As part of my exciting new writing life, I will be joining most of my former classmates in our new writers’ group that we decided to form. In a complete an utter panic, I tried to hobble together something long enough to submit. During this process I discovered a couple of things: 1) My 3 day novel needs A LOT of work 2) I don’t have a lot of completed projects that I’m happy with. .I leave almost everything hanging. Hmmmm, must change that. 3) I write a lot about childhood experiences, or in a child-like story form. That in and of itself could be mined for quite a lot of other tales. Anyway, this is what I submitted.
The formatting on here is weird (cut and pasted from Microsoft Word), and it just went ahead and did it its own way….maybe after, I shall fix it, but for now, it 2:30 and I must be up by 7, so yeah, beddy bye….
See Jane Learn”
Little girl, trapped in sky-blue desk
Bolted to the floor
The colour of stillness
A glacial lake going nowhere fast
Into daydreams she dives
Behind her “pay attention” face
And straight ahead
She swims through the classroom
Breathes in the chalky clouds
And imagines easy answers
To other questions
A ruler suddenly slaps her alert
The little metal edge digs out a corner of her flesh
Her hand beads blood
Just below the knuckle.
Teacher grunts and glares
Her eyes angry and fixed
They pinpoint Jane’s face
Ready to make an example out of her
“Jane, get up
Go to the board
Right now and
Solve problem number 3!”
Her skin climbs red, bottom to top
She drags herself
Toward the monster-green face
With its ghoulish, chalked-out numbers.
Minutes stack on top of seconds
The tick tocks loom
They mock her shaky hands
And teary eyes, empty of answers
Teacher’s voice prods her
In the small of her back
“Hurry up, hurry up!
We can’t wait for you all day!”
She writes down 6 and turns to sit
Teacher says, “Stay there!”
“Can anyone else pleeease tell me,
The right answer?”
The giggle girls nod their pretty heads
Docile faced and splinter tongued
They hiss “Stupid, stupid!”
Beneath their golden smiles
Teacher points at the best
And smartest one of all
A girl with eyes blue and bright
And sharp as steel thumbtacks
In a voice that always laughs
With inside jokes
“Yes, Ms. Nypiuk, 3×3 is niiiine!”
She smooths the nnn
Into a slick hum
That stretches before it snaps.
Teacher beams and replies, “That’s correct!”
She walks up to the board
And draws a heavy X
Through the 6
Her hand swirls out
A bubbled 9
And adds a check mark
With a whipped flourish
She spots Jane still standing there
Mute, head hung to the ground
She rolls her eyes, and leaks
A loud, drawn-out sigh
“Jane, you’ve got to learn
3×3 is 9, not 6
Go on, sit down
Pay attention, come on now!”
(……………And, that’s as far as I’ve managed to get)
Onto Piece Number 2 which also needs a little historical context (Historical on “See Jane Learn will come in a future post) . . I feel it is quite underdeveloped but I love my simple and ridiculous character of Jaques Le Frock. He is naïve, silly, and deluded about his abilities and chances with his “future royal lover” who he imagines, he will court feverishly based on becoming enchanted with his “magical” trousers.
The contest I entered through the Vancouver Courier had one stipulation, which was we had to include a voice mail message at 3 in the morning from our male protagonist shouting, “Where are my pants? Where are my pants?” Believe it or not, I made quite the crazy time travelling, story, but we won’t get into that, since I took out that part. The phrase “Ou est mon pantalon will come in the re-worked follow-up story. So, I present to my
Jacques LeFrock and His Wayward Pantalon
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a wormy young man named Jacques LeFrock. This pasty-gray noodle was the village of Eau d’Eclair’s one and only tailor. He was not well-esteemed, as he creations were bland and pitiful, but most of the villagers were even less adept with needle and thread. They resigned themselves to their fates, haggled out terribly low rates, and grumbled out of Jacque’s shack, attire in hand.
While he had made many pants, vests, coats, and other such useful garments for others, Jacques had not had the opportunity to create even one treasured wonder for himself.
However, over the past number of months, he had worked into incredible hours of the morning on what he believed was his masterpiece: the pair of pantalon he had dreamt of since childhood! Such majestic trousers were they! There had never been the like! He had saved and saved for the finest threads and toiled and toiled until finally one magical night his pantalon were complete. Jacques could hardly believe his blearied eyes. He kissed his beautiful new trousers with his crooked, pencil-thin lips, as he danced about his shop. He warbled a terrible tune of celebration, causing neighboring animals to howl and newborn babies to weep. He removed his threadbare slacks from his body, promptly ripped them to shreds and stomped upon them with glee.
He knew for certain that he would be the envy of all of the gentlemen. No one would dare scoff at his attire. They would flock-yes, flock to Jacques LeFrock with satchels of gold for his latest creations. The women would faint at the sight of him, or profess their undying love and then crumble in a dramatic manner as he swept through town. But no matter how beautiful, delicate, or full of flattery, he would not once turn his head their way, for he was a man with one heart that sang only one name, that of Princess Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn, the pure, lovely, and true, with locks of gold, and eyes of pine green.
He decided that on the following evening he would set out through the forest to her castle. He knew her father was out of town, warring in the hills and plains, with the dreaded English, so he was certain he could sneak past the few remaining elderly and incompetent guards. And once the fair princess caught sight of his glorious pantalon, she would be unable to withhold her love from him as she had done for so long. He fell into a sound sleep, with visions of his inevitable marriage to Gwendolyn whirling through his head.
The next evening, he donned his pantalon, and walked out onto the street expectantly. As he headed through town, many men, women, and even small children passed him by, and not one wept in jealousy or ecstasy. Instead, no one even glanced his way.
“Ah, they are too consumed by emotion. They hide their true feelings so that they will not fall over.”
He continued on his way to the castle. Upon his arrival he was met with a wide and daunting moat, even deeper than it was wide. He took a deep breath, and slipped into the freezing and murky water. He doggy paddled vigorously and after what seemed to be an eternity, he dragged himself up on the other side, and weakly scaled the castle wall. Once inside, he fought to regain his breath and composure as he peered around the courtyard. The only signs of life were the 3 useless guards, slumped up against one another on the ground snoring away. He tiptoed past the wretches and was nearly at the entrance, when his toe met an empty cask from which the men had been heartily imbibing. It made a loud clatter as it rolled across the stone. Jacques froze, cold to his very toes with terror. One of the men made a guttural noise, and thrashed about for a bit, but did not wake. In but a few moments, he was on his way again, testing the ground in front of him before each step.
He snuck in through the front door without further incident. He was uncertain exactly where the princess would be, but deduced that she would be kept as far from the entrance as possible, in case of sudden attack. He crept up the stairs, to the top of the tower, and spied a majestic wooden door.
“Ah ha!” he said under his breath.
With confidence, he strode up to the door, pulled it open, and announced, “Here I am, my love!” only to encounter a pair of foolish maidens in their underwear. They began to scream and lunged at him, but he managed to fend them off with a few swift kicks, and slammed the door tightly shut. He fled up the hall and around the corner, where he met another door with a thud.
“Yes, who is it?” said a voice not unlike a lyrical forest nymph.
“WHO IS IT?” said the voice again, this time less than nymph-like. He could not speak. She whipped the door open, as Jacques stood there trembling in his soggy pantalon.
“Yes, what do you want?”
“Jacques who? Did my father hire you to guard my door- this is ridiculous? I don’t need you. Go back downstairs, and find something else to do. Get away, get out! You stink!” She perused he sodden trousers and made a sound of disgust. And with that she slammed the door in his face.
“This is not going well,” Jacques thought.
He spotted an even more grand and magnificent looking door and snuck into room. As it turned out, it was the royal library. He promptly removed his pants, and beat them against the bookshelves. When this proved only slightly effective, he decided to tear pages from one of the dusty library books to try to absorb the moisture. Finally, he gave up. “No, no, you must not give up. Go to her, go to her with haste!”
He donned his pantalon, and dusted off as many paper bits as he could, and made his way back to Gwendolyn’s chambers. This time he did not stumble, but knocked firmly on her door.
“Who is it now?” she bellowed in a tone of disgust.
“It is I, Jacques LeFrock.”
Again Gwendolyn whipped the door open looking less than impressed.
“I thought I told you to go downstairs. I didn’t think it necessary to tell you not to come back upstairs again…”
“Your father did not hire me to guard you. I have come here to discuss a matter of grave importance.”
“Well, what is it then?”
“I have come to discuss my pantalon.”
“What about them?” Gwendolyn asked, casting a leary glance his way.
“I am a tailor in the village. I make exquisite garments such as these astonishing trousers that I am now wearing.”
“What is so great about those slacks?”
Jacques was unprepared for such wretched ignorance from his Gwendolyn so fair.
“Well, they are magical pants. They are made of enchanted threads that remove evil spells.”
“They look like ordinary slacks to me, Jacques. Besides, what does this have to do with me?”
It came to him in a flash of brilliance. “I would like you to commission me to work for your family making royal garments.”
“Hmm, what is that vile smell?” Gwendolyn said, sniffing the air around Jacques.
“That is the smell of enchantment.”
“That is the smell of dead rodents,”
But suddenly her eyes narrowed and she began to smirk.
“You amuse me Jacques. You can stay. Would you like some wine?”
The pantalon were finally conjuring their powers. He gladly accepted her wine, and they began to talk. She seemed entirely taken in by his company, so naturally he shared the tale of how he had fought battles with three dragons (whom he had slayed readily), and other such adversities, in pursuit of the desired threads. These precious treasures were closely guarded by several wizards, with whom he had to battle wits, which he did easily.
Each spool represented a different spell. One to remove enchantments. One to produce great riches. One to achieve the greatest powers in the universe. And lastly, one to fulfill your greatest wish to marry well, and bear beautiful children.
(There is more to the story, but not more time, as I must head to the land of nod, so …… thanks again for reading 🙂 Future Frockeries will make it on here, I would imagine)