1980 02 07 Sense and Nonsense
Many parents of small children find themselves subjected nightly to the ritual of reading the “Bedtime Story.” Our five-year-old has a drawerful of Little Golden books, the content of which is not exactly stimulating to the adult mind.
Recently I have taught myself a little trick. I have learned to disassociate my mind from my tongue. I compose grocery lists or plan to-morrow’s menu, while my voice is relating the adventures of “Egbert The Duck” or “Tuggy The Tugboat” to my daughter. Sometimes I even make up small stories of my own…
For the benefit of children everywhere, I have written a typical “Bedtime Story.” For the benefit of their parents I have incorporated an adult tale of violence and passion between the lines. The trick is to put the mind out of gear while reading aloud the children’s passages. Concentrate only on the “adult” passages which are bracketed….
Billy Bunny and Dicky Doggie were going for a walk. (A stranger rode into town.) “Let us pick some flowers.” said Billy Bunny to his friend. (He was tall in the saddle and he rode a magnificent, black horse.) “That is a good idea!” cried Dicky Doggie. (His eyes were as blue as the prairie skies, and his hair was the colour of ripened wheat. “I see some red flowers over there.” said Billy Bunny. (Marianne’s breath caught in her throat.) “Let us see how many different kinds of flowers we can find.” (The stranger on the black horse reminded her of someone she used to know.) The two friends each gathered a nice bouquet of flowers. (Could it be? .. .No. Chet was dead! Shot down by a gunslinging gambler back in Dodge City.)
Billy Bunny’s flowers were red and yellow. (Chet … her handsome, happy-go-lucky, childhood sweetheart!) Dicky Doggie’s flowers were orange and blue. (Marianne’s eyes glistened with unshed tears.) “I’ll bet our mommies will like these flowers.” said Billy Bunny. (The stranger dismounted at the livery barn.) “I think our teachers would like some flowers too.” said Dicky Doggie. (“I reckon you’ll took after my horse.” he drawled, not unkindly. to the stable-boy.) “I have an idea!” cried Billy Bunny. (He strolled across the street to the saloon) “Let us give half our flowers to our mommies and half our flowers to our teachers!” (All eyes centred on the tall, handsome stranger as he entered the room.) “That is a good idea.” agreed Dicky Doggie. (He made his way purposefully up to the bar.) “I will give my orange flowers to my teacher and the blue ones to my mommy, ” said Dicky Doggie, (I’m tookin’ for a back-shootin’ gambler by the name of Lobo! ” he thundered.) “And I will give the red ones to my teacher and the yellow ones to my mommy. “said Billy Bunny happily. (A hush settled over the crowded saloon.)
“These yellow flowers are very pretty.” said Billy Bunny’s mother. (Lobo Williams was fast, but the stranger was faster.) “Yellow is my favourite colour!” (The gambler crumpled to the floor.) “I will put the red flowers in some water and you can give them to your teacher on Monday morning.” (“Your gunslinging days are over. Lobo Williams! ” growled the stranger.)
Dicky Doggie’s mother was delighted with her flowers. (“Chet! exclaimed Marianne. I can’t believe that you have returned to me!”) “I love these blue flowers.” she said. (Her exclamations were silenced as he crushed her lips with his own.) “Thank you very much!” (Her heart was fitted with joy and a passion that matched his own.) She put the orange flowers in some water to keep them fresh for Dicky Doggie’s teacher. (“If you only knew how long I have dreamed of (his moment, ” she whispered.)
Billy Bunny and Dicky Doggie were very happy. ( “I’ve saved up some money,” he spoke huskily in her ear.) “My mommy liked her yellow flowers. ” said Billy Bunny. (“To buy a little ranch in the valley … That is … Shucks Marianne, will you marry me?” )
“Did your mommy like her blue flowers?”
“Yes! ” squealed Dicky Doggie.
(“Yes!” breathed Marianne)