The Glacial Erratic
She was a sauced and sexy little flapper, always attention getting and quick with the tongue. She terrified and fascinated every straight man who kept her company. On that particular night she was precocious, playful and bitchy – in need of a dull corner to place her nose and reflect. Her Louise Brook’s bob was a mess, her dress straps indolent, her jabs more capricious than usual. Her date hadn’t known that he would be wrestling an eel to swipe a kiss; his cheeks were roseated from corrections. The only reply he received to his advances was,”No!” in the tone a familiar bitch delivers when she’s being deliberately mean. Of course, she was in no danger of anything except for being left at the party to con another opportunist for a lift when her date grew bored of her shit. Around the time he approached making that decision she turned flirty and indicated wearing clothes no longer interested her. She tore out of the country-house, across a field to a lake. The man unhooked his cufflinks in preparation while shuffling to overtake a promise and get dirty doing it. She immodestly swore she wanted the stars to watch. He couldn’t care less who did.Near the pebble beach of the lake, in a copse of trees, stood a massive boulder, a glacial erratic gently set there by ice when the world was a different place- a place where no flapper had never twitched a hip. Well, they were here now, the country house sweated them, a patternless effulgence seeping into midnight with a swell of Victrola trumpets and Chinese fog sulferously tingeing of celebration. The year just turned minutes ago and everyone was drunk; drunk, a little rich and incorrigibly young. The Erratic was a template of indifference rising several feet above the field, he’d seen it all, maybe set to different music but the dancers were identical – even the girl who was now without her stockings and struggling to ditch the dress that kept her legs together. She cooed, whistled and hiccupped, then leaned her back against the Erratic as she demoted her rhinestoned sleeve of a dress to a wide belt revealing her nudity – a lithic vertical of swirling quartz.
The “suitor” knelt to inhale her scent. She extended her arm to clutch the Erratic and discovered a nice, angular recession. It was the chiseled edge of a door frame satisfyingly formed and highly adequate to grab for balance when the dandy in her lap began to screw her. She tilted her eyes in pleasured disbelief and never considered the oddness of a door being in the face of the boulder. Even when approaching she was oblivious to its hundreds of pounds of iron and hewn wood. As the man stood, undoing his trousers, the door noiselessly swung open to a hallway of living rock with dimensions implausibly beyond those the Erratic could contain. Something or someone stepped to the entrance, sighed and shook a little bell…. The girl and her dandy were pulled into the dark passage. As she emitted her final execrations the door drifted closed and metamorphosed into a sheet of dense vines.
Many days later her stockings and shoes were discovered high in the branches of a shading birch tree; those and nothing more.
The Secret Little Mess
A very long time ago there was a village of cruel, nasty people. So cruel and nasty were they that the rest of the earldom let them be, seldom interfering from disgust for their ways. Although anyone who wasn’t cruel and nasty could leave and go to a kinder village, the children were stuck right where they were until they either grew up cruel and nasty or grew up and left. One such child, a girl named Shush, found herself in quite a predicament when she listened to her cruel and nasty Mama and did what she was told to like a good little girl.
Mama had done an awful thing and poisoned Papa when she discovered him diddling another lady. Unfortunately or not, Papa survived and informed the law of his wife’s misdeed. In this village of cruel and nasty people there were equally cruel and nasty laws which called for beheading over many things, one of which was poisoning your husband. So, Mama was chained and dragged to the Hatchet Hill Nevergreens where her husband arranged a party for the execution. There was much to drink and all the villagers were present in special dancing shoes which they merrily abused whilst the beheading preparations were made. When the moment came Shush’s mama asked to hold her little girl one final time before the Axeman swung. It was permitted and Shush crawled up to stand on the chopping block so she could kiss her mama’s cheek. The two warmly, but sadly embraced and before she let go, Mama whispered these last, secret sentences into her daughter’s ear:
“I gave your papa poison because parts of him were bad but he lived to tell the Jailer, now my head is in his hands. Shush, my daughter, cry not for mama
do what I should have, chop up your papa.”
The child was then taken off the block and replaced with Mama’s neck. The villagers erupted into dancing after the Axeman did his work. They continued into the night leaving the Hatchet Hill Nevergreens just as it was, block, body and all … although something very important went missing. It was Mama’s head. While the villagers were blind with merry making, Shush had stolen off with it into a stable where she tied it with a bridle and fixed it to her waist in the most secret place she knew of, under her dress. When she saw Mama again in Heaven, Shush thought, she would return her head to her. Then, being the dutiful and obedient girl that she was, Shush went home and cut her drunken papa to pieces with a hatchet. She remembered Mama mentioning bad parts of him and wondered what those might be. His hands were nice, they pet her head when she was sleepy, but his nose was very disgusting so she threw it into the hearth imagining that was the part Mama disliked.
Soon she grew hungry; she was a child after all and needed to be cared for. Pondering this, she held her papa’s hand when the answer came. Papa had a ring on his finger with a sailboat on it. She would find a sailor to watch over her and feed her and tuck her into bed. Lifting the hatchet again, she lopped off Papa’s finger, put it into her pocket and walked to the docks. In no time at all she found a sailor, a fat jolly one who had a funny walk she liked. She went up to him and presented Papa’s finger with the ring on it.“Will you watch over me, feed me and tuck me into bed?” she asked.The Sailor was aghast and carried the crying child to the Jailer. The Jailer went to her home and discovered what she’d done to Papa, but didn’t know what to do with her, so he delivered her to the Priest. The Priest, a little surer of himself, said that demons dwelled in the little girl and that she should join her Mama in Hell until Hell ceased to be. He then took her to the Judge to whom the Priest told exactly that all over again and the Judge agreed, adding that her head was worth her soul and she should die that day to begin her terrifying decent. Shush was chained and taken to the Hatchet Hill Nevergreens. The cruel and nasty villagers made their way once more with flagons of ale and dancing shoes and the cruel and nasty Axeman lifted Shush up to stand once again on the block for a final word to the rabble. Thus she said:“Peace be to the Axeman, for his single strike
Peace be to the Sailor, who made me cry
Peace be to the Jailer, who tied me tight
Peace be to the Priest, who said I am the Devil’s child
Peace be to Papa, whose ugly nose I burned
Peace be to Mama, whose head I will return”And the Axeman swung his axe, severing the tiny bulb from its fragile stalk with a single blow. When Shush’s body fell to the ground her skirts came up and everyone saw Mama’s head there in its makeshift harness. Not one cruel and nasty villager felt like dancing after that, as cruel and nasty as they all were.