Friday, May 18, 2012

Day #23

Here's a very random short story/scene that I wrote in October. I don't have much of an idea what it's about, but it's fun :)

She had tea on the cloud every Wednesday, at two a clock. Wednesdays were always overcast and sometimes rainy, but above the cloud layer it was just puffy whiteness and the brilliant sun. Her carpet almost matched the sky, a little square of blue with red fringe perched on as flat a section as she could find. Her teapot was dented copper but it gleamed in the light.
“I do wish you’d visit more often,” Mr. Jalopy said, trying to frown at her and looking sheepish when he couldn’t. His face just didn’t form that expression.
“I come as often as I can,” she said, sipping daintily from her cup. She came regular as clockwork in fact, but he didn’t have to know that.
“Well then thank you for sparing the time,” he said, reverting back to a beaming grin. He leaned back into the cloud and drank his tea in one big gulp, then sighed pleasantly at the sun. “I can’t fathom how you aren’t up here all the time,” he remarked. “Don’t you miss the sun down there?”
“I see it often enough,” she said and produced the cookies from the hamper. There was something about eating cookies in the air that made them even more delicious, and these were still warm from the oven. She was silent for a moment as she reverently bit in, and then offered the plate to Mr. Jalopy.
“No thank you,” he said apologetically. “I don’t have much of an appetite these days.” She shrugged and handed one to the cloud. She hadn’t found a cloud yet who didn’t love her cookies. “Come then, what’s your question?” Mr. Jalopy asked as she took another swallow of tea. “Have you got another riddle for me? Or a real question this time?”
“They’re all real questions,” she murmured, but he didn’t hear her. “Well then,” she said, eyeing a bird that was flying in lazy circles some ways away from them. “Have you ever been to the lost city of the Sahara?”
“Been above, not to,” he corrected her. “I’ve drifted across it a few times.”
“Then where is it?” she asked when he didn’t say anything else.
“How should I know?” he said with a laugh. “I wafted around for days, there was a lot of land, then some water, then more land, and more water, and eventually a whole lot of sand. I only know it’s called the lost city because of the myths about it.”
“But you found it,” she said, leaning forward and trying to stop the teapot from tipping off the carpet. “It can be found.”
“I suppose,” he said vaguely. “I couldn’t find it again, mind you.” She nodded and put the teapot back in the hamper, which was set in the very middle of the carpet so it couldn’t fall off. Taking out her notebook she jotted a few words down, then handed the book to Mr. Jalopy.
“Could you draw it do you think?” she asked, and he came as close to frowning as he ever did.
“You know I don’t think much of these pens,” he said disdainfully. She replaced the pen for a pencil and he shrugged, taking it warily. She came as close to smiling as she ever did watching him hold it with two fingers and drag the point across the page. He hated drawing. “Are you ever going to tell me what all these questions are for?” he asked as he drew.
“Curiosity, mostly,” she said lightly and he looked at her. It was true, she was very curious to know his answers. As for the rest of the mostly, if he hadn’t guessed by now, he never would.
“Well then, time for my curious questions,” he said and handed her back the pencil. She took it and stared down at the little drawing, trying to decipher what it was of. Clusters of squares, those would be buildings seen from above. They were large in the center and got smaller farther out, and spaced further apart until a tight ring of them made the outer wall.
“It’s not in ruins?” she asked in surprise and he laughed again.
“Why would it be?” he asked back. “It’s lost, not abandoned.” She digested that for a moment and he cleared his throat. “My question,” he said. “How’s the garden doing?”
“Very well,” she said, and he looked pleased. “The zinnias are in bloom, and I got some new rose bushes.”
“And the tree?” he asked eagerly.
“Is wonderful,” she answered. “I pruned it yesterday, looks like it’ll be a good year for pears.”
“Good,” he sighed. “I wish I could see it again, you know.”
“You can,” she said, frowning slightly. “Can’t you see it from up here?”
“Well yes,” he amended. “But not like before. I can’t go up close. I can’t touch the flowers, or eat the pears.”
“I’ll bring some up, when they're ripe,” she said immediately, and he smiled at her.
“You’re too kind,” he said, his wistfulness forgotten immediately. No, I’m not, she contradicted him in her head. There was a soft sigh beneath them and she looked down, it had started to rain. “You’ll be wanting to go,” he said, squinting up at the sun.
“Yes, I should,” she agreed. It was getting near four a clock and she had things to do.
“Safe journey, come back soon,” he said like always.
“I’ll come back when I can,” she said and he drifted away slowly, waving as he went. “Please stop raining for just a few minutes,” she whispered, slipping another cookie from her hand. The cloud grumbled and the cookie disappeared, but she put her raincoat on anyway. She curled her legs back onto the carpet and set the hamper in her lap, clutching the edges and guiding it downwards with a dip of her head. Half of her disappeared into mist and she looked back at the sun, breathing in it’s warmth, before plunging into the chilly cloud. There were things to be done and cities to be found before the next Wednesday tea.