Two more very short stories from Mary Mageau.

 

Echoes of Autumn

Walking quietly through a soft mist, in the late afternoon chill, the only sound I hear is the forlorn call of a single crow. With foliage now deepening into shade, and the sun, a rim of orange over darkening hills, I reach our gate then cross the threshold.

What a joy it is to breathe the scent of slow cooking over the last embers of a fire, to see red wine poured into gleaming crystal glasses, and a candlelit table set for two …

And next…………..

The Convict Walk

Leaving Port Arthur, Tasmania’s early penal colony settlement, and driving up the Midlands Highway, we stop at the historic town of Oatlands for coffee and a short walk. Even here we are surprised to find evidence of Tasmania’s convict past still haunting the population.

Admiring the authentic Georgian buildings along the main street, I notice a series of tiles. Each is the size of a brick face, set end on end, bordering the concrete footpath. A hundred, at least, stretch before us. On closer inspection each tile bears a three-line inscription. One catches my eye so I bend down to read:

Peter Brannon, age twelve

transported for life in 1834

stole a handkerchief

Poor little fellow! Like a cancer, these convicts were cut away from all ordinary society. Before we leave I place a flower on his memorial tile.

Picasso, Girl before a Mirror, 1932 – Mary Mageau

Young and beautiful, her arms cradle a large oval mirror as she gazes at her reflection, surrounded by bold diamond shaped geometric patterns, with vertical and horizontal stripes rendered in vibrant saturated hues—pigments chosen for their emotive source of colour rather than expressing the intended scene . . .

 

Looking back at her from the depths of the mirror is the image of an ugly old woman – her hard, angular features expressed in sombre colours. Is this painting Picasso’s reminder that death devours all lovely things?

Mary Mageau – A Local Writer Who Has Mastered The Drabble

Here we have some examples of Mary Mageau’s happy mastery of the Drabble form…  Read on…………………….

As Promised, a Few More Selected Flash and Micro Fiction by Mary Mageau

Banquets

Before us hangs, ‘Still Life with Golden Goblet,’ by Pieter de Ring. From Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, we view a selection of its finest seventeenth century Dutch paintings. I observe de Ring’s lavishly rendered bread, sea food, and grapes – so luscious I long to eat them. Amazed by the contrast between the vivid red lobster and the rich aquamarine table covering, I remark, ‘This is one of the artist’s finest works yet he never signed the canvas.’

‘Oh, but he has,’ my partner replies. ‘De Ring loved a puzzle so look again more carefully.’ As I study the picture, I see it—a painted silver ring—resting under the lobster’s claw.

Leaving the gallery we make our way through green rolling hills toward the Bardellini farmhouse. An eighty fifth birthday is being celebrated. Several long tables have been set up on the lawn under the trees. Guests stand and raise their glasses while the patriarch is escorted to his place of honour. He greets us then raises his knife and fork. Platters of food appear as the tables groan under the weight of fresh breads, garden salads and delicious Tuscan hot dishes. The animated conversation flows freely, together with quantities of red wine. Looking at my partner I take his hand remarking, ‘This scene reminds me of your first postcard sent from Sienna. Oh how I treasured it.’ It was the end of a perfect day.

Harmony

 ‘From Harmony,

Heaven’ly harmony

This universal frame began.’

(Ode to Saint Cecilia, John Dryden)

On my desk lies the music for a fugue. Its opening line of single notes, each delineated by rhythm and pitch, threads its way across the page. Played first by one hand then the other, accompanied by a variation of itself, multiple lines weave a texture of horizontal strands. One, two, and three voices join, as each intersects to create vertical harmony. Each dissonance presses toward its resolution in this tapestry of sound. Music’s architecture, released from the constraints of stone, concrete, and steel, soars in Bach’s hands.

Sky Walker

 An aerial walkway stretches high above the rainforest. The signpost cautions, ‘Only two persons at a time permitted on the third section.’ My partner, a strong climber, takes the lead. We watch the first tree tops come into view then fall away. I look on in apprehension as the forest floor disappears below. ‘Let’s take a break, Jack,’ I call minutes later. We stop to rest, pausing for a cold drink before we press on.

Near the end of our climb the sky walk sways alarmingly with each step. My hands ache from clutching the guide rail ropes as I glance down through gaps in the boards under my feet. There is only open space. Finally we reach the last viewing platform to gaze in wonder over the canopy of the Lamington National Park. The rain forest stretches far and wide like the rise and fall of a rolling sea of green. Overhead floats an endless field of blue sky. High above us a wedge-tailed eagle soars – riding the thermals – winging free.

‘Was this worth the effort?’ he turns to me with a smile.

‘You bet it was,’ I reply, giving him a hug. ‘Can’t wait to do it again!’

Stories that are told in 100 words or less – or in 50 words or less

Even more of a challenge than a simple Drabble, here we are dealing with the concept of telling a story fully in fewer than perhaps 50 words – Which Mary Mageau seems to master with panache.

First Selected Flash and Micro Fiction by Mary Mageau – More to Follow

I’m Yours

I close my eyes, press his letter to my heart, and read it hungrily once more.

“I can’t live without you any longer. Your father will never accept me, even though I’ve paid off my car and saved some money. Come away with me now. Pack your things and meet me tonight at midnight. I’ll be waiting by your back gate.”

 We’re on the road – windows wide open – pedal to the floor. Not even wild westerly winds can catch us.

A Homecoming

He pushes past me to stash two six packs in the fridge. He moves around fast, checking my place out, drawing the curtains across the front window, locking the front and back doors.

‘I’m out again and I need a place to stay tonight.’

His arms and neck are covered in ink—more prison tatts. He’s so edgy, always looking quickly around and behind, walking with a limp, smelling of dirty old clothes. We face each other across the kitchen table as he cracks open another beer.

‘And what about your restriction order?’

‘Tomorrow I’ll be gone.’

Holding me later I feel his anger rise. Is this the first thunderclap announcing the blows and punches that will fuel another of his approaching storms?

Journey’s End

Beyond the stillness of falling snow lies a deeper silence. It has broken our bond to set us adrift.

I hold my mother’s hand, feeling its tissue soft skin, and her small fragile bones. She is always hunched over in her chair near the window. As I tell her about our family, her eyes grow cloudy and she withdraws. I speak on but she doesn’t hear me. I hold up a soft pink shawl I brought, and wrap it around her shoulders, yet she doesn’t see it. Then I lean forward excitedly with, ‘Why don’t we go for a drive, past our old house?’ She shows no interest. Finally I give up. I kiss her goodbye and move away, gently closing the door behind me.

Sitting in the car afterward, I watch the light of the setting sun slowly diminish. It reminds me of her dimming light, trapped in this endless, dark winter of dementia.

A  Dance  Spectacular

The grand finale arrives to an ear splitting techno beat of, ‘C’mon Baby – Rock Me.’ It sets the blood pounding. In the darkened auditorium a strobe light descends from the stage loft. Flashing on and off in a stuttering rhythm, it reflects the gyrating dancers streaming onstage.

The girls and guys are kitted out in brilliantly coloured t-shirts, socks, and hot pants, teamed with white fluorescent running shoes. Their high stepping, fancy foot work creates a moving shower of luminous sparks at the floor level. The noise rises further when laser lights are turned on the audience, blinding us momentarily each time they circle past.

By the last chorus, the entire auditorium has erupted into a scene reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno. We reach over the 120 decibel threshold of pain when the cheering and stamping of the audience sweeps everyone toward the final curtain call.

I make a quick exit, happy to leave all the intense noise and excitement behind. Walking home alone, the whisper of light rain surrounds me. As I lift my face to taste its sweetness, I savour this blessed peace and quiet.

Even More Drabbles From Rollo

Here are the last Drabbles we have from Rollo Waite, that splendid creator of such powerful and enchanting small jewels in words…    How on earth does he do it?  Such a strong image in so few words?  Ah well, here they are for your delectation.


Blue poppy afternoon.

There she stood, silhouetted against the late afternoon sun streaming  through room 27’s window—proud, statuesque, aware of her beauty—almost posing for me. She was Nepalese beauty, so close on a Brisbane hospital afternoon. She basked in her grandeur, Himalayan style–but without a touch of iciness.

I told her, “You must be just about the most beautiful girl in Nepal.”

She smiled alluringly, basking in her afternoon of beauty like some mountain flower from where she came

Then I apologised for making a sexist remark.

“Not sexist—pure,’ she replied.

She was so breathtaking— a Himalayan   blue poppy.

*********

Quantum thought.

In the latter half of Century 37, Spiros The Great—the Grand Leader of the Church of Quantum—was intrigued. “Look at these ancient folklore documents from the period the Ancients, called “The bible era.”

Prudence The Cosmic Mother smiled indulgently. “Your delving into such matters is anathematic in this age of enlightenment. Go into the thought defecator and purify your head space.”

Spiros, aware of his ethnic heritage, “What about Plato and the other Greek thinkers?”

“There you go again, so-called Great One, harking back to ethnicities, even though such sick thinking almost destroyed this fragment of cosmic reality.

**********

 Dreaming

All those dreams were getting better, although more bizarre than they should. He wasn’t into dreams normally, but these weren’t normal times. His mind was like a worthless sieve, profiting him with mostly shiny tinsel coloured bits of nostalgia which he chose to record in his little notebook of “The past glories. “

Now he wondered if this past, so full of sweet smells and sunshine ever really existed. Was it just an illusion, for now all he was capable of doing was dreaming.

Ah! The worthlessness of dreaming as in a morning sunrise. He woke up and started living.


See what I mean?  Fun to read, and I suspect, fun to compose as well..

Yet More Drabbles From Rollo

Here are a few more Drabbles by that master of the form, Rollo Waite, whose work in this style of writing we have already showcased here on our Website.   These next ones are simply superb examples of the idea of a Drabble – i.e a story that has exactly 100 words, not one more or less.

Graveyard.

He stopped by the graveyard for a sign or an idea. It was bright and breezy today on his usual walk to nowhere—but nothing inspirational appeared.

Then he saw an ancient lady patiently placing flowers on a grave. She smiled and he went over.

“Sadness, more sadness?” he asked.

“No, not really. He’s gone and that’s that.” There was a sort of fatalistic finality. “But he deserves some respect for being here. What goes with you?”

“No one here as yet—just a sort strange fascination.”

“Well that’s nice. Maybe someday … Come home and we’ll have a cuppa.”

**********

All creatures

“Oh for the freedom to fly with the birds or relax like a cat. In fact all God’s creatures are better off than us.”

“Don’t be stupid Rupert. You surely don’t mean that?”

“Why not Mel? We’re supposed to be the keepers of this planet and what a mess we make of it and how miserable we are”

She turned away impulsively from this man who seemingly despised his humanity.  “You could always set up in a zoo somewhere as a poor excuse for homo sapiens.”

“ Yes Mel , I’d really like that. I really hope, with the monkeys”

**********

Salvation

Inspiration, motivation has left me for dead. Last night you  fired my soul, but here I am tonight struggling to put words—no thoughts—together in a meaningful  way.

He paused, expecting some thunder clap from above to waken him from his chronic inertia. He was old and disillusioned with life. Old age ain’t funny.

Yes how do I relinquish through necessity those things I was good at, that I once loved. I’ve squeezed this orange dry of its sweetness and now suck the bitter lemon of redundancy.

He had his nightly beer—all  was well again—for the moment


Splendid stuff I am sure you will agree.   Should you feel moved to write a Drabble, don’t hesitate to send it to us for publication here on our website (all copyright remains with the author) as we would really be happy to show off our considerable local talent.

A Dribble Of Drabble

Meet our latest Drabble writer, Rollo Beaufort Waite, a local writer who has this to say of himself…………………

Biography of Rollo Beaufort Waite

 I was born October 7, 1931 in Brisbane and raised on a farm at Mt Beppo until approximately 1947. I was the youngest of four children  – two boys and two girls. 

 My Grandfather was Henry Plantagenet Somerset of Caboonbah. My mother was Doris Somerset, fifth  daughter, born at the  time of the 1893 flood. 

My father was Richard Waite, in a farming partnership at  Mt Esk Pocket, before moving to the Mt Beppo farm.. 

I was educated at Mt Beppo to grade seven, did scholarship at Palmwoods and Junior at Ipswich Boys Grammar School. I went on to do my Diploma in Agriculture at Gatton College in 1949.

 I joined the CSIRO in 1951 as a Pasture Research Technologist. I retired in 1994 and was engaged as a botanical consultant at Brisbane City Council until 2005.

 I have married twice with three daughters – residing at Samford 1966-2002 and moving to McDowall

My major hobby interests have included singing, public speaking, and writing. … 


So, now you have met Rollo, read on and explore his mind.

The siren.

Beatrice came to me in the night from the halcyon haze of far off Memorabilia. We cuddled and had fun, getting to know each other. She stayed with me throughout the night.

“Morning calls and come with me,” she whispered.

“After breakfast, stupid.”

“I never need to eat,” she answered. Then she was gone.

Later the morning erupted like volcanic larva from the mystery of a night that left me stranded halfway between heaven and hell.

The day subsided into night and I waited for Beatrice—but in vain. For there is but one invitation to paradise.

Then there’s hell.

**********

The vortex.

Everyone in the room seemed crazy with thoughts, words and blatant egocentricity. I was the only regular person. I pitied their stupidity and ignorance.

They had me on trial for stealing or denying their ideas, which were repugnant to me. As if I needed them—but they continued.

Theirs was the conspiracy of the damned and the demented and I felt I needed fresh air. I prayed for the vortex to descend and suck them into obscurity.

My rescuer left them in their sordid squalor and placed me on a high platinum cloud.

I’m still laughing and so is she.

******

Dance ballerina dance.

August 31st at Healthy Connections and there she was with the willowy elegance of a ballerina –Anne, a final year UQ exercise physiology student.

She was a professional ballerina until she stress fractured her back some years ago. So she has taken up this meaningful and rewarding career like a swan to water—had an important role in a Schakowsky classic.

So what a wonderful opportunity for someone of her background who no doubt will bring insights and experience into her new vocation, a sight for sore eyes and a great conversationalist. Dance ballerina dance, in your new challenging role.


So, that is all for this time, but there will be more of these delightful Drabbles before long…  Keep coming back to check them out.

More Drabbles From Chris

Yet more amazing Drabbles (exactly 100 words long) from Chris Chmiel, a master of this particular form of writing – he also writes short stories, which I hope to wheedle out of him for this website ere long – watch this space.

Confession

“Read this.”

I accept the solicitor’s document and recognise my father’s handwriting.

“He instructed me to release this to the press upon his demise.”

With trembling hands, sweat forming on my brow and nausea rising from within, I read. My father, the renowned physician, saviour of countless lives with his skilful hands and scalpel, confesses he was Jack the Ripper. A betrayal by the woman he loved, fuelled by mind-bending drugs and alcohol turned him into a monster reaping revenge upon womankind.

I hurl the evidence into the fire while flicking open my knife.

“No living soul will ever know.”

 


Child Prodigy

“I was born in Lubeck in 1721. At age eight weeks, I engaged my parents in conversation,” four-year-old Christian Friedrich Heinecken informed Denmark’s king during a formal audience.

“Remarkable!”

“Before my second birthday, I finished reading the Pentateuch. During my second year, I became acquainted with the Old and New Testaments. Last year, I commenced studying history, geography and languages. I am now fluent in French and Latin.”

“You’re a child prodigy!”

“My mind’s strong, my body’s very weak. I doubt I’ll celebrate my fifth birthday.”

“We must do something about that.” The king wiped a tear from his eye.

  Continue reading “More Drabbles From Chris”

Scheherazade, a Drabble from Chris Chmiel

Here we have the first of a series of Drabbles by Chris Chmiel, who is both a local author and the Treasurer of the Community Library.

We hope that you will find his contributions to this tricky form of writing amusing.

Scheherazade

The sun peeps over the eastern desert sands, Scheherazade ceases narrating Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, mid-story.

Shahriyar can’t believe time has developed wings. He’ll have to delay the execution of his queen, yet again. She’s outfoxed him. He’s aware of her ruse. She’s done it to him forty-two nights in a row.

His resolve is evaporating. No queen will cuckold him, ever again. A virgin bride for every night’s entertainment, her head on the chopping block in the morning. That’s the only way.

But darn it! He can’t bear to have the story unfinished.

She’ll survive another day.

Our First Drabble. Sinai 1917

Here is an example of the art from, from Julie Martin, one of the founders of our library, and a passionate writer.

SINAI 1917

He lay between his horse and ruined wall away from wind-grit. Searing night pain woke him. His hand smashed a scorpion biting his throat—deathstalker. His windpipe contracted.

“Get up, ya bugger . We’re movin’ out” A boot prodded his side.

His pushed the dead arthropod upwards.

“Goner, mate. Just shoot me.”

“Can’t.”

“Give me me gun.”

The boots walked away—Christianity at odds with mercy.

A Bedouin hand poured foul liquid through his swollen lips. A black-tent angel…only eyes showing. All day she stayed. She vanished by morning.

He rose to ride his Waler toward another death.

So there you have it, our first Drabble, with I hope many more to follow.