Alphabet Nonsense

Once upon a time,

The letter A took a walk.

She saw the letter B

And boy, she had a shock.

**

B was round where A was not,

And A was quite appalled.

But the letter B laughed at her,

And said “Try being small!”

**

When A became a she realized

That she had some roundness, too.

She sought out B and asked him if

He’d be her friend, real and true.

**

So A and B had lots of fun

And paired up for many words,

Like abbey, abort and able,

Abolish, abet and absurd.

**

They were friends for many years,

And they met some other letters,

And they learned never to think

Of themselves as anyone’s betters.

**

A and B liked C and D,

And many others as well,

They were a band of twenty-six,

The spellers and the spelled.

**

But A and B have special status,

They’re nobler than the others,

For the alphabet is named after

Their great-great-Latin-grandfathers.

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Silas (2)

Mr. Suit’s name turned out to be Thomas Smith. Silas assumed the name was fake, but didn’t mind much. In this business, he knew, privacy was essential. Part of the reason he was so successful at what he did was that he understood this simple fact and acted on it. It had been twenty years or more since anyone had seen Silas’s real face, and he intended on keeping it that way.
The face Thomas Smith saw that day was a pock-marked wreck; cheeks hollow, eyes a muddy brown, a crooked nose and a gash of a mouth, obviously scarred. Smith didn’t seem at all disturbed by this face, which annoyed Silas a little. He liked making people uncomfortable. It was another reason he was so successful – people didn’t want to spend more time with him than they absolutely needed to, so they wouldn’t try to socialize or bribe or judge him. Instead, they simply gave him the facts of the matter.
Smith looked at Silas, and then turned his head around, first to one side and then the other, taking in the empty tables and the dirty street. Then he did something that surprised Silas. He swiveled his body around and looked up at the dingy building above Mick’s Burgers & Beer, obviously checking to see if anyone was looking out of a window. Silas hid his surprise behind a stony face once more, and waited patiently.
“It’s like this, Magician,” Smith began. “I heard about you from a lady friend who used to be… well, shall we say, not in the best of situations. She says that you’re known among the South-dwellers.”
Silas nodded, and broke in rather wickedly “South-dwellers, eh? ‘Round here we call ourselves Southies. As you would know from your lady friend.”
“Yes, well,” Smith didn’t seem offended in the least. “The official term is still South-dwellers, Magician. Also, if my information is correct – which I am sure it is – you haven’t been a Southie, as you say, forever.”
Now Silas took notice. This man, this Mr. Smith, knew more than he was letting on. He knew more than any corporate stiff had a right to know. Mayhap he was simply rich enough to get tongues a-wagging, but then again maybe he he’d hired someone to find out about Silas, and the thought that he might have missed someone lurking around here made him very uncomfortable.
“I’m the Magician,” Silas said coolly, refusing to show he was unnerved. “I’ve been lots of places in my lifetime, Mr. Smith.”
“Indeed.”
“You gonna tell me what the job is or shall I leave you in peace to enjoy a burger and a pint, Mr. Smith?” Silas was desperate to get the job, sign the contract and get away from this suit.
“It’s very simple. The company I work for has placed a spy in a rival company. This spy is now an-” he hesitated, but then continued. “an inconvenience. We need him taken care of.”
“Right,” Silas smirked. “Taken care of. Understood, Mr. Smith. Tell me when and where I find him. And you’ll have to sign this.” He took a crumpled contract from his jeans pocket. “Fill it in, as much as you can, and sign right down there.”
Mr. Smith seemed, finally, slightly discomfited, but he did as he was told, filling in the short form while explaining to Silas where and when the spy could be found. He agreed to the fee Silas demanded without haggling. He returned the contract to Silas, who scanned it quickly as the man rose from the table.
“Just a minute, Mr. Smith,” he took hold of the suit’s arm, firmly grasping it so that he caught skin and sinew, not only the expensive shirt fabric. He tightened his grip as he continued. “You didn’t sign right at the end here, like I asked you to. I asked nicely, didn’t I, Mr. Smith? Can’t do a job without you signing the contract.”
Mr. Smith stared blankly at Silas, then back at the contract. Finally, he reached back to his pen, which he’d put in his shirt pocket. Slowly, ever so slowly, he signed the name “Thomas H. Smith” on the dotted line.
Silas looked at Mr. Smith’s face and saw the surprise and alarm in the suit’s eyes as he felt a jolt, like an electric surge, go up his arm. Silas smiled grimly, his jagged mouth tightening into a hard line.
“They call me Magician for lots of reasons, Thomas H. Smith. You remember that.”

Princess Without A Name – slightly reworked

I’ve been thinking about trying to submit this story to Hilights, a children’s magazine. With the help of my mother, Ms. Editor Extrordinaire, I reworked it a bit. It’s still too long by over three hundred words, however, and I’m trying to figure out how to shorten it. The reworked version so far is below.

________________________

Once upon a time, there was a princess who didn’t have a name. She lived locked up in a tower, like all princesses do, and had a jolly life there. She got plenty of exercise in the big swimming pool in the basement of the tower, read plenty of books in the big library on the first floor of the tower, and had plenty of food in the pantry on the second floor and plenty of time to gaze outside wistfully from the one window that was on the third floor of the tower. It was a very good tower, as towers went.
The princess without a name was very happy there. She lived her life all alone, except for the girls that came to restock the pantry, and read about other people in books. She had, of course, read all the stories of princesses in the library, and she knew how her story would go. She knew exactly what would happen with her life.
She felt lucky, knowing exactly what was to be. It made her glad to think that one day, probably around her eighteenth birthday, a prince would come riding on a white, or maybe black, horse. He would save her from the tower by breaking into it or climbing up it or doing something else that was very athletic. Then he’d pledge his true love to her, and they would ride off together into the sunset and live happily ever after. The princess without a name liked the sound of happily ever after. It sounded like a nice way to live, though rather vague.

As her eighteenth birthday drew near, the princess without a name started to worry about two things. The first was that all the princesses in the stories had names. Not very good ones, no – for what sort of a name is Cinderella? Or Snow White for that matter? Still, they had names. But the princess without a name had no name at all. She never really thought about it. She knew who she was, and that was that. She never felt she needed a name.
The second thing she worried about was that she would have to leave her tower. She really liked her tower, being stocked as it was with good things to do and to eat and to read. She even had a few friends, if she thought about it – the girls from the village who opened the tiny window in the pantry and gave her food every week. The window was much too small to escape from of course, but the girls liked having nice chats and the princess without a name rather liked hearing about their lives, unprincess-like though they were.
Mind filled with worries, one of which being the creases in her brow from being so worried, the princess saw her birthday come and go. And no prince or horse came near the tower. As the days passed, she started to forget a little about it. She kept about her routine, and even had the village girls add a few dozen new books to the library.

Still, fate is fate, and the day before the princess’s nineteenth birthday, a prince appeared. He came riding – of course he did – but on quite an odd black and white horse that looked rather like a tall cow. His face was very sweaty and his chain-mail wasn’t very shiny, being rather caked with mud. The princess without a name looked down at him from her window at the top of the tower and waited.
“O, fairest of maidens! Princess of these lands! I am Pip, and I have come to rescue you!” He shouted up at her, rather as if declaiming, badly, from a page. The princess stifled a giggle. Pip?!
“O lovely lady, will you tell me your name?” he shouted, his voice breaking on the high pitch he put on the word “name.”
“I don’t have a name,” called down the princess. The prince blinked a few times. He looked like he was thinking very hard, and not managing it well.
“Well, then, after I rescue you, I’ll give you one, O star of mine!” he eventually yelled, sounding, and looking, rather pleased with himself at the solution he found for this unexpected development. The princess thought to herself. She looked back into the comfy tower room, her bedroom, and sighed a bit. She looked out at the prince and sighed once more.
“Maybe once you break in, we can live here?” she asked the prince a moment later. She really did like the tower. She heard the prince laugh an odd, trilling little laugh.
“Why, lady, I have a castle waiting for us far away from here,” the prince called back, still giggling. “That is where we shall live, get married and have our children! Why, this little place is scarcely enough to hold one little princess, how could it hold a family and servants and courtiers?”
The princess without a name cringed at his words. A family? Servants? Courtiers? She wasn’t even nineteen. She wasn’t ready for all that. Happily ever after had always been vague, true, but never had she heard about the happy couples having babies and servants and courtiers right away. Also, the princes had always been sweet, not annoying like this one. They were never called Pip. And their horses were beautiful.
The princess thought the matter over for a few more minutes while Pip toiled away at the door of the tower, hitting it with his sword and muttering things like “Have at you!” and “Open sesame!”
“Pip! Hey, Pip!” she called, trying to get his attention away from her faithful door that was solid oak and seemed quite unwilling to let him in. Once Pip looked up at her, wiping sweat from his brow with his hand, she continued.
“Pip, your offer is so kind. But, you see, the thing is,” she began, “I like my tower. I don’t really want to leave. So, thank you, but I’d really rather stay put.” With those words, the princess who didn’t want a name given to her turned, walked into the depths of the tower and went for a long, aggressive swim in her pool.
She never saw Pip starting in shock at the tower. Nor did she see him hacking hopelessly at the door a few more times. Nor did she see the big brass key that hung next to the door on the inside of the tower, just like she hadn’t ever seen it. She would see that key one day, when she was ready to. She would see the key and she would open the door and until then she had no need to know that it was there. Her tower was enough for her and would be enough for her until the day she would know that it wasn’t.

A [Stupid] Tale of Two Cats

Once upon a time, there were two cats. The two cats were great friends, and knew each other from the time they were both kittens and were rescued from the street by a nice woman named Debbie. The cats, though generally very friendly, had a recurring argument that they could never resolve: they couldn’t agree which of them had the sillier name.

The one called Shraga would often say “listen to the way my name sounds – it’s so dumb! Shra-ga. SHRA-GA. Just dumb!”

The one called Spartacus would answer “you think that’s dumb? Listen to my nicknames – Sparty, Sparticle, Particle, Spartoosh. All so silly!”

Despite their argument, they usually managed to play well together and enjoy the life they led in the small apartment with the two girly-girls they lived with. The two girly-girls, one older and one younger, both doted on them and spent many hours of the day using odd sounding high-pitched voices when they spoke to them. They would squeal and sigh, but the two cats were content as long as those sounds were followed by the rattle of the box of especially yummy food-treats.

And so the two cats lived in harmony, with only one or two scartchy fights a day, and they were always sure to act very cute around their two girly-girl humans so that they would never need to live hungry on the street again.

Princess Without A Name [A Short Story]

Once upon a time, there was a princess who didn’t have a name. She lived locked up in a tower, like all princesses do, and had a jolly life there. She got plenty of exercise in the big swimming pool at the bottom of the tower, and read plenty of books in the big library on the first floor of the tower, and had plenty of food in the pantry on the second floor and got plenty of time to gaze outside wistfully from the one window that was on the third floor of the tower. It was a very good tower, as towers went.

The princess without a name was very happy there. She lived her life all alone, except for the girls that came to restock the pantry, and only read about other people in books. She had all the different stories of princesses in the library, and she knew how her story would go. She knew exactly what would happen with her life.

She felt lucky, knowing exactly what was to be. She felt glad to think that one day, her eighteenth birthday probably, or somewhere around that age, a prince would come riding on a white, or maybe black, horse. He would save her from the tower by breaking into it or climbing up it – or doing something else that was very athletic. Then he’d pledge his true love to her, and they would ride off together into the sunset and live happily ever after. The princess without a name liked the sound of happily ever after. It sounded like a nice way to live, though rather vague.

As her eighteenth birthday started drawing near, the princess without a name started worrying about two things. The first was that all the maidens and princesses in the stories had names. Not very good ones, no – for what sort of a name is Cinderella? Or Snow White for that matter? Stupid names really – but they still had names. The princess without a name had no name at all. She never really thought about it. She knew who she was, and that was that. She never felt she needed a name.

The second thing she worried about was that she would have to leave her tower. She really liked her tower, being stocked as it was with good things to do and to eat and to read. She even had a few friends, if she thought about it – the girls from the village who opened the tiny window in the pantry and gave her food every week. The window was much too small to escape from of course, but the girls liked having nice chats and the princess without a name rather liked hearing about their lives, unprincess-like as they might be.

Mind filled with worries, one of which being the creases in her brow from being so worried, the princess without a name’s birthday came and went and no prince or horse came near the tower. As the days passed, she started to forget a little about it. She kept about her routine, and even had the village girls find a few dozen new books to add to the library.

Still, fate is fate, and the day before the princesses nineteenth birthday, a prince appeared. He came riding – of course he did – but on quite an odd black and white horse that looked rather like a tall cow. His face looked very sweaty and his chain-mail wasn’t very shiny, but rather caked with mud. The princess without a name looked down at him from her window at the top of the tower and waited.

“O, fairest of maidens! Princess of these lands! I am Pip, and I have come to rescue you!” He shouted up at her, rather as if declaiming, badly, from a page. The princess stifled a giggle. Pip?!

“O lovely lady, will you tell me your name?” He shouted then, his voice breaking on the high pitch he put on the word “name.”

“I don’t have a name,” called down the princess. The prince blinked a few times. He looked like he was thinking very hard, and not managing well with it.

“Well, then after I rescue you, I’ll give you one, O star of mine!” He eventually yelled, sounding, and looking, rather pleased with himself at the solution he found for this unexpected development. The princess thought to herself. She looked back into the comfy tower room, her bedroom, and sighed a bit. She looked out at the prince and sighed once more.

“Maybe once you break in, we can live here?” She asked the prince a moment later. She really did like the tower. She heard the prince laugh an odd, trilling little laugh.

“Why, lady, I have a castle waiting for us far away from here,” The prince called back, still giggling. “That is where we shall live, get married and have our children! Why, this little place is scarcely enough to hold one little princess, how could it hold a family and servants and courtiers?” The princess without a name cringed at his words. A family? Servants? Courtiers? She wasn’t even nineteen. She wasn’t ready for all that. Happily ever after had always been vague, true, but never had she heard about the happy couples having babies and servants and courtiers straight off. Also, the princes has always been sweet, not annoying and fake like this one/. And they were never called Pip. And their horses looked nice.

The princess thought the matter over for a few more minutes while Pip, who had assumed that she wanted to be rescued already, toiled away at the door of the tower, trying to hack at it with his sword and muttering things like “Have at you!” and “Open sesame!”

“Pip! Hey, Pip!” She called, trying to get his attention away from her faithful door that was solid oak and seemed quite unwilling to let him in. Once Pip looked up at her, wiping sweat from his brow with his hand, she continued.

“Pip, your offer is so kind. But, you see, the thing is,” and she giggled with pleasure at the cliché from all the romance novels that she was about to use, “I’m not really willing to settle for less than the perfect one for me. And you’re not him, Pip. I’m sorry, but you can stop trying to break in. I don’t want to leave.” With those words, the princess who didn’t want a name given to her turned, walked into the depths of the tower and went for a long, aggressive swim in her pool.

She never saw Pip staring in shock at the tower. Nor did she see him hacking hopelessly at the door a few times. Nor did she see the big brass key that hung next to the door on the inside of the tower, just like she hadn’t ever seen it. She would see that key one day, when she wanted to. She would see the key and she would open the door for the knight she wanted and until then she had no need to know that she had the key all along. Her tower was enough for her and would be enough for her until the day she would choose that it wasn’t.