Unicorns and Bongo Drums
A herd of children dressed in unicorn outfits galloped past Maggie, their tails and manes flowing wildly as they whinnied and hooted.
“”Puffbeam, you’re such a silly narner,” said Pansygrain. “Unicorns don’t hoot. That was last week when we were wise owls.”
The children’s Saturday event organizer dashed along beside them carrying a pretend whip made from streamers.
“Pansygrain Plumhug! Leave Puffbeam alone. If he wants to hoot, let him. After all, we don’t know what sounds real unicorns made when they roamed the forests.”
Pansygrain snorted. “There’s no such thing as unicorns, anyway.” Disgruntled, she threw down her mask and tore off the spiraling horn held atop her head with elastic.
“Get back in the herd right now!” Moonpuddle, the organizer, was fraught. The warm sunshine and exertion of galloping left her dizzy and short-tempered. She waved her whip in dismay.
“I’m telling my dad on you Moonpuddle.” Pansygrain screwed her face into an ugly grimace. “Violence and weapons are only used by bad people who oppress minorities. Come on unicorns! United we stand against oppression!”
The unicorns rebelled by running amok through the town, baying and screeching as they hot-footed it out of sight around the bend.
“I saw what happened,” said Maggie, who had, by now, caught-up with Moonpuddle. Moonpuddle sunk down to perch on the decorative stone-edging of a flower patch at the side of the street.
“The little darling’s father is on the children’s committee. He will probably vote me out. Or worse. He will put me in charge of tea-breaks instead of Saturday outings. Mind you,” sniffed Moonpuddle, “perhaps that will be a good thing. I’m running out of ideas for fancy dress.”
Maggie looked concerned for a moment. “Are they safe? The children, on their own?”
“Yes. I expect so,” replied Moonpuddle. “They do this now and then. Last time they ran off, they were dressed as pagan Gods and Goddesses. They sat in the parking lot and collected money from tourists who thought the kids were sightseer attractions sent to welcome them. Sagehug and Flintwillow made over fifty dollars each.”
“That was lucrative,” said Maggie, squinting at the sun.
“Yes. They made more money between them than I get paid in a week creating dream-catchers.”
Maggie looked thoughtful for a moment before asking, “What’s a dream-catcher?”
“Indian tribes used them to protect their children from nightmares. They hung the dream-catchers above the kid’s beds to snare bad dreams, which evaporated in the morning light. Only beautiful dreams could get through the web in the night before trickling down onto the sleeping children below.”
“That’s beautifu…, “ before Maggie could finish speaking her voice was drowned by bongo drums thundering a rhythmic African tune. The man playing the drums was sat next to Moonpuddle. His dreadlocks tossed and spun across his face as he shook his head to the beat. Dried mud caked his skin, and the red and yellow beads at the end of each dreadlock slapped his cheeks as he moved.
Maggie got ready to go and gestured to Moonpuddle to join her. “Let’s enjoy a dandelion coffee over there,” she mouthed, pointing to a cafe across the street.
Once inside she asked Moonpuddle if she knew of a guru in the area. However, Moonpuddle didn’t.
“Hang on though… there’s a local tarot reader. Of course she can read the animal cards instead if you want a favorable reading. The animal cards are always kind either way up.”
Maggie sighed. “No. I’m looking for a guru. A super-oracle. Not the type who tells the future so much as the kind who teaches spiritual lessons about life.”
“Oh, exclaimed Moonpuddle. Wouldn’t hurt to have your cards read though. Zora Zutonia, the fortune teller, might predict where you can find your guru.”
“Okay. If she works nearby, I’ll give it a whorl. Can I ask you one thing first?”
“Fire away. I understand tarot cards. I can tell you lots about the Tower because it’s always featured in my life and…”
“No. It’s about the interesting names of people in Totnes. They are, well, different aren’t they? I mean, Moonpuddle is an unusual name for a start.”
“Ah! Yes. That’s not my given name. When I was born my parents called me Annie. In fact, that’s the name I was known by until recently, when magical names became all the rage. A magical name has more power and meaning than a regular name.”
“So what does Moonpuddle mean?” Maggie was fascinated.
“Um. Well it’s embarrassing to tell you the truth. There was a full moon one night, and I was crouched behind the holly bush down by the river, about to…”
“Oh, I get the drift,” said Maggie who didn’t want to hear the tale in fine detail. I suppose people spotted you and gave you an apt name?”
“That’s right, and very lucky I am to have such a splendid title. You ought to get one yourself.”
“That’s wonderful, Moonpuddle. Would you like to join my friend and I for a picnic before we visit Madame Zutonia?”
Part four coming soon!
Copyright © 2018 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved