A Picture In The Attic

I saw the light
Same picture without supernatural intervention

I do love a nice omen don’t you. Recently a family member has been serving in Afghanistan. My life has been an omen quest seeking reassurance that he will be OK. The garden magpies are tired of being counted and saluted. I have studied tea leaves and cloud patterns. I have been opening books and selecting random words. Then there are the patterns of blowing leaves, not to mention songs on the radio. Not that I’m superstitious or influenced by these things of course. The fact is that all the omens were good and the lad has made it home for Christmas. On his last day there I turned on the TV by chance to see the movie Apollo 13 playing. It was the scene where Marilyn Lovell lost her ring down the plughole. Surely this was a post-modern reflexive omen with the message that things can come good even if there is a disconcerting omen.

The importance of being Artist

So, imagine my agitation this morning when a cosmic collision of omens broke my sense of post-Christmas stupor. I was in the lounge. I had moved a painting to an unusual place in order to rearrange the room. As I reached out to the bookshelf to get down my new 2015 copy of the “Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook”. I saw a shaft of light fall on the painting as if it were a sun. The edge of a window pane was refracting the light and focusing it. I noticed that the book I wanted was on top of the works of Oscar Wilde, containing of course “A Portrait Of Dorian Gray”, in which a hidden painting reveals the true life of a man. This was omen OMG overload. I was trying to decide if 2014 was to be the end of my commercially invisible writing career. 2015 could be a scribble free zone with a proper paying job punctuated by meaningful three for the price of two experiences in Walmart. Was the cosmos sending me a sign? Should there be a third “Passion Patrol” title where the girl cop solves the case with supernatural assistance? She leaves her police equipment unattended while she cavorts in abandoned lust with her mysterious enigmatic lover. Later she opens her official notebook to find the writing of a phantom hand has provided a key to a major crime. Only thing is…… it hasn’t happened yet!

The picture is by Dorset artist Graham Towler and is called Dorset Hill Fort.

Emma Thinx: Will we know it’s the future when we get there?

Beg Steal or Burrow

It’s that first insecure Wednesday. Things should be OK this month because I woke up shortly after midnight yesterday morning and before I said anything else I uttered the magic word “RABBITS”. I know that some folk say white rabbits but I believe that this weakens the spell. Of course some of you will have no idea of what I talking about. I hesitate to use the word superstition because that makes it all seem kinda – well – nuts. An old English custom of saying “rabbits” on the first day of the month was drilled into me by my mother. If at some point during the next four weeks I dropped some china or failed an exam (regular events) she would sigh and shake her head resignedly saying “It’s you own fault – you didn’t say your rabbits.” All I could do then was to cling on – expecting to fall at each hurdle until the next 1st of the month. As the broken china, failed exams, missed buses, lost boyfriends and publishers rejection slips piled up in  the hallways of my life, I guess I often forgot to say “rabbits”. 

When I had my own little bunnies I decided that I would never impose this type of insecurity on them. That was until my ex husband bought the first pair of baby shoes and put them on the table. I had to divorce him to clear the curse although for years he clung on by saying “Good morning Sir” to the magpies just to please me. Believe it or not when we split up, the removal men dropped my mirror but I told them to pack it with his stuff so that he would take the bad luck with him. 

So, having said the magic word I clicked on my Amazon KDP account to see if the new month brown bar of doom had disappeared. As you will recognise comrades, my sense of personal worth is linked to my sales figures. As the new month arrives the counters return to zero and there is just this brown nihilistic line. (Ooooh – I’ve been trying to get that intellectual word into something for years!) 1st of May – 0004 hours, a sale was made. I slept secure. By morning two books had been returned. The brown line had gone – but I am less than nothing. As I drove my bus around the town there was not a single magpie to greet to lift my gloom. A seagull dumped his entire bowel contents onto my windscreen and I shouted at it to F*** off. When I got home I had made some sales. Yes – that old mystic seagull oath never fails.

It’s all a load of tosh isn’t it. My wonderful partner works and works to help me and he has never thrown salt or said rhymes to spiders. He tells me that more effort means more success. He’s a kinda business type. I know he’s right. That’s why I’ve doubled up on my lottery tickets.

Emma thinx: You can make your own luck, but the ready meals taste the same.

Camera Obscura

You know that feeling when things are going well – that feeling of inevitable victory that all those self improvement gurus tell you to re-create when you’re about to take that penalty to win the World Cup. Well, today I had that feeling. Traffic was light. I sailed through a verdant spring-time of green traffic lights. A police officer was hiding in the front garden of a house with a speed gun and a bus coming the other way tipped me off. I cruised past him at 10 miles per hour as he pointed his ray gun at me. I gave him a big “Gotcha” wave and a smirk as I passed his bush hideout. I could see a twisted rage etched on his snide face. He looked like he needed the figures for the boss. A bus would have been a headline “public menace trapped by hero cop” catch.

I swung the bus back into the yard at the depot. There was a good clear slot to back in. I shut down and got my things together….I wrote the date on the defect sheet – the 13th. Hah! I said to myself – No worries. Then I glanced back through the aisle. There was a leg sticking out from behind the back seat. There was no discernible movement. “Oh F***k” I thought. I dashed to the scene and saw a lad sleeping so peacefully that it was almost beautiful. Some kind of intuition woke him up. He stared at me. At least he was alive. I knew that he should have got off at a stop about 5 miles from the depot. It was my own fault. Some of the kids get off at stops and some go to their front door. This kid hadn’t got off and I hadn’t noticed. He should have been home about 90 minutes earlier. I jumped back to the wheel and queued through the rush hour to get him home. I took him to the door, explained things to his mother and did a 46 point turn to get out of his road. Back at the depot my slot had gone and I was left with an angled shunt into a tight gap. It’s just so easy to break a mirror! Looks like the next 7 years are gonna be tough. I didn’t cry – well, not much. At least I can dream of that thwarted cop sobbing in his bush.

Before my afternoon shift I clicked on the TV and watched a black and white film about the sinking of the battleship “Bismarck” in World War Two. I just love those posh clipped accents and duffel coats. The good guys won of course. Suddenly I saw a deep truth of the universe. Colour film destroys Empire. When history was in black and white we won. Since colour we have been in a downward spiral. Come to think of it our prime minister looks a bit orange. Can’t imagine dear old Winston in spray tan.

Emma thinx: Superstition – the popular front for legitimate mystery.