Bartholomew’s Adventure

‘Bartholomew? Is that you?’

pant pant

‘Bartholomew, it’s hard enough to get six babies to have a nap after Sunday School without you coming home late. This floor shook all the way through the singing. The entire ruckus has given me a headache.’

pant pant ‘When I catch my breath…pant…I’ll explain.’

‘Were you chased by the janitor?’

‘Mildred, he’s on to us again.’

‘Well it’s no wonder. Your snooping around those Sunday School classes is going to get us into trouble one of these days.’

He ignored his wife and continued. ‘I got right up close to the piano. It was awesome. They were singing Jesus loves me; my favourite. I managed to sneak in behind the young ones going into class. Mildred, their new Sunday School teacher, Miss Cooper, is delightful.’

‘I thought you were going to find us some Sunday lunch, not check out the girls.’

‘I did. Anyway, I was captivated by the way she presented the Noah’s Ark story—pictures of the ark, birds, animals, even Noah. Young Tommy asked if there were any rats on board and everyone laughed. Miss Cooper assured Tommy that if there are rats around now; they would’ve been on the ark. She spoke with enthusiasm about our Maker and His promises. Oh Mildred, you’d have loved it. It was a perfect morning.’

‘So why were you panting?’

‘I was coming to that. You see, Billy was about to leave the room with his Bible still on his chair.’

‘Again? His parents must have replaced his Bible a dozen times.’

‘I know, and I thought if I could get someone’s attention before they left, they’d see it and return it to him.’

‘So, what did you do, scare poor Miss Cooper half to death on her first morning?’

‘No, I simply marched over to the Bible and stood on it… only I didn’t see the janitor passing the door with his broom. He saw me about the same time as Billy did. Billy stood between the janitor and me so I could get away.’ He chuckled. ‘You should’ve seen me run. I slipped out the door as quick as a flash with that broom coming mighty close.’

‘OK, so where’s lunch? Maybe we can enjoy some of His gifts before the babies wake up.’

Bartholomew removed the pack from his shoulder and began to unload his findings. ‘I found a couple of potato crisps in the foyer. A gummy bear with his head removed in the cry room and a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the Sunday School Hall. All while they were busy singing themselves silly.’ He chuckled again.

‘Oh, this is great, Bartholomew. We won’t go to bed hungry tonight.’

‘I’LL FIND YOU, RAT!’ A voice bellowed through the walls.

Mildred began to shiver. ‘Bartholomew…’

‘Mildred, take the babies through the side door to the end of the stage. Take the underground route to Uncle Moses… and don’t stop until you get there.’

‘Bartholomew, don’t leave us. Where are you going?’

‘It’s all right. I’ll distract him and meet you at Uncle Moses’s later. I’ll be fine. GO!’

‘WHERE ARE YOU, RAT?’

Bartholomew scurried back through the hole and across the stage. His feet skidded beneath him on the varnished boards, causing him to slide sideways and crashing into a pile of electrical cables. He scanned the stage and the hall just as one of the cables hit the floor below.

‘I HAVE YOU NOW.’

As fast as his little legs could carry him, Bartholomew scampered into Miss Cooper’s classroom, raced past Noah and the ark and up the drapes on the other side of the room.

There he waited.

It was dark when Bartholomew reached Uncle Moses’ place, tired and hungry. He listened, but there was no sound. He tapped lightly before entering.

‘Bartholomew, where have you been? I’ve been worried sick. The babies wore out poor Uncle Moses. They’re all curled up with him on his bed.’

‘I’m fine. I told you I’d be fine. I know that place blindfolded. We can return in a few weeks once the exterminators have gone and the air is clear again.’

‘In the meantime, Bartholomew, you can help me with the babies. When we return home, I want you to take them to Sunday School, but no more adventures.’

‘All right, Mildred, no more adventures for me.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in: Children’s Corner

Losing Daddy’s Gift

Another short story I wrote back in 2008 to 2010 for The Cypress Times in Texas. I haven’t edited any of them but I thought I might share some of my old writing.

Losing Daddy’s Gift

Tina opened the velvet box and stared at the sparkly face and shiny band.  “Oh, Daddy, my first real watch. Thank you.”  She jumped up and hugged his neck. “Help me put it on. Please Daddy.”

“I’m glad you liked it, and I’m sorry I’ve been called away on your tenth birthday.”

“It’s okay, Daddy, I understand.”

“Why don’t you go play with Cindy before she scratches a hole in the back door? I’ll say goodbye to Nanny and you can distract Cindy while I sneak out the front door.”

“Alright, be safe, Daddy.”

The birthday girl shot out the back door to find her best play mate. “Cindy, she shouted. Oh, there you are. Do you wanna play hide and seek?”

Cindy barked and began chasing her tail.

“Go stand around the corner. Go on.  I’ll count to twenty while I hide. You know the rules.”

Cindy barked twice and headed for the corner of the house.

“One, two, three, four… No peeking, Cindy. Five, six… ”

Tina peeked out from her hiding place among the sunflowers and watched Cindy sniff around the garden before racing towards Tina.

“Oh, Cindy, you are clever. Okay, back you go and I’ll count again.”

Cindy ran back in the direction of the house and around the corner.

“One, two, three…”

Tina crept toward the garden shed, counting as she went. She waited quietly behind the opened door and watched Cindy race toward the last hiding place. Tina giggled at Cindy’s usual antics. After more sniffing, Cindy found her and began licking her face.  Tina congratulated her again before starting the routine over.

It had been an hour of fun and a lot of laughing by the time Cindy found Tina laying flat on the grass behind a low shrub.

“I give up too, Cindy. Let’s go get some water.”

Tina scrambled to her feet and brushed off her clothes. She glanced at her wrist. “Oh no! My watch.”

Tina looked around frantically, searching the ground around the shrub.

Tina began to cry. “Cindy, you have to help me find my watch.”

Cindy stood with her head tilted to one side.

“Do you understand, Cindy?”  Tina pointed to her wrist before realizing Cindy probably hadn’t even noticed the new addition.

Wiping her face with the back of her hand, Tina looked around the yard. “I have an idea, girl. It’s your turn to hide. Go on. Go and hide. I’ll come looking for you.”

Cindy trotted off to a previous hiding place where Tina had been. Tina waited, then followed her searching the ground as she went. “Again, Cindy, go hide.”

A short time later, Tina sat on the ground and hugged her knees. Big tears rolled down her red puffy cheeks. Cindy began to whimper and licked Tina’s salty face.

“What am I going to do, Cindy? I need to find my watch.”

Cindy barked and raced toward the corner of the house. “I didn’t go there, Cindy. That’s where you were.” But Tina followed her golden retriever around the corner of the house anyway.

“What have you got there, Cindy?”

Tina knelt beside Cindy and looked down. There, behind a flower pot, was her watch. “Cindy, how did this get here?”

A wet nose nudged Tina toward the garden shed where she was found earlier.

“You mean, you found it when you were looking for me here, before my next hiding place? Oh, Cindy. You’re so clever.”

Tina hugged Cindy and tickled her belly just as Nanny called her to lunch.

“Come on, Cindy. You deserve a special treat” and together they raced through the garden and up the back steps.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in: Children’s Corner

The Moon and His Friends

Jenny sat on her window seat staring into the night sky. Stuffed animals snuggled in round her patiently waiting for a bed time hug. The night light by the bed gave the room a soft glow and the moon lit up the window.

‘I wonder if there is someone on the moon’, Jenny whispered into the ear of Jerry the monkey that had curled his long arms around her neck.

There was no answer of course but Jenny continued to speak softly. ‘One day I want to fly in a rocket ship and visit the moon. He looks so lonely way up there.’ Her voice faded and her eyelids drooped.

‘Will you take me with you?’

‘Who said that?’

‘Me!’

Jenny turned to see all the animals smiling at her.

‘Which one of you can talk?’

‘All of us’, they said in unison.

‘But you’re not real!’

‘Yes, we are.’ Jerry loosened his hold and slid to her lap. ‘Why do you think the moon is lonely?’

Jenny blinked rapidly before answering. ‘Well, look at him. He just hangs there all night every night. I never see anyone out there with him.’

‘Just like us.’ He nodded to his friends who quickly nodded back.

Betsy the cow mooed loudly. ‘We sit and watch the moon all night every night.’

‘Why?’, Jenny wanted to know.

Jerry answered. ‘Because you only take one of us to bed.’

‘But there’s no room for all of you. I don’t want anyone to fall out while I’m sleeping.’

‘Oh, it’s OK really’, Marty the rhino replied. ‘We like watching the moon too. We’re his friends.’

They were all watching the moon when Jenny heard another voice.

‘It’s time you were in bed.’

‘Can I take my toys?’

Mum kissed Jenny’s forehead. ‘Not all of them. The moon needs his friends.’

Jenny smiled but didn’t open her eyes as her mum place her in her bed and left the room.

‘Good night Mum. Good night moon.’

And the animals on the window seat just watched the moon.

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Roof Top Dancing

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

There is someone on my roof…
It sounds like they are dancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

I wonder if this roof is dance-proof…
It wouldn’t be for elephants prancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

Who is dancing on my roof?
Toward the eaves they’re now advancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

I sneaked a peek to find the proof…
To do this, it took some chancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

There is someone dancing on my roof!
— It’s three galahs belly-dancing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in
Poetry Mix and Children’s Corner

Tommy’s Lesson

Tommy entered the kitchen; his head bent forward to watch his feet as he walked. His hair skimmed the underside of the kitchen counter as he cut the corner.

‘Grandpa, can you help me tie my shoelaces please?’

‘Sure. Up we go.’ He lifted his grandson onto a high kitchen chair.

‘Grandpa, why is it so hard to learn how to tie shoelaces?’

‘That’s a good question. Everything we learn in life can be hard.’

‘Why?’

‘Because it’s part of learning.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, if everything was easy to learn in life there wouldn’t be any strength to our character.’

‘Huh!’

Grandpa slowly looped a shoelace as Tommy watched. ‘Let me put it this way,’ Grandpa continued as he twisted one end of the lace around the loop. ‘Do you remember when your daddy and I took you fishing last summer?’

‘Yes.’ Tommy’s face screwed up. ‘It was so hard to get the worms to stay on the hook and get the fish to bite them.’

‘That’s right. Do you remember how many times you had to practise to get it right?’

‘Lots.’ The little boy nodded once and continued to study his grandfather’s hands.

‘By the end of the weekend you had it just right and you caught the biggest fish for supper.’

Tommy’s face beamed and revealed a toothy grin. He let his foot drop and held up the other one.

‘Your turn,’ Grandpa encouraged.

Tommy wriggled his foot onto his other leg and concentrated on the shoelace. It took a few minutes but eventually he made the final turn and pulled the loop through.

‘There will be other things in life you will need to learn and they won’t be easy either.’

Tommy sat looking at his shoes while he listened. ‘Like what?’

‘Oh, all sorts of things, like how to know the difference between right and wrong, when to make an important decision and how to choose which decision to make.’

‘Why?’

‘Because that’s life and we need to learn lots of things like tying shoelaces and how to fish. Making a decision when choosing what kind of friends we should have can be a tough one.’

‘That sounds really hard. Will I have to learn how to talk to grandsons too?’

The old man laughed. ‘Yes, but not for a while yet; that’s a grown-up’s lesson. You can wait for that.’

‘Look, Grandpa. We tie shoelaces the same. Maybe you practised lots too.’

‘Yep, I practised lots too but some life lessons took longer to learn than others.’

‘Grandpa, can you teach me how to learn other life lessons?’

‘I certainly can but right now… why don’t we have some ice-cream?’

Tommy giggled and his eyes brightened. ‘I guess we don’t have to learn how to eat ice-cream.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Detective Crystal’s Investigation

Clutching the wooden spoon tightly and shaking it at my younger sister, I began my investigation. ‘OK, who did it? Who licked the mixing spoon?’

‘Not me.’ Madison answered, not looking up from the table.

‘Did too. Who else would have done it?’

‘Did not.’

‘Did too.’

The back door closed with a thump. Mum came in with her arms loaded with towels.

‘All right you two, break it up.’

‘But Mum…’

Madison crossed her arms tightly. ‘I… did… not… lick… Crystal’s… spoon.’

‘Did too.’

‘Girls, that’s enough!’

I tossed the spoon into the sink. ‘Mum, you promised that if I peeled the potatoes last night, I could lick the spoon when we baked the cookies this morning. It was my turn.’ I glared at my seven-year-old sister.

She poked her tongue out and I stomped out of the kitchen.

When I returned a few minutes later, notebook and pencil in hand, Mum and Madison were busy removing cookies from a baking tray.

‘OK… Mum, what happened when I left the kitchen to use the bathroom?’

With an audible sigh, Mum opened the oven door and placed another tray onto the top shelf. ‘Well, after we finished mixing the cookie dough, I went outside to bring the towels in from the clothesline. If Madison licked the spoon, I didn’t see her.’

Madison added a fairy-shaped cookie to a large plate and then turned toward me. ‘I… did… not… lick… your… spoon.’

I noted her statement. ‘Madison, what were you doing while Mum was outside?’

‘Colouring in my book.’

‘Before that, stupid.’

‘Please Crystal.’ Mum intervened. ‘You can play your detective games but please don’t be rude to your sister.’

Madison pushed a tiny candy bow into the icing on the top of a pink fairy before she continued with her defence.

‘I didn’t touch the spoon. Mum said it was your turn to lick it so I went and got my colouring pencils and book from my bedroom.’

Sandy, Madison’s kitty brushed against my legs. ‘Where was Sandy?’ I crouched down and checked the kitten’s paws and mouth.

‘She followed me outside,’ Mum replied, then handed Madison the container of sprinkles.

‘Well, it couldn’t be Sandy.’ Madison added not looking at anyone.

I added my notes about Sandy then poked the pencil behind my ear and placed the notebook onto the table. ‘Can I help decorate the cookies?’

‘Wash your hands and show Madison how to use the icing gun.’

Obediently but aggravated, I moved to the sink and washed my hands. I still think Madison did it. I kept my eyes on miss goody two-shoes while I turned on the tap. Little sister seems to always avoid punishment.

‘Did you come to any conclusions,’ Mum asked.

My attention remained focused on Madison. I took a small spoon from the drawer to use to fill the icing tube. ‘Well, if it wasn’t Madison or Sandy, who else could it be?’

‘It wasn’t me!’ Madison announced her innocence again. ‘You always blame me.’

Momentarily, I concentrated on filling the tube.

‘Well,’ Mum was saying. ‘If you did Madison, no one would be mad at you for it. It’s the lies that I don’t tolerate.’

Madison’s lips quivered. ‘I didn’t.’

A noise from the living room caused me to turn suddenly. ‘What’s that?’

Mum glanced up at the doorway as Dad entered.

Madison’s frown disappeared. ‘Daddy, you’re home early.’

I placed the icing gun on a clean plate. ‘How long have you been home, Dad?’

I grabbed my notepad and drew the pencil from behind my ear. I tapped my foot. ‘Well?’

‘Well…nice to see you too.’ Dad laughed.

I approached Dad and leaned forward. There on his loosened tie, was a tiny blob of chocolate. ‘Dad… you didn’t. How could you?’

‘Do what?’

Mum pointed her finger. ‘So, you’re the culprit.’

Dad bent down to kiss my forehead.

‘Da…ad, your lips are sticky.’

Dad just stood there and grinned. ‘Yeah, I came in to see my beautiful girls before I put my briefcase away. No one was here so I licked the spoon.’ He grabbed a paper serviette and wiped his mouth. ‘I guess you found me out.’

‘You licked the spoon? It was my turn!’

Mum came over and touched my shoulder. ‘I think you have an apology to make, Detective Crystal.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in:
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

The Dragon and the Princess

Everyone except Thomas Creighton-Smiths’ granddaughter, Ada, knew Rosie was more than just a pig. Ada’s ideal retirement for Rosie was to explore the ancient land of dragons by day and visit the kitchen for under-the-table dinner scraps in the evenings before dreaming by the fireplace.

At breakfast one dank April Friday, Grandma had suggested they have roast pig for Sunday lunch complete with the traditional three vegetables and brown gravy made from the juices of the roasting meat. It was while Grandma chatted on about where she would insert the large rotisserie rod that Ada ran from the kitchen with Rosie close at her heels. ‘It will help tenderise the old sow’, Grandma was saying without acknowledging she had heard the back-door slam.

Thomas put down his morning paper. ‘I just wanted to take the pig to the abattoir to recoup some of our losses. After all, this is a working farm’. He muttered as he left the house in search of Ada.

His eyes scanned the landscape for a sign of the two gallant explorers. In spite of himself, old Thomas didn’t envy the little girl. He had grown up in Beatrix Potter country and the fantasies she created. The stunning Lake District would have been more practical for Ada’s school holiday imagination. He shook his head. Maybe we should have stayed in Ambleside and taken up trout farming.

It was two days before St George’s national holiday and Thomas needed to take that fat old pig for a road trip but Grandma was fixed on having tough pork and bacon. He stood at the garden gate and looked around. Where are they? He squinted into the fog that settled over the bogs as he recalled his mother’s favourite story that dated back to the 6th century. What was it again? Oh yes. St George rescued a young maiden by slaying a terrifying fire-breathing dragon. He slipped his hands into his warm pockets and headed for the main road.

So she wouldn’t fall over, Ada held up her long flowing medieval princess costume as she marched down Old Kent Road. Rosie trudged slightly behind with cardboard toilet cylinders on her pointy ears and three black ribbons tied onto her limp tail.

They stopped near a red telephone box just beyond the intersection where the road-signs crisscrossed on a wooden post. ‘Oh Rosie, how could Grandma say such horrid things? I won’t let them eat you.’ Ada stomped her foot splashing slops of mud over both of them.

She lifted the old play dress above her waist to search the pockets of her faded jeans beneath. With a silver coin in her hand she stepped into the telephone box. Finding the correct number from the list beside the chunky black phone, Ada dialled and waited. Rosie grunted, shuffled and squeezed in until she jammed herself tight between Ada’s knees.

‘Hello!’ Ada shouted into the mouthpiece. ‘Please help me. They’re going to kill Rosie!’

 

Approaching the end of the lane where it met the road, Grandpa looked left then right. Their farm was located two miles due east of the abattoir between Dover and Holyhead. He sniffed the thick foul air. This neighbourhood is likened to the lowest-priced property on the English Monopoly board. A few moments later he decided Ada would have headed away from town so off he trudged.

Minutes later he heard an ear-piercing squeal followed by a shout from young Ada. He quickened his stride. The telephone box, a little way past the next farm on the opposite side of the road, seemed to be alive as it shook and groaned. Grandpa stopped in mid-step; his neck craned forward. There was someone, or something, in the telephone box. There were too many legs to count. He saw what looked like horns and a tail with blades. There was a lot of banging and bumping going on behind the grime and moss streaked glass.

‘Oh my, it looks like a dragon!’

Ada screamed again jolting Grandpa from his trance. Manoeuvring the door open to avoid swishing his granddaughter, he grabbed Rosie by the tail and dragged her squealing from the booth.

Later, after the local Bobbies had their explanation and had a good laugh, Grandpa and Ada sat down to rest at the nearby bus-stop.

‘Did you know Ada, only forty-five to fifty percent of animals at the abattoir can be turned into edible meat products, fifteen percent is waste, and the remaining forty to forty five percent is turned into by-products like bath soap, candles and glue?’ He paused. ‘You know, glue suits her.’

‘But Grandpa…’

‘It’s OK. I’d rather like rescuing my little princess from dragons. Come on, let’s go home and break the news to Grandma.’ He winked at his granddaughter. ‘There will be no more talk of bacon and roast pork.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.