Pat Coughlin's Blog

Your Home for Shim Shoy Folktales, Hidden Cities, and more

Month: November, 2011

Rooster, The Man -A Story Challenge Story and Shim Shoy Folktale-

There’s a song the children of the town sometimes sing as they play about;

Rooster didn’t have a tongue

The Good Lord didn’t give him one

Or someone cut his tongue away

It’s just impossible to say

Rooster was born in an asylum, where his little tongue was taken out by a crazy person.  Still, he turned out okay.  He was big and strong and smart and skillful, though his whole life there were people who considered him a grunting misborn idiot, and a certain percentage of these always treated him with a cruelty.  Still he learned patience and the fine art of listening and learning, and so he turned out okay.

At the orphanage, no one adopted Rooster, nor would they, this big strong boy gesticulating strangely with his hands and grunting.  So the Friar  educated Rooster himself, in scholarly fashion and criminal.  Something of an artist of open minded living, the Friar  fashioned an ingenious little lockbox that fit snugly in Rooster’s vacant jaw and started a smuggling venture and secret message service, all very ingenious and clandestine.  Thus did young Rooster range daily all about the town, subtly delivering secret things, often stopping to lend his strength to tasks and people in need of it along the way.  In this way Rooster gained a small reputation of strength and goodnaturedness.

A kindly Farmer would send for Rooster occasionally, sometime for weeks at a time during the harvest.  When the Farmer wanted to build, Rooster showed a talent for carpentry, and his education provided him with the knowledge of architecture, and he designed and built for the Farmer a barn, grain silo, and windmill.  These structures were impressive, and people came to know about them and Rooster’s skills.

The Farmer had a sweet natured daughter, and Rooster loved her more than anyone or anything else in the world, and passionately, too.  He knew he could never have her if he remained silent, so he wrote her a love letter of exquisite beauty that woke her to the true depths of his heartmind, and she found herself deeper in love than she could say. Rooster wrote another letter of stunning elegance, this one to the farmer, asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage, to which the stunned Farmer and his Wife agreed, for they were folk who prized nature of character over the circumstances of the material world.

Riches would come to Rooster, however, and thusly to the Farmer and his Wife and the Friar, too.

There was a man who had always kept a curious eye on Rooster, since the first time the silent little boy delivered a secret message to him from the ingenious little box in his hollow mouth, and he would always send for Rooster when he needed someone he could trust to make a delivery.  To this man, it was not Rooster’s naturally enforced silence that made him trustworthy, it was just something he knew to be so.  This man was a criminal, and by the time of Rooster’s wedding had become the biggest Boss in town. 

He paid Rooster a huge sum to design and build for him a great mansion, riddled with concealed passageways, secret doors, and hidden vaults to store his fortune in ill-gotten gains.  Here was another who could see Rooster’s value where others did not. Rooster designed and built many such houses for the Boss’s asscociates, and was well paid by them, as well.  Rooster bought the farm neighboring his In-Laws, and built a new little house for his blushing bride, and life was just as wonderful as it can be. 

Some time went on by, and the Boss died.  His son took over.  The Boss’s Son was cruel and always had been.  As a boy there was no greater tormentor of poor misunderstood Rooster as this vile little thug.  As a man he was no better, and life in the town became a grim and nervous affair for many.  He had learned  some things from his father however.  One of these things was the secret value of Rooster.

The New Boss went to the little house and told Rooster he needed him to show him all the secret ways of the house he had built for his father, as they two were the only ones who knew them all.  The New Boss was rude about it, reminiscing on the torments he would inflict on Rooster when they were boys.  He did not bring them up to apologize, he only laughed at them again. 

Rooster went with him and and showed him the secret vaults and and entrances and escape doors.  By the time they were done, Sonny Boy was five times wealthier than he had dreamed, and drunk with a great greed temporarily fulfilled, he shoved a box flowing over with gold coins into Rooster’s arms and sent him away, but Rooster left the gold in the vault when he left.

The New Boss came by again a little later, with the box of gold coins, angrily insulted that Rooster had not accepted it.  Rooster still did not want it, however.  The New Boss tried to elicit some greed from Roster’s wife, but, being a fulfilled person, she was unreachable in this fashion.  Sonny Boy had not seen this quality in a woman in his whole life, because his was a world of crime and criminals and greed.  He didn’t believe it, and it made him even angrier.

He demanded that Rooster show him the secret entrances of his late Father’s associates, which only Rooster knew.  Rooster refused, and enraged, the New Boss pulled a knife and swiped menacingly at Rooster’s Wife.

In his love letters to her and in his heartmind, Rooster refers to his Wife’s cheeks as his own apples of immortality, a god’s delight.  As his eyes beheld the short, thin red line emerge glistening  from his Wife’s cheek, his golden apple’s perfect flesh wounded, a stout locked door deep deep and deep within Rooster fell open without a sound, and an all consuming storm burst forth, filling Rooster.

He grabbed the  New Boss by the arms, pinning them to his sides, and squeezed mightily.  Sonny Boy tried to scream over the sound of his cracking ribs, but his inner mechanisms for such activity were already crushed.  When the knife fell from his hand, Rooster crunch-folded him over one knee and hurled him through the front door, which was closed, smashing it into pieces.  Sonny Boy’s bodyguards, his most vicious thugs,  were waiting outside for him.  They tried to avenge him, but Rooster smashed their heads in with a splintered plank of wood from the shattered door.  He loaded their bodies into their ride, and, setting the the whole thing on blazing fire, sent it down the road to town.

Rooster went back inside and tended to his beloved Wife.  Strong as an iron ox, she had never known his touch to be anything other than gentle and loving, and this moment, in the aftermath of bloody carnage, is no exception. 

Many people in the town were grateful to Rooster for ridding them of such a vile group of gangsters, even though they knew he did not do it for them, and Rooster became something of a living legend. That’s why the children in the town sometimes sing a song when playing about, that always begins

Rooster didn’t have a tongue

The Good Lord didn’t give him one

Or someone cut his tongue away

It’s just impossible to say

 

Thank You

Hello, Friends

Hello Friends,

Your old pal Pat Coughlin here, wishing you a Happy Halloween and hoping you’re not tooo haunted!  It’s been a little bit since my last posting, and so I thought I’d just say Hi, I’m back! and that I’ll be back in proper blog posting swing for the foreseeable future.  Hooray!  Here for your consideration has been posted the final installment of Stanley Squantro, Boy Detective, in the hopes of appropriate scary strangeness for the day.  Thank You for your time, and if you like what you find here, please let me know!  I am eternally grateful for any such interactions however short and sweet they may be.  A click of the Like button, even!  Well, that’s enough of that, thanks again, and I’ll be seeing you here on Pat Coughlin’s Blog!  That’s me!

Love, Pat

Stanley Squantro, Part 4, Conclusion, Dustup On Chaldean Ave.

As we have been observing Stanley Squantro, the boy who could talk to walls, we have seen him take his seat at the social reject’s cafeteria table with the disgruntled Rod Bodkin and the elfin smartypants Laufey Londgren.  When Stan learned that Rod’s little sister, Lily Bodkin, had gone missing two years ago without a trace, the Squantro family decided to investigate, with Stanley taking the lead. Now, having ditched school alongside Rod, Stan finds himself alone in the walls of House Bodkin, which is one of the houses on Chaldean Avenue, the oldest street in the old town of Rauhoff…

The faces of the walls of House Bodkin were more immediately apparent to Stanley Squantro than any walls of any house he had ever visited, with the exception of the Mayor’s Mansion (A tour of which was the subject of a fifth grade field trip). The moment Rod Bodkin’s eyelids fell shut in sudden sleep, those old walls started talking to Stanley, where often Stan would have to instigate conversation, and their voices were loud and low and rumbling crumbling, like no other wall voice he had ever heard,

WALL TALKER!

STANLEY SQUANTRO!

THE BOY WHO CAN TALK TO WALLS…

-Good afternoon, walls!  I thank you for your hospitality.

IT IS THE GREAT PLEASURE OF THE WALLS TO HAVE YOU INSIDE US

-I’m hoping you could tell me what happened to Lily.

SHE CAME HOME FROM SCHOOL AND NO ONE WAS HOME

MOM AND DAD GOT MIXED UP EACH THOUGHT THE OTHER WOULD PICK HER UP FROM SCHOOL

-What happened then?

SHE WENT TO HER ROOM

A LITTLE MAGICAL MAN CAME INTO THE HOUSE BY CRAWLING THROUGH THE WINDOW

-A magical man?

AN ELF!

AN ENTITY!

HE WENT TO HER ROOM!

The walls of House Bodkin let out a collective wailing sigh of regret.  When the din settled, the first wall began again

HE LEFT CRAWLING BACK OUT THE WINDOW AND WE HAVE NOT SEEN LITTLE LILY SINCE

-But what happened in her room?

YOU WILL HAVE TO ASK THOSE WALLS

So Stanley went around and down the hall to Lily’s room, which had been left untouched in the two years since she disappeared.  The walls of Lily Bodkin’s room told Stanley that Lily was playing with her dollhouse when the little magical man came in, frightening her.  He waved his hand and cast a spell on her.  She shrank down until she was the same size as the dolls she was playing with.  She ran into the dollhouse and hid in it’s secret nooks and crannies, but he shook her out and when she landed on the floor she hit her head and was knocked out.  Then the little magician put her in his pocket and left.

-But who was he?

The walls had no answer.  They were silent.  But Stanley heard something in that silence, a soft calling out to him.  He followed it to Lily’s dollhouse, and looked inside of it, where the miniature faces of the miniature walls within were showing themselves to Stanley as they called to him.

-Hello little walls!  What are you trying to tell me?

THE LITTLE MAGIC MAN IS A BOY FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.  HE LOOKS LIKE A BOY BUT  HE ISN’T.  HE CAST A FORGETTING SPELL ALL AROUND BUT IT ONLY HIT US A LITTLE BIT. SO WE REMEMBER HIM, BUT NOT HIS NAME, AND LILY KNEW HIM

-A boy from the neighborhood?

YES

Stanley said goodbye to the walls of House Bodkin, and they said goodbye to him, and as Rod was still snoozing on the couch, left by the front door.  He walked down Chaldean Avenue, the light a blanket dapple through the canopy of leaves on the tall trees abounding.  A name jumped off a mailbox at the end of another long gravel driveway.

LONDGREN

Laufey Londgren.  Sits with Rod Bodkin when no one else will.  A little magical man.  Laufey.  Elfin.  An Elf.  Looks like a boy from the neighborhood.  A little magical man in disguise.  Laufey.  Laufey.  Loki Laufeyson.  Laufey Londgren. A little magical man. Walls don’t lie.

These are the flashes of thought that go through Stanley Squantro’s as yet unseasoned deductive reasoners at this moment of looking from the Londgren mailbox to the Londgren house down the long drive , obscured almost completely by the Chaldean foliage.

Stanley walked down the driveway, disappearing from public view behind great unclipped evergreen bushes, up some stairs, and rang the doorbell.  Nothing. Not even a bell.  There was an old fashioned iron door knocker in the shape of a snarling wolf, and Stanley tried it, a fine coat of rusty dust falling on his hand as he banged it three times.  Still no response.  No one home.  To the side of the door was a big window, thick curtains drawn behind it.  some wind kicked up inside, blowing the curtain open for a moment.  In this moment Stan saw two things, a big dollhouse in the middle of an otherwise empty room,and the open window on the inside of the room, through which the revealing wind had entered.

As we can see, Stanley seems to have forgotten the deal he made with his Squantro Kin to share any information before taking action, and he continues to forget as he circles ’round the hidden house of Londgren, and finding the open window, climbs up to and in through it.

There was nothing going on in the empty rooms of the old house.  The only signs of life, light and movement came from within the antique dollhouse in the middle of the front room.  Crouching for a closer look-see, Stanley looked through an upstairs window and within beheld a tiny litle girl sweeping the floors and dusting the corners with a feather duster.  When she noticed Stanley’s relatively huge eye practically filling the window, Kong style, her cry of fright reached Stan’s ear as a pipsqueak of a squeal.

Stanley stood up, and finding the faces of the walls of the Lodgren house, spoke what would become his customary opening inquiry to strange walls,

-What goes on here?

THE SHRUNKEN LILY BODKIN KEEPS THE LITTLE HOUSE

SHE IS HIS SLAVE

-How can I help her?

YOU MUST BEAT HIM

-How can I beat him?

WHEN HE RETURNS HE WILL SHRINK AND PUT THE BULK OF HIS ANCIENT POWER IN A JAR…

Just then Stanwas snapped out of walltalking by the sound of feet on the front steps.  Stan spoke to the walls again,

-Walls!  Help me hide!

With the walls helping him, telling him when and where Laufey Londgren was turning corners, leaving one room and entering another, Stan was able to stay one hidden step ahead of him.  they even told him when Laufey had shrunken himself and gone into the little house, and the coast was clear.  At the time Stanley was on all fours, scrunched up behind an old wooden trunk.  Opting for the greatest possible silence, he crawled carefully back into the front room, where he saw the jar.

Looking into it, Stan saw the jar was filled with fluffy fresh fallen snow, crystalline and cold. A tiny enraged voice startled him!

-Hey!  What the fuck are you doing?

It was a tiny Laufey Londgren, standing on the front steps of the little house, pointing furiously at Stan, who jumped to his feet in a flash.

-That’s mine!  Don’t touch it!

And the tiny little man started to growing.  Stanley lifted the jar over his head, shouting,

-AAAaaaaahhh!! Stop or I’ll smash it!

-Nooooo!!

Laufey stopped growing at about a foot high.

-I’ll be dispersed!

-Let her go, or I’ll throw it right through the window!

-She’s mine!  My servant!  She is what is owed to me!

-Just do it, man!

-You can’t hold that jar like that  forever.  It’s very cold, isn’t it?

It was, and getting colder, it hurt to hold it in his hands, but Stanley stuck in.

-I’ll just smash it, then!

-Noo!!

Stan’s finger’s started really burning then, so cold was the jar of snow, so with a great

-RRRAAAAAAAGH!!

Stanley whipped the jar at the window, smashing the glass of both to bits, the snow within flurrying forth in little snowy tornadoes that zipped all around.  Little Laufey screamed alongside Stan, and he didn’t stop screaming until Stan snatched him up by the ankle with frostbitten hand and whipped him hard against the wall, which knocked him out, to say the least.

In the ensuing silence one of the little snow tornadoes flew into the little house and in a kind of combination twinkling smashing crinklng, Lily Bodkin grew back to her proper size, shattering the little house to splinters as she shot up out of it.

She just ran out of there and straight home, where she shook her brother out of deep sleep and into a tearful reunion while the walls of House Bodkin shouted in their joy.

Stanley Squantro, meanwhile, found an old antique metal birdcage in a room of Londgren House, and scoooping up the crumpled footlong Laufey, put him in the cage and locked it’s litle door.  He tore down one of the curtains and covered the birdcage, then headed home with it.

Know that Laufey Londgren works, among other crafts, in the art of forced forgetting and the tinkering of memory.  It is a skill that has helped him live as incredibly long as he has.

Stanley entered the Squantro House to great inquisition from Ma and Dad.  The Siblings were still at school.

-So what happened? What’d ya find out?

-Are you all right, Sweetpea?  You look a little dazed!

-Whatcha got there?

-Stanley, your fingers!

Stanley’s fingers were frostbitten, and there was a bird in the birdcage, but Stan found he could not explain either circumstance, as he didn’t even know he had forgotten, and soon did not even care. Even for Ma and Dad, any excitement about or in regards to…what was it we were talking about?  In regards to something?  Oh well… (this memory spell had no effect whatever, however, on Ma Squantro’s treatment of Stanley’s frostbitten fingers).

Shortly thereafter, Dad Squantro felt a mysterious urge to free the mysterious bird in the mysterious birdcage that had appeared so mysteriously in his kitchen, and as his innate love of solving a mystery was so mysteriously nullified, he followed that urge, letting the bird fly out and out and away.

So Stan’s fingers would be prone to quick frostbite the rest of his days, and Laufey Londgren got away, and everybody involved forgot about the whole thing, and Lily Bodkin was rescued and reunited with her long anguished family, thanks to the boy who could talk to walls, and the walls that talked to him.

Thank You

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