A Calendar of Tales
Neil Gailman is working on a project with BlackBerry to create A Calendar of Tales. (Info Video) It’s really beautiful, and the response on twitter is mind blowing and breath taking and awe inspiring and just glorious. I have no hopes of being chosen for one of the final tales, a girl can only wiggle her way into so many calendars in one year. I still want to participate, though. I answered a few of Neil’s questions on twitter, but you can imagine how hard it is to answer some of these in 140 characters! So this is my lengthy blog post answering all 12 questions, if for no other reason than my own amusement.
#JanTale: Why is January so dangerous?
January is dangerous because it’s a reminder of responsibility, that cannot be argued. Taxes are a thing that happens every year, renew the lease, reapply for financial aide, call the cable company because the internet was only $20 for 12 months, wear pants, and act like the grown up society expects you to be at 23.
#FebTale: What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in February?
My mom’s birthday is Feb 22, same as George Washington. A younger me once asked her if that meant she was as old as him, big mistake.
#MarTale: What historical figure does March remind you of?
My pastor once told me that if you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s Jesus. Jesus is always the right choice. I like how well that joke fits here, good clean Jesus humor. In all honesty though, the only historical figure I associate with March is St. Patrick, because he’s the only one in March whose
birth-deathday Americans have bastardized.
#AprTale: What is your happiest memory of April?
I won’t lie, I was a little angry that of all months April was put with happiness. Nothing about April is ever happy. Not since the accident. April was the most important month for me to share though, because of the accident. Then I realized how stupid I was being. My best friend is April. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of happy memories I do and don’t remember of times with April. Everyday is an adventure, and I fucking love April! So I ended up tweeting this: “Any one memory with @AprilMHickman, is happier than all the month of April has ever given me. #FiveskiBroski”
#MayTale: What’s the weirdest gift you’ve ever been given in May?
May holds no reason for me to get a gift, no birthday, no christmas, I’m not a mother… I did get towels as a graduation gift in May of 08, that’s odd I suppose.
#JunTale: Where would you spend a perfect June?
With Garrett, on a beach. The whole month on beaches with Garrett. In Europe maybe. Every beach in Europe in a month, with Garrett. Yes, this can happen.
#JulTale: What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July?
Honestly, I can’t even think of what the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen is, let alone in the month of July. I go to art school, my view of “unusual” is a bit skewed.
#AugTale: If August could speak what would it say?
I tweeted “And still you survive…” I imagine that August says it very annoyed, yet impressed, mentally upping his game.
#SeptTale: Tell me something you lost in September that meant a lot to you.
Summer vacation? I can’t think of anything I’ve ever lost in September. A stray sock or flip- flop, maybe, but nothing that’s ever meant a lot to me. All I can think of is what I’ve gained, Trisha. Then I remember what I told Mom & Dad when they brought her home “She’s cute, you can put her back now.” I lost that fight.
#OctTale: What Mythical Creature would you like to meet in October? (&why?)
I want to meet either a genie (because I finally figured out my three wishes,) or a Unicorn (because horses are my favorite animals, but also my top allergy and I feel like being allergic to a unicorn would be against the laws of magic or something,) or a fairy (because i never stopped believing ) also gnomes are pretty cool.
#NovTale: What would you burn in November if you could?
A lot of things. I’m a bit of a pyro, I could watch anything insignificant burn. I would not like for my house to burn down again, that wasn’t fun.
#DecTale: Who would you like to see again in December?
The 140 characters version, “ANS, I need to know if I held her hand as she died. I will never remember, no one else cared to notice, but she knows.”
This is honestly one of the few things that haunts me at night. Was I her best friend in that moment? That last second she was herself. As the two of us sat in the back seat of that car, dying, did I do anything? I understand that I was never more than semi-conscious, but we were sitting right next to each other! Seconds before we had squeezed ourself into the frame of her cell phone camera! How conscious do you have to be to reach out to another person? I’ve asked everyone I can that was actually their if they remember. No one noticed. They cut off my seatbelt, I fought the EMTs as they cut off my clothes, but no one took notice if I let go of her hand. Because how could that be important?
Why is January so dangerous?
January sat at a small round table in the darkest corner of the pub. He’d been there for 10 minutes, but the waitress hadn’t noticed him.
Oh, she had noticed him all right. She was purposely avoiding him. Frankly, he scared her. The lines around his mouth formed a permanent scowl. The folds of his eyes gave him a permanent squint. While his gray and white hair should have been endearing, it just topped off his menacing look.
He waved at her to get her attention. She couldn’t ignore him any more. Wordlessly, she stood in front of his table with her pen on her pad.
“Whiskey please. On the rocks.” His voice was gravelly, like a plow truck scraping snow off the pavement.
The waitress turned and walked towards the bar.
A petite woman entered the pub, letting cold air in through the door. After hanging her fluffy, fur-lined coat on the rack, she pulled a seat up at the bar.
“What can I get you?” asked the bartender.
With a smile, she said, “Champagne,” and giggled.
As the bartender retrieved her order, she surveyed the occupants of the establishment. A group of college-aged girls tittered to themselves at two tables pushed together in the middle of the room, occasionally getting loud with celebrations of a birthday. A pair of couples laughed and joked at a table by the bar. At a small table in the opposite corner, a man and woman were obviously on a romantic date. And the unsavory looking man in the leather jacket with the sleeves torn off, not cut, but torn, sat by himself in the dark.
The petite woman brushed her long, fair, curly hair over her shoulder, caught January’s attention, smiled and waved. He responded by displaying a rude gesture. Giggling again, she spun her stool back around to face the bar.
“Anything else,” the bartender asked, placing the tall thin glass in front of her.
“Yes, please,” she said with a smile. “Send that man in the corner a glass of champagne as well. It’s his favorite.”
The bartender poured another glass and gave it to the waitress. “Take this to the man in the corner.”
“His name is January,” added the woman.
The waitress leaned over to the bartender and asked, “Do I have to?”
He gave her a look, and she shuffled over to the table in the dark with the glass in her hand.
“Thank you,” he said. She said nothing and walked away.
With yet another giggle, the woman emptied her glass. “Can I get a whole bottle and a bunch of glasses?”
Shrugging, the bartender put a bottle on a tray of glasses. “Thanks sweetie,” she said, and picked up the tray. The birthday party didn’t see her coming until she spoke up saying, “Let me treat you to some champagne!”
The group gave their thanks as she poured the glasses and passed them around. “Happy birthday,” she made a point of saying to the birthday girl, “and may the rest of your life be filled with love.”
Once they all had glasses in their hands, she moved on to the table of four. “No thanks, we’re okay,” said one man as she approached.
“Please, I insist!” She placed four full glasses on the table and walked away. When she peaked over her shoulder, she saw them all sipping from their glasses.
The couple in the corner were so engrossed in their intimate conversation that she startled them when she said in a soft voice, “It looks like you could use some champagne.” She poured three glasses, picked one up, and said, “To love.” They clinked and sipped.
When the woman returned to her seat at the bar, the bartender and waitress were chatting amongst themselves. She put a glass in front of each of them and said in a fake whisper, “I won’t tell.” They thanked her, touched their glasses together, and drank.
From the shadows, January emerged with his empty glass. He slammed it on the bar with a wad of cash and stomped out of the pub. The woman giggled her annoying giggle and watched the large man walk out the door.
The bar seemed to gradually be getting quieter.
“So, I haven’t seen you in here before,” the bartender said.
One by one, the foreheads of the birthday partiers hit the table.
“I’m not from around here,” she replied.
With their cheeks on the table, the two couples stared out with unblinking, glazed over eyes.
“Well, welcome! What’s your name?”
The lovebirds in the corner collapsed in each other’s arms. Their hearts burst at the exact same moment. The waitress didn’t make it over to them before she abruptly fell to the floor.
“I’m February,” she said as the bartender’s heart ceased to beat and he disappeared behind the bar.
_What’s this all about? _
_Neil Gaiman is writing A Calendar of Tales based on 12 questions (one for each month) that he posted on Twitter. Here’s my reply to the January question:_
neil-gaimanI love the Calendar of Tales Twitter project idea. Since I know with all the responses you received that mine are unlikely to be chosen (quite like winning the lottery, and there are some really good ones in there), I think I’ll write my own stories and post them to my blog. I’m assuming I won’t be stepping on any toes if I do, will I?
mzhartzI would LOVE IT if you do that.I’m going to write my 12 stories, but I would be thrilled and delighted if people made their own stories. That’s sort of the whole point of this thing, from my perspective. It demystifies the writing process and makes art a little bit more something everyone is doing. http://dlvr.it/2vpqtK