Lucy Crowe's Nest: December 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Contest Entry: Nicola and The Whopper

I love contests! So often, they are the key to meeting other authors and occasionally, even publication.  This one found me via Facebook, and I couldn’t resist. I apologize in advance for the decidedly unholidaylike theme, but I was on a deadline, and try as I might I couldn’t fit Christmas into the Horror category that I had decided to write under. Well, you’ll see – I’m including the links as well as the story. My contribution fits under number seven in the Horror section - not really horror at all, but lots of fun. Hope you enjoy!

              ~ Nicola and The Whopper ~

            Nicola’s affinity with frogs had long been established, even before she found The Whopper in the fire station on the day of the drowning - her childhood summers spent largely on the shores of Blue Goose Lake with spotlight and gig in hand, blonde curls caught back with haphazard butterfly clips. Bikinis Tap paid a flat ten dollars per pound for the unfortunate’s hindquarters, and Nicola had purchased books with the proceeds – Steinbeck and Burke and later Sookie Stackhouse.
            But she had never seen a frog the size of The Whopper. He emerged from beneath the gear rack while she was removing her helmet - nudged her boots crosswise and leaped past her, enormous legs trailing.
            “Good Lord.” Burwell passed a gloved hand over his bald head and left a sooty smear just above his eyebrows. “There’s a whopper, kiddo.”
            Nicola had already captured her prey - gray-green and greasy-wet, its warble more like death rales than anything else.
            “Look at that mouth,” Burwell bent close to peer into the pop-eyed visage. “Opens a little wider, he’ll eat you right up.”
            “I’ll put him in my car for now,” Nic twisted away from her coworker with the monstrosity clutched to her chest. “Take him home and turn him loose in the lake.”
            Nicola’s half-sister Benny called at lunchtime, when the EMS crew was still hashing the details of the drowning – her voice so agitated, Nic could practically see her finger- combing her cornrows and rolling her eyes.
            “That thing I did last night, remember? With the frog eggs and the poppet?”
            Nonsensical magic, Benny’s forte; Nicola closed her eyes against a wash of real fear. She would not reply....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Season for Reaching

Okay, here comes Christmas! Life is flying forward in fast motion and it’s time for the tree the gifts the cookies the caroling! If you’re on facebook at all – and I assume you are or you wouldn’t be reading this – I'm sure you've been inundated with holiday posts, everything from the holy rollers to the folks from Walmart.
I know.
I’m going to try to limit my Christmas posts, I promise. But I wanted to share this with you, and, fair warning for those of you who are nonbelievers – this might actually get a tad religious.
I think that belief is more about reaching than anything else, no? That stretch of the mind towards another plateau. This is a good season for reaching. And in doing so I stumbled across the really unique view of Christmas as a subversive holiday.

 (This frame of mind comes to us from the brilliant teachings of Father Barron – he’s all over Youtube, people, and he’s wonderful.)
So, Christmas. Peace, joy, love – subversion, really?
But I love this idea.
Consider this – the Gospel of Luke tells of the shepherds tending their flock by night, how the angels appeared with their message of hope. We tend to think of angels as benign creatures, winged and wreathed in smiles, bathed in light. But no, pay attention. The angel’s first words were “Be not afraid,” which would indicate a real fear on the part of the shepherds. Well, the sky was lit up, strange beings were talking to them. And lets face it, they were simple men, so, perhaps, even “gibbering terror” would be an apt description of their reaction? It gets better! The first angel was then followed by a “host” of angels. Again, we picture song and light. But the Greek word is “stratos” and that word means army. So we have an army of angels. A triumphant army with a message.
The King has come.
I’ve heard it a thousand times. We all have. But this stops me in my tracks. That baby was here with a purpose, and that was, yes, to subvert. The message of love is painful, hard fought for, not easily gained; and it began at that moment with the angels shouting a victory into the boundless night sky over Bethlehem .
We’re meant, I believe, to think about that, at least a little, during the mad rush of the season, in between the Festival of Lights and the cookie bake-offs.
We’re meant to reach. 
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