Melina Gunnett

December 27, 2011

Storybook Forest

Filed under: Stories — Tags: , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 3:40 PM

As many of you already know, Alice Washburn (Badger) passed away yesterday. This loss has will be felt by many of us, not just now but in the years to come, because there is now one less smile, one less hug, one less song, in the world.  This story is for you Badger.

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Storybook Forest

Storybook Forest is one of my favorite places to visit. It is filled with trees that, one day, will become books. If you know how, you can sit for hours reading their stories in the patterns of their bark.

It is a wonderful place to explore and, like all fantastical forests, it too has a famous denizen. The Hundred Acre Woods has Pooh, Tyto has Soren and Storybook … Well Storybook has Badger.

I remember the first time I found my way into Storybook. I couldn’t have been much more than a scraggly little kitten back then. I had been wandering for hours, and thought myself lost for good, when a fuzzy striped face peeked out of one of the trees and said hello. I must have jumped three feet straight up!

“What you doing?” It asked.

I was so surprised I answered. “Trying to find my way out of the woods.”

“Now why would you want to do that?”

“Because I’m lost.”

The fluffy ball of fur bounced down from the branch it had been sitting on. “Well, now you have been found. Hi, I’m Badger.”

And that’s how we met.

Rather than show me my out of the woods, Badger helped me find my way through them. I couldn’t of had a better guide. She knew every story on every tree and taught me how to read them. She also knew ever creature that called Storybook it’s home, from the lone wolf to the wise owl, and she was friends with all of them. She was so gregarious even Old Man Crow got on with her, and he didn’t like anyone.

Their’s was a strange friendship. They were opposites in almost every way. Old Man Crow was a nasty old bird. He never had a good thing to say about anyone. While Badger loved everyone and you couldn’t have met a nicer critter.

Why once, when we were out walking, a couple of young squirrels started to throw nuts at us. One hit her square on the nose BOP! Had it been me, the fur would have flown.

But Badger, being Badger, just apologized for being in the way and ask them if they needed any help. Actually, now that I think about it,we did end up helping them pick up the nuts. Then they escorted us around the forest for the rest of the day, playing guard to make sure no one messed with their Badger.

Anyway, Old Man Crow usually wouldn’t let anyone near his tree. It’s a shame really. While he may have been odious, his tree was beautiful. He collected baubles from all over. Every place you looked something twinkled or gleamed. While I wasn’t around back then, I suspect that was what first attracted Badger to the tree. She loved anything shiny.

Normally Old Man Crow would squawk and chase away anyone crazy enough to get close. He afraid that someone was going to steal one of his baubles. You have never met a more suspicious bird. Badger hardly even seemed to notice. She would just give him one of her innocent looks and ask him about whatever bauble had caught her attention. Even he couldn’t look into those big Badger eyes and believe she meant any harm. He would always end up giving in and telling her the story.

Badger seemed to have that effect on everyone. Every time I visited the forest I would find her surrounded with by friends. Often it would turn into a party. Badger loved parties, because they combined all her favorite things: yummy food, wonderful critters, fun stories and song. Badger loved to sing.

Okay, maybe none of us actually knew the words that were supposed to go with the songs. But that never stopped us. We were surrounded by an entire forest of words, so we just used them. We would sing about dragons and pirates and knights and fairies and when ever you followed the music, there you would find Badger.

Making up songs became a very popular past time. You could hardly pass a stump without hearing music. Then one it suddenly stopped.

I found the forest engulfed in an eerie silence. No one wanted to talk or play. Everyone I saw just looked sad. Finally I went to Badger’s burrow to find out what was wrong.

Her door stood open and the roof was caved in.

That was when I finally understood. The great Huntsman had come and taken Badger away.

Then I too fell under the spell of that strange silence which had overtaken the forest. I wandered aimlessly through the forest for a while, unsure where to go. Badger had always been there to guide me. I would stop occasionally at one of the trees, reading a snip-its from the story in its bark the way she had taught me. Then I would move on again in silence.

I finally ended up beneath her favorite tree. It was the same one she had been reading when we met. As I read the story in its bark I remembered the tune she had made up to go with it. Without even realizing it, I began to sing. Before long other voices joined me.

Slowly music began to take over the forest, bringing everyone together. People started to tell their own stories of Badger and all the wonderful things she had done. Food began to appear – Chocolate and Ice Cream and Ginger Ale – all her favorites. Before long it was a party. All of her forest friends gathered to give each other a small portion of the love she had given to them.

Badger would have loved it. She always loved a good party.

Rest in Peace Badger – You will be missed by all of us.

November 24, 2011

Mortar of Life

Filed under: Stories — Tags: , , — Melina Gunnett @ 1:00 AM

The door closed.  She had to hurry. If he reached her before she was ready, she was dead.
Pestle in hand she began to grind.

The stairs creaked.  This had to work, she was out of options. She heard his footsteps in the hall.
Seconds left, she carefully spooned the fine powder into her gloved hand.

Strength, power, evil radiated from him as he opened her door.  She was out of time.
She raised her hand and blew.  The fine powder engulfed him. He began to scream.

When the dust settled he was there.  Brad, just Brad.  She was safe.

July 1, 2011

Zombie Duck Apocalypse

Filed under: Stories — Melina Gunnett @ 2:08 PM

Once upon a time.

All the good stories start with once upon a time. At least the one’s that end with happily every after do. I want a happily ever after, so Once upon a time…

There was a duck. At least everyone says it started with the ducks, except for Gumppa. He says Raven started it all. Gumppa is wise, so it probably was a raven. Anyway, it was a bird for sure.

So something happened to the ducks. A lot of folks say it was some government experiment gone wrong. I’ve heard a few people say some disease mutated. Some even say God did it. Whatever the cause, they started to become dumb and aggressive.

People didn’t really notice, because back then hardly anyone paid attention to things like wild ducks. So when the ducks migrated at the end of summer, the way ducks always do, it began to spread. Other birds started becoming angry and mean too. Pretty soon wild birds all over were attacking each other and anything else they thought they could hurt. They didn’t attack big things, like people though, so it took a while for anyone to notice.

Eventually some people, mostly birdwatchers, did notice.  Sadly, back then people didn’t pay much attention to birdwatchers, not like they do today. Several governments promised to look into it, but they were slow. Gumppa says that is because research costs money and they were tight-fisted buggers.

Thanksgiving was when things started to get bad. Some of the wild turkeys had been affected. In the America’s it was traditional to eat a turkey on Thanksgiving to celebrate the things you were thankful for and to remember what a sneaky, swindling cheat the government was.

Most of the rich, fancy people bought their Turkey at the supermarket. Supermarkets where huge buildings, some the size of a small village, where food from all over the world was brought for people to take home and eat. It is hard for me to imagine that much food in one place and how many people there must have been to eat it all.

Even with the big supermarkets, some people still hunted their own food and some of the turkeys they killed had been infected by the ducks. Those were the first people to become infected. Just like the ducks, they started to become dumb and more aggressive. It took people awhile to notice what was happening. Gumppa says this is because the fancy political types already thought most of the rednecks were dumb as rocks and ornery as pit bulls in heat. It started to spread though.

Z, that’s what they call it. Z is short for Zombie, because it makes people act like zombies from the old horror movies. Z spreads through the blood and it doesn’t take much. When an aggressive, zombied out person starts attacking other people there is plenty of blood to go around.

I hadn’t been born yet, back in the early days when people and animals first started tearing each other apart. Gumppa has a newspaper clipping from back then. The headline reads Zombie Apocalypse Hits New York. It talks all about the fighting and violence and the bad things people were doing to each other. He was a lobbyist in Washington, DC back then. He has pictures of what the city used to look like before Z. Now it’s mostly ruins.

People didn’t just tear apart each other, they torn down anything that got in their way. Gumppa said people just went crazy when they got Z. He once saw a businessmen in three-piece suit take a tire iron to his car, in the middle of the highway, because he ran out of gas. A lady, annoyed that his car was in the way, rammed the car and the businessman at full speed, starting a multi-car pile up.

I only saw someone infected with Z once. He had gone across the harbor to the Old City to rummage for useful things. He must have gotten infected while he was on the mainland. When he came back instead of docking at the port for inspection, he rode the skiff right up on to the beach and charged at the border warriors. They had to shoot him.

As soon as he realized what was happening,Gumppa tried to get my mom out of the D.C. and back to the island. It was almost time for me to come into the world. He did get them out of the city, but somewhere along the way mom got infected. Gumppa managed to restrain her long enough for her to give birth to me, but was forced to kill her. He said it was the hardest thing he ever had to do and he never wants to have to do anything like it again.

Still, I know he watches me, waiting to see if I will turn. No one knows what will happen with me. Wither I am infected, immune or just like everyone else. Gumppa says that I shouldn’t worry. That Raven has already had his joke, setting the world on itself so that mother earth could reclaim her own. He says that Raven took his sun, my mother but, as when Raven stole light for the sky, a sliver was split off in the skirmish. Raven let him keep the sliver, his personal moon, me.

 

I am Słukwálb (moon) Sampson and I really, really hope I get a happily ever after.

 

June 18, 2011

Happy Birthday

Filed under: Stories — Melina Gunnett @ 12:05 PM

I found Jim on the back porch starring into his beer bottle as if it had somehow betrayed him.

“I was about to say ‘Happy Birthday’, but you don’t look very happy. Ya know, if think that poor little beer has it in for you, I’ll be happy to take it off your hands.”

He didn’t seem to appreciate, or even notice my joke. He just reached into an ice chest behind him, pulled out another beer and handed it to me.

“It’s not the beer, it’s the cake.” he sighed.

“The cake?”

“Yeh, Marsha is so made she threw me out of the house.”

“Because of a cake?” I ask.

“Sort of, it all started with the cake, it was right in the middle of the road, I should -.”

“Oh, I saw it when I pulled in. You want me to help you hose down the street to get Marsha off your back?”

“Not that one.” He frowned. “The other one.”

“There is more than one?” I ask.

“The other day Marsha and I had gone out shopping. On the way home Marsha was yammering on about something, I don’t even know what. She ask me something and I glanced over at her. It was just for a second, but during that second a man carrying a huge cake just appeared. * POOF* There he was, right in the middle of the road.”

“Did you hit him?” I ask.

“No.  It was close, but I slammed on the breaks and was able to stop in time. The guy was so scared he dropped his cake though. Right there in the middle of the road.”

I gave Jim a confused look. “That’s what Marsha is made about you about?”

“No. She didn’t blame for that. Well, not beyond saying I should pay closer attention to my driving. It was the guys fault for stepping into oncoming traffic after all.”

“So what is the problem?”

“Well, we got out and started talking to the guy. Or I should say Marsha talked to him. I just stood there staring at the waste of chocolate on the pavement. He had been taking it across the street from his shop, he apparently owns that bakery down by 4th and Pine.  Anyway, he was taking over to the church across the way. He teaches cake decorating and apparently he donates the demo cakes from his classes to them. So, of course, Marsha signed up for a class right there on the spot.”

“OK, I don’t see what this has to do with her kicking you out.”

“Oh, that was just the beginning. At first she was just taking the classes.  Then she started staying after to “help” Dave out.   Yeah, that’s his name, Dave, the cake guy. Anyway, after a few weeks she starts working there part time too. It seems like all the time we used spends together, she now spends with Dave. So I call her on it and tell her that I want her to spend some time with me for a change.”

“Is that why she’s mad at you?”

“No, she actually seemed happy that I wanted to spend more time with her. She said her classes were almost over and she would make sure to set that time aside so we could spend it together. Anyway, the classes are done now and we’ve been spending more time together and it seemed good, even if she was still working there part time. Then I came home today and found a note on the door. ‘Gone to bakery, be back later, dinner on the stove.’

“I couldn’t believe Marsha would just take off. I mean, it is my birthday; she should be spending it with me, not that Dave guy. So I went down to the bakery to give her a piece of my mind.”

“Ah, so that is why she is mad at you!”

“No, she wasn’t even there when I got there. I figured they would be back soon so I went to the bar down the street to grab a beer. Nice folk in there. One of the guys, Michael I think, ask me why I looked down, so I told him that I thought my wife was having an affair with the guy who owned the cake shop. He was a good listener. “

“Anyway, after my beer I packed it in and headed for home. I had let off a bit of my steam and had been feeling better. I decided it was my imagination. When I got home Marsha was there. So was that Dave guy. I walked in just as she was giving him a kiss.”

“Oh My!” I exclaimed

“Yeah, “Oh My” pretty much covers it. I lost it. I started screaming and hollering and told Dave I never wanted to see him near my house or my wife again.”

“That’s why she kicked you out?!”

“Uh, no. Actually that just gave her a fit of hysterical giggles. It took a while to sort out, but apparently not only are they not having an affair, as I had imagined. But, Dave is also gay. She was just thanking him for making a surprise birthday cake for me.”

“Oh, well it sounds like it all worked out. So why are you out here glaring at your beer again?”

“Because Dave brought the cake over to the house and when he went out to the car to get it, his boyfriend showed up. You remember the guy I met at the bar? The one I was telling my theory about the affair too. Yeah, that was Dave’s boyfriend. I guess he followed us and when he He saw Dave with my wife he ran his car straight at them. They were able to dodge, but my cake wasn’t. That’s the one that is out there now.”

“Ok, so why are you in trouble for that?”

“Because now Dave and his boyfriend are fighting and Marsha thinks it is totally my fault. She says I can come home when Dave gets to go home. In the mean time Dave has gets to sleep on our sofa and I’m not even allowed in the house. That Michael guy took off, isn’t answering his phone and is nowhere to be found. It looks like I’m going to be out her for a while. You want another beer?”

“Sure” I replied.

He handed me another beer, opened one for himself and raised the bottle. “Happy birthday to me!”

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