Art and the philosophy of life

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The Magical Apothecary…16

“Do you recognize this tree?” asked Lillyana, staring at him.

“Seriously?” he said, looking up.  “Recognize the tree?  I was a child when I last saw the tree I played in.  How do you expect me to recognize it?”

“Touch it,” she said, shoving him forward.

“Hey,” he said, turning to glare at her.  “No pushing.”

“Are you chicken?” she asked, making clucking sounds.

“So not funny,” he sighed.  “Fine.  I’ll touch the tree, but I don’t see how it will help.”

Joey walked forward and put his palm against the bark and the second he did so, he felt that he was in the branches, giggling and singing.  They talked to each other and he napped and watched the birds build nests and…

“It’s your tree, isn’t it,” she said, knowingly.

Joey just nodded.

“Am I good or what?” said the fairy, happily.

“Jo Jo?” said a voice.

“Sparrow?” whispered Joey, wondering how he knew the name.

“Yes,” she said.  “It’s me.”  A fairy was suddenly flying in front of his face.  “You got really big.”

“I guess I did,” he said, looking down at himself.

“I’ve missed you,” she said, landing on his open palm.  “I came to the tree, like I always did and you weren’t there.  I went back everyday for a long time, but you were gone and I didn’t know where to look for you.”

“I’m sorry.  I don’t know what happened,” he said.  “Do you know?”

She shook her head.  “No.”

“Hey,” said Lillyana.  “Do you know anything that could help him find out more about who he is?”

“Who are you?” asked Sparrow, frowning at Lillyana.

“A friend of Joey’s.  We’re trying to find out who his parents are and why he was abandoned and, up until recently, didn’t even know that he was part fairy.”

“How could you not know that, Jo Jo?” asked Sparrow.

“I can’t remember anything.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

“You remember me,” she said.  “You knew my name.”

“But I don’t know how I knew who you were.”

“We made an oath, and…”

“Wait,” said Lillyana.  “You two made an oath?”

“Yes.  We promised to be Forever Friends,” said Sparrow, reaching out to touch his face. “Do you remember Jo Jo?”

He leaned forward and felt her hand on his cheek.  All kinds of pictures flashed through his mind.  He saw them laughing together in the branches and building a treehouse out of twigs.  He saw them at dusk, pledging to be friends until the end of time.

“I remember,” he said softly.

“Are you back to stay?”

He shook his head.  “No. I have a job and responsibilities now.”

“I see.”

“I want to know who I was and where I came from.”

“Why?” she asked.

“It seems as if I should know.”

“Will you sing with me?”

“Sure,” he said.

So, Joey and Sparrow sang a fairy song and the air was suddenly filled with fairy voices and twittering birds and Joey’s skin prickled with delight and all the flowers looked up and reached for the sky and the grass turned greener and the tree hummed along.

“You remembered all the words,” laughed Sparrow.  “Even the last verse, which you usually forgot.”

He laughed along with her.  “You’re right.”

“I’ll help you find out who you are,” she said.  “Promise.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Sparrow.”

“Promise?” she asked. “Always?”

“And forever,” he said.

And then she was gone.

“Well, that was interesting,” said Lillyana.

 

 

 

 

 

Starting over…16

“He rode with Hell’s Angels and the Chicago Outlaws?”

“I don’t see why he’d make that up,” said Lilly.  “Besides the look on his face was priceless.  He loved that time period.”

“I guess.”

“Maybe it will be like it is in the movies and when you’re attacked, you’ll automatically know how to fight.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” he said, miserably.

“No one can expect you to fight aliens alone.”

“Lilly, I don’t know how to even start thinking about this.”

“It’s okay, we’ll do it together.”

“Did you just see that?” he asked, turning around. “That thing that just floated by?”

“Where?”

“It’s gone now,” he said looking around.

“Maybe you can see things, that I can’t.  It’s probably another one of your gifts.”

“Great,” he said, shaking his head. “You can talk to your cats and I can see weird things, like that guy in the tree over there.”

“What guy?”

“The one waving at us?” he said, waving back.

“Why are you waving at him?”

“He looks friendly and he waved first.”

“Maybe you should ignore the beings you see.”

“How?”

“I don’t know, just pretend that you don’t see them.”

“He’s coming over here and he’s wearing yellow pants.  Who wears yellow pants?”

“What do you mean, he’s coming over here?” asked Lilly, looking around.  “Where is he?”

“I’m right here,” said the person in the yellow pants.  “We can all see you, you know.  Your light is really bright.”

“Great,” said James. “He said everyone can see me because my light is bright.”

“What light?” asked Lilly, looking at him.  “And, more importantly, who is everyone?”

“I’m here to fight on your side, if the war starts up again.  You can call me iug.”

“I don’t think I can, actually.  I can’t pronounce it,” said James.

“Then call me…Luke.”

“Okay, Luke, and thanks.”

“Do you want me to make it so that she can see and hear me?”

“I’ll ask her,” said James.

He explained the situation to Lilly who said, “Duh.  Of course I want to see and hear him.”

Luke touched her arm and smiled.  “Hi,” he said.

“Hello and who are you?” she asked.

“I’m Luke,” he said.  “I fought in the last game and word is that the losers want a rematch.  A lot of us are coming back to fight, in case they don’t take no for an answer.”

“Really?” asked James.  “You’re going to fight?”

“Well, I don’t think you could fight them by yourself and if they took over, things would be even more unpleasant on earth than they are now and before you say anything, yes, that is actually possible.”

“Why is this happening and what does it have to do with James?” asked Lilly.

“I guess he’s the chosen champion.  Every battle needs one.”

“Me?  A champion?  I don’t think so,” said James.  “You need to choose someone else.”

“It doesn’t work that way.  There’s no one else to choose.  You’re the guy.”

“Why?” asked Lilly.  “He doesn’t even know how to fight.”

“Maybe he’s pure of heart, maybe somewhere in his past he had an ancestor who was a god.  I just know that he’s the guy.  He’s a beacon, his light is bright and it calls to all those who fought before.”

“But a motorcycle gang?”

“Ah,” laughed Luke.  “I see you’ve been talking with Jerry.  He loves biker gangs.  He actually rode with Hell’s Angels and the Chicago Outlaws, for awhile, so he would see things that way.  He’s not really wrong, you know.  But others will be attracted to your light, James.  You won’t have to fight alone, so don’t worry.  I’ll be back if, and when, you need me.  But while I’m here, do you know where I can get good Mexican food?”

James told him where he should go to eat and Luke thanked him and disappeared.

“Now I’m hungry,” said Lilly.”

“Why is everything so violent?”

“Well,” said Lilly, thoughtfully,  “let’s assume that the Big Bang really took place.  A lot of scientists don’t think it did, but let’s go with it for the moment.  If it happened, then we were born of violence.  A violence so enormous and powerful, that it made at least one universe, that we know of, and everything in it.  It’s still exploding, making new stars, while black holes are eating everything that touches their even horizons.  Violence is EVERYWHERE and in EVERY THING.  We don’t even know what dark matter is.  What if that’s violent as well.  It’s sure secretive enough.  I mean, think about this whole place.  Things implode and explode, die, are born, attack each other and galaxies consume other galaxies.  Violence is all we really know.  It’s all we’ve ever known.”

“Maybe I should have stayed dead,” he said.

“What about me?  If you stayed dead, we wouldn’t be together.”

“You know what I mean.”

“No. I don’t.”

“I have no idea how long I was dead.  Time doesn’t exist there, not the way it does here.  When I came back, no time had passed.  My parents didn’t even know I had been gone.”

“I didn’t realize that,” said Lilly.

“We were sitting down to the dinner where I died while eating the carrot.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, smiling.  “I’m not trying to make light of how you died, but a carrot?”

“Just laugh and get it over with.”

So she did.  Then she wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “A carrot,” and then she was laughing again, and James was laughing with her.

“Okay,” she said, sniffing.  “Down to business.  So how would you fight a psychotic biker gang?” she asked.  “And please, don’t say that you would just run away.”

“But that’s exactly what I WOULD do,” he said.

“But what if you wouldn’t, or couldn’t.  What would you do then?”

“Die,” he said, truthfully. “In the first three minutes.”

“You are such a…”

“Such a what?” he asked.  “Loser?  Chicken? Coward?  Wimp?”

“I was going to say, non planner.”

“Oh,” he said.  “Well, that too.”

“Here’s what I would do,” said Lilly, standing up.  “I’d act really tough.  Like no one could beat me, no matter what.  I mean attitude is reality, don’t forget that.  Body language is important.  Even if I was afraid, I’d be walking back and forth, in front of them, not showing any fear…”

“How?  How would you do that? How would you not show any fear if you were terrified?”

She shrugged.  “You just do it, that’s all.”

“So not helpful,” he sighed.

“Anyway, I’d be smiling.  Enemies and bullies always hate it when you smile at them, like they can’t touch you, no matter what they do.  They want to taste your fear, so that’s the one thing you NEVER EVER give to them.”

“I’m gonna throw up,” he groaned.

“ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?”

“Yes,” he said, immediately, sitting up straight.  “Sorry.  Don’t show any fear.”

“Right.  Even when you’re scared to death, you don’t let the bad guys know that.  I know you don’t have time to learn how to do that, so you’re just going to have to DO it.  If you let them think you’re afraid, they’ll play with you, because your fear and weakness is like the best thing they’ve ever eaten.  Sure, they might kill you, but if they do, they were going to kill you anyway.  You can die on your feet, or you can die on your knees.  Get what I’m saying?”

“No.  Not at all,” he said, covering his face with his hands. “Not even a little.”

“Okay.  I didn’t want to have to do this, but come with me.”

“Where are we going?” he finally asked, after they had been walking for awhile.   “Isn’t this a bad neighborhood?”

“One of the worst.”

“I don’t want to be here,” he said, pulling on her arm.  “Let’s go back.”

“Hey, bitch, whadda ya doing on my sidewalk?”

Lilly stood in front of James.  “Walking, what does it look like I’m doing you dork?”

“What did you call me?” asked the very surprised guy.  “You have to pay, to walk on my sidewalk.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so, but nice shirt,” she said.

He looked down at his shirt and said, “You got a smart mouth.”

“Thank you,” she said, looking at the two other guys who were walking toward them.

“OMG Lilly,” whispered James.  “Let’s go.”

“Who’s the little boy behind you?”

“Truthfully?”

“Give it to me.”

“He’s a guy who needs to learn how to fight.  He needs to learn fast.  A bunch of badass biker guys are coming for him, some of them aren’t human, and he’s never been in a fight in his entire life.”

“For real?”

“Totally.”

“OMG, omg, omg,” said James.

“I should tell you that he’s already been dead once,” said Lilly.  “They sent him back.”

“No shit.  What was that like?”

“A really boring office job,” said James.

“Not what I was expectin’,” said the guy.

“I know, right?” said Lilly.  “Who knew.”

The guy pulled a gun out from behind him and pointed it at her.

James held on to the back of Lilly’s shirt.

“Who should I shoot first?”

“Put the gun away, Taz.  I know her,” said a guy, walking up behind him.  “Lil, what are you doing here?”

“Hey,” she said, running up and throwing her arms around him.  “Been to long,” she added, kissing him all over his face.  “You look…great.”

“I told you not to do that in front of the boys,” he said, smiling at her.

“Oh, sorry,” she lied and kissed him again.  “I need a favor.”

“What?”

“Do you think you and the boys could teach this one,” she said, pointing at James, how to fight really fast?”

He looked at James and then back at Lilly.  “No.  Not a chance.  Why?”

Lilly explained the situation about the civil war, biker gangs, being dead and then asked again.  “So can you?”

“Look at him Lil.  He’s shakin’ like a leaf.”

“I know but that’s because the doesn’t have any skills.  If he knew how to fight, he wouldn’t be afraid.  You taught me.”

A smile spread across his face.  “That’s true.  I did teach you, didn’t I.”

She punched him, then hugged him again.

“Uh, Lilly,” said how do you know this guy?”

“Oh, sorry,” she said.  “James this is Tommy.  Tommy this is James, and we grew up together.  He used to live next door to me.”

“Call me Snake,” said Tommy.

“Sure,” sighed James. “Why not.”

“Okay, leave him here and pick him up tomorrow.  We’ll do what we can…”

“Wait, what?” said James.  “Leave me HERE?”

“What’s it gonna cost?” asked Lilly.

“We want in on the fight.”

“Deal,” she said, holding out her hand.

“Wait,” said James.  “You can’t be serious.  You’re just LEAVING me here?  With…them?”

All the guys, and there were quite a few by now, were grinning.

“Yes,” she said, turning toward the crowd.  “And if anyone gets out of line, they’ll have to answer to me.”

Some of the grins disappeared.  Snake snickered.  James tried not to whimper.

“It’s okay, James.  You’ll learn a lot, believe me and I’ll be back tomorrow before dinner, okay?”

“No.  Definitely not okay.”

“See ya Tommy,” she said.

“It’s Snake.  Call me Snake.”

“Sure.  See ya Snake.  Take care of James for me.”

“My pleasure,” he chuckled.

“I’m gonna die Lilly,” hissed James.  “And it will be your fault, this time.”

“You’re not gonna die, you’re going to be tougher.”

“Uh, excuse me,” said a tiny voice.

Lilly looked down and saw a hamster sitting by her foot.  “Yes?”

“The people who took care of me, moved away and put me in the backyard.  It’s scary out there and I was wondering if I could go home with you?”

“Of course you can come home with me,” she said, picking up the fuzzy hamster.  “What’s your name?”

“Snowball, what’s yours?”

“Lilly,” she said.  “You’re beautiful and I’ll make a wonderful nest for you.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  Bye James,” she shouted, holding up the hamster.  “We have a new friend.  See you tomorrow.”

“No. You won’t.  I’ll be dead by then.”

“Is he serious?” asked Snowball.

“No.  I mean he believes it, but he won’t be dead.”

“I thought I might be dead when they put me outside.”

“That was mean of them.”

“Tell me about it,” sighed Snowball.  “Can I sleep in your pocket.  I’m really tired.”

“Sure,” she said, placing the hamster in the pocket of her jacket.  “Sweet dreams, little one.”

 

 

 

Annie…Short story…16

“What kind of tattoo’s do you want?” sighed Lucifer, running his fingers through his wet hair.

“Where did Silver go?” asked Annie.

“Home.”

“Doesn’t she live here?”

“She does not.”

“Why?”

“Earth is a terrible place.  I don’t even want to live here, to be perfectly honest,” said Lucifer, leaning back in his chair.

“We could take all the cats and go home,” said Annie.

“All of them?” asked Clark.

“Of course, why would I leave one of them behind? I want to take Adeline as well.”

“Is it safe to say you want a cat tattoo?” smiled Lucifer.

“Yes.  And, I want it right here,” she said, pointing to  a spot just above her left wrist.  Then it will go up to here,” she mumbled, running her finger to her elbow.”

“I thought we were getting matching ink,” said Clark, frowning.  “I don’t I want a cat on my arm.  I was thinking, maybe a dragon.”

“How about a magical symbol?” suggested Lucifer.  “One that would keep you connected no mater where you were.”

“Maybe,” said Annie.  “Could there be a cat in it?”

“We can ask Tinsel to work one into the design.  Maybe a dragon as well.”

“Tinsel?” said Annie.

“She’s the best there is,” said Clark.   “And dad, we don’t want anymore rules.  We want to live our own lives.”

“I know,” said Lucifer.

“You do?” said Annie.

“Yes, I’m surprised you did what I asked you to do this long.”

“Uh, you don’t actually know what we did,” said Annie, looking at Clark.

“Let’s keep it that way, shall we,” said Lucifer.

“Deal,” said Clark.

“Double deal,” laughed Annie.

An angel with glowing white wings knocked on the backdoor.  The hen clucked, the cats, flicked their tails but the hounds just kept playing.

“Open up, L.”

“The door’s unlocked,” said Lucifer.

“You fought well,” said the angel, closing the door behind him.

“I always fight well Matthew, you know that.”

The angel nodded.

“Would you like some cake?” asked Annie.

The angel hesitated, looked at Lucifer, then said, “Yes, please.”

“Sit down,” said Clark, picking up a couple of cats.

“We need to do something about these wars, L.  Too many angels are dying and for what?”

“Same reason as always Matt.  You want to play with the humans and we want them to be free from your games and manipulation.  Look what happened when you altered their DNA.”

“Why do you care?” asked the angel.

“Just seems wrong.  You have power, they don’t.  Not an even battlefield.  You’re bullies and thieves, stealing their lives for your own pleasure.”

“Here’s you cake,” said Annie, handing him a fork.  “It’s really delicious and are you two friends?”

“We used to be,” said Lucifer.

“This cake is amazing,” said the angel, licking his fork.  “I’m used to eating fast,” he said, blushing.  “Sorry.”

“Would you like another piece?” asked Annie.

“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble.”

“No trouble at all,” said Annie. “You’re very polite.”

The angel smiled and looked at Lucifer again.  “If I’m not polite, he’ll kill me.”

Lucifer nodded and smirked.  “He’s right.  I will.”

Adeline leaned against the angel’s calf.  He picked her up and let her sit on his lap.  “Nice bird.”

“Cluck,” said the hen, leaning against his chest.

“I think she likes me.”

“Her name is Adeline and she wouldn’t be the first female with bad taste,” said Lucifer.

Annie smiled, because it sounded funny hearing Lucifer say the hen’s name.

“What’s with the herd of cats?”

“I’m the Guardian Cat Angel,” said Annie, happily.

“No kidding.  I didn’t know there was one of those.

“There is and you’re looking at her,” said Annie, frowning.

“Looks as if you’re doing a great job.”

“Thank you,” she said, huffily.  “I am.”

“Why are you here, Matt?” asked Lucifer.  “Say whatever you came her to say and get out.”

The angel turned to Annie and whispered, “It seems like only one of us has to be polite.”

“I’m losing my patience,” said Lucifer.

“We want a truce. We want the wars to end.  We want to talk terms and find a way to make both sides happy.”

“Not possible.”

“If you would just give a little, L.  You can’t expect our side to just agree to everything you want.  It’s not right.  It’s not fair.  What’s the point in just killing each other?  How many did you lose in the last few days?  Are humans worth it?  Worth the lives of angels?”

“See, that’s the point. You think you’re superior to humans….”

“No,” said the angel.  “I don’t think we’re superior, I know we are.”

“We have nothing to talk about Matt.  I hope you family is well but get out.”

“Lucifer, we were best friends, for most of our lives.  We did everything together.  We fought TOGETHER  We don’t have to be enemies.”

“I think we do,” said Lucifer.  “Unless you want to fight next to me, there’s really no reason for you to be here.”

“I can’t do that and you know it.  I don’t believe what you’re doing is right.  Humans are nothing more than a failed experiment.”

“Hey,” said Annie.  “The lady in the grocery store is very nice and so are a lot of other people. They aren’t toys, you know.  They’re doing the best they can.  How would you like it if someone did to you, what you’re doing to them?”

“Yes, Matthew, how would you like it?” asked Lucifer.

 

 

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