Friday, 31 May 2013

The Flight Of The Geese

She stood staring at the sky and with one deep breath the arctic air slashed the back of her windpipe.
She had almost to close her eyes to see their forms in the upper field as the sun seared the earth.

The wild geese had been there for days, nestled in the higher ground, feeding from the tilled soil and waiting – just waiting.
Every year they came and every year their presence caused a stirring in her heart. She felt right again. She felt needed.

She painted pictures of them as they fed in the field, she sketched their flight and sometimes she just smiled. She listened to their cries and more than once she was sure they called her name.
The geese swept in formation over her house and bestowed upon her a victory wave as she lay in bed, grasping her bedcover whilst looking from her window.



On the morning that she never woke again, the geese prepared themselves to take to the skies; to head home and to carry another soul to that resting place  in the far, far north.


They had gotten what they had come for.

bobby stevenson 2013

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Breath Taking

                                                                 photo    http://www.manualmode.ca/    with thanks.

....if she had looked up at that moment, his nurse would have seen his toes moving in waltz time to a tune that only he could hear. Through the willow window he could see the stars and the Moon and he remembered how, as a child, he would lie on his back and be overwhelmed by the wonder at it all. But now he was old and almost finished and yet he still could conjure a picture in his head of him  at seventeen dancing to the Blue Danube. And that was his final thought before life finally took him back. If there was a God, and he felt sure that there was, then the music was some part of God - a sliver that rippled across the universe, an echo of God’s love, and to the man this was greater than all the wonders of the world. But if there was no god, then the waltz was written by an ape that had only recently walked upright and had created these notes while it cried to the stars: and that, to him, was just as breath taking..... 





bobby stevenson 2013 
thoughtcontrol ltd


This Photo Still Ain't Lying

You’re going to tell me it must have been the heat, what with all that wavy-air and all - that I must have been making it up. Photos don’t lie, okay they lie sometimes, like when Aunt Zelda got all her spots and lines removed from her face but most times photos tell it just the way it is.

I swear to you, on a whole stack of bibles and pancakes (anyone who knows me, knows I don’t lie when I swear on pancakes) that the photo I’m showing you here , is THE genuine photo that I took all by myself. And before you all ask, no I wasn’t drunk, I don’t drink nuthin’ alcoholic on the account that I’m fourteen years of age.

I, Samuel T. Walters, do solemnly swear on a stack of pancakes with Canadian syrup on top – that the photo here is the truth, the whole truth and nuthin’ but the truth...so help me....and all the rest.

I tell you one thing for nuthin’, it ain’t a cat or a dog (that was Mrs Sulliven’s suggestion when I showed her the photo) but she can’t see too good, as some days she thinks I’m Molly Schwartz from across the street: which doesn’t say too much about either Molly or me.

So what do you want me to say? That I made it all up? That’s it’s a fake? Well I ain’t, ‘cause I know it’s the truth. Buster pinned me to the sidewalk and tried to twist my ear until I admitted it was all made up. I didn’t even when my ear started making funny ringing noises. I think Buster is just scared of things he don’t understand. ‘Cause everthin’ he don’t understand he beats up or twists their ears. I think he don’t understand lots of things.

So you look at the photo and tell me you know what it is, and if I see ya in the House of Pancakes we can talk some more...don’t forget the syrup.



bobby stevenson 2013
thoughtcontrol ltd

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

HOPE





H old    
O n,
P ain
E nds
     
H ave
O nly
P ositive
E xpectations

H appiness
O utlives
P eople’s
E rrors

H elp
O ne
P erson
E njoy

H ope
O neday,
P repare
E veryday

H old
O n,
P ain
E nds





bobby stevenson 2013
 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

All The Good Things


She got up that morning - wondering,
About all the things that made her sad
And all the things that made her mad
She put them in a big black hat,
Counting…one…two…three….

Then she saw her child
And saw her friends and the love that
She knew would never end,
And she put them in a big white hat,
Counting…one…two…three..

And when she stood and looked at that
The good, the bad and the big tall hat
There were more of all the good things there,
And she had to smile at that. 




bobby stevenson 2013 
thoughtcontrol ltd


Take A Spin In Your Life Today



Take a spin in your life today
Try it out for size
You’ve had it locked away too long
Always thinking it would never fit
Or seem too old

Take a spin in your life today
And let the world see it for all its worth
It’s not as worn as you think it is
Or as sad as you tell them all it is.

Take a spin in your life today
Try it out for size
It was a gift that you put away for later
And as we all know too soon,
Later never arrives.

Take a spin in your life today
And drive it for all its worth.



bobby stevenson 2013

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The House


Apart from an occasional family of coyotes, no one lives there any more.

Leastways, not since Silas found his mother cold as ice in her bed that Thanksgiving. After they’d put her in the ground, he took the last of the money from the ginger jar and headed to the Panhandle to look up Sara, his sweetheart.

Don’t let the way it looks fool you. You might go riding by one Sunday and see the house and think it wasn’t much cared for, but that just ain’t the truth. It was a house built and filled with love and like many things in this life, it had its time and its place. It had been made for the time of the Mulligans and nothing else. That’s the way some things just work out.

Grandpa Mulligan had come from Ireland by way of New York City. He found that he couldn’t take to a place with those new fangled electrical lights. It wasn’t natural and it wasn’t him. He wanted to look at the sky and see it the way God had intended. So he travelled as far west as his money would take him, except for the little bit he’d put aside to buy some land. The scrub he bought wasn’t the best of farming land but it was good enough to raise horses and that is what he knew and that was what he was good at.

Soon Grandpa had a little business going on in town. The railroad still hadn’t hit Fort Augustus yet, so Grandpa was looking after the stagecoach, Calvary and mail horses. He needed a person back in the office to take care of things, keep the books and count the money. When he advertised in the local paper, he didn’t reckon on a woman coming all the way from the north for the job. This turned out to be Grandma. When a twenty-nine year old half Cherokee beauty presented her self at the stables, my Grandpa ‘just went stone crazy’.

“I had married your Grandma by the end of that year. Sweetest woman I ever knew.”

There were some in the town who didn’t take to a white man marrying a half and half but then in this life you’ll find folks who don’t take to much - everywhere you go. Grandpa always said, “some people have to do what they have to do, don’t mean they’re right and it don’t mean they’re wrong.”

I was never sure if he was referring to himself or the folks who crossed the street when he and my Grandma walked through town.

My mother was the first born, and when she arrived, my Grandpa made a promise that they’d have a big house on the prairie. He built that place at night and at weekends. He didn’t get much help since the pastor had told the town’s folk that anyone helping a Cherokee lover was a sinner in his eyes. I guess the pastor had to do what he had to do.

My Grandpa’s friend Pete - who gave no heed to whom a man married - helped him build the house and it was finished by the following spring. By then my mother had been joined by her twin brothers.

All in all, the house grew by seven kids: two girls and five boys. My grandpa called his first boy, Pete, after his pal and the other twin he called Sean. After his own brother who had died in the famine back in Ireland. He always said that he would carry Sean’s spirit around with him as they had promised each other when they were boys that they’d go to the United States of America together.

Pete used to sit out on the porch with my Grandpa and tell stories to my Pa about his time in the Civil War.

“Brother against brother, it wasn’t right. Won’t be fixed for a long time. South don’t trust the north and north don’t trust the south.”

Then he’d take a long puff of his clay pipe.

My Grandpa being my Grandpa didn’t take well to the motor car when it showed up in town. Sure they were still using horses but I think my Grandma could see the writing on the wall and told him to hand the business over to the boys. It was a new century and the world was changing mighty fast. My Grandpa still shoed an odd horse here and there, but for all things my Grandpa had retired.

“I ain’t retired,” he would tell folks. “We’re just making time  to see this beautiful country.”

He’d been to the Chicago World’s Fair when he was younger and he still had a drawing on the wall of it. But he’d promised my Grandma that he’d take her to New York City where the ladies dressed in finery and where folks didn’t care if you were half Cherokee or not.

It was in New York that Grandpa met the only other pal, he had. He was known in the family as The Colonel. No one ever explained why he was called that but everyone took to him and his greatest asset was that he had an aeroplane. It hadn’t been long since the Wright Brothers had flown along Kitty Hawk but The Colonel had found out about it and got himself one.

Soon he was flying from town to town and performing little acrobatics for folks who had never seen such magic. When The Colonel first came with my grandparents back to town, the pastor had tried to tell everyone that it was the work of the devil.

“Only Angels fly,” he said, “If God had meant us to fly, we too would have had wings.”

But by this time the town’s folk had grown tired of the pastor and his sermonising and had decided that flying was a good thing.  It was my father who had really taken to it. He would never leave The Colonel’s side when he was in town. As a thank you, The Colonel would take him up in the aeroplane. When my father was fifteen he tried to build his own ‘plane but it crashed into the barn and he broke his arm and leg.

But let me go right back to the beginning when my Grandpa was living where the house is now, but back then he was squatting in a big tent. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, the wild animals would come in and steal his food, but most ways he was really happy. He would tend to the horses in town during the day and at night he’d sit by a big fire and sketch the house he was going to build for his family.
When he had a family - that was.
When he’d meant the right woman – that is.

Yet he didn’t have any doubt that he’d meet the right woman someday and when my Grandma came along, he knew instantly that this was the soul that he was to spend his life.

She lived in town and although she would have thought nothing of living with my Grandpa in the tent where the house was to be built, she felt that she would give the town’s people as little to talk about as possible. So she lived in a little room above the stables on Sycamore Street. 

One day when the summer spirits had flown, a man came from the north: a Cherokee, looking for his kinsfolk. His sister had run away and the stories were being told in his tribe that she had taken up with a white man.

“I ain’t a white man, I’m Irish,” said my Grandpa.

But the Cherokee insisted that if his ancestors were not to be angered, she had to return with him to the lands in the north. What the Cherokee didn’t realise was that he was fighting a harder battle, for my grandparents were in love and nothing was going to keep them apart.

“What you cannot trap, you cannot change,” said my Grandma to her brother.

So her brother  realised that he was losing the battle and backed down. He said he would be on his way in the morning and my grandparents seemed happy with that state of affairs. But the Cherokee rose early and on his way through town he woke my Grandma and forced her to come with him. He tied her hands and her mouth in case she had any ideas about screaming.

By the time that my Grandpa realised that the Cherokee had suckered him they were a long way away. That wasn’t going to stop him trying to get his love back because he could not change the way he felt and with all his heart he loved her.

The Cherokee rode with himself and his sister on the one horse and was over the Mountains of The Ancestors by the second day. That night my Grandpa pitched up in a peak overlooking the Lost Valley below. He could see the fire that warmed my Grandma, but those folks were a day’s ride away. 

On the third day, at Sam’s Point (so called because an Englishman jumped and survived from there, when he was escaping the ‘savages’) my Grandpa caught up with the Cherokee and the woman he loved.

The Cherokee made it plain that he was under orders from the ancients to bring his sister back to her family. My Grandpa said he was her family now and that she wanted to return home with him.

There was a legend in that area at that time of a bear called ‘Satchmo’. The biggest goddamn bear that side of the mountains; to most it was only a story. That is, until that day when it showed up to the party.

My Grandpa shouted that the bear was behind the Cherokee but until he smelt him, he didn’t believe that the white man was telling the truth. As the Cherokee turned Satchmo made a swipe at the man and my Grandpa seeing the trouble they were in, made my Grandma hide in the trees. He then got the biggest tree branch he could carry and started to stab at the bear. It looked as if the Cherokee’s days on Earth were numbered, until my Grandpa stabbed the bear right in the eye. It howled and roared and probably said a few cussin’ words in bear talk.

My Grandpa dragged away the Cherokee while the bear got its act together.
My Grandpa then went looking for my Grandma to see that she was all right, and she was - just a little scared of Satchmo; but then, who wouldn’t be?

My grandparents hugged and kissed and just then Satchmo made a run for the two of them. The Cherokee saw what was going to happen and started shouting at the bear to distract him and the bear took the bait and started after the Cherokee.

Her brother realised the only way to save his sister was to tempt the bear to edge of Sam’s Point and hopefully push him over. But that never happened, the Cherokee got trapped at Sam’s Point and decided that if my grandparents were to live, then he must force the bear to jump with him.

And that is what he did. No one knows if he survived the jump. When my grandparents went down the mountain, all they found was Satchmo, as dead as any bear could be. There was no sign of my great uncle, because that is what the Cherokee was – my family.

He was a Cherokee, as am I.

No one else came from the north to look for my Grandma after that.

Did I tell you? I still miss her.




bobby stevenson 2013 
thoughtcontrol ltd


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Electrifying The Heavens


I think I knew it was him, just from the way he stood
The sun was at his back as he quietly walked down the stairs
The toes slightly facing in and his gait shifted forwards.
The sun caught the dust dancing in eddies and whirlpools of light but I could see that the head was up and looking straight forward.

That’s what confused me at first.
As I got nearer I could see him grinning - then I was certain.
Perhaps he didn’t recognise me but surely he must have known.
I said “Hello” and he stopped and talked – not long, but long enough.

He told me that he’d started to live and I could see there was hope hanging in his eyes.
I told him he looked happy and he said he was.
He leaned forward and whispered in my ear. He said that these tough times had a reason; it meant the stories and ideas would be forged from a harder steel – my writing would electrify the heavens, one day, you’ll see.
I shook his hand and wished him well then waved goodbye but by then he had already turned a corner, as I must.

Conversations on a stair with my future self -
I smiled at what was to come.




bobby stevenson 2013
thoughtcontrol ltd

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Last Dinosaur & Frankie and Dino


The Last Dinosaur

We lay hidden on the moon downs, covered by the dust that was as old as time itself.
We could hear them, baying at the skies and confused at their lives and their place within it.
For once upon a time they had been rulers of this world. Once they had had the power to destroy, to maim, to kill, to hate.
And as their sun waned and grew dark, they could not change.
They could not make themselves hate any less. They did not understand why the world had changed and left them behind.
Or why their Gods had forsaken them.
And as we heard the last dinosaur fall and hit the ground, I squeezed your hand and we wept. 


Frankie And Dino

a quick 2 minute excerpt from a children's animation for US.






A couple of pages out of a script written for a US kids animation


EXT.DINOCAVE. DAY

DINO (pronounced Deeno) the young dinosaur is watching his
father (his hero), FRANKIE brushing his hair in the mirror.
Dad likes what he sees.
Next to the mirror is a photo of a dinosaur who resembles
Dean Martin.

FRANKIE
Did I ever tell you how your mom
and I came to name you, Dino?

DINO
(to himself)
Yes, dad it ...

FRANKIE
It was after that great dinosaur
singer, Dean Martinsaurus.

FRANKIE gives the photo a polish while he starts to SING.
DINO covers his ears.

FRANKIE (CONT’D)
When the moon hits your eye like
a Jurassic sky, that’s
Dinosauria”

With the singing over, DINO takes his paws away from his
ears.

FRANKIE (CONT’D)
Ain’t you excited? Heck! I know I
am. Me and my son in our first
trek into...
(Frankie sings this bit)
ta..ta. ta.ta..the Unknown
Forest”

FRANKIE looks at DINO.

FRANKIE (CONT’D)
Ain’t you even the slightest bit
excited?

DINO
Sure, dad but why do they call it
the Unknown Forest?

FRANKIE
It’s not the (Frankie uses rabbit
ears quotation marks with his
fingers) “Unknown Forest”. It’s
the
(Frankie starts to sing
this bit again)
ta..ta. ta.ta..the Unknown
Forest”

DINO
But why, dad?

FRANKIE
Because, it’s unknown and it’s a
forest.

DINO
But fathers and sons go there
every year. Don’t they know it
even a little bit by now?

FRANKIE
Dino, it’s not good to ask too
many questions.

DINO
That’s not what my teacher says.

FRANKIE
She’s doesn’t know what she’s
talking about, she’s just a
Microraptor.

DINO
She’s smart.

FRANKIE
She’s small. Small raptor, small
brain.

DINO
She says you’re the smartest man
in Dinosauria.

FRANKIE
She said that?

DINO
Sure did, dad.

FRANKIE
You must introduce me next time.

FRANKIE looks back at the mirror and GROWLS at what he
sees.

FRANKIE (CONT’D)
You monster!

FRANKIE winks at his reflection.




EXT.ON THE WAY TO THE UNKNOWN FOREST

DINO and FRANKIE are trudging along a path.

DINO
Are we there yet?

FRANKIE
We’ve only just left.

DINO
So we’re not there yet?

FRANKIE
No. Patience, my son.

DINO
Are we there yet?

FRANKIE
Can’t you do something? What about Eye-Spy?

DINO
Dad, that is so last ice age.

FRANKIE
Well what about that thing you’re carrying?

DINO
Oh, okay dad.

DINO takes a large shell he’s been carrying and puts it to his ear. DINO seems pleased.

FRANKIE
So what is that thing?

DINO
It’s a SyPod, dad. You can hear the sea. All the kids have got one.

FRANKIE walks on totally amazed.
FRANKIE
What will they think of next? Jeez...










Bobby @ AMAZON.COM                                               Bobby @ AMAZON CO UK
 



bobby stevenson 2013    

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Choking On Your Words & Bruises

Bruises

You knew all this,
You even let it become a part of you,
“Who me? A bully? I don’t think so, friend. Not I.”
But yet, you knew it all the same,
That words don’t ever leave bruises,
And that is what you’ve counted on,
All your life.
 

Choking On Your Words

When they found him, His face, it wore a perfect smile,
No troubles etched upon his brow.
The cause of death,
Was hard to say,
He’d smiled just once,
Just once he smiled
And then his eye-shine and soul
Went on their way.

 
They cut him up to find the cause,
And there they were,
In stomach, blood,
And in his brain,
He’d choked on all the words inside
All the words he’d tried to hide.
He kept each one -
Instead of spitting all them out,
They killed him in the end.





bobby stevenson 2013 


Bobby @ AMAZON.COM                                               Bobby @ AMAZON CO UK
 

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Some Stories About Thing


That day Thing wasn’t sure how he felt and if he had had someone to talk to, he might have asked them if they had days like that too. 

Before his mother had gone off to the hospital and never returned (although he still hoped that she would), she had told him to be happy, regardless of what people said to him. As long as you are happy they can’t destroy you.

Thing had never done anything wrong to anyone that he could think of, but that hadn’t stopped the kids in school throwing things at him and calling him names.
 

It had taken him a time before he’d told his mother what had been happening in school.
“Is it because I don’t look like them?” He asked her.
She told Thing to sit beside her and she gave him a hug.
 

She told him that the universe was truly a beautiful place and all hearts were born unblemished. But for whatever reason, hearts got tainted by thoughts, or deeds, or painted strange colours by those who should know better. She told Thing that his heart was truly untainted and therefore, the others would pick on him because he showed them what they had been once – kind.
 

After that, Thing would always remember his heart was unblemished. It wasn’t the other kids faults that some of their hearts had been painted black.
One day at the end of all this when his time in this great universe was over, he would realise that everyone that he had met - no matter how good or bad they were - had been put in his path for a reason.

Thing realised that he was actually happy today and that that was the kind of day he was going to have.

It didn’t matter that his mother hadn’t returned from the hospital yet because she lived on in his heart and that was good enough for him. 



BIRTHDAY
The only time that Thing would ever make it down to the town was on the day of his birthday. His mother had marked this special day on the calendar and so every year he would tick the days off until his birthday came around again. 
However, if truth was told, it was the same old calendar he used year in, year out and so what day his real birthday was on had disappeared into the mists of time.

When he was younger, his youthful energy and bravery had made him walk up to the others and invite them to his birthday party. Some said no, some said yes, and some just ran away.

Thing didn’t take this as being offensive as he understood that people didn’t know what to say to him and so they just ran off. What did disappoint him was the fact that very few actually showed up for the party ; after he had told his parents that there were many who had said yes, so they would buy in all the food and lay the table for a score of people.

But when only one or two showed their faces, his parents would be silent for a while, wipe away a tear then slap a big smile on their faces.

“Oh well, we can just have a treat for a few more days,” was what his father said.

“That’s exactly right, husband,” said his mother.

And that’s just what they did - they would spend the next few days eating the cakes and chocolate. The ones who had bothered to turn up thought that it was one of the best parties they had ever attended.

Now that Thing was on his own, at least for the time being, he thought it only right and proper that on his birthday he should head down the mountain side, cross the creek and hitch to town.

He knew he was near town when he would hear doors being slammed shut, but he guessed that it was such a cold night that folks wouldn’t want the heat getting out of their house.

At the far end of Dewson Street stood a small sad café that was very rarely used by the good and the great of the town. So on his birthday, Thing always made it his business to celebrate his party in that small and sad café.

Frederick, the café owner, looked forward to Thing and his party as once a year the café would have a smile on its face again and the room would be alive with laughter and music.

Now that Thing was older, he was not so brave and youthful, so he didn’t bother to ask people to his party. Instead he would set up a table in the café with all the sweetest things in the world and hope that people would come to him.

Some times there was only Thing and Fredrick sitting at the table while a thousand noses were pressed against the outside window looking in. When Thing went to the door to invite them in, they would all scream and run away.

This year Thing decided on a different tactic and wrote invitations, by name, to everyone in town inviting them to the café at 6pm for cake and chocolate.

Some ripped their invites up there and then, and told everyone who would listen that they weren’t going to mix with a freak like that Thing.  Some said politely that they couldn’t make it, but emphasised how sorry they were.

And some just walked right through the door and sat down and got stuck into the cakes.

And it was because of those people that Thing sat with the biggest smile on his face the whole night.


SNOW

Sometimes Thing grew suspicious of situations. Not often, but enough to get him worried. Take snow for instance - to him it seemed as if the Great Thing in the sky was trying to cover up its mistakes. Snow made everything look neat and tidy.

It was the way that Thing used to clean up his part of the cave when his parents got fed up with the mess. Thing would just gather up all the stuff that was lying around and throw it to the back of the cave.

Everything looked so much better after that. Except his family knew Thing too well, and they would gather his stuff, throw it out of the cave and tell him to put it all back in a proper order.

And it was the snow that gave Thing the strangest idea he had had in a long time. Sometimes he grew tired of people moving away from him or crossing the street as he approached to say hello. 

Why did people have to behave that way? Why did people think that different looking meant an ugly heart? Why did people think that beauty meant a good heart?

So Thing went into his parent’s room and found his mother’s makeup and just like the snow, Thing thought that perhaps covering up his face with makeup would make the people stop crossing over and perhaps believe that he really did have a good heart.

Thing put on white creams, and red lines, and black dust and then he looked in the mirror. He was more like People now, than before the onslaught of his face. Satisfied, Thing decided to take a trip down the mountainside, across the Creek and walk into town.

Two drunken guys waved over to him, “Hey, ain’t that Bert?” One of them shouted.

“Hi, Bert.”

So Thing waved back. That was the first time that someone had waved to him in the longest of times.

If someone had been standing close to Thing, they would have seen through all the cream and the red and the black, a smile that also included a twinkle in his eyes.

Thing then walked through a little market in the middle of town and folks either smiled or ignored him, but what they didn’t do was run or pull their children to their sides then hurry off.

Just as thing crossed the Town Square, he saw a little creature, not a Thing, or a People but something else; folks grabbed their children and crossed the road to avoid the poor little creature.

Thing walked over to say ‘Hi’ but the creature looked at Thing and saw a People rather than a Thing and ran into the shadows. The little creature had been attacked by that kind in the past and didn’t like to hang around and be hurt.

Thing couldn’t understand why he was accepted by People now but shunned by another shadow dweller.

Then Thing caught his own reflection in the window and realised that he had lost an opportunity to have a friend because he had tried to be something he wasn’t.

The makeup was only skin deep and People had been too ready to accept it, but he’d lost a pal in the process.

Thing washed the ‘snow’ from his face and wandered back home.

CHANGED DAYS

Thing was trying to remember when it all changed between the Creek boys at the bottom of the hill and himself. It was probably something to do with that snowball.

In the hot sultry days of summer, Thing and his gang of kids played at the Creek almost every day. In the winter they slid down the mountain snow in races of two or three. Old boxes where used for sitting in and Thing remembers it was the fastest he ever went in his life.

Then around about the time that Jimmy Jones got a new dad the situation began to change. Thing remembered Jimmy calling him ‘a freak’ under his breath. He was never really sure at first but Thing later heard Jimmy telling the other guys the same word and all of them stopped talking when Thing got up beside them.

Then there was a snowball fight and he was sure it wasn’t Jimmy Jones, or Robert, or Pete who threw it but whoever threw it, it hurt really bad. Thing felt a thud on the side of his head, then he saw stars and when he looked down there was red blood dripping on the snow. One of his friends had put a rock inside the snowball and it had walloped him.


Thing was wondering why someone would do that as he sadly walked back up home. Jimmy shouted to the rest of the gang that who ever did that should own up, but no one ever did.

Thing’s mother asked him what had happened and it was then he did a stupid thing. He lied. He told her that he’d slipped during one of the races and she told him he had to be more careful in future. But that lie was a biggie, because it was the first time he had ever done it to his family and he’d done it to hide the shame of what had happened – not that he fully understood it, himself.


Then life got cold between them. Not between members of the gang, you understand; just between the boys and Thing. They had spent their early years in and out of each others’ houses, having sleepovers, laughing and crying and hollering at life then all this happened. 

Thing was sitting by the Creek one Saturday morning when the guys passed on the other side. Thing stood and shouted but they didn’t seem to hear him. Then he noticed that they were all off on a fishing trip with Jimmy Jones’ new dad. Jimmy saw Thing was about to wave when Jimmy’s new dad got them all in a circle and whispered something and they all laughed. Jimmy walked on without looking back at Thing.

Thing’s Grandma had told him that it was true what they said about sticks and stones breaking bones but words can never hurt. She said that when she was bullied in school she used to take the names they called her and she would turn them into something beautiful. So the next time that Thing was called a Freak – he took each letter and made it into something good:  Fantastic Rock ‘n’ Roll    Exciting And Knowledgeable. Okay Thing admitted he wasn’t Shakespeare and it didn’t kill the pain but it helped a little.

He still couldn’t tell his mother about the name-calling as he knew it would hurt her. He thought about telling the teacher but she always looked so busy, so every time a note landed on his desk with the word ‘Freak’ written on it he would smile, think about what FREAK meant and feel at peace.

Sometime in the autumn the police took Jimmy Jones’ new dad away for beating up the Chinese man next door. Jimmy never mentioned him again and things kind of went back to normal. The boys started playing with Thing again and there were more races down the mountainside but something deep inside Thing had changed. He saw that it didn’t take people much to turn on one another and that stopped him smiling sometimes.

No one ever put a stone in a snowball again but somehow it was always there.

THE SONG

Thing was never going to sing at the Paris Opera but that wasn’t the point; he sang because he liked it. It made him happy. Thing’s father was always whistling a tune and he did it so often that most times he didn’t seem to notice. 

“What’s that tune?” Thing would ask.
“Heck, if I know,” said his dad.

Thing's mother would also ‘tut’ at that point because she didn’t think that folks should say ‘heck’.

Thing’s father had told him that the Great Thing in the sky probably put a tune in everyone’s heart when they were born and that was the tune they worked by all their lives. It was the one they sang when they were scared, or happy, or in love, or sad or just because they felt like it.

Thing had a song about jumping as high as the clouds and on those days when he was blue or later on when he missed his parents, he would shout it out as loud as he could all around the cave and do you know what? He felt a whole lot better.

Sometimes in town he would sing the song real quite like so the he didn’t feel so alone.Some sunny days in spring, folks would bring their geetars down to the town square and they’d sing about this and that and the other. Big one and small ones would stand and listen and join in -, if the feeling took them. It left everyone humming tunes as they walked home.

Thing wished he could sing just one song that would make folks happy and have them all whistling tunes and perhaps they would stand around and join in.
One day at school his teacher asked each person in the class to stand and do something special, tell a joke, perform a card trick, tell about their grandma – anything that was a little unique to them.
Thing listened in awe at the folks in his class, he laughed, he cried, he applauded and he hollered when the person deserved it -  although as Mrs Hills said, ‘hollering was for outside’.
Then it was Thing’s turn and he stood and he sang his jumping song. I think it was Casey Briggs who shouted ‘What cha call that? A thong? He ain’t singing he’s thinging’ and most of the folks in the class began to laugh. Mrs Hills clapped her hands, thanked Thing and asked him to sit again.

For a long time after and a long time after that, folks would shout across the street at him about ‘Thing the thinger who sings thongs’. Now I ain’t telling you this story about Thing so you’ll feel sorry and all – Thing wasn’t like that -  Thing had a song in his heart which had been placed there by the Great Thing in the sky the day he was born and it was his duty to sing the song if it made him happy.

Thing once asked his Dad, when he’d had a bad day with the folks in school, if maybe the problem was that we all had different songs in our hearts and that some folks didn’t want to listen or couldn’t hear the other folks’ tunes.

“Heck, you just might be right there, little ‘un’,” said his dad.
His mother gave out another ‘tut’ because of that word being used again.

Thing realised that the way he heard his song was probably not the way the other folks heard it. It didn’t mean anyone was wrong or right. It was just that a tune is a tune and only really exists to make you happy. If the others don’t like your tune then you should just sing it to yourself.

So you’re already packing up this story and thinking we’ve arrived at the end of it - but you’d be wrong.
One day when Thing was sitting at the door of his cave, some horses were grazing nearby and just at that point Thing felt the need to sing the tune he’d been given.

One by one the horses came over and stood and listened and shook their heads, they way horses do, and then they rubbed their heads against Thing as a way of thanking him.

You see, you couldn’t make everyone like your song - that wasn’t why you had been given it - but sometimes when you least expected it your song might seep into someone else’s heart and make them feel a whole lot better .

Thing decided you should never let anyone stop you singing your song and never ever change it or you just might miss a friend who likes your tune.



...more stories in The Heart Academy  on Amazon (Free Download until 13th May)

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