By Raji Singh
Just one of the 1,001 Tales residing for all eternity in the Fiction House.
(James is a four-year-old foundling. His ill fate causes him to loose his memory. Turt is a long-lived sort of giant turtle, ferrying James to safety in the Lindian woods. )
NOW COMES THE TALE OF JAMES’ FIRST MUSE
1966 – The Lindian Woods
James has the grandest view as he rides atop Turt: His butterflies play beneath the woodland’s vine canopy; treed monkeys screech, pointing at, scrutinizing the foreign flutterers; harmless blue-gold ground snakes retreat to behind bushes when Turt’s trip-hammer fin-claws ‘CLOMP’ close.
It is at this moment James looks to one side and sees – HER.
She wasn’t there moments before. So different then anyone he’s ever seen: Feather-laden hat, shoes that button at sides, and slender, not quite petite – so curvy in a rose-printed ankle-length dress. To keep within confines, continuously she boosts sleek bosom. Gleaming in the sunlight and separated by an emerald-jeweled shamrock brooch, those mounds seem, to the four year old, to encompass all of her.
But, ‘aah, her face.’ Hypnotizing.
“You are so pretty.”
‘So all the gents say, lad. I’ll not blush at the compliment. No innocent colleen, I.’
“What’s your name?”
‘I be Rrrose Heather, Jamie.’ Her R’s roll. Saucy brogue sways in cadence with swiveling hips as alongside travelers she tags. ‘Comes I from old Cincinnat’, via old Ire-land. Your and my bedrooms be adjacent one another, though separated by over a century.Remember blarney tales of me? No? How about of me’ friends Mariner, Carper?’ James’ face is blank.
(Carper is James’ great-great-grandfa, a foundling 140 years earlier. Blackjack Fiction would one day build his publishing house on the site of Rrrose Heather’s burned bordello. Many years later, Dr. Fiction would add onto it for his clinic. )
‘Well we’ll keep company, handsome, and I’ll tell ya’. So one day ya’ be all-rememberin’.’
She stretches, tiptoe, for hanging moss. James’ eyes widen. She shields bosom. ‘Ooh, Lad! They almost leaped out: Can’t be lettin’ ya’ be glimspen’, now can I.’ She rubs James’ mosquito-bit legs with the moss. Cool, soothing. ‘Seen me Mariner use somethin’ like this for healin’. Works, suren’ it does.’
It is similar to the same green substance James has seen in vials in his father’s medical valise.
A feeling of joy suddenly brims within Turt. Because, out-of-nowhere he thinks of lovely, ageless, Rrrose Heather: Hasn’t seen her in a century. He breathes deep. Her floral scent swells his senses. Though he cannot see her, he is remembering, mesmerized by her sweeping black hair, the forever purplish-pink flower of cheeks from whence came name, Rrrose of the Heather.
Her face is lineless at 18 years or 80, eyes, weepy, smiling all at once. They glow, so blue, emblazoned with curiosity, knowledge, with an impassioned desire to fully partake of life’s pleasurable mysteries – which, she has.
Turt, he feels her presence, as if she was beside him, painting a heather-garlanded rose onto his shell as she had done so long ago. Though faded, its kiss, unlike so many of the other paintings on him, miraculously has withstood the ravages of sun, sea, and time. He saved her life, or had she, his? Neither really knew which. (But that’s adventure for another day.)
Turt hears James talk to her. He trumpets low. Will she hear my greeting?
Turt imagines she pets his head. Her touch is soft, warm.
James feels her fingers combing through his hair. He’s reminded of his…
‘Your mother, Jamie, nay could she be here. She sent me.’
“I don’t remember her, Rrrose Heather.” Gentle hands cup his cheeks.
‘Poor chil’. Course not. But see her in me. Though we be different – traveled such different paths – deep within, we are alike as twin shamrocks of a meadow. We both be women of the flesh business. Hers was in helping heal it, and me, in bringing it pleasure. Most-importantly, though, oh how we loved, fully. She; you and your fa. Me; Carper and the Mariner. And of course Turt…’ She strokes the flower on his shell.
Turt sighs. Thinking of Rrrose lightens his burdens.
‘…and I loves’ ya’, Jamie; and young Master Jamie will come to love his Rrrose. I’ll be here when ya’ need me. Just as my sister Calico is.’ She opens palm. There’s Calico. The pretty butterfly flies to and nestles in his hair.
James yawns; so tired – so much to feel.
‘Sleepy chil’. Lie down. I’ll tell a grand tale where you’ll experience what’s rosy, and what’s not; and be learnin’ from the lessons.’ She strokes his forehead. He feels the soothing motion of being tucked-in by Rrrose Heather as a blanket of butterflies flutter barely above him. ‘Once upon a time…way down in the Leezianna swamps, lived the dreaded Thibidioux, Jamie…’
‘Who is this Jamie?’ he wonders.
Next Week: You’ll meet Calico!
(Feel welcome to visit Rrrose Heather’s bodacious bordello in the novel, Tales of Fiction House. Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)
©2013 Raji Singh
©2014 Raji Singh