Monday, August 24, 2015

Rock Solid




“Got ‘em.”

“Window frames with glass?”


“Doors, front and back?”

“Double check.”

“Nails, various sizes?”



“That went out with the ice age, but if you insist, check.”

“Paint, several shapes of blue?”

“Why blue?”

“Reminds me of the sea. You know; tranquility, sea birds, setting sun, and all that.”

“Right. Anything else?”

Mr. MacLean scanned his list, and seeing only checkmarks, sighed in relief.

“Nope, everything is present and accounted for. Tomorrow we begin to build.”

And so it was that as soon as dawn broke the next day, MacLean’s crew began work on his fine brick house nestled among the trees by the river. Day after day, they toiled. The weeks past as the investment of McLean’s lifetime took form before his proud eyes.

MacLean was a fine man, upstanding and well respected in his community. He gave generously of his time, and his considerable wealth, to support charities and worthy causes of all kinds. People commented that he deserved his new home by the river. It was a tribute to hard work, clean living, and an open hand.

The property had been his own choice, for which he had spent a great deal of money. The sound of the current fascinated him, as it tumbled over the rocks in the shallows of the river. The boathouse would go just to the left of the house so as not to obstruct his view.

As the masterpiece of human art and craft took shape, MacLean did have his moments of concern. The river was not his to control, or to own. There were others who were building nearby. Just off to the right, and higher up on the bluff, another house was under construction.

Just think. I worked all my life for this land and this house, and someone gave this guy that land.

MacLean had seen his soon-to-be neighbour around town. The man wasn’t ashamed to tell everyone of the gift that he had been given. He seemed a man without pride in his accomplishments, though it certainly could not be said that he was any less generous than MacLean himself.

As the summer wore on, the two houses rose together. The townsfolk often came to check up on the progress of each, marveling at their similarities, and their differences.

“Well, they are certainly houses,” commented one observant individual.

Doors, floors and furnishings; in the basics, they looked the same. However, MacLean’s neighbour seemed content to let his house take the shape of the land it sat on, while MacLean made the land conform to the blueprints he had so carefully drawn up.

Finally, the house by the river was finished.

“Mr. MacLean, you got a winner here,” said the foreman as he finished gathering up his tools and his crew. “That guy up there will be feeling some stiff breezes while you enjoy this sheltered corner of the river bank.”

“Yes, indeed, there’s no doubt about it, I have built a great house of which I can be justifiably proud.”

And MacLean entered his house; sat in the expensive furniture he has carefully selected from the finest stores, and watched the river flow by his door.

In November, cold air from the north heralded the coming of the first of the early winter storms. The breezes, about which the supervisor had commented, turned into stiff winds that buffeted the house on the bluff. Down by the river, the trees sheltered MacLean, and he hardly noticed that the climate had changed. He went to sleep in peace, with the sound of the currents filling his dreams.

He awoke to a loud banging on his front door and two inches of water splashing across his bedroom floor.

“MacLean, hurry. The river is rising rapidly. You have to get out now.”

It was the neighbour from the bluff. MacLean flung open the front door. The boathouse was already gone, and his beautiful home was creaking and groaning, already buckling as the swelling tide of river water lashed at its walls and posts.

There was no time to save anything and in what seemed like an eternity of minutes, MacLean found himself in the house on the bluff, watching as the river washed away all that was so valued by him. The water never reached his neighbour’s house.

“Where did I go wrong?”

His neighbour placed a comforting hand on MacLean’s shoulder.

“You wouldn’t have lost anything if you had built on the Rock.”

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cereal Killer

Hither, thither, up and down,
Across the factory floor,
“Where is that boy, what has he done?”
Yelled Crackle with a roar.

“We can’t proceed, there is no chance,
Everything’s too quiet.
Production’s stopped, no means to find
A place in human diet.”

Pop was annoyed; there was no doubt—
Perhaps a bit afraid.
Some evil could have entered here
And made a nasty raid—

To steal a third of Krispies' fame
And hide it in a dungeon
A ransom ask, or worse to come,
To kill the sweet curmudgeon.

‘Tis true Snap’s temper was quite short,
But that should not require
A punishment as foul as death
A fate that is so dire.

Crackle paced and Pop thought hard.
The problem was confusing
A dozen reasons came and went
Each one set him to musing.

“Perhaps he fell into his bowl
And drowned in low-fat milk.
We need to go and see if he
Needs help from his own ilk.”

While empty boxes stood in rows,
Crackle’s ire grew.
No work was done, no food produced,
He knew just what he’d do:

“I’ll break his neck when next I see
My misbegotten brother.
If he’s not dead, or locked away,
Send running to his mother.”

Pop grew tall and spoke his mind:
“You speak in such a fury
Your words are harsh, but so untrue,
I hope that it’s just worry.”

The factory door swung open wide
A gasp was heard from all
As onto factory floor walked in
The cause of Crackle’s gall.

“So sorry, guys, I overslept.
I hope that you’ll decide
To overlook this lapse of mine.”
On grace, Snap now relied.

Pop was relieved there hadn’t been
A death, or something other
But Crackle wasn’t so inclined
To pardon his dear brother.

“Have you no sense of what is right?
You could have used your cell
To tell us that you were delayed,
That all was right and well.”

True to form, Snap’s fuse was short
No one could deny it
Both brothers took to fisticuffs
Thus ending all the quiet.

The rice got puffed, the boxes trembled,
Waxed paper tumbled ‘round,
As brothers fought to a dead heat;
Not ceding any ground.

Pop was forced to intervene
His veins about to shatter
With face so red from such disgrace
And nerves about to tatter.

“All this fuss, and useless muss,
‘Cuz Snap was late for work
I must take charge, as fathers should,
My duty not to shirk.”

“Please understand that what you do
Has many repercussions.
The children want ‘Snap,’ ‘Crackle,’ ‘Pop,’
Not rice with head concussions.”

“The sound they hear should happy be
Not of war, but peace.
So let’s forgive and move along
Production to increase.”

The lessons learned from Krispie sounds
Within our hearts should lurk:
Think the best, control your ire—
And don’t be late for work.