Monday, January 23, 2012
Hey y’all! Welcome back to Flowers on the Fence Country! I feel sort of like the Johnny Cash song right now – “I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere…”. ‘Cause in the last months, since November, I’ve been – well, everywhere. Without leaving my computer. I’ve collected some flash fiction from Malta. I’ve seen New Zealand with Sue Perkins. I've met Meghan Shelby courtesy of Roseanne Dowell and Jennifer Taylor courtesy of BarbaraE. I’ve been on the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland courtesy of Pat McDermott. I’ve been in Shadow Land, courtesy of Graeme Smith and Jack Shadow. I’ve been in a cartoon, courtesy of I. B. Nosey. J. Q. Rose put us on chorus line. Ginger Simpson gave us a tour of commercials, warning us the cure might be worse than the illness. So today, I’d thought we’d stay right here. Right here in Flowers on the Fence Country. And maybe I’d tell y’all another of my adventures of living in the country. So, y’all game? You ready? Alrigghhtttyyyyyy, then! Here we go! The Misadventures of Gail Branan…
You can’t claim you live in the country if you don’t have a well. If you have a well, you’re not normal unless you’ve turned on a facet at least one time during the year and nothing’s come out of it. It means that somebody, somewhere, has left the water running past the point where the pump can keep up with the flow.
The culprit is almost always a toilet that's kept running and nobody's noticed. One memorable afternoon, I arrived home to find my husband Randy sitting by the pump house listening to the sound of the pump. He approached me with his usual demeanor when life’s thrown an inconvenient curve, which is to say he looked like the herald of impending and insurmountable disaster.
“We got no water,” he announced, as though I couldn’t have figured that out by his vigil outside the pump house. “Go cut the circuit for the well, we’ll see if it catches up by itself.”
He started cutting grass and I complied with instructions. I waited an appropriate length of time and flipped the circuit breaker for the pump back to “on”. Nothing. I flipped the circuit back off so as not to burn up the pump motor and hollered him and the lawn mower down.
“No go!” I yelled over the noise of the lawnmower. “It needs priming! Go do it!”
“Don’t know how! Just go shut it back off!”
“You don’t know how?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t know how either, but I’m a girl. I’d been married to the man at the time for 34 years or so, and it had never occurred to me that all Southern country men didn’t know how to prime a pump.
“No! Shut off the power!”
“I already DID!” I shouted back. “It needs priming and Jason probably knows HOW if you don’t!" Our son-in-law had worked for Greene’s Well Drilling Service one summer as a teenager.
"JUST SHUT IT OFF!!"
Needless to say, this left me in a high state of piss-off. So five minutes later he's back at the front door shouting over the lawnmower, "Did you call Jason?"
Can you see the finger? Can you see it?
"No, you told me not to!!"
"Well, go call him!!"
My son-in-law’s a Deputy Sheriff, with fairly irregular hours. He is further a K-9 officer and somebody’s always calling him to bring his dog out, even on his days off. That particular day, by some miracle, he’d had a whole day off and had imbibed a few beers. So he wasn’t driving. I explained the situation and he allowed as how he wasn’t sure he remembered how to prime a pump as that was not part of his job duties that summer, but could probably figure it out if I’d come collect him. Which I proceeded to do. We filled an ice chest with water, and Jason and I and my young grandson came back home to attend the pump.
Jason fiddled a bit, tried one method that didn’t work, and then tried another that did. WHALA! Water.
I believe it was then that Randy volunteered the information that the flush handle on our bathroom toilet was loose and he had tightened it up.
"Yeah." Guess what I figured out the last time this happened and Green's came to prime it and make $85.00? If you tighten the flush handle all the way on the toilet in our bathroom, it's too freakin' tight, the rubber thing doesn't close all the way, and the toilet runs! I attempted to explain this to no avail. So I went behind him and loosened it. He came to check on things and tightened it back up. I waited till he wasn't looking and loosened it again. And took a hot shower, thinking the episode was at an end. Not.
The next morning just when I was walking out the front door, Greene’s Well Service pulled up. I thanked heaven all the dogs were in and not running around the yard barking their heads off and playing dodge ball with the tires, my first thought being that Randy called them before I’d gotten home yesterday and didn't call them back.
I told them I appreciated their visit but didn’t need them, the issue had been resolved.
“Well, he called this morning but doesn’t answer his phone. Boss man said we’d better come on out.”
Well, if he’d called this morning, maybe something was going on with the pump he'd just noticed and didn’t tell me about. I told them they were welcome to look, my husband was two miles away and I’d go get him. We own the local Laundromat so I ran up there to advise of our visitors. Randy was busily engaged helping one of his favorite ladies, Miss Corrine, do her laundry.
“I didn’t call ‘em this morning! Go back and tell ‘em it’s fixed, don’t need ‘em!”
I love my job assignments. I departed and headed back down our three-quarter mile long, rutted, curving, gravel, country driveway and met their truck half-way up. I proceeded to back up this rutted, curving, in-need-of-scraping country driveway till I got to a spot where I could pull over and relayed the message.
In my absence, they had figured out that Randy’s call had come in after hours last night and I was graciously advised not to worry about it. I thanked them sweetly and opted to go back down the driveway when they passed rather than finish backing up. I then called Randy and got no answer, this being different than almost every time I called him how? Not. He called back and advised that he thought he might have called last night and left a voice mail, forgot about it and didn't call back. You think? They have telepathy or something and just appear when wells run dry?
Ah! Life in the Southern country side! Y'all come back now, hear?
Monday, January 16, 2012
Of Shadows and Light…..
|Photo Used With Permission of Owner|
Shadow. Light. Light. Shadow. Not my usual welcome to Flowers on the Fence Country, you say? Not my usual Flowers on the Fence, either. I usually come out with the Southern charm set at full blast. None of that’s fake, you know. It’s real. It’s part of me. But like everybody else, I have other – personas. Entities. Bits and pieces of – darkness. Some folks are naturally drawn to the light. I draw a lot of ‘em. But some folks—well, they’re just naturally drawn to the dark. To the shadows. Now, this might come as a shock to y’all, but I draw a lot of those folks, too. Folks from the shadows. Like my next guest. He’s got a name of course. We all know him as Graeme Smith. But guess what? I first met him in a bar in Vladivostok. Using his real name. Shadow. Jack Shadow. You don't see him coming. You don't notice he's moving. But he's moving all right. Closer....closer.....can you see him moving closer?
|Photo Used With Permission of Owner|
*******Lady Gail. Or, as I know her, ‘what do you mean, you want me to guest on your blog, you crazy woman you?’
Maybe I’ll stick with Lady Gail. It’s shorter, and who knows when we might end up in a letter crisis. Like the oil thing, but with fewer nodding donkeys.
I first met Lady Gail (of course, that’s not her real name. If I told you her real name, she’d have to kill me. Again.) in a bar in Vladivostok. She’d just assosinat…. ossisanot…. ass-toss-er-isked…. er, she’d just pink-slipped the head of the local Origami Association. Well, more red-slipped really. Sawn off shotguns can be like that. Just another busy day at the office for an international assassin and patchwork quilting consultant. Anyway, she’d slipped in for a Vodka Moretini. The sort that says ‘hold the glass and give me the bottle – I might get into an argument’.
Anyway, we were getting along just fine until her cell phone rang. It was her next contract. Those cell phones have great screens these days, don’t they? Mind you, I take a lousy photograph, and this one was no better. But after a madcap pursuit across the Alps (we had to get them moved over to Vladivostok – the air fare would have been madness) and a Seqway chase through the sewers of Milan, we ended up at the Rickenbacker Falls. But since neither of us could play the guitar, Lady Gail just used her cell to order some more Moretinis.
She hasn’t tried to kill me since then. Well, not too often, at least. You see, she hates unfinished jobs. So there was the time in my favorite little café on the banks of the River Seine. I mean, I know she doesn’t think small, but blowing the river bank and flooding Paris so her trained sharks could swim along the Ave Victoria to get me was a little… but no matter. I was in Texas at the time, so what’s the wrong Paris between friends.
Of course, we all know what happened after that. Lady Gail’s Nobel Prize for Flower Arranging. With extra cyanide-tipped poison ivy. I always thought the cyanide was an original touch. And it got rid of the Lithuanian judge rather elegantly. That’ll teach him to ‘nul point’. Even in Lithuanian. Then there was my… um… But we mustn’t forget Lady Gail’s perfect 27.9 in the Olympic Vodka drinking. And my… er… Oh! And Lady Gail becoming President of Western Antarctica! And my… er… Right! Yes! My being invited to guest on her blog!
So here I am. A Flower on the Fence. Graeme Smith. Writer of, to quote a friend of mine (Cailidgh Spires - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc7tbcYWHG0), ‘words and stuff’. Without being able to play the guitar like Cailidgh can (you can buy her album at http://www.reverbnation.com/cailidghspires).
This is me – Graeme Smith. Writer of comic fantasy. Well, it is if you laugh when you read it :-). And this, I’m told, is the part where I’m supposed to try to talk you into buying my book. A, like, whole book. Wot I wrote.
Ain’t gonna :-P.
Actually, I’m not going to because I can’t. Not yet. ‘A Comedy of Terrors’ doesn’t come out until July. If you want to take a look at that, or the Prologue at least, you can wander by http://www.graeme-smith.net/content/comedy-terrors-sample. But you can do that later. If you want to :-). For now – for now, if I could, I’d like to get your help.
You see, some time ago I decided to write about something. Or rather, someone. I wanted to write something with a main character who had absolutely no redeeming or sympathetic characteristics whatsoever. And then to… but that would be telling. So anyway. I tried.
Apparently I failed :-P.
See, some people who’ve seen him think he’s funny. Amusing. So he has at least one redeeming characteristic :-P. But here it is. The Question. Well – not The Question. Jack hasn’t got to that yet. But a Question. Take a read, and then – would you like to read more? Is it worth carrying on with?
Don’t worry. You can say whatever you want. Right here. In the Comments. So go on. Be brave. This is a Fence. Don’t sit on it – be a Flower.
A Flower on the Fence.
PROLOGUE: LEAD GUITAR IN A LEAD ZEPPELIN
The name don't matter none.
Jack Shadow. ShadowJack. Like the lady said in the song, the name don't matter none, 'cause it's all the same. I do my job right, you ain’t never heard of me. Never met me. And them as do meet me - mostly they don’t tell anyone.
If it can hurt you, I likely used it some time. I'm the guy you passed in the street, the guy you never saw. Maybe I bummed a cigarette. Maybe I dropped some change in your tin. Maybe you were my friend. Maybe I killed you.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard ‘em. Every one of ‘em. They all start out the same. The jokes. " See... this guy walks into a bar...". Well, that's not me. That guy, I mean. The guy who walked into a bar. I'm the guy who walked out. No. It's not amnesia. Or at least they don't say it is. I've no mysterious past I'm running to find. Near as anyone knows, I don't have a past at all. Near as anyone knows - or admits to. I don't walk round a corner, and some guy from a car shoots at me because long ago I - well, sure. Guys shoot at me. Hell, women too. But not for long ago. Mostly for last week. Where 'last week' is just about any week you choose.
No, I just walked out of a bar. That's what they tell me, the Dragon.
The Dragon? Look it up. It’s all out there. ‘Order of the Dragon. Hell, ‘Sárkány Lovagrend’ if you speak Hungarian. Which I don’t. Yup, the Internet’s a wonderful thing. Guy who had the idea was Dragon. The Dragon loved it so much, they gave him a Special Commendation. I know that for a fact. They sent me to deliver it. The Commendation.
See, you can’t have good ideas being talked about. Ever.
Mind, I said it was out there, about the Dragon. Never said it was true. It isn’t. None of it. That’s the Dragon way too.
Oh, they looked, the Dragon. They really looked for me. Me before the bar, that is. And there isn't much the Dragon can't find if they want to. But there it is. One day, I walked out of a bar. Were there piles of dead bodies behind me? A stacked deck I was dealing, or one I was dealt? I don't know. I walked out of the damn place. I never walked back in. Just - just away.
But they were waiting, and they took me. The Dragon. They tell me they do that a lot. Wait. ‘Til the time a beat of a gnat's wing can topple an empire. Me? I guess I'm a gnat.
I walked out of a bar. The rest - the rest will be history. Some day. Not that I'll be in it. Nobody remembers the gnats. Not if they did their job right.
What's a gnat? It's like they say. If you gotta ask, I can't tell you. But maybe a story would help. Not that it ever happened of course. You comfy? Of course you are. I took care of that.
As airships go, it flew like a lump of lead. That might have had something to do with me shooting the Captain and both deck crew, and locking the hydrogen release valves wide open.
The ship had taken off with some big-ass ceremony. A guy with more money than sense had paid some guy with more sense than money to try to do what the Hindenberg had told people not to do. So the guy with no money had done some thinking, then some other guys did some making. Now the guy with no money had money and the guy with lots of money had an airship. Big-ass airship, big-ass launch ceremony. So with all the smoke and mirrors, it hadn't been hard to get on board. The flight from London to New York meant the blimp had to go real high, to catch the jet stream. I figured there'd be time.
OK. So you're thinking the big shot, right? Hell, no. He had the smarts to think maybe being on the maiden voyage wasn't such a hot idea. So he'd got on with all the cameras flashing and then sneaked off out the back. Left some dumb look-alike stand-in with the reporters to make happy faces and tell them funny stories. No. There was a band on board, to keep things poppin'. The Dragon wanted to make sure the bass player never made it to New York.
Why? Damned if I know. They don't say, and I don't ask. It's a job, that's all. Just another job. That's the Dragon. Some say it's all about the balance. Some say it's the harmony. Some say Dragon’s just a bunch of mean sons of bitches out to rule the world. ‘Course, most of them as say that won’t say it any more.
Me? I say it's just a big pot, and sometimes it needs stirring. Nobody needs to tell the spoon nothin'. I'm a spoon.
So I did what needed doing, and now the ship wasn't going anywhere but down. Along the way, some people got brave. So they got dead. No big. At least it was quick for them. But the chute I had was only good at low altitude and the damn ship was dropping real slow. Time to kill. So there I was. Sliding down the sky jammin' real bad 'Nobody's fault but mine' on a dead guy's axe, ‘til I could pop a window and open my chute.
Real bad? Hell. I never said I could play.
That's what it's like in the Dragon. Sure, they tell you you’re a hero. Saving the world. And if you believe it, what do you get? Well, you get to play bad lead guitar in a lead zeppelin.
I ain’t no hero. Like I said. I'm a gnat.
So there it is. Let's try that joke again. See, this guy walks out of a bar...
I can tell you're wondering. Why we here, you and me? Why we talking? Why am I telling you all this?
Well, see, every job needs that moment. The moment you bang the side of the pinball machine and rock the ball, without ringing tilt. A distraction. So. Consider yourself distracted. But don't take it personal. It's just a job. I'll make it quick.
Oh, and don't worry. I won't feel a thing.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Hey y’all! Welcome back to Flowers on the Fence Country! And do I have a special flower for y’all or WHAT today? Remember about a month or so ago, I took a trip over to Gumdrop Island and met that ‘official unofficial reporter’, I. B. Nosey? Who was really nosy, by the way…anyhow, turn-around is fair play, I think, so I asked him if he’d like to come over and …. Oh! Excuse me, please. Somebody’s knocking on the door. Well, actually, it sounds more like somebody’s beating it down, y’all hear that?
(Gail crosses to door and opens)
Well, Nosey! You’re early! Hey folks, look who’s here, and early too! What? Whatcha’ mean close the door quick? Why?
Nosey: Help! Help me, Gail! Please, please, please! (falls to knees in pleading position with clasped hands extended towards Gail) I’m being chased by something awful! Something horrible! Something terrifying! Something psychotic! Something—
Gail: You’re being chased by a psychotic what?
Nosey: (gulps) A woman! Yes, Gail, a raving lunatic woman, I tell ya. You’ve gotta help me. I don’t know why this crazy attorney wants my hide --well, other than the fact that it’s incredibly handsome, of course, but—
Gail: So an attorney’s after you why?
Nosey: Uh…the reason sorta escapes me, as I was busy trying to escape from her, you know. But when she flashed that business card, and I saw her name, then it hit me. I need help, and I need it fast. You’re a legal expert. Right?
Gail: (Sigh) Story of my life. Folks find out you work for lawyers, you’re the ready source of answers for all questions legal! That’s not enough to work with, honey. Tell me the whole thing from the git-go?
Nosey: Okay. Well…(slowly straightens to full height) Let’s see…she mentioned something about a petunia, and a bad box of chocolates. I heard the words, ‘it destroyed her DNA’. I managed to ask what that meant and she screamed, ‘Do Not Aromatize’. Any clue to what she was saying, Gail?
Gail: (Longer sigh) Okay. I have to call in the bigger guns on this. You sit right here – you want some ice tea?
Nosey: I think I can really use something stronger.
Nosey: You kidding? That’s all you have to offer a guy who’s run a five-mile marathon from the mad clutches of a nit-wit lawyer?
Gail: Well, you don’t need to be rude about it, you’re in the country, remember. We’d offer a burglar a glass of ice tea! After we’ve filled ‘em with buckshot, of course. And this is a G-rated site, I don’t have anything stronger! Okay, you sit right there and let me go see if I can get with one of my attorneys, this is uncharted territory for me. Don’t think there’s ever been a case like it, in fact. Anywhere. Only you, Nosey, only YOU – could get into a situation where you’re accused of destroying DNA! And don’t you talk to anybody till I get back, you hear me?
Nosey: But if the telephone should ring, it might be an adoring fan! C’mon, Gail, allow me to talk to them!
Gail: I’m serious, Nosey. Don’t talk to anybody.
(Gail exits room – shaking head and muttering to herself: “Any other reporter, it’d be a simple case of libel, but not you, Nosey, oh no! Not you! Destroyed DNA?! Gimme a break!” )
(Voice outside door) Pizza delivery!
Nosey: Hello, pizza! Wonder if it’s covered with Gum Drop’s delicious coated marshmallows? (presses mouth to door). Would that happen to be a Yummy Tummy Marsh Harsh special? But, oh, wait…(snaps fingers) I’m not supposed to talk to anyone!
(Voice outside door) Okay, but it’s a Supreme and it’s gettin’ cold! Lady who ordered it said she had a special guest and wanted it delivered piping hot! Guess I’ll just take it back to the delivery car….
Nosey: You can’t do that! I’ve just run a five-mile marathon and I’m starving!
(Nosey opens door)
O. G. Whattapayne: Aha!!! Got you now, you little weasel! You’re cornered! And you’re mine! Now, sign right here!
Nosey: Ack! You’re that nit-wit, lunatic, crazed attorney! What’s ya shoving that paper in my face for? If you think I’m signing payment for this pizza, Gail’s the one who ordered it!
O.G.Whattapayne: Don’t you worry about what it is! It’ll save you a lotta grief in the long run! Besides, it’s in legalize, not English, you wouldn’t understand it if I tried to explain! Now, where’s your boss lady?
Nosey: Boss lady? Who? No, oh no, you’ve got that all wrong. If Gander heard you…(casts nervous glance across his shoulder)
O.G.Whattapayne: Of course you have a boss lady! You got a boss, I got a boss, we got to make the boss happy! Now it’d make my boss lady happy to add your boss onto this lawsuit we’re filing, so why don’t you just tell me where she is?
Nosey: Lawsuit? Why? For what? For ordering a lousy Supreme pizza, which by the way, this box looks like an extra small, and…(sniffs the air) it doesn’t contain one single marshmallow! You can’t sue Gail Branan for a marshmallow-less pizza!
O.G. Whattapayne: Do you think I just fell off the last turnip truck? Don’t answer that! Pizza, my foot. No, the lawsuit is because of what you did to poor Petunia the Skunk. That’s right. Remember that rotten box of chocolates you gave her --because you were too cheap to buy the real stuff from Gum Drop Island? Well, that junk food has destroyed Petunia’s scent! Yes, instead of her own individual delicate B.O., she now emits a Twilight in Paris aroma! She’s shamed in the land of Skunkdom. You’ve caused her mental anguish and irreparable harm. So both you and your boss are liable!
Nosey: B--b--who could know? And my boss--I mean, my real boss--wasn’t even there when Petunia hogged down those chocolates! You can’t really sue her, can you?
O.G.Whattapayne: Sure we can sue her! You work for her, don’t you? Don’t be dense! It’s called the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior. That’s legalize for – for – well, for of course we can sue your boss for something you did! Now. Where. Is. She??? ‘Cause I really hate having to ask somebody something twice and I’m way past that with you!
Nosey: Believe me…(leans closer and whispers) you don’t want to meet my real boss. Gander says her initials stand for Master Ma’am. She’s --well, maybe it’d be safer if I fetched my friend who works for lawyers. She’s so smart she even knows more than they do, and--and if you persist, then I might be forced to sic her on you!
O. G. Whattapayne: Oh, like I’m real scared of your friend who works for lawyers! (Bends down and gets close and personal with Nosey) You just tell me what—
Gail: Hey! Excuse me, but who the heck are you and exactly why are you in my sitting room in Flowers on the Fence Country?
O.G. Whattapayne: Here’s my card, lady. And this little twerp opened the door and let me in.
Nosey: Hey, you said you had PIZZA!! SUPREME, EVEN!!
Gail: Nosey, hush.
Nosey: How come?
Gail: Nosey, hush.
Gail: NOSEY! Hush is Southern for SHUT UP! What part of that don’t you get? (Silence) Thank you. Now, Ms. Whattapayne,I’m not acquainted with this firm. ShutUrFace & DoWhatISay. How charmin’! Now, have you been talking to this gentleman without his attorney present? Is that the manner in which your firm practices law?
O.G. Whattapayne: He didn’t tell me he had an attorney—
Nosey: Whatever you have to say…(steps quickly behind Gail and peeks over her shoulder)…you can tell it to this woman right here.
O. G. Whattapayne: You said she was a friend who worked for lawyers, you little twerp, you didn’t tell me you had a lawyer!
Gail: I am a friend who works for lawyers, and I have just retained the services of an attorney you so don’t want to mess with to represent Mr. Nosey in this action – who also has a few partners you so don’t want to mess with – so we will ask you now to leave the premises and give me a call at my office during business hours so that I can set a conference for you and Mr. Nosey’s attorney to discuss this matter. (Hands Whattapayne a card.) And somehow I doubt that it would have mattered to you had he told you he had an attorney.
O. G. Whattapayne: Hey! You calling me unethical, lady? That’s slander! And libel! Slanderous libel! I could sue –
Gail: I didn’t call you anything at all. But you know what they say about the shoe fittin’ and all that. Now, if you’ll excuse us, Mr. Nosey and I have business to discuss. (Gail opens door and gestures OGW out.)
O. G. Whattapayne: Okay, okay, I’m leaving! But you haven’t heard the last of me!!
Gail: Of course not. I’d never be that lucky. By-by now, you won’t be insulted if I don’t say, ‘Y’all come back now hear’, will you? (Door closes on departing OGW)
Gail: Nosey. What part of don’t talk to anybody didn’t you get?
Nosey: But I thought she was delivering a Yummy Tummy Marsh Harsh pizza. I couldn’t not let her in!
Gail: So you didn’t tell her anything. That’s good. Did you sign anything?
Nosey (looking sheepish): I saw some kind of paper with a S.O.S. on it. Said ‘Save Our Scent’, and she stuffed a pen up my nose…
Gail: I don’t like that look, Nosey. Don’t like it all. Now, tell me all about it…..(To be Continued…..)
Want to see more of Nosey's trials and tribulations? Stay tuned for the next installment – on the Season’s Premier of –FEELING NOSEY?
Monday, January 9, 2012
Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Flowers on the Fence Country! I’ve been trying to collect this flower for months. But the wait was worth it. Last week New Zealand, this week, Ireland. And in this group, when we say Ireland, one of the first names that springs to mind is who? Boston native Pat McDermott who grew up with the songs and stories and legends of Ireland and has brought those Celtic fairies home to Muse!
From Fairies to Giants: A Story in a Story
Ireland’s fairies star in my young adult novel, Glancing Through the Glimmer. Who are the fairies? Where did they come from?
According to one legend, the ancestors of the modern Irish arrived in Ireland 1700 years before Christ and defeated the magical Tuatha de Danann, the Tribe of the Goddess Danu. One of the Danann leaders, a womanizing rascal named Finvarra, negotiated a truce with the Irish that gave the Dananns half of Ireland—the bottom half.
Finvarra became the King of the Connaught Fairies, and though he loves his wife, Queen Oona, he prefers to dance with ‘grippable’ mortal women. He’s been known to kidnap them, as Janet, an American teenager living in the modern Kingdom of Ireland, learns to her dismay in Glancing Through the Glimmer.
Janet is on her first date with Liam and doesn’t know he’s the King of Ireland’s son. Seventeen-year-old Prince Liam is not only a scholar, he is also a storyteller, or shanachie. His talent for telling tales helps him rescue Janet from Finvarra and his gang, who are partying in an underground cave north of Dublin. Finvarra knows Liam for a shanachie and demands a story.
Liam eyed his peewee host and pint-sized audience. The perverse idea of telling them a story about giants appealed to him. He began with the standard “long, long ago” and eased into the tale of the giant Finn MacCool’s encounter with his Scottish rival, Benandonner.
Liam told an old folktale that offers one explanation for the origin of the Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular stretch of Irish coast in north Antrim. The Causeway is supposedly all that remains of a bridge Finn MacCool formed long ago to link Ireland and Scotland. Finn who, you ask?
Finn MacCool was the leader of a roving band of gallant warriors who lived in Ireland centuries ago. He and his comrades appear in many entertaining tales. The legend concerning the Giant’s Causeway depicts him as a mighty giant who challenged his Scottish counterpart, Benandonner, to a contest of martial skill.
“Finn shouted across the sea to Scotland and challenged Benandonner to do battle. The two had never met. Now Finn being a thoughtful sort, he set a trail of mighty stones into the sea between Scotland and Ireland so Benandonner might keep his feet dry when he came.”
Finn expected a sporting fight, some fun and entertainment, but when he saw the monstrous size of the approaching Scottish titan, he ran in terror to his wife and asked her to hide him.
“She dressed him as a baby and placed him in a giant cradle. Benandonner entered their house, and when he saw what he thought was an infant, he screamed in fright. ‘If this is the baby, why, the father must be huge indeed!’”
The fairies belly-laughed at Liam’s theatrical imitation of the terrified giant’s hasty retreat to Scotland. “He tore up the stepping stones as he went so Finn couldn’t follow.”
The stones that Benandonner left in his wake formed the Giant’s Causeway. Having seen this amazing World Heritage site, I prefer this enchanting version of its origin, though geology tells a less fanciful story.
The Giant’s Causeway is part of the Antrim Plateau, the largest lava plateau in Europe. Its massive cliffs are the result of volcanic activity that occurred 60 million years ago. Lava filled a river bed and cooled slowly, cracking into columns and forming unusual structures with intriguing names like the Giant’s Boot, the Chimney Tops, and the Giant’s Organ. (Nothing anatomical here - it seems Finn created a pipe organ for his son, Oisin, to play).
Liam paused. Benandonner had given him an idea. He must rip up stones, so to speak, to keep the fairies from following him. He decided to give his story a brand-new ending.
. . . and Finvarra isn’t going to like this brand-new ending one bit . . .
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Glancing Through the Glimmer Blurb:
In the modern Kingdom of Ireland, few mortals believe in the fairy folk. Without that belief, the fairies are dying. Finvarra, the King of the Fairies, would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.
When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. An invitation to a royal ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.
Seventeen-year-old Prince Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another spoiled American girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and finds himself on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. Intrigued, he asks to see her again, and she willingly agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they arrange to meet. When they do, the fairies steal Janet away.
Liam’s attempts to find her trigger a series of frustrating misadventures. Can he and Janet outwit a treacherous fairy king who’s been hoodwinking mortals for centuries?
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Boston native Pat McDermott grew up in a family full of music and myths that have found their way into her stories. Pat is a member of the New Hampshire Writers' Project, Seacoast Writers' Association, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Her favorite non-writing activities include cooking, hiking, reading, and traveling, especially to Ireland. She lives and writes in New Hampshire.
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Glancing Through the Glimmer on Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Glancing-through-the-Glimmer-ebook/dp/B006M6LUDM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1325535205&sr=1-1
Pat’s Web Site: http://www.patmcdermott.net
Pat’s Writing/Travel Blog (Put the Kettle On): http://pat-mcdermott.blogspot.com