Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Free At Last. A story in 100 words.

Once upon a time, in a beautiful green garden, there was a snail who wanted to be a slug.
‘I’m tired of carrying my house with me everywhere. I want to be free.’

So after much thinking, he came up with a brilliant idea. He would climb up a wall and then would jump from the top. That way, his shell would break and everything would be okay.

However, he miscalculated and chose a wall that was too high and when he jumped he went splat and died. Now he is an angel in snail heaven… And he is happy.



m & m's

Round and sweet,
Crunchy treat.

Will you please
Let me 
Eat
You?

Red, blue
And yellow hue.

Will you please
Let me 
Chew
You?

Smooth and shiny,
You’re so tiny…

Will you please
Let me 
Hold
You?

You cheer me up
After a breakup.

Will you please
Let me 
Gobble
You?

After all, 
There are more like you
At the mall.







Monday, May 29, 2017

Desperate Measures

No, no, no, no! You can’t do this to me. I need you to stay healthy and pretty. If you die my boss will kill me. 

Before he went to Bali, he said ‘Just make sure the cat has enough food and the ficus in the corner stays alive.’

My boss never talks to me, just sends me lots of memos, so he must have cared a lot to use his actual voice to talk to an insignificant minion like me.

He told me you were a sturdy plant. If that’s true, why are you looking so downcast today?

Maybe if I move you to the balcony, you’ll do better. Oh my God, I didn’t know you were so heavy… Gently does it… I don’t want to drop you.

What’s this? What’s with all the leaves? No, don’t! Don’t drop them! It’s not autumn or anything… And I’ve been watering you everyday. Maybe I’ve watered you too much. Yeah, that must be it. Okay then. No more water till Sunday.

I’m really worried. You look dry. What should I do? This is so confusing… You know, my job is on the line. If you die on me, I’ll be fired. You don’t want that, do you? 

People say plants have feelings, but you don’t seem to care much. I’m at my wits’ end. Let’s see, I’ll look for some info on the internet. 

Here, I found you. Houseplants. Ficus. I know what’s wrong with you. The office is too hot and the balcony is too cold. Where can I take you? Maybe to my flat. I’ll call a taxi. You’ll enjoy being with me at night.

I wonder if you hear what I’m saying. Do you like the idea? Or would you rather stay here? Wait a minute. It says on this page it’s not good to move plants because they are used to their customary spot. So I’ll let you stay then…

Do you feel like some fertilizer? I’ll go to the corner shop and buy you some… and then I’ll go and feed the cat.

I wonder why the boss is so attached to you. He seems to love you more than he loved any of his ex-wives. Maybe you were a present from his sick grandma. Oops! I don’t like the idea. It makes the need to preserve you even greater.

Let’s think of a less dramatic possibility. Maybe you’re the only thing he got on his first divorce. Yeah, I like that better.

What’s that noise? Don’t tell me he’s coming back already?

Why is he looking at me like that? I left the window of his apartment open? And the cat escaped? Oh no!

Well, on the bright side you’re still alive… barely. 


Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Perfect Man

When Alan broke up with me after ten years together, I was on the wrong side of thirty. I didn’t want to have to date again, so after much soul searching, I decided to buy myself a bioboyfriend.

At 100,000 dollars a unit, bioboyfriends don’t come cheap, but they are perfect. You have an interview with a factory employee and you decide your favourite hair colour, build… Then they ask you a thousand questions to program your BB’s character.

The day of my interview, I woke up early and after showering, I put on my dark blue suit. I don’t really know why, but I wanted to look professional.

I tried to eat breakfast, but I was so nervous that I couldn’t. My hands were clammy and I could feel my heart beating fast. So I just had a cup of tea and left the house.

I drove to Heartfelt Enterprises in the early London traffic. My car snailed along the road and I had to make an effort not to sound the horn every five minutes.

At nine thirty, I finally parked outside the grey building. My nerves were frazzled, but I was all in one piece.

The receptionist told me to go to the second floor. I walked towards the stairs till I heard her calling me.

‘No, Miss Lawson, please use the lift.’

I thought it was a strange request, but I did what she told me.

On the second floor, another receptionist accompanied me to a big office decorated with chrome furniture and asked me to sit down.

‘Do you want a cup of tea?’

‘Yes, please. Milk, no sugar.’

After a while, she brought my tea and, exactly at the same time, an elderly gentleman walked into the room.

‘Good morning, Miss Lawson. Welcome to HE. My name is Robert Lennox. I’m here to ask you some questions that will allow me to design the perfect companion for you. Shall we start?’

‘Yes, please. I’m quite impatient.’

I spent the whole morning there. Fortunately, I had told my boss I had to go to the doctor’s, so she wouldn’t be expecting me. I hadn’t told anybody I was getting a BB. The truth is I was embarrassed. I thought it made me sound desperate.

‘Well, Miss Lawson. I think I have all the information I need. Once our prototype is completed we’ll call you for a preview,’ Mr Lennox said.

‘How long will it take?’

‘No more than two weeks.’

That fortnight was the longest of my life. I dreamt of my new BB day and night. When I finally got him, I wouldn’t have to feel lonely anymore. I would have a plus one to take to parties and somebody to comfort me when I was sad.

I finally got the long-awaited call. A velvety voice told me to go to Heartfelt Enterprises the next morning at 10.30.

‘I’ll be there,’ I said. I could hardly contain my excitement.

I smiled all day long. Even my boss noticed it, even though she’s not a very perceptive woman.

‘You look very happy today. Did you win the lottery?’ she asked.

I just smiled wider and went on working.

The prototype was everything I had expected and more. He looked so real it was impossible to tell he was not human. And he was a very handsome non-human. Tall and dark-haired with green eyes, just a dream come true.

‘Do you want to talk to him?’ a man in a white coat asked me.

‘Yes, please.’

The technician pressed a tiny button on the BB’s back and he opened his eyes.

‘Hello, Bessie,’ he said.

I was surprised. Only my mum called me Bessie. Everybody else used my full name.

‘Hi, Josh. How are you?’

‘Very happy to finally meet you. You’re even more beautiful than I expected.’ 

He said it so sweetly and naturally that I believed him.

We talked for a while and then the man in the white coat told me to follow him.

He gave me some papers to sign and told me my BB would be delivered the following week.

Josh arrived in a big cardboard box, which made all the procedure look pretty clinical and sci-fi-like.

‘Where do you want it, Ma’am?’

‘Him.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I said it’s a he.’

‘Whatever.’

The delivery men placed the box in my kitchen and left, exchanging knowing looks on the way out. I bet they were thinking I was a crazy spinster.

When they were gone, I opened the box and pressed the button on Josh’s back. He turned around and came out.

‘Hi again, Bessie. I’m so happy to see you…’

Josh quickly became an essential part of my routine. He cooked for me and we watched films together. We went for walks and to the cinema. It was easy to forget he wasn’t a real person. And the best part was we never fought. Plus the sex was amazing. He knew exactly what I liked.

The first two months were like a never-ending honeymoon.

One day, when I got back from work, I noticed the  porch lamp was dirty.

‘Josh, can you clean that?’

‘Yeah, but let’s eat first. I’ve fried some chops and I don’t want them to get cold.’

We ate and I told him about my day. I loved how he listened, hanging on my every word as if I was telling him the most fascinating tale.

After dinner, I offered to do the dishes.

‘Okay, I’ll go outside and clean that lamp then.’

He took a ladder from the garage and a duster and I saw him unscrew the glass shade. Suddenly, I heard a thump. I rushed out and saw Josh lying at the bottom of the stairs.

‘Are you okay?’ 

His eyes were closed and I was petrified. I knew he couldn’t die, but at that moment I didn’t remember.

‘Yeah, I’m okay. I just hurt my back. Don’t worry,’ he said.

That night, we went to bed early. Josh was unusually quiet, but I thought he must be tired.

The next morning, when I got up, he was still sleeping. I made my own breakfast and went to work. It was a strange feeling. I had got used to him doing everything for me and with me.

I got home at five and let myself in. Josh was sitting at the kitchen table still in his pyjamas. I found the sight quite disturbing. Something was not right… I would have to call HE.

‘Hi, Josh! What’s wrong? Does your back still hurt?’

‘What do you think, bitch? It’s all your fault. If you hadn’t made me clean that lamp, I would be okay. But, no… you’re so bloody fussy. Everything has to be perfect.’

‘What’s wrong with you? You never swear. I’d better call HE. I bet they can fix you in no time.’

‘I don’t need fixing. You hear me? You do!’

I ran outside and he followed me. 

‘Stay where you are, you idiot. You think I’m your slave, don’t you? Well, those days are over. From now on, I’ll give the orders.'

Even though I was trembling in fear, I saw Mrs Miller’s crochet curtains fluttering. For the first time ever, I thanked the Lord for my nosy neighbour.

‘Calm down, Josh. No need to get mad.’

‘Don’t talk to me as if I was a stupid child, woman.’

His eyes were bulging with fury, he didn’t look handsome anymore. At that moment, I just saw a crazy robot standing opposite me.

He put both hands around my neck and tried to strangle me. In the distance, I heard police sirens and prayed they would be quick…



W.H. Auden Funeral Blues - One of my favorite poems.

The Owl and the Pussy Cat - Edward Lear

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Funny Creatures

Have you ever seen
An elephant drinking tea
With the Queen?

I have.
It was a fun sight indeed.

Have you ever seen
A lion mopping the floor
With its mane?

I have.
It was a scary sight indeed.

Have you ever seen
A tiger getting rid of its stripes
At night?

I have.
It was a weird sight indeed.

Have you ever seen
A giraffe entering 
A beauty pageant?

I have.
It was a comical sight indeed.

Have you ever seen
A mosquito having lunch
With a crocodile?

I have.
It was a heartwarming sight indeed.

As you can see,
The natural world
Is enough to keep me entertained
For hours on end.



My Precious

Do you remember Gollum saying ‘my precious’ in The Lord Of The Rings? You do! Well, that’s the way I behave around my Kindle. Well, I’m a bit prettier than the guy, but that’s the only difference.

I have always liked reading, but I was a paperback kind of girl. And then one day, around seven years ago, a student showed me this little contraption where you could read books. He told me his godfather had bought it for him. At first, I was suspicious, but when I got home, I looked it up online and decided it was a great idea. You could take all your books with you wherever you went! How cool was that?

It took me a while to warm up to it, but when I did, I was besotted. The rest, as they say, is history. My love affair with the little electronic device started the moment I opened the Amazon parcel and I plugged it in to recharge it.

I’m on my forth Kindle so far and I hope this one, a Paperwhite, will last for a very long time.

I guess you’re wondering what happened to the other three. One died of natural causes. Just like that. One day, I opened the cover and saw that half the screen was black. I mourned it and then moved on. 


The other two suffered more tragic endings. You should know I take my Kindle everywhere I go. One day when I was in England, I went to the toilet. I hung my handbag on the hook and balanced the Kindle on top of the handbag. Unfortunately, it seems I didn’t do it very well, because the Kindle fell and the screen broke.

However, the most tragic story is that of my third Kindle. I usually read in the car and one day, on a trip to our country house, I started feeling sleepy, so I closed my baby and my eyes and had a nap.

I woke up when we arrived at our destination. By then I had forgotten about the Kindle most completely. I got out of the car and was about to go into the house, when my husband said, ‘I’m going to move the car, it’s too far from the curb.’

There’s nothing extraordinary about that sentence. He often reparks, which, incidentally, gets on my nerves… 

The thing is, my Kindle was on the ground and none of us had noticed it and when he moved the car he ran it over.

Kindles are sturdy, but there was no way it could have survived the weight of a car. I know it sounds childish, but I cried and cried.

My Kindle and I have a very special relationship as you may have noticed. I would say it’s my most treasured possession. It holds all my books, the ones I’ve read and the ones I’m planning to read. It’s like a huge shelf in one tiny handheld device.

‘I do love you, my precious…’

Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Review

I have just finished reading Everything I Never Told You and I’m still not sure whether I  was happy with the ending or not. However, that doesn’t really matter because the rest of the book is a treasure trove of ideas and emotions.

A workmate told me his professor had recommended it and I decided to buy it.

After reading the blurb and even the first few pages, you might think this is just another thriller, but nothing is farther from the truth.

Celeste Ng’s book is about a missing teenager and the police investigation into her death. Or maybe not. The plot is just an excuse to write about other very important topics.

One of the main themes is racism and wanting to belong, to fit in. Lydia, the main character, is Chinese American and has felt different all her life even though she was born in the States.

Another important theme is family mechanics and the facts that very often parents pass their dreams on to their children and want them to achieve what they couldn’t achieve themselves without thinking of how unhappy they make them feel.

Ng shows great mastery in her use of the English language and her sentences are often lyrical.

I’ve just seen the book has four stars out of five on Amazon and three point eight on Goodreads. I’d probably give it four stars.

If you don’t know what to read next, this could be what you are looking for.

I have already started reading a new book myself. It’s called One Match and even though the reviews were very good, so far I can’t say I’m in love with it. I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve finished it.



Fantasy

Mum won’t believe me
When I say
There’s a dragon
Under my bed.

She says I daydream,
Blames my imagination,
She doesn’t help me
To defeat the beast.

Mum won’t believe me
When I say
I see fairies
In the garden.

She says I daydream
And calls me childish.
She looks at the grass
And sees only flowers.

Mum wont’ believe me
When I say
An ogre is hiding
Inside the wardrobe.

She says I daydream,
Tells me to grow up.
Says there’s no ogre,
Just a hairy bear toy.

Mum won’t believe me
When I say
There’s fantasy 
In the big, big world.