Hunting Lions

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My legs are tall. My tail is short.

I watch my mistress. Watch watch watch.

It is time to go stalk lions now. I stalk lions in tall grass at the beach. I never find them but I always look for them. I will catch one soon. 

I wait. Wait wait wait. She cleans the kitchen after supper.

After dishes mistress calls me, “Mia Flower, Come.”

I always listen. Sometimes I play a game. Sometimes I do not come when she calls me.

I love her. She feeds me.

She walks with me at the beach. I love the beach. I love–

“Mia.” She calls again and I run to her. I love her.

It is walk time.

She scratches my ear. Right. There. Ahh.

She holds something in her hand for me to sniff. A tiny stick.

Sniff sniff sniff.

Too small for fetch. Each end of the stick has a fuzzy ball. I like balls.

Too small for catch.

Time for beach. Time for the huntress.

“QTip, Mia,” she says. 

She cleans my ear. Not too deep. Gentle mistress never hurts ears. OOH, ball on stick in ear feels good.

I love her with my eyes.

It is time for walk now. I stare at my leash on a chair. 

“See?” Mistress lets me sniff a shiny tube. She holds it tight. Brown goo comes from the tube. I sniff. Mmm. Peanut butter toothpaste.

“Toothbrush,” she says. She holds up a different stick. It is longer than a QTip. A brush at one end. I do not like the toothbrush.

Walk?

Up and down and all around.

I do not like the brush thing. I love goo.

Mistress finishes brushing my teeth. I love the tube of goo with my eyes all the way to the drawer.

It is time for walk now. I go to the leash on the chair.

She stays. 

I point to the leash with my eyes. See? See? See?

She reaches. She holds a big bottle. I know the big bottle.

I do not love the big bottle with my eyes. It is squirty.

I run away. 20170604_141412

To the window. Lions live out there. I must watch.

Mistress calls me. I do not look at her with my eyes.

Not time for walk. Four wrinkle day.

She comes to me. No.

“We must wash your ears,” she says.

I don’t think so. In my head I hunt lions in tall grass right now.

I do not like the bottle.

Mistress holds me close. I squirm. I cannot get away.

She will not hurt me. I hold still for her.

Mistress squeezes a squirt into my ear.

I do not like it. I shake my head.

Mistress rubs my ear with a towel. I love towels. OOH towels feel good. Ooh. Ooh. Ooh. Yes towels feel good.

She does not hurt me.

My ears are clean.

My teeth are clean. I like the goo.

Mistress holds my face in her hands. She loves me with her eyes.

“Good girl,” she says.

Mistress lets me go now.

I stay. Stay stay stay.

I stare at her. I sit tall.Tall tall tall.

She says, “Go for a walk?”

My tail is too short. It tries to shout.

“YES YES YES!”

My eyes ask, “Now?”

My eyes tell her I hunt lions.

Mistress laughs. “I will take you to hunt lions now.”

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I stalk a lion at the beach. I never find one but I always look for him. I will catch him soon.

I will catch one soon.

Refrigerator Box Stories

SunsetBoatRide

Big Bad Wolf, last seen wearing Granny’s nightcap, sails a derelict boat named Harley and reportedly escapes to Canada.

The inspiration for Little Red Riding Pants came from my father who suffered from mental illness. I realized even when I was a child he went in and out of a catatonic states and was becoming unreachable. I also knew if we walked together the soothing rhythm and sway of walking would open him up and he would begin to talk to me. Many nights he spent time walking with me downtown to the big zigzags that ran like hairpins up the face of the hill overlooking First Street. We raced up and down those zigzags; he, clumping along in his lace up work boots, pretending to lose the race to my two dollar Mary Janes. We didn’t care. We had fun.

I remember being thirsty for his words. He told me love was the most powerful emotion in the whole wide world. I remember wishing he would tell me more.

While I was still little, before his mind slipped away forever, he spent a lot of time reading me bedtime stories. With a wildly creative mind like his he couldn’t help but make many of them up as well. All the neighborhood kids loved him for his pranks, stories and, of course, Squeeko his (real)pet monkey. Kids didn’t know how much he suffered. Nor did it matter to them. There was no stigma. All they knew was he spent time with them. With him they were completely safe.

We lived across the alley from General Electric. Every week they put out tall refrigerator boxes in the alley for the trash men to take away. I assisted the trash men and hauled many of those boxes across the way to my back yard where we built super-deluxe refrigerator box forts. When the neighborhood kids caught word, they brought sleeping bags and flashlights. Then we waited, our faces all lit up, whispering until Dad appeared. Not that we saw him at first. We knew he had arrived when we heard the scratching — soot-blackened fingernails on the sides of the fort and a low “Mwoohahahahaha…” of his voice. Of course we squealed, pretended we were freaked out. He hunched into the shape of a “C” just inside the box opening and told stories and sang us songs.

In the Sixties and Seventies there was precious little help for those who suffered from mental illness, mainly primitively administered shock therapy, something that scared him to death. He told me so when I was just a girl. My audio book, Little Red Riding Pants’ Narrow Escape is a tribute to Real Dad, the Dad who sometimes held me close and spoke of love and stories, before his wonderful mind disappeared, irretrievable from an illness that robbed us all.

Here’s a link to Little Red Riding Pants’ Narrow Escape: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/evastanfield