CALIXIAN // Scarlet Stiletto

The bus jerks. Someone’s hand grabs the handrail right before my nose. No doubt it’s the Hand of Fizzuck Providence. It wields five huge scarlet stilettos, one of which is girdled with an ugly cruciate Swarovski that seems to be pointed at me. It’s as though I’m to blame for the cardinal sin. The sin of neglecting the nail care industry.

I quickly hide my hands under a copy of our magazine and assume a look of innocence. To be on the safe side, I silently begin to list every nail shape I can possibly think of. (Lucky for me, I had prepared an article on this very topic just last week. We’re reaching the deadline and, as always, have had major headaches with the magazine’s contents.) Square. Squoval. Almond. Coffin. Stiletto… please, let this nail pass from me.

It feels like the Hand of Fizzuck Providence is moving higher. I tightly close my eyes and try to recall every trendy shade that has been recommended for this season. Strawberry Margarita. Cajun Shrimp. Purple Palazzo Pants. Damn! What freak invents these poofy names?

Cautiously, I open one eye and peep. The Hand of Fizzuck Providence… is it hanging over me like the sword of Damocles? I think so. I imagine it piercing my top and going right through my body down to my anus. And then I’m twitching, pinned to the bus seat by a huge scarlet nail. Like a victim of the Almighty Bug Hunter. The other passengers are nodding in approval, and the most zealous of them take selfies in front of me. And now I’m squinting with a mixture of fear and disgust. Ugh! I shake my head in the desperate hope that this horrifying vision will soon vanish from my mind.

The bus jerks one more time. Then stops. Then moves again. When I finally have the guts to open my eyes, I see that the handrail is empty. What a relief! A narrow escape! I let out a sigh. I then open my diary with every intention of scheduling a manicure… Oh, no! Holy cuticles! I absolutely forgot that in about half an hour I have a meeting with a local farmer who has grown a gargantuan carrot!

I spring out of the bus at the next stop, and run the rest of my way to the office like a scalded cat. There’s only the note ‘Visit a mani…’ on my diary page, but I’m pretty sure I won’t soon forget what I meant.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

Big Fish

Once upon a time, there was a girl and a boy, and they got up to all sorts of mischief. No, they weren’t bad children. They would just get bored on a lazy Sunday afternoon, that’s all. Actually, they’d get bored any old day of the week – it really didn’t matter when. They were in constant need of stimulation to keep their creative juices flowing, much like overripe cows in want of round-the-clock milking. That’s why the boy and girl were always poking their curious, little noses into different things.

So, the girl and the boy were feeling quite nebby. They sat there, swinging restless legs over the edge of a bridge high above a river flowing with ideas. And the adults! They had such serious faces! Why were they beached there on the riverbanks below just doing nothing? Well, that wasn’t entirely true. They were writing books and editing magazines… which looked like important stuff.

The boy and the girl exchanged glances. While she had his attention, the girl gave the boy a cheeky wink. The boy gave a goofy grin in return. He was a bit shy. The girl’s heart warmed at this, but she didn’t let on. Instead, she said, ‘I bet we can make a magazine too.’ The boy piped up, ‘Can we?’ He studied her resolute face with a mixture of interest and bewilderment, and that’s when he knew she was for certain going to do something about this.

She grabbed his hand and said, ‘Let’s go!’ And so they sprang from the bridge and plummeted into the river of ideas. They didn’t even come up for air. Ideas were where they lived, so they definitely had the gills for it. Actually, that’s not entirely true. They had the gills, certainly, but they did come up eventually… and they had a big, wet magazine cover with them. It flapped and it dripped, but the girl and boy held onto it tightly, and they were proud.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017