Category Archives: Short Story

Friendship Run

Katja Bunche Starlight flew as fast as fast can be over from Edelweiss.
Seems her cousin Sally Gossamer Wingstep had gotten caught in a jar—
The rains had come and she’d tried to hide in an old spout
Turned out to be a trap jar and now couldn’t get out!

Jonathan R. Spider, Olde Webmaster of Fairiekynd Forest,
Heard her cries and ran for help just as fast as his six legs could…
When Jonathan and Katja returned, the jar was gone!
Frantic they scurried and scurried trying to find her all day long!

Over across a fence and beyond the wide, flat plain
A wizened dog saw the two odd creatures buzzing and fretting and crying and all.
She tought she might perhaps ought wander over to the south fence
To see what just was what and try to curry up some sense.

“HARrrooo!” Spoke the dog.

Katja and Jonathan leapt great leaps at the sight of that huge dark-furred monster.
[As to fairiekynd forest fairy folk and a geriatrical spider, the black Labrador looked pretty humongous!]
“ARrwhat is the tizzy that makes you two so dizzy?” Enquired the dog.
Katja flew over to the fence, not too close to the fence, but over sorta to a nearby log.

“Our cousin is GONE! Jonathan here says she got stuck in a jar but the jar is nowhere about.
We came as fast as fast could be to try to let her out.”

“Arrumph!” Harrumphed the dog.

“I do believe little master 2-legs has her in the big house.
He likes catching fireflies and such and I am s’posing he has your cousin.
He was mighty tickled he caught something, but he couldn’t get over why it didn’t glow.
Yes, ARrrmm sure that’s your cousin. Little 2-legs just didn’t know.”

“My Cousin Sally IS NOT A TOY!” Exclaimed Katja.

“I ‘sposen you’re right…
Can I help?
I can take you over to the house. Maybe you two critters can get her.”
Offered the big dog, pensively grooming at an uncooperative bit of fur.

Jonathan shuddered and stammered and turned to the Alpine Fairy. “Are we going?”

“Of course, YES!” Spoke the fairy.

With as much elfin dignity as could be conjured, Katja slung Jonathan onto the back of the Labrador.
And then the trio headed for the big old house across the flat plain.
Wisteria and Sweet Olive wafted to the senses as they got to the window.
Upon the sill, Katja saw a jar and inside a damp cousin fairy looking pretty low.

“……………………..….!” yelled Sally from inside the jar.
“Don’t waste your strength, mouthed back Katja. We’ll get you out, I think???
Uh, my big girl, what’s your name?”
Well, lessee…it used to be Coco, but now it’s Jenny, it’s all the same.

“Uh, ok, Coco-Jenny, I’m Katja and this is Jonathan.
“HARarrroo!” Welcomed the dog.
“Hiya.” Stammered the spider, his courage a mite subpar.
“Ok, so Coco-Jenny, could you get your paws up so we can grab the jar?”

“Certainly!” Answered the dog.

With a tug, and a pull, and a push and a pull, Sally from inside, Katja and Jonathan from out
The jar finally slid off the sill and fell to the clover-carpeted ground.
“Quick, Coco-Jenny, grab the jar and take us back to the fence!”
“ARrrrright,” agreed the dog, tail awagging, caught up in the drama and suspense.

[At the fence, Coco-Jenny held the jar between her massive paws as Jonathan and Sally and Katja grabbed the lid and PULLED! After a second, Katja had to instruct Jonathan that it might be better if they all pulled in the same direction. Coco-Jenny thought to herself that she’d never seen a spider blush quite like that. Fiiinnnally…the lid slid and popped off the jar as out shot Sally. Streaking up and following behind was Katja.]

A relieved Jonathan then ponderously threaded up to the top of the fence—

“So, Coco-Jenny. What happened? Why do you have two names when one is sufficient for most of us?”
Well, lessee…long ago, after outgrowing being the runt of the litter, this nice golden-haired lady got me and took me in. Then she went somewhere I don’t know and her housemate took me to the pound!”
“Wow! Uh, what’s a ‘pound’?” Johnathan not much caring for the word’s off sound.

“Oh, that’s a very important place they take animals to get reassigned, at least that’s what seems to have worked out. That gold haired kid was so sweet and all, but I’m doing real important work now with these old 2-leggers and their children and all. Big responsibility to wrangle these old folks and kinder in this big place. Get to run lots too in this big yard!” Crowed the dog.

“Well, that sounds pretty good. Thanks so very much for all your help.
I’m sure once Sally gets over being enjarred she’ll come over to say thanks too!”
“That’d be real nice of her. I don’t know what was my young 2-legger’s game,
Trapping nice folks like your…Sally, what wasser name?”

“Oh, Sally Gossamer Wingstep and her cousin Katja Bunche Starlight.”
“Well, nice to meet you all. Oh! Gotta go, the can opener is buzzing so dinner’s on.
Bye, Jonathan!” “Bye, Coco-Jenny!”
I think that old dog and forest spider have started a nice, new friendship run.

Foxing Wingstep

Sally Gossamer Wingstep arched up high out of her nest
stretching her wings akimbo then with her arms stretched out
shaking off the morning chill with a warm full heart.
She had slept a little quite more longer than just a bit more
as she had dreamed and dreamed and dreamed and dreamed
of those three lasses at Fablehaven.
Last visit it was all about a-round and round bus wheels;
now it was ‘Fill In The Blank’ and ‘direct azaleas’, Sally thought they said.
The two eldest made such fairie-awful noises with stringed wooden boxes;
the youngest singing songs that said precious little about fairy princes or spun gold,
Sally thought.
But, the fox!
The pale red creature that nosed out of their door—oh, that was something.
Not too ferocious, Sally thought.
Not too big, Sally thought. (Sally always thought, a lot!)
But it wasn’t quite right, it didn’t growl, or pounce—it yipped! Thought Sally.
And the poor dear didn’t walk right, like it had poor, poor eyesight.
But, Sally wasn’t about to fly close to find out what. Not too wise for a forest fairy to go picking about
the affairs of a fox. People would talk, not to mention the dental implications!
*sigh!* sighed, Sally—to be youngish and in your yard and playing with your own guard fox. How
lovely!
But forest duties called: flowers to be inspected, insects to the groomed, mushrooms to be plumped,
and other what-not, Sally realized, thinking more clearly. Fablehaven would have to wait.
Sally Gossamer Wingstep swooped down and gamboled a loop-dee-loop and headed for the copse.
I think.

One Social Worker’s Friday

Ah, it’s almost Summer! Here is how my fine day went [please hold cheers and weeping until the author is finished]:
Surrendering to the inevitable, I took my lazy, pre-geezer bladder to the hall bathroom. It was 5:40 AM, the alarm got to sleep until 6:00AM (grrr). While I was anticipating being pounds lighter and years younger my cellphone made the unmistakable tinkering of a call. Who’s THIS?! [Oh, I was on-call, so I kinda knew…darn.] At 5:46AM the On-Call Nurse called me for a patient at St. David’s Hospital South Austin who wished to revoke: they were firing us instead of the other way around. It happens. O-kay. So, shaved and showered and headed downtown into Austin IH-35 traffic, which to be honest, wasn’t all that horrid at 6:15AM.
Got to the Emergency Room and the hospital Social Worker came right out to take me in to the patient’s family to sign revocation papers, except…which form EXACTLY. I wasn’t sure. Neither was the On-Call RN, nor the hospital SW, nor even the SW at the other hospice to which our family was transferring to. So, they signed both forms. O-kay. The family was dumping us because the On-Call Nurse on the telephone from over 30 miles away couldn’t presciently assess the patient at her home to tell her the EXACT dosage of the EXACT medication to treat the pain. Apparently, there’s a belief that nurses have ESP and all pain meds should INSTANTLY take away pain. Nope, doesn’t work that way. So wished them well at their new hospice where they knew there’d be better pain management and ‘stronger stuff (drugs).’ Uh-huh.
Went to Office, handed in paperwork and prepped for my day. At 7:10AM. I guess I’ll get breakfast later….
Got to first client 215 minutes later, placed (read: dumped) in a facility because the 60-something could no longer take care of her 100-something mother. Actually, all things considered, a wise move for the nice very old lady. Sigh….
Then across town to a new patient for an initial assessment. Got my tablet, my briefcase, and then checked to see if my cellphone was secure. And then checked if my keys were ok. Yes. There they were safe and secure…in the cup…in the cup holder…inside my just securely locked car. Yes, I did say pre-geezer earlier—watch your mouth! Anyway, got to the visit first. It went fine. Nice lady. Bad disease.
Got outside and called AAA. They said someone on the way and “thanks for your years of business.” They were welcome at 12:30PM. They said someone should be there by 1:30PM. Fine. Walked down the street to the top of the hill to flag down the truck when the guy got here. Street signs suggest more than indicate addresses. Stood under the tree because the 85-degree Sun wasn’t being nice. 1PM. 1:15PM. No problem: under promise, over deliver. Called AAA back at 1:35PM. They said the guy was looking for you. Uh huh. Gave more directions. While waiting, Brandi, from the facility, who asked the strange man why he was lurking about twenty minutes earlier, brought me a cup of ice water. WOW! Thanks, Brandi! Walked down the hill to try and meet the truck after watching several other truck vehicles pass by and no AAA. 1:46PM a tow truck rounded the street and the guy asked, ‘looking for me?’ He drove me up to the car while he finished his McD lunch. Looking for me? Uh huh.
So, the fine gentleman related that you have to have a special license in Texas to have the assembled gear to get into a locked car. They even have competitions. He finished second in his class for speed. O-kay, sounds great. He used a jimmy to edge open the door frame and worked in two inflatable pads like on a sphygmanometer. Worked fine as the rain clouds came up. By 2:00PM I was on my way, except at the stop sign the jimmy flew off my roof and landed in the intersection in front of me. No problem, I was only car around. Got jimmy and drove back to facility to return the jimmy to Mr. Second Best. Ok, on the road at 2:04PM after standing around in the Marble Falls heat for hour and a half. Just missed the downpour.
Get to next patient 25 minutes away up in Burnet. The car was just getting a bit cooler. [Note to self, ALWAYS park under some shade, please!] Up into a marvelously air conditioned main room, presented my credentials and was pointed the way to the patient’s room. Opened the door and I walked into a sauna. The sweet lady was under blankets (plural) and the heater was just merrily blasting away. Oh goody. Then, commenced the initial assessment only to find the lady couldn’t hear! So, got some stuff down while bellowing to her for a couple of answers. But, paused the visit to call a relative and to get out of the sauna, er, room, before passing out. Definitely will get lunch somewhere. Got to a comfy chair, opened the tablet, selected Menu, opened Demographics, scrolled down to Contacts, and for both listed telephone numbers the last digit was missing! That On-Call RN is known for the admirable habit of putting in parentheses and dashes in telephone numbers even though she’s been told the tablet does that automatically, so it reads an entered dash as a number and you lose stuff, like the last digit. O-kay. Ask the nice receptionist lady for the DON and the charts so I can look up the telephone numbers. Got the chart and updated the Contacts in Demographics. Called the first number with the *67 block feature since we ARE FORBIDDEN TO GIVE OUT OUR CELL NUMBERS and I get a recording saying this telephone number does not accept calls from blocked numbers. O-kay. So called the next number [yes, with the *67 feature] and talked with the nice lady who answered the rest of my initial assessment silly questions. Whew!
Went home. Had a shower and kinda late breakfast [4:00PM] after pushing my next two clients to Saturday. Want to be a Social Worker?
Ah, it’s almost Summer!

Gwendolyn of the Eldar

Many long years ago,
Two piquant sisters of the Eldar,
Gwendolyn and Winifred, of the forest realm,
Took up the cause of defending the Eldar and Men
From the curse of the Ring Kings;
And supported their brothers in the First Ring War.
Elrond was not sanguine about this quest.
Winifred and Elrond’s daughter needed taking in hand;
And there was Gwen traipsing along with her brother,
Harolde, in the fool errand of helping Men against Orcs.
The ambush happened before the river about the great white city.
Men fled at the first screeches and screams of Sauron’s foul beasts.
The slaughter was swift and horrible. Gwendolyn was one of the first of the Brave to face the attack and therefore one of the first to fall. Harolde soon after. Men who survived streamed back into the towns. Elrond was right, Men were weak. This would not be the last time he would utter this sentence. Yet, Arwen had marveled at her aunt’s fierce support of her brother in their aid to Men fighting the dark storm of the Ring Kings. She too, in time, would take up men of the Middle Earth’s cause, especially in the case of one man, Strider, the moody ranger and ex-royal from the northlands. But that was a far away Time; much later to happen. Gwendolyn’s might passed on through the generations, never to be forgotten.

In honor of Gwen Perkins, the closest I’ll
ever come to meeting someone of mythic esteem.

The North Pointing Tree

North Pointing Tree

The North Pointing Tree, a totally made up story

Jena and Marissa bounded from Beth Bean’s car. Jena was the driver’s claim to immortality. Marissa acquitted her grand self in positive reflection of her parents, Mike and Melanie Coster. Far too many em’s for one family blithely thought the host. That would, of course, be me. The posse had come over for a pizza gathering, and to watch the latest cool movie to fly free from Pixar. But before getting to door, one of the children in play reached up to pluck a leaf from the sapling.

“Hey, please don’t do that,” exclaimed the host. “Don’t you know what that tree is?”

“No…” sheepishly responded the offender. She shall go unnamed; no need to bother about guilt or innocence in this tale. There’s enough of that in the news every day.

“Goodness, you never saw a North-pointing Tree before?”

“Mom, Kitt’s talking weird again!” This child liked using the word “weird” a lot.

“Well, maybe you won’t find me so weird when you hear the story of how the tree got named,” suggested the host hopefully.

Once upon a time, Grandfather was from the country, the deep country in the forested wilderness of Oregon. He had been out hunting turkey buzzards. One particularly fine specimen had caught his attention and drew Grandfather further and further into the woods. For hours and days, Grandfather pursued the winged beast until it finally saw Grandfather. The grand bird swooped up high into the Cold Oregon sky and was gone. Grandfather was awed at the heights the turkey buzzard climbed. Grandfather then discovered he was utterly lost. Over the time of this hunt, he had neglected to check his bearings as he was totally intent and prepared to raise his fowling piece and shoot. He did not know where he was.

In this part of the old growth woods, the trees grew to prodigious heights. It was always dimly lit on the forest floor with the Sun being blocked out except at the Noon of day. It was not Noon now, and Grandfather couldn’t tell where North was directed. You can’t track yourself out of the woods without a compass and without a compass. Poor, Grandfather!

Grandfather walked for hours and days, but he could tell he was quite mightily lost. The Sun, wherever it might be, set. A chill set in with the darkness. Being the good frontiersman that he was, Grandfather had a frontiersman axe, a hatchet, which he carried on his back for just this kind of emergency of being lost in the forest with night and cold coming on. He saw a likely candidate in the sapling off to his right that he might chop down to make his campsite fire. Grandfather walked up to the tree. He was a spiritual man, so he walked around the tree to inspect and give thanks he could have a fire to warm him during what was sure to be one of those cold Oregon nights. Then, in the morning he’d climb one of the grand trees to see where the Sun was headed.

Grandfather raised his axe when a powerful moan roared from a neighboring tree. Grandfather stepped back. No, can’t be. He must just be done in by his predicament. Grandfather lifted his hatchet again.

“NO!” roared the tree. “That is my only child. Please do not cut down junior!”

The tree had spoken! Grandfather dropped his hatchet. He had heard of such things, of plants and animals talking deep deep in the woods and jungles and other such isolated places where to do so would not arouse undue attention and alarm. But, Grandfather was alarmed now.

“Mighty tree, that gives us wood and fire, I am lost. I need wood to make my campfire so I won’t freeze this night. What am I to do?” Grandfather offered, not really expecting much in the way of reply. But, after minutes that seemed like days, the tree answered Grandfather.

“Junior will drop a few lesser branches. From those you may make your campfire.”

Grandfather rejoined, “Why thank you great tree, thank you very much. I am very cold and quite lost in your forest and…”

Before Grandfather could finish, exploding cracks came from the sapling as several branches dropped to the ground. There were a few stubbly branches left except for one longish branch that pointed off to the left and behind the tree.

Grandfather, blessing his luck and the graciousness of the great tree, gathered up the branches and lit his campfire. After his supper, Grandfather sought out the great tree.

“Great tree, I am warm and well fed through your bounty. Thank you!”

The great tree’s branches ruffled and swayed. “You have spared my son. We are old and have need of each other. In thanks for your kind deed, my son has left one long branch for you. It points North.”

Grandfather was overjoyed and overawed. Never again would he raise his axe to fell a tree. Grandfather kept one cutting of the sapling from one unburnt branch. When long hours and days later when he got back to the village, he planted that cutting. And when it grew to sapling, that tree too had one longer branch. He measured and surveyed and found that this too pointed North. Grandfather had a North-Pointing Tree, and it was passed down through the generations in cuttings.

“That’s weird.” opined Jena and Marissa together. They were close friends which is not at all weird.

“Well, you may think so, but that’s the story. The leaf you pulled off comes from my North-pointing tree. We need to respect our animals and plants that give so much to us so that we might live better on our little planet. Perhaps, when you two a little older, I just might give you cuttings and you can grow your own North-pointing tree.”

“Yuck!” cried the girls. “We want pizza!”

So, inside my house they all went to wait for the pizza man to arrive as a quick brisk breeze had just blown through to remind us all it was definitely late November. I paid for the cheese and chicken pizza, passed it to the starving girls, and then headed out the door. But, that was after I patted my North-pointing tree for remaining quiet when his leaf had been so ignominiously plucked by an unknowing dainty hand. The branches ruffled in the freshening breeze. I shivered and headed inside. The movie was good too.