Thursday, 20 January 2011

A Story

A little while back, I wrote a story called 'A Ladybird's Tale'.  Ended up in the Static Movement anthology 'Creepy Things'.  Well chuffed with that, I was.  The guidelines for the anthology precluded any strong violence or foul language.  As you can imagine, quite a challenge then.

Anyway, here it is.  Hope you enjoy it.

A Ladybird's Tale

When you're a Ladybird, it ain't easy, you know, to get perspective.

I mean, take yesterday. My mate, Reg, stuffed on aphids, sittin on a branch, gets whipped away by a spider. That's it. Gone. Eight weeks of a full and fruitful life wiped out in the blink of a spider's eyes. And there's Florrie, his missus, cried so much, stuck her wings together, and a bird nips down and that's the end of her. Seven little mites without a mum and dad. Wanderin about. Ain't got a clue what to do. Sad as it bloomin gets.

But you gotta get on with it, ain't you? I mean, what else can you do? So I got em all. One day, I'm a bachelor, an eligible bachelor, I'll have you know, the garden at me feet, and next I got seven little ones chasin after me. And I'm havin to spend the last couple of months I got left scratchin out a livin just so as I can feed em.

Call it serendipity, luck, call it a lack of willpower on the part of my mate Reg, bein a greedy sod and all that.  Call it whatever you want, but, you know, I reckon these things are meant to happen.

And I wouldn't swap where I am now for the world. Not for the whole garden.

I ain't sayin it's easy. Cos it ain't. Lost two of em first night. Weren't the spiders or the birds or nothing like that. Just lost em. Only little, see. Easily done. But least I got five.

Four.  Bugger.  Bloomin spiders. Come out of nowhere, they do. Poor old Ernie. He was the youngest an all. A brother to the rest, a friend to me, and nothing but a mid-afternoon snack for some great big bloomin arachnid.

'Get indoors, kids! Get ind-'

Now that is a choker. Florrie and Jimbo - both at the same time. Never saw that one comin. But I'm doin me best, see. Doin me best by my greedy fat mate, Reg and his poor Florrie. Pretty thing, she was. Spots in all the right places, if you know what I mean.

I ain't never been the maternal type, but, as it goes, I don't think I'm doin too bad a job, you know.

Right, headcount. Tony. Ellie. Good. All the aphids I could get hold of are stacked up. Tuck in kids. Loads to go round.

'What's that, Dad?'

I look round. Eyes everywhere, all comin out the same head.


But I'm an old hand at this. I got a few tricks. Open me wings, I do, get his attention, then when he thinks I'm gonna fly off, I leg it like mad. Kids don't make it. But what life could I have give em anyway?  Just this runnin about. Frightened every second. I mean, That ain't no life at all.

I'm better off on me own, I reckon, you know, sortin myself out. But for a minute, just for a little while, when all them kids was with me, when I was the only one they needed,
I felt something.

Something I won't ever get back. That's what I mean about perspective. Hard to keep hold of stuff like that, pin it down, you know, really hold onto it.
All goes by so bloomin quick . . .


  1. Well now, that's a departure from your usual style! Same subject matter, though - getting by in a scary old world. Life is short - and it all goes by so bloomin' quick ...

    Nice work!

  2. That gave me a laugh. Really like the line - spots in all the right places.

    Well done.

  3. Jools: Wrote it as a bit of a challenge, really. Had no idea it'd get in the anthology. The original version was rather more . . . er . . . graphic, and the language a little more 'expressive', but then you probably guessed that :)

    Charlie: Cheers, mate. Glad you enjoyed it. My first crack at 'insect noir'. Not sure how big the market is, but something to fall back on, you know . . .

    AJ: No problem, mate. Always a pleasure.