The Avenue of the Toothpaste Bush
It was a listless Friday night at the pub, with Sister Madly combating her boredom by playing ring toss with the Professors’ onion rings (they did not like this much) spiking their pints with Tabasco Sauce (they liked this even less) then by taking herself for a walk (they liked this option the best.) If reincarnation is real, Sister Madly will be returning as a housefly destined to be the lunch of a particularly diabolical Venus Fly-Trap.
And so it came to pass that Sister Madly found herself wandering down the Avenue of the Toothpaste Bush.
The Toothpaste Bush, you see, is no ordinary shrubbery; it’s magic. It has a scent of mint and rosemary despite consisting of neither mint nor rosemary, and apparently is more anti-social than Sister Madly by being fragrant only when it wants to be.
“I can‘t smell anything, Sister Madly. I think it‘s time you went to bed…” Then, upon seeing the look of defeat on Sister Madly’s face, adding “But then, you always had the nose of a vulture.”
Apparently, comparing Sister Madly to an ugly, bald-headed bird is suppose to give her a warm fuzzy all over. Can vultures even smell? What’s wrong with an old-fashion bloodhound? Why are these people your friends again? Someone has an extra dose of Tabasco love coming his way. Stupid Toothpaste Bush.
But it‘s difficult to stay mad at the Toothpaste Bush for long: the fragrance is chock full of meaning. Someone once told her that Rosemary is for remembrance, and Sister Madly is nothing if not nostalgic; and Mint is that herb they put in certain ice creams to safeguard it against consumption by her peers, to which Sister Madly is happily immune. There is no doubt in her mind that this magical shrubbery is the one requested by the Knights Who Say ‘Ni!’ in some lesser known interpretations of the Arthurian Legend.
Like most of the human race, Sister Madly does not see well in the dark. The Avenue of the Toothpaste Bush is badly lit, and the streetlights were throwing a surprise I’m-not-going-to-shine-for-you-tonight-Sister-Madly block party- most unfortunate for she who trips over nothing in particular. She soon found herself in the presence of the Toothpaste Bush, itself, but that was of no surprise: the Toothpaste Bush summons you when it wants you, and shuns you just the same. That is why it is anti-social.
It was here that Sister Madly noticed the vague shape of a puppy heading her way (NOTE: to Sister Madly, ‘puppy’ refers to any member the canine family regardless of age, from birth to 100 year-old rotting corpse.) Judging by the size of the puppy and its jolly nature, she was confident that she was not about to repeat the Here Kitty, Kitty incident of yesteryear.
And like a good puppy-shaped creature, it trotted up to Sister Madly and took a moment to rub its head against her knee (which, of course, means that the puppy now belongs to Sister Madly and don’t you dare try telling her otherwise) before continuing on down the sidewalk.
This was unacceptable: the puppy claimed Sister Madly as its own, they now belong to each other- he can’t just take off like that. There were road trips in their future and adventures to be had; he would fetch Frisbees in the park, and eat up all the weird, experimental ‘treats’ the Professors have been presenting to her with suspicious smiles. They would frolic in breezy meadows and watch the sunset from the beach, and for heaven’s sake- she needs something to snuggle with at night.
So like any enchanted wanderer, Sister Madly went after her puppy. And just when she was about to catch up with her new best friend, a porch light revealed that the puppy she was cheerfully following with the hopes of domesticating was, rather, a fox.
Sister Madly has always wanted a pet fox- well, maybe not always, but for the last several days at least.* There was no reason why they couldn’t do all that she dreamed of when she was following a simple puppy. She wants to take him along mountain trails and watch him frolic and hunt and play in the stream…
*She also wants a pet Toucan.
Nearly a week has passed, and while she has returned to the Avenue of the Toothpaste Bush, she has not seen the fox since.
Nor has the bush been fragrant.
But perhaps that is a coincidence.
Sister Madly has found herself in similar predicaments
but that is the result of exercising poor judgment.*
*Whether she means this metaphorically or literally, Sister Madly will never say.
POST’S THEME SONG: Magical World, Ian McCulloch