Sunday, December 15, 2013

Madness Indeed

I put my coat on hurriedly and turned up its collar at the sudden icy wind that swept up the streets like a great invisible serpent. Kevan was as close on my heels as one might get in the event of a chase. Of course we knew that Sir Madness Tuesday was leading us on a wild goose chase. He was far too clever for us to trail him this way, but still, chasing geese may bring some point into fruition. We kept our ears open for signs of disruption in the stony streets, following any flapping of fabric or tap of a boot heel; chasing shadows in the windows. I suddenly stopped and Kevan nearly toppled into me as I stood there. He peaked around my shoulders to see we had come to a dead end. Quite literally as Sir Madness Monday's hat sat on a wooden crate before us. I couldn't move. Kevan stepped towards the box and gingerly picked up the tweed dearstalker to reveal a metal thimble, an ace of diamonds, and two wooden matches beneath its brim.
"He tends to do that," came a voice out of the shadows. We whipped our heads around in two shakes of a lambs tale to reveal a petite blonde woman dressed in a smart navy blue pantsuit. She quirked her head to the side and revealed two perfectly deep dimples on either side of her pink ribbon lips.
"He likes to play games and as it would seem, you two are his newest conquest. I'd hold onto those if I were you," she continued as she gestured to the items which lay exposed against the rough wood. "You will probably need them." With that she turned on her heel and got into a black car which had been waiting silently just off the curb. I can only assume she'd been following Sir Madness Tuesday as well and simply bumped into us on her way. We stood silent for a few more moments before Kevan gently took my elbow and guided me back to our once comfortable abode. We splayed out the items on our kitchen table and stared at them for hours. I pulled my knees up to my chest and rocked back and forth while staring at those uninvited objects for hours on end.
Days, weeks, months passed with no sign of a breakthrough, no odd changes in the weather, no strangers at our door. Well, other than our usual tenants. Eventually Kevan and I began to move on with our lives. Put the hat and its belongings up on a shelf where we only occasionally gazed at it during an absent minded meal. Until one day...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sir Madness Tuesday

I was glad to be nearby when Hannah finally came to. She'd been unconscious for several hours and, though a great deal happened while she was out, none of it is really worth regaling since she wasn't involved. But my poor cousin was in a fit of hysteria when she awoke, cursing herself for being such a klutz around the handsome beau. It took some time, but I eventually calmed her down. She sat up in her bed and took the tea I offered. I also handed her the morning paper. 

"No thanks," she said. "I already read it."

"It's Tuesday," I responded, meaning two things.

She furrowed her brow and took the paper. The front page had the scene we saw the day before. Police cars and yellow tape surrounding an area on the beach. The headline said it all. Hannah stared in disbelief. 

"This says," she realized, "this says Sir Madness is dead."

I nodded. She folded the paper and placed it on her lap.

"Then who greeted us on the shoreline?" she asked slowly.

"Well," I began, not sure how to explain, "Sir Madness, the one we knew, is dead. He was Sir Madness Monday, but he had a twin. Tuesday."

Hannah had trouble processing this. She repeated the name. I couldn't blame her, after all. I was only convinced by the outrageous events that transpired after she passed out. Sir Madness Tuesday had proven himself, not only to be who he said he was, but to be just as much trouble as his twin brother (younger by only fifty-three seconds).

"So, why was he there?" she asked after another cup of tea. "And why did he say it was good to see us again?"

"Because I thought it'd be funny," came a familiar voice. Sir Madness Tuesday stepped into the room with a bow. "That answers one of your questions. But which one? That is for you to decide. And as for the other, well that's simple - Because I killed him."

And with that, he broke the window with a chair he pulled from his coat, and leapt dramatically out of sight. I looked to Hannah for a queue, but she was watching the window, glaring at it. She rose from her bed and tossed me my coat, always keeping her eyes on the window. 

"We have to go after him," she said at last. "There's no other way."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sir Madness Monday

Today was the dreaded day; Monday. As I lay in bed and the frosty air bit my nose and cheeks, I was in a complete state of nothingness. Until a great loud BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG sounded from upstairs. I flinched with each gun shot and sighed to myself. How many times have I told Kevan NOT to shoot his pistol inside the house? I rolled out of bed and onto the carpeted floor. I knew it was probably dirty as heck down there, but there's something satisfying about stretching in the sunbeams on a Monday morning. Obviously I'd prefer a Sunday, but beggars can't be choosers. 
"Kevan-dear, what's the matter this time?" I said as I pushed my reading glasses up my nose and peered at him over the morning paper when he flounced down across the table from me. 
"Bored," he grumbled. I sat still for a moment, lost in thought and wondered how I might cheer him up. 
"Kevan. I was hoping we might go for a walk by the seaside at the breakwater. It's quite windy out and the waves will be nice and high. Maybe we'll hear from Sir Madness later," I said quite earnestly. 
"As you wish," Kevan conceded with a smile peaking out of the corner of his russet moustache. I hid my own smile beneath the rustling newspaper. Whenever Kevan quoted Princess Bride I always knew things were on the up and up. It was a sure sign. After we bought The Station we'd met a curious individual who taught us many things about the science of deduction. We never did catch his name, but I must say he was one handsome individual. We simply refer to him as Sir Madness. Kevan pulled on his flannel jacket as I laced up my boots and scavenged for a scarf amongst the coat hooks lined against the wall. Once we reached the gate Kevan turned to me with a somber look on his face and said, "Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. Because they were holding on to something... There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for.” And with that he strode onto the great stone wall that stood out in the middle of the shore line, waves breaking and spraying heavenwards. It was one of those moments when the natural elements of the world coincided perfectly with a movie scene which could be conjured up with a few simple lines. I chuckled to myself as I hurried to catch up with him. However, halfway down the wall there was yellow tape and a crowd of police officers we hadn't been able to see from the shore.
"Kevan, Hannah, how good to see you again." Said a tall man in a black trenchcoat. He had his back to us and his collar turned up against the wind.
"Oh hello again!" Kevan replied, surprised to see Sir Madness out here on this blustery day in November. I was again struck speechless at the site of his magnificent face. Kevan elbowed me gently knowing how very little tact I had when it came to attractive people and most of all Sir Madness. 
"Um, Yes. Hello!" I stammered as I took a step forward to shake his hand, which he held out to me. Or I would have had I not then tripped. Everything went cold and dark.

To be continued...

Monday, November 18, 2013


It was one morning, we were sitting at the breakfast table and considering the busy day ahead. I'd complained of needing an adventure and Hannah, of course, had something in mind. Now, toast and tea were done and we took our time, as with most mornings, to let our breakfast settle slowly. The only thing worse than adventure on an empty stomach is adventure on an improperly settled stomach. So, Hannah knitted a sock and I guessed aloud at our day's events, her responses never betraying the secret. You never know what Hannah has in store for a day until it happens, and in this case, no one would ever know, for our guessing "game" was soon interrupted by news from a resident. A pipe had burst in The Station, and it was reported that lemon jelly was leaking out everywhere. We knew this particular pipe was on the fritz, but the news of the sugary flooding was fresh and unsettling.

"I suppose we should call a candyman," I sighed.

"Or a plumber," the resident said.

We both looked to Hannah for word. I wondered how this would impact, if at all, her secret plan for the day. Perhaps in the ruckus, she would slip up and I would learn what it was. But even now, in the midst of dilemma, she refrained. Darn her Chandler reserve and Christo eyes of China! She is an impervious fortitude!

"There's no time," she said simply and with deliberation, never looking up from her stitch-work nor pausing in those loops.

Before I could ask about a fix, or come up with one myself, she tied off the last stitch of the sock and slipped it on. Then she beckoned me to dash with her to the scene of the crime, to which she glided in her newfound sock upon our hardwood floors. The resident who'd borne the news followed. By the time we got there, we were up to our knees in lemon jelly and it only continued to rise. The hole in the pipe was a gaping one and glared at us from across the room as we entered.

"We need pie crusts," Hannah said to the resident and his artsy friends, "lots of them."

"And what do I do?" I asked eagerly.

"You and I have a pipe to mend," she said with a wink.

"But the others," I wondered. "Shouldn't we get them to higher ground?"

"Oh Kevan," laughed Hannah over the loud rush of torrential jelly, "it's lemon curd! They'll be fine! More than fine, even!"

We did consider at this point, admittedly, why exactly we should mend the pipe. Free flowing lemon jelly isn't such a bad thing, after all. But it is a sad and unavoidable fact that it would ruin the furniture in due time, so it had to be seen to.

Hannah had some hefty yarn left over from her sock project (she does like thick socks) and we used this to close up the hole. By the time the resident and his artsy friends returned with pie crusts, lots of them, the pipe was good as new and we were all quite ready for lunch.

Lemon meringue pies for everyone!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Station

"You know what," began Kevan "I saw an old abandoned train station just on the outskirts of town today."
"Did you now?" I replied as I continued crocheting my granny squares and raising an eyebrow in his general direction. 
"I did. I think it's a pity something so useful should go to waste. Do you think maybe we could buy it?" Kevan said, with an all too mischievous look of innocence about him, scuffing the toe of his chucks against the floor. I paused for a moment.
"What would we do with it?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe do that sort of club for vagrant artists and musicians we're always talking about. Yea, like a hostile. And we could live there too! Can't you see it?"
"It's perfect Kevan. But is it for sale?" I queried. Kevan bit back a grin as his eyes sparkled and his entire body tensed with excitement. 
"Yep! And guess what? I already got the deed!" He exclaimed. My eyes almost popped out of my head as I stared at him, all giddy and flushed. All of a sudden we both burst out laughing. We laughed until we had tears coming out of our eyes.
"You are without a doubt the craziest ginger I know! I can't believe you bought it already! How did you even know I would agree?" I exclaimed as I grabbed him by the shoulders. 
"Cause I know you're always up for a good adventure" he replied. 
"Well lucky for you I think I am. Let's move in tomorrow." 

A few months later Kevan held a large wooden sign in his hands. He held it up against the front of the building while I hammered in the final nails and we stepped back to admire our hard work. There it stood as proud as if it were our own child; "The Station". Tomorrow was opening day. All of our dreams had come to be so quickly. I couldn't wait to meet the people who would stop on in on our place, dreaming new dreams, creating masterpieces, and believing in all sorts of crazy aspirations. They would come here, to our place; to The Station. 
"C'mon." Kevan said as he headed inside. "The work has just begun." 

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Beast

Stay indoors. Doc's orders. They said the pneumonia'd gotten into my chest, and the elements - wintry as they are this time of year - would only agitate the devil further. So indoors I stayed, and dear Hannah could see my misery clear as day.
She slid a cup of tea under my downtrodden face and sat quietly beside me with her own cup in hand. I sniffed - chamomile? Why, Hannah, it's 11:00 in the morning! "It's exactly what you need," she insisted, and I took to drinking it, because I am prone to do whatever she says.
Soon, I was asleep, and when I woke, I was outside. The elements! O God save us from the elements! But I quickly realized, as I came to, that it was not so. I awoke in the same spot where I had fallen asleep, but up around me, taking root in the carpet, grew trees of cardboard and dusty boulders of my favorite books. Overhead, newspaper birds flew, and squirrels (real ones, of course) skipped in the eaves.
There came then, a rustling in the brush, and out leapt Hannah in the most authentic jungle-explorer togs I'd ever beheld. She brandished a machete in one hand, and an unconscious baby alligator in the other. A look of danger flashed in her eye - not fear, of course, but thrill. Adventure was nigh.
"We have a problem," she whispered. "It's loose in the jungle!"
I asked what, but she would only refer to it as "the beast," always followed by a shiver. She took me by the wrist and yanked me across the room. The whole house was a menagerie of foliage and critters, and we duck and wove through it, ever-wary of the beast in the wings. The more we trekked along secretly through the half-shadows, the more noises I heard of creatures I couldn't see, and the more I could feel the wicked presence of the beast, whatever he was. Then, I saw him.
He loomed, head and stories above us. A hulking monster, his laughter roared down upon us and nearly knocked Hannah's hat clean off. She held it tight, though, and turned to me with confidence.
"The only way to beat him," she said, "is to yell and sing and make all the many noises that require the deepest of breaths."
And so that is what we did. We shouted, screamed, laughed and sang until the great pneumonia beast had dwindled to nothing more than a sniffle. He was soon gone entirely, and we celebrated with another cup of tea. Chamomile, again? And when I woke, the house was back to normal.

Monday, October 28, 2013


This week had been a rough blur if I'm being honest, but when Thursday night rolled around I was ready for an adventure. So I turned to Kevan and said,
      "It's time."And all he said to me was,
       "will I need a sweater?" before putting down his book and heading for the door. Once we were in the van we drove to Value Village and loaded up on anything bright and shiny, including a big black tent. Then we packed everything up and went to the nearest pumpkin patch. Soon we had everything set up right next to the haunted house. People started asking questions, but we just pretended we didn't speak English; works every time. Finally, Kevan and I looked at each other and decided it was time. We painted an 'open' sign and stuck it outside the flaps to our giant black tent. From the outside it may have looked just as scary as the haunted house next door, but as soon as you stepped inside it was luminous. Each shiny bit of mirror or plastic jewels moved on a different string, reflecting more colours and shades than one can possibly have names for across the white interior. The illustrious incandescence was breathtaking. It felt like nothing bad could ever happen here. And soon people began to filter through, the light igniting in their eyes one after the other. Kevan and I just sat there, transfixed. Then, at the end of the night, no one seemed to be questioning us anymore so we packed up and went home again.