Fortuna Lee
Miss Fortuna Lee is real mysterious. Tater never had the nerve to step inside,
so he stays out on her porch if he gotta talk to her.

The Bumpy-Umpy Life of Lillian Haversham, A Tale of the Tubes

Lillian Haversham had a mole.

Not the kind that digs in your garden and roots up your roots, splurges on your spinach, beats up your beets, tears up your turnips and leaves no lettuce leaf unturned, but the other kind. A big, swollen bumpy-umpy-looking thing, slightly off-color, and the subject of more than one off-color joke by her cruel peers and Piers, who was really never a very nice boy in the first place. He got his comeuppance, but that was later, and not the subject of this story a'tall, a'tall.

A tall tale this might seem to be, but it is nevertheless true, or most of it is, at least at the time of telling, which is neither here nor there, but really more a matter of when, and how much. It's a tale of secrets, and betrayal and identity and the internet, and queens and drama, and dramaqueens to boot.

Lillian Haversham had a mole, and what's worse, the mole had a hair growing out of it. Not right in the middle, as one would expect, but off to the side, as if someone had grabbed hold of the ugly and yanked it sideways.

Repulsed you may be, and repulsed am I, at the thought of the mole that was the shape of a broken heart, slightly off-color, swollen, bumpy-umpy-looking, with a hair growing out of the side of it. It grew and grew, right on Lillian Haversham's face, and she hated, hated, hated that mole.

Her mother told here that the mole would build her character. Her mother was a twittery flibberty-gibbet though, and not much of an authority. Not that she used Twitter, mind you, or had any character come to that, but twittery in the old sense of the word. A flighty bird brain, with none of the sense of swallows. Her father told her that she was beautiful anyway, despite the bumpy-umpy mole. Her father was a renowned liar and a bad poker-player to boot, however, so how much credence could Lillian really give anything he said? Her grandmother would only cluck her tongue every time she gazed upon Lillian, and make the sign of the cross, as if the invisible spell could ward off the curse of ugly. Grandma was a real bitch.

Lillian grew up and out, and over and above board, and once she had saved the pence to do the pinch, she had her ugly heart-shaped slightly off-color, swollen, bumpy-umpy-looking mole with the hair growing out of the side of it ::deep breath::: removed.

Given the ugly that was Lillian's life - not to mention her face - she found solace as many do, on the internet. Oh yay, anonymity! No one can see you, you can be whomever you wish! Remake, redesign, rename, reimagine, reeeegardless of the truth, you're only who you want to be, what you type, what you post, what you tell the tube-world about yourself.

Lillian reveled in the internet, in fact she wallowed in it. Lillian was a Princess, her family became Kings 'n Queens 'n evil witches, though the which is which is not the witch you expect. One day she discovered a wondrous blunderous site called "ISeeYouDoYouSeeMe?"

Lillian joined up, and for once and only, she used her real name. Because that's what "ISeeYouDoYouSeeMe?" said you had to do. Lillian invited her internet friends, and made friends with their friends, and she shared and shared her thoughts and plots, her dreams and her schemes, her bumps and roads, and trips and dips, and photos of herself on long past family vacations. Lillian told everyone everything about herself, that is, every thing except one.

No one knew about her secret, her surgery, her shame. No one but no one knew about the mole.

Everyone was joining "ISeeYouDoYouSeeMe?", and Lillian was in heaven. Until the day that every site on the internet started linking to "ISeeYouDoYouSeeMe?" and Piers came back into her life.

"Hey, I recognize that story! I went to that party! I know those people! I know your name! Aren't you the girl with the ugly heart-shaped slightly off-color, swollen, bumpy-umpy-looking mole with the hair growing out of the side of it that I went to school with?" pointed out Piers.

He posted it on his Corkboard. He posted it on her Corkboard. It was instantly glintstantly posted everywhere, on every page of hers, her friends, and the friends of her friends on "ISeeYouDoYouSeeMe?"

Lillian was mortified, mummified, and mute. Tears ran down her face, her hand trembled, her heart raced, and she felt as if she'd been betrayed. She closed her browser window, and swore never to visit "ISeeYouDoYouSeeMe?" ever never again. She turned off her computer, turned her back, and swore she'd turn over a new leaf, one the mole had never gotten.

Hours passed, then days and weeks, and by and by, Lillian couldn't stand the silence, and decided to turn her computer on once again. She cautiously opened the first page, the one she called Home.

"Welcome, Lillian Haversham, the girl with the ugly heart-shaped slightly off-color, swollen, bumpy-umpy-looking mole with the hair growing out of the side!" screamed the personalization banner at the top of the page. "Hair Removal results by Google" and "Get rid of ugly moles and warts!" shouted the ads on the side of the page.

Every single site on the entire internet had the same greeting for Lillian.

Snap! Went the browser.

Crackle! Went the computer monitor as it hit the floor.

Pop! Went the undetected aneurism in Lillian's brain.

"Hey whatever happened to Lillian, the girl with the ugly heart-shaped slightly off-color, swollen, bumpy-umpy-looking mole with the hair growing out of the side of it?" asked Magpie87 a month or two later.

"No one knows," replied LittleRedHen42. "No one knows."

And no one did.

Raccoon Dances At Midnight

Raccoon climbed down out of his tree at dusk, and ambled down to River. He sat in the cold rushing river for a few moments, eying the swirls & twirls of the water and the darting fish, then suddenly plunged his front paws in, quick as you please.


He flipped out a fine, fat fishy from the river, slit its gullet from stem to stern though it still wiggled and squiggled, scraped out the innards, and proceeded to wash the flesh and strip off the skin. Sharp claws and sharp teeth made proverbial aquatic mincemeat out of fishy, then he was no more.

Gulp! Ulp! Slurp! Burp!


"Quite impressive, Raccoon," came a voice from the shore. 

River was safe haven, so Raccoon wasn't worried, even though Hawk was someone he ordinarily avoided. Not that he was afraid. Exactly.

"Thank you, Sir Hawk," Raccoon said politely. "It's a skill taught me by my mother. A fine furry female she was, quick as a...."

Raccoon's voice trailed off just as he remembered why Mama Raccoon was no longer with him, and that one time when she wasn't quite quick enough. That had been a hawk too, though not this particular one.

"Yes, I remember Mama, Raccoon. Sad, so sad," Hawk's voice trailed off sympathetically for the blink of a bird's eye. "Motherly love, natural order, ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that. Moving on!" he squawked.

"What is it you want, Hawk?" interrupted Raccoon, who wasn't used to being this close to Hawk, and really was just the tiniest bit afraid, and a whole lot of suspicious.

"Not a thing, not a thing, Raccoon! No need to be rude! I'm all tired out from the dancing we did today, and just wanted to grab a quick drink of water to wash down this fine fat mouse I caught, then I'm going to retire for the night," said Hawk.

Now, Raccoon was no fool, and he knew that Hawk must have some ulterior motive for striking up a conversation. Hawks in general aren't terribly talkative, usually preferring to let their talons do the talking, but the mention of dancing made Raccoon's ears perk up. Dancing! Oh joyous jitterbug!

"Dancing?" asked Raccoon, trying to sound not half as eager as he felt.

"Indeed!" answered Hawk. "We danced and danced in the old field with the broken-off stump and the brambleberry bushes all around it. Right at noon, when the sun is highest in the sky. Danced ourselves silly, we did. All the best daylight creatures were there."

Now, if there was anything in the world that Raccoon couldn't resist, it was a little wilderness waltz. That "best daylight creatures" crack didn't go unnoticed though, as everyone knows that raccoons are largely nocturnal, and Raccoon knew it was a dig. Still, the opportunity to show off his night moves in a daytime dalliance was tempting.

"You should join us tomorrow!" said Hawk brightly.

Raccoon nodded, and after a bit of hemming and hawing and jawing and cawing, the two creatures agreed to meet for dancing in the old field with the broken-off stump and the brambleberry bushes all around it the very next day.

Morning dawned clear and bright, and Raccoon was quite sure that today was going to be a good day. After visiting a relative or two around midnight, he'd taken a short nap in the wee hours of the night so that he wouldn't be too tired for dancing. He curled up in the crook of a crooked tree at the edge of the field with the broken-off stump and the brambleberry bushes all around it, and waited out the morning with one eye open, and the other eye shut. He was feeling a bit sleepy, but not too much, and wanted to see the daylight creatures as they arrived for the dancing that was scheduled for noon.

Raccoon reached down and absently rubbed his rump, which was feeling a bit sore from where the bramble next to the stump had caught his fur earlier this morning. He could still see the clump of fur waving  slightly in the breeze below.

Grass rustled below, and Raccoon caught sight of Rabbit. One after another, the daylight creatures scampered, skittered, swooped and looped their way into the field. Field Mouse, Fox, Snake, Squirrel, Chipmunk, six more rabbits, and Swallow all showed up and showed themselves, but then went about their business and were soon gone. All the while Raccoon kept his perch high above in the tree, hidden by leaves and camouflage.

Exactly at noon, a distant dot in the sky got not-so-distant, and swooped and looped closer to the field. It was Hawk, right on schedule, here for the "dancing."

Circling, circling, circling...

Closer, closer, closer....


Puma leaped eight feet straight up into the air, grabbed Hawk in her powerful paws and jaw, shook him once and snapped his neck.

Raccoon closed the other eye, a slight smile on his face, and a definite sense of satisfaction in his heart. He was looking forward to dancing tonight, and knew just where he could get some feathers to wear.

Donkey, Horse, Goat

Once upon a time, there was a donkey, a horse, and a goat. They were called, not-so-very-oddly, Donkey, Horse, and Goat.

Donkey was a stubborn cuss, and would dig his feet into the earth and shout, "no, no, no!" every time Horse or Goat crossed a new stream (which was really more of a trickle these days,) or tried out the hay in a new field. He couldn't see much beyond his own nose, and as far as he was concerned, only the hay in the Main Field was nutritious and delicious enough for him.

Horse was no adventurer, but he liked to get along with everyone, and not wanting to either upset Donkey, nor content to eat from the same old stale hayfield year after year, he would occassionally twitch his tail at Donkey, and follow Goat off on some new adventure. "Well, maybe it will turn out to be ok," he was fond of saying. Most times it turned out to be very ok, and was really quite a lovely adventure.

Goat was the explorer of the trio, was always ready to try new things, new foods, and make new friends, whether they were from his particular farm, or from the farm two counties over, where they grew the freshest watermelons you can imagine. Or so they'd heard.

One lovely summer day, when change was in the air and the three animals could practically smell the fresh watermelon, even if it was two counties over, Goat suggested they slip their leads and meander over to check out the watermelon crop to see if it really was as nutritious and delicious as the rumors said, and fill their bellies with sweet, succulent fruit.

"It's something new to try," said Goat, a gleam in his eye at the thought of a bit more variety in his diet.

"It'll probably be ok," said Horse, not quite willing to admit that he was looking forward to the addition to his daily fare.

"No, no, no!" shouted Donkey, true to his usual habit. "It might be poison," he said, "it might give us tummyaches," he objected, "we don't know the proper way to eat it," he wailed, "besides, what shall we do with the rinds?" he finished in exasperation, "they'll clutter up the field and we might trip over them!"

Goat snorted at Donkey, and ran off at a trot, his nose following the sweet smell of marvelous melons, which had now taken on monumental proportions in his mind. "Monumentally marvelous melons," he thought to himself, nearly giggling in delight.

Horse looked wistfully at Goat, already halfway down the road, then looked balefully back at Donkey. Or was it plaintively? The two looks were very hard to tell apart.

Donkey dug in his heels, and rocked back and forth, "No, no, no!" he kept muttering over and over, "We'll be poisoned, we'll get tummyaches, we'll trip on the rinds!"

Finally, Horse decided he'd had enough of hay and hemhawing, and so trotted after Goat to seek out the monumentally marvelous melons, just two counties over.

A few weeks passed, and by and by, Horse and Goat decided it was time to go home. They'd sated and slurped, they'd munched and mouthed, they'd gobbled and giggled, and had truly gotten their fill, but home was home, and though he was a Royal pain in the Ass sometimes, (really, he was - related to the House of Windsor, we understand,) they did miss Donkey.

The two friends packed as much watermelon into the sacks on their backs as they could carry, determined to bring back some of the monumentally marvelous melons to their monumentally stubborn friend.

A day's walk, and a night's trot brought them home to the farm, and the Main Field, where they'd last seen Donkey. They were eager to share their bounty, and tell him of their wonderful adventures, and all the new friends they'd met at the farm two counties over, some of whom were planning on a visit to the Farm, come autumn. They were excited too, because they wanted to tell Donkey about the seeds they'd brought, so they could plant their very own watermelon patch, and that they wouldn't have to leave the farm again anytime soon, unless of course, some other wondrous food came to their attention.

But search as they might, they couldn't find Donkey. He wasn't in the upper part of Main Field, he wasn't in the lower part of Main Field. He wasn't in the barn, nor down by the stream, and he wasn't helping Farmer plow the field.

Finally, nearly three days after they'd come home, they found Donkey, or what was left of him. There wasn't much more than bones, and it wasn't hard to see what had happened. The stream had dried up, the hay had withered in the scorching sun, and Donkey had died, stubborn to the last, with his feet dug in, and a final "No, no, no!" on his dying lips.

"Oh, Donkey!" cried Horse. "I would have proved to you how sweet the monumentally marvellous melons were! I would have given you spearmint if you got a tummyache, and could have shown you how to pop the watermelons open without looking silly at all, at all."

"Too late, too late!" cried Goat. "I would have eaten the rinds for you, you silly Ass!"

"Ayup," said the farmer as he tossed another shovelful of dirt on Donkey's grave. "Been wantin' some of them melons."