Friday, April 29, 2016

Davey And The Little Blue Bird

A little blue bird sped high across the countryside. It's destination was unknown, but it seemed to be flying with a definite purpose. As the bird flew lower to avoid a bit of wind turbulence, something suddenly flew up from below and struck it hard on its side sending the poor thing crashing to the ground.

The little bird's now broken body prevented it from even trying to stand. As it lie there on the ground a little boy with a slingshot in his hand came running over to see what had happened. The boy never meant to hurt the poor little bird. He was just shooting rocks into the air. He never even saw the bird until it was too late.

As he knelt down to check on the poor little blue bird, the boy heard his mother call from inside the little farmhouse behind him, "Davey, time to come back in and get ready!" The boy gently scooped up the little bird and ran for the door of his house.

When he got inside the house, his mother was standing there with her back to him, working at something very important. "It's time to get ready. Your sisters are going to take you to the fair in a few minutes," she said. Just as Davey was about to tell his mother about the bird, his mother turned around and saw it. "Davey, get that dirty thing out of the house," she exclaimed.

Not wanting to get into any more trouble, Davey quickly ducked back out of the house with the little bird. Outside,  he wondered what he should do now. The bird wasn't doing very well, and Davey thought its only chance was that he take care of it. He decided to hide the little bird in his jacket and he went back into the house.

As soon as he got back inside the house he darted past his mother and went into his room to get ready for the fair. He put on some clean clothes and then ran to the bathroom to get washed up a little bit. As soon as he was ready, he went back through the house towards the front door. On his way out, Davey told his mom that he'd wait outside for his sisters.

After what seemed like forever, Davey's sisters came out and asked him if he was ready. They were both much older than Davey, so he always did what they told him. His sisters were always nice to him, and he thought he could get away with almost any mischief when they were watching him. He still figured that he probably shouldn't ever test that theory.

Davey then thought of the bird hidden in his jacket. He didn't know what his mother might do about it if she knew he still had it. He knew the bird was hurt badly, and he just couldn't leave it alone to die. He'd just have to take it with him and hope he could protect it. Just hours before, he thought he was going to have the time of his life. Now he knew his time at the fair was going to be miserable.

It didn't take too long before they were walking on their way down the dirt road that led to town, where the fair was. Davey liked walking to town. He got to see the other farms along the way, and the animals that everybody else had. He liked animals. He knew it wouldn't be long before they reached town.

After about an hour of walking they found themselves on the edge of town, and they could already hear the noises of the fair from here. One of his sisters told Davey not to run off because the fair wasn't always safe for a little boy by himself. There were some very strange people that he really didn't want to meet.

As they got to the fair, they saw many strange things. A man who breathed fire and constantly kept sticking out his tongue. A man with buck teeth singing to a small crowd that surrounded him. He saw a man playing a strange box-shaped instrument with a little monkey begging for coins. The monkey didn't really seem very happy to be there.

They were looking at everything as they passed by, wondering where they should stop first. It wasn't long before they approached a tent that said in big fancy letters, "Marvo The Magician". A strange thought came to Davey's mind, and he begged his sisters to take him inside. They both laughingly agreed, telling him it was a wonderful idea.

As they stepped into the tent, they saw rows of benches surrounding a small stage. The benches were only half filled with people so far, and the magician wasn't out yet. They paid their money and quickly found three seats right up front.

It wasn't long before Marvo the Magician stepped out and announced himself in a deep booming voice. He continued on quickly to a few unimpressive magic tricks in that same voice. He did all of the standard things. He pulled a rabbit out of a hat. He stuck a pair of rings together. He did several other things in small puffs of smoke.

He then moved on to something slightly peculiar. He asked people to make requests on what tricks he might do for them. A man stood up and asked him to read his mind, which Marvo did with amazing accuracy. A woman in the back asked Marvo to disappear, to a ton of laughter. Marvo skillfully sidestepped this slight insult by asking her to come down to the stage so he could make her disappear in a cabinet that he just happened to have at the side of the stage. It was all actually becoming quite entertaining.

Things went on this way for quite some time before Marvo finally said, "Before we move on to my grand finale I would like to say..."
"I have something," Davey loudly interrupted in a desperate tone. As the magician turned toward him, Davey pulled the crippled bird out of his jacket.

"What do we have here, young man," asked Marvo.

Not able to hold it in any longer, Davey burst into tears. "I found him... I mean, I didn't mean to hurt him! He was flying by when I was playing with my slingshot. I don't know what to do for him because he's not getting any better. Can you use your magic on him," the boy pleaded.

Just then Davey's older sister told him in her most sympathetic voice, "Davey, that's not the kind of thing a magician can do."

Marvo, now standing directly in front of them, interrupted the exchange, "That may be true for most ordinary magicians," Marvo said in his grand tone. Then a little quieter, "It also may be true for me, but at least I can take a look."

Then with a magnificent flourish of his cape, Marvo the Magnificent raised his arms dramatically and gently tapped the dying little bird with his wand. And to the amazement of everyone in attendance, most of all Davey, the beautiful little creature vibrantly sprang to life! In an instant, Davey raised his arms above his head and gave the little blue bird a nudge into the air. Then the bird triumphantly flew above the audience in a wide circle around the tent while Davey stood below with a wide grin on his face. The bird then quickly turned toward the open tent flap and swooped out into the afternoon sky.

Higher and higher the little blue bird flew. Past the crowds of people. Past the many attractions of the fair. It flew past the edge of the odd city, and out into the countryside. The bird seemed to be back on the same mysterious mission it had been on when Davey first encountered it. As it flew higher and farther away, the little blue bird became a speck on the horizon, and soon it was completely out of sight.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Angry Hatred

Have you ever noticed that people who disagree with you are the stupidest people in existence? I know I've noticed that little oh so obvious fact. Hate is a strong word, but I really like it when it comes in handy. Is it wrong to like hate? I hate people that disagree with me.

That level of hate really depends on the level of disagreement. It's very possible to hate someone just a little bit. I know a lot of people like that. And sometimes the hate fades if the disagreement is forgotten. I guess it intermingles with anger, and anger never really lasts for very long. I think it takes too much effort to be angry so we just have to let it go eventually.

Anger and hate. So why am I focusing on two such negative emotions? I don't know. It's not that I've really had a disagreement with anyone recently. I just thought it was an interesting subject to think about. Most people are afraid to really examine these emotions, mostly because they don't want to admit they have them.

But I wonder why anger and hate are usually thought of as negative emotions. I'm not so sure they always have to be negative. Is it not okay to be angry at a person for robbing you at gunpoint? Can it be okay to hate a person who willingly and blatantly hurts a child for the sheer pleasure of it?

These so called negative emotions can possibly have a good purpose then. Sometimes they can be a form of protection, just like fear can be. I won't go into fear this time. Anger quickly informs you that something is very wrong, or someone is. Hate can be a longer term version of that. You can hate the taste of spoiled food, for instance.

Oh sure, they can both be used for the wrong reasons. But what are those wrong reasons? If your anger or hatred is used irrationally, that is a wrong reason. It's really very easy for that to happen in a persons mind. Hate and anger are probably the most dangerous as emotions go. They can be used to make very bad things happen.

That's all I really have to say about that... except... let your hate and anger flow within you. Come to the dark side.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jack And The Magic Stick

There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky gave no milk, and they didn't know what to do.

"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.

"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.

"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother. "We must sell Milky and with the money start a shop, or something."

"All right, mother," says Jack. "It's market day today, and I'll soon sell Milky, and then we'll see what we can do."

So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when he met a funny-looking old man, who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.

"I'm going to market to sell our cow there."

"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man. "I wonder if you know how many beans make five."

"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp as a needle.

"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. "As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't mind doing a swap with you -- your cow for these beans."

"Go along," says Jack. "Wouldn't you like it?"

"Ah! You don't know what these beans are," said the man. "If you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky."

"Really?" said Jack. "You don't say so."

"Yes, that is so. And if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."

"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky's halter and pockets the beans.

- Jack And The Beanstalk

This next part is a sequel to this story, written by me.

Jack seemed to have some problems with bad trades. Later he made some wild claims about a beanstalk and an angry giant to justify trading the cow away, but no one believed him. His mother was pretty angry with him, and ended up having to get another cow. It wasn't easy, but since she was the hard worker in the family she found one. Why she didn't make the trade herself in the first place, no one knows.

Still pretty angry with Jack, she put him to work milking the new cow, and declared he was now Farmer Jack. He didn't like this at all since work was a dirty word to Jack, so he decided maybe he should make another trade.

So it was off to market again. He took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when, this time, he met a funny-looking old woman who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack slyly, and this time didn't care how she knew his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the woman.

"As a matter of fact, I was just coming to see you," said Jack.

"No, no, you're supposed to say 'I'm going to market to sell our cow there,' " said the woman.

Jack looked her square in the eye and said, "Look, I know you want this cow, and you know you want this cow, so let's cut to the chase. Now what do you got for me? More magic beans, a sow's ear, a monkey's paw? Well, c'mon, what is it?"

The woman said, "Huh? Oh yeah, I have this here magic stick..."

"That's all! A magic stick? What, do I look like a fool?" asked Jack, clearly annoyed.

"Do you want to get rid of that cow or not?" the woman said, herself a little agitated.

Finally Jack said, "Oh, just give it to me!"

So they made the trade, and the woman walked away with cow number two.

Jack looked at the stick and figured it wasn't quite time to go home yet. How was he going to explain this one? Last time the magic bean thing was a disaster. He had to come up with something for this stick.

So he stood there in the road and started waving the stick around trying to think up ideas. He was trying everything. Pretty soon he started doing some of the most vulgar and appalling things with the stick that any person had ever seen. People going past started to gawk and stare. Jack was clueless, he had no idea how strange he was being.

It got worse! As he continued, travelers began to stop and watch. One guy threw a shiny penny on the ground in front of Jack. Finally, he had his idea!

Jack loudly declared, "I will continue this entertaining exhibition if you people continue to throw money!"

Later that evening Jack went home with a pocket full of cash. His mother saw the money and happily concluded that the hard work from before must have reformed Farmer Jack.

Maybe they lived happily ever after, and maybe they didn't.

- Jack And The Magic Stick

This story was inspired by a few true events, and the Jack in my part of the story was inspired by a real boy. That's all I'll say.

An interesting fact is that the name of the author of "Jack and the Beanstalk" has been lost to time. No one can say who the original author is, although the story has been rewritten many times.

On the other hand, I am the exclusive author of it's sequel "Jack and the Magic Stick."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Who Is Ratty?

I have a ghost story for you this time that happens to be true. I've snuck in other true stories on this site before. You'll have to guess which ones they are. 

Who is Ratty? That is a short but very complex question. Some of you have wondered about it, and some haven't thought about it at all. Most of us use pseudonyms here on the internet. This one is different though. Ratty is a legend. Ratty was a hero. Today I am Ratty, but I'm not the original. Ratty was my uncle, and Ratty was my best friend.

I said this was a pseudonym for me, and obviously it wasn't his real name either. I use it here on the internet, the same as any of you use yours. It was his for a much more interesting reason. I didn't just take his name for just any old reason. I did it because I guess I'm also the one who gave it to him. This is going to take some explaining because it's a very different kind of story.

This story starts when I was only a baby. And yes, although it may sound unusual, I do remember back that far. One of my few remaining memories of my favorite uncle was when he used to bring me piles of change. I used to drop the coins down into the cracks of my grandparents' front steps. It was a fun thing for a little kid to do, and he didn't mind at all.

It was around this time that my uncle was drafted into the army, and into one of the worst wars in our country's history. He became a tank driver, which sounds like it would be a pretty safe job in a war, and it was. He used to send me pictures of him standing beside the tank. One of them showed where they had run over a land mine. The explosion created a huge hole in the ground. The tank was mostly undamaged.

One time, when his tank was in for repairs, he volunteered to go on a rescue mission. My grandpa told him never to volunteer for things like that. He did anyway. They went to rescue some wounded soldiers. They were given a kind of truck that was known for not having any protection at all. This time it was the truck that ran over a land mine. My uncle didn't come back alive.

I was only a little older than two years old at this time. I didn't understand the concept of death yet, so my mom decided not to take me to the funeral. There also wasn't any real way to tell me about him yet. It was about this time that I received a visit from somebody. It might sound strange, but the visitor was my uncle.

I still remember that day. My mom and I were in the kitchen, and my mom had to go down to the basement for something. The back door was open, but the outside screen door was locked. I watched as my uncle came up the stairs of the back porch to the door. I told him that I would go get my mom for him, but he said not to do it because he was in a hurry, and the one he came to talk to was me.

I don't remember much of the conversation anymore, I was only a few years old after all. I do remember that he told me he would be back. My mom came up the stairs soon after he left. After she asked me who I was talking to, I told her it was my uncle. He was her younger brother.

To this day, my mom tells me she heard me talking to somebody up there. She had her hands full, and was frantically trying to get upstairs. Even back then, kids shouldn't talk to strangers. I knew that very well, but he was not a stranger. My mom knew I was telling the truth as I saw it, and that I must have known who I was talking to. Besides, there was nobody there anymore, not even outside.

Shortly after this happened I made a new friend. He was a kid that was a little older than me. He told me his name was Ratty. I knew him for a long time, and we played together the way little kids do. There was one time where I was teasing my new little brother with a worm, and Ratty took it from me and covered it up so my brother wouldn't be afraid anymore. I learned a new lesson.

This whole time, my parents just assumed that I had an imaginary friend. Lots of little kids have them at some point. At the same time all of this was happening, my grandma had the idea to put pictures of each family member on one of her living room walls. For my uncle, she used an old picture from when he was a little kid. It had been packed away for several years, and nobody had seen it in all that time.

When we went to visit my grandparents, I immediately noticed that picture. I identified it as my best friend Ratty. I was much too young to have ever seen this picture before. Nobody else knew what to think of this, but they most likely dismissed it as the imagination of a small child. Wouldn't you?

I continued to play with my friend, but through the years his visits became less and less frequent. They finally stopped shortly before I started school. He still occasionally visited me in my dreams, but it just wasn't the same.

Was this all only the imagination of a child? Or was it something much more special? I don't have that answer for you because I simply don't know. I do know that it was all real to me, and I still remember everything, including his face.

So, who is Ratty? That was Ratty. I use this name to honor my uncle, and my best friend. Thanks Ratty. I'll never forget.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Maggot Man

The little boy woke in the middle of the night to a strange sound in the room. His family was staying in this small house in the woods for their vacation. There was only one bedroom, but the living room was very big. The boy was sleeping on one couch and his older sister was sleeping on the other across the room. It wasn't too bad; the couches were actually almost as comfortable as their beds, and sleeping on them made it seem like they were on a little adventure.

Even so, this was still a strange place for the little boy, and this quiet house out in the woods was far away from the comfort of his own familiar bedroom. He wasn't really very afraid. And as his parents had explained, this house was far out in the woods, so the only thing they'd come across around here would be deer or squirrels. But it didn't hurt to take precautions, so he kept his eyes shut for a few seconds and waited to hear the strange sound again.

Then after a few seconds he heard it again! It was the quiet creak of the floorboards. A third person must be in the room with the boy and his sister. All sorts of strange ideas ran through the boy's mind until he came to the logical conclusion that it was probably just one of his parents. That's when the boy decided to finally open his eyes and end the suspense.

What the little boy saw in the dark room didn't look at all like one of his parents. It was the figure of a man in a dark trench coat leaning over his sister who was sound asleep on the other couch! The man wasn't wearing a hat and his head was completely bald. His skin was so white that it seemed to glisten in the dark. It wasn't a good color though. That pale skin made the boy think of the color of maggots.

Startled by the sickening thought of the man's odd appearance, the boy gave an involuntary shudder that made the couch springs creak ever so slightly. Reacting to the sound, the man slowly turned his head around towards the direction of the frightened boy. As his face slowly came into view, the boy saw that the man's ears looked as if they were smoothly pressed right up against the sides of his head. All the boy could see of the man's very flat nose were the two nostril holes. Strangely, the man had a wide grin on his face. The grin didn't necessarily seem cruel, but it also didn't seem kind either. It was just fixed on the man's face as if it was the permanent shape of his mouth.

The terrified little boy was now hoping with all his heart that this was only a dream! Without any further delay, the boy quickly pulled the covers over his head, hoping the strange maggot man would go away. As the boy lie there cowering in terror under his blanket, he heard footsteps coming across the room towards him. But then for some odd reason they suddenly stopped about halfway, and there was only silence.

After what seemed like an eternity, the boy decided that the man must be gone, so he slowly pulled back the blanket to see that there was now daylight filtering in through the windows. He slowly looked around the room and saw that it was now empty except for him and his sister. The boy quickly jumped up off the couch and ran to his parents' room to tell them what happened. After talking to him for awhile and assuring him that they would investigate this event, the boy's mom and dad tried to convince him that it was almost certainly just a dream. The boy finally agreed to consider that conclusion.

The boy never saw the strange maggot man again, but he always felt that it all seemed too real to have been only a dream. But if it was real, then who was that strange man? More importantly, what was he? Was he trying to harm the boy's sister in some way? His sister claimed to have never seen him. Did the strange man leave because the boy had seen him? The boy wondered what might have happened if he hadn't woken up and seen the maggot man.

And so for many years the boy couldn't help but wonder why they were visited by the strange maggot man.