Scale Things Down

giant-plug Crispina Kemp

Photo: Crispina Kemp


“We’re gonna have to scale things down,” The Earl noted.

“Yep,” Monterey scratched the stubble that sprouted, stubborn, on his chest. He was going to refuse the grooming nonsense next time.

“Got the shrink?”

Monterey nodded. He’d put up with the thumping for the last bit of journey. Annoying though it was, the noise did save him the trouble of going into the back compartment to check whether the cargo was still alive.

“Have him at it, then.” The Earl turned and strode back into his cab.

Monterey waited till The Earl disappeared from view before bending to rummage through the vehicle’s boot. He plucked the squirming figure out of its perforated container and held the furious man between finger and thumb.

“You’re a shrink,” he rumbled, pointing another hand at the air-ship’s anchor and chains. “These are too big. Can’t have’em stay this way. So you best shrink this.”




For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge



In Quotes


Photo: Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash


“Oh, wow!”

“I know.”

“Did they really decide you were threatening violence against others?”




“But you weren’t!”

‘I know.”

“And you’re the last person I can think of who’d do anything like that.”

“Thank you. Indeed I wouldn’t. I was speaking out against the threat of violence … and yet …”



“So now what?”

“I don’t know. As soon as I saw they suspended me, I’ve appealed. I pointed out I was protesting false-choice and threats of violence against the helpless. That I was absolutely not promoting violence. I pointed out that I’d placed any graphic words in quotes exactly because I wanted to make sure it was clear that this was an example of what someone like a Mafioso, in their false-choices, might say. I told them that this was an analogy. That that’s why I put it in quotes. I was certain they’ll reinstate my account. Instead, they wrote back to say that they’d reviewed my appeal and ‘found’ me to have been threatening violence and therefore they won’t restore my account.”

“I can’t believe this is the conclusion they’ve reached!”

“Me neither. It hurts my heart.”

“But you were doing the opposite of threatening people!”

“I know. I abhor violence. Against anyone. By anyone. In fact, this was why I was pointing out the wrong of using violence as a threat.”

“Can’t they see that for themselves? Also, all they need to do is read some of the stuff you write and do and stand for. I mean, this is ludicrous!”


“You of all people …”


“Sheesh! What’s wrong with them?”

“Actually, I’m not angry they wanted to take a look. If anything even appears to be threatening, it should be examined. I’m okay with that. What does upset me is that even after supposedly reviewing this, they say I was threatening violence, when I was absolutely not. I’m dismayed that in spite of me pointing out that this was a quote (and yes, it was in quotes!) of what a mafioso might say to gain compliance, they don’t see this for the analogy it was. I’m upset they don’t believe me I was protesting, via use of the mafia analogy, the untenable situation others are currently facing. I was protesting violence, not promoting it!”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I know.”

“So now what?”

“I’ve re-appealed. I hope they’ll reconsider.”

“Now you wait?”

“I guess so.”

“And in the meanwhile?”

“I write here. I continue speaking against violence and injustice. I continue to trust people will do the right thing. I breathe. I don’t know what more …”

“Can I help?”

“You already are.”

“I am?”

“Yes. It helps that you’re listening. It helps to have you validate that you know I would not threaten to do harm to anyone. It helps that you’re here. It helps that you’re kind. It helps that you’re you.”





For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: Oh



Name Protection, Preschool Style

“My mommy said not to write my name.”

“She did?”

I am easy pickings for leg pulling and the kids know it, but somehow this little tyke looks dead serious. None of the tell-tell signs of lip corners dying to lift in merriment. None of the twinkly eyes that let me know I have been had. Again.

I’ve been through all manner of stories that led to hilarity-about-my-gullibility: Believing that a child had gone to the circus instead of school, or that their grandma allowed ice-cream for dinner, that they went to the zoo on a rainy day and everyone got wet (in actuality, this one was wishful thinking, as the trip got cancelled…), or that their dad said they would get another iPad all their own (scratch that, this one ended up being true … the earlier version having lost its sheen, in the eyes of the child or father, I’m not sure …).

This no-writing-name business; however, that was new. No hidden grins, either.

“Your mommy said not to write your name?” Maybe I misheard. Happens.

Little-Tyke nods serenely.

“How come?”


Fair enough. We grownups should get a taste of our own medicine at times. Not that I do a lot of the “because” why-chain-question-closer, but I probably have said it once in a while when it became too clear that questions served to avoid work, and not for real curiosity or learning.

“Hmm. I’m curious, though …”

Little-Tyke gazes at me.

“Is it you who should not write your name, or is everyone not allowed?”

Frown. Tiny creases appear in the five-year-old’s forehead. Cute as a button, this one. Even perplexed. Maybe especially when perplexed.

“I think only me. Me not write it. You can because it is your job already.”

“Ah, okay. That’s good to know.”

Sage nod.

“Why do you think you can’t write your name?” I really want to know. This rings  of misunderstanding of adult-talk.

Throughout this all the nanny, her head buried in her cell phone, ear-buds plugged in, sits motionless by the far table she often chooses to wait by, rather than on the couch near us, where most caregivers sit. I have come to believe that the sessions are a time of rest for her, a calm refuge from having to constantly watch an active munchkin, and I know she has very long days.

“Because you’re not suppose to,” the kid brings me back to the topic. “You not suppose to write your name.”

Now I’m not supposed to, either? Is this a repeat of something he heard said, a glimpse into the bigger context of this misunderstanding?

“Why, though.”

“The bad people will steal it.” The boy’s expression is certainty reincarnate.


“Yeah, if you write your name then the bad people take it and steal it and take all your numbers and even all your money and then you don’t have a name anymore.”

Identity theft. Preschool style.

A few moments of discussion of private information and how one can still have a name even if they write it … and Little-Tyke is reassured that he ‘probably’ could add his name on the drawing he had made to take home. I leave it as an open option. No pressure … For extra measure of reassurance–and because I don’t want to put him in a bind of doing something I say is okay but that be believes his mom said was not–I send a text to his mom in his presence and following his approval of the query wording: “can LT write his name on the work he does here?”

The mom’s response is “??? of course he can! Is everything okay?”

“All fine.” I respond. “I’ll explain on phone. TTYL,”

The little boy’s eyes have been glued to the phone’s little screen. He sits up suddenly, part-admonishing, part-suspicious, part-gratified. “Aha! You see? You didn’t write your name, either!”


info use