All For The Little One, Part One (edited)

 

Recently, a book company has expressed interest in my ''Little One'' stories, and I, greedy soul that I am, have agreed to write and finish the series, as a work of FICTION. And I, again, greedy soul that I am, added more to the story I gave THEM, thus to MAKE it fiction. But what I gave YOU was REAL. Everything, except some of the dialogue (since I don't have a perfect memory), and people's names (since I don't want lawsuits) ACTUALLY happened. It was the saddest, and happiest day of my life, and I wrote all about it here in 5 parts (because EP couldn't fit it at that time), complete with misspellings and bad grammar, but incomplete. I never did part 6. Well, now, today, I present ..Part One again. But this time with the misspelling gone, most of the grammar corrected, and ALMOST all of the stuff I had to leave out of the first draft because of EP space that has now been lenghten (Sorry folks, but if you want more, you're just going to have to buy the book someday). You guys were the first to read it, and the first to give me encouragement to write more. Thank you all so much. After I've reprinted the other parts, I'll finally do part 6. Comments, of course, will be welcomed. (Except from you, Stan.. No, I can't have part 7 be about just YOU..Hosee, call me.)

 

 

 

Part One: Elise



 



 

One of the problems with modern phones is that you can't slam them down in the cradle in anger. All I could do was throw it against the wall. And miss.. I did, however, strike my cat's tail. Now my cat Inkus is a very, very smart cat who watches the Tv all day while lying around doing important things like grooming and shedding hair, so it's a sure thing that she watches the program ''Ax-men'' on the Discovery channel, and thus was certain what to do in return: namely, pretend my leg was a tree truck, and her claws were an ax

The scream, and the sound of me falling down on the table, bringing it down, was enough to get my next door neighbor, Jessie, to come running over. My second scream (did I mention there was hot coffee on the table?) was enough to get her quick through the door without knocking.

''What the hell? You on drugs or something? (I suddenly remembered that Jessie had once failed to be a nurse. Her idea of "bedside manner "was checking to see how many needles could go into someone without blood leaking too much out)

"What the hell happened?"

I tried to get up again, did so, but broke a table lamp doing so, which gave me a small cut on my arm, and walked like Long John Silver, complete with "Arrrghs' as I did so, towards the sink to wash off the blood, coffee, oh, and the parts of a peanut butter sandwich sticking to me.

"Oh, I got mad at the cable TV company because they said they couldn't do anything about the cable box unless I brought it in. I was so mad that I threw the phone against the wall and hit the cat's tail by accident."

"Really? Good kitty! Is she alright? Where is she?"

I sighed and answered "There on the sofa, looking outrageously proud of herself..She's fine.."

Jessie went to pet the proud cat.

'Good kitty. Excellent kitty.. I can't blame her.."

I sighed, and sat down on the sofa next to the cat, and petted her too. Luckily, she seemed to be over her blood lust..for now

"Yeah, me too. She had every right to be mad at me." Something in her translated my words, and she accepted my petting and encouraged more with a purr. After putting some band aids on my arm and leg, which was swelling a bit since I was actually allergic to cats, (I lived on anti-allergy medicines, which, up to NOW, I thought worth the trouble) and making sure that my jaw, which I had hit on the table, was still connected to my skull, I sighed and got up (Oh great.. I made a 'dad noise" when I got up.. You know, the one your parents always made when they got off the sofa. Ow... age calling! I lied to myself and told myself it was just because I was hurt. But the three of us, me, myself, and I knew damn well I was lying).

"Ok, I've got to go out.

.

"Now?"

'Yes. would you mind staying here to keep an eye on-''

''Oh yeah..Jeff and Madison are over at a friend's house tonight, so I can stay here if you want.''

''What? Charles Manson out already?''

She ignored that, but she didn't look insulted either. Jeff and Madison may have been only 10 and 11, but their mother counted the days until they were old enough to go to prison ( juvenile hall didn't do any good. The last time they were sent there the two brothers came home each night to play with their X-box, then showed up each morning in time for Roll Call and breakfast. Jessie couldn't cook pancakes)

"You can't go out now! It's ninety plus oh-my-God out there! What the hell is so damn important?"

'There's something I want to watch tonight, and if I don't get a new cable box I won't be able to view it, since the company won't deliver it until tomorrow. So I'm going to have to go to the office and get one.'

'How you going to do that? You don't drive.."

"True (I have a medical eye problem that makes me an unsafe driver, and there's already too many of them out there).

'And there's no bus route there'

True, not any more" (I have never in my life seen a business that tried so hard to discourage people to use their services as AC transit. It seems every year the busiest routes are the ones pulled away, and then the company asked for more money to buy more buses. But what, I can't help but wonder, are they going to do WITH the extra buses that they supposedly buy, with the money, if they take away the routes??)

Wait.. you have a bicycle don't you?"

"Yeah.. but that was under the table.. I think one of the table screws pierced the tire..I heard a hiss earlier, thought it was her, the cat,but it's still hissing and she's not..I hope..' my cat seemed to be happy cleaning my blood off her claws, so I relaxed. (For now)

'Ohhh! Damn. You're right..' Jessie said after looking under the table. Both Jessie and I were silent for a moment.. 'So what's so damn important on TV? Sports? P-o-r-n?''

''No, it's - "

But suddenly I had to stop. A small shadow had passed over the stairs leading to the bedrooms. Someone had sneaked out of the bedroom and was listening at the top of the stairs.. someone small and quiet.. I had to keep my mouth shut..

I looked at Jessie and tried to get her to notice my head jerks towards the stairs so that she might see what I saw, but she was too busy petting the cat and shaking her head.



"Sorry, I can't tell you right now..

"What? Why not? I'm an adult.. I'm a big girl. You can't shock me.."

"Not everyone is big, Jessie..'

'What the hell is that suppose to mean?"

"Never mind.. never mind.. I have to go.. I have to get back before 7:00.. Would you mind keeping an eye open here? Dr. Hastings will be here before then.. Tell him to give me a call on my cell phone if he needs to talk to me."

"I don't like him.. last time he was here he kept looking under the tables, behind the curtains and in all the shelves muttering and shaking his head all the time"

"I know Jessie, I know, but he's from the old country, and he trained in some of the best universities there.. He's just not happy when he can't find what he's looking for.".

"So what's he's looking for?"

'I'd tell you, but I don't want to give you nightmares'"

'What?"

"Never mind.. I've got to go.." I reached down to my back pack, stuffed the old cable box in and walked out the door into the blazing heat.

Great.. 4 plus miles to go..this way.. was it really worth it?

But I thought again of the small shadow I had seen upstairs and kept walking..



I think I ought to explain something about Hayward, where I live. Hayward is one of those places where the town planners believed that everyone born with car keys up their *** and a car in their front driveway. EVERYONE has a car they think, so the roads are planned in such a way that it gives the message walkers do not exist. That's why most of the traffic lights don't have 'walk and 'Do not walk, lights, that's why crosswalks are put in the stupidest places (like the cross walk in front of the college that isn't there; you have to walk a mile and a half to get to the restaurants, churches, and shopping malls across the street from the college ), and why, in over 75% of the town, there ARE NO SIDEWALKS! You can't get anywhere in a straight line if you're walking, like, say for instance, you go from Chabot College (where I work) to the nearest Taco bell. If you have a car, you just hop in your car, drive Highway 92 3 blocks to the taco bell, and have your delightful heartburn. If on the other hand, you're cursed with walking, you walk from Chabot up North Hesperian a mile and a half north, turn east, and go up Winton 2 miles, passing over two overpasses (that by the way, don't have what anyone in their right minds would call 'sidewalks), turn again towards the south on Amador for 1 and half mile, and THERE is the Taco Bell. Don't worry about the heartburn you'll get from it; you'll be half dead getting there anyway..

It was basically the same for my route.. It was only 2 miles to the cable company as the crows flew, but despite all the crows flying around me in the undeveloped area of Hayward, I wouldn't be able to get a ride with any of them, so had to walk the 6 miles in twists and turns that would have confused Eisner. That's why I got lost later and met "Mrs. Maddog," but we'll talk about her and her chocolate cookies later. Right now let's talk about Elise..



I guess you could say Elise lived almost next door. You always found her wandering the grounds of the old farm, and every day I tried to say 'hello' and have a nice treat for her in my pocket, usually an apple on the weekends and a sugar cube during the week. Elise was a beautiful red Chestnut horse, and we had grown so friendly to each other that she would often search my pockets when I came up to her. Today she did so, and found not only the sugar cube, but was delighted to also find a piece of peanut butter sandwich that I had missed in my sports coat.(Horses love peanut butter. In the old show 'Mr Ed", they used to make 'Ed" { real name Bamboo Harvester }look like he was talking by putting peanut butter on the gums and film him while he tried to lick it all up with his tongue.)

I stroked Elise's head and politely thanked her for cleaning my pockets when a mad idea came to me.. Why not? I used to ride horses as a kid back in Ireland, and only ten years ago I had been a stand in for a dead Indian warrior in a Hollywood movie that was so bad that theaters paid to have it NOT come there. But I had ridden THAT horse bareback, and remembered how to do it. What the hell.. I was good friends with her owner, Charlie, and I was sure he wouldn't mind (I'd stop on the way to ask and make sure, but even that would save me a few blocks going to his place) Elise liked me I knew, and didn't object when I let myself on her back. Great. Wonderful. Let's go Elise! Let's ride like the wind! Hi Ho Silver! Let's go! C'mon, c'mon! This would be fun! This would be great! This.. Elise? Elise? Are you awake?



Suddenly I remember.. I had lived in this area with horses all around for ten years, and not once had I ever ridden any.. That's right.. I had the "kind mans curse" When dealing with horses, you have to be in control. A little kick here, a little kick there, and the horse will know who's in charge. But when I'm on a horse, it knows very well who's in charge like they know their names. the answer is the same. Call me weak, but I can't bear to hurt or threaten any animal (except some humans that act like ones). I would never in my life use spurs no matter how many idiots tell me it doesn't matter, they have thick skins, and I couldn't even bear to give them a kick of any kind.I tried to do as I did as a kid and 'steer" her by using my legs, but she just turned around and looked at me as if I was the biggest fool, and then went back to grazing. Finally the coward gave her a pat, just a little one, on her behind and she suddenly started trotting away. and we started to get faster and faster. Great! Wonderful! We should be able to get there soon.. Fan-bloody-tas-ARRRRRGH!!!!!



She threw me so high that the life I saw flashing in front of me was actually an in-flight movie. Luckily the large pile of manure broke my fall.. (and not too far away from my house that I could still see, I thought I heard outrageous laughter coming from a small source I knew) I moaned with pain and embarrassment, and resisted the urge to kiss the ground that had been taken away from me so quickly, yet had met up with me so much more quickly and hard..



What the heck had happened? We seemed to be doing fine..was there something on the ground that scared her? Then I saw it! Snake! Snake! Snake! I could see coils on the end! Rattle snake! Snake! Quick! Rock! Rock! Smash it down! Kill it! Kill it! Rock! Rock! Rock! Hit! Hit! Hit! 'WATER HOSE????? damn..



I sat down on the ground, feeling like the biggest fool in the world..



Do you know that horses can laugh? Yep.. When you see a horse pulling it's mouth back tight and it's head is going up and down, It's laughing it's head off, and it's usually doing it at you. Lord knows that Elise was having a ball..Her mouth was pulled back so far I though it would tear.

.

I looked down at the water hose that had caused so much panic. Yep, the "coils of the snake" were actually the connection to a sprinkler and..and..sprinkler?..

oh no..

The sprinkler went off in my face as soon as the word ''no'' appeared in my head. Perfect timing.. there is a God, and She has a wicked sense of humor..

Or maybe, maybe, someone else...

I looked for a beast who wasn't there,

So wasn't surprised I couldn't see it anywhere.

Now that may not make sense to you,

but I swear to the fairy folk that it's true.

For they weren't there for me to see,

but my mind could hear their great mocking laughter

What wasn't there, was there to mock me..

How odd.. What made me think of that old poem? When I was a young boy in Ireland, and bored out of my mind on the farm, (the Island I was on had nothing but grass, rock and sheep), I used to go to a point on the sea cliff and recite poems to the Wee Folk I had written. What kids do when they're bored is amazing sometimes. Of course my father thought I was an idiot. (Oh, not about believing in the Wee Folk, just me telling poems to them out loud and thinking myself a poet. He believed very much in the Wee Folk, just not very much in me I'm afraid..)

When I was a boy in Ireland I used to hear tales of the "Pooka', a spirit animal that loved to cause trouble by taking the form of animals around the farm and doing tricks to drive humans nuts. Its favorite form was a white horse. Elise wasn't white, but I wondered.. I walked over to her and looked deeply into her eye, looking for anything that might say she was more than what she seemed. I looked in with fear and wonder and she looked back at me in innocence and trust and love.. and those sweet brown eyes seemed to say to me....

"Idiot.."

I wonder what I looked like, besides the above mentioned idiot, when Charlie came up behind me. There I was, looking deeply at Elise, staring into her eyes as if I wanted her to have my Centaur...Charlie approached me very quietly, as if he was worried that he was interrupting something private and tender, and tapped me on the shoulder. While I won't admit that I jumped, I will admit that I MIGHT have made a bird flying over me very nervous.



 

"Huh, Kat? You alright? Sorry about the sprinkler.. Didn't see you when I turned it on.."



"That's...that's alright Charlie.. I landed in the manure pile anyway and I can use all the cleaning I can get.. Actually, I should apologize to you.. I needed a ride and I "borrowed"Elise . Hope you don't mind.."



'Naw.. You helped me a lot during the last crop..Least I can let you do.. What happened though? You fall off? Thought you rode horses before.."



"No, she threw me. We were going great, but I guess she thought the hose was a snake and it spooked her..."



"That hose? Spooked her? Naaaw. She's seen that hose and sprinkler a hundred times and never reacted in any way except to come running up to get herself wet.. Loves the water."



Comes running up.. Well, that explained why she suddenly started running. It didn't have anything to do with my pat.. She must have seen Charlie coming out and knew that he would be turning the water on; I and my pat meant nothing.. But why did she throw me?



I pointed to the hose, trying to ignore the fact that I was getting so soaked now that my manhood was busy doing a dog paddle to stay afloat " So she wouldn't mistake that for a snake? A rattler maybe?"



Charlie was doing his best Urban farmer pose, actually chewing on a piece of straw and paying no attention to the water hitting as his "tan", made from hours of working in the dirt and manure, started to disappear. He took a quick look down at the hose and shook his head..



"A rattler? Naaaw... She's not stupid..' (Oh, Thank you very much Charlie, I silently thought, and hoped he wouldn't notice the dents made in the sprinkler) "Nope.. I think you've been a victim of Horse humor.."



"Huh?"



"Even the best minded horse will give in to do a practical joke sometimes...Curse of the smart ones I'm afraid.. Think about it.. If she didn't want you riding, she would have thrown you straight away. She likes you; you always have an apple or sugar cube for her. So she let you stay on. She let you stay on for a few moments, she took you with her to enjoy the water, but when she got up here to the corner, the temptation was just too much for her, no matter HOW much she liked you.. She just couldn't bear not doing the joke.."

"I don't understand..' But I lied. I knew what he was about to say, and I could tell that Eliza KNEW that I knew. She had taken a quick look at me while realization had started to flood into me, and suddenly she was going out of her way to look at everything BUT me..



'Yep.. "Charlie drawled, also seeing the look on my face "Out of all the places you 'happened" to land, in this entire field, where do you land?"

"In the manure pile.."

"Yep.. The manure pile..You weren't thrown, you were aimed.. And he chuckled '' Good aim too.. My guess is that she's been thinking about it all day since I put the pile there this morning.. Don't take it personally.. As Horses get older, they start getting a wicked sense of humor. Hell, even the fact she likes you and knows you like her encouraged her.. When you came up she must have been happy as hell. You were perfect. She knew damn well that no one else was as likely to forgive her.. Even me..''



"Wonderful... Always happy to be of service.."



I looked around for the backpack, hoping like hell that it had also fallen into the pile, which at least was something soft,and dreading it as well. It had.. the cable box inside was ok, and the backpack was now a very brown backpack, instead of the blue one I had carried out earlier. And no matter how much I tried putting it into the sprinkler again and again, it still smelled awful. Maybe if I had tried a bit more I might have been able to get rid of the stink, but I couldn't risk getting water into the cable box, so I put the wet stinking pack onto my wet stinking back and left, doing my best not to look at Elise, who was doing her best not to look at me..

Someone behind me was laughing. I couldn't hear it, but I knew..



Charlie had made an offer to give me a ride as soon as his wife returned with the car, but she was, like everyone else in Hayward, since we don't have decent shops, doing all her shopping in San Francisco across the bay and I couldn't take the chance she would get back too late..



So I walked off, farther away from the house where I knew someone was watching me in secret from the upstairs window and laughing themselves silly. Towards the cable company, towards more pain and embarrassment and towards Mrs. Maddog, her chocolate cookies, and at tripper Gnome. All for the little one who had made the small shadow at the top of the staircase.

Oh well, at least being wet made the heat easier to bear..

Katfather Katfather
51-55, M
1 Response Feb 28, 2010

I believe in God the Almighty