Five short stories about reaching out for something, trying to get somewhere. The stories range from not being able to reach a destination, such as in the Everyman who experiences the outside world vicariously through those he watches, to trying to reach a place of acceptance that Poppy turns to the Worry Tree to find, to the lingering effects of past destinations and where they leave us in My War Gone By. These are five short stories which will take you on your own journey.
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Franklin told me once that we were all kings or queens. He said that no matter what our circumstances were that we’d always have something to rule over. I guess he meant our own lives.
Franklin had always been a little surreal and whimsical, yet nothing really signalled his inimitable demise into becoming a menace to society. None of the mother-hating, bed-wetting, animal-torturing traits had been there in his childhood; Franklin wasn’t evil, just a little left of centre. He always wore normal clothes, no fads in black, no faux military garb. A jeans and T-shirt guy was Franklin. Jeans and t-shirt. How normal. How ordinary.
He told me once about how he had found this raccoon in the park. Somehow, he said, he had managed to coax it into his hands. Franklin always believed that he had an affinity with animals. Dr Doolittle was his childhood idle. In his formative years, he always wanted to be the great animal lover himself. He even found himself a top hat and tails at a thrift store and would put them on and parade around the local zoo, stopping at cages and holding conversations with the trapped animals. Alas, he got more attention from people than the actual animals, but it never perturbed him. I don’t think he really noticed. He was a happy go lucky young man. Nothing phased him. If something didn’t go his way then he wouldn’t sit back for a second and show any regret. His head was always full of ideas and he’d simply glide into the next performance that his mind would decide to stage.
Anyway, he told me this raccoon had told him that its name was Richard. Richard the raccoon. I guess alliteration has always been rife in the animal kingdom. Richard the Raccoon told Franklin that he was far from home and lost. Franklin told him not to worry because he’d take care of him. Franklin told me that he’d taken him home and from that day on, he’d allowed the raccoon to share his bed. I urged him not to mention too loudly in public that particular fact. I didn’t believe him of course. You don’t find raccoons here, it was most likely a squirrel.