5.27.2003 by , every Tuesday.
Just something silly and fun this week, written back when Rosie O'Donthing was on TV way too much. Things are becoming very busy for me, and I have discovered that I am moving to Toronto in September! Expect lots of guest columns while I deal with house-hunting and things.
I waded through the purple grass, beneath the gaze of the golden full moon. I licked a finger and stuck it in the air. I wasn’t quite sure what this was supposed to accomplish, but it seemed fitting. Suddenly, in the dark ahead, my quarry made the unwise decision to step on a dry twig.
Swiftly I pulled a suction-cup arrow from the quiver at my back. I cocked my bow, hearing the sinew stretch softly. And I waited.
Sweeping, overly-dramatic clouds briefly obscured the moon. In the reappearance of moonlight I could make out the unicorn, stock-still about twenty paces ahead. Its flanks heaved, its mane and tail shimmering with a frosty glow. It pawed the forest floor nervously and scented the air. I aimed carefully, pulling back the arrow with all my strength.
Suddenly the fragile, dreamy silence of the enchanted forest was shattered by the screech and roar of a very loud woman. The bow twanged and the sinew slapped my hand as the arrow zipped harmlessly into space. The unicorn bolted. I sat up.
Grabbing large pillows, I smothered my ears with them, and scrunched my eyes shut. Stupid television. Of all people, Rosie O’Donnel was not allowed into my woods.
I gathered all of my concentration and walked back down the path to sleep. At the end of the trail I pushed aside branches and stepped into the dark woods. I’d lost my bow and arrow when Rosie started bellowing. Hiking up my jewelled skirts, I bent and began to search the forest floor. Soft flowers tickled my hands. After several minutes, a glowing, disgruntled fairy rose from under a toadstool and hung in the air, watching me.
I approached the fairy, who eyed me cautiously. “Where?” I asked. A tiny luminous hand pointed to the west. I followed its direction until I came across a suction-cup arrow. Nearby, in a bed of periwinkles, was the bow. I reached at my back; the quiver was still there. I gathered my arsenal and resumed the hunt.
The golden moon dipped past the horizon and the eastern sky began to blush with oranges and reds. I followed the faintly sparkling trail of hoof-prints through the woods and into a clearing. The ground was littered with flowers, and butterflies filled the air. At the very edge of the clearing stood the unicorn, in full sunlight, clothed in butterflies. It lowered its head and lipped the petals of a daisy. I hurried behind a patch of purple roses and cocked my bow. Edging carefully around the thorny mass, I brought the unicorn into my sight.
Suddenly I felt a gentle tapping at my knee. A little green dragon in a blue uniform looked up at me expectantly. “Ahem,” it said, and held up a faded scroll, tied with a golden cord. I reached down and took the paper from the dragon, who bobbed politely and scurried off.
Sighing, exasperated, I began to untie the cord. The knots were complicated; as I fumbled with them, I kept one eye on the unicorn, willing it to stay in the field. Finally I stretched the paper out and read it. “Ring ring,” it said, in flowing script.
Dammit. I dropped the bow and arrow and sat up. In the stuffy darkness of my basement apartment, the phone rang again. I pushed off my blankets and crawled towards it. I picked up the receiver, cursing as the rest of the phone crashed to the ground.
“Lo?” I muttered.
“Pablo?” inquired a worried voice on the other end.
“No,” I said, and the voice began to babble. “Sorry, no Pablos here,” I repeated, and hung up the phone. Rosie O’Donnel was still leaking from the living room, punctuated by the joyous giggles of my roommate. I stumbled back to bed and buried my head in blankets and pillows. Half-suffocating, I drifted back down the path and brushed against the edge of the forest.
The sun was well up by now, and by the time I reached the clearing, the dew was steaming from the flowers. I collected my bow and followed the trail. The footprints reached a thin crystalline stream and followed it into the forest. Birdsong filtered through the trees, and flute music echoed from far away. The stream became a river and plunged over a cliff in a thousand glittering waterfalls. At the base of the cliff, where the waterfalls converged into a deep pool, stood the unicorn. It lowered its great head and touched its horn to the surface.
Instantly I readied an arrow. Suddenly the unicorn raised its head in surprise and fixed its eyes on mine. “Aigh!” it cried in a golden voice. “Get it! Kill it!”
Shocked, I dropped the bow and sat up. My roomate was towering over me, her face suffused with panic. “Kill it!” she squealed. “Get it!” I pushed aside the blankets and followed her into the hall. A cockroach lay on the carpet like a fat brown almond. I bent low to examine the intruder; it was flat on its back, its mass of horrible legs kicking like an army of Rockettes.
“I think he’s reached his time,” I said. “I think he’s passing on.” But my roomate covered her mouth with pale shaking hands and backed away. Thinking quickly, I grabbed a piece of newspaper and brushed the cockroach into a yogurt cup. The dream was gone, but I was a successsful hunter. I went out into the snow and buried the now-motionless offender.