Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘A Short story’

The swans and the gull, a short story

Birds, Swan, Ornithology, Species, Fauna

“Philip, you need to talk to the seagull again.”

“I’ve tried, believe me. He just likes hanging out with us.”

“He’s very nice, but he’s not a swan and we can’t give him what he needs,” said Mona.

“I don’t want to hurt his feelings.  Maybe you should try again.”

“We are not gulls,” she said.

“He knows that.  I think he’s just lonely.”

“We can’t play the games he does.  We don’t dive for stones that we drop from great heights.  We are BIG birds.  We don’t play.  We don’t have playful personalities.  Gulls are gregarious and love to have fun.  We are sedate and silly isn’t part of who we are.”

“I agree.  But silly is for geese, my love, not for seagulls.  Admittedly, the stone dropping game didn’t go as planned,” sighed Philip.

“Hi,” said, said the seagull.  “What are we going to do today?”

“Float around, and nibble at things,” said Philip.  “That’s pretty much what we always do.”

“I know.” asked the gull.  “That’s what we did yesterday.”

“It is,” said Philip, kindly.  “We will probably do it again tomorrow.”

“Will we will fly around now and then, in between the nibbling?”  asked the gull, hopefully

“I doubt it,” said Mona.  “But you can do that.”

“No, that’s okay.   I’ll just hang out with you,” said the gull, softly.

“Look, my friend,” said Mona, sweetly.  “You may stay with us as much as you like, as long as you like,  but we cannot do the things you do.  We are not seagulls.  We are different than you.  Can you find other gulls to play with?  Even for a little while, so you can have fun and be happy?”

“I’m happy being with you, but I know what you’re saying.  Am I a bother?” asked the gull.

They both said, “Absolutely not,” at the very same time.

“But we want you to be happy and we can’t provide what you need,” she said, sadly.

The seagull floated closer.  “I know that.  We are the same but different.  I can’t be a swan, it’s not in my nature.”

“Exactly,” she said.  “That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way things are.  I admire your agility and fun-loving nature, but no swan can fly straight into the sky, drop a stone and dive after it, catch it, then do it again.”

The gull nodded.  “I saw some of my kind on the beach, stealing food from the humans who sit on the ground.”

“Swans would never do that,” said Philip. “Get close to humans, I mean.  That’s just one more difference between us.”

“Can I still visit?”

“Yes.  Everyday,” she said.  “We want you to have a fun, so play with the other gulls, then come and tell us about your day.”

The gull nodded, took off, did some fancy tricks, for their benefit, then flew toward the beach.

“They really are great acrobats,” said Philip, watching him go.

“Indeed,” she said.  “But some differences cannot be overcome.”

“They cannot,” he said, “But it must be fun to do what they do.”

“Yes,” she said, swimming toward the shore.  “I’m sure it is.”

 

 

 

Photo:  Pixabay

 

 

Joey…a short story.

Free Borrego Stock Photo

“You are a beautiful goat.”

“Thank you, but what’s a goat?”

“It’s what humans call you.”

“Why?”

“No idea.  What would you like to be called?”

“Joey.”

“Okay Joey.  I like that name.  It’s quite…human.  I’m a human, in case you don’t know.”

“I didn’t know.  And I like Joey because I heard someone say it.  Rather than not be called anything, I thought I’d like to be called Joey.”

“So what are your future plans, Joey?”

“Well, I’d like to be free, for one thing.”

“Where would you go, if you didn’t live here?”

“I don’t know, since I’ve never been anywhere but here.  I guess I would just start walking.”

“That could be dangerous.  You wouldn’t know where you would end up.”

“I suppose I’d end up wherever I stopped walking.”

“What about food?”

“I can eat anything.”

“What about being alone?”

“I thought about that.  Maybe I can convince one of the others to come with me.”

“It seems nice here.”

“Compared to what?” he asked.

“I see your point,” she said, nodding at him.

“When one stays in one place they have nothing to compare anything to, and that’s not always a good thing.  I know it depends on where one is, but still…I’d like to see more of the world.”

“Understandable.  Have you discussed your plans with the others?”

He nodded.  “They think I’m silly for wanting to leave a warm barn and a big field.  Those who care for us are very nice.  They pet us and sing to us and they would never harm us.  I know all of that, but I just have the urge to see more.”

“It sounds as if you have a very nice life here.  No one has punched holes in your ears for awful tags, or tied a horrible bell around your neck, and the humans seem kind and considerate.”

“What?” said Joey.  “Punch holes in my ears?  A bell?  So there’s never silence?”

“I see you’re wearing a collar.”

“I am?”

“Yes, it’s the thing around your neck.”

“There’s something around my neck?”

“There is.”

“Will you take it off of me, please.”

“Sure,” she said, unbuckling it.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Can I come and live with you?  I’ll be very good.”

“I wish you could, but I live in a small apartment and you would be unhappy there.  It’s nothing like this sweet field, and you wouldn’t have any of your friends nearby.  You’d hardly be outside at all.”

“I do like to be outside.  I like to jump and frolic, as well.”

“i know, and you wouldn’t be able to do that in the city.”

“Maybe I should stay here.”

“I think that’s the best thing to do, but I have an idea.”

“You do?”

“I’ll ask one of the humans if I can take you for a ride, so you can see all things around here.  Then I’ll bring you home again.  We can do that every now and then, so you can look at lots of things.  If you wear a harness, I can take you for walks in the park.”

“I would love to do that” said Joey, jumping in a circle.  “Will you ask them?”

“I will,” she said.

The owners of the farm were happy to let their goat go for rides in the car.  They were nice people and were sorry to learn that Joey was unhappy, and thinking of running away.  After talking for a half hour, things were settled and the harness issue was settled, as well.

Not long after her visit, she picked up Joey and they went for a long ride around the farm.  They stopped in a meadow, where Joey ran back and forth, leaping onto rocks and logs, having a wonderful time.

In time, wearing his special harness, he was able to walk through a park in the city.  Joey and his person became the best of friends and their rides and explorations continue to this day.

Some stories do have happy endings.

 

Photo:  Susan Flores
UnsplashJope

 

 

The Magical Library…a short story.

brown wooden table with chairs

There are two Magical Libraries.  One is here, and the other one isn’t.  By that I mean, one of the Magical Libraries resides in earth’s reality, and the other one, does not.  No one knows where the other one is at the moment, since it tends to move around quite a bit.  With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to use the Magical Library on earth, because our address only changes once a year, the day before Samhain, or Halloween, for those who don’t know what Samhain is.

My name is Madame Loralee Martin, and I am Chief Librarian of earth’s only Magical Library.  If you think this library is like any library you may have visited, you are sadly mistaken.  The books in a “normal” library don’t talk, bite, fight or rewrite themselves.  They also don’t tear out their own pages when they’re angry. YES I AM TALKING ABOUT YOU PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Sorry about that, but that book has issues.  Anyway, I’d be bored to death, if I had to work in a regular library.   But sometimes, when here’s a clash over which spell in which book, works the best, or the fastest, the clash of books hurling themselves at each other, makes it difficult to think.

And…if a book doesn’t like the person who borrowers it , the book just leaves, and makes it way back here.  Sometimes the book is out in the world alone for weeks, and no one knows where it is.  That’s not a good, since many of the books can turn into things that would make the “norms” run for their lives.  We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves, although no one could ever find us even if they looked.  We definitely don’t want any of the books captured either.  I don’t even want to think about what that would happen if the “norms” started playing with magic, although the word catastrophic comes to mind.

Then there are the books that grow attached to people.  They follow them around, which might not seem like a big deal, but imagine a person walking down the street being followed by a book, flying slowly behind her, or him.  You do see the problem, right?

I try to be stern, when the books get rowdy, but whenever I shout at them, they just send a book from the humor section to my desk and it stays until I start laughing.  The jokes aren’t always the best, but the pages flapping back and forth, shows me that they’re trying to stop me from lighting the place on fire…uh, did I just say that out loud?  I would never do that.  Never.  I hardly ever even think about it.  No.  Really, I don’t know why I even said it, and I don’t have any matches on me, so no worries.  Oh, thank you FAHRENHEIT 451.  Just what I need, matches.  And yes, that book is magical because Bradbury was a wizard, so we carry it.

I’ve never had a vacation.  How can I leave?  The books steal my M & M’s, when I AM here.  When I’m not here, even for a few minutes, the cookbooks make a gigantic mess.  And the children’s section turns into a jungle, with animals that are not from around here.  And the humidity is enough to curl pages.

Sometimes, when I’m really tired, a book will read itself to me. It’s quite nice, actually.  Books have wonderful voices. I do love them, you know.  The books, I mean.  Each of them is unique and insanely interesting, well, except the ones on human politics.  I thought those should be shelved in the humor section, but one of the books said we should make a new category called LIES AND LIARS.  I think that’s a good idea and I’m going to bring it up at the next meeting of Magical Librarians, of which there are two of us. There are two emergency aides, in case we die, or a shelving unit falls on us and we can’t work for a month or two.  Oh, and some of the books are delivered by non humans. We’ve had to replace the doors five or six times, and the ceiling twice.

On the good side, if someone requests a book we don’t have in stock, I can order it and it will immediately appear on the front desk.  So no one goes away bookless, or unhappy.  Unless you count that horrible wizard who wanted to make toad soup.  The books attacked him and I didn’t try to stop them.  They threw themselves at him, and toads were hopping all over the place.  It was kind of funny.  I don’t think he’ll be back anytime soon.  Books know how to fight and they can cause a lot of damage, when they’re angry.  I have a spell for cleaning things up, so it’s no big deal most of the time.  Besides the toads were happy to go back into their books.  They don’t like being out for very long.  It’s not humid enough for them, unless the children’s section makes a rain forest, and there are no ponds in the library big enough to hold all of them.  I should probably do something about that.

The music section can get rather loud at times, and the evil, horrendous spell books are kept in a special lead lined room, with three combination locks, twenty magical spells and ruins. So I think we’re pretty safe.  A couple of them got out a few years ago and it took ten witches and six cats, to get them back where they belong.

Fish fly through the air, once in a while, but they don’t bother anyone and they’re beautiful, like flying rainbows.  Books on herbs are always picking the leaves off my plants.  I keep saying that I won’t buy new ones, but I miss having them around,  I usually have a couple on my desk, or on a shelf.

One of the books is waving at me, so I have to go.  Feel free to look around.  Just stay on this floor and don’t touch anything that is bleeding, or has a chain around it, and you should be fine.  It might be better if you leave.  But, if you do choose to stay, I’d advise you to wait by my desk until I return, although it’s entirely up to you.

Truth…a short story.

Free Broken Door of Abandoned Building Stock Photo

“This can’t be it,” he said, looking at the worn and sad looking entrance.

“It is.”

“Are you sure?”

“You asked me to bring you to the place where Truth lives.  This is that place,” she said.

“But this is…”

“Not what you expected?”

“Yes,” he said, softly.  “It’s not what I expected.”

“What did you expect?” she asked.

“Something in better shape and a lot cleaner.”

She laughed.  “What do those things have to do with Truth?”

“Nothing, I’m sure.  But it is a little off-putting.”

“Then don’t go inside.”

“I have to go in,” he said.  “I have to know.”

“Then you must know that the building is not what’s important. The Truth is what matters.”

“Philosophy, magic and new age ideas aren’t necessarily my strong suits,” he sighed.

“If you are a true seeker of the Truth, you have to empty your mind, so the Truth can get in.”

“Have you been in there?” he asked.

“Of course.  I guide pilgrims to this spot.

“Does everyone see what I’m looking at?”

She smiled at him.  “That’s a very important question, coming from someone who isn’t into philosophy, magic or new age ideas.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“No.  It isn’t.”

“What do you see?” he asked

“Are you ready to go inside?”

“Will you tell me what you see when I come out?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s mine,” she said, gently.

“Then I’m ready,” he said, taking a deep breath.

“I’ll be here when you’re finished.”

An hour later he came out of the building, and walked straight toward her.  “I didn’t expect that either,” he said.  “Is that different for everyone as well?”

“It is.”

“It was completely empty inside.”

She touched his hand.

“But now, I understand everything,” he said, happily.  “Everything.”

 

Photo:Yusuf Eser
Pexels

 

 

 

 

Stargate…a short story

gray stones near orange hole during night time

“Come on,” she called, as she ran ahead.  “It will be fun, you’ll see.”

“It’s a…Stargate,” he muttered, staring at it.

“I know, silly,” she laughed.

“Where does it lead?”

“All different places.”

“How do you know where we’ll end up?”

“I pushed in the code.  You saw me do it.”

“How do we get back?”

“You want to come back…here?” she asked, coming to a halt.

“Of course.”

“You said you wanted adventure in your life.”

“I do, just not this much.”

“Are you afraid?”

“Yes,” he said, quickly.  “I’d be crazy not to be afraid.  Aren’t you afraid?”

“No.”

“Why not?” he asked.

She shrugged.  “I’m just not.”

“You’re really going through that thing?”

“I already know what’s on this side.  Aren’t you curious?”

“Not anymore.”

“So it was all talk?”

“Apparently.”

She sighed and tugged on the hem of her t-shirt.  “I guess this is goodbye then.”

“i don’t think you should go.”

“This world isn’t made for females.  It’s a slow death, filled with hatred and brutality.”

“How do you know it won’t be worse wherever you’re going?”

“I don’t.”

“And you still want to go.”

She nodded.  “Come with me.”

“I don’t think I can,” he said, softly.

“I guess I understand.”

“I love you and I’m…sorry.  Please don’t go.”

“The Stargate suddenly lit up and energy began to swirl, faster and faster.

“I’ll miss you,” she shouted, as she backed away and disappeared.

 

Photo:  Redd
Unsplash

Love…

“How long have we known each other?”

“About twelve years, I guess.  Why?”

“That’s what I thought.  Since first grade, right?”

He nodded, and took a sip of his drink.

“We never really had a single fight, did we?”

“Just the one time, when we were designing a space ship and you wanted too many bookcases.”

“You can’t have too many bookcases.  I still stand by my decision,” she said, grinning at him.

“Other than that, I can’t think of any.  And you eventually agreed to take one of them away, so we could have a small kitchen.”

“Yes, we did need that.  You said, “We can’t eat the books.”  Which was true.”

“I think the aliens are making their move,” he said.

“Definitely.  They’re taking over the bodies of the republicans.”

“That too, but I think they’re showing themselves more often.”

“What do you think it means?”

“Maybe they’re waiting for the chaos to begin in earnest, so they can take over, or help us.  I’m not sure, but there are more of them than there are of us.”

“You always believed that,” she said, knowingly.  “I still think they’re all here to watch us commit mass suicide.”

“You might be right.  A lot of different species are here right now.”

“We’re not that important, in the scheme of things.  I think we’re just a bit interesting to watch at the moment.  You know barbaric and insane.”

“Perhaps.”

“I can’t even imagine not being with you,” she said.  “What do you think that means?  Are we addicted to each other, or are we just a habit?”

“I think we’re in love and meant to be together.”

“I never thought about us like that,” she said.

“How could you not think about us like that?” he asked, staring at her.  “We’re never apart.”

“I never thought about that either.  I just expected us to be with each other.”

“When was the last time you went out with anyone but me?”

“Uh,” she mused, frowning, crossing her arms in front of her.  “Everyone is boring.”

“Exactly,” he said.  “In case you haven’t noticed, we don’t go out without with other people because we’re always together.  If I went out with someone again, I’d probably bring you along, so I’d have someone interesting to talk to.”

She laughed, and punched him in the shoulder.  “That would be hysterical.”

“Ow!” he said rubbing his arm.

“Oh, sorry.”

“I think this is what love might be.  Always being happy, always wanting to be with each other, not noticing there is a world around us, and this,” he said, leaning over for a kiss.

She fell toward him and sighed.  “I think you’re right.  I do love you.”

“I love you too,” he said, shoving her sideways.

She hit him with her book and they both spilled heir drinks.  “Do you think admitting that we love each other will change anything?”

“Maybe,” he said, thoughtfully.  “I mean things always change when friends become lovers.”

“So things will be even better?”

“Of course.”

“I gave you space for your music, on my bookcases in the spaceship, you know.”

“You did.  Not enough, but you made the effort.”

“You have a lot of music.”

“You have a lot of books.”

“Remember when…”

“Yes,” he said.  I do,”

“All I ever saw was you.”

“This all sounds so sappy.”

“I know right?  I thought love would be different.”

“I didn’t think about it at all,” he said.  “Then suddenly I knew I couldn’t live without you.”

“I just knew that I had to see you, and talk to you everyday.”

“Let’s get a place to live.”

“Off campus?”

He nodded, and took her hand.

“As long as there’s enough space for bookcases, I’m in.”

“We’ll always have enough space for bookcases.”

“And music,” she said.”

“Yes, and music.”

“I didn’t expect love to sneak up on me.”

“It didn’t.  It’s been right in front of you for a long time.”

She threw her arms around him and squeezed.  Then went walked into the bookstore and did rock, paper, scissors, to see whether they would go to the book section, or the music section first.

 

The Chat…

Meerkat, Mammal, Rock, Fur, Species

“Hi.”

“I’m a meerkat, at least that’s what you call us.”

“I can see that.”

“I’m on guard duty.  If I see something that will eat us, I have to warn the others.”

“I’m sure you’re very good at your job.”

“It’s my first time.  I’m not sure they trust me, since the other meerkat, over there, is watching me.”

“Never hurts to have a back up.”

“I guess.  Truthfully, I’d rather not do this at all.  It’s a big responsibility.”

“I understand how you feel.  But I’m sure the more you do it, the easier it will get and then it will become second nature.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m Josie.  I was just walking in the meadow and thought I would stop and say hello.”

“Oh, that’s nice.  And the good thing is that predators will stay away while you’re here because they know you kill everything.  Uhhh, you’re not here to kill us, are you?”

“Absolutely not.  I don’t kill anyone.  Well, I accidentally stepped on a few ants, but I didn’t see them until it was too late.  I feel bad about it.”

“They are quite small, so it’s understandable.  I’ve probably stepped on things too, since I don’t always pay attention.”

“Neither do I.”

“My name is gn, by the way.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can pronounce that.  It’s very nice to meet you, though.”

“gn is a pretty common name among our kind, so is sn.”

“I see.”

“I have to go because I see a hawk coming this way, and you know how they are.”

“I do.  You better warn the others and run.  I’ll stay here until you’re underground.”

“Thanks,” he said, sounding the alarm.

Suddenly, meerkats everywhere were racing for tunnels that would lead them to safety.

I waited until everyone was gone, then I looked up and watched the hawk fly in lazy circles in the sky.

 

Welcome to America…a short story.

man holding rifle wallpaper

“Where’s your gun?”

“My what?” he asked, frowning at her.

“Your gun. Your GUN,” she hissed.  “Where is it?”

“I don’t have a gun.”

She looked at him.  She thought nothing could surprise her, but evidently she was wrong.  “What do you mean you don’t have a gun?  Everyone has a gun.  How can you not have a gun?  I don’t understand.”

“Why would I have a gun?  I don’t want to maim or kill anything.”

She lowered her weapon.  “I never knew anyone who didn’t have a gun.  This is America.  It’s a law.  Everyone has to carry one.  If you’re found without a gun, you go to prison.”

“What?” he said, “You can go to jail for not carrying a gun?”

“You’re not from around here, are you,” she said, leaning against a burned out car.

“No, I’m not.”

“Here,” she said, handing him a Glock.  “I always carry a couple extras, just to be safe.”

“Thanks, but I really don’t want…”

“Rather be in prison?”

He took the gun.

“Do you know how to use it?”

He shook his head.  “I’ve never even held one before.”

“You’re kidding,” she said.  “We learn how to use a gun when we turn two.  It’s another law.  Parents can lose custody of their children, if they fail to teach them how to lock and load, starting on their second birthday.  The supreme court demands it.”

“Don’t a lot of kids die?  Don’t they accidentally kill their parents?”

“How many is a lot?  And yes, they kill their parents quite often,” she snickered.  “Happens all the time.  They were going to raise the age to three, but the gun people had a fit, and the government is owned by them, so it’s still two years of age.”

“Have you killed anyone?”

“Of course.  That’s what guns are for.  It’s not like they’re decorations, or anything.  Why?  Don’t you kill people where you come from?”

“We do not.”

“Why not?”

“We are…peaceful.”

“Seriously?  I thought peace was fiction.”

“Actually, it’s a real thing.  Peace, love and harmony.  All those things are real..”

“I don’t believe you,” she said, looking around.

“Well, it’s true.”

“If you’re going to stay in the U.S. you better learn how to use the gun I gave you, because you won’t last long, if you can’t defend yourself.”

“Why would someone want to harm me?  You’re the only person I’ve met, so far.”

“Wow.  You really are clueless,” she sighed, shaking her head.  “People don’t have to have a reason to kill others.  People kill because they like to kill things. That’s what this place is all about.  The world is just one big killing field.  Red is for blood, white is for death, and blue is for the sky, if you’re lucky enough to see it before you die.”

“That’s terrible, and I don’t want to kill anyone, or anything.”

“Good luck.  With that attitude, you won’t last until morning.  GET DOWN,” she said, shoving him to the ground.  She started shooting and two people fell.  She waited to see if any others were coming out of the alley, then said, “Okay, you can get up now.”

“Are they dead?” he asked, looking at the two bodies laying on the street.

“I sure hope so,” she grunted, checking her weapon.

“Why did you kill them?”

“You ask a lot of silly questions,” she said.  “Maybe you should come home with me, that way I can give you the score.”

“Score?”

“Yeah.  It means I’ll tell you how things in the United States work.  It stared a long time ago, when they elected a president who was insane.  They called him the orange one, but there were a bunch of presidents before him who were war mongers.  There was a lot of money in war and they were all greedy.  That was hundreds of years ago, but things got worse around 2029, when the government was run by something called the NRA.  Anyway, back then, men were killing kids in schools and mass murders became the norm, because no one would take anyone’s gun away.”

“This is a horror story, right?” he asked.

She laughed out loud.  “Maybe.  I don’t know how to live any other way, so it’s hard to tell.”

“There is another way.”

“Not here there isn’t,” she said.

“How can you stand it?”

“Stand what?”

“All the death?”

“What else is there?” she asked.  “This is how we live.”

“You don’t have to live this way,” he insisted.

“You just got here.  There IS no other way.   DOWN,” she yelled, shooting off to the side.  “Stay down,” she whispered.  Then she started shooting again.  “Okay, you can get up.”

“There’s more to life than killing,” he said.

“Like what?” she asked, still looking down the street.

“Lots of things.  What about love?  Kindness, or gentleness.”

“You should hear yourself,” she giggled. “You sound crazy.”

“Those things exist,” he said.

“Look.  Maybe those things exist where you come from.  But death is what exists here, and I’m HERE, so this is what exists for me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.  I’m almost eighteen.  I’ve had a long life.  I’ve only been shot once, and that was by my little brother, on the day he got his gun.  He was killed in front of our house when he was seven.  He was cute and funny.  But those things won’t keep anyone alive.”

“He was just a child.”

“Children die in America every single day.  LOTS of children die here…every single day.”

“You killed five people in fifteen minutes.”

“You’re welcome.”

“That’s not a good thing.”

“It’s not?” she asked. “You’d rather be dead?”

“I wouldn’t rather be dead.  Of course not.”

“Then, you’re welcome.”

“Thank you,” he said, softly.  “Does this thing have a safety?”

 

 

Photo:  Hizir Kaya
Unsplash

 

 

Neon…a short story.

nothing is impossible signage

“I’d like to speak to the manager, please,” she said, politely.

“Why?” he asked.

“Are you the manager?”

“No.”

“Then obviously,  you are not the person I …”

“I’ll get him.  Stay here.”

“Why would I go away?”

“How should I know?”

A tall, lanky, man came out from a back room.

“How can I help you?” he asked, smiling.

“Your sign is a lie and you need to take it down.”

“It’s not a lie, and I paid a fortune for it.  I’m not taking it down.”

“There are a billion things that are impossible.  Let me see you fly.”

“Fly?”

“Without a plane or hang glider.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Are you saying that it’s impossible for humans to fly without a plane, or device.”

“Maybe.”

“Count backward from a million in twenty seconds.  Start….NOW,” she said, looking at the timer on her phone.

He stared at her.”

“Can’t do that either, can you,” she said.  “How about this one:  get pregnant, then try and get an abortion in Texas.”

“Okay, so everything isn’t possible.  What’s your point?”

“My point IS, that there are MORE things that are impossible for us to DO, than there are things we can do.  Let me see you stop war, or hatred. How about stopping disease, or aging, or death.  How about making the world a place filled with friendship, and equality, a paradise for animals.  Can you stop all violence on earth.  Turn people into gardeners for the earth.  Bring back our ancestors, so we can put them on trial for crimes against humanity.”

“What do you want from me?” asked the manager, tiredly.

“I want you to stop telling lies and take down the sign.”

“No.  Not a chance.”

“Have it your way,” she said, waking toward the door.

“What do you think she meant by that, boss?”

“No idea.”

Once outside, she cackled with glee, and released her flying monkeys.

And that, my dear friends, was the end of the sign that told a lie. Oh, one more thing.  The manager, started walking with a limp that very night, but surely that can’t have anything to do with him refusing to take down the sign, right?”

The pact…a short story.

“You can’t be serious,” said Katie, staring at her.

“What?” said Milly.

“You can’t wear that to the wedding.”

“Why not?”

“You look like you’re going to a funeral.”

“I thought that’s what this was,” said Milly, looking down at her dress and shoes.

“You can’t wear all black, and what’s with the black veil?”

“I got this outfit to wear when she divorces him and we take her out to cheer her up.”

“You are an evil friend,” said Katie.

“That’s why she likes me more than she likes you.”

“You’re the Maid of Honor,” groaned Katie.

“She said we could wear anything we wanted to wear.”

“You’re right,” said Katie.  “Besides, she knows that you’re evil and will do something awful.”

“It’s not a traditional wedding, Katie.  It’s a pre-divorce wedding.”

“I wish I could argue with you, but you’re right.  How do I look?”

“How do you want to look?” asked Milly

“EVIL.  You are truly an EVIL friend.”

“You look beautiful, just like always.  You will outshine the bride.  You do that every single time.”

“I do not,” said Katie, stamping her foot.

“You know she’s only marrying him for the experience of getting married, don’t you.”

“Of course I know that.”

“I don’t think she even likes him,” said Milly. “How could she?  I mean he’s handsome enough, but I don’t think he’s ever read a book.”

Katie laughed.  “She always said she wanted a man who didn’t really speak but simply worshiped at her wonderfulness.”

“She did say that,” snickered Milly.  “Looks like her wish came true.  How long do you think they’ll last?”

“Until after the honeymoon.”

“That long?” asked Milly, surprised.

Katie nodded.

“I’m giving them until after the reception.”

“You might be right.  It’s only pretend, after all.”

“What’s his name, again?”

“It’s DRAKE.  You know it’s DRAKE.”

“Oh, right.  A male duck, or goose of some kind, right?”

“Maybe,” said Katie.  I’m not sure, but it’s something like that.  Ask an ornithologist.”

“So, our swan is marrying a common goose.”

“A bit dramatic,” said Katie, “even for you.”

“I disagree.”

“Of course, you do,” she sighed.

“I guess we should leave, if we don’t want to be any later than we already are,” said Milly.  “I mean, aren’t we supposed to be there to help put flowers in her hair, or something?”

“QUICK,” yelled Katie.  “To the car.  HURRY.  RUN.”

They ran, laughing, jumped into the car and raced to The Garden.

“I like that she’s getting married at The Botanic Garden,” said Milly.  “It will be pretty, and give us something to look at so we don’t start laughing when they say I do.”

“HOLD ON,” shouted Katie, taking a corner.

“Aside from the fact that he’s cute and doesn’t speak, what do you think she sees in him?”

“Maybe he’s a fantastic lover,” chuckled Katie.”

“I doubt it.  She would have told us, if he was.  And she’s had fabulous lovers before and she didn’t marry any of them.  You don’t think she actually loves him, do you?”

“Do be silly.  She’s not like that,” said Katie.  “Besides we made a pact.  She’d never go back on her word.”

“We were ten years old when we made the pact,” said Milly.  I’m not sure doing the bloody pact hand and saying we would always be best friends until death and that we would never marry, or have fewer than three cats, counts any longer.”

“Of course it counts.  Pacts are forever,” said Katie, who slammed on the breaks, watching Milly fly into the dashboard.  “You shouldn’t take your seatbelt off until the car stops moving.  We’re here.  I’m sure someone will have ice to put on your forehead.”

“I think a concussion will make the wedding more interesting.”

“Big baby,” chuckled Katie, looking at the lump forming on Milly’s face.  “How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Who are you and where am I?” swooned Milly.

“NOT funny.

“WELL, FINALLY,” shouted Virgo, running toward them.  “How could you be this late?  What’s WRONG WITH YOU?  I’m getting married in an hour and why are you dressed for a funeral?”

Milly smiled at her.

“Is that your divorce outfit?”

“It is,” said Milly.

“I told her not to wear it,” sighed Katie.  “I said you’d last until after the honeymoon.  She didn’t think you’d make it that long.”

“Sadly, you two are my best friends.  Where did I go wrong?”

“What about our pact?” asked Katie.

“What about it?” said Virgo.

“You’re not planning on breaking it for real, are you?”

“We were ten, in my parents garage, bleeding all over the place.  It looked like a crime scene,” laughed Virgo.

“It was a blood oath,” said Katie.

Virgo looked at Milly.  “Is she serious?”

“She is,” said Milly.  “The pact has always meant everything to her.  You know that.”

They all looked at the scars on their hands.

“Do you love him?” asked Katie.

“I don’t know,” said Virgo, shrugging.

“Does he know about the pact?” said Katie.

“What?” asked Virgo.

“She wants to know if you told the goose guy about our pact,” said Milly.

“Sort of.”

“Sort of?” said Katie.

“I may have mentioned it when he asked about the scar on my hand.”

“He’s a goose,” said Milly  “You’re marrying a bloody GOOSE.”

“Drake is a family name,” said Virgo, but they all burst our laughing.

“She’s named after a constellation,” said Katie.

“It’s my BIRTH sign,” said Virgo.

“We kind of know that,” said Milly, grinning at her.

“Getting back to the pact,” said Katie.  “Stay on task.”

“Right now, the wedding is my task,” said Virgo.  You’re both supposed to help me get ready.”

“You look ready to me,” said Milly.

“I’m wearing a BATHROBE!”

“It looks nice,” said Milly.  “I think everyone will like it.  You may even start a trend.  Besides, you said it was a come as you are, wedding.”

“Let’s get her ready,” said Katie, flatly.

The Botanic Garden had set aside a room for their use.

“I love your dress,” said Milly, sweetly.  “The teal makes your eyes look fabulous.”

“Well, we all know I couldn’t possibly wear white.”

They all laughed again.

“The hippie is marrying you, right?” asked Milly.

“You know he is and he’s not a hippie, he just lives an alternative lifestyle.”

“So, only part of the pact is still true?” asked Katie.

“For the moment,” said Virgo, hugging her friend.

“It’s just that Tommy asked me to marry him a few months ago and I said no, because of the pact, even though I love him.”

There was dead silence in the room.  Milly and Virgo stared at her.

“I thought the pact was real,” whispered Katie.

Virgo sat down on the floor and Milly put her arms around Katie.  “Katie Bear, you never told us.”

“What was there to tell?  I gave my word and my blood to both of you.”

There was a knock on the door.  “Five minutes, Virgo,” said her aunt.

Virgo got to her feet and went to the door.  She opened it and smiled at her aunt.  “Please tell everyone the wedding is off. ”

“What?” asked her aunt, shocked.

“Have the party and let everyone have fun.  Tell Drake I’ll talk to him in a bit.”  Then she closed the door and turned to her friends.

“I love you,” said Virgo.  “The pact stands.  I am renewing my oath.  Friends forever.  Never marry.  Never have fewer than three cats.”

Katie and Milly, repeated their oaths as well.

Virgo removed the diamond stud from her earlobe and used the post to cut a slit in her hand.  Then she passed the earring to the Katie, who cut her hand and passed it to Milly.  They touched palms and said, “BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.”

Drake and Virgo moved into their apartment, with their three cats, Timmy, Toots and Smoke.

Milly and Virgo convinced Katie to contact Tommy and ask if he wanted to move in with her and her four cats.  He did.  As soon as possible.

Milly opened a bar called, THE TRIPLE VOW, which was a smashing success.  The place was full of cats, who laid on the bar getting pets and kisses from patrons.  There was a tiny spot in the back for those who were allergic to them, but no one ever sat there.

All and all, things worked out pretty well.

The thing is, a pact is a pact, no matter when it’s made.  If you truly put your heart and blood into it, then it has to last.

And, tired and worn as the phrase may be, they really did all live happily ever after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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