Monday, June 3, 2013

Short Story 6: Hand Bells

Faith made me do it.

She’s dreaming for me again, even though I keep saying, “Stop dreaming for me. I want my own dreams.”

But she says, “You wouldn’t do anything except if I made you, Wally.”

So, I’m stuck on that point. Because, yes, I like to sit in one place and think thoughts.

Whereas Faith made me do hand bells.

We go and sit in the third row in the white church at 1472 West Barley Street, she right next to me with her shoulder pressing my shoulder, warm, and she whispers so soft, “Now, listen close, Wally, because they’ll give you directions.”

But I’m feeling glum. Sort of stooped over in my seat because this ain’t my dream. It’s Faith’s dream and she always gets to do all the dreaming.

“Watch him, how he holds the bell. He’s trying to teach us, Wally.”

So, I peek at him. He’s a man like a beetle, with black skin and a shiny head and glasses that make his eyes look big. And his shirt is green, like the wings of a beetle that crawled up my leg one time. The only thing he ain’t got like a beetle is many legs, not to mention he's bigger, and a man. But he has two arms, and in his hands he holds hand bells, the ones Faith wants me to look at.

Faith is whispering this word over and over. “Tintinnabulation. Tintinnabulation. Tintinnabulation.”

The man said that word. Now Faith is saying it, over and over, real soft. Softer than quiet.

Faith leans over real slight and says in her whisper-voice, like the kind we used to use in school so the teacher wouldn’t catch us, “Isn’t tintinnabulation the most beautiful word in the English language?”

But I just shrug and say, “I never heard of it before.” But I forget to use my whisper-voice and everybody turns around with a creak to look at me with their eyebrows pushed together. The lady in direct front of me has real blue eyes that get squinty when her eyebrows do that. Her face looks like one of Mama’s cheese soufflés, kind of poofied out with a nose stuck in the middle, so I want to push my finger into it and say, “Are you fallen, soufflé?”

Then I remember Mama’s voice saying, “Don’t make the soufflé fall on purpose, Wally.” So I guess I shouldn’t do that to the lady’s face, neither.

Though I wish she’d turn around and quit her staring.

This ain’t my dream. It’s Faith’s.

This turned into another experiment instead of a story. But thank you to Faith for the three inspirational words: soufflé, beetle and tintinnabulation. If you’re wondering why I’m writing shorts, click here.


  1. I love it! But I had to laugh because, "Isn't tintinnabulation the most beautiful word in the English language?" *may* have come out of my own lips one or two times in my life. :)

  2. I love this story. Such a sense of place and detail...and the whole idea of not being in charge of his own dreams really gets to me. This is really great!

  3. Loved the voice. And the beetle image. :) Enjoying the shorts!


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