Worms

Mamie dug at the earth with a spoon. At six years old her favourite past-time was digging for worms. She loved worms, especially big, thick, juicy ones. When she found one, she’d hold it firmly between her forefinger and thumb, then peer at it closely before slamming it into her bucket with the others. It fascinated her to watch them squirm and wriggle, trying to find a way out. She could see her Ma watching her from the kitchen window, her face red from the Saturday morning’s baking and knew instinctively what was coming next.

“Mamie,” her Ma shouted, “Where’s Janie? Lunch is ready.”

Mamie pretended not to hear her, singing along to the tune in her head, “Then worms will come and eat thee up, eat thee up. Then worms will come and eat thee up…” Her Uncle Tommy had taught her this song and also the trick about cutting the worm in two. She sighed. She wouldn’t see him for a very long time because Ma had told her that he’d done something bad and would be in the head hospital for a very long time. Everyone she liked seemed to disappear. Why did it never happen to those she hated? Like Janie, her little sister.

Janie was such a ‘girl’ and terrified of worms ever since she’d pushed one into her face and told her that when people died, they were put in the ground and thousands of wriggly worms gobbled them up. Janie ran away screaming and shouting for Ma.
She jabbed the spoon hard into the earth, splitting a massive ‘bloodsucker’ worm in two. She watched as each end wriggled away in opposite directions. She reached out and picked up the larger half and held it up, then placed it in her mouth, sucking it up like spaghetti. She smiled as it wriggled its way into her stomach. She much preferred worm spaghetti to the boring Bolognese her Ma made with lots of vile carrots and other veggies. Yuk!

“Mamie. Mamie! Where’s your little sister? Answer me now,” her Ma shouted, now
standing at the back door.

She watched her through narrowed eyes. Sometimes she wished Ma would disappear, then she’d get some peace. She stabbed at the earth.

“She’s playing in the dookit,” she said, pointing to the tall hut further down the field, knowing everything would be ruined if her Ma went in there now.

“I’m nearly finished making this mud pie, then I’ll fetch Janie and bring her home. I’ll only be five minutes Ma.”

“Okay. Five minutes and no more,” she said, wiping her hands on her apron and
turning to go back indoors.

“What’s for lunch?”

“Cullen Skink soup. I’ve made some gooseberry jam and scones too, so hurry up.”

Mamie’s mouth watered. She loved her Ma’s baking. She thought no-one could make scones or jam like her Ma could. She vowed when she was older, all she would eat would be scones and jam…and perhaps some worm spaghetti.

Mamie sighed, pushing a damp curl back from her forehead. Her Ma had changed. She used to have time to play with her but now she never had time, and it was all Janie’s fault. Another worm made a bid for freedom but she caught it, considered eating it, but decided it was too near lunch-time, and threw it in the bucket with the rest of the worms.

She looked down the long grass at the dookit her brother Jack had built. He was so
clever. She’d watched him smoking a cigarette in the dookit the other night, and thought how grown up he looked, when he dropped it onto the floor in a fit of coughing. She’d had to stamp on it with her wellies to put it out.

“Thanks sis,” he’d said, his eyes streaming from the smoke. “You saved my dookit. We would never have got to fly the pigeons we’re getting at the weekend.”

“How many are we getting?”

“Two at first. Then if we prove we can look after them, Da says he might get another two.”

“I can’t wait,” she said, clapping her hands. “Jack, can I name the girl one?”

“Too late sis, I already named them.”

He lit another dout he’d nicked out of his Da’s ashtray and she watched the smoke curl as he tried to blow smoke rings. Uncle Tommy could make huge round smoke rings that you could put a hand through. When she was older she would get him to show her how to do it, when he got out of the head hospital. Jack picked up a hammer and nail and wetting the cigarette, he stuck it to his bottom lip, the way da did when he wanted to smoke and do something at the same time. The cigarette dangled as he hammered the nail into the wall.

“That’s for hanging the lamp on so we can come in here at nights,” he said, coughing as the smoke choked the back of his throat. She thought he looked stupid with his eyes streaming and still trying to see through the smoke. Maybe she wouldn’t smoke after all. She’d have fun in other ways.

“What are you two up to?” Ma shouted, as she pegged out the washing.

Mamie gave Jack a long sideways glance then shouted back. “We’re fixing things in the dookit Ma, come and see what we’ve done.”

Jack’s face drained as he tried to get rid of the cigarette.

“Can I name the girl pigeon, Jack? Please?” she smiled sweetly.

“Ok Mamie, I’ll let you name her,” he said, flapping his arms to get rid of the smoke.

“Thanks Jack,” she turned and shouted to her Ma. “Maybe it’s best you wait till we’re finished, it’s really dusty.” Her Ma nodded and continued hanging out the washing. She looked at Jack, “I’ll tell her another time.”

“You dare, Mamie, and you’ll never get in here again,” he said, pushing her on his way out. “Tell-tale tit.”1

She didn’t like annoying Jack because he was her best friend, but sometimes he didn’t do what she wanted and that made her angry. She growled and slapped the dog as she passed, and he bolted under a bush. She looked towards the dookit now, listening. The thrashing and whimpering had stopped. It seemed to last a long time and she wondered if she could wait another whole five minutes, just to be sure. Earlier that day, she had made Janie swear to secrecy.

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” she’d said in her squeaky, baby voice.

“You mustn’t tell anyone – especially not ma, da or Jack,” she’d warned her. “You know ma doesn’t like us going bee catching.”

“I won’t say to anyone,” she said, shaking her blonde curls.

Ma never tired of telling her of the day she’d almost lost Janie when, as a tiny baby, a bee had stung her and she’d swollen up like a balloon. She must’ve looked like the moon with two piggy eyes. Mamie snorted.

“What are you laughing at?” Janie said.

“Nothing, just something funny I remembered.”

“Tell me. Please.”

“No. It’s not for small fry’s,” she laughed, knowing Janie hated being called a small fry.

‘She’s tiny and delicate just like a flower,’ Ma had told her. Yuk!

The dookit was quiet. She peered through the tiny crack in the door and could see Janie lying on her back, her eyes open staring at the ceiling. The wild berry jam from the bread she’d given her earlier was still smeared around her mouth, where the last two bees had settled.

“Janie. Janie,” she whispered, but there was no movement. She picked up the jam jar she had filled with bees and threw it out of the door far into the long grass. She left the other one lying beside Janie and peered into her face. She’d never seen her so still, not even when she was sleeping. She tiptoed out and closed the door. She dug into her pocket for the chunk of onion she’d stolen from the kitchen and rubbed it under her eyes till they streamed.

“Then worms will come and eat thee up, eat thee up, then worms will come and eat thee up…” she sang as she made her way home to tell Ma.

© Allison Hope 29/07/2017

 

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Micro Fiction – Bid for Freedom

via Micro Fiction – Bid for Freedom

Quote

Micro Fiction – Bid for Freedom

This is my attempt at micro fiction, let me know what you think. I wrote the long version then tried to get all the points across including plot in under 250 words (I did it in 220).

He eased the window open, just enough to squeeze through, then flung his bag out and lowered himself gently, dreeping the last few inches to the ground. He didn’t want to be caught like the last time. They’d increased the security but he had it sussed.

He waited, listening for an alarm. Silence. He picked up the bag and made his way across the field to the copse, looking back to check no-one was following. He ran on to the clearing. The car was there. Unlocked. Opening the door he slid in. A quick fiddle with the wires and it revved into life. He smiled thinking about Lucy. He checked his watch.

***

The peal of the telephone cut into the silent darkness. She looked at the clock. 3 a.m.? Something’s wrong. She rubbed her brow and let out a defeated sigh as she replaced the receiver.

She tried not to waken Joe as she gathered her things together. He stirred, then sat up, squinting at the clock.

“You were going to leave without telling me Lucy?”

She leaned back against the door.

“I thought I’d let you sleep.”

He was out of the bed, coming towards her.

“It’s him again, isn’t it?”

She nodded, looking away.

“Yes it was the Care Home,” she sighed. “Dad’s escaped again.”

© Allison Hope 31 March 2016

 

Tailor Trash

Tailor. (this was in response to the daily one word prompt given by WordPress – Tailor).

It was late on a sunny Saturday afternoon when I pushed through the crowds at the local car boot sale, hoping to pick up some vinyl albums for my record player. I couldn’t wait to update my collection with some old classics; Bad Company, Thin Lizzy maybe even some classic 80’s pop tunes.

“Hey, I love the jacket.”

I spun around to see a wild-haired, bearded man smiling at me.

“The jacket,” he nodded. “My guess is it’s an original Yves Saint Laurent? Late 60s?”

“Yes,” I said, surprised he could tell.

“I’m a tailor and I love working with vintage clothes. They just don’t make them like that anymore,” he said.

Looking at his stall, I saw an ancient treadle sewing machine and boxes of coloured threads. The sign said “Stitched Up”.

“This is my Singer machine,” he said. “I still use this to do all the alterations.”

I laughed, thinking how time consuming that must be.

“Can I see your jacket?” he asked.

“Yes, of course,” I said, taking it off and handing it to him.

I watched as he examined it closely.

“It’s stunning. It must have made quite a dent in your piggy bank,” he said, stroking it as if it was a puppy.

“Actually, it was my mum’s. I found it packed away in the attic along with some other nice pieces, but sadly, it’s getting worn out. Look,” I said, pointing to a bursting seam.

He looked closer.

“Not a problem,” he said. “I could easily fix that for you.”

“Really?” I said. “How much would it cost?” I asked, aware I’d only brought £50 with me.

“For you… I’ll do it for £20.”

“Great.” I said, relieved. “When can you do it?”

“I could do it now, if you can give me half an hour.”

“That’s so kind. I’ll go and collect my albums and be back around three thirty,” I said, checking my watch.

“It’ll be ready and waiting for you,” he said, with a cheeky grin.

It was a little more than forty minutes later when I made my way back to his stall. Turning the corner my stomach sank. The stall was empty. I ran over to the man two stalls down from him.

“Do you know where he went?” I said, gesturing to the ‘Stitched Up’ stall.

“He’s new here. I’ve never seen him before,” he said, shaking his head. “He packed up and left quite quickly. Are you alright Miss?”

“What have I done?” I said, biting my lip.

“You know, come to think of it, Ali from the burger van was talking last week about someone who mends vintage clothing,” he said, rubbing his chin.

I looked over to where he was pointing but the burger van was gone.

“What did he say about him?”

“He said there had been complaints about a guy who claimed to mend designer clothes, but disappeared with both the clothes and the deposits left for them.”

There was only one thing left to do. I took out my mobile and phoned the police, giving a perfect description of him and telling them that he was trying to sell me, what I believed to be, stolen goods. One item was a brown, suede designer jacket, the other was a diamond and emerald bracelet. Both items looked similar to articles shown on last night’s crime programme apparently stolen from a local antique business.

I heard he was caught in a local hotel later that evening. Both the jacket and the bracelet were recovered. I smiled. I couldn’t have planned it better; that bracelet was becoming too hot to handle. Now I could get on with the business of selling the rest of the haul.

 

 

Some tips for a streak free tan!

Source: Some tips for a streak free tan!

Some tips for a streak free tan!

Hi, it’s that time of year again when we feel we should be glowing with a healthy tan. But is there such a thing as a healthy tan? Apparently not, because to tan we have to burn our skin and that can never be a healthy thing to do. This is where faking it comes into its own. If done properly, you can look as if you’ve spent two glorious weeks in the Caribbean rather than half an hour in the bathroom. Follow these simple steps for a beautiful, healthy all-year-round tan.

Items you will need:

  • Exfoliator (I prefer the creamy ones as they moisturise too)
  • Body Moisturiser
  • Self Tanning Lotion
  • Tanning Mit or latex gloves
  • Loose fitting dark coloured t-shirt

How to get the glow:

  1. Get in the shower and exfoliate your body all over, paying particular attention to wrists, knuckles, elbows, knees and ankles
  2. Pat skin dry with soft, warm towel
  3. Apply moisturiser lightly to wrists, knuckles, elbows, knees and ankles
  4. Blot these areas with a tissue after thirty seconds
  5. Apply self tan beginning at the feet and working up the body, covering all areas
  6. Leave to dry for specified time (usually 5/10 minutes)
  7. Wear a loose, dark t-shirt for the next few hours or if going to bed

Follow-up tips:

It’s always best to go lightly with the first application so you can gauge how dark you want to go. If it is too light, re-apply as before, taking care with any dry areas. To keep your tan looking good, use a gentle soap-less shower creme and follow with moisturiser.

A really helpful tip if you have open pores on your legs, is to rub a bag of frozen peas over the pores to prevent those nasty little brown spots.

Always prepare your skin by removing hair at least 24 hours before applying fake tan and don’t apply moisturiser unless your skin is very dry (although ankles, knees etc usually need a little). As with all skills, practice makes perfect, so keep applying every 5 – 7 days, always exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and always moisturise afterwards to keep your tan in tip top condition. Now all you have to do is glow!

 

 

 

What If? – Challenge by Indecisive Eejit

The above challenge asks you if you awoke tomorrow with three new skills, what they would be, this was my answer.

Eh…that would be:

1) Make time stand still while I had a lie-in, leisurely bath, updated my fb page, put my makeup on, got the best parking space and still got into work before everyone else, sitting at my desk with a coffee, looking fresh as a daisy – and it was still only 8am, magic! Also I could stop time then change the winning lottery balls to mine and be a millionaire.

2) Hypnotise people to laugh at all my jokes, tell me I’m right ALL the time and vote for me in the next election.

3) Be a super, duper dancer… then Peter Andre and I could sizzle together on Strictly Come Dancing making the whole world and their Auntie sooooo jealous, yeah babe!! 😉

What would your three super skills be? Take up the challenge at:  http://okaywhatif.com/

New Year Overhaul – Get yourself looking Gorgeous!

Source: New Year Overhaul – Get yourself looking Gorgeous!

Hello…I’ve missed you all :)

Isn’t it funny how life just takes off and you feel you don’t have a minute? I have wanted…needed…to post for weeks but found myself chasing my tail (I did tell you I had a tail, right?) it’s so easy to forget about it till I’m contented and happy…and then I feel it wagging! Anyway I managed to get some painting done (no I’m not an artist, not that kind of painting…house painting…walls, doors, floors…obviously the floors were a mistake but I quite like the white spotty look on the laminates – its different!) I also have a cat with a rather cute black gloss streak down his white and ginger coat – he looks more like a badger now. So the decorating should have taken a few days…four at most, but it went on and on and on. I finally finished last night…well I suppose finished is the wrong word…I finally gave up and phoned a painter friend to help out. I regretted it soon after when I showed him into the room where I’d attempted to ragroll the walls, and he screamed…yes screamed with laughter. He asked if I’d used the cat to do it! Charlie Boy had obviously rubbed himself up against the wall (probably trying to remove the black gloss) and was now a lovely shade of powder blue. When I set out to do these things I have good intentions and am sure it’s going to be amazing, but people don’t seem to appreciate my creative skills. I remember a few years ago I told my brother I would cut his hair. Half way through I got incredibly bored and realised it wasn’t as easy as I’d first thought, So I put a hat on him to cover the bald patches and took him to the barber’s. The barber took one look at him and asked if I’d cut his hair with a knife and fork! Some people just don’t appreciate creativity. As my old mate Elbert Hubbard used to say ‘There is no failure except in no longer trying.’ Anyone looking for a hairdresser or painter? 🙂

These foolish things…

There I was going through life at a nice easy pace, even stealing a minute to observe the hail/wind/rain/snow/freezing ice and feeling soooo chilled, thinking yeah 2015’s gonna be a calm dude:) no sooner had the thought surfaced when…wham! It all went bottoms up! I mean, literally. I pulled on my winter coat and boots, left the house and skidded all the way down our street on a giant conveyer belt type of black ice. I saw a neighbour watching me from her window with a look of utter surprise on her face, as I did a pathetic sequence of a cross between the Riverdance and Fred Astaire kicks, as I battled to keep my balance. I did the whole shebang, forward kicks, slide, sideways kicks, slide and the rapid backward kicks before the bonnet of a Ford Fiesta broke my fall. Luckily it was parked and no-one was in it. Phew! My pride intact, I peeled my cheeks (?) off the frozen windscreen, and turned and gave the neighbour a little giggle and wave, as if I’d done it purely for the entertainment factor. She gave me a pitiful look, the same look she gave me a couple of weeks ago, when I was waiting for a bus and being a great believer in using every minute constructively, I reached into my bag and taking out my lippy I swished it around my lips. When I looked up she was staring at me, eyes wide, mouth hanging open. I thought she was seriously impressed at my ability to apply lippy without a mirror, but then I felt my lips sticking together and they tasted vile. I tried to rub them with a tissue and soon I had bits of fluff and tissue stuck to my lips. Reaching into my bag I looked for the lipstick and found I’d actually applied my …Pritt (glue) stick! Yeeuch!

STOP PRESS** Some good news: I have been nominated for a couple of Awards, which I will try and complete along with my assignments over the next few days and thank you to all who nominated me.

I’ll leave you with a little thought: Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow! Mark Twain 🙂

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