The song was stuck in my head, and I was going to be hearing it all day. But that wasn’t what was most annoying.
It was stuck there because I was doing a good deed and helping a friend.
I may have helped distract their kids for the afternoon.
But spending more than half that time stuck on a broken ride while the theme music track plays at what feels like increasingly annoying volume and while the kids finally achieve their dream of memorizing the lyrics and choreography is just the icing on the cake.
My only consolation is that at the end of the day, I get to return the little parrots to their home, where they will inflict their new learning on their parents.
I walked away from the party concerned about how I understood reality. I had just seen proof that a kind of comic-book voodoo works. A burn mark on a drawing of a hand traced from the visitor’s hand became a blister on his actual hand, and on the very finger where the paper was burned. He explained it away as simplistic voodoo. We crumpled up the paper after marking the finger. After only a few minutes, his finger healed. The paper was now clean when uncrumpled.
I carve fruit. Usually melons, but on occasion other fruit will do. In the fall, I’m often expected to carve pumpkins so I make a point of doing at least one to display somewhere prominent and visible.
I’m never entirely certain how my clients find me. I don’t exactly advertise, and yet I almost always have enough work booked to keep me busy.
Then he walked in my door.
I say “he” out of a lack of any better choice. I’m still not entirely certain what he looked like, even speaking to him without looking took effort. As if he was not used to dealing with those still living, but was making an effort. I respect that, but his presence in my shop was still deeply unsettling.
If I thought I would be believed I would add “fruit carver to death incarnate” to my sign. At least at Halloween time, it would add a certain unusual something. But who would believe me? I barely believe me, and I was there!
Even less likely to be believed was the subject that he required.
He wanted a series of panels depicting a kitten at play and growing into a cat, carved into a pumpkin so that as the candle flame wobbled the kitten would almost appear to be alive.
It was a good commission, although he did pay in cash, in old coins that seemed to want to be arranged in pairs.