Jack comes to his ghostly senses

Here is another short story that I have scribbled – please let me know what you think.

Jack comes to his ghostly senses

There once was a ghost named Jack. A little boy he once was, which meant there was a whole lot he still had to learn during his stay at the Home for Lost Souls. He turned left when the others turned right in ghostly glide class, he tripped over dreams and secret wishes while carrying a tall glass of ghoulish fumes and, worst of all, little girls smiled when he snuck up on them for haunting practice.

This all made Jack very sad – spirits have feelings just like us, you see, and when they cry we feel the effects as funny things happen: windows slam shut when there’s no breeze about, the creamy centre suddenly disappears from the chocolate eclair you’ve been saving and colours lose a bit of their sparkle (not in a vampire-y way, that’s a tale for another day). Vibrant reds suddenly look, well, brown and blues fade to grey.

But in some of his duties, Jack excelled. Despite being afraid of the light, when it was time to comfort little boys and girls crying softly into their pillows, they would give a final hiccup and snuffle and suddenly not feel so sad.

And so Jack realised his true calling. He wasn’t meant to be a ‘Jack of all ghosting’, but rather the kind that absorbs sadness and restores calm. Sure, it meant he filled up with feelings more often than his comrades did, but that was easy to fix – all he had to do was wring out the heaviness and he soon felt light and bubbly again. That’s why you might feel a little sad the next time raindrops sprinkle on your head.

Copyright Leigh Andrews 2011

George and the magic wish chicken

Our publishing division held a writers’ workshop earlier this year, where we sat in on lectures and did lots of different writing exercises. Here’s something I did in a 10-minute free writing class – that’s where you simply put pen to paper and write whatever comes to mind, based on a prompt. Mine was a pic of a wishbone sitting on a greasy plate) …

By Leigh Andrews

George loved to eat chicken wishbone soup. The trick was to leave the wishbone for last, when it had absorbed all the juices – soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Yum! The forks he favoured were stainless steel with four tines – the whole idea of eating soup with a fork had come to him from the nursery rhyme his momma used to sing while cooking the evening meal: “I eat my peas with honey so they don’t slip off the fork.” Shaking his head to clear the memories, George crumpled his beige napkin and broke the bread – quite literally pulling the thick slices of wholewheat apart, so as to sop up the last of the sauce. With bits and bobs now glued to his Movember moustache, George patted his belly, let off a big burp and staggered off to the fridge for a glass of milk. Nothing better than a tall glass of moo juice to wash down chicken wishbone soup! He looked around his messy kitchen and said to himself, “No dishes to wash – that’s one of my wishes.” Unbeknown to George, the chicken from whence the juicy wishbone came was a lucky wish chicken, the type usually carted off to the kitchen with others to lick(en). Having crunched through the marrow and sucked till it was dry, George didn’t realise he had summonsed the magic wish chicken’s spirit – the magic wish chicken was dead, of course, but unfortunately, the spirit of the magic wish chicken Magee was a little bit scary. Still transparent in places, as he had just the day before had his head on the chopping block, he was wearing a fedora hat to hide his featherless bald spot and sucking on a fat Cuban cigar…

Memories are fleeting … as is time

I bet you thought I had left you hanging. You know those bloggers who set something up, post a post and never return? Well, think again, here I am 🙂 It was a very busy weekend as I wasn’t feeling well (boo) and I started a new weekend job. (Yay me!) The topic of work always makes me think of school and the endless amounts of free time we (or I) let slip through our (my) fingers. While on that nostalgic note, I remembered a note I posted to my Facebook notes page two years ago – have a read and let me know what you think …

Hot coffee cup warms frosty fingers. Or so I hoped. It really was freezing in the office, despite the aircon being set to 24 degrees … which would be positively tropical, if it was working. Sigh. Maybe a hot coffee cup only warms frosty fingers if there’s actual coffee in the cup – not Oats So Easy, which was made in a mug because a) unfortunately, I do not carry a bowl around my person, and b) we aren’t allowed to use milk for ‘cereal’ at work, so I disguise my breakfast as coffee. Same songs playing on the radio – 5FM which is supposedly the NON-repetitive one, has played ‘Battlefield’ by Jordin Sparks at least twice today, and as a result, my head is spinning with the lyrics, ‘You know I never meant to hurt you-ou-ou-ou …’ Reeling romantically as I WISH I was free to curl up with a book and snuggle with the doggie … but alas, I do not have such luxury at my disposal. Instead I watch time makes its snailtrail towards the finish-line, half to five and time to jive.

Man, I wish I was still at school, when everything seemed more intense – smells more cloying, embarrassments more humiliating, and joys more exciting. The simple pleasures of sprawling on my parents’ bed at the end of a textbook day, face flat in the dusty duvet while waiting impatiently for my favourite shows to be shown, munching fabulous meals like toasted jam and peanut-butter or scalding hot chips doused in vinegar with clots of tomato sauce, or freshly sweet pancakes, wolfed down two at a time, still curled up and spouting cinamonny goodness, in between swigs of sweet coffee. All this to try acclimatise to being back at home at the end of the day, often still in a dripping wet school-dress from a sudden lunchtime downpour – it WOULD strike halfway home, with the treacherous uphill bit still ahead, and my blazer/school bag draped above my head to try keep dry and see where I was going, envying the cars that sped past, spewing up mud and mayhem. There were endless hours playing make-believe games, dragging little trolls into the tree and forgetting them there; paging through the newspaper and reading every word; phone calls to someone, then calls to someone else about the original person … running along a dark corridor with an overly made-up face, nervous and excited about being on stage soon; making mix tapes off the radio, waiting with my finger on the button to press ‘STOP’ the second after the song ends and before Ian F’s jolly jingles kicked in. Staring in the mirror not at me in my entirety, but rather at bits and pieces, looking for clues, trying to see who I would become. It’s that overall sense of belonging, simply by virtue of being young, and waiting – for something better, for life to begin – that best sums up my youth.

But then again, think of all the bad bits – the sniggering whispers in the corner of the classroom, that sense of doom when an unexpected test paper is handed out, that sense of not being tall/dark/smart enough to fit in … or better yet, to stand out in a good way.

Memories fade, and the time that once seemed endless passes. All we are left with is a vague sense of what it was – what we think it was, and have come to convince ourselves it means.

With the sun in my eyes, it’s no surprise I’m squinting, struggling to see what’s right in front of me. At the end of the day, it’s all just a fragmented reality – our perspective is distorted by what we believe to be true, so all in all, it’s a foggy view.