Creative Colloquy is a submission based literary site.
It’s our aim to share Tacoma’s rich literary talents and foster relationships built upon our mutual admiration of the written word.
New Stories for 10/27/2014
The Case of the Tree Spirit by Teresa Carol
I sat entranced across the table from the golden-haired lady who was explaining to me in detail the unusual occurrences she had witnessed at her home. I was surprised at how extremely beautiful she was. It was not the normal beauty that many women have, rather it seemed almost supernatural. Her hair was like spun silk which shimmered in the bright light of the coffee shop. Her skin seemed to glow with soft dew-like moisture. She was small in frame and light in body. I guessed that she was around fifty years of age.
“Your skin is so lovely,” I interrupted, “Do you mind if I ask what you use.”
“Oh!” she fluttered her hands. “It’s really quite simple,” her soft, pink, perfectly formed lips separated into an amazing smile. “I make it myself using rosewater and honey.”
She looked a little embarrassed. “Since I moved to Steilacoom I became interested in all kinds of salves and teas. It began when I kept discovering new herbs in my garden and at the same time I would come across a recipe using those herbs. I began experimenting. I still find a new plant from time to time and almost daily I come across a recipe for everything from healing burns to removing warts. It’s wonderful how well these natural ingredients work!”
I stared at her. “You mean you have a magical garden that provides you not only ingredients but also recipes?”
She tittered, very self conscious, “Yes, I call it my Findhorn after the place in Scotland where the angels and divas help the Findhorn Community grow the extraordinary large vegetables in barren soil. I nodded being familiar with the project founded by Eileen and Peter Caddy at a garbage dump in Findhorn, Scotland.
Something Old Something New by Nicole McCarthy
Margaret’s mother gave her a Barbie doll for her 6th birthday and told her she’ll be just like her someday. Margaret brushed Barbie’s long blonde hair with a plastic pink comb before combing her own hair, tangled and black. Her mother had given her a variety of dresses for Barbie to wear, all frilly and fabulous, including a wedding dress with puffy shoulders and yards of lace. Margaret’s mother helped her put the wedding dress on Barbie and remarked how beautiful she was. When her mother left, Margaret removed the wedding dress from Barbie’s frail figure and tossed it on the ground, leaving her naked. A week later, the dress was back on Barbie, with matching shoes and accessories.
In junior high, Margaret and her friends were required to register for a Sewing, Teens, and Tots course. The objectives were to prepare students, namely girls, for their eventual roles in a household. They would learn how to sew pajamas, cook meals, and take care of children. Her instructor spoke so highly of the “baby think it over doll” experience, where students take home a doll that triggers crying at random intervals, to teach women how to respond effectively to your newborn. Margaret was delighted to be given the opportunity to practice a skill so important. After the first round of students took their dolls home, and came back after the weekend tired and irritated, she concluded that these girls didn’t try hard enough. They didn’t put in the effort required. She knew she would do better, because she wanted it more. She wanted to prove she could. She had packed the best baby clothes from the classroom bin, and her and her baby boarded the school bus on a busy Friday afternoon. By Saturday night, the crying doll was too intense for her so she ripped out the batteries despite her mother’s disapproving glances. She gladly accepted an F on Monday morning.
The Time of Our Lives by Christopher A. Clark
Harold glanced around the library, satisfied at seeing no one, giggled before sliding his precious book into the perfect eye level spot. He slithered from the fiction section to the cushioned chair ten paces away, peeking from behind a large potted plant for his stakeout. Sitting in his grungy trench coat while clutching a magazine, some glossy thing about motorcycles, Harold waited with breathless anticipation.
His novel’s dark binding contrasted the bright handwritten red letters reading ‘The Time of Our Lives.’ Goose pimples popped on Harold’s neck each time he read the title. “The Time of Our Lives,” Harold whispered, licking his slimy lips with a pudgy tongue. He read the rest of the spine, ‘H. Raggald.’ Harold bounced in the chair when he fantasized signing ‘H. Raggald’ for flocks of fans of the new book. The fantasies played out a hundred times already, but he relished each one. Oh, how he couldn’t wait for the lines of readers at the signings. He’d smile, fidget with his glasses, try not to wipe his nose, and read a portion to their eager ears. They’d covet him and the wondrous creation made with his mind, the perfect manipulation of the English language.
The Nite Shift Tavern by R. Francis Diamond
There was a drinking establishment in Bremerton, Washington called the White Pig Tavern. Some wag hung the name on it of “Albino Swine-o,” one of the great nicknames I have ever come across (see: Emil “Hillbilly” Billdilli; Arlie “The Freshest Man on Earth” Latham; and Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson).
This is not about the Swine-o – I didn’t live in Bremerton long enough to darken its door or vomit in its alley. My post-21 years of age era overlapped with my residency in Kitsap County long enough to make only one place a regular haunt – the Nite Shift, located at 242 Burwell Street.
I had no friends, no roommates, no girlfriends in the area – I couldn’t wait to hit the legal drinking age: Well, I did have friends but they were all of age. I overheard tales of the tender underbelly of Bremerton nightlife: the Swine-o, the El Camino, The Crow’s Nest, Our Place (actually in Silverdale), the Black Angus.
An Only Child’s Contemplation by V. S. OPalenick
I don’t think it really matters how privileged, or non-, an individual is. The Only Child, literally and figuratively, carries a certain self-driven loneliness – forever in search of achieving “the dream” – which is ultimately and entirely up to the individual. “One man’s dream is another man’s fancy.” More importantly, is how that dream unfolds and its magnitude on the dreamer and the space the dream is intended to impact.
Before proceeding, let me say, the Only Child is not necessarily a status imposed by birth and lack of siblings. At some point in our lives we all find we have become the Only Child. It might be by birth or from segregating oneself from genetic lineage – whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Or it may be a result of outliving the rest of one’s pod, familial or otherwise. Extensively, it may be a choice to pursue a direction – a calling if you will – which is unfamiliar or unapproved by those closest to us. Suffice it to say, sooner or later, we all become the Only Child. Knowing how to operate in that context is the challenge, especially for those unaccustomed to being without the energy of noise and others’ impositions on them.