Jesterly Challenge Month – November 5th

Sheena, who might in fact actually be a punk rocker despite her claims otherwise, asked me to tell a story from the point of view of the Little Prince.  Give it a read and then let me know how I did in the comments.

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Why am I awake?  Why was I sleeping?  Why am I alone in the bed?  Why is Momma not here?  Why is Daddy not here?  Why…  Why does my body feel sluggish?  Why does my stomach feel funny?  Why am I still alone?

I better start crying.

Why is this taking so long?  Why does my body still feel sluggish?  Why am I awake?  Why was I sleeping again?  Why am I still alone?  Why is Momma not here?  Why is Daddy not here?  Why does my stomach still feel weird?

Oh, here’s Momma now.  Okay.  All is right with the world.  Oh, she’s so warm and soft.  Oh, she smells nice.  Oh I could just hold her forever and ever and ever and ever and ever…

No!  I will not fall back asleep.  I didn’t want to sleep in the first place.  She leaves me when I’m sleeping and I don’t like that.  I better give her the evil eye… but… oh, she’s so pretty and she’s smiling at me and asking how my nap was and what I want to do today.  What was I thinking before?  Doesn’t matter.  Hmmm, why is my tummy still weird?

Okay, now the sluggish feeling is gone!  Oh my!  I want to jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump.  Wait, what’s that noise?  I better ask just to make sure it’s okay?  Oh, okay.  That’s fine.  What was I doing before?  Oh yeah!  Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump….  I love jumping.  Oh, and I love my Momma, too.  I better tell her.

Where is Daddy, though?  I should ask?  Oh, he’s at work?  I should ask why?  Oh, … I didn’t understand that.  I’ll drop it for now but just because my tummy still feels weird.

Wait, Momma’s asking me about food.  Yes, I guess I could get out of bed and go downstairs for some food.  Some string cheese, or an apple, or some applesauce, or some apple pie… Oh!  Or a banana.  Oh!  Or pickles and fishy crackers.  Yum!  Now I’m excited and I want to jump and jump and jump and jump.

What’s Momma saying?  Oh, that’s right food.  Okay, I’m ready now.  Let’s go.  These stairs are fun.  I think I’ll slide down them on my butt.  Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.  That was fun!  I should do again.  Up, up, up…  Oh, right, Momma is reminding me about food.  Okay.  I’ll slide down the stairs again later.

Hmm… my tummy still feels weird.  Oh look, the windows are open.  And there are birds in the trees!  And look, look!!  Cars are driving down the street.  There’s a bus!!  I better tell Momma.  She didn’t hear me.  I better shout it!  Why is she in the kitchen?  She should be here at the window with me!!  She’s missing out on the bus.  I better yell louder.  And louder!!  And louder!!!!

Momma doesn’t seem too excited about the bus I’m pointing out, but that could be because by the time she got to the window it was gone.  Oh well, she’ll see the next one.  Why is she pulling me away?  Oh, right!  Food.  Yum, yum, yum… but my tummy still feels weird.

I like climbing chairs, though, and standing at the counter.  Oh, I better tell her everything I want.  Yep, she’s doing a great job making a plate for me.  That all looks wonderful…  Whoops.  Should I tell her.  Yep, better tell her.  Maybe I should wait because she just made me this wonderful plate.  No, she will want to know…  “Momma, I’m poopy.”

That’s odd, my tummy doesn’t feel weird anymore.

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Daddy’s/The Jester’s final comment:  This is every single time.  Right as we are ready to sit down and eat.  Every.  Single.  Time.

a mountain tale

Gather round, gather round, and you shall hear a tale of beauty, pain, and magic.

Are you ready?

Everyone comfortable?  Did you already go to the bathroom?  Get a drink of water?  Okay, let’s begin…

A short time ago, slightly more than two weeks from today, the Queen, Little Prince, and I ventured forth from our kingdom to brave the spring-like conditions offered up on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain.  We were excited to return to a place that has always provided the restorative fun necessary to function peacefully in our normal daily routines and tasks.  However, we were a bit leery of how the Little Prince would handle the drive (a not insignificant six plus hours) and how he would handle being left in day care for only the second time.  (The first time was also at the on-mountain facility in Mammoth when he was two months old, and he slept the whole time he was there.)

Our trepidations regarding the Little Prince were misplaced.  He did great on the drive.  (He did great on the drive there, anyway.  The drive home?  Once the tremors have stopped, perhaps I’ll find the courage to write about that horror story.  I’m still haunted by the screams.)  And, while there were tears when we said goodbye, he let us leave him and there were positive signs that he would settle down and play with the staff and the eleventy-seven toys he had pulled out of their cubbies during the short time we were checking him in.  All in all, the Queen and I counted those two parts of our adventure as a huge success.

We donned our boots, grabbed our boards, and took the gondola up to McCoy Station.  (As a side note, that’s where we said our vows as part of the grand festival of awesome that was our wedding.  Hey, when you are marrying a Queen, you’ve got to go all out, right?  Anyway, like I said in the beginning, sort of, Mammoth is special for us.)  We strapped in and skated out to the edge of the slope we were going to drop down, and started our first runs in 14 months…

Shortly thereafter we realized our mistake.  We had placed our worry on the wrong aspect of this adventure.  We hadn’t needed to worry about the Little Prince.  Instead, we should have worried about our ability to remember how to snowboard without falling.  There was falling.  There was so much falling.  There was so much falling and so much pain.  I still hurt in places now, and I’m talking about more than just my ego.

We slipped and tumbled and crashed our way down two runs.  Disgusted.  Embarrassed.  Sore.  Frustrated.

While we don’t consider ourselves great, we are at least average at the art of strapping ourselves to elongated pieces of plastic and throwing ourselves off the side of a mountain (strap and throw, for short), and in less than thirty minutes we had both fallen more times than we had in the last five years combined.  So, the Queen and I trudged back to our car defeated and lost in a fog of the crumbling hopes we’d had for the day.  The beautiful blue skies towering over the snow-capped peaks mocked us.  The zen we sought eluded us.

Then, in a spark of imaginative madness, an idea occurred to us.

Shortly after, we were back on the mountain carving our way down the slopes confidently and competently as we knew we were capable of all along.  The day was saved.  We found the moments of calm and peace we had longed for as our boards slid gracefully over the snow and the day warmed our souls and soothed our hearts.  The songs of the mountain rolled over us and we rejoiced.

It.  Was.  Magic.

What we had forgotten at the beginning of the day, and had remembered in that light-bulb moment, was respect.  The Queen and I had been so concerned about how the Little Prince was going to do, we had forgotten completely about paying homage to the mountain.  Once we had paid the mountain its rightful dues, Mammoth graced us with a bit of its boundless magic and allowed us to navigate its curves once again.

It was simple, really, to pay our respect, all we had to do was buy season passes for next year…  Some may call that throwing money at the problem.  I call it magic.

adventure update

Dear Little Prince,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you, and I’m sorry about that.  I will try to do better.  I know there is nothing to forgive, since the time I might have used to put pen to paper was spent playing with you instead, but do understand the importance of recording these words too just as we record your words.

Oh my, the words.  You seem to learn five new ones every day.  Yesterday you learned “dancing.”  The day before you learned “steamy.”  And last week?  You learned a word I can’t repeat here and you have thankfully stopped parroting back to us.  By the time you read this you’ll really know it and many much worse.  That’s exciting and sad at the same time.

Anyway, the way you said those four letters it sounded like fork…  It was adorable.

You know what else is adorable?  Getting home from work in the afternoons and hearing “Daddy!” before I even see you running from the other end of the house to give me a hug.  Running.  Hugging.  Tugging on my pants to follow you back to where you were so we can play together.

Playtime is the best.  You dribbled a soccer ball from one room to the next earlier this week.  You did it on purpose too.  You’d seen me do it.  You tried it.  You did it.  It was amazing!  And then I chased you down to celebrate and you giggled as we high-fived and I tickled you.  Then we tracked down your mom, the  Queen, and we both tickle-attacked her.

You are learning at a ridiculous rate.  You help with chores, putting food in the kitties’ dishes, washing plates and filling up the dish rack, sweeping, vacuuming…  Okay, so you can’t quite get the hang of all of those yet, but you do all of them with our help, and sometimes you manage them on your own.

You are growing at ridiculous rate too.  Some meals you seem to eat more than I do… and I eat a lot.  You are our mini-garbage disposal and I fear for the grocery bills in a few years.  I fear for the clothing bills, too, as you outgrow things faster than we can buy them.  You are definitely a toddler now, and I can hardly see the baby in you at all.

I understand these are typical milestones of parenting but that doesn’t take anything away from my experience with them.  This whole adventure, while terrifying and trying at times, continues to hold moments of wonder and delight, to an extent I didn’t know was possible.  Thank you for going on this adventure with your mom and me.  Thank you for your patience as we continue to grow and feel our way through these new roles.

We are proud of you.

We love you and can’t wait to see what new discovery you make each and every day going forward.

Love,

Daddy
aka: djmatticus, the jester

a windy night

I feel the cool caress of the sheets, twisted about my contorted body, and the sensation helps me stumble from my thin sleep.   My eyes blink away the vivid colors of my dream and absorb the darkness of the room.  All is quiet, all is still… except for the demons loosed from my imagination.  They stir in the shadows and their nightmarish whispers swirl around me.  The monsters are at the window trying to get in.  My breath sticks in my throat.

There are no monsters, there is just the wind, singing bawdy sea shanties, dancing across the window.

The normal, though jubilant, ocean breeze running its course from the sea to the inland foothills shouldn’t be enough to coax forth the worst of my demons.  It is harmless.  It is playful.  Alone, it poses no threat.  But, it is never alone.

Anytime the winds come wandering up from the coast to browse voyeurishly through my neighborhood, they bring the past with them.  They bring the memories of the harsh and biting desert winds from my youth.  They bring the monsters that haunted my nights then.

I try to breathe normally but the air rattles in my lungs and I’ll can manage is a sharp gasping.  My pulse races after drinking heavily of the intoxicating adrenalin that has flooded my body.  My gaze frantically searches the shadows for the threat I know is there.   I don’t dare move.  I don’t dare close my eyes.

The room suddenly explodes into contrasting angles, wrought by my distorted depth perception and rampant fear.  The shadows are larger and closer than they should be.  The pools of light sneaking through the cracks in the blinds shrink away until they seem more like the forgotten tangent of a false memory than something concretely real I could cling to in my terror.

The darkness presses down on me, suffocating me, and I’m six again.  Blown sand, picked up from the miles of empty desert and carried to my house by an unseen force, taps at the window, urgently seeking ingress.  Does it want to escape the horrors of the night?  Or is it the horror trying to get to me?  The pressure of the storm sucks at the same window and the moans and groans echo in my mind.  The demons are calling for me.  Their giant maw wants to strip the flesh from my bones and devour my soul.  The long shadow arms break free of the corners and reach for me.  I can feel the twisted talons inches from my body, preparing to rake across my skin.

I turn my eyes away from the window, towards my only possible exit to safety, towards my last hope of surviving the nightmare and my gaze is met by the ghost from the hallway stepping through the open door into the room.

I want to scream.

I turn, the sheets no longer cool against me, and assess the clock to determine how much of the night is left.  I ignore the ocean breeze and the haunted memories that traveled in its wake.  I close my eyes and focus on calming my heart, on deep breaths, and on trying to salvage some peace and rest.  When all but a small tremor of fear have been banished, I drift back into a thin sleep, awaiting the hint of rising sun that will set me free.

4 letters and 4 truths about control

Dear Internet,

Hi, I’m Gracie.  I like Dora and Elmo, coloring, and blogging.  I’m eight years old.  My parents have told me that I’m going to live a long time, but I know the truth.  I have lymphoma and the prognosis isn’t good.  In whispered conversations with the doctor, between sobs, I have heard that I most likely only have months to live.  They are brave for me, but they don’t need to be.  I’ll be okay.

I’m writing this quick letter because I wanted the whole world to know that they don’t need to be sad.  It is going to be okay and, to paraphrase the words of my favorite dinosaur, chances are I probably love you,

Gracie

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The massive heads of the metal giants rise and fall in the gloom.

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To my crush,

I know I haven’t said more than two words to you (“hello” on two separate occasions) since the start of the year.  I wish I had.  I just can’t seem to find my voice when you smile at me.  You deserve more than my silence.  You deserve more than this note, but I had to tell you how I feel.

I think you are the most beautiful girl, inside and out, in our class, and I wish I had the courage to shout that from the rooftops.  I wouldn’t want to embarrass you, but that’s how much of an impact you have on me.  Will you go to the spring dance with me?

Tom

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The derricks noiselessly pull their prey from the bowels of the world.

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To my classmates, friends and family,

If I were able, this is the letter I would be writing to you from … well, I’m not really allowed to talk about what comes after.

At my funeral, there was much talk about “too young.”  We like to think we are in control of our lives as we learn and grow and prepare to become adults, but the reality is, no matter how much we think we are, we still have no say in what happens to us.  The driver of the car that hit me wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t speeding, he wasn’t distracted driving.  The sunlight glinting off his windshield momentarily blinded him as I stepped into the crosswalk and he didn’t have time to stop.  I could have just as likely been the driver as I was the pedestrian.  So could all of you.  So, is there really such a thing as too young?  Any time we get is a gift.  Every day we wake up is a miracle.  You should embrace that and stop worrying about the illusions of control you’ve built up.

Love each other as you loved me as you said your goodbyes,

Charles

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The black gold spills from pockets that are already stuffed full.

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To my future employer,

After receiving my application and then Googling my name and checking out my Facebook page, I would appreciate if you would take a minute to review my resume before tossing me into the round file bin.  I put a lot of hard work, energy, and time into obtaining my degree from a well-credited university and feel that I deserve more of your consideration that my online persona.  Do you remember school?  The pressure to be social, to do and be more than the person locked away in their dorm room studying?  Do you remember the struggle to balance a part-time job, your studies, and your friends?

My online persona paints a certain picture of me, but it is only one subset of my life.  When you factor in the coursework I excelled at, my diligence in studying when it was required to maintain a high grade point average, and finish near the top of my class while still maintaining a healthy social life, you can easily see how I would be a valuable acquisition.  I’m dedicated to the causes I believe in.  I don’t give up on my dreams.

Now that I’ve finished school, my new dream is to work for you.  Please give me that chance,

Melinda

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Another day dawns, and the sun shines on the oil rigs pumping away.

Oil Derricks at Dawn
Image credit: Mike Robinson