A full gambolling moon. Nightscape sky of blinking airplanes, space ships, and wishing stars. I let the momentum of the garden swing lull me. Owl hoots, flitter of bat wings, wind-kissing.
A voice so sush-low, barely audible, “Melita. I hug need,” before I am in a Griswoldian shag-ruggily embrace with tail a scarf around my neck.
Having the Griswolds living upstairs, my full moon night-days are exuberant adventures. Spronging, swish-tailing, chuff-bubbly shouts of “Melita. . . .” Not the sad little monster holding me close.
“Salem and Sabrina angry. Tricked. Not friends now.”
One evening, months ago, Griswold had jubbled-bumpled into my apartment, trashing another set of door hinges, waving a multi-coloured brochure: “Melita. Fibber opticians satplated televisionary.” His humaneze, when excited, needed a moment of translation – “Fiber optics, satellite-dish television.” Laughter chuffled out his ears. “Melita. Look!”
The brochure revealed a multi-cosmos dazzling array of channels. Every possible human, animal, alien entertainment-content package imaginable. Even a channel proudly proclaiming: “All cricket. All the time.”
Griswold liked realvision and retrovision best. Being Griswold, the two genres were interchangeable. Alf could be a “Cashadashian”, Abby (not “Downtown” Abbey) or Jimmy x 2. He became very attached to Salem Saberhagen, the snarky, sarcastic familiar of Sabrina, a witch in training. Tonight’s tears generated by Griswold’s confuffled and confluffed conviction of actualities versus re-re-re-rebroadcasts?
Slowly his grip loosens, and we sit in our usual sidebyeach on the swing. But, his tail was a frown across my lap. We push against the ground – his splay-footed claws, toes of my pink chuck taylor all-star high tops – the pendulum-momentum rocks us. A sad, quiet night in our garden. Is this a “teachable moment?” Teach Griswold what? No happily ever afters? No whimsy of pretend lasts forever? Griswold brought whimsy back into my world, I couldn’t take it out of his.
“Salem is smart, and Sabrina is sweet. No witch can be without her familiar ever long. Goes against the Witches Handbook.” I hope witches have handbooks in Griswold’s retrorealvision.
He sniffsnuffle a small sigh. “Aren’t we ever together?,” I ask. “Which sort of which-way witch would I be without my Griswold familiar?”
A slight chuff-chortle bubbles up from his ears. His tail isn’t so frownish.
“Melita. Let’s play witchcraft! You show how you do.”
A few evenings later, I lose another set of door hinges, and the 5th or 60th wine glass. Floor shaking, wall bending, dust bunny jumping entrance.
“Melitta. Mother say to invite you upstairs to watch Salem with me.” Griswold doing his jubbly-bubbly two splay-feeted dance.
I give him my “did your Mother really say that” look. His response usually was a half-crunkled face, shoulder shrug, tail swipe “no.”
“Really. Really. Really.”
Mrs. G. might grudgingly admit I hadn’t turned Griswold too human, but a real invitation.
Real. Like the van parked out front with electronic gizmos pointed at the house. Real like . . . the all earth/all the time channel beaming three point two-five light years away to Prazxton South . . .
For a time, tale weaver/ing is the non-Michael half of the Tale Weaver team. She let the excitement and the please pick mes from various fairy tale tale weaver types overwhelm her. Melita and Griswold made an unscheduled, unrehearsed appearance to help out.
A fable beamed to Prazxton North and to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver 35: the wicked witch and her animal companion.
* Griswold is a monster child, upstairs neighbour, and, Melita, his friend and narrator.