Stories For Thing

‘B’, by Sarah Kay

If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom,” she’s going to call me, “Point B.” Because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.

And I’m going to paint the solar systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

“And baby,” I’ll tell her, “Don’t keep your nose up in the air like that. I know that trick. I’ve done it a million times. You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him.” But I know she will anyway, so instead, I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby. Because there’s no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.

Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for. Because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat. To look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind. Because that’s the way my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this,” my mama said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly, and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment, and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say, “Thank you.” Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shore line, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in “winsome… lose some.” You will put the “star” in “starting over… and over…” And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her, “Remember, your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more. Remember that good things come in threes, and so do bad things, and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong. But don’t you EVER apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing. And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”

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Baby Batty and Owleting

 

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Baby Batty was sad. His big sad eyes were moist, sparkling and reflected the brilliant moon. What a night it has turned out to be!

He’d wandered off to a human’s house, you see, and hadn’t been able to remember his way back home on the big tree. And as he rested his tired little wings on the window sill,  a human kid walked in. And oh so loud did she scream! All Baby Batty was doing was sitting on her window sill, peering out into the night, looking for his home. He’d done absolutely nothing to scare her. Hmph, he thought, almost falling off from the window as she ran out of her room. Batty heard her scream for her Mommy.

Baby Batty was sad that humans were scared of him. He never did anything to scare them and yet they ran away, screaming, almost running into walls, their hands in the air flailing around like they had seen a ghost! Well, at least he was home, safe.

Just then he heard some voices from lower down in the tree. He hadn’t heard that voice before. He knew a dog’s woof, a cat’s meow, a cow’s moo, even a human talking without a break on a small something attached to the ears (those humans are a weird lot he thought), but this was different.

“Mommy, Mommy!” Baby Batty flew to their branch,”I heard a new sound. Do you know what that is?”

Bigmama Bat swooped her shiny wings & turned. “Oh they are our new neighbors, Batty. They moved in late last night.”

“Are they bats? They don’t sound like bats.” Batty tipwinged and peered suspiciously over the branch.

“They are a hooting family of Mrs and Mr Owl and their little baby who is . They have asked us to tea. Do you want to come along?”, asked Bigmama Bat as she dusted her wings and spread the night glitter around.

“Ok” said Baby Batty and quickly wore his tiny little mittens.

As he watched BigmamaOwl pour his mama some tea he suddenly heard, “Hey, what is your name?”. All he could see were two bright, round, big, naughty eyes. Baby Batty was taken by surprise. Where did those eyes come from? He almost jumped out of his wings. Phew.

“My name is Batty. Who are you?”

“I am Owletling and this is my new doll”.

Owletling loved to make new friends. At their last hollowInTheTree home, she’d made friends with the tree and all the leaves and the butterflies and the bees. Even grouchy Mr. Bear was Owleting’s friend.

“Do you want to sit on the ledge and play with me?” Owletling’s big bright eyes were wide with anticipation. She did not wait for Baby Batty to say anything, just pulled him after her on to the ledge.

“Why are you sad, Batty?”
“How do you know I am sad?”
“Your eyes told me”
“Who taught you to read eyes?”
“The big tree taught me”
“What happened then?”
“Then one night the big tree shook very hard, like it had the fever. It moaned and groaned and fell down on the road. ”
“That’s very sad.”
“But why are you sad?”
“I frightened a human. And I didn’t have to so a thing. They always scream and run away when they see me. Am I a monster?”
“You are Batty. Battys are batty. They are not monsters. Only monsters can be monsters. The human needs glasses.”
“Even the one with glasses got scared one day.”
“They just need better glasses then, to see that everyone is different.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, and they’ll never be able to fly. And you can. You don’t have to sit in a tin box to fly. Have you seen their tin boxes?”
“Yes, there are some in the sky!”
“And they wear pants!”
“You are so funny, Owletling.”
“Do you want a gummy bear?”
“Where did you get it from?”
“The bear who lived under the old tree made them for me. Its my new toy doll.”
“Lets go to the top branch of my tree. I’ll show you my favourite beach place!”

Baby Batty had made a friend. And he was never sad again. And the next time a human ran away from him scared, he’d laugh – because he didn’t need pants!

By NinjaDuckie

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Lola tells Frisbee a story

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Now then, sit up and pay attention. Or, I don’t know, lie back and relax. Whatever works? You remember me, don’t you? It’s Frisbee the cat. I thought I’d tell you a story about a story. It’s called being postmodern. Postmodern is when a storyteller winks at the reader (or the listener), and the reader (or the listener) winks back.

It’s all very intellectual.

Let’s see, it was a Saturday morning I think. My human was wearing her pajamas and eating cereal, and watching TV, and talking on her cell phone. I was trying to take a nap, but my human was being too noisy.

“Meoowshut up!!” I said.

“What you want baby, what you want sugar, huh huh?” My human said, cooing at me like a dove. She could be really annoying sometimes, you know.

“Meoowwould you stop talking like that please! I’m not in the mood. Keep it down. I’m having my third nap of the morning, okay!”

“Ooh! Come here and let me eat you up you cutie little thing! Come here snuggums!” sang my human, between mouthfuls of cereal.

“Ugh! That’s it, I’m going to Lola’s,” I said. You remember Lola, right? That’s right: my friend the Bulldog.

My human opened the door for me, and I left my apartment and walked over to Lola’s house. It was quiet this morning. The birds were tweeting in the trees and on the power lines, insects hummed in the bushes, and traffic whizzed along on the large road nearby.

Okay, so I guess it wasn’t really that quiet.

Lola’s house is large and cozy, but my favorite part is how I can simply walk in by going through the pet door. No having to wait for humans to get off their lazy bums.

“Oh hi Frisbee!” Lola said as I came in. Lola was with her younger humans. For some reason, Lola called her humans Mama and Papa, and Brother and Sister. Weird.

“Wanna play Storytime?” Lola asked.

“Uh, how do you play Storytime?” I asked.

“I tell a story and you get to listen.” Lola said.

I thought about it. This didn’t sound like there would be a lot of fun running around and jumping involved. “Uh, sure I guess.” I decided.

“Great! I’ve got a good one! Let’s go outside.”

I followed Lola into her backyard, where she began to tell me a story about a little Indian princess who took her best men out on a dangerous shark hunting expedition.

“Everything had started off fine,” Lola said. “The little princess took her best ship, the H.M.S. Bookshelf; and her best men, the Jolly Pirates; and her finest sword, the magical Big Bad Mum. — No matter what dangers awaited, the princess was sure to be ready.”

I nodded in agreement. The princess sure did sound prepared.

“But,” Lola trilled, “The monstrous shark our intrepid crew was hunting wasn’t the only dangers they had to worry about. For not long after they set sail, the sky began to darken, and a terrible storm arose out of nowhere.”

I shivered a little when Lola mentioned the storm. Just a little.

“The little princess held on tight, as huge waves crashed against her ship, rocking it back and forth like a yellow rubber ducky in a kid’s bathtub.”

I must admit I was starting to find this all rather exciting.

“’Your Highness! The waves are too strong! We’ll never make it through!’ One of the little princess’ Jolly Pirates shouted. He started to cry.”

I felt bad for this fellow. Being a cat, I know what it’s like to be terribly afrai—I mean—deeply respectful of water.

“’Bloody heck, man!’” Lola said the princess bellowed. “’Don’t tell me we’re done for until you see a bright shining sign that reads: LITTLE PRINCESS WHOSE NAME RHYMES WITH SING, YOU’RE MOST DEFINITELY DONE FOR, SIGNED, YOUR FRIEND, THE PERSON WHO IS IN CHARGE OF KNOWING WHEN LITTLE SHARK HUNTING PRINCESS’ ARE DONE FOR!’”

I admired the little princess’ feistiness. She was very brave.

“Do you mean to say, Lola, that even with this terrible storm, the little princess still wanted to find Billy the Meaniebutt Shark?” Oh. That was the name of the shark the little princess was hunting, by the way. He sounded gruesome.

“Yup, she sure did!” Lola said, “She told her crew: ‘You boys batten down the hatches! Hoist up the main sail! Hold the course for Shark Island! By gum, I’ll make any lad here walk the plank if he doesn’t pull his own weight! I’m a fair princess indeed, but tough as nails, as sure as my name rhymes with pudding!’” Lola made a pretend slash in the air, acting like she was the princess shouting orders and swinging her magic sword around for emphasis.

“’Aye! Aye! Captain Princess!’ the Jolly Pirates shouted,” Lola said. “The men always got braver whenever the little princess threatened to make them walk the plank.”

“It’s called the carrot and the stick,” I nodded. I didn’t tell Lola that I wasn’t 100% sure about that, though.

“’Don’t worry men! I’ll stand at the prow of the ship and hack and slash away at this fearsome storm with my magical sword Big Bad Mum!’”

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “Are you telling me the little princess’ sword can cut water?”

“It sure can!” Lola nodded.

I considered this. “Wow! The little princess whose name rhymes with king is awesome!”

“She sure is,” Lola agreed. “She hacked and slashed at the waves all night, as the storm punched and kicked at the H.M.S. Bookshelf, while the princess’ loyal but sometimes scaredy and naughty crew struggled to keep the ship from sinking and falling apart.”

“And even though it was touch and go there for awhile, the little princess’ bravery won the day, and the storm finally gave up and went home.” Lola said.

“‘You make me sick little princess!’ The storm cried. ‘I’m telling my mommy on you!’ The princess stuck her tongue out at the storm. ‘Nyah! Nyah!’ She taunted. ‘Big baby gonna go run to mommy! Waah!!!’ The Jolly Pirates roared with laughter at their funny little captain princess!”

“Whew!” I said, relieved. “I was starting to worry that they weren’t going to make it.”

“Thanks to the princess, they all made it through that awful storm safe and sound,” Lola said, “Oh. Except for the two Jolly Pirates the little princess gave as snacks to a sea dragon, as payment for a pretty new dress the sea dragon was selling.”

“Well, that turned dark rather quickly.” I observed.

“Oh no! It was a bright light blue dress, and it sparkled and shimmered all over. Like calm blue waves in the sunlight…to be continued.”

“Um, uh, okay…So then what happened?” I asked.

“Ah. Ah. Ah.” Lola said, shaking her head. “You’ll have to find out next time.”

“Next time!” I said, annoyed with Lola the same way I get with my human when she does something really annoying. “That’s not the way you’re supposed to tell a story!”

“You can tell a story all sorts of ways,” Lola said. “And my story has parts. Today was Part One. Next time will be Part Two.”

“Part One? Part Two?” I said. I was stymied. It didn’t seem fair somehow, to start an exciting story and then make the listener wait to hear the rest of it.

“Sure,” Lola said. “Didn’t anyone tell you that about stories, Frisbee?”

I shook my head unhappily at a sudden realization. Not only are cats bad at storytelling, we’re also pretty bad at storylistening.

By Saladinho

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ChumChum and birthdays

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“ChumChum, tomorrow is my birthday.” Said Mama. “What are you giving me for a present?”

ChumChum stopped colouring her giraffe pink and gawked at Mama “Mama, it is your birthday, so you should give me a present.” She sagely shook her head as Mama giggled, and went back to her colouring.

ChumChum realized she did not know what a birthday was. She only knew that on her last birthday Mama baked her a cake, and called all her cousins and friends for a party. ChumChum loved parties. With her friends and cousins, she played with new toys and blew balloons and laughed and laughed when Dada put on a red nose and a paper hat. Of all her presents, she loved the small trumpet Mama and Dada had given her.

“Mama, what is a birthday?”

Mama pushed her lower lip out. Mama tapped her cheek with the index finger. Mama looked at the ceiling. Mama scratched her head. ChumChum liked to see Mama think. She did just what Mama did when ChumChum was thinking along with Mama.

Mama picked ChumChum up, sat her lap and said, “When you were not yet born, and were still in my tummy, you were a little bit ChumChum. Then you were born, and you were ChumChum. So we like to celebrate that day and call it your birthday. Every year on your birthday day, you become little more ChumChum. There is so much to celebrate because every year a little more ChumChum gets added to our little ChumChum.”

ChumChum chewing on her finger as she listened to Mama.

“So Mama, you become more Mama for me on your birthday?”

“Yes, I do.” Mama kissed ChumChum and gave her a big smile.

ChumChum rushed to her room, and brought five candies with her which she gave to Mama.

“What is this ChumChum?” Mama asked.

“You have been my Mama for all the birthdays I had. I had four birthdays. So you are four more Mamas added to the Mama you were when I was born. And one extra candy because it is your birthday!”

Mama smiled and gave ChumChum the tightest hug ever, so tight that ChumChum whooshed.

By Ninja Duckie

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The Cookie that killed the monster

One day the little girl came crying to her mama, “Mama, this monster boy in school scares me and he tries to eat my lunch all the time.”

Mama sat the little girl on her lap and asked her if  they should go to school and talk to the boy.

“Mama, that monster boy will scare you too!”, the little girl sniffled.

So mama asked her what she would like to do instead.

The little girl thought for a moment and said, “Can I take a Cookie Monster to school to scare him?”

Her mama was confused, “Why a Cookie Monster sweetheart? I thought they ate all the cookies up.”

“Because I think he is scary only because he has never eaten yummy monster cookies. If he eats them, he will be happy, and then he won’t be so scary!”

“You think the monster cookies will do this?”

“Yes mama, because you make them for me when I’m sad and I always feel happy. They’re so nice and big and warm and I have to open my mouth this big… Aaaaaaaahhh” she opened her mouth as wide as she could.

‘All right, we’ll make lots of monster cookies for you then”, said her mama smiling.

The excited little girl said, “Can I help you make the monster cookies? Pitty pwease?”

Her mama nodded and they set to work. The little girl made big, BIGGG cookies with her mama and watched with her as they grew fat in the oven. She could smell the lovely warm baking smells and looked at mama with big saucer eyes, “Look Mama, they look so nice and they smell nice too. The scary monster boy will love them and he will be my friend, I can priteckt him too, one cookie at a time.”

Mama laughed, “Of course darling! Just like you priteckt Dada and me.”

The little girl had learnt something important that day. As she stood in the kitchen with her mama, smelling the warm baking smells of the fresh monster cookies, she realized she would always have a monster cookie, a glass of milk and her mama to fight all the monsters in the world with.

By The Cuppie Cake

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The many adventures of Fat Louie – Episode 2

Fat Louie was excited. Thank God it’s Friday, he thought. Today was the day he had been allowed to go to Ninja Duckie’s house for a sleepover. That was not a big deal – he had been there done that before – but this evening, he was allowed to go alone! He couldn’t wait for school to get over.

In the evening his Mama gave him dinner earlier than usual. Helped him pack a bag with tooth brush, PJs, change of clothes and flip flops. A backpack not too heavy to carry. He was in a hurry, couldn’t wait to get away. Mama kept giving him advice “Don’t stray far from the river bed”, “Walk along the river bed till you get to the bend”, “Don’t walk into the woods”.

Finally he set off. He first sauntered off casually, then hastened his pace. Fat Louie actually didn’t like the water or getting his fur wet. He decided to walk as far from the river as possible. This brought him to the edge of the forest. But he didn’t mind, he was not afraid of anything, he felt.

He suddenly heard a buzzing sound. He found a flying insect diving into a flower and flying out again. Fat Louie was curious. He followed this flying insect, at first it was easy but then the insect – which was a very busy bee – flew off again and Fat Louie trotted after it. Chased it looking up at it constantly so that he didn’t lose it. The bee suddenly went into a brown thing hanging from a tree. Fat Louie was most curious. He went near with his snout and the thing smelled delicious.

Fat Louie took a swipe with his paw and suddenly the brown thing was down on the ground! Fat Louie, always hungry, took a little bite – it tasted really yummy! Soon Fat Louie was into it, eating away. He was unaware of the bees that had come out and were trying to sting him. His thick coat warded off the bee stings; the only spot where they could have stung him was his snout and that was buried deep inside the honey comb! He had a feast, he really licked his chops and shook his body throwing off the bees and trotted off.

Fat Louie thought he must bring his brother and sisters here to taste these wonderful things hanging here on the trees. There were many more. Suddenly he realized that he didn’t know where he was! He remembered his Mama’s words “Don’t stray from the river bed..” where was he? How will he get to Ninja Duckie’s house?

By Thing’s good friend, Rian

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The many adventures of Fat Louie – Episode 1

Fat Louie was different from his 2 sisters and brother. They were not very old, still under Mama Bear’s watchful care. But they were learning fast about what to eat and where to drink. Fat Louie always seemed to be in his own world. He would also tend to wander away from all of them often. Mama Bear had scolded him more than once not to stray off alone. But Fat Louie kept doing things without his mother or sisters or brother.

He was the first amongst them to try eating something other than fruits or leaves. He saw a small brown animal  jumping out of a hole, Fat Louie didn’t realise how strong he already was, he swiped  his arm and the brown furry animal lay still on the ground. He nuzzled it, it smelt good so he took a small bite and he loved it! He took another and another and soon he  finished eating the whole animal. This was his first meat meal.

Fat Louie’s mama knew, when he got back to the cave home that day, what he had done by the fur sticking around his mouth. She knew that her little baby was growing up!

Being a Himalayan bear Mama knew that all her children could not be just vegetarians. But her Fat Louie had already taken the first step.

His name was Louie – he got the nick name Fat Louie in school. He liked his nickname. He and his sisters and brother all went to “Jungle Tots ” school every day. He liked school.  He had a very good friend in school called “Ninja Duckie”. They both did a lot of fun things together. He also liked going for sleepovers to Ninja Duckie’s house. His brother was not brave enough to go nor were his sisters. And it wasn’t as if he was the oldest.

One day he told his Mama that he could go alone. They were not happy but he insisted and raised himself to his full height to prove how strong and big he was. So Mama bear gave in and Fat Louie went to Ninja Duckie’s house on his own!

By Thing’s good friend, Rian

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