THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Y is for Yellow & Yogini (Yodel in Y Major)

Who cares about aging Disney princesses? Yesterday’s fans might have been ready to tear each other’s throats out for the chance of getting Ariel’s autograph, but today? Well, today they were more likely to laugh at her bloated waistline and old-fashioned seashell bikini. That’s the kind of shit that happens to nice girls who are past their prime. Sigh.

No, Ariel was never envious toward her younger sisters. She truly loved them, and wished them only the best. But… she looked at her reflection in the water and reflexively readjusted the sea flower in her hair. Frankly speaking, she was not half bad, and could still play havoc with lovelorn hearts if she wanted. Well, she wanted very much, but was rarely given the chance. And she was good, but no longer all that popular, and so the wait between casting calls had only become longer and more frequent. Otherwise, Ariel would have eagerly taught all those meridas and tianas a thing or two. (Snigger.)

This thought cheered her up a little bit. Ariel even started to hum ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)’ to herself. It was her Mother’s favourite song. She’d often drift into blissful slumber whenever her Mother crooned this song. And her Mother would endlessly make these pearly love beads. And twinkling freckles. These love beads and freckles, scattered all around the family grotto, were the fondest memories from Ariel’s childhood. And her Mother’s voice, of course. She would still hear it sometimes, even after so many years had passed. Another sigh.

Still humming her song, Ariel splashed at the water with her tail. Flounder, who was napping in the shallow end, flipped over but didn’t wake up. What a lazy ass! Truth be told, he was a very good friend, but not much of a receptionist. On the other hand, they didn’t get a lot of clients in ‘Athena’ either, so blaming Flounder for sleeping during work hours felt a little redundant.

“Namaste, Swami Yoko!”

A soft female voice distracted Ariel from her musings. She automatically pulled back her shoulders, widening her collarbones and lifting her sternum toward the sky, and lengthening her tailbone toward the rocks.

“Namaste, Mommy Dugong!” she said enthusiastically. “We have launched a brand new class: Alevins Yoga. A lot of fun and at a special price for mammals!”

Ariel gave Flounder’s ribs a furtive jab. Flounder sprang into the air with a wide eyed gasp, and plopped into the water again. He reappeared in moments with a wet leaflet, but Mommy Dugong had already moved on. It looked as though she’d been in a hurry.

Ariel waved, then went back to her hunched state and reached for a cigarette. She’d only just clicked the lighter when a ringing young voice sang right behind her back.

“Namaste, Swami Yoko!”

Ariel dropped her cigarette into the water. She pressed her hands together, hiding the lighter, and bowed with a suitably cosmic smile.

“Namaste, Maiden Stella! We invite you to Morning Mantra Meditations every Saturday at 5. Sunrise, subtle vibes and cut prices for students!”

This time Flounder was ready, and the leaflet almost dry. But Maiden Stella obviously wasn’t ready to get up at such an unearthly hour for some whimsical humming. She mumbled something polite, blurred and zipped off, hugging to herself a trunk with a ukulele.

Ariel took the cigarette from Flounder’s back. How had it gotten stuck there? “Yoga really isn’t all that popular along this stretch of coastline, Flounder. Don’t you find?” She looked rather exhausted, and her real age suddenly became quite apparent.

Flounder nodded sadly. Yes, he was truly an awful receptionist, but at least he was a faithful friend. He cared for Ariel a great deal. It’s why he’d agreed to accept the wearisome role of administrator for her yoga classes. But, really, the time had come for him to man up and act. He could see that he’d need to take the steering wheel and save this silly, semicentennial girl (and himself, of course) from their current, disastrous course. There had to be a Plan B.
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“C’mon, babe, don’t be shy! Show these green-ass pipsqueaks some real rock-n-roll!”

The ‘Yellow Submarine’ nightclub patrons were shaking, shimmering and screaming with delight, like a living entity. They cheered on a flushed, panting, but joyful Mommy Dugong who was stomping the dance floor with Little Dugong and his friends. Flounder was polishing a glass at the counter with an unabashedly happy grin.

After a little while, Maiden Stella walked onto the tiny stage. She had ensnared a huge, awkward guy who seemed to be totally embarrassed. A hush came over the crowd.

“Dear Mommy Dugong, today, in celebration of your big birthday, Kai and me want to sing this song. Hey, who’s going to San Francisco?”

The crowd shouted with delight. There was a standing ovation before the music had even begun to play! And it did. Flounder wisely turned the lights down a notch. The patrons at the ‘Yellow Submarine’ nightclub started to rock gently in time with the music, and most of them in couples.

Ariel was sitting on the porch of the nightclub, smoking. The stars in the sky were exactly like the love beads and twinkling freckles of her childhood. “Happy birthday, Mother,” she said softly, and blinked away a tiny, grateful tear.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Iambus & Idiocy (Recital in I flat minor)

The Mosquito had been writing poems for as long as it could remember. Yes, that’s right, a very long time. Literally aeons. Three whole days in fact!

Of course, the Mosquito would accept only heroic verse. To wit, iambic pentameter. Trochee? Anapaest? These were for brain dead losers. Only real men wrote in iambic. Shakespeare, for example. Pushkin too. And now the Mosquito.

He was also a Debonaire-Vervain. The Debonaire-Vervains were titans of the corporate world. Blue bloods. Old stock. The family line went back generations. Weeks and weeks at least. Investment portfolios. Start-ups. Feelers in every pie. The Mosquito had studied at the finest schools and universities. He even lived on a posh arm all his own. Nothing but prime real estate all the way!

Anyway, the following is a poem that the Mosquito wrote for his ravishing wife on the eve of their ruby wedding anniversary. It had been two long, glorious days since their meeting! Where had the time gone? Of course, he was not yet master of his craft, and his style had yet to mature. But none could deny that he was full of ardour and passion, and it showed in his words.

Buzz me not to the buzzing of buzzed minds
Admit imbuzziments. Buzzing is not abuzz.
Which alters when it buzzeration finds,
Or bends with the buzzer to rebuzz.
O no! It is an ever-fixed buzz
That looks on buzzpests and is never buzzen;
It is the star to every wand’ring buzz,
Whose worth’s unbuzzed, although his buzz be taken.
Buzz’s not Time’s fool, though buzzy lips and cheeks
Within his bending buzzle’s compass buzz;
Buzz alters not with his brief hours and buzzes,
But bears it out even to the buzz of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never buzzed, nor no mosquito ever lov’d. *

Naturally, Madam Mosquito was impressed, and instantly gave birth to another fifty bloodsuckers. Oh, these modern women! They don’t waste time, do they? Of course, they’ll say they want a man who’s arty and edgy. But what they really crave is a domesticated homebody who embodies the traditional family values.

But the Mosquito was an ambitious sort. Yes, he’d won the heart of Madame Mosquito and gained her feeler in holy matrimony, but it wasn’t enough. He also wanted everyone on earth to hear his poems. That’s why, after being informed of a top secret mission (Code Name: Star-spangled Mooning) from a fly on the wall in the Soviet Government, he put on his best suit and tie, grabbed his latest manuscript, and caught a taxi to Baikonur. He’d decided that a rocket antenna would be the best stage from which to orate his flowery writings.

Fortunately for him, he was not at all late. The Soviet vessel was still being readied for its maiden moon shot. The Mosquito landed right on the front glass, got himself cosy, then quenched his thirst with a droplet of cherry rum. After this he pulled out his manuscript, thinking for a moment about which poem he’d be proudest to grace the airwaves with first…

And now for the main event! The final countdown!

Ten… nine… five… two… one…

FIRE!

Nine kilometres per second and history was about to be ma—

Because I could not buzz for Death
It kindly buzzed for me
The vessel held but just
Ourselves —And Immortality.*

*Thanks to Shakespeare and Dickinson for the buzzspiration.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017