Madam Mango’s Moonbeam Machine


Oh, come along and buy a dream
From Madam Mango’s Moonbeam Machine
The finest illusions you’ve ever seen
Some crimson, some pearly, some grasshopper green

Yes, Madam has dreams to make you sigh
She’ll grow magical worlds right before your eyes
For a few extra coins, you can even fly
You can grow your own wings, kiss the rainbow skies

Or for those of you beset by fears
Or deprived of sleep by unending tears
The Moonbeam Machine can roll back the years
Give you dreams of the days when your heart was clear

Oh step right up, the time is right
Though the dreams will only last one night
It’s the fleeting beauties that give more light
And Madam’s dreams are the brightest of bright

Time Out Tuesday – What We Learned

Yes, I know it’s not Tuesday. What’s your point? This is what I was thinking about today, and since it’s the last day of SASS, I’m going with it. If you are looking for the comfort of familiar routines, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place.

Well, obviously we can’t say that SASS was an unqualified success. I didn’t achieve my goal of writing a new story every single day of September. I’m not sorry I tried it (though maybe sorry that I picked September to do it…more on that later). I was able to get some answers to my questions about what it would do to my writing. I wanted to know if creativity is something I have a limited supply of (so that when I use it up, it’s gone until it regrows) or if creativity would breed more creativity (so that the more I write, the more ideas I had). There probably isn’t a definitive answer to that question, but here’s what I did learn.

1. For me, the ideas come easy and the words come hard. It wasn’t coming up with the idea for each prompt that wore me out. It was the time it takes to write it all out. Giving up every single evening to write made me feel a little resentful some days. I know, resentful of whom? No one was making me do it. I don’t understand feelings. I just have them sometimes.

2. Creativity doesn’t get killed by using it up. Creativity gets killed by the stress of real life. As I mentioned above, it was already getting harder to write, but I didn’t start having trouble coming up with a good angle for the stories until my life kicked into overdrive during my kids’ birthday week (two within four days). I just happened to get the flu that same week, so I was barely keeping up with all the parties and cakes and special birthday nights out. I was so stressed out and exhausted that I finally stopped even trying to write for a few days there. Hence the failure of SASS. But back to the creativity part. I think I learned that creative ideas grow out of a relaxed mind. When the brain is crowded full of crazy details and/or so tired that it doesn’t function right, how is it supposed to come up with brilliant ideas? So for now, my new theory is that creativity doesn’t “run out” nor does it breed more creativity all by itself. Creativity grows out of the rest of life…as long as it isn’t trampled by the rest of life. That will give me something to think about for a while.

3. Too much production does reduce quality. Even though I think I was able to come up with some cool ideas this month, I didn’t totally love anything I wrote. There was a lot that I was satisfied with, but nothing that shone. It wasn’t because the ideas were weak. I just didn’t have the time to put into each one to develop it and take it to that next step of quality. Knowing there was a new one to write tomorrow, I had to just throw out whatever I had and let it stand. I don’t mind doing that. This is a storytelling blog, after all, and I do tell stories to the kids on the fly from time to time, but those stories are usually quite shaky. I think I prefer to have a couple of days to think it over and get it right, or at least to have the chance to recognize that what I’m doing is sub-par and put it aside in hopes of a better idea coming along later.

4. Everything I write is personal. Even when I look at something and know that it is crap, getting criticism from someone else feels like a stab wound. It makes me want to give up forever. Melodramatic? Um, yeah. And I hate myself for being melodramatic. I’m not a fan of drama. But it’s the truth, just the same. No need to explain how I found that out this month, but let’s just say I had to erase a story I posted and it hurt to do it. It was just a silly little story on a silly little blog that no one reads. I hated that story, and it deserved to be erased. But it still felt like a failure when someone else confirmed it. Ouch.

So.

Because of everything I learned this month, I feel a shift in the way I think about this blog. At first I really hoped to use this space to connect with other storytellers, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, and I’m okay with that. Maybe someday. For now, I’m going to make this a place to try things out, to test my theories and experiment a little. I’m working on a novel right now (in my other spare time). It’s the second in a series, and I love writing it in a way that I can’t love writing shorter stories. I’m hoping what I do here will help improve what I do there. Oh, and I do still hope someone is out there getting some enjoyment out of this craziness. Things are more fun when they’re shared.

New experiments on the horizon:
-Saturday Words of Wisdom
-Prominent Plot Poems
-Re-rewriting
-Build a world month

Stay tuned. It should be fun.

Grumpy Gracie

“I’m bored,” said Grumpy Gracie
“There is nothing here to do.”
So her mom said she could watch TV
Or read or book or two.
But Grumpy Gracie shook her head,
Said all the shows were dumb
Her books were all too old or lame
So dull they left her numb

She didn’t like books or songs or shows.
All that Grumpy Gracie liked was saying no.

“I’m tired,” said Grumpy Gracie
“And I’m achey and I’m hot.”
So her dad said she could take a nap
With a fan beside her cot.
But the fan was much too windy
For Grumpy Gracie’s achey head
And her pillow was too lumpy
And the sheets were much too red.

She didn’t like sleep or fans that blow
All that Grumpy Gracie liked was saying no.

“I need food,” said Grumpy Gracie.
“I’m so hungry I could die.”
So they made a grilled cheese sandwich
With a side of homemade fries.
But the cheese was much too melty
And she couldn’t stand the crust
Even when they offered ice cream
She turned away in pure disgust

She didn’t like chocolate or cookie dough
All that Grumpy Gracie liked was saying no.

The Teeny Tiny Monster

Once upon a time there was a teeny, tiny monster, so small he would fit in the palm of your hand. His name was Shamus. Shamus was fearsomely terrible and terribly fierce, but no one was even the slightest bit scared of him. Obviously the reason for that was that he was so small. It’s hard to be terrifying when anyone who wants to could just pick you up and set you on a shelf.

Shamus was determined to be scary. He tried jumping out at some kids getting off the school bus and roaring a giant roar, but his loudest roar was only a squeak to them, and they passed him by without even noticing. He tried hiding under the bed and sneaking out at night to scare a little girl, but when it was good and dark, he couldn’t find the leg of the bed, and it was too high for him to jump. Instead, he spent the night on the floor, and the little girl slept soundly.

The other monsters laughed and laughed when they heard that story. “A monster who could be the prize in a cereal box is never going to scare anyone,” they said.

At first, Shamus was very sad, but then he started thinking about what the other monsters had said. And he had a brilliant idea.

The next day, Shamus climbed up into the cupboard and found the most colorful box of cereal. Slipping under the lid, he waited. Pretty soon, a boy came and took the box down and poured out some cereal. Shamus jumped into the bowl. He dodged the stream of milk and floated on a red O, waiting. When the little boy took a bite, Shamus jumped onto the spoon. Right as the boy was about to eat his bite of cereal, Shamus jumped up on his nose, grabbed a bit of hair and poked him in the eye. The boy yelled and dropped the spoon, milk, cereal and all. Then he saw Shamus dancing around on the table. The boy was so shocked that there was something alive in his cereal that he ran screaming for his mother. Shamus finished his dance and ran home to tell the other monsters all about it.

The day after that, Shamus sneaked into a little girl’s lunch bag. He crawled right up between the slices of bread on her ham and cheese sandwich and waited. When it was lunch time, the little girl took out her sandwich and was just about to take a bite when Shamus wiggled out of his hiding spot and began to do his dance along the crust. The little girl saw something hopping around on her sandwich and let out a shriek. Shamus giggled so hard he fell right off the table.

Pretty soon the other monsters started to come along to watch Shamus leap out of coffee cups and chip bags. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Shamus’ sudden appearance in their food never failed to terrify people of all ages.

And that was how Shamus, the tiniest monster ever, became one of the scariest monsters ever, too.

The Polite Pirates of the Puxatana


Never did a more well-spoken band of pirates sail the seven seas than the Polite Pirates of the Puxatana. Many a prisoner was made to walk the Puxatana’s plank but never without a friendly “Please,” and while the Polite Pirates pillaged and plundered as all good pirates should, they never, ever forgot to say “Thank you” as they sailed away.

It was the Polite Pirates who stole the famed Fraser treasure, which everyone said could not be stolen. The Fraser family kept their gold in an iron chest locked away in the darkest dungeon inside their strong stone fortress. Many armed guards paced the walls of the castle, and no one was brave enough to try to break in. Only the Polite Pirates, who knew that with good manners you can accomplish anything, would make such an attempt.

The first thing they had to do was get past the guards. That was not a problem for the Polite Pirates. The pirate captain marched straight up to the front gate and pretended to be a traveler who was looking for a place to sleep for the night. While he very politely asked for directions, the other pirates sneaked up behind the guards.

“Please do the me the favor of dropping your weapon,” said each pirate to each guard. And each guard did. A simple please can so often get you what you want. Holding a sword to someone’s back also helps.

When all the guards were disarmed and tied up, the pirates took the keys to the great front door from the chief guard and walked quietly inside, not forgetting to wipe their feet carefully in the mat. Without a sound, the Polite Pirates crept down the stairs toward the dungeons. They arrived at the barred doors of the cell that held the treasure, they paused, while the captain and the first mate politely discussed various ways of opening the door.

“I believe that blasting it open with this dynamite will be the best course,” said the Captain.

“If you’ll forgive me, sir,” said the first mate, “I think that will be much too loud. It may bring more guards. I would advise picking the lock.”

“You make a very good point,” said the captain, “but I don’t think you’ve considered how much time that will take. We really don’t have time for picking the lock. Someone could happen by at any moment.”

“I understand your point of view completely, sir,” said the first mate, “but I still must say that we would be better to take the time than to risk the loud noise.”

They probably would have gone on this way for quite a while, each trying very hard not to offend the other, if the cabin boy hadn’t said, “Excuse me, captain,” and then waited patiently for the first mate to finish his sentence. When the captain and first mate acknowledged him, the cabin boy said, “Thank you for listening, sir. I have something here that could probably be of help.” He held up the keys to the dungeon which he had stolen from one of the guards.

“Well done, son!” shouted the captain. “I knew if we discussed this reasonably we could come to some understanding!”

The first mate nodded his agreement. The doors were soon open and the crew carried the iron box out of the castle. It was very hard to get such a heavy box up the stairs. Half way up, the men in front dropped it, and it landed on the first mate’s toes. He let out a yell that would put fear into the heart of any pirate, “AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!”

“We’re so terribly sorry,” said all the other men.

“AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!” yelled the first mate again. Then he got himself under control and said through gritted teeth, “It’s quite all right. I know you didn’t mean to, but I really think we should open the box here and divide up the treasure for carrying.”

Seeing as how the first mate was badly injured, no one wanted to argue with him about that. Several of the men had brought along heavy hammers for opening the box and now they began to pound away at the lid, each man making a great crash and trying his best to break off the hinges. Of course, they all took turns and waited patiently and passed the hammer back and forth very carefully. Working together so courteously, they naturally had the lid off in no time. Each man filled his pockets with gold from the chest, passing it from one to the other with a whispered, “Thank you!”

By this time, all the hammering and yelling had brought more guards down from the upper parts of the castle. The Polite Pirates were ready to move. They fought bravely up the stairs and out into the courtyard, but before they could get to the outer gate, they found themselves surrounded by guards and backed into a corner. It was a terrible moment for the Polite Pirates. They knew no pirate could ever surrender, so that meant that they were all probably about to die. The captain, who was out in front, could see the shining tips of all those swords that were pointed at them and from somewhere behind those swords, he heard someone give a great sneeze, AAACHOOO!

Without second thought, he pulled out his white handkerchief and held it up. “I believe you are needing this,” he called.

The guards stopped. Could it be that the pirates were surrendering? Yes, he was definitely holding up a white flag. Lowering their swords, the guards walked forward to accept the surrender. But the pirates had never meant to surrender. When they saw the guards lower their swords, the pirates made a mad rush and broke free, running for the gate and down to the harbor with great piratey cries.

The pirate captain was the last to get on board the Puxatana as the Polite Pirates prepared to sail away. He carefully set down the handkerchief, hoping that whoever had sneezed would still find it. The Puxatana was sailing away as the guards finally reached the water’s edge, but they could still hear very clearly echoing back over the water, “God….bless…you!”

The Princess Who Hated Her Bath

Princess Petunia was beautiful in every way and was generally quite a sweet-tempered girl, but she had just one very, very stubborn flaw. She absolutely refused to take a bath. Her servants made the water hot, they made it cold, they made it just-right-in-the-middle-deliciously-warm, but still she wouldn’t go near it. Her maid added bubbles and pretty pink coloring so that the whole bath looked like a cotton candy cloud, but Princess Petunia just shook her head and got back in bed. Her mother offered her candy to take even one bath, but Princess Petunia just closed her eyes and shuddered. Her father said he would take away her pony if she didn’t bathe, but Princess Petunia just cried and cried and ran outside.

As time went on, Princess Petunia got dirtier and dirtier and smellier and smellier. She would play outside and take off her shoes and come in with feet all black from the earth, but never would she wash so much as her little toe. She would run and jump and climb in the trees until she was quite a sweaty mess, but never would her own smelliness offend her as much as the tiniest whiff of soap. She would accidentally get bits of food or drink in her hair, and they would stick there for as long as they felt like staying.

The king and queen were quite alarmed. Who ever heard of a princess who wouldn’t take a bath? How could she go to royal balls with blackened feet and bits of food in her hair? How could she greet the royal guests with dirt on her hands and smudges on her cheek? The king called in a royal doctor to study scientifically the causes of the problem. He asked Princess Petunia a great many important questions, but all she would say was, “Baths are icky. I will never take one.”

Was it the water she objected to, he asked, or the soap?

“Oh, by all means, the water,” said Princess Petunia. “Water is just too wet for me. And the soap is truly terrifying. It is just so sickeningly sudsy.”

Was she afraid of the water or just uncomfortable while in it?

“Oh yes, I’m very afraid,” Princess Petunia said calmly. “Water is so disgustingly wet, and I am quite uncomfortable with how fearfully wet it would make me.”

After many similar answers, the doctor gave up in a fit of impatience. “You’re daughter is impossible!” he shouted. “It is my professional opinion that she will never be persuaded to take a bath. You may as well give up now.”

The king was quite ready to take the doctor’s advice, but the queen called in an important fashion consultant to convince her daughter of the importance of being clean. The important consultant immediately began to create a beautiful new dress for Princess Petunia. Each time the princess came to be fitted for her dress, the important consultant was horrified by her dirtiness and gave her long lectures. On the final fitting, Princess Petunia had such filthy hands that the important consultant actually fainted from horror and when he came back to himself and saw Princess Petunia touching the elegant dress with those terrible hands, he ran screaming from the castle and was never seen again.

The king and queen despaired. Without telling anyone, the king began to make preparations to hide Princess Petunia away in the corner tower where no one would be able to smell her.

But her maid still had one idea. She also did not tell anyone, but one night she went to visit her wise old grandmother and told her all about the very smelly princess. The wise old grandmother said they should leave it all up to her.

The next day when Princess Petunia was running through the woods, she came across a pool of water. Normally, she ran right around the pool and never got close at all, but today she saw something strange. There was an old woman splashing in the pool and laughing like a little girl. Princess Petunia stopped and stared.

“Who are you?” she asked, “and what are you doing in that horrible pool?”

“Who I am is none of your business,” said the old woman rather rudely, “and I should think any stupid little girl could see what I am doing.” She continued to splash and laugh and squirt water up into the tree branches above her.

Princess Petunia watched for a minute. “I do not think I am a stupid little girl,” she said finally, “but I do not see what you are doing.”

The old woman laughed. “I am having fun,” she said. “If you can’t see that then you are more stupid than you think.”

“How can you be having fun in the water?” asked Princess Petunia. “Isn’t it just like a horrid big bath?”

“Oh no,” said the old woman. “It is not at all like a bath. Do you see a bath tub? Do you see a bathroom? Of course not. If you think this is like a bath, you must really be quite a stupid little girl.”

“I am NOT stupid,” said Princess Petunia. “I just don’t see how you can laugh when you are in all that very wet water.”

“Come in and you will see,” said the old woman.

“Oh no, oh no,” said Princess Petunia. “I could never. I hate the wet, wet water.”

“Suit yourself,” said the old woman, and she went back to her splashing and laughing.

Princess Petunia watched for a long while. Finally she said, “And you’re sure it’s really nothing like a bath?”

The old woman rolled her eyes. “We are in the forest. What do you think?”

Taking a deep breath, Princess Petunia ran straight into the water. In no time at all, she was splashing and laughing right along with the old woman. The old woman showed her how to dip all the way under the water and open her eyes and look for shiny rocks on the bottom of the pool. Princess Petunia thought that was great fun. Then the old woman produced a bar of soap and began to toss it back and forth. Princess Petunia was so busy playing catch that she didn’t notice the bubbles all around her. At last, when she was quite clean but still didn’t know it, the old woman said it was time to go home. When Princess Petunia got out of the pool, she noticed the most lovely smell.

“What is that wonderful fragrance?” she asked, looking all around for flowers.

“It’s you, Princess,” said the old woman with a grin.

“Me?!” said Princess Petunia, looking down at her now clean clothes and hair and hands and feet. “What kind of magic is this that makes me smell like a flower and look all white and shiny?”

“It’s the magic of a bath,” said the old woman. “You’ve just had your very first one.”

“But you said…” stuttered Princess Petunia. “But I thought…”

“Exactly,” said the old woman, handing the princess the bar of soap.

And after that, Princess Petunia was always the first to jump into the bath on bath day, though she often insisted on doing it outside in the forest pool. Her parents thought this very odd, but they were so happy to have a daughter that smelled like a flower instead of a rotten fish that they let her do just as she liked.

Secret

I wish.. I wish…
Well, I cannot tell
Cause a birthday wish
As we all know well
Is a secret
You’re not meant to spread
Or you’ll never get
What you see in your head

I cannot share
But I will say this
You’ll all be thrilled
When you see my wish
Cause it’s something
We all want for sure
And we’ll cuddle up
While we hear it purr

Fastest in the West

Who is the fastest in the wild, wild west? The jackrabbit is fast, but he can be outrun by the cougar. The cougar is speedy, but he can be outrun by the wild mustang. Can anyone outrun the wild mustang? That is what all the animals on the prairie have gathered today to find out.

Down in the front the prairie dogs have set up a family picnic. They aren’t a part of this competition, but they aren’t about to miss out on the fun. Off to the side sit the jackrabbits. There was some talk of their chief challenging the mustangs, but now he’s announced that he is to be one of the judges instead. A wise move. No one has better pick up time than the chief jackrabbit, but he just doesn’t have the stamina for this kind of race. Clustered in the middle are the buffalo. They, too, are only observers, since their forte is strength and not speed, but no prairie gathering would be complete without them. Ranged behind the buffalo are the cougars. They were the most recent challengers to be defeated by the wild mustangs, and as such they also have a representative judging today. Perched in the trees by the train tracks are a few buzzards. They eye the prairie dogs with interest, but everyone has agreed to a truce today. The buzzards are here as judges also, their perspective from the sky being essential. A lone turtle wends his way through the crowds, selling cool water for the sunny day, completely uninterested in the competition except as a way to earn some profit.

It’s almost start time and now the mustangs are arriving. Proud and strong, they shake their manes as they gallop to a halt on the open plain before the spectators. With a loud neigh, the herd leader calls the judges forward. While he talks to them, the crowd begins to mutter. Where is the challenger? So far, no opponent has shown up. The prairie dogs crane their necks to see if anyone is coming. Suddenly the youngest prairie dog squeals. The ground is trembling ever so slightly. Soon the rumbling is evident to the whole gathering. In the distance, the shining train appears, rushing toward them, trailing its black smoke. Several of the smaller animals dash for cover. The buzzards lift up into the sky. Only the cougars’ well timed pacing keeps the buffalo from stampeding. The train squeaks and groans to a halt right in their midst. The crowd slowly quiets down.

The lead mustang is announcing that the race will begin in half an hour. The challenger is the smoking black giant before them. A ripple of excitement passes through the watching animals. Never would any of them have thought to pit the mustang against the machine. It is an unspoken rule on the prairie that every animal stays as far from the train and its tracks as possible. Stay out of the way of progress, it is said, and you will live longer. Some animals are calling the lead mustang a fool for breaking this tradition now. Others are fascinated. The cougars look forward to what must be the certain humiliation of the mustangs. The jackrabbits can not imagine a machine mastering the prairie more fully than a living being. The buzzards find the question interesting if irrelevant. Everyone knows flying is the best and fastest was to get somewhere, but the issue of second best is intriguing. A few of the animals place discreet bets on the outcome.

At last it is time to begin. The race is to be a long the one, all the way to Abilene and back again, more than forty miles all told. The judges will wait by the finish line, all except the buzzard who will shadow the racers to insure that there is no cheating. Everyone is excited as the chief jackrabbit counts down to the start.

3…2…1…Go!

With a graceful leap, the mustang is off, moving quickly from trot to full gallop. Very soon he is out of sight. The train begins much more slowly. It chugs to life and the wheels turn sluggishly until it gets its great weight in motion. Chug, chug, chug, faster and faster it moves. Chug, chug, chug, faster and faster. Soon it’s speed is tremendous. Tirelessly it gains on the mustang. Overhead, the buzzard is the only observer now, watching as the train catches up with the galloping mustang and then smoothly moves past. The mustang increases his speed a little, but he cannot catch up with the train.

The train arrives in Abilene a good hour before the mustang, but here is its disadvantage. In order to turn around and go back, the great engine must be moved to a special turntable track and be slowly turned around. This process takes time. The buzzard watches as the train waits on its human inventors to switch it around. In the mean time, the mustang has arrived in Abilene and is immediately turning for home. He barely breaks a stride as his hooves thunder around in a circle. He is half way back to the finish line before the train leaves Abilene. It has a full load of coal now, though, and its speed is unbelievable. Steadily, it closes the gap.

By the time the two contestants are in sight of the waiting spectators, the train has nearly caught up with the mustang. The chug of its engine can be heard as its wheels turn effortlessly. Still just a half length ahead of the train, the mustang increases his speed. Flecks of sweat fly off his whipping mane, and his sides heave with the tremendous effort. The two are flying toward the finish line. All the judges watch with intense concentration. The prairie dogs have dropped their food and are staring with open mouths. The buzzards fly forward for a closer look.

The train and the mustang are neck and neck as they cross the finish line. The train squeals to a halt, sending sparks along the tracks, as the mustang stops by the water trough, breathing hard and trembling with fatigue.

The judges have consulted and now they are coming forward with the results, and the winner is…

The winner is….

What do you think? Who wins the race?

Kakahi

Kakahi the dolphin was not like the other dolphins. He did not enjoy swimming with the crowd, splashing in the waves, and having water fights with the other dolphins. He would much rather be exploring the ocean floor, looking for interesting rocks and shells and making new discoveries. The other dolphins thought Kakahi was quite boring because he didn’t want to play but would go on and on about silly little things he found. Kakahi thought the other dolphins were quite boring because they didn’t know anything about the creatures that lived at the bottom of the ocean but only wanted to do the same silly games day after day. Needless to say, Kakahi spent a lot of time alone.

One day, when Kakahi was swimming along the ocean floor, hunting for rare animal specimens, he saw something glowing red a little ways ahead. Curious as always, he swam forward to investigate. He noticed that the water around him was getting warmer and warmer the closer he got to the glow. It wasn’t until the water was uncomfortably hot that he noticed that the glow was slowly inching toward him. There was only one thing it could be: lava! Kakahi was terrified. He backed away as the lava slowly rose toward him. The water was getting warmer all the time. Suddenly, Kakahi realized something. Escaping lava was probably the beginning of a bigger eruption. If an underwater volcano erupted, all the animals in the area would be in danger. Kakahi had to go warn the other dolphins. They were playing up at the surface and wouldn’t have any idea of their danger until it was too late. Beginning to panic, Kakahi turned and swam upward as fast as he could.

It took him a little while to find the other dolphins. He didn’t know where all their favorite places were to play, since he never played with them. Finally, though, he saw some spraying in the distance and headed toward it. When he reached the other dolphins, he was quite tired, but he tried his best to explain quickly.

“Down, on the ocean floor, lava!” he panted. “There’s lava. It’s rising. We have to get far away. Fast.”

The other dolphins just stared. “Kakahi,” said one. “We don’t care about your ocean floor discoveries. They’re boring.”

“No!,” said Kakahi. “It’s lava. Lava! Like a volcano. We’re in danger.”

The word volcano got their attention. A few of the dolphins began to look nervous, but most of the others didn’t believe him.

“There’s no volcano around here! You probably saw some kind of glowing eel or something and thought it was lava.”

“I know what glowing eels look like!” said Kakahi. “I have eight of them in my collection. This is lava. The water is getting hot.”

They were still unconvinced.

“Come yourselves, then,” said Kakahi. “I’ll show you. But we have to be quick. There may not be much time.”

Some of the dolphins still didn’t want to come and look. They didn’t know Kakahi very well and just thought he was a weirdo doing some weirdo thing again. But most of the dolphins were concerned enough to at least check it out. They followed Kakahi down toward the bottom of the ocean. It didn’t take long before the water was noticeably warmer. The dolphins swam a little faster. Pretty soon they could see the glow of the lava. The whole group stopped and stared for a minute. Then they turned together and began to swim away.

No one laughed at Kakahi any more. They began to ask him questions about how fast he thought it was rising.

“We need to head east,” said one of the older dolphins. “There is a sheltered cove near an island that I know. It’s quite far away. It should be far enough to be safe.”

The dolphins all agreed and began to swim east. They swam very fast. They could all feel the water warming and a tremor beginning far below. The farther they went and the faster they swam, the more Kakahi began to fall behind. He was not used to swimming so quickly. Because he didn’t play games with the other dolphins, he didn’t have as much practice jumping among the waves, and he was often knocked back. He began to get very tired. The other dolphins tried to encourage him, but he was just not as quick and strong as they were.

They were just out of range when they all heard a tremendous explosion behind them. A giant wave welled up and swept across the ocean toward them. The other dolphins knew just what to do and rode to the top of the wave and back down as it rushed past, but Kakahi was so exhausted that he could barely stay afloat. The wave grabbed at him and carried him at top speed toward the island in the distance. He was sure it would slam him onto the beach, but there was nothing he could do. Just when he had about given up hope, he felt something come up underneath him. Several of the strongest dolphins had fought their way over to him and were lifting him up with their own noses. With them to guide him, Kakahi was just barely able to drift sideways and down away from the main force of the wave. The other dolphins joined them, and they all watched as the tremendous tidal wave crashed over the island. For a moment, everything was chaotic and then it was strangely quiet. Without speaking, the dolphins swam into the cove where the water was littered with tree branches but otherwise calm. They had made it. They were safe.

The dolphins stayed a long time living near that island, and things were quite different. Many of the dolphins now took time to go exploring on the ocean floor with Kakahi, learning about the things in their world and keeping watch for dangers. Kakahi, in his turn, often went and played with the other dolphins, practicing to become a strong swimmer and jumper and finding that it was much more fun than he had thought.

Not my fault

Yes, Mrs. Smith, I know ,Mrs. Smith.
It is time for being quiet; it is time for sitting still.
I’m sorry, Mrs. Smith, I’m trying, Mrs. Smith.
I swear it’s not my fault, and I do not need a pill.

You see, Mrs. Smith, It’s my clothes, Mrs. Smith.
Don’t know where my mother got them, but they do stuff on their own.
It’s true, Mrs. Smith, I’m not lying Mrs. Smith
When I’m sitting being good, my clothes will not leave me alone.

There’s these pants that keep on dancing.
They just jiggle, shake, and jive.
And these shoes that won’t stop prancing.
They skip around like they’re alive.

Have you seen this t-shirt twitching?
I think it wants to go outside.
And the socks have started itching
Like they’re dying for a ride.

I try to sit still like I ought to
But tell me, what’s a girl to do
With these dancing pants and twitching shirt
And crazy prancing shoes?