The Iron Writer Challenge #197 – 2017 Summer Equinox Challenge #3

The Iron Writer Challenge #197

 2017 Summer Equinox Challenge #3

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Authors names will be posted to their stories next Thursday, after the voting is concluded.

The Elements:

The Way through the Woods

A wind chime

A snow angel

A coffin

 

Never Goodbye

Bobby Salomons

There’s a coffin buried under thick snow,

You’d never tell from close or far,

Beyond where the roads no longer go,

In which a life unlived and stories untold are hid,

Who lines up perfect with the Northern Star,

And when it does, underneath the starry grid,

A magic comes to show.

Birds fall quiet,

And snow blows no more,

All is listening, to what comes that night,

Some call it angelic, others fright,

A gentle breeze carries the humming of a child,

Only the fauna did witness bore,

As she makes angels, in white powdered snow, forever more.

She reminds of dreams long lost,

Beyond where the roads no longer go,

Where she frolics on her own, never daunted by the frost,

In perfect solace a child plays free,

Till morning cawing of the crow.

Yet beyond the footing of the hills,

Lies a house that once was home,

Where an old man sits and remembers still,

A little sister once long lost,

Beyond where the roads no longer go.

When the wind chimes ring at night,

He smiles and kisses the sky,

For he knows that she is there and still sings,

She will never say goodbye.

Road Reborn

Moira McArthur

The road ran to a commune in the nineteen-sixties. A group of talented individuals living on and from the land. Skills were shared and taught. Crafts and artwork bartered and exchanged for necessities. Wind chimes and dream catchers in every cottage garden for miles around. Of course modern life caught up with them. Mobile phones came in and the community, in finding a world outside that promised new adventures, simply drifted away. 

No longer in constant use, the track forgot the swish of drindl skirts. Ankle length in their coloured and patchworked cotton. No wooden clogs trod it’s path into flat submission. The track simply disappeared under the weight of disuse, weather, burgeoning seeds and bramble thickets. 

Forty years later, a bunch of young lads chanced on it. To anyone else, a tangle of mud and twigs. With trees grown tall, it suggested nothing much. Inventive minds saw an opportunity. Removing the thick mud became a must do. The overgrown bushes cut back. Talks with local businesses, newspapers. The council for outdoor funding. Local groups arranged helping schedules that wouldn’t clash. Thicknesses of mud were taken up and used to fill in dips. Bends became built up curves in smooth concrete. Rubbish was gathered from the commune site and either repurposed or taken away. Several lengths of piping retrieved, carried between them, shoulder high, to be straightened and secured in place. 

Manny pads with a small grind edge, were ordered. Their elevation decided, measured out and put together by the technical college students, as a hands-on lesson. Areas of brush cleared and flattened by a digger, with a safety fence added to keep both riders and viewers from coming into sudden contact.  A pop up shop and cafe was opened at the commune site. Offering the latest equipment and accessories with refreshments besides. 

First down was one of the founders. Using his infamous coffin move, he lay back on the skateboard. Kicking off, he barrelled down the track. Skimming the curves and taking off at the dips. The tree branches rushed overhead. The sounds of the forest learning a new song. The whoops of a person delighting in the sheer freedom of throwing themselves downhill while lying on a bit of wood with wheels attached. 

Opening day saw a host of people converge on the site. Most were carrying a board. Success was the buzzword on everyone’s lips. Cameras flashed. iPhones Facebook’d. Column inches in the papers. Organising the longest skate board track in this area, had taken some amount of thought, planning and people. 

The long forgotten road? It was happy to be alive again. To the myriad sounds of small wheels, running feet and..now and then..a prolonged bout of cursing as someone took a header off the track to do a snow angel in last years leaves.

Our Memories of Friendship

Nerisha Kemraj

A hand-made wind chime tinkled from its place in the trees, playing nature’s beautiful song. It took me back to that day which seemed not so long ago, when we had sled down the snowy mountains – racing against the wind. We laughed at the icicles that formed on our faces back then. Boys of ten, with no worries – we became good friends ever since. To be staring at his still and broken body now, weighed heavy on my heart.

There used to be a road that ran through the abandoned woods but the birth of the cemetery had ensured that its existence had soon faded away. Jimmy and I spent many-a-summer there, climbing trees or entangling ourselves in the bushes.  And when winter came, it was all about fun in the icy white fluff. The woods had been a second home to us all through high-school, until I moved away. Although Jim and I had kept our friendship alight, our days in the woods became memories.

Standing at the cemetery, I could almost hear our laughter echoing on the other side. Tears streamed down my face as memories poured down on me like the summer rains did, when we hadn’t a care in the world. Friends and family huddled around his body, struggling to say goodbye. How could he have left so soon?

*****

It was just last week that we were planning our next big holiday, bidding Winter farewell.

“David, leave the details to me, just reserve the dates!” he said.

The thrill-seekers that we were, it was bound to be epic. Mountain-climbing, sky-diving, para-sailing, nothing was too extreme for daredevils like us. We loved to live on edge. And it was that edge that had taken Jimmy’s life. Skiing down the mountain slopes at a weekend retreat, he lost footing and suffered a heavy landing as his body slammed atop a sharpened rock. While I reached for him, an ear-splitting crack ran through the icy air. His face contorted as all the bones from his back to his neck shattered from hitting the boulder. 

“I’m so cold,” he sputtered, blood choking his words into a whisper.
I held his hand to comfort him, saying words without knowing what they were and then I saw the life slip away from him as his eyes glazed over, staring blankly up at me.

Paramedics ushered me away. I vaguely remember seeing him loaded onto the stretcher. Resuscitation had proved to be fruitless and I remember the distinct crackle of the glinting foil, as they covered his body. A moment of fun had quickly become one of disaster. My best friend was no more.

*****

I placed the picture of the two frolicking, little boys, admiring the artistic snow angels they had created, onto the coffin as it lowered into the ground, while I said my final goodbye. The picture had captured our moment of joy forever – it paved the way for the beginning of a life-long friendship. Jimmy would remain my best friend always, because I have our memories.

The Iron Writer Challenge #149

lap giraffe

The Iron Writer Challenge #149

2016 Winter Solstice Challenge #7

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Wesley Kirk, Moira McArthur, Dami Lare, Danielle Lee Zwissler

The Elements:

A magical lap giraffe

Written in the form of an obituary. So the reader is reading an obit.

A despised relative (explain why)

An original Matisse painting

Sammy HawnsMoira McAtrthur

Moira McArthur

(15th February 1950 – 12 January 2010)

Sammy Hawns was born in the little village of Glenadrookit. Descended from a long line of wool gatherers, Sammy spent his time dogging school while keeping a wary eye out for the dominie. His  school books survive to this day. Pristine, untouched and no inky fingerprints in the margin. 

Sammy left school as uneducated in formal lessons as the farm dog, but his lessons in nature, the real world, were legendary. He would guddle a fish, clear a field of seed stealing crows and make daisy chains for the lassies.

No use for politics, it was a bad day when the local conservative candidate, a distant relative and thus despised the more, chapped on his door to enquire whether he could count on Sammy’s vote. We think the whole village heard Sammy bellow, ’Politics? Its all nonsensical self grandizing bollockology’.  The candidate was last seen beating a hasty retreat.

Sammy though, could be quite poetic in words. Describing a sunset as looking like a Matisse painting, let us into his favourite pastime. Visiting an Art Gallery. He’d stand and look at the paintings then go home and try to recreate in straw and mosaic-chipped wood. Several of his works are on display in Glenadrookit’s Museum of Rural Life.

His favourite work being the painting of the miniature giraffe of Frankelstide. To convey its apparent magical powers in cuts of straw and chips of wood, was a marvel they said.
It was this, more than anything else, that brought him to the wider audience of the art world. HIs tinkering in the woodshed, was seized upon as the next best artist and magazines ran articles, newspapers tried to get an interview and tv crews waited around for a glimpse of this man, Sammy. The single track road into the village was hilly and thus provided the means of spotting a vehicle approaching, at which, the bush telegraph would spring into action, to give Sammy and his family, enough warning to grab a couple of things and hare off up the hills out of reach, until the fuss died down and the ‘visitors’  departed.

Thus it is Sammy’s sense of the ridiculousness of humankind, that is left to us. HIs phrase to the conservative candidate will ring in our ears forever. RIP Sammy Hawns.

James Weatherby, 73Bello Oluwadamilare

Dami Lare

December 19, 1933 – March 9, 2016

Odoyanta.

Being a shrewd man would save you from a few losses: one of which is having to lie still in an Italian casket carved from the finest of oak, listening, if the dead actually can, to a prosaic connivance of untruths summed up as an Obit by someone like Uncle Sam, who ordinarily wouldn’t care jack about you until you’re well past forty and receiving fat sums as pension. That was the thought of my father until I discourage him from writing his own Obituary. Who does that?

James Weatherby, shrewd, introverted, foodie and a showman passed on to glory March 9, 2013, in Ababio’s Hospital, after sustaining terrible burns in a fire he entered to save Pedifree.

James, unlike most of his forebears, who believed the more the merrier, is survived by a single wife, Yasmine, and three children Fua’d, Nasir and me, Kasim. He was a staunch supporter of monogamy, who, yet, was accommodating enough to keep a circle of polygamists and the unmarried as friends. He would always say to me, underneath a starry sky, that friends are like stars: we are bland without them.

But unlike said friends, he preferred the daring call of peace keeping missions – although at a much late time of his life – to the simple life of retirement. A selfless service to which he lost a lot too – as if he cared less about himself than others – a kidney, a limb and an eye, and somehow had the fortuity to wish he could continue the campaign. James was that crazy.

Much wouldn’t be said about my father because he really a lover of it. But he would tell you over laughs, should you be fortunate enough, about his ordeal with “The Woman with the Hat”. He would confess he was naive, and distrusting, when Fola his art agent told him the artwork was both ugly, receiving terrible condemnations upon display, and a bad investment. But being the shrewd man he was, he would purchase it and be stunned at how particularly unattractive its ugliness was, as if ugliness somehow wielded the character of being attractive. He would laugh and tap the painting with an affectionate pat, and in that moment I realised James was one whose love for things surpassed the conventional fondness for aesthetics or quality. He looked beyond those things and saw the beauty hidden within.

The day he found Pedifree, the miniature giraffe that somehow completed him; I wasn’t at all shocked, or thought him crazy because I knew he was capable of love than the rest of us. And he was right to do so, for it brought the joy thousands of dollars couldn’t. Although it might not seem that way now, I think no other cause can one die that is nobler than love.

I think James Weatherby died for a good cause, and would want us to show love to those who need it.

James “Slim Jim” JohnsonWes Kirk

Wes Kirk

December 24, 1955 – March 6, 2016

Indianapolis

James “Slim Jim” Johnson, gardener, capsaicin worshiper, and connoisseur of puns and dad jokes, died Sunday March 7, 2016.

Slim Jim was growing his own peppers and tending gardens long before “knowing where your food came from” became mainstream. He was proud of that fact, and elated when others actually began caring about the environment. Though he had many battles with the Board of Health and Zoning Commission over his massive gardens, the fruits of his labor were could never be questioned. Even if his sanity had been. Especially consider he sold his mother’s Matisse painting of fish to buy his greenhouse.

He met the love of his life, Margery (deceased), at a Marion County Fair chili cook off. He was the only one who could handle what she produced from her cauldron. They both routinely giggled about how he proposed to her on the spot, after eating half the pot, and through the spice induced coughing fits. The two shared a home on the south side of Indy to the end of their days. Their life was full of compromise, as she had domain over the house, and he was exiled to the garden, and green house (which he swore was tended to by a tiny magical giraffe), where most other humans found it hard to breathe through the pepper fumes.

Their two children, Harry and Jill, survive their parents. Surprising given Slim Jim’s love of bad puns and “dad jokes.” He delighted in making groups of people groan, or slam the palms of their hands across their faces. His crowning achievement, which he boasted about regularly, was making and entire room of his classmates groan in disbelief at one of his “dad joke level puns.” Out of courtesy, general public well-being, and in accordance with local legal action, the pun shall not be reprinted here.

His only regret in life was never being able to produce a world record contending spicy pepper. Which he always swore was because of his horrible cousin Larry constantly throwing cigarette butts over the fence.

His trademarked fashion look by designer “why-would-anyone-care-about-that-foolisness” will be missed around the local farmers markets. No longer will his worn yellow boater hat, with its collection of pepper eating trophy pins, float above the heads of visitors as he makes his way through the crowds. No more will police wonder if a Beverly Hillbilly’s relative got lost in the metro area while watching Slim Jim stand there brushing off the dust from his depression era ‘vintage’ overalls and combat boots.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Indiana Chapter of Future Farmers of America. He spent many years teaching youth, and evangelizing the gospel of tending a good garden, and the family would like to have his passion carry on for as long as possible.

Also, James “Slim Jim” Johnson’s final wish was for the gag order be removed from his memoirs of bad jokes, to allow them to finally be published. His family ask that you disregard the request for the betterment of mankind.

Author Writes Her Own Final Chapter

Danielle Lee ZwisslerDanielle Lee Zwissler

Author, Danielle Lee Zwissler of Mogadore, Ohio, died on March 3rd, 2016 from complications due to an over-active imagination, and large amounts of caffeine. Born in October of 1978, Danielle was the second child of the family, despised by many, including her own grandmother, whom has been dead for years now, and who, consequently, accused her of being too stuck-up and un-family-like for her taste, and an uncle that is currently serving a prison term for grand theft larceny. Danielle leaves behind her parents, her brother and his family, her husband, and two children, along with four pets, five if you count the magical lap giraffe that she always talked to at night just before putting her children to bed.

Throughout the years, Danielle has had many jobs as a teacher, tutor, a musician, a waitress, a barn rat, a nursing home worker, and she even had a paper route. Up until recently, Danielle wasn’t happy with her life. She felt sad about not sticking with her original idea of becoming a band director for a famous band, and was depressed for most of her twenties. She was also upset that she didn’t become famous overnight as many indie authors believe will happen. She figured out a tough lesson. She wasn’t special.

She leaves behind a legacy of boring romance novels, an original Matisse painting, and several love letters from her numerous teenage relationships. Calling hours will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Mogadore, Ohio, on March 10th, 2016 at 7 PM. Since Danielle’s family usually doesn’t accept birthday party invites, the ceremony will probably be less than twenty minutes long.

Also, Danielle wanted to let you all know that if you don’t show up to her funeral, she will haunt every last one of you for eternity.

to read, and a connoisseur of the arts. She owned several noteworthy works of art, notwithstanding an original of Henri Matisse. She wasn’t loved by many, but merely tolerated, had several relatives that despised her, including her own grandmother that often called her a miserable Mother … well, you get the drift. She also had an exemplary imagination. Several times she claimed to own a miniature magical giraffe, but under full disclosure, she only made those claims after getting the occasional high at the campground with her 80-year-old glaucoma suffering friends.
All in all, Danielle was creative, nuts, and couldn’t keep a job, but she leaves behind a legacy of barely opened first editions of her own novels (many of which will be used as kindling for Earl’s nightly fires) and several items that make absolutely no sense but gave her comfort from purchases at the local Goodwill.
Donations accepted in lieu of flowers as the Zwissler family can barely keep their gas and electricity turned on.
NO calling hours as Danielle preferred to be cremated, and spread around all sorts of different memorable places just in case she could split her soul in pieces, much like her favorite author’s villain, Lord Voldemort. In her own words, “I want to haunt the f*** out of people when I’m gone.”

#TIWC members, please vote here.

The Iron Writer Challenge #129 – 2015 Autumn Equinox Open, Homer Bracket

The Iron Writer Challenge #129

The 2015 Autumn Equinox Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Homer Bracket

Homer_British_Museum

The Authors:

Dani J. Caile, Moria McArthur, E. Chris Garrison, Bill Prins

The Elements:

vest

A worldwide holiday celebrating a fictional character ( you must name the character)

Testing the first bullet-proof vest

The first mosquito of the season

Pancake batter

Miramar AwaitsBill Prins

Bill Prins

Susan recognized Cal waiting for her by the plane in the predawn darkness.

“Pleased to meet you,” said Cal. “Thanks for joining our adventure on Snoopy.”

“The pleasure’s mine,” said Susan. “This is somewhat different than the Sky Harbor I’m used to.”

“We’ll be ready to go at sunrise, in about, oh, ten minutes,” said Cal, looking at his watch.

“Can I ask you a few quest…?” Susan was checked by a look from Cal.

“There’ll be time for questions once we’re in the air,” said Cal. “Time to go aboard.”

Cal helped Susan climb the fold-down steps and through the ridiculously narrow side door. In the dark interior she stumbled onto a sleeping figure and recoiled.

“Don’t mind him,” said Cal behind her. “Through the door on the right, then sit on the right.”

In minutes they were stowed and strapped-in, the sun rising over Lake Superior. Susan realized the plane was painted a bright yellow, and the cockpit had that new car smell. Propellers turned and the plane vibrated as the engines came to life, first the left, then the right. She watched Cal turn knobs and flick switches while talking over his headset, his eyes and hands synched with the dialog.

“Thank you, tower,” said Cal. “We’re rolling.”

As the plane started Cal’s left hand went to his headset, and he turned to her, smiling.

“Ready?”

She didn’t answer; the plane rolled faster and faster with their shadow stretched out before them; Cal pulled back the yoke and they lifted smoothly into the air.

“You can ask me a question now,” said Cal, after several minutes.

“Well,” Susan collected herself, “GA Magazine would like to know what inspired Lazarus Duke to recreate World War Two aircraft?”

“Not any aircraft,” said Cal. “The DeHavilland Mosquito was one of the most successful aircraft ever created. It served as a bomber, a fighter, a torpedo plane, and for photo-reconnaissance; it was made almost entirely of wood and glue so it was light and fast, faster than a Spitfire. And it was almost invisible to German radar: the first stealth aircraft.”

“And what about Mr. Calvin McRaven, test pilot?” asked Susan. “With your history, you’re like the guy testing bulletproof vests.”

“Not really,” said Cal. “You know they test bulletproof vests on adolescent pigs. By the time they point a gun at a guy in a vest, it’s more like a demonstration.”

“So why the name Snoopy?” asked Susan.

“Production of Mosquitos ended in 1950,” said Cal. “Snoopy was created October 4, 1950, by Charles Schwartz, which is now International Snoopy Day. Snoopy is the first Mosquito Mr. Duke built. We have two more coming out in November and early December.”

“I was hoping to meet Mr. Duke,” said Susan.

“If you’d joined us for breakfast you would have,” said Cal. “He came down to the guesthouse and cooked for us: corned beef hash patties in maple syrup, dipped in pancake batter and deep fried.”

“Will I meet him?” asked Susan.

“When we get to the Miramar Airshow, I expect,” said Cal. “Or whenever he wakes up.”

Marty McFly Must Die!Eric Garrison

E. Chris Garrison

“Here we are, Jen, October 21st, 2015 at last! International Marty McFly day!” cried Calvin, as we arrived on the scene at Hill Valley, California.

Well, there’s no real Hill Valley, but Calvin and I had worked things out using clues from the movie, which led us to Inyo County, California.

I squeezed his hand and said, “Wow, looks like we’re not the only ones who figured this out. Just look at all of the DeLoreans! Did they even make that many?”

There had to be at least a couple dozen of the retro-futuristic stainless steel gull-winged cars scattered across the field, a few giving off vapor, encrusted in frost. Dozens of Marty McFly cosplayers milled around, quoting catchphrases. There were plenty of puffy orange vests, some iridescent ball caps, ridiculous cowboy duds, and even a few leather jackets and walkie talkies.

“I think we’re underdressed,” I said, looking over our outfits. I’d attempted a genderswapped suspendered 1985 Marty, with a replica pink Mattel hoverboard for a prop. Calvin had cheaped out and wore a Mexican serape, bowler hat, and cowboy boots.

Just as we passed under the banner that welcomed us to the makeshift camp site, Doc Brown leaped in front of us and grabbed us by the shoulders. His eyes wild, his white hair singed on the tips, he said, “You kids! You’re from this timeline! Which one’s the real Marty?”

Calvin laughed. “Awesome!”

I smiled at him. “All of them?”

The Doc’s eyes squinted at me. “Aren’t you a clever girl. If you’re so smart, how can a movie character come to life?”

“Well, you just said, ‘this timeline’. Maybe this is 2015A, where Marty never existed, only movies about him.”

Calvin said, “This guy’s creepin’ me out, let’s book it.”

Doc pushed him aside and stared into my eyes. “Good, good. What if I told you one of them, the original, carries a mutant form of West Nile Virus from 2015 prime that would wipe out all of mankind if even the first mosquito of the season bit him?”

Calvin shoved back. “It’s November!”

I said, “I guess you’d have to pick the right one and do something drastic to save the future.”

“Precisely!” cried the Doc. “Now, which one?”

“This is stupid,” said Calvin as I scanned the field.

“Well, we first see Marty in the Doc’s lab in 1985, with the breakfast machine.”

Doc Brown slapped his forehead. “Of course!” He pulled a long rifle from under his lab coat. He aimed at a puffy-vested Marty, carrying a jug of instant pancake batter. The look-a-like raised his hands and screamed.

All the Martys screamed.

“That’s heavy,” said Calvin.

The Doc swung around and aimed at my boyfriend’s chest. “The machine didn’t make pancakes.” Doc Brown fired. Calvin fell down.

The time travel paradox resolved, I stood over Calvin’s body in an empty field.

He cracked an eye open. “Are they gone?”

“Yes! I guess he never saw Back to the Future III!”

Calvin threw back his serape to reveal his makeshift vintage 1885 cast iron bulletproof vest. “Who’s chicken now?”

Sighting SherlockMoira McAtrthur

Moira McArthur

The day they celebrated Sherlock Holmes, was a world wide affair. Major cities like New York, Beijing, Moscow, would have theatres and cinemas showing Sherlock Holmes plays and films. Their streets, bunting overhead, were filled with stalls selling cheap but badly made deer stalkers, curly pipes, and fake whiskers. Photo booths, where you could dress in period. From my perch on the roof, facing 221B Baker Street, most of the world, seemed to arrive en masse on such days. 

Crowds of tourists milling around, the visit to 221B, as a pilgrimage they must all make. Excited tourist chatter was the norm, most days, on that otherwise quiet street. On Sherlock Holmes Day, the chatter became a thunderous roar. It suited my purpose. All eyes on 221B Baker Street, Marylebone, London W1U 3BW. 

The year in question, the Sherlock Holmes Society had arranged that one of their own, should portray that illustrious gent. To be seen at the window, walking between the rooms. Occasionally, if the crowds died down a little, he would open the front door and reach out to tap his pipe on the wall, before rapidly retiring from the throng that threatened to rush him. So great was their joy at seeing ‘him’ in person. Back inside that ordinary but elegant door, society members clicked the locks fast. I waited. I had time enough. 

Nearing lunchtime, I knew a most delicious smell would emanate from the kitchen. Freshly squeezed lemon indicated the mixing of pancake batter. A nod to Conan Doyle’s mastery

Aficionados will recall Sherlock using a crêpe to lift a shoe print. The Society’s chap would think  more longingly of lunch. I planned to act before that meal was served. 

I pressed the trigger while looking through the telescopic sight. The chink of glass falling and a buzz at his ear, would have him turn in puzzlement.  First mosquito of the season? Another second, and he would feel the hit of a bullet on his chest. As he fell backward, the thought came to me. ‘Challenge Accomplished.’ I broke the gun, threw it in the air, then happily watched as it fell behind bushes in the gardens below. 

The sirens grew near and I settled myself for discovery. As police boots thundered up to my roof perch, my self congratulation took a hit. Through 221B’s window, I stared, as the man, with not a mark on him, was being helped to his feet by a police constable.

Heavy hands on my shoulder, I succumbed to handcuffing and being taken back downstairs. Not a bit puzzled, I climbed into the police van. 

The Evening News was full of the attempt on Sherlock Holmes. This time, no Moriarty. This time, a disgruntled writer wanting notoriety. To be forever linked with murder on a Sherlock Holmes Day. The article going on to quote the chap hit by the bullet. ‘Thank goodness I decided to try on Sherlock’s first bullet proof vest.” 

Losers United!Dani-J-Caile

Dani J Caile

I opened door number twenty-three and there he was, Dave, lying in a hospital bed, bloated up like a balloon. Every part of him visible was red and inflammed, the poor sod. When he saw me, he sat up.

“Bob! Good to see you! Come on in!”

After some hesitation, I took a chair next to the bed. “Dave, you look… you look… what the hell happened, Dave?”

“I tried out my new thing, Bob, my anti-mosquito t-shirt. Look!” He pointed over to the bedside cupboard and I saw a colourful promotional flyer with Dave splashed all over it wearing some strange t-shirt. Was this his latest ’get-rich-quick’ scheme?

“What’s that on the t-shirt, Dave?”

“That? That’s my own secret concoction of chemicals designed to repel and kill all mosquitos! It’s stuck together with pancake batter, which is both an excellent base and glue. And if I mix food dye in it, I can also get different coloured t-shirts! Ingenious, huh?”

I guess I didn’t jump up and down enough, because the next thing I knew, I was watching a video on his flashy new android phone. The camera was a bit shaky but there he was, standing next to a river. “Is that the Tisza, Dave?”

“Yep.”

People were walking by him quickly, holding their noses, basically running away.

“What are you doing?”

“Waiting for the first mosquito of the season. The Tisza’s always the first place they appear. I’ve got to start production of these t-shirts as soon as possible. I’m telling you, once they hit the shops, sales will be immense!” A baby in a pram started crying as it was pushed past briskly. “Oh, Bob, how did your thing go?”

Thing? The Winnie-the-Pooh Appreciation Society just had Pooh Day, celebrated across the world, and I was nominated as head of the county’s, yes, county’s happenings. I had the great idea of re-enacting ’The Heffalump’, seeing as Mavis the treasurer looked so good in the elephant costume. Of course, Hundred Acre Wood wasn’t available, so we had to find somewhere suitable. Getting permission didn’t work out, so we did a ’Flash Mob’ performance at the local garden centre. There wasn’t much of a turnout but it was great. And to Dave it was ‘a thing’?

“Well…”

“Listen!” There was a close up in the video.

“Remember this day, remember it well!” said the Dave in the video. “Wow, I feel like that guy, you know… Zepplin, testing the first bullet-proof vest.”

“Err, Dave, it was Zeglen, I think.”

“Whatever.”

Then the Dave in the video moved like he’d been hit, falling to the ground. The camera view dropped, showing only grass.

“Who… who is that woman screaming, Dave?”

“That’s me.”

“Oh.” I didn’t understand. Why was he in a good mood if it had failed? “What happened, the t-shirt didn’t work?”

“Of course it works!”

“So… what happened?”

“I got bitten by a tiny 3mm white crab spider. That’s what happened!”