All Stories, Short Fiction

339- Secret Rooms, Incidental Blonde Bashing and Results From the Tiny Wildcat Division at the Feline Olympics

Hugh is on a well earned holiday this week. This leaves me alone in a room, thinking of what to do for Week 339 at 3:56 A.M. on a Thursday morning.

The cursor is blinking, and my mind is its usual unsteady and fearful self. Writing is like life, I go from here to there and make it up on the spot, then return to edit the mistakes later.

Yet there are always some things I miss and never fix. For instance, the fatuous simile in the previous paragraph.


When I was a child we lived in a house that had secret rooms. Actually, the secret rooms were crawl spaces above the eaves–one at each side of the attic, accessed through pull out shelves. Only persons the size of your standard six-year-old (or so) could move around comfortably in the crawl spaces; only persons of six (or so) have enough imagination to consider the places the Christmas decorations wind up secret rooms.

The thin airs of our fantasies puff off into space the older we get. If not forced to do so by the extreme machinery of puberty, I doubt, if given a choice, that anyone would willingly depart the realm of secret rooms or the easy ability to fall asleep inside the box the new stove arrived in. How is it that a six-year-old (or so) child, easily one of the most annoying organisms on Earth, mind you, is blessed with such keen imagining powers, whilst a writer striving for a few hundred words to fill the empty space designated to wrap up week 339, struggles to do so, even though she often displays the emotional maturity of a six-year-old (or so) child?

Perhaps our imaginations are radioactive stones pressured to explode ferociously when we come of age, and begin a slow decay soon after. If so, what magical half-lives do the songs and stories and paintings and interpretive kilt dances we create carry into tomorrow?

I worry that there is no real magic in life; that we may be alone in a godless universe, one-off chemical accidents soon to return the stuff that briefly awoke in the neverending sterile sky.

Maybe magic is found in ignorance. Maybe it’s better not to know too much about things. If so, then I fear that the era of magic is behind us.

If Shakespeare had kept a diary, thus preventing the veil of mystery which surrounds him to occur, would he still be as romantic to ponder? I like to think that he did keep a journal, but Anne, after reading the “second best bed” crack in his will fed it to the fire. If he had kept a record I would not have imagined that.

Mindless fire and silverfish used to serve a purpose in the sanctity of art. Without prejudice they ashed and devoured the clutter and gave other creations room to breathe. Plus they prevented us from knowing too much about the Good Old Days. For example, political promises of the glittering future require the presence of mythic Good Old Days:

Vote for me and you can be what you never really were but now think you once were, again, tomorrow.

Nowadays, however, the mystery is gone. Every disposable item is eternal. One may produce a volume of “Dumb Blonde” jokes and be confident that it will still be encased in the amber-like fluidity of cyberspace long after the last dumb blonde drowned because she couldn’t get the pickup truck’s tailgate open as it sank into the river.

It would all be too depressing to endure if not for the fact that just about every little half truth I have stretched, connived and twisted into this post between 3:56 and 4:22 on a Thursday morning is a product of my imagination. These things are fancies and may be no more accurate than my former belief in secret rooms. I take heart in my ability to whip up a delusion/illusion because it means my mind is still hanging in there looking for magic, black or white, even though the outlook is gray.

This week, five writers cast magic spells over the LS readership. One writer appeared for the thirtieth time this year alone, whilst the other four made their site debuts. These are five impressive incantations because the spell success rate in these parts, anymore, is on par with that of a three-legged antelope’s chances to reach old age in the Serengeti. And yet each charm persists to be effective every time it is encountered.

Last week I wrote that Yashar Seyedbagheri has appeared in every one of my weekly wrap ups. So it should have surprised no one to see his latest Good Morning this Monday past. This is another byte-sized, haunting scene from an ongoing family saga in which it is still up for grabs whether the MC will recover from a devastating loss. All together these vignettes create something even greater than the sum of its words. Stay tuned, here, for there will be more to come.

Tuesday featured the site debut of Richard Yu. The Temple Dog is Dickensian, a tale of a kid being a kid, has a fine antagonist and is told with great subtlety. Richard displays a fine touch and he has already had his second upcoming story accepted.

Martie Carol Gonzales’ first LS story is a lovely and narcotic tale of a fractured mind. Cotard’s Delusion graced the site on Wednesday. The prose keeps pace with this soul afloat in a fragile netherworld created by a horrible breach in reality. Like most of the tales, I dare not say too much lest I give it away.

Two new writers concluded week 339 with what could be described as dark fables, told in utterly divergent, still highly effective styles.

Thursday saw Seven by Ellie Jordan. I loved this one due to the juxtaposition between “tell me a story” and the thing delivered.

And our fourth first time contributor closed out the fine run of magic on Friday. Dominic Walker’s Voice of Feathers is a darkness well spoken and begs for careful listening.

Well, there they are. The magic weavers of the world who ran the site this week. And I mean the world. From the Philippines to Atlanta and all points in between, our sorcerers have done fine work this week, which always leaves us wanting a bit more.

And really, a bit more is all you can really want from the future.

To close I must now post the most recent results from the ongoing Feline Olympics, specifically, the Tiny Wildcat Division. When I posted results from the Domestic Cat competition, I had made mention of the Great Cats, but overlooked the Tiny Wildcat Division. I was alerted to the oversight by a mildly threatening email sent by a beast that weighs as much as the average hand and yet is capable of removing said hand with his/her teeth. Far be it from me to further offend such individuals. I now list five competitions in the tiny wildcat division and the champions (including their home nation and breed).

Competitive Moth Eating: Sinhala, Sri Lanka. Rusty Spotted Cat. Although she weighs about a litre, “Sunny Sinny” routinely devours her body weight in moths.

Longest Sustained Hiss Yodel: Ortega, Panama. Oncilla. Hiss yodeling is new to the games. Even so, future contestants will have a hard time breaking Ortega’s record of an hour and a half, which only ended because a small lizard had made the mistake of wandering by.

Winner of Most Likely to be Confused With Mr Spock Contest: King Arbethnot, Caracal*. Represents the UK though he was obviously born in a different climate. Nobody knows how “Arby” got to the UK, but his pointy ears and comparatively non-lethal personality are rapidly propelling him to stardom. (*Caracals are technically medium sized. Arby’s lawyers got him into the Tiny division.)

Fastest to Take a Finger: Manuel, Margay, Paraguay. Manny is almost illegally cute. But don’t try to pet him.

American Chasing: Jean Luc, Iberian Lynx, France: Another lawyered-up medium, Jean Luc has an unerring eye and nose for Americans and immediately chases them back to their transports and sometimes to the airport. Like all cats, he doesn’t need a reason. (Tip, pretending to be a Canadian doesn’t work with this guy.)

Before I go I want to make a special mention about the passing of Charlie Watts. Although even a Rolling Stone is mortal, good music is eternal and fills all secret rooms. Few of the billions who have, and will, pass will be remembered as long and as well.


7 thoughts on “339- Secret Rooms, Incidental Blonde Bashing and Results From the Tiny Wildcat Division at the Feline Olympics”

  1. I don’t know how you come up with some of these witty observations. But please don’t stop. “Perhaps our imaginations are radioactive stones pressured to explode ferociously when we come of age, and begin a slow decay soon after.” Imaginative, insightful and a tad depressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear David,
      As long as there are stories to tell and Hiss Yodeling in the world there is hope. And if you ever wish you were a child again remember you can’t buy beer. Peter Pan never said anything about that.

      Thank you,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Leila,
    “Vote for me and you can be what you never really were but now think you once were, again, tomorrow.”
    The best campaign(and most true) slogan of all time.
    Fantabulous line!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Leila,
    You do the site proud!!!!
    I hate young kids. I hate their parents more but I agree, I am jealous of a young kid’s imagination, I wish I had it with an adults experience (Or cynicism) and I reckon there would be many stories to write!!
    I do like parents of teenagers though as I do feel smug when they start to moan about the freaks. That is a standard – ‘No shit Sherlock’ moment
    Diane will hate me for this but by Fuck would I hate to read Shakespeare’s diary. I couldn’t be arsed reading three folks oldie worldly pretentious English!!! (Go on Diane – Glass me with a Newcastle Brown bottle!!)
    And I am looking for a wee bit of info. Which wee fiend won the gold in the ‘Walking backwards with their head stuck in a yoghurt pot’ contest???
    Thanks for standing in!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.