Several days ago I finally decided to clean out my desk. Armed with only a few garbage bags, I unearthed layer after layer of detritus from the depths of the file folders. Finding stacks of old artwork meant I had to throw away some things and (maybe) keep others. After digging, sorting, and tossing paperwork and old drawings for upwards of an hour, I came across my first grade journal.
When I was In first grade my teacher would give us handwriting practice by giving us ‘journal time’. We’d have a half hour to doodle and write in our little spiral notebooks. Most of my entries were an unreadable jumble of doodles and messy handwriting. Now, for the record, I had plenty of friends when I was in school. Which is why I was a little bit confused when I found this in my journal.
At first glance, it appears that the depressed stick person labeled ‘me’ is sitting on a set of bleachers looking forlornly around an empty playground, but according to my teacher I drew this because I was the only kid who could climb up and sit on top of the monkey bars. As for the message scrawled across the top of the page, I think that the semi-transparent figure seen hovering beneath the monkey bars was intended to be one of the ‘friends’ mentioned. Either that or the playground was haunted.
I love old books, and the best places to find them are at garage and estate sales; but just like going to an antique shop or book store you can either find all sorts of treasure – or junk. Recently I found a real gem, a copy of ‘The Every Day Cookbook’ by Miss E. Neil from 1892. It’s full of your usual cookbook recipes for various meals (including mock turtle soup) plus an old ad for Wrigley’s Soap in the cover.
In the back chapters of the book though, there are entire sections devoted to miscellaneous subjects. Such as why wearing a large bustle around an open flame is a bad idea. Others are home “remedies” for everything from heat sickness, heart attack, inflamed feet, and burns.
Then I came across this:
Was the goal to pickle them?
In case you find it hard to read, the text says:
TO RESTORE FROM STROKE OF LIGHTNING
Shower with cold water for two hours; if the patient does not show signs of life,
put salt in the water and continue to shower an hour longer.
One thought about this is that in order for it to be considered a “cure” someone would have had to use it in past. Under what circumstances would someone think that salt and a three-hour bath be beneficial to someone possible suffering from shock or unconsciousness?
The battle was won. Smoke hung in the air. Charred armor littered the stone floor. The warrior raced ahead, seeking signs of life. A muffled sob stopped him. Peering into the darkness, he saw her chained to the wall. Her mouth was bound. Tears fell from her luminous eyes. Heart pounding, he smashed down the gate. The princess looked up in shock. With a fiery breath, the warrior melted her binding chains then pulled the cloth from her mouth, freeing her voice. The pair ran into the courtyard and together they raised their wings and flew off into the night.
This was my entry for a flash fiction reading at the Library. It was inspired by tales of knights and castles. I just reversed the typical roles of the dragon and the knights for this story. The dragon became the hero and the knight was the villain.