I’m trying out a new idea.  What do you think?

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She backed out of the conservatory door, carrying the wobbly clotheshorse covered in wet dresses.  Looking over her shoulder, she stepped gingerly over the tall step, and negotiated the edges of the doorway, trying not to knock the metal frame into a finger-crushing collapse.  With a small sigh of relief at her success, she turned around to walk forward, aiming for a sunny part of the garden to allow the wet clothes to dry.

But she forgot about the sharp inverted corner of the stone patio, and misstepped…

Crap!  Catch her! 

She stumbled forward, off-balance, metal bars jammed into her armpit.  She kept running, knowing that she would eventually catch up with her feet.

Shit, but she’s getting heavy. 

Yeah.  She’s gotta lay off the ice cream.

I know what you mean.  Jeez… I know it’s summer and all, but- oh, here we go. 

The moment of sheer, non-verbal terror was finally past, as she set the metal contraption down, and steadied herself.  She looked back at the house, and saw the mixed look of concern and humour on her husband’s face.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Yeah, I forgot about that step.”  She walked towards him, nervous laughter bubbling out.

“I was worried about you face-planting straight into all that stone!”

“Nah, the clotheshorse would have pierced my skull several times over before that could happen,” she joked.  “Could you imagine?  I’d have to cancel our travel plans.”

“Yeah, I can just imagine it… ‘Sorry, your daughter can’t make it, Ev, because she’s broken her face’….”

The voices receded into the background, as the assigned gods returned to their watching post.

They shouldn’t really joke.  She’s getting clumsier with every passing year.

You’ve noticed that too?  I wonder if there’s anything we can do about that?

Not unless she asks.  You know the rules, Benny.

Yeah.  Benny (short for Benedictum – hey, what writer wouldn’t want a god called ‘Well Spoken’ or ‘Good Speaking’ looking out for them?) sighed.  You’d think that they get more graceful with age.  I mean, some of them do. 

Well, we’re stuck with her.  Syne stretched her arms to the sky, trying to roll out the strain from the sudden activity; even metaphysical exercise can be taxing, if you haven’t warmed up and stretched properly.

***

There is no need to panic; the author is not insane.  I’m just a regular person in the midst of mid-life angst, trying to wade my way through personal issues.  And I just happen to believe that there are two small (-ish) gods who just happen to be looking out for me.

Originally, I had no idea they were there, and had been for awhile.

***

Yanking the steering wheel to correct the car’s motion, my throat swelled from trying to contain my suddenly pounding heart.  That was far too close for anyone’s comfort.  I sat in the gently rocking car, as it settled into the packed snow at the side of the highway.  I couldn’t help but replay the bizarre spin across the road, making a full three revolutions before the car stopped on the opposite side, pointing in the direction I had come.  I stared out the windshield at the portly flakes as they danced and swirled across my vision.  The jaunty tune of ‘Lord of the Dance’ continued, unheeding of the danger it had caused.  I popped the cassette from the stereo and tossed it onto the passenger seat.  “I’ll be giving that back to Mom as soon as I get in,” I said to no one in particular.  “No more church choir music in the car.”

I gripped the wheel with both hands, pushing back hard into the seat.  Then the shivers arrived, followed swiftly by the visions.

Spinning out of control down the middle of the highway, as an approaching snowplough attempts to brake on the slippery surface and instead shears off the back end of the car….  Spinning out of control straight across the road, hitting the gravel shoulder and snow, and flipping to barrel-roll down the hill….  Spinning out of control and ….

A short inhalation and swift gulp to fight down the nausea.  I force my eyes open, and stare at my hands, willing them to stop.  Eventually, I am calm enough to assess my situation and the weather.  The snow is getting thicker and faster; I hate to admit it, but the parents were right: this is no time to be out driving.

I check my mirrors, look both ways up and down the treacherous highway, signal, and slowly pull back onto the road, headed for home.  I’ll just tell them that the snow was getting too thick, and that getting home later would have been even worse; but I won’t tell them about the spin-out.

***

This one’s stubborn as old leather, ain’t she?

Seriously, Benny?  “Ain’t”?  Is that the best you’ve got?  Because you are sorely lacking in vocabulary skills.

OoooOOooo!  Ain’tchoo the little Miss Fancy Pants?  Fine.  Ahem.  This fair young lady possesses a modicum of tenacity and arrogance, does she not?

Oh, for G–….  Shut up, Benny.  You are seriously trying my patience. 

Fine. 

Silence hung between the gods, as they sulked in the back seat.

Quite the spin-out, wasn’t it? 

The silence did not permit a response.  Benny looked out the window, searching for the words to smooth over this awkwardness and defeat the silence.

Good catch.  It was grudgingly offered.

Thanks.  You too.  This was grudgingly returned, as Syne stared at the snow swirling past, swaying with the motion of the car as it followed a gradual bend, back towards town.

It was kind of fun.  An olive branch.

Yeah, too right.  Accepted with a small grin.  Those other possibilities were a bit…

Intense?

Yeah, that’s the word.  Syne smirked at her partner; she always did enjoy reminding him of good words.  There were more possibilities this time than before.  Benny looked over at Syne.  Should we tell someone?  He couldn’t help but glance briefly upwards; he was always afraid they were being watched.

Nah.  Syne checked her nails to punctuate her lack of concern.  She’s young yet.  There’s always lots of ways to die when they’re in their 20s.  She met Benny’s worried gaze.  Relax, Benito, she joked with his name, we’ll be fine.  We’ll make sure she’s fine.