Tonight the Lion Dances

What I am looking for is a blessing not in disguise. ~ Jerome K. Jerome

Aside from the occasional fortune cookie, Sister Madly is rather inexperienced when it comes to magic. She sulks when the stars refuse to tell her anything specific, like how to replace the spark plugs in her car or which market is having a sale on her favorite cider. Yet the practitioners she encountered at Utopia back in the day had either less knowledge of the craft than she, or proved to be one noodle short of a darling chow mein- like this fellow.

So when a plucky pagan lad dropped by with a homemade candle asking if Utopia would allow him to ritually ‘bless the store,’ Sister Madly wasn’t quite sure what to do with him. Even the employees weren’t that dedicated; they routinely had to be bribed with a paycheck just to show up.

Management utterly adored the idea of such a ritual- after all, it was the grand opening of Utopia in its new location and they clearly could use all the supernatural aid the universe could spare. But even in their starry-eyed giddiness did Management retain enough wisdom to take measures to ensure that the Blessing did not result in a Blessing in Disguise by assigning Sister Madly to stand guard over the candle while it burned.

Typically, a votive candle has a lifespan of 8-10 hours. That means Sister Madly will be spending the better part of her day making certain that neither the clientele, the building, the city, nor the Utopian Sweetheart -Sinner*- caught on fire. This Sister Madly was perfectly able to do; she just wasn’t looking forward to it.

*A cat. A fat, lazy cat.

dracula on ice

It rather generous of the lad, calling that scent ‘Tahitian Vanilla;’ ‘Burnt Toast’ was more like it. As for the Blessing… well, Sister Madly isn’t too familiar with pagan rituals, but she was almost certain that what the lad was doing around the candle was not so much ‘magic’ as it was ‘Pilates.’ However, once he began chanting in a cryptic and, in Sister Madly’s opinion, nonexistent language, she began to suspect that the Plucky Pagan was a card-carrying member of Club Psych Med- in fact, his entire ritual looked like something he picked up from watching far too many Hammer Films.

And Management just gave him permission to play with fire. Precious.


Now existential thoughts are inevitable when staring at a candle for hours on end, such as contemplating the meaning of life and wondering if it is possible to make Sake out of Rice-A-Roni. Breaking into such thoughts can be just as hazardous as waking a sleepwalker, yet Management risked it all by interrupting her thousand-yard stare.

“Do you think you can hurry that up?”

And just how does one hurry up a Blessing? If Sister Madly knew how to do that, she would be the most well-to-do complex organism in the local galaxy. One cannot hurry along a Blessing anymore than one can ‘Get a Life!’ or ‘Grow Up!’ on command. On the other hand, it is only a candle, and a questionable one at that; and while there are those who swear by Pilates, the practice is hardly magical- what repercussions could there possibly be?

Let’s start with coming face to face with THIS:

lion dance 2

Yes, no sooner did Sister Madly snuff out the Burnt Toast Candle that the Lion appeared, with little regards as to who (Sister Madly) or what (the wall) was in his way. No doubt it was like the legend of Bloody Mary, where one can summon the spirit by chanting her name three times while looking into a mirror; thus when one snuffs out a Burnt Toast Candle, one summons a Dancing Lion from some Chinese New Year Celebration of days gone by- which was all fine and dandy, but what was Sister Madly to do with a Dancing Lion?

african glass beads

While those in attendance found the Lion Dance fascinating, the same cannot be said for Sinner who, at the start of the performance, launched himself from the counter via Victor’s open container of guacamole, onto the stroller of a terrified toddler, whose shriek sent Sinner straight into a display of creepy African Masks where he overturned several trays of beads.

Many, many beads…

lion dance

This is because of the candle, isn’t it? Due to her insufficient understanding of Burnt Toast Candle Rituals, Sister Madly rendered the Blessing null and void by snuffing out the flame early. The Grand Opening Celebration would be forever be remembered as the day Sister Madly let a Blessing go awry, immortalized by photos of a Dancing Lion, green paw prints across various antiques, pillows and children, and a fat cat who refused to climb off the bookshelf until he had finished licking his feet.

Indeed, Utopia missed out on a Blessing that day…

But Sinner has liked guacamole ever since.

*The Lion Dance was planned weeks before by Management; they just neglected to mention it. To anyone.

THEME SONG: Dance with the Dragon, Jefferson Starship

All Images via Pinterest


20 responses

  1. Wow!! Your company embraced our traditional lion dance. The Lion Dance is auspicious for heralding good luck and especially for grand openings and during our chinese lunar new year

    Liked by 1 person

    July 22, 2016 at 5:33 AM

    • It seems that the good luck of the Lion Dance cancelled out the bad luck of the candle! ;c)

      I enjoyed the dance- hope to see one again!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 22, 2016 at 1:14 PM

      • Portland Oregon or Seattle chinatowns during chinese new year will see lion dances. I hope these still continue since I last left. Happy weekend ahead SM😊

        Liked by 1 person

        July 22, 2016 at 8:50 PM

  2. Oh woe are you who breaks the Candle Spell of Blessing….oh woe is you who disrupts the sacred sanctity of the most holiest of holy waxes….run forever from the curse that drips, drips, in a running river of melted wax towards you like a flood to engulf your world.

    oooh Oooh oooh ( mimicking ghost sounds there)

    You must seek atonement for such a heinous transgression else your very soul is in jeopardy (and not the game show with Alex Tribek type Jeopardy, but that experience in it self would be pretty awful also )

    You must quickly buy a candle of your favorite fragrance (except Tutti Frutti…the spirits HATE that smell) and light it and complete the ritual.

    GO NOW…. sally forth into the night to your local convenience store and/or market and purchase said candle (grab me a Snickers while you are there if you could btw…I’m famished)

    Sit in your dark room naked as the day you were born (sorry that is just the image that came to mind) …shades shut…curtains closed….and begin…

    Good luck Chuck.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 22, 2016 at 6:02 AM

    • You seem to know an awful lot about these rituals… it was YOU who performed the Burnt Toast Candle Blessing, wasn’t it?

      I was on my way to the local convenience store to purchase the required candle and Snickers, but… well, along the way there was this food cart selling gyros…

      I did save you the tomatoes, though. You’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 22, 2016 at 1:24 PM

      • I will never tell yay or nay to that question milady… I will keep you guessing….but I do more cursing than blessing ….. actually cursing (verbally) that is..

        I do like tomatoes…. but Snickers do satisfy…:)

        I will light a candle and repeat “Sister Madly” Mantra for you tonight….after that all those dreams and wildest wishes so long denied you will be yours… you just wait and see.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM

        • Just don’t repeat the name while staring into a mirror- Cthulhu is standing in for me as Fridays are my nights off from the Summoning.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 22, 2016 at 2:22 PM

  3. A rather harrowing tale Ms Madly. It was only previously known to me (by tale of course) that “Snuffing” was akin to “Mushrooming” and that what small children do is “Snuffling”.

    I know about Beads, Sinners, The Thousand Calorie Stare and (shudddddder) Fortune Cookies. None of which are blessings!

    I’m glad you escaped with your senses intact. Now as to the sensibility of snuffing a blessing, well thank you for what to avoid!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 22, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    • The last thing I want to do is give mushrooms to the candle! Thus I shall no longer ‘snuff’ out a flame- must extinguish it some other way.

      Fortune Cookies are more like gambling… actually, I think writing those fortunes would be a most entertaining job. Hee hee…

      Liked by 1 person

      July 22, 2016 at 1:39 PM

      • Well there is the alternative nursery rhyme way but this being a family show….

        I’m certain you could write some haunting fortunes! The only downside would not being there to see the looks on people’s faces.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 22, 2016 at 1:49 PM

        • I was thinking more sassy and sarcastic fortunes! I mean, people are seeking wisdom from a COOKIE, after all.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM

        • If they want wisdom from a COOKIE, there is always Sesame Street.

          Lets go with your way, “Sassy and Sarcastic”! The food world needs a good stirring anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 22, 2016 at 2:03 PM

        • Cookie Monster is my spirit animal.

          Liked by 2 people

          July 22, 2016 at 2:24 PM

        • Coooooool! Fine spirit animal to have!

          Currently I’m identifying the penguin as my spirit animal.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 22, 2016 at 3:01 PM

        • Is that going to chance come December?

          Liked by 1 person

          July 22, 2016 at 3:08 PM

        • Yesm it is. Then I shall revert to my usual Bear self and take up residence in a sock drawer with a full stock of Teddy Grahams. They count as cookies.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 22, 2016 at 3:13 PM

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    Liked by 1 person

    July 27, 2016 at 2:01 AM

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