Don’t Mess With The Moon

November 4, 2013 § 10 Comments

Just a bit of fun. But also an exercise in character development through dialogue…

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            ‘I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up,’ said Ben, scratching ice off the bedroom window with a fingernail.

            India pressed her nose against the glass. ‘Why?’

            ‘I’ll be able to go places you can’t. Like outer space.’

            India’s bottom lip wobbled. ‘I’ve got a passport so I can come too.’

            ‘Won’t let you. I’m going to the moon like Neil Armstrong. Then I’ll get really famous and never speak to you again.’

His little sister stuck out her tongue.

            ‘Lick that ice,’ said Ben, ‘and Jack Frost’ll make sure your tongue sticks there forever. It’ll hurt like hell and you’ll starve to death.’

            India opened her eyes wide and stared. ‘Is Neil Armstrong still up there, then. On the moon, I mean?’

            ‘Are you blind? I can see him with one eye shut. And the American flag he stuck in the green cheese.’

            ‘Pants on fire,’ she replied, poking him gently.

            ‘Look,’ he pointed. ‘Eyes. Nose. Mouth.’

India turned her head to one side and squinted at the moon. ‘Hmm. Maybe I can see him after all. Oh my God!’ she cried. ‘He’s got a big scary mouth and looks really mean!’

            ‘Blaspheme again and I’ll tell on you.’

‘What’s blaspheming…’

‘Mind your own business. And in any case the man on the moon isn’t mean – he’s grumpy because he’s hungry. There’s nothing to eat but green cheese, and he’s allergic to dairy products.’

            ‘How do you know?’

            ‘Dad said.’

            ‘What else did he say?’

            ‘That Mum’s going nuts tonight because it’s a full moon.’

            ‘Why?’

            ‘Once a month something weird happens to her brain.’

            ‘Lights out,’ said their mother.

            ‘Where’s Daisy The Bobble?’ wailed India. ‘I can’t go to sleep without her. He’s hidden her again.’

            ‘Haven’t.’

            ‘Have.’ She pointed to the pink bobble hat with pointy ears and whiskers under Ben’s bed.

‘You put her there on purpose,’ said Ben.

‘Didn’t.’

‘Did.’

‘Stop it,’ sighed Mum. ‘I’ve had enough.’

            ‘Is it true?’ India whispered as they exchanged kisses. ‘Are you going to go nuts tonight?’

            ‘I will if you don’t go to sleep now,’ she replied, stroking India’s cheek.

But India couldn’t because Neil Armstrong wouldn’t stop glaring at her through the chink in the curtains. He got closer and closer, and was turning into a monster.

            ‘He’s coming to get me,’ she whined. ‘I’m going to die.’

            ‘Shut up, cry baby,’ shouted Ben, sticking his fingers in his ears.

‘What’s going on here then?’ asked Dad.

 ‘Neil Armstrong’s coming,’ replied India, putting Daisy on her head and pointing at Ben. She opened her mouth and roared. ‘Then you’ll be sorry.’

‘There,’ said Dad, rearranging the curtains. ‘And anyway, you’ll be safe because there’s going to be an eclipse and the moon will be hiding.’

‘What’s an eclipse, and is Mum going to go mad tonight?’ India breathed from under the covers.

            But Dad took no notice. ‘Night night,’ he whispered, closing the door with a loud click.

            Ben flicked bits of toast over the breakfast table, and India was making a mess with a soft-boiled egg. ‘Mum?’ she asked. ‘Ben says the moon makes you crazy.’

            ‘Did he now? That’s nothing but an old wives tale.’

            ‘What’s one of those?’

            ‘They’re stories Gran used to believe in the old days. Like it’s bad luck to point at the moon or look at it through a pane of glass. Chickens are supposed to lay more eggs on a full moon too. We’ll go and look in a minute.’

            ‘Codswallop,’ said Ben. ‘You’ll believe anything.’

            ‘Thirteen eggs,’ said Mum. ‘Double the usual. I know who did that.’

            Ben went a bit pale, and locked himself in the bathroom with the encyclopedia.

            That night he was scraping ice off the windows again. India pressed her nose against the glass, her bobble hat pulled over her eyes so she couldn’t look at the moon.

            ‘Cripes!’ shrieked Ben. ‘ Can’t find it anywhere! Or the stars.’

            India pulled Daisy off her head and calmly got into bed. ‘All your fault. You’ve frightened off the moon and broken the stars. Now you’re for it.’

*

PS. Had a think. Chickens don’t lay eggs when it’s cold. Doh!!

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§ 10 Responses to Don’t Mess With The Moon

  • mikesteeden says:

    Gentle and quite delightful – seems to me they need a branch of Holland & Barrett upon said moon!

  • Miranda Stone says:

    Wonderful dialogue here! Well done!

    • Rachael Charmley says:

      Thanks Miranda. That means a lot. Reading a story out loud really helps me sniff out some of the bad bits in dialogues – but the neighbours think I’m quite mad!

      • Miranda Stone says:

        I always read my work out loud. I’m continually amazed at the typos, wooden dialogue, and clunky sentences I find, even after I’ve revised the story several times. You have a gift for writing very natural dialogue!

    • Rachael Charmley says:

      PS. Your poem was immensely moving. I hope it wasn’t too autobiographical.Will there be another poem as your subject moves forward in life? I hope so. x

      • Miranda Stone says:

        Thanks, Rachael! It actually is one of my more autobiographical poems, but I wrote it more as a way to celebrate my self-reliance and independence. If my relationship status does happen to change, you can be assured that any poetry I write about the subject won’t be wrought with melodrama and angst. I went through enough of that in my younger days. 😉

  • Rachael Charmley says:

    How lucky we are as writers that we can ‘write away’ some of our pain. The first novel I ever started was so autobiographical it was awful. I unashamedly navel gazed. So self indulgent. Still, It kind of worked. 🙂

  • I enjoyed this so much. I loved “I’ve got a passport so I can come too”, perfectly captures the discussions that children have.

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