The Moon in the Attic, Part 2

Today, for your reading pleasure, the continuation of a short story written by yours truly. (Part 1, here; Part 3, coming later this week.) Enjoy!

<<<>>>

“Why on Earth is the moon in my attic?”

I don’t expect an answer, given that I don’t expect the moon can talk.

But it can. And does. Not in English, or even in words, but in… well, I guess it would be best described as music.

It says something like hello, and sorry to have disturbed you. I gather that it hadn’t intended to introduce itself until morning.

“Oh, that’s all right,” I say, because polite, inoffensive lies are my conversational default. One day I’ll slip up and tell someone what I really think, and then the world will end.

Truth is, I’m not terribly upset to find the moon in my house. Is this in any way logical? No. Can the ramifications of this event be anything short of disastrous? Likely not. Should I be contacting somebody about this? I don’t know who, but probably yeah.

But the moon knows me. I hear my name in its song.

And I know the moon. Sort of.

In one sense, it’s like a favorite celebrity. I know the moon’s stats. I can list its achievements. I recognize its face every time it shows up in pictures.

In another sense, it’s like an old friend. The sight or thought of the moon warms my heart. I feel the love in its light. It’s just always been there, the way family is.

The shining crescent says, Because family is what we are.

Part 2’s inspiration, as seen on the “Sun’s Rival”-inspired #ISeeYou Pinterest board – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/383931936962803207/

Confusion contorts my face. “Biological?”

It laughs. Nothing so Earthly as that. But you hold a part of me. And so you are my child.

I’m somewhere between touched and giddy. “That’s… special. But why are you here?”

The moon’s music sighs. I am old and tired and thin.

“Like a hobbit spread over too much bread?” I’m pretty sure that’s not quite the quote, but I’m tired, too, if not so old. My head’s too full of missing my pillow to bother with first-rate Tolkien references.

Like a moon, it says, with too many phases behind it. Wax and wane, wax and wane… I haven’t the will to grow full again.

So I’ve come down to tell you goodbye.

<<<>>>

Enjoyed what I wrote? There’s loads more where that came from! Browse the DEShipley catalogue, why dontcha – including my latest release, “The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 2)”. Already read it? I’d greatly appreciate your review!

The Moon in the Attic, Part 1

Today, for your reading pleasure, the first part of a short story written by yours truly. (Parts 2 and 3 to come later this week.) Enjoy!

<<<>>>

It’s times like these I wish I had a husband.

I’ve told myself I’m not the marrying kind. That my need for solitude and personal space far outweighs my sometimes-desire for romance. That I’d have no hope of a good night’s sleep if I had to share a bed, particularly if my bedmate were known to snore. Or even breathe loudly. Or touch me.

On the other hand, unexplained rustles and thumps in the attic don’t do much toward a restful night, either.

It’s probably burglars. Murdering ones. Or raccoons. Zombie ones. Or a spider of unearthly proportions.

I’m going to die tonight.

Had I a husband, I’d send him up with a broom or a BB gun to take care of whatever unholy pest has come to plague our home. Instead, it’s single, sleepless little me up those stairs. Clutched in my hands, a sizeable stick. Jammed on my head, my Adventure Hat. (Or, for tonight’s purposes, my Guard My Hair From Cobwebs ‘n’ Such Hat.) Tingling in my veins, a potent form of chronic anxiety that can morph into berserker rage at need. …Or anytime I’m harassed by a housefly.

Every dusty step creaks beneath me. Every breath contains a whispered whimper. Have I lived my best life? Have I any regrets? It’s not actually too late to go back downstairs and just burn the house to the ground…

I reach the trapdoor to the uppermost story, and heaven above, there’s a weird glow shining through the cracks. Bright white light, bordering on blue. Not zombie raccoons at all, then. Mutant raccoons. From space.

Therefore, not a spider! That’s some comfort, at least. Feeling slightly less terrified, I push open the door, and…

That is the moon.

That is the moon.

The moon.

Is in.

My attic.

The story’s inspiration.

<<<>>>

Enjoyed what I wrote? There’s loads more where that came from! Browse the DEShipley catalogue, why dontcha – including my latest release, “The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 2)”. Already read it? I’d greatly appreciate your review!

World Peace or Nah?

Welcome to the Stranger Than Truth Club Minutes, featuring conversations between me and my closest group of friends – one, my IRL bestie, the rest… a little reality-impaired.

“But what we lack in so-called reality,” Will Scarlet inserts, “we make up for in awesomeness!”

Fact, that.

The way of it is, the Stranger Than Truth Club takes people from all walks of life, universes, times, and species, and brings us together through beautiful, ever-evolving, cross-plane friendships.

I wish I could give you a glimpse into our insightful, loving, hilarious, open community. Unfortunately, I can only give you transcripts of our idiocy.

And so without further ado: Truth is stranger than fiction. We are—

Stranger Than Truth 02

Would You Rather

 

Allyn: Would you rather go to war, or fight in a gladiatorial ring?

Dorian: Well, on the one hand: a cause, but dysentery. On the other: A fight for nothing but my life, but it’s exciting. I think we’ll go with gladiator. “We who are about to triumph salute you, Caesar.”

Lute: That’s my boy.

<<<>>>

Lancelot to Gawain: Would you rather take a ten-year vow of silence, or have everyone call you Catherine?

Tirzah: [spit-take]

Will: Meanwhile, in Random-Ass Town…

<<<>>>

Guinivere: Would you rather see world peace happen after having fought against it, or fight for world peace with everything you have, only to fail?

Arthur: To aim and miss well, or to aim well, and miss? As I would see my ends accomplished, I suppose I’d best fight against them. So y’all better step up.

<<<>>>

Will: Would you rather have really big bazooms that nobody pays attention to, or little breasts that everybody ogles all the time?

Marion: … Why?

Sy: Why are you next to Will?

Marion: Yes.

Sy: I’m sorry.

<<<>>>

Allyn: Someone should ask Will if he’d rather be straight or gay. Completely straight, or completely gay.

Tirzah: Remember, some of your worst unrequited crushes are male. You could get rid of a lot of misery with one fell stroke.

Will: I guess I’d have to be straight… [looks askance at Kinsey Scale extremes]

<<<>>>

Danielle: Would you rather live in Scotland, but not be able to write…

Tirzah: FUUUUUUUU—

Danielle: …Or be the best writer ever, but Scotland doesn’t exist?

Tirzah: [loses her sh*t] I can’t let Scotland not exist! I give up my dream – my heart – my soul – my all – for Scotland. It better damn well appreciate, ‘cause I’ve got to be a businesswoman and painter, now.

<<<>>>

Little Allyn: But sweets! They’re the only thing that have always stood me by! Is sex with [redacted] really so wonderful that I wouldn’t be thinking “I wish you were Belgian waffles” the whole time??

<<<>>>

Apple: I couldn’t stand [losing my math savvy]. At least I’d be an intelligent whore in the upper echelons of society.

<<<>>>

Tirzah [trying not to wake her husband with screeches of laughter]: I can’t be too loud now. Be careful.

Danielle: You be careful. I can’t control your volume.

Tirzah: Neither can I!

<<<>>>

Lute: Absolutely everyone makes it into heaven except for you, or things are as they are now – people choose what they choose?

Sy: The first option isn’t in defiance of anyone’s free will?

Lute: No. Miracle of miracles – everyone chooses heaven. Except you.

Sy: [ponders] Well, I’m goin’ to hell for this, but…

<<<>>>

For extras, see Tirzah’s Tumblr post!

Danielle: Is “tumblr” all lower-caps?

Everyone: …

Proceed With Caution

Welcome to the Stranger Than Truth Club Minutes, featuring conversations between me and my closest group of friends – one, my IRL bestie, the rest… a little reality-impaired.

“But what we lack in so-called reality,” Will Scarlet inserts, “we make up for in awesomeness!”

Fact, that.

The way of it is, the Stranger Than Truth Club takes people from all walks of life, universes, times, and species, and brings us together through beautiful, ever-evolving, cross-plane friendships.

I wish I could give you a glimpse into our insightful, loving, hilarious, open community. Unfortunately, I can only give you transcripts of our idiocy.

And so without further ado: Truth is stranger than fiction. We are—

Stranger Than Truth 02

StT Prompt

Lute: “You will not win.”

Sy: Try me.

Lute: Wouldn’t you love to.

Danielle: You talking to Will?

Sy: Yeah, you’re thinking of Will.

<<<>>>

Allyn: “My voice may break you”?

Danielle: Well, I mean, it may.

<<<>>>

Bruno: I feel I should be wearing so many.

Tirzah: What’s the biggest one?

Sy: “F*** off”?

Bruno: Pretty much.

<<<>>>

Tirzah and Danielle: [bickering heavily]

Edgwyn: Warning label for you two: “It’s only fun until it’s not.”

<<<>>>

Bruno: And then there’s Kitten’s: “No, seriously, f*** off.”

Sy: “F*** off or get f***ed.”

Tirzah: What a couple. What a beautiful— no, just what a couple.

<<<>>>

Robin Hood: All my brain is giving me is this stupid clickbait ad that’s like, “Sheriffs hate him! Use this one weird trick for saving the peasantry!”

Tirzah: “This one weird trick turns the gold of the rich into food for the poor!”

Will: “This man turned outlaw! You won’t believe what happens next!”

Tirzah: “Find out what King John doesn’t want you to know!”

<<<>>>

Will: Was that the TARDIS??

Tirzah: I’m getting a cookie.

<<<>>>

Tirzah [re: Marion]: “Warning: Married and faithful.”

Will: DAMMIT.

<<<>>>

Allyn: I feel like Will doesn’t need a warning label. It’s like in nature: A color that bright, you just stay away.

<<<>>>

Will [re: Little John]: Isn’t nature like, “He’s that big, just stay away”?

Tirzah: Yeah, bears don’t need to be bright.

<<<>>>

Danielle [re: Edgwyn]: “Warning: He’ll love you too much.”

Edgwyn: I don’t want you to be warned away, though. I want to get you.

<<<>>>

Danielle: Warning for Little Allyn. … Nobody warned us.

[Long, messy conversation ensues]

Tirzah [summarizes]: “Warning: Hot mess.”

Danielle: That covers it.

<<<>>>

Tirzah [re: Sy]: “Extremely dangerous in general” seems to suit. “It’s sharp! It’s explosive! It’s dynamic!”

Sy: It’s even flammable.

Danielle: Aaaaugh, I just remembered he’s our leader!

Sy: You should see the power behind the throne.

Will: Why, who’s back there? OH, GOD.

Sy: Him exactly.

<<<>>>

Will [re: Danielle]: “Warning: Basically, run.”

3 out of 12 Doctors agree.

3 out of 12 Doctors agree.

Sy: “Warning: This smile can mean absolutely anything.”

Danielle: “Warning: This warning will soon cease to apply.”

Tirzah: You know what they say around here: “If you don’t like the mood, wait five minutes.”

<<<>>>

Danielle [mutters re: Tirzah]: “Warning: She touches weird stuff and doesn’t bother to wash her hands.”

Tirzah: Spiders are neither filthy nor weird. And anyway, that’s a warning only you would need to have.

Danielle: I would have liked that warning, yes.

Will: “Warning: Scottish.” “Warning: C.S. Lewis is her spirit animal.”

Tirzah: What the hell?! You people are just listing things about me!

Will: “Warning: White female.”

Tirzah: Assumptions!

Tirzah: “Warning: Not suitable for the closed-minded.”

Danielle: …Why are we friends?

<<<>>>

Hey, readers! What’s YOUR label? Warn us in the comments!

R.I.P., Romance (Bloody Valentine Horror Hop)

Four posts in one week?? Am I MAD?!

Nah, I just couldn’t resist jumping into—

The Bloody Valentine Horror Hop!

Bloody Valentine Horror Hop

…As hosted by A. F. Stewart (whose work you may recognize from a certain paranormal anthology I hyped a few months back). This hop is essentially the Anti-Valentine’s Day. (Not to be confused with Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre’s Antichristmas Beast… Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they were like cousins or something.) There’s no sweet romance, or lovey-dovey stuff allowed. It’s down with the idea of candy and flowers. For one day writers and bloggers will dispense with the sappy romance, and showcase the bad side of love.

Today, my blog and that of my fellow participants will be all about the heartbreak, love gone wrong, romantic mayhem and tragedy, hopefully with that little splash of humor and blood – an ode to what happens when the rose petals die, the candy melts, and lovers are looking for payback.

For my contribution, I’m throwing up the lyrics to a dark little song I wrote once upon several years ago. (Well, credit where it’s due: My sister wrote the first line, then I, inspired, jumped in with the rest. …or, well, one of my characters did. But he’s not published yet, so I’m slapping my name on it.) Behold, enjoy, and/or recoil in horror from…

R.I.P., Romance

Give me your wishes:

I’ll turn them to horses

And you can ride them straight to heck.

What, you wanted a sunset?

A ball gown and Charming

And true love’s kiss, maybe?

You get what you get.

*

The stars cross all lovers;

Why should your tale end

Any better than those of naïve Capulets?

And naïve you are

If you think ever after

You’ll live happily, for romance is dead.

*

The flowers are wilted;

The chocolates are stale;

A dinner for two involves baby-makes-three.

Used to be, beds were

For more than just sleeping

And “I love you” was more than

Just Greek to me.

*

Remember the happiest

Day of our lives?

I’d give you a visual, but I’ve lost the ring.

The honeymoon’s over –

That much is apparent;

And romance is buried about six feet deep.

<<<>>>

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the hop! And if you’ve got anything morbid on the topic of this so-called lovers’ day to add, toss it in the comments below.

The Case of the Pirate Pocket

Once upon my former days as an elementary school library media assistant, I apparently had fewer piles of urgent business to tend to than usual, because I took a few minutes to compose and e-mail the following report to my sister, closely based on the entirely true events of that morning. During a recent de-cluttering of my room, I came across a printed copy of the only very slightly embellished account, and realized that – with the barest of line edits and removal of alienating inside jokes – I had myself a bloggable short story! So, for your reading pleasure, I do hereby present…

<<<>>>

The Case of the Pirate Pocket (Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 8:49 AM)

Ten minutes after arriving to work, I received my first assignment of the day.

I was engaged in your usual detective work – keeping tabs on the comings and goings of the local characters (or, more accurately, their books) – when… she walked in.

It was the mysterious lady down the hall. Short; bright hair; slow with numbers. (I oughtta know: She had me on a mean case of algebra tutoring, back before the start of this debacle.) She was in a jam, as usual. A real pickle. A cucumber picked in a jam jar.

Fortunately, when it comes to cukes, I am always cool as one.

“Ms. Shipley,” she said breathlessly, ‘cause that’s me – D. Shipley, P.I. (Well, okay, L.M.A.; but that looks too much like “llama”, and an elementary school librarian’s life is a road of tears, so I prefer to go the P.I. route. But I digress…)

I noticed that she kept one hand restlessly patting a certain rear-endish area of her anatomy. It made me wonder what was coming next. I wasn’t kept waiting long.

“Do you have anything I can stick here?” she asked, and I resisted using any of the crudely clever quips that sprang immediately to mind.

“Something to stick, eh?” I said. So this was a sticky situation. They always are. And when you need to stick it to a sticky sitch, sometimes it’s best to stick with the stick you know.

Chomping on my cigar (don’t smoke, kids), I observed, “Sounds to me like you need a note to get you out of trouble, sweetheart.”

“A note?”

“Yeah.” I reached into my desk and pulled out solution number one. “A sticky note.”

But a second look at the problem told me that this wasn’t gonna cut the mustard. Maybe if it had been mayonnaise, but no.

“That won’t fly,” she said.

I asked, “What will?”

Her answer was ominous. Not that she actually said the word “ominous”. That would have made no sense, and I would have been obliged to tell her so. No, what she actually said, in an ominous whisper, was, “The Jolly Roger.”

Pirate Pocket

She removed her hand from her back end, and at last I saw the cause of her distress: Embroidered on the back pocket of her jeans, a skull and crossbones.

“You’re right,” I said. “That won’t fly. …Well, on a brigand ship, it would. But this is an elementary school.”

She nodded tearfully. “I know. Oh, whatever will my employer say if she sees this?”

“ ‘Aargh!’?” I suggested.

She continued the tearful nodding. “Maybe.”

“You got any safety pins?” I asked, thinking on my feet, although I happened to be sitting down. “We might be able to pin some paper over it.”

She didn’t have any pins. I didn’t have any pins. Between us, we were pin-less. And I didn’t trust my stapler as far as I could throw it – although, the way it acted up whenever I tried to staple something, I could see myself throwing it pretty far.

“A sticky problem indeed,” I mused. “But,” I suddenly remembered, “my drawers are full of tape!”

“Sounds like I’m not the only one with pants problems,” she remarked.

“Not those drawers, toots – the drawers in my desk. We’ll use the tape in my drawers to tape paper to your pirate pocket.”

Just to show off, I said that ten times, fast.

Her pants were as black as the heart of the pirate who would dare fly such a flag on their ships and/or pockets. Not everyone would have matching black paper on hand. I personally had nothing on my hands except sanitizer and a stylish mole or two. But I did keep construction paper of many colors in my office, black included, so we gave that a whirl. After that, we got around to trying to tape it to her pants.

But like a sorry excuse for an alibi, the tape just wouldn’t stick.

“What about masking tape?” she asked.

“It’s not the tape we’re trying to disguise,” I reminded her. “It’s the skull and crossbones on your pocket. But using tape to mask the pocket might not be such a bad idea.”

The custodian was just then coming down the hall. Using my expertly subtle interrogation skills, I asked if she had any masking tape. The custodian denied the whole thing, just as I’d know she would. She liked to play hardball. But she wasn’t the only one in a playful mood. While her information played hard-to-get, I played a round or two of distract-the-custodian-while-my-client-rummages-through-said-custodian’s-mailbox-and-uncovers-the-masking-tape.

Once we were rid of the custodian, I masked old Jolly Roger, and the case was solved.

“Thank you, Ms. Shipley,” she said gratefully.

“Just doing my job,” I said, even though we were both aware that neither of my job descriptions – neither my real one as an L.M.A., not my fictional one as a P.I. – made any mention of handling my coworkers’ wardrobe malfunctions.

But hey. I’m easy.

Flying Straight Into Imminent Danger

“We interrupt what would have been your regularly scheduled Interactive Theatre skit,” says Will Scarlet, “to bring you ‘Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight Into It (Redesigned)’!”

“Wait, what?” says Allyn-a-Dale.

Will shoves a three-ring script binder into the minstrel’s hands. “Just run with it.”

“O… kay…”

<<<>>>

Allyn/Narrator: In the far-gone year of two thousand and twelve, a naive young authoress with a trusting heart gave unto a company called iUniverse thousands of dollars with which to publish her novel.

Will/Young Authoress [waving a handful of prop hundred-dollar bills ]: Shut up and take my money!

Disturbing Voiceover: Gladly.

Allyn/Narrator: But alas! For this foolish young authoress did not realize the assisted-publishing path was fraught with peril, and the thousands paid were not in value received. Control was relinquished, prices did skyrocket, and the young authoress cried out to the heavens…

Will/Young Authoress: Woe is me! Would that I had done this publishing business myself!

Allyn/Narrator: And the young authoress did take it upon herself to publish the novel, commissioning a talented artist to provide her with a new cover that doth more accurately capture the spirit of her novel. And lo! The new cover is revealed.

[The curtain rises on the larger than life cover, as displayed below.]

Imminent Danger Cover Reveal

Will/Young Authoress: I love it! The lights, the colors! The glitz, the glam! And just look at how it harmonizes with the novel’s blurb!

Allyn/Narrator [taking his cue to begin reading the blurb ]: High school junior Eris Miller thinks she’s having a bad day when her roommate’s boyfriend catches her stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel.

[To the right of the onstage cover, a spotlight falls on a towel-clad Marion Hood.]

Marion/Eris: This is as bad as it gets!

Allyn/Narrator: Then she gets abducted by scaly six-armed aliens with a strange fondness for the color blue, and her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse.

Marion/Eris [getting hauled offstage by a multi-prosthetic-wearing Little John ]: I stand corrected.

Allyn/Narrator: Trapped on a spaceship bound for the slave markets of Sirius B, Eris fears she’ll never see her home again. But then fate whisks her away from her reptilian captors and into the arms of Varrin, a fast-talking space pirate who promises to deliver her safely back to Earth. He claims to have her best interests at heart, but Eris soon discovers that her charming rescuer has a hidden agenda.

[Marion reappears in the spotlight, this time dipped low in the arms of a space-piratical Robin Hood.]

Marion/Eris [breathlessly ]: What aren’t you telling me?

Robin/Varrin [oh-so charmingly ]: That’s for me to know, and readers to find out.

Allyn/Narrator: As they race across the galaxy, outrunning a villainous figure from Varrin’s past, Eris begins to realize that their relationship is putting her planet, her life, and her heart in imminent danger. She knows that trusting Varrin could prove deadly … but what other choice does she have?

<<<>>>

 “Aaaand SCENE!” says Will. “For those of you in the audience crying, ‘Author! Author!’…”

“I’m not sure that’s what they’re crying,” says Allyn.

Ignoring him, Will carries on, “Here’s a bit about the co-writer of our little skit, and the brains and beauty behind ‘Imminent Danger’!”

“See?” says Will. “Did I or didn’t I look just like her during her the show? Mad costuming skillz, yo!”

“See?” says Will. “Did I or didn’t I look just like her during her the show? Mad costuming skillz, yo!”

Michelle Proulx was born on the market moon of Vega Minor where she spent her formative years reading, writing, and gambling at illegal underground jsgarn fighting rings. While en route to Alpha Centauri, Michelle crash-landed her space yacht on the planet Earth. She now lives in Canada and divides her time between observing the local fauna and repairing her star ship.

“Thanks for inviting us to be part of your cover reveal, Michelle!” Will calls.

“She invited Danielle.”

“#PackageDeal. ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”