P is for Poison

Field Notes, Installment I

One can only read so much during a layover. So, doodling has become my way to retain my sanity. Several years ago I had a ridiculous layover—I think in O’Hare of all the miserable airports–during which time I was faced with the choice we all face at some point: Break out into rude sea shanties and amuse myself by horrifying my fellow travelers, or curl up in the fetal position and quietly mumble Lewis Carrol poetry to myself.

Since getting myself held by T.S.A. for public annoyance would hardly serve to get me home faster, I resisted both temptations and pulled out a notebook. Commitment-phobe that I am, I prefer pencil to paper. (Ink requires a degree of certainty that I never have in drawing.) Below is the first of the project–drawing and “field notes” together–that gets longer with every flight (and I travel a good bit). As the “field notes” have expanded, they have started to come together in a loose narrative. We shall take this in good Dickensian fashion: installments.

As I written previously, I am not an artist.  “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate!”

P is for Poison

P is for Poison editedThe ramshackle creature returned the girl’s stare with all the insolence of a haystack roused suddenly (and  improbably) to life. Very slowly, the beast tilted its head to one side as if sizing the observer up. Something about the deliberateness of the movement made the girl revise her original impression of the creature as “rather cute.”

Then, she took a slow, stealthy step backwards. As the creature had turned, the girl had noted that one of its ears faced forwards, the other faced back. A) No creature develops that kind of anomaly unless it is of deeply suspicious nature. B) Deeply suspicious beasts are to be treated with much caution. Therefore, C) Retreat is the wisest course of action.

A sudden twitch of a hind leg pulled the girl’s gaze to the massive, ostrich-like feet, and it was those feet which in the end sent her hurriedly upon her way. Every one of those overlarge, bird-like feet had a nasty spur on the back of it.

“Probably poisonous,” muttered the girl, stowing her notebook quickly and slipping away.

Editor’s notes: 1) The beast above is generically known as a ‘fiðerfete,’ a name that frankly scrapes the bottom of the barrel o’ illumination as it means nothing more than “four-footed beast.” Specific classification of the creature has proven difficult due to its stubborn antipathy to being the object of study.  2) While the spurs of the the fiðerfete are noxious, they are not fatally so. That said, between the nausea, the unsightly swelling, and the hives, most victims express a devout wish to be dead.

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