Wednesday, 20 May 2009

o Love 1 John 4:8
o Wisdom Proverbs 2:6
o Power Isaiah 40:26
o Justice Deuteronomy 32:4

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Days of the Week Songs

Days of the Week Songs

"I don't like Mondays" Boomtown Rats

"Goodbye Ruby Tuesday" Rolling Stones

"Waiting for Wednesday" Lisa Loeb

"Outlook for Thursday" Dave Dobbyn

"Waiting for Friday I'm in Love" The Cure

"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" Elton John

"Sunday, Bloody Sunday" U2

Originally seen on facebook friends updates. Liked it.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

A piece of Yellow Soap - Frank Sargeson

She is dead now, that woman who used to hold a great piece of yellow washing soap in her hand as she stood at her kitchen door. I was a milkman in those days. The woman owed a bill to the firm I worked for, and each Saturday I was expected to collect a sum that would pay for the week's milk, and pay something off the amount overdue. Well, I never collected anything at all. It was because of that piece of yellow soap.

I shall never forget those Saturday mornings. The woman had two advantages over me. She used to stand at the top of the steps and I used to stand at the bottom; and she always came out holding a piece of yellow soap. We used to argue. I would always start off by being very firm. Didn't my living depend on my getting money out of the people I served? But out of this woman I never got a penny. The more I argued the tighter the woman would curl her fingers on to the soap; and her fingers, just out of the washtub, were always bloodless and shrunken. I knew what they must have felt like to her. I didn't like getting my own fingers bloodless and shrunken. My eyes would get fixed on her fingers and the soap, and after a few minutes I would lose all power to look the woman in the face. I would mumble something to myself and take myself off.

I have often wondered whether the woman knew anything about the power her piece of yellow soap had over me, whether she used it as effectively on other tradesman as she used it on me. I can't help feeling that she did know. Sometimes I used to pass her along the street, out of working hours. She acknowledged me only by staring at me, her eyes like pieces of rock.

She had a way too of feeling inside her handbag as she passed me, and I always had the queer feeling that she carried there a piece of soap. It was her talisman, powerful to work wonders, to create round her a circle through which the more desperate harshness of the world could never penetrate.

Well, she is dead now, that woman. If she has passed into Heaven I can't help wondering whether she passed in holding tight to a piece of yellow washing soap. I'm not sure that I believe in Heaven or God myself, but if God is a Person of Sensibility I don't doubt that when He looked at that piece of yellow washing soap He felt ashamed of Himself.

Frank Sargeson, 'A Piece of Yellow Soap' in 100 NZ Short Short Stories edited by Graeme Lay.
"Priscilla and the Wimps" by Richard Peck

Listen there was a time when you couldn't even go to the rest room around this school without a pass. And I'm not talking about those little pink tickets made out by some teacher. I'm talking about a pass that cost anywhere up to a buck, sold by Monk Clutter.

Not that mightly Monk ever touched money, not in public. The gang he ran, which ran the school for him, was his collection agency. They were Klutter's Kobras, a name spelled out in nailheads on six well-known black plastic windbreakers.

Monk's threads were more...subtle. A pile-lined suede battle jacket with lizard-skin flaps over tailored Levi's and a pair of ostrich-skin boots, brassed-toed and suitable for kicking people around. One of his Kobras did nothing all day but walk a halp step behind Monk, carrying a fitted bag with Monk's gym shoes, a roll of rest-room passes, a cash-box, and a switchblade that Monk gave himself manicures with at Lunch over at the Kobra's table.

Speaking of Lunch, there were a few cases of advanced malnutrition among the newer kids. The ones who were a little slow in handing over a cut of their lunch money and were therefore barred from the cafeteria. Monk ran a tight ship.

I admit it. I'm five foot five, and when the Kobras slithered by, with or without Monk, I shrank. And I admit this, too: I paid up on a regular basis. And I might add: so would you.

The school was old Monk's Garden of Eden. Unfortuneately for him, there was a serpent in it. The reasonMonk didn't recognise trouble when it was staring him in the face is that the serpent in the Kobras' Eden was a girl.

Practically every guy in school could show you his scars. Fang marks from Kobras, you might say. And they were all highly visible in the shower room: lumps, lacerations, blue bruises, you name it. But girls usually get off with a warning.

Except there was one girl named Priscilla Roseberry. Picture a girl named Priscilla Roseberry, and you'll be light years off. Priscilla was, hands down, the largest student in our particular institution of learning. I'm not talking big. Even beautiful, in a bionic way. Priscilla wasn't inclined toward organized crime. Otherwise, she could have put together a gang that would tur Klutter's Kobras into garter snakes.

Priscilla was basically a loner except she had one friend. A little guy named Melvin Detweiler. You talk about the Odd Couple. Melvin's one of the smallest guys above midget status ever seen. A really nice guy, but, you know, little. They even had lockers next to each other, in the same bank as mine. I don't know what they had going. I'm not saying this was a romance. After all, people deserve their privacy.

Priscilla was sort of above everything, if you'll pardon a pun. And very calm, as only the very big can be. If there was anybody who didn't notice Klutter's Kobras, it was Priscilla.

Until one winter day after school when we were all grabbing our coats out of our lockers. And hurrying, since Klutter's Kobras made sweeps of the halls for after-school shakedowns

Anyway, up to Melvin's locker swaggers on of the Kobras. Never mind his name. Gang members don't need names. They've got group identity. He reaches down and grabs little Melvin by the neck and slams his head against his locker door. The sound of skull against steel rippled all the way down the locker row, speeding the crowds on their way.

"Okay, let's see your pass," snarls the Kobra.
"A pass for what this time?" Melvin asks, probably still dazed.
"Let's call it a pass for very short people," says the Kobra, " a dwarf tax." He wheezes a little Kobra chuckle at his own wittiness. And already he's reaching for Melvin's wallet with the hand that isn't circling Melvin's windpipe. All this time, of course, Melvin and the Kobra are standingin Priscilla's big shadow.

She's taking her time shoving her books into her locker and pulling of a very large-size coat. Then, quicker than the eye, she brings the side of her enormous hand down in a chop that breaks the Kobra's hold on Melvin's throat. You could here a pin drop in that hallway. Nobody's ever laid a finger on a Kobra, let alone a hand the size of Priscilla's. Then Priscilla, who hardly ever says anything to anybody except to Melvin, says to the Kobra, "Who's your leader, wimp?"

This practically blows the Kobra away. First he's chopped by a girl, and now she's acting like she doesn't know Monk Klutter, the Head Honcho of the World. He's so amazed, he tells her, "Monk Klutter."
"Never heard of him," Priscilla mentions. :Send him to see me." The Kobra just backs away from her like the whole situation is too big for him, which it is.
Pretty soon Monk himself slides up. He jerks his head once, and his Kobras slither off down the hall. He's going to handle this interesting case personally. "Who is it around here doesn't know Monk Klutter?'

He's standing inches from Priscilla, but since he'd have to look up at her, he doesn't. " Never heard of him," says Priscilla.

Monk's not happy with this answer, but by now he's spotted Melvin, who's grown smaller in spite of himself. Monk breaks his own rule by reaching for Melvin with his own hands. "Kid," he says, "you're going to have to educate your girl friend."

His hands never quite make it to Melvin. In a move of pure poetry Priscilla has Monk in a hammerlock. His neck's popping like gunfire, and his heart's bowed under the immense weight of her forearm. His suede jacket's peeling back, showing pile.

Priscilla's behing him in another easy motion. And with a single mighty thrust forward, frog-marches Monk into her own locker. It's incredible. His ostrich-skin boots click once in the air. And suddenly he's gone, neatly wedged into the locker, a perfect fit. Priscilla bangs the door shut, twirls the lock, and strolls out of school. Melvin goes with her, of course, trotting along below her shoulder. The last stragglers leave quietly.

Well this is where fate, an even bigger force than Priscill, steps in. It snows all that night, a blizzard. The whole town ices up. And school closes for a week.

Peck, Richard, "Priscilla and the Wimps." Sixteen: Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults. Ed, Donald R Gallo. New York: Dell PUblishing Company, Inc., 1984.

Monday, 7 May 2007

CLIP CLOP - Kevin Ireland

When a dozen of my neighbours had almost simultaneous heart attacks and passed away a they sat on their sun porches or lay prone on their lawns beneath beach umbrellas, the police asked me a lot of weird questions at several interviews.

The next day a spokesman kept telling radio and television news that the police were following useful leads in pursuance of their inquiries, but they never let out the details of what perplexed them most, and the one thing they kept harping about every time they called. Had I noticed some sort of deer or pig in the vicinity? Any small animal with small cloven hooves?

At some stage I said irritably that I thought it was a funny question to keep on asking, but Detective-Sergeant Laverty told me that there was nothing bloody funny about it. There happened to be these strange hoof marks around the bodies, on the carpets and on the lawns of every house in the neighbourhood, and it fact the last thing he'd call it is funny.

I had to believe him, because he glared at me and his eyes went red and steamy. 'Take a look at his ankles,' he said to the young policewoman who was standing just behind him, then he turned and strode off down the path.

The police woman shrugged and half-grinned at me. "You sure know how to get his goat, don't you?' she said.

'Am I really meant to roll down my socks and show you my ankles' I asked.

'Oh, that's just him talking,' she said, shaking her head. I'm used to it".

'Just as well you don't have to,' I replied. 'My feet are pretty sweaty.'

The policewoman pulled a face and went away, and shortly afterwards Laverty and the policewoman and five or six other investigators were also found horribly dead.

Of course there was pandemonium. A helicopter flew overhead and there were police cars and vans everywhere. I heard someone say 'they' were going to call in the army - so I headed off to the club for a quiet game of bowls. Most of the midweek regulars were there. And, heck, the place was even more peaceful than usual, because everyone there was stone dead too.

I knew there would be no point in hanging about, but I'm a creature of regular habit and couldn't think of anywhere to go, so I just ambled up the road past a church group who were raising money with a sausage sizzle outside the supermarket. I stopped to sniff the breeze, and I thought how the sausages were giving off a delicious burnt-offering smell, before I noticed that this was because the women running the stall were slumped over and the sausages were on fire. Thinking I might get help, I peered in though the supermarket window. There was no movement. Everyone inside was lying on the floor or lolling over a cash register. They all looked as if they'd had seizures.

Then I remember a political meeting that was being held that afternoon in the community hall. It had been called by a prominent government politician, to explain future cutbacks for pensioners and suchlike. I'll go there, I thought, because I was beginning to feel like really speaking my mind, the way things were going.

Clip, clop, clip, my feet went as I trotted down the street. They clacked and clattered as though I was whacking the pavement with little horny hammers.

Ireland, Kevin, 'Clip Clop', in The third Century New Zealand Short Short Stories, edited by Graeme Lay.