A Summer Barbaric of Shenanigans
Filly rose early the next morning and made her way to the children’s transport. She was the first one there and in the quiet breath of air, there hung shimmering dewdrops of peace. These burst quickly, though, and splashed giggles all over her when a handful of small ones dashed around the corner to welcome her with bounding hugs. Natterings and chatterings spilled non-stop out of the energized mouths of youthfulness. It was almost too much for the four decades of Filly’s physiochemistry to bear. She grimaced compassionately and took another sip of revitalizing breakfast beverage.
The group grew in number and volume. Parents took refuge together in small clutches of coffee drinking and it wasn’t long until the other female teacher, Deidranie, called everyone to a haphazard order. The cast warmed up young voices and practiced genuine smiles to squelch the natural nervousness of public performance. Filly kept her timepiece in focus then called all to follow her lead.
They marched off to the early farmer’s market stage in one final show before moving on to the next village. Pied Piper as she was, Filly had no pipe to gain the distracted attentions. Her voice, sharp and clear, was the only note that pierced their excitement. Filly directed everyone quickly into quiet order as they waited to take the small stage and sing for the break-fasting agricultural market.
Filly noted in the pause, that a couple of parents frowned at her sharper tones. In her grumpy heart, she reacted that if someone had taught their kids to follow orders in the first place, she wouldn’t have to bark. But, then she relaxed, remembering her job was to teach with fun and joy, for everyone was on holiday, not in military school. With a further humbled sigh, Filly smiled in purposed gracefulness and added an extra cushion of gentleness to her direction.
The children wiggled in anticipation, followed direction in a beautiful mess, and sang their hearts out to the gathering crowd. Gusto lifted any nerves and joy in song overcame all shyness. The children sounded amazing and tears filled the Oracle’s heart and eyes. She was so proud of these ragamuffins.
Again, pamphlets were handed to the kids and they dashed around the immediate area, inviting as many as they could to their upcoming performance at the Blyns Crag Festival. Filly only waited long enough to receive her expected reprimand. She knew parents had to have their say and she didn’t know many of them personally. That meant their perception of her began with her barking at their kids to pay attention.
She received the concern shared with understanding; embarrassed and naturally annoyed. But she did her best to ignore natural reflexes. Filly believed herself to be the master of her own destiny and captain of her own fate *8. Therefore, she chose to humble herself and change her ways for the benefit of all involved… while at the same time, being sure to not overly punish herself with the scathing criticism. Haters will hate, no matter what you do. So, take heed of genuine adjustments and let all else fall as water off a duck’s back.
She sighed and smiled, nodded, and was grateful to part ways. There was a lot to accomplish in the day ahead and it was set to be high temperatures. Filly waved farewell to all and returned to the cool of her transport to change into something less child friendly and more hot weather accommodating.
The caravan was delayed from moving on, one more day, for reasons Filly didn’t care about. She could work wherever they were.
She met Marin as she descended the bus steps with arms full of pencils and sketchbooks.
“Here, let me help you with those.” Marin was ever gallant.
He was extra charming, if it meant he got to lean in and get himself near exposed cleavage, as Filly’s was.
She shook her head, but accepted his help, even though he paused juggling everything, with his head bent closely in, to be sure to have a hold on it all.
He cheekily winked at her, breathing down her chest, then pulled away, explaining,
“They’re beautiful and deserve to be admired.”
“Thank you.” Filly responded with a sarcastic giggle.
But, she heard his genuine appreciation, hidden behind his cheeky teasing.
Sauntering ahead of him, her tight cutoff jeans swung back and forth in front of his vision, and her low cut, loose top wavered in the warm breeze. Marin remained still to enjoy the show.
“Hot,” was all he said.
“It is hot, isn’t it?” Filly agreed, implicating the weather.
She sat at a picnic table beneath the stretched-out canopy hanging from the transport roof. Marin lay her books and pencils down and sat opposite her.
“Whatcha upto taday?” he inquired, and reached for an icy-cold drink.
Filly pulled out her personal techno book and a sketch pad. She unzipped her pencil case and embellished a flourish,
“I’m creating a stage design for the children’s production.”
“Do I need to give you a budget for that?” Marin asked, watching her outline stage space.
“You already have! Aren’t you efficient.” She grinned.
“Guftson?” Marin realized with gratefulness.
It was good to have a personal assistant that did everything you didn’t want to bother with.
“He’s your perfect mini-extension.” Filly admired.
Marin guffed a laugh and nodded agreeably.
They sat there in the shaded heat, sipping cold drinks. Filly filled her pages with color and tangible magic, using linked on references for ideas. I was a relaxing afternoon in the quiet.
Marin tried something new.
“The first girl I fell in love with, I had never even met.” He said.
Filly continued drawing, smiling her encouragement without adding pressure on him to continue his personal commentary.
“I just read about her in a magazine, her and her sister were exposed as Energy freaks.” He mused. “I remember thinking that for all the negative accusations in the article, there had to be more information that I was missing. It just seemed ridiculous that two teenage girls could be so terribly empowered, like the article warned that they were.”
He laughed to himself.
“This journalist kept painting a terrifying picture of psychotic little girls running rampant though the Amazon jungle, terrorizing villagers… as if they were dragons.”
“I did my own research, of course.” He paused and took a sip of beer. “I was a dignified Champion of the Trevel Strategic Defense force back then. I had access to all sorts of classified information. Not to mention, personal access to the Royal family.”
“I had the privilege of growing up with the young Prince-in-One to be, Haddy, himself.” His tone emphasized anything but privilege.
“Of course, that was before I was accused of murdering him, or him murdering me, or him going crazy and kidnapping me, or me kidnapping him, or… whatever the latest National report is.”
He swallowed another gulp.
“It’s all fekking bullshyte.”
Filly looked up, quietly supporting him,
Marin continued, returning to his love story.
“I got to read the report the girls’ Healer submitted to the private medical community. His perspective was more… glowing.”
“Do you talk to her, anymore?” Filly pressed.
Marin laughed in scorn,
“Hell no. She’s all happily married with kids and all…” he sighed, leaving the rest.
“First loves often fizzle.” Filly resigned, continuing her drawing.
Marin took a deep breath as he stood and stretched.
“Yeah, well it would never have worked out. I was way too old for her, anyway.”
He moved to carry on his day, but paused before exiting to ask,
“Is that enough leaking of my inner memories to satisfy you for a while?”
Filly laughed with him,
“It’s a very good start. But,” she added a tease, “isn’t Holly’s husband older than you?”*9
Marin scowled good naturedly and retorted,
“Fek off.” And he exeunted with disgust.
Filly continued giggling to herself, finalizing her sketch. She captured a couple of images on her communique bracelet and sent them off to Deidranie to be passed on to the volunteering parents who planned on building the set.
Then she packed up her things and checked her messages. Angel Bryte was wanting to hang out for her night off. She was trying to organize all the Lords of Ragefall to join them.
“That’ll be a feat.” Filly mused to herself, “like herding cats with that lot.”
But, she messaged that she wanted in on the plans, and moved to return to the children’s transport to go to the evening rehearsal in a rented space nearby.
Their music lessons were closing out and now the dancing and acting practices were beginning. Filly had her own cat herding to do.
She sat back as Deidranie settled everyone with announcements, before handing the kids over. A small clutch of parents was waiting to meet and talk about costumes.
The chorographer began teaching her steps and the children tried to keep up. They were wonderfully enthusiastic. Filly worked alongside and directed where she wanted the dancers to stand, as she outlined her vision for the stage. Everyone keep talking over the directors in whispers, as if they couldn’t be heard in the echoing practice hall.
Filly breathed deeply, grateful to have an open, yet covered, space. But her peace was tried with all the chatter.
“Everyone sit down, please.” She directed, and waited till her orders were followed.
The silence grew louder as the children began realizing she was waiting on them.
“Now, close your eyes and breath in slowly.”
The Oracle lead them in a quiet meditation story that focused their excitement and stilled their over active tongues. Rehearsal continued much better after that little break. By the end, Filly felt fully accomplished, as all the directors waved farewell to the cast. They looked forward to the next rehearsal.
Walking out to her borrowed transport cart, Filly turned her communique back on to check her messages, again. She was expecting to hear from Angel as when and where to meet. But, the only message was from Mema Yhen. It was her birthday and she needed extra encouragement as this was her first year without her beloved husband. Filly’s heart went out to her.
Knowing that wherever, Yhen, the Ragefall Manager went, the Lords followed; Filly presumed everyone was setting out for that get together. So, with tired excitement, she eagerly took off for some adult beverage companionship. By the time she arrived, Angel was finally able to message her. Sad news. She’d been called in to work again and couldn’t join them.
“Hey!” Ionny welcomed Filly to the table. “Where’s Angel. I thought she was joining us, too?”
“She said she couldn’t make it, just now.”
“Aw, that’s too bad.” Ionny was genuine.
Kaid also nodded with a sincere shrug.
Filly joined Mema Yhen at the bar to get herself a drink.
“Happy birthday, beautiful woman.” Filly hugged her.
“Thanks.” Yhen said, with a mild flatness in her voice.
She slammed a shot and sighed.
“I appreciate you coming.”
The women hugged.
“You need a drink?” Yhen asked, her hands already full of several shots to share around the table.
“I’m good,” Filly smiled.
The bar tender placed her fruity drink down and Filly joined the others. She laughed and sipped her own drink as the Ragefall crew slammed a shot and cheered,
“Happy dayz!” to their lady leader.
After a moment, Filly quietly spoke to Kaid,
“I have a confession to make.” She said, a little embarrassed.
“Yeah, what’s that?” he asked, distracted by several conversations in his own linked-on tab.
“I was checking out your home page, and I came across a video that your mum shared on it.”
Kaid looked up, more interested,
“It showed the new construction along the Undershelf Beach area that we both grew up by.”
Kaid smiled and Filly admitted,
“I simply had to watch it. It made me cry, I got so homesick.”
A wistful look of remembrance crossed Kaid’s eyes, too.
“It looks beautiful with all the work they’ve done.”
“Yeah. It is pretty great.” Kaid agreed.
Filly looked up and giggled, pointing out to Kaid, Ionny’s hair in fea-locks resting on the table in front of him, looking like grasshopper antenna. He was engrossed in linked-on conversations, too. Everyone multitasked, chatting together, and with those missed in physical absence.
The evening passed quietly. Adult friends, sitting and drinking together, sharing funny tales and pictures. It was camaraderie at its finest, without spectacle, only companionship. Filly parted at even’s end, much refreshed and ready to sleep well, before another hot summer day of revelry began on the immediate morrow.
[*8 from the poem, Invictus by William Ernest Henley.]
[*9 a reference to the story found in The Chronicles of Trevel; Dragon Tears.]
Part 21 to come…
If you would like to see more of Gregga’s books and other creative projects, check out her website: Gregga J. Johnn and Story-in-the-Wings.