September 10, 2014 at 3:52 am #114
I never could stand the sight of it. For as long as I remember, which is no more than 6 years, admittedly, the odd-looking fish had been preserved and placed above the fake stucco fireplace. It’s been here for much longer, though. You can tell by the thickness of the dust covering it. My friend Bert, that old chap, told me so.
He has told me many other stories about the town, about my family, and their glorious past. It could just have been no more than stories, but I believe him —for no reason, really. Maybe only because my sisters find him slightly creepy and old. Anyway, I like him.
In his stories, the fish had fallen many years ago from the sky. There had been rain this summer day, which was, in itself, even less believable than some oddly shaped flying fish falling from the sky. And that fish had fallen in front of what was the private mansion of the Curara family. Our ancestor found it, and decided to take it as a sign of the Almighty that they would be blessed with abundance forever after… But then, everything went downside with fantastic speed. The gold rush stopped in its tracks, the town slowly got deserted, and since then, our family started to believe that it was more a curse than a blessing. However, nobody ever bothered to get rid of the fish that once flew.
Maybe they were waiting for another one to appear to break the string of unfortunate events. I always think of all the amusing ways I could get rid of it without anybody noticing. April’s fools wouldn’t do… Too easy. But having it served at dinner would be a start. Sadly, with Aunt Idle’s poor cooking skills, there was no chance a fish could come unnoticed.
So it was on that particular day when I’d found and written down on my secret diary a 222nd way of getting rid of the fish, it was on that particular and fateful day, that everything changed again for the Curara family.
December 25, 2014 at 1:11 am #3679
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t pleased to see her. Not that I don’t like her, I do, but she wreaks havoc whenever she gets one of those impulses to threadcrash. I prefer it when she stays put, and we communicate via the written word, I really do. And today of all days, with a car full of people ~ and a baby!
“Don’t tell me, let me guess!” she said. “It was Miss Scarlett with a candelabra in the dining room?”
Had she barged in on the wrong story? I had to do some quick thinking, because if she was in the wrong place, it would be an easy matter to simply redirect her. There may be no need for more direct forceful measures.December 25, 2014 at 7:55 am #3684DevanParticipant
There is something creepy about that new maid.
“I think she’s got a crush on me”, I said to Joe the other day. “That bush pig’s putting porn red lipstick when she knows I’m coming to the Inn.”
Actually I hadn’t really noticed it until Prune mentioned it. Not with those words, of course, she’s too sophisticated to use such words. I used them because I knew it would catch Joe’s attention and make a better story. But truth is, there was not much of a story to tell.
T’was pathetic and oddly arousing at the same time to pretend I would be interested in catching the maid in the laundry room and give’er the bone on the washing machine.
“She’d slap my face with her feeders…” You know how boys are. We can be stupid when excited.
It was something to make jokes about it in the barn with Joe, but I had a hard time at Christmas trying to avoid her. I caught more than once an amused look on Prune’s face when Finly would bent over lower to serve me some stuffing. I’d swear she had no bra and no knickers. It could have been exciting but her armpits smelled of fried onions, barely masked by her cheap perfume.
After diner, I pretended a headache and went to my room. That’s when I heard that strange noise in the corridor. It was coming from room 8.December 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm #3687
What a relief, I can tell you! “I’ll go and get him, shall I?”
“No, I think I’ll have a word with him in his room, if you don’t mind,” she replied. “I think he has something to show me.”
Curiosity over ruled any shreds left of anxiety, and I had to bite my tongue not to ask straight out, not that she’d have told me. Always full of enigmatic little secrets, she was, always had been. It was never a hundred percent clear if she knew what she was talking about and was very clever, or if she hadn’t got a clue what was going on and was winging it. Anyway, the main thing was that she wasn’t staying long, so if we got through the next half hour without any more confusion ensuing, we’d be laughing. Feeling more inclined towards gracious kindness than previously, I beamed magnanimously at her and politely ushered her down the hall to room 8.
“Mr, er, Cornwall,” I didn’t know whether to call him Godfrey, and decided against it. His bill was in the name Crispin Cornwall, and I wasn’t about to have him flitting off with Liz and her entourage without paying it. “Elizabeth would like a private word, if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Bloody Liz Tattler’s the last person I wanted to see,” he said. “Trust her to just happen to land on my secret hideaway.”
My hand flew to my mouth. “Did you say Tattler?”December 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm #3694
It was good to see the back of them, although it was a shame that Crispin Cornwall ~ alias Godfrey Trueman, I now knew ~ hadn’t paid his bill. I could trace him via Liz, but I wanted to keep a distance. I had two pieces of the Tattler, Trout and Trueman puzzle, but who was Trout? Why did they send me that note made of ripped up maps, and what did Flora have to do with it all? And what were they doing buying up ghost towns?
Of course, considering Liz was involved, it was entirely possible that none of it meant anything at all. Then again, with Liz, one never knew. And I don’t know a thing about Trueman, and less about Trout.
Perhaps there was a clue in room 8.January 6, 2015 at 8:59 am #3703
Third day of the new year: Mater saved the day !
Who would have thought some acupuncture would do the trick on her old grey Guinea piggy.
Now he’s running like it’s brand new.
Better not say that in front of the twins, they would like to poke needles in people for no reason. Better not to give them some.January 14, 2015 at 2:11 am #3705
Aunt Idle has again tried to do us some fancy French dessert but ended up again burning it all.
Didn’t help that she used old Bert’s welding tools to caramelize the top.
Now the whole inn, including the fish is smelling of smoked charcoal.
It even brought Mater out of her room, where she’s been in a sort of retreat the past days.
When one is so desperately bad at something, is it a proof of character to do it over and over until some miracle happens?January 16, 2015 at 11:55 pm #3707FloveParticipantJanuary 17, 2015 at 8:58 pm #3708FloveParticipant
”It was very peaceful. A man and a little boy were fishing in a stream. “Fishing is what a true man does,” said the man to the boy. At that moment there was a tug on the line and the little boy pulled a huge trout out of the water. Enormous it was,” gesticulated Mater, flinging her arms wide to demonstrate. “The trout fought hard and got away, but not before … what on earth is the matter with you, Dido?”January 18, 2015 at 8:59 am #3709
Why was Mater going on and on about Trout? I scrutinized her face, but she looked innocent enough ~ perhaps it was just a dream, but I couldn’t help feeling it was a sign, or a clue.
“Oh, I say, Finley, look at the sunlight streaming through those cleaned windows now!” I exclaimed, distracted by the difference to the room a bit of window cleaning made. “What a good job you’ve done!”
“Nothing a bit of elbow grease and buffering with a soft cloth won’t do,” she replied, “Buffer buffer buffer, that’s what I always say, to get everything ship shape!”
Why was the cleaner going on and on about buffering, I wondered. And surely the word was buff, not buffer?July 15, 2015 at 9:51 am #3749
It was going to be a long hot summer. Summer this year started early, and we were barely half way through July. I hadn’t had a moment to think, which isn’t true at all ~ my brain had been non stop chuntering since the end of April, but all the thinking was about errands and other peoples problems and trips to the bloody airport or the detention centre to pick up more waifs and strays. What I mean is, I hadn’t had any time to STOP thinking and just listen, or just BE. Or to put it more accurately, I hadn’t made much time for me. It had been an endless juggle, wanting to be helpful with all the refugees ~ of course I didn’t mind helping! ~ it wasn’t that I minded helping, it was the energy and the constant stream of complications, things going wrong, the complaining and defensive energy. It was a job to buffer it all and stay on an even keel, to ensure everyone had what they needed, but without acquiescing to the never ending needy attention seeking. It was hard to say no, even if saying no helped people become more confident and capable ~ it was always a mental battle not to feel unhelpful. Saying no to ones own comfort is always so much easier.
What I found I missed the most was doing things my own way, in my own time. How I wish I had appreciated being able to do that before all the refugees arrived! I’d wanted more people to do things with, living in this remote outpost ~ thought how nice it would be to have more friends here to do things with. Fun things though, not all the trips to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy, all the tedious errands. And in summer too! I like to minimize the errands in summer so I’m not worn out with the heat to do the fun things like go for early morning walks. But this lot didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, and they weren’t really up to much walking either. I’ve been hobbled, having to walk slower, and not walk far. It had interfered somehow with my photography too, I haven’t been much in the zone these days, that place of observant appreciation. Ah well, it was interesting. Things are always interesting.
Not many countries had been willing to accept the hundreds of thousands of refugees from USA, and small wonder, but our idiotic government had been bribed to take more than a fair quota. All of the deserted empty buildings in town had been assigned to the newcomers, and all of our empty rooms at the hotel too.
Mater hardly ever came out of her room, and when she did venture out, it was only to poke them with her walking stick and wind them up with rude remarks. Prune seemed to be enjoying it though, playing practical jokes on them and deliberately misinforming them of local customs. Corrie and Clove were working on an anthropology paper about it all ~ that was a good thing and quite helpful at times. When the complaining and needs got overwhelming, I’d send them off to interview the people about it, which took the brunt off me, at least temporarily. Bert was a good old stick, just doing what needed to be done without letting it all get to him, but he didn’t want to talk about it or hear me complaining about it all.
“Aint much point in complaining about all the complaining” was all he’d say, and he had a point.August 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm #3753
I dozed off while sitting under the Kurrajong tree this afternoon and had a strange dream. I was in a Tardis and it had landed on an expanse of sandy coastal scrub land. There was nobody else in the Tardis except me, and as the door swung open, I could smell the smoke, acrid and eye watering, and I could hear the snapping and crackling of the flames on the dry brush. The Tardis had landed in between the advancing flames and the sea. I ran back in the Tardis and looked around wildly at all the controls, wondering how to operate the thing. How the hell was I going to get out of here before the fire engulfed us? I ran back outside and the flames were roaring closer by the minute; panicking, I ran back inside, ran out again, and then ran as fast as I could away from the approaching fire until I came across a little blue row boat, rotting away on dry land, right next to a crumbling pyramid. I climbed into the boat, sitting on the bench seat between the dry thistles, thinking with relief that I would be safe in the boat. In the dream, I relaxed and closed my eyes and started to hum My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, and then I felt the heat, opened my eyes, and saw showers of red orange sparks like fireworks all around me, and then flames ~ I was surrounded by the wild fire and couldn’t see the Tardis anymore for the flames leaping and dancing around me. I held my head in my hands, weeping, waiting for the inevitable ~ and then I noticed a sapling growing in between the rotten boards at the bottom of the boat. It was growing so fast I forgot the sizzling heat around me and watched it grow, the side shoots bursting forth and the wood of the boat splintering as the trunk grew in girth. When a dried seed pod dropped onto my head ~ that’s how fast this tree grew, when I looked up it was fully mature, and I was sitting in the cool green shade ~ I looked around, and the sandy coastal scrub had gone, and I was sitting on a stone bench in the middle of a plaza. The smell of burning brush was gone and the stench of garum fish paste filled the air. A handsome fellow in a crumpled linen toga was sitting beside me, elbowing me to get my attention…
“I made you a tuna sandwich, Auntie,” Prune was saying, prodding me on the arm. “Did you know that Kurrajong trees are fire retardant plants, and they start to send out small green shoots from the trunk within a fortnight of being burnt?”
Well, I just looked at her, with my mouth hanging open in astonishment. Then the horrid child shoved the tuna sandwich in it, and then scampered off before I could slap her.October 20, 2015 at 8:28 am #3808
The house was strangely peaceful.
The hot days were over for now, and the air wasn’t as suffocating.
Dido was gone for a visit to New South Wales, talking the girls with her.
As Mater said, breathing a bit of ocean in her pipes instead of her infernal smoking would do her quite a bit of good. Actually, to her surprise, she’d refrained herself from saying what she originally meant. Her brains needed washing too, but that would have been mean.
“Mater, old cow, you’re getting soft with age” — Prune could hear her mutter. The young girl was clever at reading her silences and mutterings. For all the good it would do her.
So, yeah, a bit of coastal loitering, instead of vagabonding with all the in and out guests that summer had brought. Dido would endlessly run head-first in so many troubles by following people’s every whim. But hopefully she would be a bit more responsible having to care for her nieces.
It must have been those books she read, or the Internet gobbledygook. Mater had found a second-hand worn-out book Dido had forgotten to flush on her way out of the loo. Or the reverse.
Anyway, she’d given it a peek. Out of concern of course.
No wonder Dido was so taken with silly concerns. It was a book by a French Tibetan Buddhist monk, advocating compassion for this, compassion for that. Good for nothing, all the same those preachers. Now, she could understand why Dido was all ranting about how meditation change your brain. Well, no surprise! Makes it all mushy and unable to think critically, more like it.
Just before she left for her little vacation, she’d almost had a nervous breakdown about what she called the extermination. Happened the noise on the roof were stray cats. Well, I knew she fed them from time to time. Probably Finly too. Now, neither Finly nor myself would have called the exterminator to kill some poor cats, good gracious. The guinea pigs are out of their reach anyway. But I guess one of the neighbours wasn’t the compassionate type. Now, what about having compassion for those bastard cat killers? Silly monks who know nothing.
Anyway,… darn phone! Somebody to answer that phone?
When she arrived at the ringing phone, she realised it was again one of those stupid marketers to sell whatever useless crap. She put the handset delicately on the ledge, letting the guy talk to the air, and resumed her calm walk around the quiet house.
So, where was I, she thought. The thought has nearly slipped away.
It was something about fish oil maybe. Oh there… walking meditation, mushy brains, cat killers… There, she lost it again…December 15, 2015 at 5:56 pm #3812
The dog chased something behind the fridge. But it wasn’t a mouse. It looked more like a miniaturized story character.January 8, 2016 at 11:49 pm #3865
With big stary eyes. She didn’t have the courage to get rid of it and asked instead : “How many of you are there?”January 9, 2016 at 5:14 am #3867
The fact of the matter was that there were miniaturized story characters all over the planet, looking for a new story.January 13, 2016 at 10:31 am #3876
The miniacter jumped onto the dog’s back.January 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm #3879
The dog was called Story. At last, the miniactor had found Story’s back.January 28, 2016 at 10:20 pm #3881
Story smelled something and darted into the corridor.January 29, 2016 at 1:50 am #3883
Pickle, the miniactor, was riding the larger Story to find Gnarfle, his pea-sized dog.February 4, 2016 at 1:38 am #3899
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