The Ballad of Mr. Carrot Man

mrcarrotman

I was just an innocent carrot walking down the street. My day was about to get crazy, but at that moment I was just a happy little vegetable enjoying an afternoon stroll while sipping on a nice, hot pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. I was so happy that I wanted to whistle, but I’m horrible at whistling. Instead, I decided to sing a song that I’d begun writing earlier in the day.

Not so far away…there is a magic land of carrots…”

Then I stopped singing because I was struggling to come up with a good rhyme for ‘carrots.’ You’d think one would come easily to me since I am a carrot, but I guess I just wasn’t in the songwriting zone at that particular moment.

I silently walked on and was keeping my eyes out for trouble. I’m just a tiny carrot living in a city full of humans and other creatures, so I try to be extra-careful.

It’s a dangerous city and there are street gangs on nearly every corner. However, I got very lucky when I moved here because the local gang on my block is called The Bloody Vegetarians. They look up to me like I’m sort of a god, which I really enjoy. After all, not every walking and talking carrot is worshiped that way. It made me feel very special.

I made my way to the end of the street and saw three members of The Bloody Vegetarians standing on the corner. Horatio, their leader, waved to me. I silently wondered how he got to be the leader of his gang. Was he the bloodiest of them or did he cause the most bloodshed in others? Either way, it was probably best that I didn’t know.

“Yo, Mr. Carrot Man! How’s it hanging, boss?”

“Top of the morning to you, Horatio. How is all in our fair city today?” I asked.

“Dude, it’s not good for you. Someone is looking for you. Someone very scary.”

“Where is he? Or is it a she?”

Einstein, another of The Bloody Vegetarians, chimed in. “It’s a man. Well, it’s a male. A male bunny. He looks crazy, Mr. Carrot Man!”

I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. “Do you know where he went?”

Horatio scratched his long and scruffy beard like he was in much deeper thought than my question required. “I don’t know, man, but I bet he’s not so far away.”

“Not so far away?” I asked. “I was just writing a song with those lyrics in it. Hey, by any chance, can you think of good rhyme for ‘carrots?'”

Vito, the usually silent member of the gang, yelled out, “‘Merits’, man! ‘Carrots’ and ‘merits’, you see?”

“Merits?” I asked.

“Yeah, man,” Vito proudly said. “It’s the plural of merit. It means good qualities.”

I nodded and gave it some thought. Merits. Yes, I liked it! Now that I had this great new word to use, I wanted to immediately get back to work on my song. However, fate had other things in store for me. Fate and one rapidly approaching, very ugly animal.

There he was – the most demented looking bunny I’d ever seen. All three of the Bloody Vegetarians screamed and ran away, leaving me alone with this horrible monster. He was looking at me like he wanted to eat me for dinner.

bunny2

I ran away as fast as I could, but the bunny was much faster than I was. He got ahead of me and quickly stopped and blocked my path. He turned and we stared at each other. I suddenly realized that I had seen him once before.

He was the same demented bunny who had killed my cousin Fred earlier in the year. But he hadn’t just killed Fred. He’d also done unspeakable things to Fred’s corpse.

carrotsauce

The freaky bunny charged towards me. I didn’t want to end up like Fred, so I decided to fight. I quickly removed the lid from my still very hot pumpkin latte drink and I hurled the cup at the bunny’s face.  The still-steaming liquid splattered all over his head, from his ridiculous looking ears, down to his obnoxiously long whiskers.

He screamed in agony for several seconds and then he started to calm down. The bunny bent over and licked some of the drink that had landed on his little paws. He looked back up at me.

“This is absolutely delicious,” he said. “Is this a pumpkin spice latte?”

“Yes. From the Starbucks on 8th Street.”

“This is the tastiest thing I’ve every had in my life. Even tastier than your cousin Fred,” the bunny said. “I must go to Starbucks immediately and get one of these.”

I was going to say something to him about Fred, but I decided to let it go. I’d never even liked Fred very much. “You’d better hurry. The store is going to close soon.”

The freaky bunny nodded at me and then he ran off. I sat there for several minutes and thought how lucky I was to still be alive.

I got up and started walking again. My new gratitude for life caused energy to flow through me and I was overcome with joy. It made me want to sing. And this time I got even further with my song.

Not so far away…there is a magic land of carrots. Don’t judge us by our orange skin…but judge us by our merits!”

I was thrilled with my new lyrics and I finished writing the song later that day. I’ve  even recently began work on another new song, this one all about pumpkin spice lattes.

But that is a song for another day…

*******************************

The above story was inspired by a writing challenge that I’m participating in. The name of the challenge is the #WingWritingChallenge and it was created by writer J.C. Wing.

The prompt for this particular challenge was the words “far away.”

I had a lot of fun writing this one. I hope you had fun reading it. Have a great day!

P.S. – Go get a pumpkin latte. They’re delicious.

 

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The Woman with the Balloons

BalloonsWhy was she holding the balloons? That was the first thing I thought of when I saw her moving toward me in the alley beside my house. Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t wonder about other things, such as why she seemed to be growling as she walked. That should have scared me. That should have made me run. But no, I kept staring at those balloons.

I tried to get a good look at the woman, but it was nearly impossible. Everything she wore was black, including the hood that obscured most of her face. The only things that weren’t black were the balloons. They were bright and were getting brighter and brighter as she moved closer to me.

She began to walk faster and her growls grew louder. I took a step back and tripped, falling to the ground. I tried to get back up but the woman was now there. Hovering mere inches over me.

I looked up to where her face should have been, but there was no face. What was there instead was a bizarre mix of both shadows and fog. The shadows were moving as if they were doing some sort of exotic dance and the small patches of fog mirrored the shadows’ movements.

The growling I’d heard earlier was now much louder than before. I looked again at the woman and suddenly realized that the sounds were not coming from her. They were coming from the balloons she was still holding in her right hand.

I started to rise, but the woman raised her left hand, pointing it at my chest. I suddenly felt like a bomb had gone off within my body. My life had ended in an instant. I knew it. But how could that be? If it was all over, how was I even having those thoughts?

My body was then beneath me, lying motionless on the ground. Whatever I had now become was now drifting upward, but not under my own control. The face of shadows and fog looked at me, then turned to look at the balloons.

The next thing I knew I was inside of one of the balloons. I tried to say something, but it only came out as a growl. Nearly identical growls answered me from all of the other balloons.

Even though we couldn’t speak in human voices, I was able to understand them and they were able to understand me.

“What is going on? What’s happened to me?” I asked.

“It was your time to die. The woman with the balloons is the Soul Drifter. She collects our souls and places them in these balloons.”

“And then what happens?”

“She will figure out where we go next. Then she releases our balloons. Some of us will float away to heaven. Others’ balloons will pop and those of us in those balloons will plummet down to hell. And then there are others who will be delivered back to live again.”

“What about me? Where am I going?”

But before the other souls could answer me, the woman with the balloons turned to look at me again. This time, the shadows and the fog in her face were completely still. I felt myself drift out of the balloon and instantly turn into mist. Joining the shadows and fog, I danced with them in the way I’d seen them dance before.

Then it all came back to me. I’d been here. Many times. This was my true home.

While most souls are destined for heaven, hell, or reincarnation, there are some of us who continuously travel from place to place and from body to body. It is our destiny to join together with others like us. We individual drifters become the one Soul Drifter, using our shared experiences to help other souls find their way.

While I loved my human life, being back here, this is what makes me feel complete. This is my destiny. I am the woman with the balloons. I am the Soul Drifter.

Comic God and the Big Trip

windowI was sitting at my kitchen table reading a very in depth newspaper article about how bunny fighting was becoming popular in my area. I didn’t know much about bunny fighting and I was enjoying learning about it. My initial fear was that it was similar to dog fighting, so I was very relieved to read that the bunnies never actually fight to the death. In fact, many of their fights are resolved with them harmlessly arm wrestling each other.

I was halfway through the article when a comic drawing appeared in between paragraphs. It was of an old man with a long white beard.

My wife Devon was nearby and said something to me, but I was distracted by the drawing. Not from what it looked like, but from what it said to me.

“Hi there, Bobby. You don’t really feel like reading this, do you?” The old man asked.

I stared at him for a moment and didn’t reply. I was going to tell my wife about what had just happened but the little cartoon man whispered to me, “Shhh, Bobby. Don’t tell her what’s going on. Just keep this between us for right now.”

I wanted to speak, but I knew Devon would hear me and I didn’t want her to think I was nuts. The little man looked up at me and smiled.

“You can answer me. You’re in a special place now. She won’t hear you and she won’t see what’s going on between us.”

I looked over at Devon again. Part of me wanted to crumple up my newspaper and throw it away, but a much larger part of me wanted to talk with whoever the man was. After all, it’s not every day that little drawings in newspapers talk with you, right?

“Hello,” I said. “How is this happening?”

He winked at me. “Well, it’s kind of a secret. Do you promise not to tell anyone?”

Who was I going to tell? “Sure, I promise.”

“I’m God,” he said before taking a little bow. It was a very impressive bow.

For some reason, I had no problem believing what he’d just said. “Nice to meet you, God. I’m Robert Harrison.”

“Ah, but your closest friends call you Bobby,” God said. “I want to be your friend.” He extended his handhand1 a little bit and then it rose up above the newspaper and got larger and larger. In just a couple of seconds, it was the size of a normal hand, though it still looked like a drawing. I reached towards it and we shook hands. For a drawing of a hand, it felt remarkably like a regular hand. It also felt a bit like it was covered in peanut butter. I looked down and saw that I was right. It actually was covered in peanut butter.

“Very nice to meet you, God.” I said. Looking back on this now, I’m surprised I wasn’t more freaked out at the time. What can I say? There was something very comforting about the drawing of God and the sound of his voice. I was even comforted by the peanut butter on his hand.

I went to pull my hand away from our shake, but God tightened his grip on my hand. “Hey, don’t let go yet. Want to come somewhere with me?”

“Am I dead? Are you taking me to heaven?” I asked.

“Oh no, Bobby. You’re definitely not going to heaven,” God said.

Now I was freaked out. “What do you mean I’m not going to heaven? I’m going to Hell? No way. I’m a good person.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. I just meant that you’re not going to heaven right now. We’re going somewhere else.” He pointed to the window behind me. “Look out there.”

I turned and looked and saw that it was now dark outside, which made no sense at all since it was just a little after noon. I turned back and looked across the room at Devon. Behind her, I had a fantastic view of our living room window which showed me that it was bright and sunny outside. I looked back again out the kitchen window and saw the same darkness I had seen the first time I looked.

“Don’t worry about it being dark out there,” God said. “Tell me what else you see.”

“I see that there’s already a full moon, but that doesn’t make any sense. We’re not supposed to get a full moon tonight.”

“Really, Bobby? Come on. Just that one thing doesn’t make sense? None of this makes much sense, does it?” God asked.

“Well, true.”

“What else do you see?”

I looked out and saw something else I hadn’t seen before. “Well, there’s a big tree right there that wasn’t there before. No offense, God, but will that be gone when we’re done with whatever it is we’re doing? I don’t necessarily want a tree there.”

“You don’t like trees?” God asked. “They’re one of my best creations.” I started to reply but God cut me off. “Don’t worry. It will be gone. Tell me what else you see.”

cat3I looked at the tree and saw a cat on one of the branches. It was gray and had a purple collar with a bell on it. It looked over at me and winked.

“That’s Kitty Baby,” God said. “Pretty, isn’t she?”

I nodded. “She’s beautiful.”

“Yes, she is. Not only that, but she’s our trip to the moon!” He gripped my hand tighter and then we were suddenly very, very, very tiny and sitting on the cat’s back. God was holding onto her collar like it was reigns on a horse.

“Giddy up, Kitty Baby!” He yelled.

Kitty Baby nodded her head several times. It shook her whole body so hard that I nearly fell off of her. “Giddying up now, God,” she said in a voice that was disturbingly sexy. “Would you like a cocktail or peanuts for the trip?”

“None for me, thanks,” God said.

“Robert? Anything for you?” Kitty Baby asked.

“No, thank you, but you can call me Bobby,” I said. Why not? If I was going to sit next to God on this cat’s back as she took us to the moon, I may as well consider her enough of a friend to let her call me by my nickname, right?

She nodded and took a few quick steps and then jumped off of the branch onto a higher branch. We repeated the process over and over again until we got to the very top of the tree, which is when two very large wings suddenly appeared out of the sides of Kitty Baby’s body. She flapped them quickly and then we were soaring through the air.

We rose higher and higher and I looked over at God. He had a large pair of headphones on his head. I could faintly hear music coming out from them. God had his eyes closed and was bobbing his head up and down to the music. I tapped him on the shoulder. He looked over at me and lifted one of the speakers from his ear.

“What are you listening to?” I asked.

“Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon.’ It seemed appropriate,” God said. Then he put the speaker bacThumbs-up-from-Godk on his ear and resumed listening to the song. He smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up. I wanted to look cool, so I gave God a thumbs up in return.

We flew for just a few more minutes and then we were right above the moon. God was still jamming to Sinatra and didn’t seem to notice. I reached to tap him on the shoulder again but Kitty Baby turned her head and said, “Best to not interrupt him. He hates when anything comes between him and Frank.”

“Okay, thanks.” I wasn’t sure what else to say, so I just said, “Happy landing, Kitty Baby.”

She winked at me and smiled. All of sudden, both of her wings disappeared.

“Uh oh!” She exclaimed as we started to quickly plummet towards the moon.

“Don’t worry,” God chimed in. “I’ve got this.” I looked over at him and saw that he was now wearing what looked to be a huge backpack with a string hanging from its side. He pulled the string and the pack opened. A large polka-dotted parachute came out of the pack and extended the way that polka-dotted parachutes are supposed to extend. We then safely drifted down to the moon’s surface.

We landed and Kitty Baby said, “Thank you for flying with Kitty Baby Airlines. Please tell your friends about us.” God and I jumped off of her and she ran away.

“Where is she going?” I asked. “Will she come back?”

God nodded. “Don’t worry. We’ll see her again in a few minutes. Hey, do you want to see my God Cave?”

“Your God Cave?” I asked.

“Yes. You know how Batman has The Bat Cave, right? Well, I got the idea long before he did.”

God then led us into a large gathering of dozens of very huge boulders. They all looked the same except for one very large purple one. God picked it up and set it aside. I looked down into a large hole where the rock had been and saw steps leading deep down into the God Cave.

“What’s down there?” I asked.

“The answer that you’ve been seeking,” God said. “Follow me down.”

So I followed him down the very long flight of steps, all the while wondering what he meant about an answer I’d been seeking. What was he talking about?

We got to the bottom of the stairs and we were in a very large room that was full of nothing. Well, almost nothing. Kitty Baby was sitting on the floor and was leaning over some sort of square piece of paper in front of her. She was wearing granny-style glasses and was holding a small plastic bottle that had ink running out of it

It all baffled me. “I don’t understand, God. There’s nothing here. Where’s the answer you said I’ve been looking for?”

“Oh, you already have it,” God said. “You’ve had it all along.”

I nodded. “Oh, I see. I just need to look deep, deep into myself and I’ll know what to do, right?”

God laughed at me. “Where did you pick that up from? Some TV show? That’s so new-agey. No, you don’t need to look deeply into yourself. The answer you seek is right there.” He pointed at my belly and poked it with his finger. “Don’t make things harder than they need to be, Bobby. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct. Believe.”

I looked down at where God had touched my belly and saw that he had gotten peanut butter on my shirt. I had never expected God to be so sloppy. “I’m not sure I believe any of this,” I said. “Honestly, sir, I’m not even sure I believe in you.”

“That’s okay if you don’t believe in me. You know what you need to believe in?”

I was pretty sure I knew this one. “Myself?” I asked.

“Bingo,” Kitty Baby yelled out. I looked over at her and she was holding the square piece of paper high above her head.

Suddenly, there was a blast of heavy wind and the next thing I knew, I was blown off the floor and was quickly flying backwards up the flight of stairs. “Remember, you already know what you want!” God and Kitty Baby said in unison.

All of a sudden I was back at my kitchen table and my wife was across from me standing next to our refrigerator. “Bobby, are you listening to me at all? You’re making this a lot harder than it needs to be.”

manlookingoutwindow“Huh? Yes, of course I’m listening to you.” I said. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, but I was hoping I could fake it.

“So, please make up your mind. What do you want for lunch? Vegetable soup again or something else?”

We’d been on a health-kick lately, so I was going to say the soup, but then I glanced out the window and saw a very familiar looking cat.

“Sweetheart, I’m going to pass on the soup,” I said. “I think I’ll have a peanut butter sandwich instead. I’ve kind of been wanting one for a while now.”

“No problem,” she said. “Anything else?”

I thought of something else I’d been craving. “Yes,” I said. “For dessert, could I please have a moon pie?”

My Most Favorite Thing

The day started like most days. We woke in our bed and she made a joke about how crazy I drove her with my snoring during the night. It was probably the five-thousandth time she made the joke, and I sincerely laughed for probably the five-thousandth time.

She smiled at me and then we leaned in close to each other and kissed. We pecked each other on the lips. Then quickly did it again. The next kiss came and it lasted much longer than the other ones did. We kept kissing and I did what I always do when we kiss…

I got lost.

bedLost in her and lost in us. Lost in the very real dream that is my life.

As we continued to kiss, it dawned on me that if someone were to ask me what my most favorite thing in the world is, I would say, without a doubt, that it was kissing my wife. It fills my heart each and every time.

We eventually made it out of bed and went about the rest of the morning. In the middle of the afternoon, we decided to lie back down in bed and listen to some music.

Before the first song had even finished, we were kissing again. It was even more incredible than it had been in the morning. It wasn’t long before we both got undressed.

This led to…well, exactly where you think it led to. I’m not going to say much more about it here. I love my wife entirely too much to share the details of those intimate moments with anyone other than her.

I’ll just say that it was absolutely amazing. It always is with us.

When we finished, I wondered if I’d been wrong earlier about kissing being my most favorite thing in the world. Maybe, what I’d just done with my wife, was my absolute most favorite.

Then again, why can’t it be a tie between the two things? hands

We drifted off to sleep. When we awoke a few hours later, I wrapped my arms around her and held her as tightly as I could. No words were spoken by either of us. None needed to be. Holding her like that was exactly what each of us wanted. Needed.

There’s nothing like holding her. I could never have enough time doing it. There’s never a point when I want to let go.

I wondered if this was actually it. Was holding her truly my most favorite thing in the world? It certainly felt like it, but so did the other two things.

I decided it was a three-way tie.

We laid there for a little while longer. She touched my cheek and looked into my eyes. “I love you more than anything,” she said.

Okay, so I guess that’s it. It’s a four-way tie for my most favorite thing in the world.

A Tower of Me

The park bench has mud all around it. I’m sure that there are other benches I could choose to sit on, but this one calls out to me. If my shoes get a little muddy, then so what?

Everything else about the bench is perfect. It’s away from the regular path that most people walk in the park. There are wonderful views in every direction I could look. Also, most importantly to me, there is quiet.

I sit and look at a large tree directly in front of me. I don’t know the names of the different types of trees. Is this one oak? A redwood? A fleetwood? Probably none of those, but I am sure it is wood.

I am also sure that it is beautiful.

Career-LadderI try to figure out how tall it is. My height is just under six feet, so I imagine myself standing in front of the tree. A small army of clones of me stand nearby. There is a ladder near us that is a little taller than the tree.

One of my clones climbs onto the ladder and steps off of it to stand on my shoulders. Another clone gets on the ladder and then gets on the first clone’s shoulders.

Each of the clones does the same thing and shortly there is a little Tower of Me. There are 13 of us and our tower is exactly as tall as the tree. I use the calculator on my phone and see that the Tower of Me is just under 78 feet tall.

My clones carefully climb off of each other and make their way down the ladder. We take down the ladder and I look at the side of it and see there is writing on it that says the ladder is 77.5 feet tall.

I very briefly get upset that I had not seen that earlier and saved us the trouble of making the Tower of Me, but I push away the frustration and let myself appreciate the time I had just spent with my clones.

It is so rare that all of us are able to get together at the same time.

One of my clones suggests that we all go out together for breakfast. Another suggests that we can split the check. I agree to it, even though I know I am the only one of us who has any money and I’ll end up getting stuck with the whole bill. Since they are identical to me, I know what they will all crave for breakfast.

I just hope we can find a place that has enough bacon and coffee to make us all happy.