Story: The Redemption of Lucy the Unaware Rodeo Bull Rider – 16/08/19

Lucy was known as a great bucking bull rider.

Lucy was viewed as a mighty talented girl. She rode bucking, raging bulls with the utmost of grace and style. She had practiced upon a robot bull for many years, beating all the participants from the crowd with the greatest of ease. Only once did she fall, at the beginning of her training, but she quickly corrected her error, she no longer needed help rising from the floor, her embarrassment soon unheard of, she was skilled in her own future saving. Her sense of balance startled the world and caused others to be extremely enthralled, and so too caused a paling to the complexion of her competitors, in a bloodless manner that was remarkably draining for all.

On December the 16th, 2015, it was the World Bull Rodeo Championship. Although ranked the very best, her nerves were getting the better of her; she didn’t wish to demonstrate skills poorly, to be viewed of as something less when she knew she was more. Because, this bucking bull had a mean reputation, he would buck and thrash at every occasion, his efforts were worth gold, and the viewer would be terrified for the riders, the perils were so visually told, the dangers mortally magnified beyond any sense of redemption for young and old.

Lucy the Rodeo star crept into the stadium, into the bare field, and mounted the held bucking bull whose patience had long worn thin the older he had grown, for these events that he was made to participate in, made his blood boil and his anger run hotter, he wished for nothing more than to attack, attack, the arrogant, selfish riders. Because no one ever considered the feelings of the poor bucking bull, how he felt, how he liked or disliked being roughly ridden so, it was all about the rider, showcasing their cruel power, and amusement borne of the abuse of the raging bull who, in the foreseeable future, was probably next in line to be someone’s dinner. This bucking bull wouldn’t allow this rider to get away. Not now, not ever, not even on this special day.

Toss and turn did Lucy this day, thrash and unfortunately thrown from the bucking bull’s back and gashed in the side, felled by the bull’s sharpened left horn, the pain was tremendous, felt as though it would forever remain, never be gone. And now medics rushed onto the ground for Lucy to be saved, from being further gouged and trampled on a day that was meant to be hers, labelled a winner and champion always.

In hospital she sat upright in bed, contemplative, thoughts wandering inside her head, as to how to grasp the notion of the sport which she had been involving in for many years. She now was trying understand the game from the viewpoint of the bulls, to get inside their heads, and assess how they felt about being used as animals for cruel entertainment by humans who really possessed no sense of consideration, only wanting to abuse and misuse.

Why would an animal enjoy being riled, upset beyond their means for undertaking a forced riding to be seen? Being forced to want to throw off an unwanted being, stuck upon their backs, for as long as could be? How utterly insulting, how cruel, how unfair, to possess these great majestic creatures, fierce beasts, without a second’s thought for their mental care. Surely upsetting a bucking bull too many times could result in a type of insanity, then, oh look, who was now on the plate for dinner or lunch? Or simply rid of, now useless, the rider now happily joyous, oblivious, having won, proud as punch?

At that very moment, Lucy decided to retire, from this cruel sport that she realised was no longer for her. And the moment she made this decision, she felt stressors release from her, what a breather, and mental pain and anguish which she hadn’t known existed simply flitted away as though in a breeze.

Once having left the hospital, all healed, her side with a large scarred reminder of what it meant to take on a bull who was of a strength, to beat, almost too impossible, she set up a fund called “Save the Captured Bucking Bulls At Last”, and felt it was created not a minute too soon. She advocated for their freedom, a life of far less sorrows and great irritations, and when asked if she understood she was being a hypocrite, she laughed, waved these critics off, and said, “You really are lost in your dreams.” For she was the one making the difference, rectifying the flaws, the former errors in her life, and so she rose so very high, taking on the world with her charitable, proactive style. So many bucking bulls did she free from a life of turmoil and forced mental disease, they were now sent to pasture, to live so freely.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: A Hungry Little Mouse – 15/08/19

There was enough to feed three, two times around!

Open my eyes and what did I see? A glorious chunk of cheese hanging from a line, staring right back at me! I could not believe my luck, upon discovering this find, for I had been participating in a game of Mice: Three Blind. This involved myself and my two brothers wandering around the forest and its deserted road, with eyes firmly shut, only words could we form and to be told that this type of game was very dangerous, lest we walk into trees and animals looking for us to eat, above and beneath the forests’ surface. But this was exactly what I was looking for, not some victory in a silly childish game, where we would win by calling out repeatedly and determining one’s distance from another, essentially repetitively calling out the others’ names. I was too old for this, I was always hungry anyway, and discovering this jackpot of a prize would allow me much delight, I planned to disguise it and be on my way. Then I could eat it however I wished: raw, sliced, fried, filleted, diced, and such delight I would garner from this, my unexpected prize.

I admit I had cheated, by opening my eyes, but I could not help it, my nose had sniffed strongly, detected a tasty treat so wholly. And with a quick peek then a startled wide eyed awakening, I had realised that the cheese surely needed saving! I mean, who allows cheese to hang from a string? It is rather macabre, a sight to be viewed in a Hollywood Halloween film. The death of a cheese from hanging from a noose, how horrid a sight, I must assist it, of this image it must be vamoosed. And delicately, though with great excitement, I did attempt to disentangle, my prize winning portion, of the black type vintage, but the technique required me to be faster, much more nimble. Although, in doing so, I could risk breaking my portion apart, spreading upon the ground in dirty inedible chunks, this would not be right, I would not allow it so, I quickly and succinctly broke the string into fraying pieces, and now the cheese was upon my hands, not broken on the ground.

With utter glory, I placed one corner into my mouth, it tasted wonderful, I allowed a chunk down south. And another little nibble, and then there were three – “Brother, brother, what have you found us??” a sibling called out to me with glee. I groaned inwardly, exhaled loudly, visibly, “How could you sneak up on me when you weren’t calling me, and when you were not meant to see?” My brother Hank shrugged, and Bert to the right of him smiled for a while, and said, “Wherever you are, we will always sneakily be.”

My two brothers explained how they’d initially discovered the cheese chunk, but uncertain were they of removing it without damaging it, this motion they had not been able to ascertain, to allow the cheese’s shape to last. So, they hid around the corner, waited for me to stumble upon the scene, and watch carefully as I would dismantle their current edible dream. I thought it ridiculous that they had assumed that there was a high chance I would stumble upon them so soon. But then the truth of the matter is that I did in fact arrive, despite the jungle and deserted road being so large, and of my brothers usually being extremely difficult for me to discover whilst they would hide.

So, reluctantly, I decided to share with my lunch and cheese dinner, it was large enough of a portion for us to enjoy as three lunches and dinners. However the question remains as to who left this portion of food, hanging upon a tree for us as though a trap, though with nothing to capture us, how strange was this fact? Perhaps it was another kind animal who knew that of our game Mice: Three Blind that we played often throughout our day, that he or she provided a little cheeky sneaky treat for us to all enjoy. Maybe one day the provider will show his or her face, and together we can dance around a wheel of cheese, celebratory, a great prance for the day.

© Alice Well Art. Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. 2019. All rights reserved. 

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Story: The Most Unique Little Fruitcake You Ever Did Meet – 15/08/19

There was a little fruitcake, who was as fruity and unique as could be. He loved to perform amusing antics, such as jumping high then falling upon splayed feet. Another of his tricks was standing on his head, while barking and picking away at the fruitiness that was inside his form, in order to self taste test. His fruit was very tasty, having been soaked in liquor prior to his baking, the content made him a little inebriated and rather distractedly happy and loopy.

Fruitcake loved to pop his happy pills, he would carry them wherever he would go, these were filled with corn starch and maize, but also alcohol and sugar, to taste. The combination of the ingredients of these pills made Fruitcake go, “WOW!”, his energy would rise, and his fruitiness would grow. He didn’t need these pills but they aided his cause, to be happier and happier, and fruitier because, that was the point, wasn’t it, to be unique and eccentric, different from the others, so utterly fantastic. He wanted to ensure that if ever anyone had a taste, of him they would cherish his decadence, that this would not go to waste.

But what of Fruitcake’s mindset, was he of soundness or unbalanced? Did the liquor within him make him a danger to the lot of us, to the residents of town, to the lot of them? Was he a hazard, was he a danger, and was he a harm, should others keep him at a distance, away at the length of an arm? What you need to understand was that he was a slight danger, not to others, but himself, because he was simply of a slightly strange nature. His hyper energy caused people to get going, they would see him striding forth with purpose, then pacing, his energy racing. He needed to get things done as fast as he could, he understood that this was an important point and thing to perform and do.

Then came the rush of thoughts, this was what happened when he slammed his personal thought door, the area in which he subsisted daily, his thoughts he captured in a small area, then flailing, he would bask in his convoluted thoughts within his mind, swimming in the glory of them, outlandish and grandiose were they of this kind. And then the rapid bundling of words, flying, word vomit, out of his mouth, sometimes he was barely able to catch them, they escaped from his lips, tongue, mouth. He could not stop being verbose, he was always over expressive, in the past, perhaps he was more curt, but this manic slew of words could be oppressive.  

Then with the excessive highs, aided by his overdosing of happy pills, came the irritation that aligned, with the rise and the falls, and the rise. For with every excessive rollercoaster of emotion Fruitcake experienced, the fruitiness inside him grew and danced. He knew that the irritation would slowly erase, when he caught up on the sleep that he had been direly missing. That was part of the rise, he would lose patience as well as sleep, but the benefits of being fruity meant he could always join in a festively spirited world.

As an opposing mood, Fruitcake occasionally experienced deep sorrow, in which he would pick at his fruit and eat it with sorrow for days, nights, and tomorrows. It was simply the consequence of overindulging and having his moods so high, Fruitcake knew that when he reached this state, he would remain there for a while. Fruitcake loved how his moods would flit here, and flit there, it was all part of his charm, and of others’ opinions he did not care. He was happy to bounce from one polar end to the opposite, even it meant that the lower times were not so abounding.

One evening, I believe it was Christmas, Fruitcake was designing, in his own mind, his perfect missus. Rather than focusing on her physical traits, he was designing her from the inside, with her personality traits, to be perfect toward him, to be able to handle his ever changing moods, there to comfort and see. But then Fruitcake decided to stop for a while and indulge in some of his fruitiness within him, and some pills for tea. He was extremely looking forward to this combination; it always served him well, and provided positive brain connections. The pills, along with the fruit were comprised of a dangerous dose, but Fruitcake knew what he was doing, he had performed this often, rightly, he believed, and just so. And pick and pick at his fruit did he, and swallow eight crushed happy pills, this was his delightful tea, and relaxing back into bed now, he understood the next few hours would be a desirous dream, he closed his eyes and of his perfect little cake he thought of, knowing that whatever he believed, most real it would seem.

Poor Fruitcake felt he was sinking in the middle of the night, his consciousness falling, falling, his grip on reality gone, he was gasping, for freedom of the heavy weight now bearing upon his mind, he felt he was slipping and slipping, and if he let go he would quite possibly die. He had never experienced anything like this before, the waking with a gasp and feeling of a sinking, like an elephant was sitting on his mind, to be sure, to crush any option of the rise, and powerless to fight off its dead weight, he fell deeper and deeper into his unconsciousness, until it was simply too late.

Or so it seemed, for Fruitcake would live another day, just not that day being too soon, for he was discovered by his roommate, roused for over sleeping, and then with horror, she realised what Fruitcake must have done. With a deep sharp intake of breath, she, shocked, called triple zero, to fetch Fruitcake and rectify what he had done, she hadn’t known that he was so depressed that of this life he wanted to go.

In the emergency department, Fruitcake awoke confused, why was he in a strange bed in a purposefully whitened, glaringly brightened room, guarded by a burly looking member of security? With his arms folded tightly around his barrel chest, he looked down upon Fruitcake with a mixture of curiousity, and a feeling of “ What is that?”

“Awake, now?” he said gruffly. 
“Where am I?” Fruitcake asked, “Am I in hospital?” The guard nodded, then seemingly switched off.

“But why?” he pressed.

“Your overdosing may have earned you a place in the inpatient mental health ward,” he replied. “You’re waiting to be assessed by the doctor now.”

“But, BUT!” he said, a feeling of flailing filling his soul, he hadn’t overdosed, he was simply making his evening meal, he did not wish to be locked up, he couldn’t then do as he pleased, they would take away his freedom, and label him with a mental health condition with great ease.

When the doctor came, he took away any chance for him to express his truths, twisting his answers into those of someone unwell, of a nature that capitalised upon his thoughts of him being extremely unwell.

“I’m fine,” Fruitcake insisted. “There is nothing wrong with me!”

“I beg to differ,” the doctor stated. “From speaking with you, you possess grand delusions, suicidal ideas, and racing thoughts, all under the umbrella of Tricolour Three.” Fruitcake didn’t even know what Tricolour One was, let alone three. But what he did know is that he didn’t fit under any category such as this. He was simply himself, although often inebriated and skittish, he was not depressed, nor wanting to be comatose, he just wished for nice meals of his happy pills and dried fruit treats. Was that so much to ask for, to be himself, and not be labelled with something that surely wasn’t even real? These doctors, making up conditions, why were there even three versions of the illness to be seen? It made no sense, he wished this was just a terribly horrid dream.

For four and half weeks Fruitcake was in the ward. He always protested that he wasn’t unwell, that they could see it, this was his cause! To highlight to them his completely normal, not abnormal behaviour, yet they kept him there, as long as they could, claiming he needed much help from them. The help basically consisted of being assessed daily by his doctor, and being fed tablets morning and evening, not his happy pill favourites, of course, he’d tried to sneak them in but was caught, oh, what a blunder. Then the sociable activities such as the patients all eating together, and performing daily walks or other activities, perhaps to get them to focus not on themselves, but a holistic approach of healing oneself and all others. Then came discharge date, he was allowed, released, with his bag of chemist goodies to take. His four types of medication that he was now required to swallow, he detested them, they made him heavier and slower, but he was required to conform, to the mental health act, it was so.

Still remaining in the system of community mental health to this day, Fruitcake knows not to take risks with his mental health and avoids eating his liquor soaked fruit and happy pills popped once frequently throughout the day. With his current medication, he is more focussed now, his moods less erratic, and his depression he now no longer knew of, it is essentially unknown of, not catastrophic. All of his characteristics which he had always thought of as being part of his personality were now firmly controlled, with the assistance of his medication and the mental health system in all its capacity. He could now be in command of himself, no need was there for racing thoughts, he was still the Fruitiest Fruit Cake there was, but reigned in were his temperamental moods and thoughts.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: The Zombie’s Bride – 14/08/19

She was resplendent in her green haired glamour.

They had met through a pen pal service, known as Lovers World Wide, Ply Ltd. Daniella was an alternative sort of a girl, with green hair and a purposeful pasty complexion, normally she was slightly tanned, but she disliked being so, as she attracted the attentions of a nearby unwanted man. This man was Darcy, from down the road, nearby he lived and obsessed was he with the colours green and brown. For some strange reason, they switched a light on inside of him, somehow, thus Daniella painted her face with much lighter foundation to avoid being visibly attractive beneath Darcy’s stellar eyes and his prying nose. With her foundation on, she was obscured from the sight of this creepy, obsessive man.

Back to her current love affair, we find ourselves watching as Daniella is in great command of operating her calligraphy pen, the object of which she constructed her love letters to the current man, and former pen pal men. At one point, she had been corresponding with three in one go: Julius, Joseph, and Jason, the three J’s she called them, but now she had reduced them all to nothing, having found a man of her life-long calling. This man was sweet, kind, clever, unexpected, provided her laughs and made her feel so very alive. His name was Bernard, and he was the most epic being that she had ever had the chance of viewing, the man who she wanted continually of her to be perpetually pursuing.

Even though they had been dating through the mail for the past four months, he still sent her special bundles of gifts, and bunches of flowers, to simply let her know that his love would always last. In turn she sent drawings and pictures of herself pouting and smiling, other expressions, in various poses, it seemed a fair trade off, and as love cultivates, how love grows, it happens.

Bernard was extremely attractive, he had a curled moustache of which he tamed the ends with pomade, he had a lovely haircut from an expensive barber, with a subtle fade, and every month he returned to have it maintained. His sparkling crystalline blue eyes caught the sight of everyone else’s, and locked and loaded would the connection grow, if talented and charismatic Bernard allowed it.

For what, or who, Bernard was, was something interesting, something from afar, he possessed the skill to manipulate thought, to draw others near, closer, from far. And while they would be just within his grasp, he would grab them, hold them tightly within his grip, and then suddenly attack, in a manner so matter a fact, for he was a secret zombie, and he rarely revealed this fact. Because, Bernard was a zombie-human hybrid, he did not need to feast upon humans for substance, as his food, it was only when he was lacking energy, feeling less lively, that he pretended to attack them after meeting a ‘victim’ so soon.

Daniella knew of her pen pal lover’s heritage, as we shall call it. That his mother was the zombie, and his father was a man who had fallen for her charms and processes. His father was an incredibly brave individual for deciding to pursue a zombie, but he was bold, he was clever, and he knew how to win a strong woman over. And with time, his future wife had begun to trust him, with each intimate word that he did speak she allowed him a closer distance, and a year after their marriage Bernard was born, their immense joy and ecstatic feelings did ultimately grow.

So this time the tables had turned, Bernard was the zombie man, he knew he had won over Daniella and obtained her trust, cementing it again and again, and he knew that she and he to one another would be loyal, of their love they would forever be filled with strength and truth, the only thing left in the process was would be to meet at the altar, this would be their final relationship proof.

Daniella had always been one to throw caution to the wind, and so too did Bernard feel that this could be, for him it would reflect the spontaneous method in which he lived, he knew more about Daniella than most who were in her circle of friends and family – it was as though together they had already joined and lived. As Daniella walked down toward the altar, her green hair styled nicely, her skin complexion now free of makeup, free to breathe, her hands clasped around a bouquet of a fake human brain, a little clever joke between her and her man.

Bernard turned and his eyes lit up with such emotion, here was his cleverpot, his ecstatic dream, his wonderful life explosion. The woman he wanted to live with forevermore, who had accepted him even though inside he felt a slight failure and mediocre, she wanted something from him, only love, and this made his heart swell more and more. She was beautiful, she knew his truths, she understood that sometimes he had to attack slightly, but this was a cover too. It was not even a true attack, when he held himself off, after the fact, and now, his mind became swimmingly buoyant as they locked eyes together. He could barely wait as he clasped her hands at the altar, the feeling of finally touching her, oh, how sweet, and how it made him suffer, for they had held off meeting for so very long, that it seemed a punishment of sorts to be touching her soft skin finally, he wanted more and more.

And wed were they, hybrid zombie and woman that day, life for them turned out grand, even if the town discovered Bernard’s secret – as he had moved in with her – but of this, they did not give a damn. Then three little children had they with zombie lineage, zombie blood, and intermingle with the other children of the town in its hub.

Then to their surprise, others revealed that they too possessed zombie traits, apparently this was not uncommon, but it had been hidden for many generations, years, thousands of days. There was actually nothing to be embarrassed about, because the genetics meant that when mixed with certain human blood types the aggression of zombies would go, be gone, without, and left was simply a differential type of gene, something that slowly the world all over was experiencing and seeing.

So in peace their family lived, with their little cherub children, perfection in the moment of their sharing of their life dreams. Bernard and Daniella, how beautiful they were with their three, their family of five, grateful for their differences, and happily being free and alive.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

                                 

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Story: Sammi the Beautiful Girl With Two Missing Teeth – 14/08/19

Sammi was a beautiful girl, inside and out. Her hair and skin glowed, shone throughout. Her effervescent personality made others joyous and gay, she was a bubbly, vivacious girl, and she loved to make others happy and keep them entertained. However, Sammi had a personal nightmare, it was evident when she grinned, she always hid behind her open hand, because missing were her two of her teeth. She was ashamed to grin like the other children, to show her remaining pearly whites to the world, she was always told that beauty came from within, but within her mouth was where her exterior beauty ended, she believed, it was the torment of her inner world. She was scared of being judged, frightened of being viewed of as uncool, she knew she had beautiful characteristics and traits, but she wished her teeth had never been taken so soon.

That moment when she had toppled, so happily hanging from the monkey bars, when her teeth made impact with her shins, despite this being in the past, the memories of the pain, as they hit against each other, the ‘crack’ heard inside her brain, made her wish she had not been so careless. If she’d fallen slightly differently, the dentist had said, her teeth could have been saved, instead she was left with unsightly gaps, and pain within her that was always there, within her memories never going away. Instead they had shattered, unable to be retrieved, her baby teeth gone, never to be again seen. And cry and cry all that day, and into the next did she, poor little Sammi, her beauty compromised, her dream of being a beauty queen seemingly gone, her sorrow spread quite freely. And the times when she accidentally burst into a giggle or a guffaw, and unintentionally she showed her teeth, she became chilli red and frightfully embarrassed, for, she wanted nothing more than to hide in her bed, trying to ward off her fiercely warm complexion as though it were a contagious disease about her face, her head.   

For now, Sammi’s dreams of being on show, walking down the runway with teenage model beauties from all over the world were scrapped now, her dreams once a whirlwind, an utter whirl, were now apparently unattainable for this unfortunate little girl. She had planned to grow into the industry, continuing her weekend beauty shows, but now, her best friend Susan scorned her, saying she was no longer the best in show.

“I’m telling you the truth, now,” she said firmly, “Not wanting to hurt you one bit, but those gaps in your mouth, they should be covered or filled, fix them with false teeth.” Her heart fell the most heavily at Susan’s sharpened words, for she was the closest friend in Sammi’s world, she could not understand why she was being such a nasty girl, was she suddenly cruel, no longer caring, had she fallen under a strange spell? Surely she understood that Sammi could smile without her teeth being shown wide, she could walk the runway and wave with delicateness, with glamorous pride, and there was no need for anyone to know that she was missing her teeth, she would train her mouth to disguise the apparent flaws, this uniqueness that she held within.

“I will still enter Miss Terrific Teenage World,” she vowed, from the age of still a little girl. “I will take on all the beauties, I will experience all there is to be seen and told.” And at that, she felt confident, that she could do this, despite her insecurities, despite her feelings that she was inadequate for simply missing two teeth. Although her mother and father had reassured her that her teeth would grow back, Sammi was dubious, their assertion did not seem a fact. She was certain that the two specific teeth she had lost were adult teeth, not baby ones, and that the dentist had simply gotten his facts wrong, and that of dentistry he possibly had much more to learn. After all, she had to prepare herself for the truth, that if she was not receiving any replacement teeth, she would perform the most, her utmost, at adaption; this was what she would do. And practised in the mirror, smiling and talking, while surreptitiously disguising her pearly whites at every minute free of her day and night, finally she gained great skill at deception, so she would not give even the most unsuspecting passerby a sudden fright.

As she grew, the time for Miss Terrific Teenage World finally arrived. She was flown to New Mexico, where all the other contestants were nervously biting their nails, drinking sugar free caffeine drinks, and others were with bright eyes, running on adrenaline, utterly alive. By this stage of her youth, Sammi had the art of speaking eloquently and with deception of her missing teeth down to a fine art, no one could tell, no one even knew, that she was different from the start. All they saw was her lovely face, her styled dress, her flamboyant nails and hair – the dress selected was a bit risque, but with the finery detailed upon the jewelled strapless garment to match her glittery, bejewelled necklace, she felt both at peace and excited beyond belief, she understood that her message to be shared with the world was heaven sent.

And when it came time for her to address the world, in the capacity that she knew of so well, she spoke of freedom, and false alliances to be broken, and strength in numbers, and holding self worth and confidence, that when she was greeted by an almighty audience cheer, a standing ovation far and near, she burst into a widened grin, no longer uncertain that she should hide herself anymore, she knew to shine from the outside and within. She wept tears of happiness when she was awarded first prize, the first teenage beauty to win with a couple of teeth missing beneath her rosy cheeks, beneath her expressive eyes. It didn’t matter whether they were there or not, for the truth be finally told, she was an amazing individual, whose stunted adult teeth would finally, eventually, in one single year, grow.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: Sylvie the Punk Who Knew Too Much – 13/08/19

Sylvie the Punk lived a careful, quiet life. Despite her appearance, she was an introverted individual, preferring to stay home and read, by herself, rather than entertaining others outside. Although she had her nose and eyebrow pierced, these were not for mere show value to impress, they were simply the look that she was going for, they were for herself, nobody else, herself, no less. Her favourite pastime was absorbing the knowledge of the greatest writers having walked the earth, she fed upon their words like sticky rice pearls, absorbing their wholesome nutrition as though she was starving, and their words were the first things her eyes had fallen upon.

However, one day, in her grandmother’s library, where she was permitted whenever, daily or nightly, she came across an ancient looking relic, it was a leather-bound book, with embossed name D. D. Derek. Intrigued, and curious while also amazed, she carefully opened the book to the first page, and then, upon the title page, declared there was this book as “My Secrets. Read at your own peril”, and that was that.

“Strange,” she thought to herself. She’d never come across a book like this before. Furiously flipping the pages to satisfy her curious hunger for what had seemingly been held behind for ages, her eyes fell upon a singular page, “Join here with the Masses”. It was a step by step guide on how to hypnotise a crowd, lulling them into a false sense of security until they would do anything you wished them to, even mooing while on one foot, or clapping, stamping and meowing!

“Interesting, interesting,” Sylvie muttered under her breath. “We must test how this works upon the public, but I’m scared of them, this is a test.” Sylvia suffered from a phobia of leaving the house without any accompaniment; she always needed someone there by her side, with her. Usually she took her grandmother, but today she was somewhat poorly and sickly, her mother was at Bible Study, thank goodness she hadn’t been taken along there to listen and see. For, if she had, she would never have made this discovery, this apparent diary filled with spells upon spells of magickry and manipulation of others so freely. She knew this book was wrong, that she had best hide it again, better still, throw it away, but she could not bear the thought, she needed to test out this hypnotic spell today.

The second problem, after her phobia, was that she knew her appearance was somewhat off-putting, her earrings of large safety pins, the piercings in her face, her unique hair cut, her love of wearing an outer clothing layer of lace, created an unwelcoming vibe from the crowds. But why would it matter, if she had hypnotised them? Then again, she needed to lure them in first to have them listen, their newly directed attention span. And hesitantly, she left the room, glancing backwards wistfully as the freedom of being herself she was knowingly leaving alone, and deep breaths, and deep breaths, as she passed out into the sunlight, in actual fact, the air was quite pleasant, perhaps this outing wasn’t going to be of a negative scent.    

Upon the train – it was a fifty five minute ride into town – her eyes devoured the words and scrawling of the spells which she had found at her home. She was so glad that her grandma allowed her to live there, for all her days she could spend reading and researching without a care. The books calmed her, detracted from her life fears.

Now, at the main town mall, she called around, gathered, called, gathered all, until she had attracted a fairly large crowd, and then she sat down and proceeded to do as the spell had told. Soon, all the members of the crowd were cackling, then clucking, then bouncing on one foot, then maniacally laughing. Sylvie joined in along with them, she was so joyous that the spell had worked, that she continued her session within the town into the night, until ten o’clock.

News of her proficiency in magic spread across the land, rapidly, swiftly, with each touch type of a journalists’ command, and when the truth came down to it, Sylvie had procured some enemies, who were jealous beyond doubt of her talented skills she had honed with ease and now permanently had. Apparently she knew too much, needed to be taken down a peg, until she was a normal as normal could be person again.

She was seemingly not permitted to be successful, from her studious work, in her own right, and with the assistance of Mr. Derek, no, she was meant to be stuck at home, afraid of going out, of the world, forever being sick, battling her inner frights. She would not take this kind of attitude, nor would she admit defeat, she would not acknowledge these kinds of people who wished for her skills and opinions to never speak.

Sylvie honed her skills even further, became a master of this type of style, and isn’t it well that this ended well, the news of her skills were still looked upon with great admiration of her wiles.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: The Angry Donut – 12/08/19

For most of his life, Donut had experienced overwhelming negativity. It was always ‘donut this’, and ‘donut that’, or ‘do not touch this’, or ‘do not go there’. It was so frustrating and overwhelming, it made Donut into a kind of aggressive tasty treat. His glistening icing which was so enticing did not match the flavour within.

Additionally, all through secondary school, he and his donut friends had been repeatedly pinched on the arm, the leg, the bum, as others walked past, for they wanted to have a taste of their deliciousness, their tastebuds must of them be reminded or learned of. And how insulting that they’d lose a piece of their bodies, surely their stiffened body stance when attacked said, “Don’t you bloody well touch me! Donut you even dare! Stay away from me!”?

Donut and his crew became frightful of school, they no longer wished to attend. If skipping school meant retaining their mass then they would perform this desertion good and well, no matter whether absence was deemed bad. Besides, who would know, their parents were too busy working their day jobs to listen – Donut’s parents’ voicemail at home in all truth and actuality said: “You’ve reached the Donut Family. Donut bother leaving a message. We donut want to talk to you.” And how antisocial was that?

So Donut and his crew were free to wander about the town, actually, more of a city it was, but in this sleepy city it was known as a town. It was a term more fitting for the slower pace and relaxation taken by this type of society, for this town’s residents encompassed many sweetened and savoury treats, as well as humans, a mixed variety. Donut though, was the one most unfairly taken and eaten. He thought to himself, “Wouldn’t it be wise to contemplate talking to the Croissants, they are able to avoid those pesky hungry and famished buzzards, circling above, above our very eyes?”

When all of a sudden, a whoooooooooosh of a speedy object came past, and a great pinching pain Donut felt in his left side, the beginning of a rupture, he knew this was the start. Whoever had been on that wretched and fast bike should surely score some karma points, Donut hoped the rider fell into the path of some large, approaching, moving lights.

It may have been a harsh thought, but Donut was in agony, several of his blood vessels had been ripped, squeezed or burst, with the greatest of the rider’s ease. Disgusted at this thievery, this violent, apprehensive act, Donut decided to do something, and with his friends, of this town and its insolence he would combat.

They scrawled all over every available town wall that there was a protest tomorrow at noon, to come forth, gather round, where all could speak their truths. Of the pain they were suffering, the irritation they were experiencing, the changes they wished to receive, to be given, the list could go on and on, this was a given!

So at 1145 hours the next day, Donut arrived with his knapsack filled with bravery and courage, and all that he could gather to commend. Strapped to his back – he needed to avoid his sticky delicious front – was a large sign, that said “Do not touch me!” For this was his main problem, the source of his misery, that others felt – no, had decided – that he was available as a public tasty treat. This was wrong, this was rude, he had felt the need to leave his education, his expensive boys’ grammar school, and the fees for it were still being paid, because his parents had no idea that his days of skipping school were occurring, in order for his dough to be saved. Dough spent unwittingly for dough to be saved, what an ironic thought to cherish for the day.

Unfortunately for Donut, it seemed he was the only protesting participant, and while he shouted and screamed his message fair and loud, there was not an audience nearby, no passing members of the society, the town, to reap his message, understand his frustrated knowledge, and after an hour of screaming at the top of his lungs, Donut decided to go.

“It’s okay,” he said to himself soothingly, “It does not matter, you will find a way to increase your manoeuvrability. To avoid those pesky pinchers, who are not even truly hungry, but just steal because, they believe they can, and this is wrong.” Suddenly, a bright idea inside, a spark of a light.

The very next day Donut arrived back at school, strutting through the school gates with pride.

“Wow!” one girl gushed.

“Look at him!” a boy expressed.

And a croissant: “What a fashionable donut we have before us!”  

Donut was decked head to toe in shiny aluminium foil, which gave the illusion of mirror wealth to them all, but its actual use was to block the evil thieves – vamoose! – and successful he was that day and always in his tin foil truth. He shared his knowledge and tailoring skills with his all friends and they all eventually returned safely to school again.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: The Sociable Sleeve – 11/08/19

Most sleeves were used for surreptitious snot wiping. But not this Sleeve! He wished to be conversant all the time, wherever he might be! He’d talk and talk, to whoever was within his realm, he would chat, chat for hours, until he felt his words were finished, and that to be silent the time was rightly so. When his wearer, dear Amelia, moved her hand to press a section on her smart phone, clever, cheeky Sleeve would carry his weight upon another button, to cause a video time call! And this happened frequently, how embarrassed Amelia felt, for she had to explain the calls to her friends and family, her breath was often now misused, not well spent at all.

“Naughty Sleeve!” she would chide him. “Naughty you are, indeed.” With irritation, she pulled Sleeve upward her arm, and left him perched around her bicep, there was no freedom for him, nowhere to run. He simply had to remain, inanimate, unable to commence a sneaky call, where he could have conversed with whoever might answer, and now, it was as though he was facing a brick wall.

Sleeve felt deflated with his disuse, he felt utterly saddened, mourning his former life, he no longer felt alive. Why was Amelia so cruel, when freedom she could have continued to allow him, to better his grasp of English and conversational skills, too? For, Sleeve was not a native English speaker, he had grown up in the land of One Another, where sleeves and pant legs, and collars could hide, in plain sight and daylight their wearers and owners were not there to of their lives decide. They could do as they wished – for example, one pant leg loved to fish – and pursue all their talents and passions would they, they could do it for hours, upon years, upon days. No intervention like Amelia’s was allowed, and Sociable Sleeve was able to do as he well pleased within this country and his town.

There had come a point in Sleeve’s earlier years where his parents unfortunately decided to separate, he was mournful, he was thunderous, he felt the anger between his eyes. An overwhelming pressure within, a headache growing deeper and more paining still, he had lost his familial structure, and now, broken and shattered among the community they would be seen.

“Darling, we have to tell you something,” his father said carefully. “Your mother and I, and you, will be leaving this land of One Another, to pursue new dreams. Your mother and I have separate dreams, and you need to choose who you will live with for the majority of time.” A tear escaped Sleeve’s eye, this was a great disaster, or so it seemed. He could not readily choose between one or the other, so he threw himself upon the sofa and began to cry, with his tears rapidly falling, and nose dripping then streaming, he wiped himself clean with a section of his pressed and ironed styling. He decided to make it on his own upon Mother Earth, a land far, far away, and when he had successfully procured a kind owner and built a life with them, return to his parents part time would he, there he would partially stay.

So upon arriving to Earth, he had of course found Amelia, who had presented herself as an initially pretty little picture. Full of kindness and warmth, but wasn’t this truly a farce, she simply wanted Sleeve to wear and to her school friends show off. For Sleeve was beautiful, intricate, sewn with golden thread. She didn’t realise she’d look odd with only one sleeve on, rather than two instead. Some people failed to think.

And now that Sleeve is wrapped around her upper arm, now useless, immobile, of nothing positive here could he learn, in this position he was of inaction, a negative, a contraction, sadness welled around his eyes as he soaked in the reality of no more forced or welcomed interactions. Poor Sleeve, he did not know what do. Poor Sleeve, how can we assist him, what shall will we do? We simply must wait until Amelia becomes cold again, and pulls him back down her arm, to be used again, as a warmth provider or as a nose rag factor, unappreciated for his conversational charm. Although chat to himself would he, this charming Sociable Sleeve, until a fresh opportunity arises, to connect with a video through Amelia’s devices. He awaited the chance for this with excitement and baited breath.

One day to the right individual, the right sleeve, he would connect. He would find his match through an accidental connection, shared lifetimes forged with the beauty of their breaths. His perfect sleeve mate, a soul match, a shared, startled then amazed moment, the reflected look in their eyes would scream of internal soul knowledge, changing their worlds as they’d currently known them.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: The Boom Box and the Grape – 11/08/19

They grooved together as no other two could.

The Boom Box sat above the hotel, on the top of the roof, thinking, “Well, goodness, this is utterly boring!” No one to play for, no one to entertain, nothing worth sharing, the tunes from his brain. The rooftop was deserted, there was nothing but air conditioning vents, and an entrance to the stairwell. This was the place where Boom Box often came to vent.

Despite the illusion that a boom box’s existence was happy, jolly, bombastic, Boom Box actually suffered from moment of deep sadness, when he realised his presence and tunes were unappreciated. After all, he played songs from a cassette recorded in the 1980’s, and while the many tunes were pleasing and repetitive to him, others wanted something more modern to dance away the night with their hands filled with glasses of rum, scotch, whisky or gin. Their tastes were very specific, this crowd that I speak of, a refined understanding, a niche listening style, a charismatic knowledge. Unfortunately for Boom Box, he had been assigned to this crowd, whom gathered at midnight every Friday in the ballroom five stories below. He was tired of being something that he was not, he wanted to revel and sing, to provide his 1980’s tunes and be appreciated for the songs he held within.

So, one evening, on a Friday night when he was meant to otherwise be occupied, he snuck into the pool room, where there was being held a party, at a quarter to nine. The pool was filled with inflatable toys, the room decorated in a celebratory style, a lone swimmer clasping a pool noodle smiled at him and said, “Hey Boom Box! Give me some music, play me something until it gets well into my head!” He picked his favourite song, and away the sound did blast, the person in the pool decided to jump out onto the concrete and he proceeded to fervently dance. He seemed to love the tune, it was everything he had been hoping for, a sound that came to him and so very soon would there be more revellers accompanying this ecstatic dancer.

Then, all of a sudden,  Boom Box was swept up from the ground, thrown upwards, almost seemingly to the heavens, and placed within a tight grip of a purple hand upon a shoulder, a perfect spot for this contraption. The hand adjusted the knobs, bass and treble, volume pumped loud, and away the tunes would go! Boom Box looked down at his holder, and with a giggle of great delight, he realised he had been swept up by an excitable, bouncy Grape, who seemed funky now, her style and mood would never truly abate, her aura seemed so alive and alight.

She grooved with the mood, sung along to the love songs, the power ballads, the crooning, the dancing music, the tunes, it was all so damned fantastic! The revellers greatly appreciated the Grape’s efforts, and wind back and play and wind back and play, repeatedly, would Boom Box of his tunes, that he thought, “Stuff it, I will not bother with the people in the ballroom.” This was his place now, his room of his ultimate forte, he would remain here every Friday, ignoring the ballroom always. After all, it wasn’t as though they appreciated him up there, and the music he was forced to play them was stuffy and of it he did not hold one iota of care. And when the hotel staff came looking for him at a quarter past one, he simply silenced himself, pretended to be dead and faulty, and away for a boom box replacement did the hotel staff run.

Grape proved a great partner, she was such a warm, sweetened and talented ball of fruit, Boom Box wondered whether she had been sent from afar to save him from the bathroom’s continued metaphorical noose. Grape was the groove master who knew how to speed things faster, and slow them right down, to create a mood-like roller coaster. Now he was relaxed, with her, in her presence, it seemed together they would go far, but even if only for the night, their collaboration meant much to him, for it also meant he had not gone down without a fight. The ballroom members could be completely forgotten for all he cared, memories erased that very night, his efforts no longer forced to be shared.

Grape and Boom Box, the epic new duo, the talented pair, they ended up travelling far and wide everywhere. A continent wide tour, and then one of the world, they entertained crowds upon crowds, of men, women, boys, and girls. Their tunes reached and touched the hearts of generations, for the recordings that Boom Box held there was only one of this compilation, and when it came to alterations, Grape leaped forth and performed her dee-jaying skills to recreate that roller coaster ride’s rapidly fluctuating moods.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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