Aside

Let’s Play a Game!

21 Aug

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Let’s play a little game, shall we?

August is vacation month. It’s time for squeezing in the last vestiges of summer before the chaos of the Fall begins. And of course, vacations often mean long car rides. And long car rides mean car games such as “I Spy”, “Who Can Find the Most License Plates” and the like. Now, I know nowadays everyone has their portable media of choice to occupy the ride, but I’d like to hearken back to simpler, less technically advanced times. Times where the kids whined about being bored and one heard the oft repeated phrase: “Are we there yet?” And so we would play a game. My favorite game was the Progressive Story game. You know the one.  One person would start the story and each person would take a turn and add a sentence or two to enhance (or distort in many cases) the tale.

So, to honor the last hoorah of summer I’ve decided to recreate this classic game. Okay? I’ll start using the picture above for inspiration and you go next. Simply write a sentence or two in the comment section and I’ll  add it to the post. Let’s see what kind of story we come up with. There are a few rules. Keep it clean, don’t go off the deep end and try to maintain the essence the story so it makes sense. What do you say? C’mon give it a try. It’ll be fun!

An August Tale

She awoke to a throbbing head and a sense that she was not at home in her bed. In fact, she knew she wasn’t in her bed, because she was lying on a hard surface.

 “Not again! I am so over getting into these snafu’s with Claudia”, said Ann as she massaged her temples.

“This isn’t a ‘snafu’, Ann,” echoed a voice in the room. Ann looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of who had spoken. Seeing nothing but a dim-lit room and a corner of it blanketed in a blocky shadow, she squinted her eyes as she continued to massage her temples. Gasping out loud, she lurched back. Something or someone had just moved in the depth of the shadows. A moment later, it came into view.

“Mwahahahaha!!! It’s me” Hall popped out, covered in an old striped sheet, flapping her stubby arms, swirling around on one leg. “I thought I’d make you jump if I pretended to be a ghost! I’ve been shut up in that cupboard all night and have run out of blackberry juice”.. She promptly fell over a stuffed monkey. “What IS this place”??

‘Oh no, not YOU Hall!, I came here for a bit of peace and quiet! and WATCH what you’re doing to that monkey! It’s no ordinary stuffed monkey you know…

That monkey is from Transylvania. What? You don’t know where Transylvania is? Have you never read a book? It was once part of Romania. Spooky stories have come out of Transylvania. Just ask that monkey. Ask him about Count Dracula. That’s where he was from, wasn’t it?

You don’t want to wake him though, he’ll bite you! Nasty wee wounds they are! And your blood will turn to faerie dust and bats’ wings, because that’s what he’s stuffed with. I know, I made that mistake once.

As if on cue, the monkey began to move. At first it was only his eyes, moving slowly to take in the old striped sheet and the grand piano covered in years of dust, and then slowly he began to speak.

Before he could utter a word, however, he was interrupted by another voice…a much more human voice.

“Excuse me…” came wafting through the open kitchen window. Realizing I had awakened lying on my kitchen floor, I stood up a peeked outside. A man’s face–an oddly handsome, upside-down face–stared back at me. “I seem to have misplaced my drawing.”

The man was smiling but behind the twinkling eyes were hidden tracks of sadness. ‘Have you seen it? It’s a very unusual drawing, it talks to me., quite a novelty! I’m on my way to Branham’s circus to sell it to the highest bidder.

Seemingly out of thin air, Minnie arrived with the drawing in hand. “Is this the drawing you’re looking for?”

Everyone turned as one toward her; confusion etched on their faces.

Where did she come from and how did she get the drawing?

Minnie was most amused by the confusion on their faces. She loved catching humans off guard like that. She was one of the faerie folk and could appear and disappear with just a thought. She held tight to the drawing though, it had power. She liked power….

“Never mind a talking drawing!” screamed the monkey! “I am much more interesting. I am a talking stuffed monkey from Transylvania and if you don’t listen to me you’ll be sorry. I bite!”

‘Minnie, if it’s power you’re looking for take the stuffed monkey. The drawing is not worth the paper it’s sketched on. What’s more nobody realizes yet just how powerful the monkey is, you can walk out swinging him above your head and nobody will bat an eyelid. Now…….hand over the drawing please, don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry……..

“And yet,” Minnie interjected rather sharply, “you claim this drawing can speak. Perhaps we should ask it what it wants, to come with me to faerie land or to be auctioned off to one of your circus performers.”

The silence was deafening and dread curtained the room. “No answer from the lot of you! Why am I not surprised?” Angry now, she slowly spun on her heel; scanning everyone’s face — getting a bead on their aura in order to determine who knew what.

It was almost imperceptible to the human eye, but she saw the quick look shot by the monkey at the man who then lowered his eyes in order to keep the secret safe.

‘I think you’ll find she wants to join the circus, she speaks of it often, yes Minnie do ask her……..’

When a tiny, almost imperceptible voice squeaked, seemingly from the sketch in Minnie’s hand; “Are there blackberries in faerie land? Do imps there walk on there hands? Is there, perhaps, a market for contraband?”

The monkey leapt  up and began to dance, a slow….mesmerizing…..dance. Everyone in the room watched silently……seemingly unable to avert their eyes from the strange, impromptu performance….

The anger had vanished from Minnie’s eyes and a smile spread slowly across her face. The drawing slipped from her fingers and fluttered to the floor. The inverted man saw his chance, picked up the paper, folded it neatly and slipped it into his pocket, unnoticed by the crowd who could not take their eyes off the dancing monkey.

Even the muffled Help me! coming from the sketch inside of the man’s pocket went unheeded by the group watching the gyrating monkey.

“What is going on?” said an annoyed voice from the doorway. “What are you all doing in my house? And what on earth is that?” asked Claudia pointing at the monkey. “It looks like some kind of freak stuffed monkey! Dancing! Out! Out! Everybody out!”

A hush fell over the room as all eyes focused on Claudia. Seeing his chance, the inverted man hand-walked silently toward the door, only to find his path blocked by a large brute. “Hold it right there, imp.” The beast of a man grabbed the invert’s ankles, lifted him and shook him vigorously until the drawing fell to the floor. “Just as I suspected.”

The imp sat on the floor looking dazed and rubbed his ankles vigorously. ‘So it’s true’ he said looking up at the ugly brute….’It was true all along and I stuck up for you!’

The brute suddenly seemed uncomfortable, eyes glancing nervously around the room. “What do you mean by that, imp? That drawing’s mine and you know it!” He leaned down to pick up the sketch. And then a faint howl emanated from the folded paper, growing loudly into a piercing shriek.

“Eeeaaarghhhh!! Will you STOP folding me up all the time!” Shrieked Hall, flapping herself into full shape. “I’m more than a piece of paper! You should all know it by now.” Her pea-like eyes glistened as she took in the form of this ogre attempting to paper rustle her. ” And just WHO are you, trying to kidnap a poor defenseless little-person-occasionally-confused-with-a piece-of-paper..?”

Hall do you not recognize this…..brute then? He says he owns you. Would you like to tell everyone whose drawing you are? Let’s settle this once and for all!

The brute’s countenance softened. A single tear glistened on his cheek. “Sketch…I am your father.”

SO! The rumours are true! and does your wife know you’ve had an affair with a cartoon character??

“Ah, yet once I was but a portrait, a rendering of handsomeness in its ideal, hanging in a magical gallery with an extended family of artwork.” The brute stared sadly into some distance only he could see. “But pride was my undoing. I wished to walk the earth in human form, a wish fulfilled by a wizard. And yet he made me this beast of a man in recompense. Ah, twisted are the ways of wizards; warped, indeed, their sense of humour.”

‘Well…..yes I would have to agree with that…..it was a warped wizard who condemned me to walk on my hands!’The excruciatingly handsome, inverted man paused and glanced around the room hoping to catch sight of a mirror. ‘So, Hall…….did she come from the same gallery as you?’

“That magical gallery where much were wrought in, Hall a sketch from art begotten.”

‘Eh?…….’

The room was silent. Evidently the brute had an affinity for poetry. Sadly, they all thought as if in unison of mind, he had not the talent for it.

At last Claudia spoke. “This must be resolved at once! After all, it is now September and this is an August tale!” There was a murmuring of agreement among the motley crew assembled.

“‘Eh’ indeed! “Whispered Hall. “How can this be concluded just because it happens to be September?” I say we all hop off out of Claudia’s kitchen. We can go back to my toadstool and discuss it there. It’s all news to me.. ” Hall looked at the brute and down at herself. “You would have had to give me your goaty beard wouldn’t you?” Wafting herself into she shape, she scowled and hopped through the door.. “last one out, remember to bring the monkey.”

The brute followed, muttering sullenly, “Everyone’s a critic…”

And so, the strange menagerie walked on, down the sidewalk, around the house and into the forest beyond. Claudia let out a sigh of relief. “This morning calls for some rest on the couch, a good book and some tea.”

While Claudia tried to relax and unwind from her very strange morning. the heated discussion continued at Hall’s toadstool. Though Hall and the brute were content to get reacquainted with each other, the monkey seemed determined to continue his dance and the clever man on his hands still wanted to whisk Hall away for his own gain.

Suddenly, Ann sat up, gratefully in her own bed. “Wow”, she said aloud. “That was a bizarre dream”.

“It certainly was,” agreed the imp.

“What was bizarre about it?” asked the brute.

Ann looked at the peculiar group assembled in her bedroom. They all had made themselves quite comfortable. Her heart pounding, her head swimming she did the only thing that made sense. She let go a bloodcurdling scream that sent the group scurrying from the room, back to wherever it was that they came from. Ann smiled, locked all the doors and windows and went back to bed to sleep the dreamless sleep of the innocent.

THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!