unprotected, unprotected against falling, losing my balance. But I was not showing my book, not for anything. “How dare you answer me back, you defiant girl” I felt Mummy’s spittle land on my face as she snarled and poked me with her finger. “I was, only trying to answer Mummy” I whispered. “Just you say that once more girl!” That statement was another trap I fell into when I was small. Even though I was being asked to repeat something, I should never, ever do it. If I did, sore legs, no tea and bed would follow. That’s when my books became best friends. Under the blankets with my penlight torch between my teeth; I treasured that torch. I could check for bogeymen or the devil  … she said he would get my tongue if I lied, so I had to be vigilant.

I was one of a family of five, at least until my youngest sister came along when I was six. Six years and four months old, that was when she appeared; all soft and smiley, smelling of milk and baby powder. She came with a plethora of things I had never seen before. Mum and Dad must have done a deal on a job lot; my eldest sister said. There came a van with a carry-cot a bath with a stand, a chair that bounced, bags of rompers, dresses, vests and cardigans. There were lidded buckets, nappies, both muslin and towelling. Then there were the toys. My toys, I had outgrown them … so Mummy said. Off they went,  with new ones in her box. How she came to be, or how that happened, I am sure my sisters wondered as much as me.  But it did, and there she was, making the family of parents with four girls. She was no bother, she would be asleep when we left for school and asleep or about to sleep when we came home; so I only recall her being around at the weekends and holidays. With two older sisters to help, I didn’t get much of a look in; not old enough to be trusted and not experienced at life. My help was to sit next to her chair and read her stories, and of course to call out if there were any smells.

Learning the meaning of things is easier on a page, you can see the question marks and commas. ” When is a question, not to be answered?” By ten years old I knew better, but at five I hadn’t realised. You had to read the face, and interpret the tone that words were delivered in; if you were to understand. At ten, I knew when not to answer … though answering back was still a confusing one. As is, ‘just you come here.’ You do have to go as soon as it is said; not too quick, or too slow. I do not remember being taught to read faces or voices. It was something it seems you just had to know. It felt like I had to … just know, quite a lot Whilst growing up.

By fifteen I had learned to negotiate, compromise and keep my head down and nose clean. I had been working since I was fourteen, after school and at weekends. Sweeping and tea making in the hair salon, fetching coats and always smiling; part of the job. I lived in a lodging house and had an apprenticeship in hair and beauty, and for the most part, I coped nicely. Being fifteen was a time of hard work and independent living. I paid minimal rent; part of which was to cook the odd lunch for the landlady’s Father. Rent was paid for with three jobs. The hairdressers, the night cafe behind the Mace shop, and working every Sunday in a posh coffee shop in a neighbouring town. The reading of expressions came in handy at the salon, especially for nodding and smiling in the right places. Having my hair and nails done at work was a perk of the job and gave me an air of sophistication, or so I thought. Mixing with the elite as well as knowing good manners. I was brought up with, and my compulsion to read anything I could get my hands on made for a well-rounded, smart, nicely spoken, hard-working young woman. During this time my evenings were filled with writing, poetry mostly, all tucked between the pages of my favourite books. There I was secretly hoping Louisa M Alcott would permeate my work; improve it, as if by magic. But, as all fifteen-year-olds were back then, I was very naive.

My top five books were:
Alice in Wonderland
Black beauty
Mary Poppins
Little Women.
These taught me that words were wonderful … as long as they are kept in order. Books were my friends and writing could catch your fears on paper. Much better than in your chest.

So here we are with the power of five. Five senses, five elements, five digits on hands and feet. Five paragraphs .What more could anyone want?

I am unable to add this to the blog competition that it was written for, as alas, I got carried away. 375 was the count to stay below to qualify. This piece, is three times longer so I place it here to share with those who might enjoy a read. Iwould like to know if you have found it impossible on occasion. To tame a flash fiction to sit between the numbers required. Please comment I love to talk. .. 🎶😲🎵

She Had Motive

Weekend writing prompt #64 In 33 words write a poem or story using the word motive. Thanks Sammi. Press here if you want to read or join in.

She went to make up. Now, looking at bloodied hands, him slumped on the table. The steak knife dripped as the sirens stopped and scarlet spread like a virus across the white cloth.

Thirty three! Talk about stripping your story bare. Could you see she had motive and opportunity? Do you think it stripped to far or was there enough left?

Leave me a word or two

 Dr Who?

This week there were tweets and news reports, conversations and flips about the New! Doctor Who. For the first time ever, or so I have been led to believe, a woman is to take the starring role. I have watched many Dr Who’s come and go my favourite has to be John Pertwee, mostly because I adored Worzel Gummidge.

Anyway I digress, The lovely Jodie Whittiker, ‘I know her from Broadchurch’. Just saying, anyway she has got the title, won the coveted prize, stepped up to evolve the cult programme further into the realms of wonder. Now don’t shoot, my hands are up. I became bored witless at the naysayers, the chauvinistic complaints and the Agg-Gh ahh! It was everywhere, the moaning. So I switched off unplugged and refused to look any more.

Personally, I think she will be an iconic Dr Who. A conversation with a good friend had some days after the self-imposed ban,  was to bring up the question once more of should the Doctor be a woman? That was when we took it to the pub. Yes, two women took a convo to the village pub to do what men have done for centuries,  and why not! If a woman can be The Doctor… we ordered fizz as we would, a pint of John Smiths (any other beer could be substituted in this spot) is not our taste after all. The following is my version, maybe embellished, but mine none the less. Of an overheard conversation.


Two Men In A pub
.

Stan was slurping the froth from the top of his beer when this exchange took place.

Stan looks at Tom… ‘I suppose it will be exfoliate what they say now’. Wipes his mouth on his sleeve and sniffs loudly.

Tom. ‘What, what do ya mean’

Stan. ‘Them Dalek’s … now it’s a woman doctor’

Tom. ‘Ave you gone doolally, exfoliate’.

Stan. ‘Instead of sayin exterminate as they’ve  always done’.

Tom shakes his head slowly ‘Tha’s a daft bugger; exfoliate’.

A few minutes pass, both men finish their beers and Stan says. ‘You for another’?

Tom nods, and as Stan lurches unsteadily towards the bar you can hear a penny drop when Tom begins to guffaw.

Tom. ‘ Dalek’s exfoliate that’s reet funny that’.

I would like to thank a dear friend Anna, you know who you are, for the gift. Nuf said, “I owe you some fizz now we have moved back”. The pictures courtesy of pixabay  and unsplash and the land of lost internet photos. And you tube for the marvleous vid of Dr John Pertwee, forever in my heart as the undeniably wonderful Worzel Gummidge and in this bit Una Stubs as Aunt Sally.

P.S.

For Dr Who aficionados out there…  the relevance of John Smiths in the pub is that it  was the name the Dr took while being a human in The Family of Blood. Coincidence? Or did some helpful blogger (Gary Jefferies ) unaware of my dastardly dealings let my coincidence become a clever twist? Thank you  cue time lord music and …cut!

I couldn’t resist writing this post and I hope I captured the scene. What is your opinion on women taking it to the pub? Or woman being the lead in a cult programme? Have you ever overheard a gem when you least expected it. Leave me a comment I love to talk.

 Ooh!Ahh!

Dan has taken on the lovely Linda Hill’s #soCs and the prompt is ooh! ah! press to join in HERE.  Pictures used here were obtained via google, but though I used all due dilligence,I am unable to credit the artist as the owner of the copyright evades me.

stream-of-conciousness

Ooh! Ahh! He cried as I launched myself at the guttersnipe. With a tug of his lobe and a boot firmly at his raggedy behind. It should have had him scurry up the nearest  drainpipe and out of my pockets. But no, he artistically flopped to the dirt lifeless, and stiff. Now his already grubby self was plastered in faecal matter of both human and horse from the gutter.

‘Stand up I tell you,’ his acting skills would have had Shakespear signing him a contract.  I kicked with my beautifully buckled shoe, the sight of the schitt’e smeared item and the stench, had me heave. If he didn’t move speedily, vomit would join the mess on himself. I have no doubt he’d be smelt from a mile away for more than a week.

*retch, heave* this time there was no stopping it. I wafted my lace kerchief in front of my nose, heard rather then felt the slop hit my other shoe then splash my breeches. Just at that precise moment, he rolled over, leapt up, grabbed my fob and showed his heels. I cried ‘Thief! Stop him!’ As i felt for my watch, it had gone, leaving me the stomach churning stench.  I cried for the loss of both face and watch… I sobbed ‘Ohh! noooo!’

a

I hope my interpretation tickled your sensibilities and maybe like me you were a trifle pleased at the comeuppance of such a fop. Do leave your comments I answer with vigour.