Linda’s Bedtime Stories for Grown-Up Children


Randall

Randall the white owl

Nobody knew about Randall. He came in the night.

Rhonda listened for her husband’s deep breathing and when she heard the familiar rhythm she slipped out of bed, carefully slid open the door and crept onto the balcony.

Tonight was clear and still with air so crisp you could almost smell the stars. Randall was perched on the railing in his usual spot waiting for her and  staring straight ahead with his secretive eyes.

Rhonda reached into her robe pocket and pulled out a cigarette, stuck it between her lips, lit it and inhaled suddenly like a newborn taking its first breath.

“You ought to quit,” Randall said.

“Mind your own business, you dirty owl.” Rhonda snapped. Rhonda hated it when Randall complained about her smoking.   She hated a lot of things about Randall — especially the fact that he was slowly convincing her to murder her husband.

“He’s the reason you’re always having panic attacks.  Having to go to the hospital.  Not being able to breath.” Randall raised his wings and fluffed his white feathers loudly. “You’d be better off without him.”

“Who?”

“Who.   That’s my line.” Randall blinked. Then focused his gaze into Rhonda’s soul. “Don’t be obtuse.”

“I can’t do it!”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not a murderer!”

“Sure you are. You just need to get in touch with your inner murderer. Everybody’s got one. Given a certain set of circumstances, enough rage and a fortuitous blunt instrument, that is.

“You nasty snake eater! Just looking at you makes me want to take a shower!” Rhonda flicked a long ash off the end of her cigarette and aimlessly smeared it around with the toe of her slipper. “If I listen to you, I’ll end up on death row! You’re the one I should kill.”

“Ha! What’d I tell you? See how easy it is to get in touch with your inner murderer? It won’t be long now. I’ll bet you already got a gun. Maybe you stole one.”

Rhonda drew deeply on her cigarette then coughed out a harsh, smoky laugh.“Let’s just say I was able to get in touch with my inner thief.”

Someone was jiggling the balcony door. Randall took flight just before Rhonda’s husband stepped out onto the balcony.

“What the hell is going on out here? Christ sakes! Who are you talking to?”

Rhonda kept her cool. “Just having a cigarette, Robert.” She said not as pleasantly as she could muster, but pleasantly enough considering she was, after all, planning his murder.

Robert put both his hands on the railing. “Hear that? There’s an owl out there somewhere. I hear it almost every night. Must live up in one of these trees.”

A  little smile crossed Rhonda’s face as she stubbed out her cigarette and tossed it into the darkness.

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “Linda’s Bedtime Stories for Grown-Up Children

        • Actually, the above message was from Jack Hubbard, who does not resemble the above caricature (except, possibly, for the lack of goldie locks on top).

          • Hi Jack!! Oh but Jack! I secretly always thought that caricature looked a lot like you — especially those twinkling eyes. Wait a minute . . . let me find my glasses and put them on. Okay never mind it looks nothing like you except for the lack of goldie locks on top. And we need to meet for lunch one of these days!

  1. I laughed, I cried, I checked my patio for owls. I just LOVE your bedtime stories for grownups. I want to read more! They are very twilight zone and I want an entire book to read!

    • Glad you liked it. Yes, it’s definitely something different from me. Hm . . . maybe there will be a chapter two. I would kind of like to see what happens myself.

  2. The murder weapon has to be an awl. Did I spoil it ? Sorry …

      • I’m a murder weapon ? I’m innocent, ah tells ya ! The only time I ever came close was once when I did such a terrible job of tutoring algebra that they accused me of being a weapon of math destruction.

          • Thank you, Nan. You realize, of course, that you are only encouraging my bad pun behavior. I blame Linda for being such an amusing muse, leading me into a life of schadenfreude turns of English phrases, to which no respectable grammarian darest venture. Plus, sometimes I forget where the sentence started by the time I get to the end of it. QED.

  3. “Mind your own business, you dirty owl.” Excellent insult that will be used at my earliest convenience! And the best thing I find about this piece, which reflects you as a writer, is that no one bats an eyelid about the fact there’s a talking owl in it…it’s beautiful.

    • Well, that idea didn’t work out. However, your story was a catalyst. I haven’t written anything in a month — and I should be writing nearly every day. Somehow, I got intrigued by this idea. Here’s what I came up with. Hope you like it.

      It was a bright and shiny night. It was also a good night for murdering your husband. At least that’s what Randal thought. Randal was an owl who had been visiting Rhiannon at the midnight hour for weeks. Rhiannon assumed it was an owl, although she acknowledged that she might be losing her mind, so she wasn’t quite certain of anything.

      The night was clear and still with air so crisp she could smell the stars. This both elated and alarmed her because before she met Randal she had never been able to smell objects on the other side of the universe. Randal had beckoned her out onto the balcony via mental telepathy—another worrisome incident.

      Rhiannon had waited for her husband to fall asleep, then slipped out of bed, went to the balcony, where she overlooked Los Angeles, the city of light, and of angels. Sadly, she couldn’t smell the lights of LA, even though they were 2,000 light years closer to her than the stars.

      That fact annoyed her so much that she decided to take a smoke. She struck up, hoping that her husband wouldn’t smell the cigarette. There was a lot smelling going on this night, and Rhiannon thought some of it stunk. She took a drag from the cigarette, like a newborn baby taking its first breath. Of course the baby would have to be one living in a city like Beijing, where the air was so polluted that breathing it was like smoking 43 cigarettes a day.

      This made her think about what the cost of tea in China was – just as Randal, white as a dove, flew into view and perched on the balcony’s railing. “So, have you killed the son of a bitch yet?”

      “That’s a hell of a way to begin a conversation,” Rhiannon said.

      “So, in other words, the answer is NO! You don’t obey the malevolent powers very well, do you?”

      Randal was so cute that it hurt her to be accused of anything by him—even declining following the forces of evil.

      “Your husband is the only thing between you and me living in eternal bliss.”

      “How’s that?”

      “I have plans for you and me, baby.”

      “Who?”

      “That’s my line, and I don’t take kindly to anyone using it. I actually have a copyright on it,” Randal bragged. “Who, who,” is pending copyright. Damn those Rolling Stones all to hell. They wouldn’t guess the name in a million years.”

      Then things became suddenly clear to Rhiannon. “Randal. That’s it.”

      “Who?” Randal said evasively.

      “You know I know who, who is. At least now I do, too.”

      You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Besides. Ah-hah. The name’s NOT Randal it’s Lew.”

      “Lew who?”

      “Lew Sapphire.” Randal said.

      “Well, okay. I guess you’re not the devil after all.”

      Of course not. That would be ridiculous.”

      What’s the entire plan? You’ve told me the part about killing my husband, but you haven’t told me the rest of the story.”

      “The rest of the story is beautiful,” Randal smiled with an adorable bend of his little White Owl head.

      “So what is it?”

      “You go in there, put a pillow over the bastard’s head, suffocate the jerk, come out here, we jump off the balcony together, and plunge into the beautiful lights to our glorious deaths.

      Rhiannon thought the plan over for a while, trying to make sense of it. And it wasn’t make any sense. Then she noticed an alarmed look on Randal’s face. “Hey, let me get you a gift,” he said and quickly swooped away. Shortly, he returned with a lovely, and tasty, flower that he often brought her.

      She held it in her hand and examined it carefully. “This is belladonna!”

      “Who?” Randal stated, ruffling his feathers. “I don’t know no Bella nor no Donna. It’s just you and me, baby. Just like Romeo and Juliet.”

      “‘Jump to our glorious deaths.’ You’ve got wings. You must think I’m stupid,” Rhiannon said tossing the belladonna off the balcony.

      Randal looked furious and hissed at her viciously. “Not stupid enough, bitch. You haven’t seen the last of me,” he said turning and flying away.

      “I hope you fly into a window,” Rhiannon said.

      She could see Randal flinch just as he became one of the many lights in the city of night.

      ‘Rhiannon rings like a bell in the night, and wouldn’t you love to love her.’

      She went into the room where her husband lay, awoke him, and they chimed till daybreak.

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