Do you remember Lily, when her fur was black from the tips of her ears to the upwards ringed tail, and her eyes clear and dark and simply bubbling out with liveliness? Behind our house was a park, almost a forest, a great place to take a dog for a walk. Lily used to run and turn and jump and bark and chase butterflies or grasshoppers. She never caught anything, was simply pure excitement about the trails of the great bears and hungry wolves and other monsters, that would undoubtedly kill everybody if she didn't track them down. She could stand quite still and then jump straight up like a dear - it looked so easy until you saw her muscles under her black short hair - like a small Arab horse. Her big dark eyes seemed even bigger and about to pop out, the pointed ears quivered each time she moved her small head and she showed two rows of white sharp teeth, obviously almost wild and beside herself:
"Where is that monster, come on, where?! I'll tear it to pieces - WHERE?!"
Never without dignity though, every single inch a grande dame.
I think you would have liked that, you are now as old as your mother was then.
As time dripped and went by, she jumped lower and lower and one day her beautiful dark eyes got silver moons in the middle, moons that got bigger each year - and one day I had to put this beautiful and proud creature on the leash to keep her from bumping against everything and she got this scared look she never had before.
Do you remember?
But it was the good days I wanted to tell you about, about the forest and the holes I had to pull her out of: a rabbit warren or the cave of a great grizzly - who knows?
On a bright day, the summer had been hiding itself behind clouds producing rain, rain and rain for weeks, and now everything looked new and green and clean and the smell of adventure and a new world filled the air. Lily hated water, jumped over the biggest puddle like it was a ladybug and didn't even drink the stuff unless there was a little milk in it.
What?! she seemed to say, if I was so clumsy to forget the milk. Water?! Do you want to poison me?!
It was a torture to force her to take a walk when it rained, she always seemed to disappear and I had to call and yell, but it was no use: when I came back, weary and worried and a little mad, she was always sitting in front of the door with her ears and tail down and looking like I had tried to drown her. - So you can imagine how happy she was the day the rain stopped at last and the sun had sneaked out from behind the clouds.
Of course everything was still very wet, and I had some difficulty pulling her out of a very deep hole she had found under a tree.
Suddenly the soft forest soil under my feet seemed to collapse. Instinctively I grabbed Lily and we fell or sank a couple of long seconds down a sort of slope underneath the tree. The earth would have sucked us up deeper if we hadn't got tangled in the branches of an uprooted tree. For minutes I sat stunned, unconsciously ruffling Lily behind the ears like most dog friends do without thinking much.
Then I looked around.
It was pitch dark.
Far, far above - or beneath? - us I discovered a light as big as the rather small window of a cellar. This light probably saved us. I guessed or felt the boulders and bushes and branches more than I could see them, and for fear of losing Lily simply tucked her underneath my sweater. It was hard work getting up or down there. - Have you ever climbed up a mountain in the dark? no? Don't think I ever got so many scratches, bumps and bruises. That was bad enough - but not the worst. The worst came when
Snip - just like that.
The impudence of it all, especially after my odyssey up the mountain, don't you think? Impulsive as I sometimes am, my right hand clutched one of the many stones that were all over the place and I threw it at the place where the light had come from. We heard a loud TOCK! which made Lily bark and then a pffff! and the light appeared again...
Really: it gave me the creeps. A couple of minutes later the light vanished and it was dark again. This time I needed five stones until the TOCK! awarded me and I hurried to get as far up as I could before the light:
pfff! - damn it, off again!
I repeated this procedure for at least an hour, the last little piece I managed in total darkness - my last baseball game was too long ago and my arm felt like it had lost it's normal location.
There it was:
I was already beyond the point of horror, was freezing and very tired and just groped on like an old woman looking for her teeth in the dark. - But stop - what was that...?
Shivering in spite of myself I lifted my hand and pulled - and the light that exploded directly in front of me made me close my eyes dazzled...
"Really, Mom!" a young voice in the darkness behind me said reproachfully. "Shut the fridge, will you? You know that cake is for Gaby's birthday tomorrow!"
So always remember: never go to bed with an empty stomach.
Good night, Lily.
© 2005 hexandthecity's mascot LILY, who died on January the 7th, 2005 - one day before her nineteenth birthday.
You all know my old house in St. Jurgen - beautiful! Balcony, arched windows and doors, parquet floor and the garden... - a dream! Too big for me, otherwise I would still be living there.
I know you think it was because of the slugs which sometimes abandoned their paradise outside to visit me, no idea why or how they came inside. And always at night. The next morning the tracks on the parquet floor told on them, but never mind, it was easily wiped off - so I assure you that was not the reason for my moving to the other side of Lubeck. But you want me to tell you about the slugs, is that right? - Where shall I start?
Like many elderly women I sometimes had and still have an irresistible urge to visit my bathroom in the middle of the night and now and then had the bad luck of treading on a slug in the dark. It wasn't a nice way of waking up, I assure you, but of course I threw it back in the garden with a shudder, it's a poor creature of God like all of us, you know - you can ask anybody: I couldn't harm a fly.
One night I lost my composure a little though. I was barefoot as most people when they get out of their beds and must have jumped high when I felt that cold, slimy thing underneath my innocent warm foot so as not to kill the poor thing - and landed on another one of those slimy brrr things with the other foot! That's enough to excite anybody out of his wits, isn't it: barefoot...
My fondness of these creatures of God was not very big then, so I rushed to my bathroom to get a toilet paper roll and WUSH! I wiped one of them and WUSH! the other and ran with one in toilet paper rolled slug in each hand back to the bathroom, threw both in the toilet and flushed once, twice and a third time to be sure they were really gone.
Next morning was a morning like every other morning and of course I had forgotten my misfortune with the slugs of the night before. Made myself a very strong coffee to drink on the toilet as usual. Before sitting down, I noticed it just in time: a slimy looking tan colored heap of something with one broken over tentacle, slowly creeping it's way up...
But that was not the reason I moved, really!
© 2004, hexandthecity
hay fever II
Do I really have to? What... - I promised? Oh, all right.
It was in the middle of the summer: hot like hell and pollen all over the place, I not only swam in my own sweat, my nose was a river, my eyes a waterfall. To be precise: I had the worst disease since Eve smelled the blossoms of that silly old apple tree: hay fever.
No use fretting though, I needed this credit, not next week or tomorrow: now. So I put on my best clothes, crammed my little dog on the blanket in her basket, became aware that every single tissue laying around was too moist to be used again and stowed a roll of toilet paper and the documents I needed for the credit under the blanket.
I know, I know: important documents belong in an important looking black briefcase and not in a dog's basket, ooooookay! The hot weather, the pollen, my head and the rest seemed to have increased my snottiness: I simply did not care. I had this one intention on my mind and wanted to get over with it, fast and straight. So what?
To start with the silly bank was full of silly people, but fully air-conditioned too, thank God: no fresh pollen for my poor nose! Where did all those people come from, were they all after a credit too - or was it the two huge fans blowing from each side? If it made them happy...
I was too early and had to wait thirteen minutes, so I tried my best to look at ease and cool as I walked to the waiting corner, which was crowded with merry chattering people, who were dressed up like tourists with t-shirts and shorts and seemed in a very good mood and without hay fever.
Good for them.
One of them jumped up and offered his chair.
Good for me.
So there I sat in my best suit, styled like Grace Kelly in a high society film, my nose up even higher than usual to prevent the river from flowing, and a basket with a dog in it between my feet. - Hey, what was that: hell? No, hell is all that and a dog that starts to howl, probably smelling the fact that I forgot it's biscuits in my every-day-clothes. I ignored the naughty thing and the gaping people who all had this why-don't-they-lock-up-these-animal-slayers look and started adding and multiplying large sums of money - my way of relaxing.
A stupid thing to do...
The slayed little dog got impatient and jumped out of it's basket, the basket tipped over, spreading the documents exactly in front of one of the fans and with a sovereignty not even the pope can top the toilet paper rolled through the whole stupid bank like a long red carpet, solemnly followed by a cloud of papers...
Are you happy now or shall I stand on my hands and snip with my toes at the same time?
© 2004, hexandthecity
the zodiac Man
So it's my turn now, eh? Well, a little bit of pure masculine power is due, right?... What do you mean: no sexist remarks, you women aren't very nice to us either and we have to laugh! So.
May I introduce myself? I'm Alex, gender: male; age: mind your own business! HA!
Okay, first of all you must know that I have a lot of Cancer in me - no, not that sort of cancer, stupid, I mean the sign of the zodiac! People under that sign or - okay: a little bit under that sign love fixing things and are so full of readiness to help and flexibility, that... - my God, okay, I'm at it, I'm at it!
An old friend of mine got married last summer, a good man, I know him since... - what, I can't even mention that? Who are you: another Bush? Well, I understand: stick to the point, don't drift off - no problem.
My wedding gift was to film everything: starting with the wedding and ending with the end.
Was that short enough, Miss Piggy?
Had a very good camcorder at the time, you know; today everybody seems to have one. Was an interesting film, by the way: all those drunk bodies when the party was over... yeah, okay, don't drift off, Alex, carry on.
Needed quite a few tapes for the wedding, then came a couple of birthdays and when Santa Claus knocked I began to realize: Alex, old boy, buy some new tapes, this is getting crowded. Of course I forgot it and had to improvise on New Year's Eve, throwing a couple of parts on my computer to make room. You know, I'm really flexible - as everyone can confirm who knows me, a hell of a chap and... -
Hey, that wasn't drifting, just an explanation why I received an invitation to the birthday of the bride in January, the same one who chained up my old friend the summer before - ouch, hey, that was my ancle! thought you women prefer making your points verbally?
Well, I got the invitation on Saturday and that was also the date of the party. Bit tight, eh? But not for Alex, the magician of Luebeck... Didn't need much flexibility this time though, a bulky gift basket was in the way since Christmas: a monstrosity filled with marzipan from good old Luebeck, expensive Salami-wurst made in Italy, original caviar directly from St. Petersburg, salmon from St. Peters Ording - or to be brief: the best of Europe. What? Of course I've been in St. Petersburg before, heaps of times! - May I carry on? you're blocking my natural flow! - Thank you.
The good thing is or was: everything was still there. I tucked it a little here, pinched it a bit there and put a huge ribbon all over it: tatatataaa! finished was the super gift from Cockaigne. Or from Alex.
It was a weird party. Every chair, couch or whatever was occupied, and the funniest thing was: her relatives were the only ones who had a gift for the birthday girl, the rest had received the invitation that very day like me - and had had no time to organize anything. Not very talented in planning things, the lady, eh? Probably a Sagittarius, but no - they're not so quiet - Libra, maybe...? Never mind.
My gift had all the attention it needed and was very admired, yeah yeah. Not that I didn't pity the ones who came with good wishes only - a few were quite embarrassed or upset and kept the spirits down and who wants that sort of thing at a party? To break the ice a little, I suggested connecting my camcorder to the television so everybody could gape at the wedding. Nobody had seen it by then - not even me.
It was not one of my brightest ideas. Somehow my tapes got messed up... First came the after-the-wedding party corpses, who were now all sitting around, staring at the TV with eyes wide open and looking very alive and like they wanted to jump out of the window or kill somebody - Scorpios perhaps? Especially those who came without a gift seemed eh... - well, the silence was somewhat icy. But I'm not finished, it came worse - not sure I wanna tell you that part though...
Okay. - If you say so:
After presenting a couple of very drunken grown-up people doing things nobody does in public, Christmas came. And I saw myself on TV under a Christmas tree, showing off with a gift basket filled to the brim with such delicious things like marzipan from good old Luebeck, expensive Salami-wurst made in Italy, original caviar directly from St. Petersburg, salmon from St. Peters Ording...
I don't like that sarcastic grin on your face, Madame - what do you want to hear..? Well okay: at that moment I became aware that maybe it would be good to rearrange my flexibility a bit - satisfied now, Mary Poppins?
So that's that.
Can I greet someone? - Why not? Oh, I see: you're a Virgo, eh?
© hexandthecity, 2004
It took a long time before he noticed. Not even his mother ever accused him of letting something like fantasy get away with himself.
And she was not squeamish.
He was used to cleaning his apartment every Saturday: dusting his way through bedroom and living room, wiping kitchen and bathroom with three different sorts of A.P.C.s and special cloths. Then he ran his vacuum cleaner over every spot he could reach, wiping the floor afterwards just to be sure.
And ate his supper somewhere else - no need messing everything up straight away.
That was his Saturday.
The spider boom this year didn't bother him, it was rotten weather: for every two rays of sunshine came enough rain to switch off any old sun. When even two-legged people looked for a dry place until the flood was over - why not eight-legged spiders?
The smaller eight-legged ones were getting bigger though...
Of course: fat cells as the result of less danger and stress and movement plus more food - and anyway: spiders were clean and ate the others.
Okay, that little "tock!" from the inside of his vacuum cleaner made him wonder sometimes, as if he'd sucked up a larger piece of wood instead of a teeny-weeny spider, a "Tock!" that seemed to get louder every Saturday...
Maybe he needed some vitamins.
It started getting, well: sort of funny one morning when he opened his eyes at six thirty, his usual time: In the left corner of the ceiling opposite to his bed sat a gray and brown striped spider with short fat legs and such an enormous body, that it made his eyes pop: that was too much! Jumping out of bed and fetching the vacuum cleaner seemed a mere reflex: the "TOCK!" in the vacuum cleaner sounded a little different this time, more "PLOPP!"-like - as if something had gone through there with effort. Not that he was scared or had a bad conscience - his sense of order had been disturbed and was now restored - it was his home and his right to do whatever he wanted in here.
No problem there. The point was: from that day on he had to repeat the procedure every morning - even after closing the tiniest hole of the vacuum cleaner. Was that normal?
With all the diplomacy he could force his tongue to use, he started asking around if anybody else had those same funny pets that got fatter every night - he had a secure and good paid job and didn't feel like changing that. And there was no use inviting someone to come and see - who would come at seven in the morning? In spite of all of his rationalism, by this time he suspected it to be the same spider all the time, so the only solution he could find was to leave Bob - as he called it by now - in his corner in the morning and be very surprised to see the old chum when he came home with somebody after work.
Good idea? Of course.
It was the most embarrassing moment he ever had in all of his thirty-one and a half years. He had lured the colleague in his bedroom somehow to show her something that was not there, after enjoying two movies and a lot of music, although he was a miserable dancer, but it wasn't Bob's time yet and... oh boy, he was so stupid, had been admiring exactly this woman from afar the last years - hadn't dared ask her until now ... She had gone off without another word, seemed to think he was rather... HELL!
Next morning there was Bob again in his private corner, grinning at him.
"PLO-OPP!" stammered the vacuum cleaner in slow motion. He filled all of it's openings with wet toilet paper, put the cleaner in a plastic bag and this bag in another, dumping it all in a paper container on the other side of the city - a heroic act for someone who loathed wasting things. The new one he bought after work was not cheap either: a high-pressure cleaner, designed to cope with floods and post-war debris and that sort of stuff.
For some reason he woke up earlier than usual next morning. And stared upwards. There he sat - that same fat, gray and brown striped creature, slightly larger but with the same short fat legs, seemingly wanting to hypnotize him from his stupid old corner: Bob...
Grabbing the new cleaner and switching it on was done as if he'd been practicing all year. Through the transparent plastic bubble window on top of the cleaner he saw the foam with sparkling eyes - as if he'd never seen anything so fantastic before - and cleaned the living room carpet and the bathroom rugs as well, rather proud of his never failing sense for practical things. Before he went to work he carefully closed the only opening of the new super cleaner and isolated all doors and windows with the expensive isolation tape he had bought the day before.
He came a couple of minutes too late. - For the first time in nine years.
All day he stared very hard at his monitor, obviously somewhere else with his thoughts. He didn't notice the lunch break, he didn't see the astonished colleagues shaking their heads - they had to poke him or he would have missed going home.
The couch in his living room was a great temptation, his bed looked hard, cold and inhospitable, and it took ages to get asleep and then he had bad dreams. So he should have been rather happy when the alarm clock woke him, but he kept his eyes closed tight as if trying to postpone something as long as possible: life maybe...?
It was no use. Slowly opening his eyes and grabbing under his bed for the cleaner at the same time, he froze in mid air when he saw it: the corner was empty.
He wanted to jump up and dance and scream and sing. Instead the hand that had automatically grabbed for the cleaner shuddered, the message of something round, hairy and warm under his bed had been successfully delivered... Swallowing hard to keep his guts inside, his hand somehow found the cleaner and vacuumed and sucked and vacuumed, then he was on his feet and saw it: the short fat legs were inside all right, but the rest was too big. It made his inwards creep up again, at the same time reminding him of a fictive bear called Winnie the Pooh, who was stuck in a tree after eating too much honey...
The memory made him want to laugh in spite of himself, this eased his tension and got his brain and the rest working again: clutching the cleaner he maneuvered it to the bathroom, careful not to pull the plug. As soon as Bob's fat hairy body fidgeted directly over the toilet, he switched off the cleaner and flushed the toilet at the same time, hitting the foot of the cleaner hard on the toilet edge because Bob seemed to be very stuck or was perhaps clutching... Oh my God! Sweat was running in his eyes as he dumped all the chemicals he could find in the toilet, flushing about half a dozen times and stuffing several plastic bags in the downwards hole, determined not to use the toilet for at least a week.
Even then he didn't relax - he didn't dare.
This time he came seventy-six minutes too late, but didn't even notice it. He was glued to his computer, seemed to want to jump inside. But he was okay, not even scared, really.
Of course not.
There was no need to be, the creature didn't come back. He was free... had several dates with that attractive colleague - as if he was suddenly aware he had all sorts of joints and other things and could even use them.
Actually that creature had released him, yes: he was free.
He sang and whistled, inspecting the delicacies he had bought on his way home: champagne, salmon, pralines... Wasn't this a wonderful world? She would come tonight, tralalala - wasn't life simply great...
The evening was perfect, the night - their very first night, in fact - even better.
Next morning was Sunday, no need to get out of bed - why? He smiled, admiring the naked woman that slept on her tummy in his bed, the forms of her lovely backside looking like modeled under the sheet. Still smiling he pulled the sheet away slowly, almost playfully, as if to get his blood pressure up even higher...
He lowered his face to kiss his way down and then felt his blood freeze. There it was: a gray and brown striped hairy body with eight short fat legs as twin tattoo on the downward extension of the loveliest back of the world: Bob.
Just a little bit fatter...
© 2005 hexandthecity