“Catch this incredible vista! Perfect colours…ideal clouds! Position my easel. Lay out brushes. Prepare palette. Apply background colour. Sketch basic outlines…” Flash! Crack! Sploosh! Another artist catches pneumonia.
Reading Dale’s response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge has inspired me to have a go at it as well. Like Dale wrote, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. You can read all about the CHALLENGE here, and this is the photo meant to inspire us:
And here’s my 150-word true-to-life tale:
“Mom, why’s that duck’s head and front blue? Did somebody dye it?” “Why doesn’t the other have a blue head, too? Are they different kinds?” “How come the one’s beak is yellow?” “Why’s the brown duck’s feathers sticking up like that? Is it mad?” “If they aren’t mad at each other, why aren’t they swimming together?” “Why are the ducks only here in summer?” “What do ducks eat when there’s no popcorn?” “Where do ducks sleep at night?” “If they fall asleep in the water, will they drown?” “Why aren’t there any baby ducks? And why…”
Randi was trying her best to answer Frankie’s many questions as they strolled along the creek, but was feeling rather brain-strained when an older woman approached them on the walk.
The elderly lady gave Frankie a big smile and told Randi, “Someday you’ll think of this as the best time of your life.”
Terry was measuring off the first strip of wallpaper when he heard the doorbell. He dashed down the stairs to answer. Glancing through the diamond porthole in the door he saw his friend Gavin standing on the step.
“Hi Gav. Sorry you had to wait but I was upstairs. Come on in.”
“Thanks. Just thought I’d see what you’re up to this morning.” Gavin glanced around. “Sasha not home?”
“Nah. We’re getting the nursery ready, got the wallpaper yesterday, so she went shopping for some accessories. Don’t know why the baby needs accessories, but you know how women are. I said I’d make a start at hanging the wallpaper. You maybe can help me– I’ve never done this before.”
“Oh, I don’t know… How fussy is she?”
“I think it should be easy enough to hang. All balloons. Come on up.” Terry led the way to the nursery.
Gavin looked at the wallpaper strip partly unrolled on the floor. “No kidding, all balloons! Are you sure you’re going to be happy with that when it’s on the wall? It’d make me dizzy.”
“Sasha thinks it’s perfect, so who am I to argue? My job is just to slap it on.”
Gavin eyed the repeating shapes with a frown. “Might be tricky to get it cut right.”
“No sweat. Just have to match these half-balloons at the edges.”
He knelt on the floor and rolled out a second strip next to the first, lined up the balloon and was ready to cut when Gavin said, “Wait a minute!”
Terry looked up. “Problem?”
“If you put those strips together that way every side balloon will be mismatched. See here, this balloon will be half red and half blue. I think the idea is to match the colors, not just the balloons. Blue with blue; red with red. Like this.” He took the roll from Terry and demonstrated.
Terry eyed the two strips. “What a waste of paper! This kiddie design stuff costs big time – and I’m sure Junior won’t care. But yeah. Sasha might not be too happy if they don’t match. Good thing you came along.”
With Gavin’s help Terry got the papering done quickly, then the two of them stood back to survey the overall effect. Gavin winced at the brightness of all those balloons.
Terry shrugged. “Wouldn’t have been my pick. But this is what she wanted and I won’t be spending much time in here. Come on, let’s grab a coffee.”
As soon as Sasha returned from her shopping trip Terry led her upstairs. “The job’s all done, sweetheart. Hope you like it.”
Gavin trailed after them, curious to see her reaction.
Sasha walked into the nursery and looked around. They observed that her face didn’t light up with joy as she studied the wallpaper.
“Something wrong,” Terry asked.
“I…uh.. I guess… I never thought… I mean, it looked great in the sample book but I didn’t get the picture of how a whole room would look with this on all four walls. It’s really pretty, but…uh…”
“A bit overwhelming,” Gavin suggested.
“Yeah. A bit.” Maybe we could paint two of the walls something plain.”
Terry huffed. “You mean paint over this new, expensive wallpaper?”
“Or take some of it down? Maybe we could reglue it and hang it… Maybe in the office?”
Gavin decided this would be a good time for him to disappear.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning that inspired my little tale is REPEATING SHAPES The image I’ve used is from Pixabay, created by AnnaliseArt
Having fared for some time on the sumptuous sunflower seeds in Mrs. McPherson’s garden, Mabel settles on a pole to contemplate life. And the great-looking guy lingering by the pool below. Seeing herself reflected in the water gives her a bit of a shock, though. She finally faces the fact that she’s a little on the plump side and decides she must do some drastic dieting. It’s now or never if she wants to impress that slim, handsome male.
She resolves to survive awhile on slimming celery seeds snatched from the Pinkerton’s market garden field. No more stuffing herself on those calorific treats! So she flaps her wings, preparing to find and face the abstemious feast. Alas! Lift off doesn’t happen. After a few attempts, Mabel sighs, realizing she’s going to be walking a lot for the next while.
I wrote in this morning’s post that I’d thought of another angle to the Ragtag Daily Prompt, which is WHAT THE EYES DON’T SEE. This is a longer tale, but I hope you find it interesting.
In an unmarked room deep in secret service HQ, Chief Agent Bodkins meets with his top agents and lays the problem before them: “This situation with the Tritonians is getting away from us. They’re gaining international support; next thing they’ll be demanding a say in how we run the country. We can’t have that. I trust you have some ideas on how to deal with this problem?”
“We could just obliterate them,” Agent Grey suggests.
“And good riddance,” says Agent Lime. “But we’d be accused of genocide; there may be embargoes; even UN peacekeeping troops, yada yada. No, we need good PR with the UN.”
“Agreed.” CA Bodkins spreads out his hands. “We have many agents working around the globe and so far they’ve done a great job to portray the Tritonians as malcontents and us as a peace-loving and charitable bunch. We need to maintain that image and still find a way to crush the dissidents.”
“That may be tough,” says Agent Grey.
“Let me give you an object lesson.” Bodkins pulls a box of dominoes from his desk drawer. As he lines them up, he explains. “If you arrange the dominoes in a straight line, and then knock them over, everyone can see whose finger gave the first tap.” He demonstrates.
Now he picks the dominoes up and sets them in a long S-curve. “If we make the trail so winding, the world will have a harder time tracing the beginning back to us. It could even look like another finger gave the row its initial tap.”
Agent Orange catches the drift and smiles grimly. “So we should find a way to tap the Tritonians, provoke them to violence without anyone knowing it. Then we can suppress them and let it be known internationally that we only acted in self-defense. Halos intact.”
Agent Lime nods. “Great idea! If they attack us, we can send in riot police, execute the leaders for insurrection, and throw the followers into prison, where they may conveniently disappear. Voila, mission accomplished.”
“Precisely,” says Bodkin. “And since we are able to feed details to the international Press via our own agents, we can make the report look like our action has narrowly averted a bloodbath for both sides. The Tritonians will lose all international sympathy and be forced to go along meekly with their subservient role.”
“But we don’t want them attacking us,” Agent Grey protests. “Our own people may be killed.”
“Collateral damage,” says Agent Orange. “You win a few; you lose a few. We need to consider the bigger picture. The more Tritonians we can get rid of now, the less damage they’ll do in future.”
“I like your thinking, Orange.” Bodkin stacks his dominoes. “And if we set this up carefully, our own casualties will be minimal.”
“So how do we provoke this attack?”
Agent Orange smirks. “Every year they have their Old King Trillion Parade. This year we’ll call it a threat to national security. Send troops to block the parade route. Hotheads that they are, they’ll be livid. No one needs to know who fired the first shot.”
“Excellent plan!” Bodkin beams at him. “You’ll go far, young man.”
Agent Grey scowls. “International opinion is such a pain. It’d be a lot simpler to obliterate them.”
CA Bodkins shakes his head. “You can’t wipe people out and still look good. You need a behind-the-scenes scheme.”
The “seed” behind this sad tale:
Years ago I read Carol O’Connor’s autobiography, I’M OUTTA HERE. He lived and worked in Ireland for some years so he gives his opinion on the religious turmoil and violence in Northern Ireland during that time.
O’Connor asked the question: How does a majority keep a minority in suppression or even wipe them out? His answer: The majority attacks the minority. And what justification do they have in the eyes of the world if they do? You make the minority look guilty of firing the first shot. The majority does something repulsive to the minority, provoking reaction. As soon as there’s some resistance they send in the troops.
His opinion made a lot of sense to me – and still does in our own troubled times. When I hear of uprisings and violence, I often wonder, who’s really behind all this? What is the real motivation? As with the “Boston Tea Party,” situations and the people involved are not always what they seem to be.
I’ve heard and read about the “dust bowl” years here on the prairie, about hoppers that could clean off a 160-acre field in a day, about horses and cows forced to eat the prickly Russian thistles because they were the only green thing growing anywhere, about the farmers who took jobs in the northern “parkland” part of the province to earn enough to get by for another year. So I made up this diary.
Prairie Farm Girl’s Diary — Summer 1934
A west wind blew the hoppers in two days ago. They cleaned the wheat crop clear down to the ground yesterday. Dad went north to a lumber camp after seeding so we can afford our grub and heat next winter and feed for the horses and cow – unless it rains. A stream of clouds went over last night on their way to rain somewhere else, maybe tomorrow. Tom and I are minding the place all summer while Dad’s away and Mom’s in a dither about all the dust. She says we’re leaving this drought-deviled land soon as Dad gets back.