From a series of short form fictions taking inspiration from collage.
“Rachel! What have you done to your stepfather, come out from your bedroom – this instant!” Her mother was upset and angry; Rachel could tell by the familiar tone adopted and the words used. “You’ve cast a spell upon him haven’t you?! What has he done to deserve such a curse, this time?”
Descending the staircase with an understated stomp, Rachel settled on the fourth step, sat down and peered through the banister railings.
“Wait,” she said, “Why? What’s he doing? What’s wrong with him?” She looked across the lounge-diner to where her stepfather Nathan was stood wearing only his pyjama bottoms and moccasin slippers. In answer to her question, he fell down onto one knee and opened both his arms out as wide as he could, palms shaking, his fingers splayed.
“Make ’em laugh! Make ’em laugh!
Don’t you know, everyone wants to laugh?”
Rachel suppressed a satisfied grin, as her mother gave her a look of exasperation.
“He’s been like this all morning; randomly singing several lines from one musical to another! Look!” On cue, Nathan jumped up and hopped around the coffee table in mimic of an adolescent joey marsupial.
“Don’t cry for me Argentina
The truth is, I ne-ver left you
All through my wil-d days
My ma-d existence
I kept my prom-ise
Don’t keep your distance”
“Why Rachel, why?” Her mother asked, through gritted teeth.
“Well, he shouldn’t have been so critical about the ‘Cats’ movie. When I came home last night from seeing it, all he could do was criticise – when he’s not actually seen it.” Rachel rose, gripped hold of and swung around the bottom banister post. Acquiring a gruff voice, she continued. “Too much CGI. Famous actors making fools of themselves. An embarrassment for the Director.”
“I see.” Said her mother. “So, as punishment for your stepfather being… well, his normal-usual-self, you cast a spell on him so that he can only sing hit songs from famous musicals. Is that right, little miss madam?”
“Doe, a deer, a female deer.” Nathan piped in, having mounted the back of the velvet upholstered settee, as if it were a horse.
“Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow so
Tea, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to doe oh oh oh.”
“I made a wish Mummy, not a spell, a wish. He made me angry with his ignorance. I love the film, it’s non-stop entertainment, it’s fun and dreamy…. and it’s about cats. Why do adults have to spoil everything?” Rachel’s mother withdrew to the kitchen, rolled her sleeves and turned on the hot tap, in preparation to wash yesterday evening’s dinner plates, cutlery and wine glasses.
“Well, can you please un-wish him singing these songs? I can feel a migraine coming.”
“In a moment. There’s one more I want to hear.” At this statement, Rachel’s stepfather rolled off the settee and onto the carpet, finishing up clinging to the kitchen door frame. With an earnest, emotional expression fixed, Nathan looked upwards towards the red and white lamp-shaded light, suspended from the kitchen ceiling.
“Me-mory, all alone in the moonlight…”