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Phantom Trickster

When your riding your bike there’s a thing you just dread. Like some idiot in a 4WD doing a u-turn ahead. Guess you can figure out what would come next. It when boom it went bang, I could have been dead.

Won’t speak of the pain cause I’ve blotted it out, but you can imagine I’ll bet that it gave a fair clout. I slammed into that car and they chopped off my leg, gave me a prosthesis to get around on instead. Still, it takes time and more time to reset your brain, so what sometimes comes next can be a real pain.

My leg is a phantom an illusion and all, such a phantom that sometimes I end up on the floor. That phantom’s a trickster and laughs at my plight, cause that phantom will wait ’til I take the fake off at night. These days I laugh too ’cause it was so long ago. You’d think my brain would remember it’s no longer go, go, go.

For Harry

Harry shared his story with me a couple of months ago. He was 25 when he had his motorbike accident. He would be in his late 30’s now. He lives near the beach in a small coastal town about 3 hours out of Sydney and has no trouble hanging out with his mates on the beach. Impressed that he can navigate that sand. Had to laugh along with him when he shared about falling over because he forgot to put his leg on. The guys a true inspiration. He really goes with the flow.


Photo by Nick Wehrli from Pexels

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Her car launched into the sky

Her car launched into the sky. She felt it, she feared it, she braced for it. Thud! Her body jolted. She landed stuck in the guts of a steep sand dune.

She just had your ‘run of the mill’ hatchback. She  couldn’t have done anything if she tried. She was stuck that’s for sure. She scolds herself. “Man, how did that happen, you weren’t bloody paying attention.” It wasn’t really true. She was out of her comfort zone, driving along a suburban street up the coast, not suspecting that when the road hit a bit of sand that it would drop off suddenly. Ooops!

What would you do? Me, well the first thing I’d do is to scope out my surroundings. That’s just plain logical right?

Logic has done a runner. It escaped upon the way. Logic has done a runner and I thought it was here to stay.

Get a grip girl. No point making little  rhymes in your head. Let’s do the next best thing…panic!
The panic rises like her ‘heart is in her mouth’. Her stomach is squeamish. “What should I do, what should I do, how did this happen?” It is a totally curly predicament.

Help! A mental call with no volume. 

She sits in the car and takes in a breath and does some positive self talk. “Breathe, ‘take a step back’ count to ten. The beach is straight ahead. To the left more dunes and that  little beach coffee shop. How do I get there, or for that matter how do I get out of the car?”

Help! Another mental call. She hasn’t even picked up her mobile ‘go figure’.

‘Blow me down’. Help came. Not in answer to her inaudible plea as she sat in the car with her mind reeling. She couldn’t even put it down to some cosmic connection. No, purely ‘the luck of the draw’. The timing, so quick. She hadn’t even had time to freak out properly. 

He had a truck he had a  crane, he saw her plight, and he just came.

“Lucky you got a lightweight car ya know. Couldn’t have pulled you out of this mess otherwise” he said.

She was almost in tears. It was so kind and so ‘going above and beyond’. This big burly bloke was her ‘knight in shining armour’, her hero. But it didn’t stop there. 

He eventually coerced the car up that steep sandy slope like it was a grasshopper. Each time getting a bit closer. Some locals are there at the top cheering him on and relishing in his skill.

“Awesome mate, that’s how it’s done. Could a been a write off”.

She breathes a sigh of relief. She is safe. Then some locals come up, “Come on girl. Looks like you could use a stiff drink. Hop on in. We’ll sort out the car later”. 

The kindness of strangers you don’t see it everywhere. The kindness of strangers they really care.

A short story by Dee Grant

___________________________

This is my first short story. The grammar might be a bit ‘left of centre’ but I have used my rhymes along the way. ‘Force of habit’. I’ve highlighted phrases that are often used for those of you that don’t have English as their first language too. A little bit of fiction to go with my Saturday morning coffee.

My lighter exploded

My stories are created from true stories shared by people I meet, or places I go. For this post I have included news to show the time lapse of a burning issue. So sad.

It was a lighter he said that she’d thrown on the dash, a lighter that then exploded with an almighty flash. My eyes teared up, I knew not what to say. Her face caught on fire and is still scarred today. Through one simple action one life can change course. He shared they made lighters now that don’t explode with such force.

So I looked to the web to see if that was true, and saw article after article of the damage they do. I read on with sadness as from what I could see, little had changed since Leonie’s story. If anything I read of severe burns and life lost, of cheap leaky lighters exploding … and oh what a cost.

There is no moral to this story so I just want to say, that it may look convenient but keep it out of harms way. Respect it’s dangers. Keep it in a safe place. Keep it out of hot spaces and away from your face.

For Leonie

  • 1987 – Philadelphia, U.S.A – “Bic settled for $3.25 million after the jury found the company liable for the extensive burns suffered by Cynthia Littlejohn, a Philadelphia woman who was on a camping trip when the Bic lighter in her front pocket ignited, engulfing her in flames”.- New York Times
  • 2010 – Wagga Wagga, Australia “Leonie Whittacker has learned, to her cost, just how dangerous cigarette lighters can be. She is currently recovering from third degree burns to her face, neck, and hands after the lighter she was using exploded” – Daily Advertiser
  • 2011 – Stephenville, Texas, U.S.A “William B Clemmer, a machinist from Stephenville, Texas was only 56 when he died. His last words, en route to a Dallas hospital, were: ‘My lighter exploded’…(he) died of severe burns over more than half of his body” – Safety Research.net
  • 2017 – Donnybrook, WA, Australia “A young mother has been left with severe burns to her face after a butane lighter she was using blew up”
  • 2017 – Birmingham, England “Rachel Cooper, a grandmother from Rotherham, England, was left with severe burns on her face and chest after a lighter exploded in front of her and her granddaughter” – Good Housekeeping
  • 2019 – “Canton fire investigators believe a cheap, Chinese imported lighter exploded, burning a Canton man and costing him his home and companion dog” – Canton Rep
  • 2019 – Gympie, Australia “Can lighters explode in your car? Gympie resident finds out after 40 degree day” – ABC News Sunshine Coast

Small acts of kindness

‘You don’t look twice’ when you’re able bodied. Your there, rushing to get to work, ‘pounding the pavement’ to catch that bus, or grabbing that coffee. It’s like a mental repertoire of the familiar as we journey through our everyday. You go into autopilot. Then things go ‘pear shaped’.

Here is insight from a working age woman reflecting on human kindness after her world was ‘turned upside down’ a few years ago.

I get around on a 4 wheel walker these days. It’s a proper ‘pain in the neck’. Wasn’t part of my 5 year plan! But ‘it is what it is’ and has taught me a thing or two about the human spirit.

These 3 small things mean the world to me.

  1. The power of a smile It’s the smile of someone walking past. They understand. It is a quiet acknowledgement. A kindness that needs no words. How delightful!
  2. Time I need to plan things to the minutest detail. I love it when people appreciate that there is no such thing as hurrying up. I need to live my life considered now, not ‘hitting the ground running’ like when I was a rep.
  3. Small acts of kindness It’s the person that holds the umbrella over your head even though there not going your way. The lady that hails down a cab for you because they know you can’t.

My world may be small these days but these things really put a ‘smile on my dial’.

For Dee

Term phrase meaning

  • You dont look twice – you don’t have to think about it
  • Pounding the pavement – running
  • Pear shaped – don’t turn out like you think
  • Turned upside down- things happen out of your control
  • It is what it is – a common phrase. The way things are.
  • Pain in the neck – very annoying
  • Hit the ground running – common term used in team building. Means to do your best
  • Smile on my dial – make me happy

Through the eye of the storm

During these pandemic days I feel a certain synergy with this piece. You can feel like there’s little we can contribute but still these days it’s all hands on deck as we try. Looking forward to safer shores. Stay safe everyone.

Upon a stormy shattered glass sea a mighty ship does toss and reel, a mighty vessel, a voyagers worthy steed. Safety through the eye of a storm.

Though she may lurch upon each crest and furrow as she proceeds, hope is found within her bow, sure passage through lightening skies and stormy seas. 

Sails are tied, sagged and sodden, a useless skin. Remembers better days, of fair trade winds and balmy nights.

And men like ants cast shortened shouts upon a wind lashed deck, working through the deafening squall, earning the captains deep respect.

Then as calm skies and fair trade winds replace it’s mighty roar, the storm disperses and they sail on to safer shores.

Dreaming of gourmet

Young man with the dishpan hands
He scrubs those pots as best he can
Plates pile up stack upon stack
Still he washes them with fervour like he’s under attack.

I’m watching from my restaurant table
He’s just so dedicated, so willing, and able
You’ve gotta give him credit for a job well done
Where on earth does he get his drive from?

But this man’s vision never fades Scrubbed pots and pans means he’ll get paid
While in his mind he dreams away of the gourmet chef he’ll be one day.

Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography from Pexels

Aged traveller

I strapped my leg into the brace, and remembered days when I could race. Run a race or walk a while, so many  memories it made me smile.

For with a pack upon my back these legs had travelled far and wide, and through the years had journeyed far now shorter steps replace their stride.

Now up the road or down a lane, whatever’s safe whatever’s sane. This is my world however small, the distance less so I don’t fall.

For Don

Photo – Monochrome Photo Of An Old Man – Vlad Chețan – 2019

Chalk and cheese

It’s ‘not my cup of tea’ she says, the colours not right there’s not enough red. It should be bright and bold and loud, so my outfit stands out among the crowd. 

Well you can choose whatever you think, but me myself I’d rather have pink. With classy hints of pastel grey, I’ll wow them with my pretty ways.

Pretty in pink or bold loud, they’re  ‘chalk and cheese’ I’m just so proud.

For Mona

Photo – Two Woman in Bikini Jumping – Artem Beliaikin