So this week’s flash fiction challenge on Chuck Wendig’s blog was to write a story for a random picture. Now, I know this is actually a Peruvian Chullo hat or something like that but that is not the first thought that came to mind. . . I went a little more fanciful with my story. . .
The photo url:
For the record it should be stated he did not ask for it. He had, on many occasions begged them to stop. It was to no avail though. They kept doing it every time he fell asleep. He’d wake up and find himself covered with random bits of color. Sometimes it was just glitter sprinkled on him and other times, like today they went all out.
His hair was actually woven into the yarn bits and portions of the hat were glued to his head. He guessed it was to keep it all in place while he slept but, was not quite sure. It happened like this sometimes. The bush fairies would get in a color-fueled frenzy and go crazy.
It was his fault. Had he listened those many years ago and not given milk to the cries in the bush he would have had a much less complex life. He was young and foolish and didn’t listen though. He knew best and he put the saucer of milk by the bush. He had fed them and they had stayed with him ever since.
At first it was just flowers in his bed. Bright little bundles of wild flowers left for him and he had thought it very quaint and special. Then it was flowers woven into his hair. While a little less quaint it was still, interesting and harmless. Then they discovered textiles. That is when it started to go a bit odd.
Hats were the first things. Random colorful hats would be on his head when he woke up in the morning. No matter where he woke up. At home, they were there. At a friend’s house, they were there. Serving in the military, they were there and his drill sergeant was not at all amused. They were always there and he had no way of stopping them. People thought he was insane, they sent him home from the Army. No one wanted an insane man around, even if he was stylishly accessorized with colorful headwear.
Then, just as he thought things wouldn’t or couldn’t get worse, they discovered glitter. He remembered it was a cold day in early fall and there were no colorful wildflower blooms in the fields. He had always thought that was why they found glitter. They could find no color they wanted in nature so, they found it in some craft supply store. Then glue was next because the glitter fell off too much he assumed. Beads, pom-poms, tassels, and streamers followed in quick succession as they branched out their artistic efforts.
Soon after that they began to combine things. Beads in his hair and glittery cheeks. Pom-poms tied to his ears with nasal streamers of rainbow colors. The list was almost unlimited of the things they did. He couldn’t stop them. He tried staying awake but eventually, he had to sleep. He tried having someone watch over him but everyone thought he was crazy and wanted nothing to do with him. He set up cameras to capture them doing it but they stole the film and made streamers out of it and decorated him with shredded plastic tassels.
He was too old now to worry so much about it. He left it where they put it and just went about his life. The people around town all thought him completely mad but harmless and nothing he would do would ever change that view. Once you were mad, you were always mad. No one in a small town ever came back from being bug nut whacko. You just were always assumed to be hiding it better. So he didn’t try. He went about his life as best he could.
He would fish alone and sell his catch to a man in town. He would hurry into the store and buy what he needed and milk to put out in a saucer for them. Even though he didn’t appreciate all of the things they did, he also still couldn’t let them go hungry. It didn’t matter if he did, they didn’t leave so he might as well be right about it in his heart. He was a good man.
He had built a fence around the bush where he had heard them crying those many years ago with wood he found washed up on the beach. Over the years he had added much of the color from his morning gifts to it so that it was a patchwork of aged wood, dried flowers, bits of fabric and yarn and threads and, of course, lots of glitter. He kept adding to it until the fence completely hid the bush and the layers of adornments muffled any crying inside.
He was a good man. He would feed them because he had no choice but he would also hide them away. He would make sure that when his days were done they would not find another to do this too. He was neither angry nor bitter about it. He thought of them as his children and had genuine affection for them in his own way. He also wanted to make sure that no one else would ever suffer the same harshness in their life.
They meant well. Of that he was sure. They meant all of their efforts in love and affection as a way of thanking him. They didn’t know what it cost him and like a good father, he would never tell them even if he could. You accept. That is what parents do. They meant for him to be bright and cheery like a smile or a summer’s day. He saw it. After all these years he saw it and understood it and accepted it. He cherished not being alone. He cherished what they meant to do because, they meant well for him.
The children of the town called him the glitter man. They thought he was quite mad.
That was ok.
He would make sure they never knew the truth behind the glitter.