Three Things Challenge – January Story

WINTER
You meet some funny people in a queue in a shop, especially at Christmas. On this occasion, she thought, May’s queue companion was a Child Psychology Play Theorist, he had some interesting theories for her to adopt when babysitting her little cousins. Babysitting her little cousin was fun, May liked helping his Mum out, her cousin seemed to enjoy when she read him a story, as long as he was allowed to sprinkle glitter and glue all over the carpet in the name of art. May always thought he had the smile of a little elf. Her queue companion agreed with May that globally, an invasion of principals, morals and ethics had begun and that the hearts and minds of people were been overpowered by hatred and suspicion. Civilisation needed to fight back, but how? Where were the Marvel Superheros when you needed them?

The overwhelming relief May felt receiving his sympathy when she told him that she was a dairy farmers mother who was shocked and saddened to discover the level of involvement her son, Jasper, had had in the milk quota scandal. That being said, as soon as May walked away from her companion the relief he imbued in her did not last long, and rather than go home immediately, she decided to go for a drive. It was not long after that she found herself travelling towards the familiar shore of the river.

The car was parked in a quiet area near a river at sunset, well, it was meant to be sunset, but the lashing rain and black clouds had decided to cloak the sunset from view. May sat weeping in the car felt that the weather matched her mood perfectly, as she was feeling as low as she ever had, things had not been going well for her recently and she wanted some space to breathe. Sitting, watching and listening to water, whether rivers, lakes or the sea had always brought her great peace, she didn’t want to leave her little oasis of calm, she felt safe in her car, away from the drama where no one could find her, the low light together with the heavy rain meant that everyone nearby was too distracted to look into her car. May knew she would have to leave this place soon and go home again, that she would have to turn on her phone again, but, for now, she was content to be her own.

Sitting in her car watching the waves lap onto the shore, May was reminded that as peaceful as waves and water could be, that there is nothing like watching a majestic, serene cat daydreaming to remind you of the universal truth that you should sometimes try to just ‘be’ and enjoy the moment. May wondered, when did life get so complicated, why did her son Jasper make such very stupid decisions, and could she talk the airport staff around to letting her fly without a Passport as she really did not want to go home at the moment. In her mind, it should have been a beautiful summer day, however, unsurprisingly, it was as cold as winter. How very disappointing, she thought, well, it was Christmas! Hopefully, At the start of the new year, she might get lost in many books looking for a road map for her own year and her son’s troubles. She must have fallen asleep, as she woke up convinced that a friend was meant to travel on Titanic, but, was delayed as they stopped in a shop to buy a candy bar. Thankfully they missed the ship as it sank. No one has ever been more grateful for slow service in a shop.

It was about time to leave the safety of the river and return back to the house, but, May had to take a detour past where people in the area spoke in hushed tones about the Banshee that lived in the dilapidated, lonely old shack near the edge of the cliff by the shore, near the mouth of the river. Everyone in the village had their own examples of rumours of the screaming, odd noises and weird happenings near and in the shack. Nobody was brave enough to approach the sad little tin-roofed building, especially when it looked as creepy as it did now, shrouded in mist on a cold late Winter evening. If only they knew that the Banshee was actually an antisocial old lady with vision problems and a habit for banging into things stubbing her toes, hence the screaming. The old lady only came out in the hours of darkness so she could avoid dealing with her neighbours.

On a cold, rainy January Tuesday, in an effort to shelter from the weather and relax, after a stressful day at work, a man, Nigel, walked into the National Concert Hall to listen to a Chamber Music Concert. Chamber Music was Nigel’s guilty secret, it does not really fit with the image of the CEO of a Death Metal Record Company, though neither does the name, Nigel! Unbeknown to the staff working in the venue, Nigel had a pocket full of Swiss cheese to eat as a snack. The other secret he had was that his colleagues in the Child Psychology Play Theory office did not know that he was CEO of a Death Metal Record Company and that he spent his spare time trying to find new musical talent for his Company. The people in his office thought he was a very quiet person, who kept himself to himself. They never would have imagined him in a moshpit on a Saturday night, they never saw his full sleeve tattoos. These little secrets made him chuckle.

SPRING Why couldn’t things be as simple as they were in University, when the main decision was did she go to the Halloween party dressed as a pirate or a porcupine, Maud liked the idea of the porcupine, as it would be warmer than the pirate outfit, and the night of the party was meant to be incredibly cold. However, the fact is, people would probably pick the pirate before the porcupine. Should she stick to her own choice, or should she let the group influence her decision? Thinking back to those days, Maud suddenly remembered the night when the bar was filled shoulder to shoulder with partying people. She just wanted to find a small bit of space, so that she could wait for her friend Billy, a smile at a stranger only returned a slimy grin from someone who looked like they had sucked a lime. It was late now, and the bar floor was sticky with spilt drinks. That night she left as soon as her friend Billy arrived, they went back to Billy’s place, opened a bottle of wine, put on a boxset and ordered a takeaway. That was a far superior plan than staying in that grotty bar. What Maud never knew was that due to who her parents were that she had become a target of surveillance. On this particular day, the people watching her realised that she must be feeling unwell, whiles trying to stay awake, sitting in a stuffy room listening to a Philosophy lecturer attempt to fill Maud and the other student’s heads with some interesting information. The surveillance team hoped that neither Maud or Billy would realise that the hedgehog badge Maud was wearing had a listening device built into it, thankfully it was now 2019 and not 1999 when it would have been impossible to fit such a discrete device into a small item like a badge. Members of the surveillance team were counting down the minutes until shift change, as they were bored silly and had no new information to supply their Bosses.

It was always treated as a family joke that there was a painted tile by May’s front door, it should say ‘Welcome Home’, however, the person painting it, painted ‘Welcome Holmes’. Sherlock Holmes would, of course, be welcome in her house, but, she was not sure he would step past a simple misspelling like that. What the wider family had never been told was that it was her son, Jasper, who kindly painted the tile for her. Maybe it was a sign of things to come, maybe she was just incredibly angry at the moment. She worried that if she told them about the most recent mess Jasper was involved in that they would feast on the knowledge and, that their minds may have grown closed towards her. May hoped not, but couldn’t be sure.

Maybe if she did get the airport staff to let her fly without her passport, she could go Speed dating and she could sit in front of an incredibly boring person, she wondered. Clearly, she would prefer somebody fascinating, but either way, that would be far preferable to the reality she faced now. At least she could come back with a story about just how boring this person was and how she thought that they might be an automaton? It would explain the unending monotone drone of their voice and the complete lack of personality if they were. She would tell people that her mind wandered away from the white noise emanating from the barely moving lips of the snooze fest in front of her to how magical it would be to just switch them off, however, she knew that they were human. Oh, how May wished she could just leave this awful date and walk into the twilight, outside the window, teasing her with its potential for adventure, and saving what was left of her evening. It would be a far better story than the one she told her friend the other day when she went to the supermarket for light bulbs, but, came out with the ingredients for a White Russian cocktail, a block of cheese, a piece of leather and no lightbulbs. That always happened to her, she thought. Then, sighing May had to go into her kitchen to make an unusual evening meal. Her friend was only really interested in the part of the story involving the cocktails. This was the problem she faced, she didn’t want to be here, nor did she want to be there, wherever that was.

This was a monster headache, which is why she was sitting in the dark. Any movement made it feel like there was static in her brain, any light that hit her eyes felt like somebody took a cheese grater to the nerves at the back of her eyes. This was a complete nuisance as she was trying to drive down country lanes. May hoped that the road would be empty until she got home and pulled up outside her house. Maybe she could then sleep in the car? No, she had already had an attack nap, and it was now incredibly cold. All May wanted was for today to be over.

Jasper was pleased he won his bet, however, victory was not as much fun as he had hoped. Sitting alone in the desert when it was exceptionally hot, was probably not his best idea. Especially now that he was hallucinating about being Neptune under the sea. He needed some water to drink, but, had none. Jasper was getting very confused, as he kept thinking about the time he had been rather pleased that he did not catch a fish when he was at the lake with his friends, but he was Neptune. All Jasper wanted to do was mess with the jalopy of a car that really did look like it had been hit by a nuke. He loved that car though, however needing to have a job kept getting in the way, as did his ability to get into trouble. On one of these occassions, Jasper got himself into quite a pickle, as he followed someone he thought looked like his favourite rockstar, down on to a beach. The problem arose when he realised it was just a look alike and not his musical hero. Whoops!

SUMMER During a break from work on a wonderful Summer day, Maud sat amongst the clover in the park closest to her office, it was only ten more days until her much-anticipated trip to Japan to meet her old school friend, Kaori. Billy seemed to be very supportive of this trip and kept trying to encourage Maud to stay for longer, maybe pop into some other friends who lived in that part of the world. However, before that, she needed to find some Milkmaid for the dessert she was planning on bringing to a dinner party that she and Billy had been invited to the following day at her best friend forever A.B’s house. Maud and A.B had known each other their entire lives, literally. Their mothers became friends when they were in the hospital having their daughters Maud and A.B. The two ladies and their baby girls lay in beds side by side in the hospital ward, the two children were delivered within 30 minutes of each other on the same day. Since that day, not a week had gone by that the girls had not spoken or met, they went to the same school, lived in the same area, went to the same clubs. This meant that as they grew older they became closer than sisters. Maud and Billy had met in University and instantly became inseparable, so Maud was thrilled that A.B and Billy became good friends too.

The mid-afternoon sun was shining, a warm breeze fluttered the cherry blossoms on the trees. Maud sat by the picnic table in the park enjoying her apple and cheese snacks when she sensed a slight movement out of the corner of her eye. There, to her surprise was a small dormouse, peering at her with tiny startled eyes, it’s little paws paused mid nibble. Neither Maud nor the mouse knew what to do next.

As they sat sail away from Port, she again cursed herself for thinking that getting a pendant made from magnetite was a good idea. All she wanted to do, now that they were safely at sea, was to sit on a chair on deck and watch the wash in the waves at the back of the boat, or, possibly read a book, however, every time she went to lean down to pick up her drink, her pendant tried to stick to the side of the chair. In the end, she took the pendant off, left it in her cabin and never wore it again. The last thing she wanted to do was to think of her son Jasper and his latest troubles. When they lost the farm, she contacted some friends and decided to join them on as they sailed around the world. Things had slowly been improving between Jasper and her over the last couple of months, they both knew what was on the horizon and neither wanted to confront it. Maybe Jasper was more like his mother than she would like to admit too.

Jasper had not realised that the desert gets cold at night, he now realised that this was a stupid assumption on his behalf. The conundrum he was now dealing with was, did he stay where he was, or, did he go back towards where the bomb had gone off a few hours ago? He had originally run hard and fast away from the chaos, but, if he went back, would they think he was responsible for the bomb? If only they knew how much he feared loud noises and was almost allergic to getting into trouble.

AUTUMN Jasper had not realised that the desert gets cold at night, he now realised that this was a stupid assumption on his behalf. The conundrum he was now dealing with was, did he stay where he was, or, did he go back towards where the bomb had gone off a few hours ago? He had originally run hard and fast away from the chaos, but, if he went back, would they think he was responsible for the bomb? If only they knew how much he feared loud noises and was almost allergic to getting into trouble.

For the record, Jasper thought to himself, the Navy was a lot harder work than he thought before he enlisted. All he ever wanted to do was to ride a horse and be a hero, like in the cowboy films his Grandfather would show him when he was a child. However, because of family tradition, he became a Dairy Farmer, then he got involved in a serious financial scandal with the milk quota committee. His mother was absolutely livid with him, he would be too, he thought, in her shoes, he had after all lost the farm to the banks, and the Court Case had not yet been heard. That was why he joined the Navy. He saw no real reason to hang around, given that his Mother could barely look at him, and it looked like he may be going to jail in the near enough future. Jasper had absolutely no idea how he got himself into these situations, he never meant to, it just seems that trouble followed him around. Take that whole thing that happened in the desert, all he was doing, was enjoying some travel before he joined the Navy, and look what happened! Nightmare! he thought.

Having returned home from a 100km cycle, Maud flopped on the couch and balanced the bicycle helmet on her foot. It had been a great day, but, she was tired now. Living in the penthouse apartment overlooking the city skyline had many benefits, she thought, one of which was the ability to play sneaky games of Hopscotch with a hoppy taw, sadly though, no matter what she did, she could not get A.B or Billy to join her in these games, nor could Maud get any Robins to feed on the seeds she supplied on her roof garden for the small birds. Maud considered picking up her book to read some more, Tolstoy’s ‘War & Peace’ may well be a masterpiece of writing, but, she felt like she had been locked away from civilisation for a million years, even though she had only just started chapter 3! She knew Billy would question her on the book later, but, she just wanted to have a nap. As Maud slipped into sleep, she remembered the dream she had the night before where she had been a busy Superhero, she really wanted to get out of that sweaty suit, and have a pizza. Unfortunately, the Superhero’s washing machine was broken, and she had not yet had time to fix it, so she was going to have to hand wash and air dry her super suit. Hopefully, people and Earth would give her the weekend off to get her chores done.

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