MSN Messengar:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

There’s an Ant, a Maggot and a Bee in my Bonnet.

It’s 0710 hours, barely an hour after I returned from slumberland (no connection to the mattress company, just so you know) that a disgusting myriad of tasks is out to get me. Namely, 3 species of infestation has decided to make my morning miserable.

Not including my father and my younger brother, mind you. They decided to be helpful by escaping to the mamak restaurant for breakfast, Horlicks-panas and male bonding. Which is good and all and so this way, I can do an impression of Desperate Housewife in private.

Well there’s no point for my inner brat to stomp. The Head Housewife, aka Mak, had already left yesterday morning for that Pontian trip with other non-household family members. She had already planned the impromptu Journey-to-Johor during the Aidil Adha gathering.

Forgiven, but the damned woman could have warned me. So what else is there to do? I tied my guts and started to work.

Let’s start with the easiest problem, the colony on the floor.

Oh gee, if only I had a broom...

Due to the sickly sinful stench from the kitchen rubbish bin (and we all know that kitchen rubbish holds the best stuff), a ... swarm? Group? Pack? Er, whatever. English grammar fixing later.

Anyway, a lot of ants had taken over a section of the kitchen, right under the kitchen rubbish bin. Apparently, the liquid fermentation of Chemistry 101 in the bin was irresistible to these tiny, black, itchy dots.

My plan of attack was a page right out of Ant Bully movie. I flooded their project with a bucket of water and mopped them all up with floor cleaner. Yucks, but it cleans the floor too.

The most pressing task is the kitchen rubbish bin itself. Now that stinks!

Maggot (mag’eot), noun. 1. a soft-bodied, legless larva of certain dipterous insects.

That’s what my Webster dictionary says. I can describe it better.


You see, when you don’t take out the trash every other day of the week, regardless of trash volume, yuck-yuck-yucky maggots start to spawn in your rubbish. Apparently, the men in my family did not take into account that I was STUDYING for my exam at the same time that my mother bailed out of the house, thus leaving kitchen rubbish bin to turn into White-Worm Condominium.

I care not to photograph the actual state of my kitchen rubbish bin, one part is that I care not to remember how it looked like every time I return to this blog and another part is that, at the time, my hands are too dirty to contaminate my very clean Sony Ericsson.

But as God has given us maggots and imagination, use your noodles on what lies on and within this blue plastic wrap.

Itty, bitty white stuff are doing the belly-flop-walk on the surface of this bag.

And this brings us to my third morning friend...

In a page from Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets, the phrase ‘bee in your bonnet’ probably meant something that’s bothering a person. I suppose it’s a reminiscent of the days out of the classic Pride and Prejudice movie, when women wear these straw hats while taking garden walks.

I don’t have a bonnet, but I do have bees. About a colony the size of your fist and growing. And they had chosen an ingenious place to make their new home.

This. Is. My. Trash Box!

I was taking my Big Blue Bag of Smelly Stuff (bare-handed, by the way, I didn’t care to waste time looking for gloves) and opened the trash box when the trash box started to talk back at me. More of a groan-groan-hum, the kind of sound that 2 year old brats make when they don’t want to eat their veggies.

At first, either an invisible stray cat was dying in my trash box or the trash box itself had mutated to attempt to dirty-talk at me, did I notice a corner of the box and I had to shut it quickly. It’s not that I hate bees; it’s just that I didn’t expect to get up close, face-to-face, at 7 in the morning.

So I just left it like that, duct-taped my trash box against innocent curious bystanders. Really, I can handle ants and maggots but BEES are out of my level of experience. I’ve yet to inform the missing males of my family of our new guests.

All and all, I didn’t plan on starting my 3 weeks holiday with a starring role in an episode of Dirty Jobs (Discovery Channel, good show actually). But I should have expected it, really; I mean, who else but a housewife’s daughter get to lead such exciting life?

Aaah, screw it. When my little brother gets home, I’m going to shove the kitchen sink and the washing machine at him, then take a hot shower and go back to slumberland (no connection to the mattress company, just to remind you).

PS: Malay culture says that it’s good luck when a bee comes to your house but no really, does anybody know how to get rid of a small bee hive? I don’t plan on disturbing, say, the fire brigade, until somebody gets stung.

December's Dream Image Story: Follow the Mouse


It was a mouse.

A small one, not a house rat but more of a woodland variety. Ireulun was not surprised. She was, after all, lost in a forest. But there were a few strange things about her current situation.

The most pressing one was that she did not, could not, remember how she found herself in the forest. There was a blank, a dark space, in between her last memory and the moment when she spotted the mouse. What has happened?

The other strange thing she felt concerned about was the forest itself. It was common enough; tall trees full of green leaves at the height of late summer. Trees as far as her eyes could see. There was nothing distinctive about the trees; Ireulun was never much a student of botany.

But despite the forest’s obvious largeness and health, there were no animals. No birds chirping in the canopy, no squirrels amongst the branches, no lizards basking in patches of sunlight on the forest floor. No animals in the silent, suspended stillness.

Except that small brown mouse.

Somehow, the sight of the only other living creature in the woods prompted Ireulun to approach it. The way it sat on the ground, so still and watching her, gave Ireulun the impression that it was... waiting. For her? To do what?

But when she approached the mouse, it retreated quickly. Darting through the underbrush and disappearing into the shadows. Ireulun gave a sigh of disgruntlement. So much for that. She supposed that she should had been looking for a way out of the forest.

“Hello?” she called out.
There was no answer. Ireulun tried again.

But only her echo returned her call. Ireulun suddenly had the distinct impression that she was the only person around. Alone. Angels and ashes, how did she get here?

As she raked through her memories, a chrip called to her. More a squeak than a chirp but it was loud and clear. The mouse? Where is it? Ireulun turned towards the sound.

A few moments later, she saw it, the mouse. It was sitting under a straight light shaft, its brown fur tinged with the sun’s glow. It was... doing nothing. But then it chirped again, loud and clear as before.

Then suddenly, it bolted again into the ferns and tall grasses, disappearing from Ireulun’s sight. She blinked and frowned. Then the mouse’s chirped cried out though the forest’s gloom.

It was calling to her was the thought that came to Ireulun’s mind. Why? Her next thought was the mouse was a spirit of the forest, not unusual perhaps, for a forest this strange. Ireulun may not be a student of botany, but she was an observant student of history.

She looked closely at a tree trunk, studying its bark and leaves. The trees looked like something from a place she was once been as a child, a Region very far away where people lived in vine covered homes built on giant trees.

Ireulun touched gingerly at the leaves. Her finger traced the lines of the tree’s bark and deducted that the species of tree was very much like those tree-houses of that far-away Region. But such spindly vine-trees do not grow straight from the earth; they grow on other trees.

The sound of the chirp repeated, this time with a somewhat irritated nuance. Ireulun no longer felt curious. She felt cautious. Nonetheless, she followed the sound, followed the mouse.

With every step she took and every sight she glimpsed of the mouse flitting through the patches of sunlight, she spotted other things. Broken things. Man-made things. There was no question about it.

A long thin object she at first took for a twig jutting awkwardly out of the ground turned out to be a dirty old wizard’s staff. The intricate designs carved on the handle were recognizable to Ireulun as from the northern tribe in the grasslands of her home Region.

A few meters away were another long object, this time a rusty sword. Ireulun crouch down low to examine it. The blade was dark with rust, pitted with holes in certain places. It did not look as if it had been used or discarded in a fight. It looked as if it had been abandoned there, ignored and forgotten.

Like the wizard’s staff, the sword had a unique deign which Ireulun recognized. The swirly patterns on the hilt suggested a knight of a high order, from a war-torn nation that was also in her home Region.

Ireulun discarded the sword and for a moment, she strained her eyes to look though the darkness of her surroundings. Between two trees, she spotted what looked to be a large, open trunk-box. Beside a rather large rock were several pieces of glittery that, at a second look, turned out to be expensive jewelry. And close to her feet, not far from the rusty sword, were broken pieces of glass vials.

And there was more, misshapen, often broken, but indefinitely man-made objects all scattered around her, intersecting between shadows and brushwood. All of then had a neglected, abandoned, forgotten feel. Suddenly, a chill grew in Ireulun spine.

The atmosphere felt like that of a graveyard.

A now familiar chirp-squeak cuts through her reverie. The mouse. It was still ahead of her, still calling out to her from the deeper parts of the woods. Ireulun debated whether she should continue following the creature. What if it was leading her into a trap?

Almost against her will, her feet dragged her forwards, and onwards. Her curiosity, coloured by a slight sense of fear, made her cautious. As much as she wanted to leave the forest, she wanted to discover its secrets. Her instincts were telling her that the mouse may be a key to the mystery.

Ireulun pressed on, careful not to disturb the objects in her path. Eventually, the air seemed lighter, less oppressive. The gloom of the woods faded as the forest canopy was higher and less thick. Through the shafts of sunlight Ireulun could see further ahead and noticed that there were more open spaces between the trees.

The underbrush was thinner as well and for the first time in a while, she could see the little brown mouse clearly. It ran quickly, darting over fallen trees and large boulders but it was never too far from her sight.

Then, just out of the way of the trees, Ireulun came to a wide clearing. It was a larger empty space, larger than any of the forest clearing she had been through. She could see high above the canopy, the tree branches. To her eyes, the tall trees and its branches intersect in an unusual way, giving the illusion of narrow windows flying buttresses. Just like in cathedrals.

No sooner had that thought entered her mind, she felt a familiar chill, only more welcoming than before. She felt as if she was in a sanctuary, a holy place. Looking on the ground around her, there was none of those pieces of neglected objects she had seen before.

And then there was the mouse. It sat in a shaft of light, a brighter sunbeam than any in the forest. It watched her, its small eyes stared at her with an almost expectant fixation. On impulse, Ireulun crept closer to it, so close, bending so low until she could touch it.

But then the mouse bolted into a tiny hole she did not notice before, a nest-like entrance made of dried grass. A mouse home, perhaps. Ireulun felt dejected. The mouse had done nothing more than just trying to get away from her.

So much for the mysteries of the strange forest.

But then, bending over the nest, she felt cool flat stone underneath her hand. Ireulun brushed away the fallen leaves and dried tufts of grass. What she uncovered was indeed a stone tablet, flat and large, like a tombstone that had fallen over. She traced the engraved words.

The alphabet was recognizable but the language was old. Ireulun looked through her mind, trying to remember her learning. She reads the words and translated them in her mind.

The Forest of Silence

If you can read this, it means that you are now a prisoner in the Forest of Silence. Here you shall stay in permanent solitary confinement for the rest of your living days, or until the Psychic Order reinstate a review of your criminal case, whichever comes first.

The trees will bear fruit, the roots can be eaten and the spring waters are clean and plentiful. But take the rest of your time and make your peace with the angels.

As she read, Ireulun’s hand shook with anxiety. At the bottom of the tablet was some additional writing, in the current language used that she recognized instantly. Unlike the rest of the message, the additional words were crudely craved, as if by a pointed stone rather than a chisel.

Angels knows I am innocent.

Ireulun felt a deep void grew within her. The forest she was in was actually a prison. An old prison for people to be forgotten. To be ignored. To be lost.

But how did she got here?

“Forest of Silence...” she whispered.

Suddenly she felt light-headed and dizzy. She struggled to remain conscious but the beam of light of which she was in began to grow brighter and hotter. Her hands shook, her body was paralyzed in the rising heat, though the stone tablet under her hands remained cool. Ireulun shook her head hard, her hands grabbing handfuls of soft dirt and grass.

But then the bright light waned. And slowly disappeared.

She opened her eyes slowly. Ireulun was in her familiar bedroom, in her familiar bed. Her hands were clutching the folds of her bedding. Light was growing through the windows as dawn approached and brought her to wakefulness.

As her breathing slowed to normal, Ireulun brushed the sweat off her feverish forehead. It was a dream. The forest, the mouse, the stone tablet had been a dream.

Hadn’t it?

She turned to the desk beside her bed. On the desk were all her history and geography books, some lay open on its spine. An unfinished graph, a map of Ireulun’s home Region, lay open, waiting for her to continue drawing its mountainous ranges and coastlines.

As a student of history, she had been working on mapping the south-east corner of her home Region, an distant and unknown territory known for centuries as ‘impassable, dense woodlands’.

Ireulun now knows what she has to do.

She has to go to the Forest of Silence.

Next: January's Journey (2008)

More Weeds...

Add to Technorati Favorites Bloggapedia, Blog Directory - Find It! Blog Flux Directory blog directory Blog Directory & Search engine Show off your blog Blogarama - The Blog Directory BlogGod Webloogle Blog Directory Blogging Fusion Blog Directory All Malaysian Bloggers Project