My Dad

Not always there when you need him, actually, barely ever at all, but hate him? Never, for it isn’t his fault.

You see, he has severe adult ADHD.

That’s right, my dad has Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, where inattention and distractibility are a constant boarder and live in the brain, rent-free I might add, as a low self-esteem hoarder.

Our relationship is hardly any at all and I know he feels like a failure, so he continues to stall when it comes to reaching out in a phone call.

If he only knew that I hold no strife, as a matter of fact, I’m proud of him and his life.

The story goes that when he was first diagnosed, the doctor told my dad that he had the worst case of ADHD he had ever seen anyone have.

I have learned that he has a tendency to only contribute to informal conversations. That is, “intellectually speaking,” would not be a phrase he chooses to say, in my observations.

I wish he had more confidence, as he most certainly would if he could see that in my eyes he is so much more than he thinks he could ever be.

You see, my dad is so funny, determined, strong, athletic, handsome and kind. Everyone who knows him loves him as far as I have been able to find. I dare anyone to try to discover otherwise as my dad has the kindest eyes.

His belly-laugh is certified to make anyone laugh, I could go on and on about it in many more paragraphs.

My dad is strong and athletic; he has a weight-lifting regimen that he sticks to — the determination is poetic.

He loves playing basketball and pool. Someone once told me that they call him The Shark when he plays pool because he is so good that it’s like he comes out of nowhere — I think that’s kind of cool.

I remember the first and only time I have ever seen my dad cry, it was after my mom & him got a divorce; talking to him about it made me feel shy. See, he was worried he wouldn’t get to see my siblings & I anymore after the marriage had died.

Even though I don’t see or talk to my dad often, I love him very much. I also have ADHD & his nose, so I understand him, as well as resemble him and such.

If there’s one thing I’d want my dad to know, it’s that I love and understand him and to not be so hard on himself as he is loved always from head to toe.

Ch. 5 – Mansion Chaos

Sitting in an over-sized kitchen that looked to belong to royalty with a sparkling chandelier hanging from the high ceiling above, the shiny black & white tiled floors that looked to have just been polished, & the gargantuan sparkly white table that sat in front of them, Felicity, Hemp & Melvin quietly enjoyed miniature blue berry pancakes topped with Melvin’s famous syrup. Each pancake was shaped as a different character from the video game that Melvin & Hemp love to play. Hemp & Melvin happily enjoying their dishes, while Felicity watched them with wide eyes in realization that she had been hanging out with two men who were true teenage boys at heart. Felicity, feeling guilty, watched Hemp’s mother clean the stove after making their breakfast.

“Edmund, be sure to clear your plate. It will keep you strong with hair on your chest.” Kemp’s mother said while she finished wiping off the counter top.

Kemp, taking his last bite & throwing his arms up in the air, stood up & began flexing his arms.

Hemp’s mother walked over & grabbed Hemp’s plate while looking at Felicity & Melvin’s plates, “you two eat up & one day you can be as healthy as Edmund here.”

Kemp smiling & pounding his chest with his fist a few times & burping loudly.

“You know me, Mrs. K, I’ll eat a spoonful & sprout a 10-haired patch on my chest,” said Melvin before balling his fist up & hitting his chest as a long belch came soaring out of his mouth.

Kemp’s mother, Kemp & Melvin all busted out in laughter, & then Kemp’s mother patted Melvin’s shoulder before turning around to place Kemp’s dish in the bubbling dish water.

“Thank you so much for the meal, Mrs. Kempy. It’s delicious,” replied Felicity.

“It’s no problem, dear. Any friend of my Edmund is more than welcome to indulge in any of my meals,” said Mrs. Kempy.

“I bet your proud of Edmund with all that he’s accomplished. Kempy’s seems to be the place to be around here,” said Felicity with a smile.

“Ah yes, my Eddy has always had a fascination with science & now Chroley has a place where town folk, young & old, can come to enjoy themselves without getting into trouble. My Eddy is a good boy,” said Mrs. Kempy.

Felicity smiled & looked at Kemp as he plastered a silly robot-like close-lipped grin on his face.

After breakfast, Felicity, Kemp & Melvin made their way to Kemp’s lab that was located on the opposite side of the Kempy mansion. See, Kempy’s was basically a fun house in downtown Chroley that included a rollercoaster ride in an enormous underground tunnel. The Kempy mansion was located in Edinborough, but was connected to Kempy’s via the underground tunnel that housed the purple couch/ rock band rollercoaster ride. Kempy’s rollercoaster riders would exit the ride at the dock in front of the double doors that led to Kemp’s office (in underground Edinborough) & be led to Kempy’s underground express (a two minute walk from the dock) that transported them right back to downtown Chroley. The spiral staircase in Kemp’s office led to the inside of his laboratory that was located inside of the Kempy mansion. Basically, Edmund Kempy, a.k.a. Kemp, was a rich scientific genius & businessman, but even with all of that, Felicity still saw Kemp as a teenage boy in a grow man’s body. Sure, Melvin is as silly as they come & the two of them together is teenage boy central, but Melvin had at least managed to live independently & make his own meals, thought Felicity. Regardless of any of that, Felicity had come to the conclusion that she was proud to know both Melvin & Kemp. Seeing as how they were both willing to help her get in contact with her mother, which seemed to not be such an easy feat, Felicity was willing to tolerate all the silliness one can handle.

Kemp, jumping on a short, purple, flat board that was levitating above the mansion floor, yelled, “last one there’s a purple tortoise!”

Kemp took off down the corridor. Melvin, grabbing the other two flat boards from their wall chargers, tossed the yellow one to Felicity & dove into a hand stand on his blue one. Felicity watched as Melvin flew in another direction towards the same part of the mansion, seemingly as a way to cut off Kemp further in the race. Felicity placed one foot on the board & WAMMM! Felicity fell back knocked her head off the shiny, hard flooring that lined the foyer.

“Ouch!” cried Felicity as she tried to quickly position her knees on the board in a strategy to better stabilize herself.

SWWOOOSHHH! Off she went, flying forward but directly towards a wall in front of her! Felicity leaned her body to the right & she flew passed the wall, missing it by centimeters. In front of her was a huge room with a fire place, big white couches sitting on large floral rugs, stands with large vases full of the most beautiful flowers, and large windows with bright light spilling on to the entire room. A maid fluffing pillows on one of the couches was stood right in front of Felicity’s path. Felicity leaned back & the flat board swiftly hurled Felicity off of the board & on to the floor directly behind the maid. The maid turned back to see what made the crashing noise, but before she could see her, Felicity was on the board again, this time on her stomach with her hands tightly clamped to the front with a look of intensity in her eyes. Ahead of her was Melvin. She was gaining on him. He was still positioned in a hand stand, obviously having ridden a flat board way too much in the past. Felicity passed Melvin & Melvin smiled with a look of surprise as he sat down on his board grabbing the uneaten apple out of his mouth & taking a bite.

“WOOOOOOOOOOO!” Felicity heard from behind her understanding that Melvin was enjoying that she was enjoying the race.

“WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” yelled Felicity getting more & more comfortable with riding as she spun around in circles continuing to push forward in the race.

All of a sudden Felicity & Melvin were approaching two maids balancing a huge pile of sheets with one long sheet with one maid on each side. Felicity & Melvin flew above them so fast that before the two maids knew what was happening, the flyaways of their tightly combed back hair was a mess on top of their heads. Swiftly turning right to miss the bronze statue stood in the middle of the mansion library, Felicity & Melvin started to slow as they saw Hemp lying in a pile of books on the floor that apparently fell from the shelf above him after he smashed into it. Felicity jumped off her board & scurried to Hemp’s aid.

Melvin stayed sat atop his board chuckling, “ya okay, buddy?”

Hemp sprung up from the pile of books as though nothing ever happened, “good, I’m good. To the laboratory!”

Hemp, Felicity & Melvin walked through the next corridor & up the stairs into Hemp’s lab.

“Here,” Hemp said as he tossed a purple dufflebag to Felicity. “I grabbed a few of my mom’s outfits that might fit you. You might want to put one of these on.”

Felicity shrugged, took the duffle bag & went into the bathroom to change.

Twenty minutes later Felicity walked back up the steps into the lab to see Hemp & Melvin tossing a large rubberband ball back & forth. Clearing her throat loudly, Hemp & Melvin looked over to see Felicity in a long, hot pink dress with a frilly, rectangle neckline & long sleeves with a light pink ribboned bow on the front with wooden clogged shoes.

“Really?” asked Felicity sarcastically.

“You look great! Now for the hair,” replied  Hemp as he stood up & grabbed two purple spray cans.

Felicity’s eyes widened with fear as he walked towards her.

“NOOOOOOOO!” was the last thing she yelled before her hair was tied up & sprayed purple with one sole line of purple paint dripping down her face.

“Perfect!” exclaimed Hemp, but then noticed the purple paint drip, “hold on,” he said as he wiped the drip off of Felicity’s face.

“Perfect,” Hemp said again.

Melvin looked at Felicity with one hand on his chin & a scrunched up forehead, then tilted his head to one side.

“Right then,” Hemp said walking off towards the machine.

Hemp began pointing out where Felicity will stand inside the machine while Felicity stood in front of the mirror that was attached to the side of the wall completely ignoring everything Hemp was saying & focusing entirely on the ribboned bow that was tied on the front of her long, corsetted dress. She jumped & watched the bow flop up & down. Then she wiggled & watched the bow move from side to side. She picked up the top of each of the loops of the bow, let them go & then watched them fall back down, spring back up & then fall back down again. Felicity had never worn anything so frilly before.

“Are you done?” Hemp interrupted, his face close to hers. Felicity, brought back to reality, blushed after realizing that Hemp had seen her playing like a little girl.

“Yeah, sorry,” chuckled Felicity, but also looking down in embarrassment.

“It’s set. The meetings in 15 minutes,” said Melvin as he walked into the room in a slow walk/ dance with eye brows raised.

A quick “woo!” was heard & both Hemp & Melvin looked at Felicity in surprise due to her sudden increase in enthusiasm.

Felicity, realizing this, put her head down in embarrassment.

“I mean that’s cool, whatever,” Felicity eventually muttered out.

Ch. 4 – Kempy’s

“We are going to visit my best bud, Kemp! With his help, you’ll be able to meet the queen in a jiffy!” said Melvin excitedly. Pointing to a building shaped like a huge top hat connected to Tony’s Tavern & Walkashore Salon was Kempy’s. “Come on!” shouted Melvin as he ran towards Kempy’s like a child running towards a candy store. Glancing at the Castle one last time before following Melvin into Kempy’s, Felicity sighed, “okay, I’m coming, I’m coming.”

The inside of Kempy’s looked to be some sort of fun house. The floor was a platform that slowly spun around counter-clockwise & everything was bright in color & there were funny mirrors & unusual vases with odd-looking flowers inside. There was cotton candy being rolled by an automatic machine in the middle of the room & around the machine were blue sticks of different flavored cotton candy on on each one — blue berry, watermelon, pink lemonade, etc. There were stands with jars full of silver sparkles & others with this purple jelly & silly top hats sitting around randomly. Colorful swirly decorations hang from the high ceiling & there was a line of people in front of, what looked to be, a ride of some sort. The line cleared quickly as the two-seat purple couches on rails kept coming as if there was an unlimited supply. When it was Melvin & Felicity’s turn, Melvin handed the ticket taker two lime green tickets he pulled out from his vest pocket. Felicity walked up to the slowly moving couch cautiously & sat down gently. Melvin, on the other hand, barrel-rolled onto the platform & then frog-jumped onto the couch laughing like he just heard the funniest joke. “Sorry I had to show you up like that. These long legs are robust & these sweet moves seem to just sporadically occur. Is it magic you ask?” No, Felcity most certainly did not ask. “Nah, it’s MELVY, BABY!” shouted Melvin confidently. The couch began to move quite fast & Felicity looked worried until she realized that the couch had a mechanism that had secured a buckle around her & Melvin once picking up some speed. Once exiting the lit up room, it was pure darkness & Felicity could hear others yelling with excitement as the couch began to spin a few times & then straightened back out just to pick up even more speed. Melvin threw his hands up, “WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” he shouted. It became clear to Felicity that Kempy’s was a miniature amusement park of sorts & she was on some purple couch rollercoaster. The couch stopped & turned to a lit up stage while the large room they were in was still pitch black. Felicity could see other couches full of people in front & behind them. Everyone was shouting excitedly & all of a sudden a rock band appeared on stage & began to play. Felicity looked over at Melvin & his long golden locks were blowing up & down as he was head banging to the beat playing his air guitar. Felicity giggled, but then felt as if their couch began to drift off of the rails into water, still in the dark. “I don’t think I like this very much,” Felicity thought. But just then the couch felt as if it was on rails again & SWWWOOOOOSH! The couch began to move again & the music cut off. The stage became dark. Up they went, climbing rails that seemed to just get steeper & steeper. Eventually, it stopped. “Uh oh,” Felicity knew what was going to happen next. The couch flew down the rails so fast that Felicity’s cheeks felt as if they were going to fly off her face & the rock music began playing again, LOUD!

After some sharp turns & a few upside-down maneuvers, the couch came to a stop & off went the music. But then they began to move slowly forward & dim lights switched on above them. All of a sudden, it felt as if the couch became unattached to the rails & was floating in water once again. The couch began moving forward as if there was a silent motor directing the couch under the water. The lights turned on suddenly & all around them was a beautiful inside park full of flowers & bushes & there were birds singing in the trees. The water was a beautiful teal color & ahead of them was a dock that people in front of them were exiting on. As Felicity & Mevlin approached the dock, a tall, thin man with a lime green suit & top hat with a movie star smile appeared from the double doors on the far side of the room behind the dock, “MELVY!!!” he shouted. Melvin threw himself off of the couch & they both began to walk towards each other in a slow-walk/ dance sort of way. Once they reached one another they gave one another a tight bear hug. “MELVYYYYY, where ya been, buddy?” asked the man. “Kemp,” Melvin said in a serious tone while coming out of the bear hug, “I have someone I want you to meet.” Melvin turned his body to reveal Felicity standing behind him sheepishly waving. “Come with me,” said Kemp.

Felicity followed the men from the dock to the gold double doors. Kemp opened one of the doors & gestured to Felicity, “after you,” he said. “Thanks, brizzo,” replied Melvin as he strutted through the door. “I meant Felicity, Melv. I meant Felicity,” Kemp said as he shook his head. “Oh! Right. My bad,” replied Melvin as he turned around & waited for Felicity to catch up. Felicity & Kemp chuckled as they all walked in the room that looked to be Kemp’s office. There was a desk area on one side with a large TV & a few video game consoles sitting in front if it with a lime green coffee table & then a large purple couch, similar to the ones used in the rollercoaster ride, sitting in front of that. There was a large refrigerator full of energy drinks & a ping pong table next to that. The room looked to be part teenage boy, part business man.

“Welcome, Felicity. I assume you have come to prepare to meet the queen?” asked Hemp. “Yes, I would like to meet my mother. But what do I need to prepare for?” said Felicity. Hemp & Melvin looked at each other, & then burst out laughing. Melvin laughed so hard he spit out the energy drink he was drinking that he grabbed from the fridge. Hemp put his hands on his knees & began to belly-laugh so hard that he had to hold on to his abdomen. “What is so funny?!” Felicity snapped. “It’s just,” Hemp managed to get out, “she has no idea you are here & isn’t the most, how do you say, warm person to be around.” “Oh, great,” cried Felicity as her eyes filled up with tears. Melvin walked over to comfort her & wrapped his arm around her, “oh, Felicity, don’t worry about a thing. We will take care of you & this time tomorrow evening you will be reunited with your mom & everything will be perfect. Also, she does have a warm side. You have just have to get to know her.” “Really?” Felicity said, wiping her eyes & looking up at Melvin with hope. “Yes, yes, yes, yes. Really,” replied Melvin, walking her to the couch & sitting her down. “Have a nap,” suggested Hemp, handing a bright pink, fluffy blanket to Melvin to hand to Felicity & tossng her a lime green pillow from his office chair.” “Thanks,” Melvin said, yawning, “you don’t get a body like this stayin’ awake all the time.” “Not you, Melly! I was talking to Felicity! I need you to come with me to help get things ready for tomorrow,” said Hemp. “Right. This is for Felicity. Sorry about that Felicity. Here ya go,” Melvin responded, handing her the blanket. “I suppose I am quite tired,” yawned Felicity. And out she was.

“Come get some,” heard Felicity. “Oh, I’m coming, alright. Here ya go,” another voice was heard. “Nooooooo!” the other voice shrieked. Felcity opened her eyes to see Hemp & Melvin playing a video game on the big-screen. The coffee table was covered in chips & empty energy drinks with candy wrappers sitting about. “Noooooooooo! Not again!” cried Melvin. Felicity looked up to see Hemp bent over doing the “butt roll” & smiling largely. “You can’t beat me, Melvy. I play this game too much for you to come in & be victorious,” said Hemp as he began flexing his arm muscles. “Yeah yeah, I gotta take a leak,” Melvin said as he stood up & walked out of the room. “Oh, hey Felicity,” said Hemp, just realizing her having woken up. “How did you sleep?” he said. “Good, actually. I’m excited for today. I’m ready to meet my mother.” “Glad to hear it, we have everything ready for you,” replied Hemp. “Come check it out,” he said as he got up & started walking towards the set of spiral stairs that stood next to the fridge. Felicity followed Hemp up the stairs to see a large laboratory with a huge sky light built in to the top of the ceiling. There was a huge machine on display that looked to have been currently switched off. “Woah, what is this?” asked Felicity. “This,” Hemp began, “is a telaportation device. We have to use this to meet the queen. One cannot just stroll up to the castle. Seamsters would never allow that. You will have to meet in a particular location in the castle. She will be expecting Melvin, but you will be the surprise. To put it simply, this afternoon you will meet the queen & this machine will help you get there.” “Interesting,” replied Felicity. “I, Felicity Truemer, will finally meet my mother. I’m so excited!” Just then, Melvin walked into the room, “yo, Felicity! You’re awake!” “I sure am,” smiled Felicity, “Let’s have some breakfast.” “Righteous,” nodded Melvin with a smirk.

Ch. 3 – Exploring Chroley

“We’ve gotta get you presentable to meet the queen, a.k.a. yo momma,” said Melvin.

Felicity, with squinted eyes & a scrunched up forehead, stared at Melvin as though his head had just turned into an egg.

“My what?!” Felicity blurted out.

Melvin sighed & straightened up his posture, “you were sent to live a normal life soon after you were born — broke your mother’s heart — but while checking up on you like I have always done (every 5 years or so), I discovered that you were not only unhappy, but also not being treated well. I’m sorry, Felicity, that it took me so long to get you out of there.”

Felicity, still staring at Melvin with shock & disbelief, turned her gaze downward as if she was trying to put all the pieces together.

“I know this is a lot for you to take in, so I’ll let you be for a while. When you are ready, you let me know & we will go from there,” said Melvin.

Felicity still staring at the floor with wide eyes just nodded as to say, “okay.”

“Now then,” Melvin began as he placed a wooden bowl full of soup on the kitchen table, “I have some things to do before going to town. Eat this, you’ll feel better.”

Melvin turned & trotted off towards the front door, he slid on his bright orange flip flops & then flip flopped his way out the door. Felicity sat, still staring. A few hours later, Melvin returned to find Felicity in the same position staring at the same spot on the floor. Felicity looked up to see Melvin in his short shorts positioned in a lung & stretching his right arm over his head.

“Okay, Melvin. If all of this is true, then why haven’t I heard from my mother in all of these years?”

Melvin, standing up out of his lung & then lunging again, this time with his left leg & stretching his left arm over his head, replied, “your mother tried to protect you by giving you a normal life outside of the realm. Living in Chroley as a member of the royal family is dangerous. If she would have reached out to you, then she would have put you in danger. There are many who would kill to have the power of a queen, especially in Chroley.”

“Okay, then what about my father? Is he King of Chroley?” asked Felicity.

“Your father died soon after you were born. The castle was overtaken by Gallian Forrestor & his dangerous clan. Your father was killed in the overtaking, but eventually Gallian & his clan were pushed out of our realm by Chroley seamsters. Seamsters have protected this land ever since,” said Melvin in a more serious tone than he had used since meeting Felicity.

“What on earth is a seamster?!” Felicity blurtted out.

“You’ll see,” said Melvin.

“I am going to get ready & we will go to town. Would you mind waiting outside for a bit? My shower area is not enclosed, if ya know what I mean, Jean,” Melvin said.

Felicity shrugged, “sure, no problem. You do remember my name is Felicity though, don’t you? It’s not Jean.”

“Yes yes, I know, it’s a saying, it’s a- oh, nevermind.”

Felicity walked outside & sat on the bench in front of the cottage.

After what felt like hours, Melvin walked out of the cottage with hair that was gelled to perfection as his thick blonde locks glistened in the sun. He had on a bright yellow & white stripped, short-sleeved v-neck shirt with baggy green pants that stopped below his knees & wooden clogged shoes. Melvin’s chest hair also glistened in the sun as though he put on an oil to create a glimmer of shine. He had a red, leather vest in his hand that he put on as he was shutting & locking the front door.

Melvin turned to Felicity with raised eye brows & a crooked smile, “the ladies like it when I show a little chest hair.”

“Okay,” replied Felicity, chuckling under her breath.

Off they walked in the opposite direction of the Giant Hedge Maze & towards the back of the cottage. What Felicity didn’t notice before was that the cottage was attached to the bottom of a ginormous tree that she could clearly see while walking behind it. Melvin & Felicity walked through a beautiful forest where about a mile ahead was a wooden pole with three wooden signs attached to it.

The top sign that was pointed towards the left read, “Edinborough”.

The sign under Edinborough pointed to the right & read, “Blue Berry Springs”.

The sign under Blue Berry Springs pointed to the left & read, “Chroley Train Station”.

Felicity & Melvin walked left to catch the train into downtown Chroley. About a half a mile in was the train station. It was packed with people. Everyone was wearing bright colors & wooden clogged shoes. The men wore v-neck shirts & and stripes, while the women had on long dresses with large, curled up hair. All of the women had pastel-colored hair, light pink, lavender, pale yellow, light blue. Felicity stuck out like a sore thumb, but noone seemed to notice or were just too polite to stare. Felicity stood around people-watching while Melvin grabbed their train tickets from the ticket booth. The train itself was peculiar looking too as it was in the shape of a long cylinder & was purple with fancy writing on the side that read Welcome to Chroley Haven. After retrieving their train tickets to downtown Chroley, Melvin motioned for Felicity to follow him towards the train. Inside the train was interesting. Instead of seats just large enough to fit two people on both sides of the train, there were long seats in the middle where about 10 people were able to sit side-by-side. Two little boys, about 9 years old or so, were playing a game of cards on the floor in front of the seats. Felicity noticed the cards were shaped as circles instead of rectangles. The inside of the train windows had lavendar lace curtains that were tied at both sides of each window. The train floor was black & the seats a neon yellow. Instead of having many carts, the train was all one big cart & there must have been 100 seats lined down the middle. Felicity & Melvin sat down a few rows from the front & moments later the train took off. And boy did it go! It took off so fast that Felicity lost her breath for a few seconds. Not 2 minutes in & the train had arrived in downtown Chroley.

“Wow!” Felicity said.

“What’s that?” replied Melvin.

“How did we get here so fast?” Felicity asked.

Melvin smiled, “magic, of course.”

Once Felicity’s feet hit the pavement outside of the train she was taken aback by the scenery. There were tall black poled street lights with intricate curved black metal shapes at the top of each one, and there were giant bright green hedges behind benches on the outskirts of the large walkway. Further down, stores, restaurants & taverns lined the outer edges of the walkway. There was a large circled drive where people could walk on both sides & in the middle was a huge fountain with beautiful greenery & flowers surrounding it with cement benches surrounding that. Further in the distance was the castle that had a balcony at the very top that looked like the Queen could stand & see all of downtown Chroley. There were no vehicles, everyone was walking. There were lots of people tall & short, large & thin, all wearing the signature bright colored clothing & wooden clogs.

“I have to do a few things, Felicity, but do some exploring while I’m gone, won’t you?” said Melvin.

“Sure thing,” replied Felicity looking around in awe.

Felicity began to walk towards the castle. A beautiful woman with bright red hair & a long blue, green & purple flowery dress was selling pastries & was standing outside her store with samples.

“Hello, dear! Please try a sweet. They are superb!” exclaimed the lady.

“Don’t mind if I do, thank you very much!” replied Felicity.

The tray had many different types of sweets. One was an orange sandwich-like doughnut with swirley green and white cream in the middle. Another was a flat purple cookie with light pink chunks of candy on top. All of them were different, but colorful — kind of like the clothing style here in Chroley. Felicity decided on the fluffy white gummy with a crispy blue bottom topped with strawberry icing.

“Yum!” exclaimed Felicity. “This is absolutely delicious! Thank you, ma’am!”

“You are more than welcome! Enjoy!” replied the lady.

A man dressed in a striped light & bright green suit was cartwheeling in a large circle & blowing bubbles that when popped turned into colorful butterflies. The butterflies would then disappear after a moment or two. A small group of children watched with excitement & cheered as the bubbles seem to become larger & larger each time. Felicity couldn’t help but smile. Finishing the strawberry flavored sweet, Felicity began to feel a bit dizzy. She decided to sit down on one of the outside benches. Next to her sat an older man with glasses & a top hat. Everything became blurry & voices around her started to sound deep & very slow. Felicity stood up & wiped her eyes a few times. She started walking towards the shops looking for Melvin, but after only taking a few steps she collapsed.

“Felicity, are you okay? Felicity?” a worried man’s voice was heard as Felicity was coming to & her sight went from blurry to very clear within a matter of seconds.

Felicity looked around & saw Melvin kneeled down beside her.

“Melvin? What happened?” Felicity’s weak voice barely made any sound.

“You fainted,” replied Melvin. “Good thing I saw you fall as I was exiting the post office. Are you okay?”

“I feel okay. But I did eat a pastry earlier. Do you think that may have had something to do with it?” Felicity said.

“Um, did you get it from June McKalin? She owns June’s Sweetery & is always experimenting with different ingredients. One time I ate what I thought was a mint & woke up laying on a float in Kevin Leasures swimming pool petting his pet iguana & then had the squirts for a week.”

“Oh wow,” Felicity stuttered. “I don’t know if her name was June, but the lady was giving out samples of sweets on a tray.”

“Yep, that was June alright. Listen,” said Melvin, “if you get the squirts, I have an outhouse near the back of my cottage where you can take care of business.”

Felicity sat up & took a hard look at Melvin to figure out if he was serious or not. Yep, he was serious.

“Come on, friend,” Melvin said as he took Felicity’s hand & helped her to her feet. “Let’s get you ready to meet the queen.”

Ch. 2 – Lawnmower Guy

Curled up in a ball in the dark & in the middle of a giant hedge maze laid Felicity who, even though not in a soft warm bed, began to quickly fall asleep due to pure exhaustion. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Felicity awoke with droplets of water falling on her from the grey sky. Finally, some light. But it was foggy — very foggy. And the rain drops continued to fall. Somehow though, it felt calm. Hearing the rain fall &, though not as many as yesterday, the birds were chirping. Felicity knew it was morning & she had surprisingly slept all through the night.

Up she got & walking she began. The first turn she came across, left. The second turn, left. After a bit, the third turn, left.

“If I just continue to turn left,” Felicity thought, “I’ll surely-“

Dead end.

“Shoot,” whispered Felicity.

Turning back she went &, this time right, right was the direction she took. Felicity noticed as she walked that the fog had began to clear & the rain had stopped.  A beautiful blue sky with a rainbow was gleaming from above.

Eeeeeeemmmmmmmmmmm.

“Is that a lawn mower?!”

Felicity, bewildered, yelled, “HELLO?! Someone?! ANYONE?! Who’s there?!”

No answer.

“What on earth is happening here? Where am I?” Felicity questioned.

Just then Felicity realized that the ground she had been walking on had, what looked to be, fresh cut grass. The grass & hedges both looked to be very well looked after & were both bright green & beautiful.

“Surely, whoever is mowing will see me or hear me or- wait a minute,” Felicity thought, “maybe I am getting close to the cottage!”

So off she ran. Left, then right. Then right again. Then left. Felicity was running towards the sound of the mowing.

“THERE!” Felicity yelled. “I’m saved!”

There in front of her was a tall, lanky man with a red & white tank top & a chubby belly that looked like a bowling ball attached to his abdomen, bright blonde shaggy hair, short shorts with very hairy legs & he was listening to headphones while he wiggled & nodded his head to the beat & even side-stepped here & there as he was pushing the bright yellow lawn mower through the hedge maze.

“How strange,” Felicity thought.

He looked to be having the time of his life!

Irritated by this as she was having a very rough time & felt helpless, Felicity yelled, “Excuse me, sir!”

But the lawn mower was so loud & this goofy guy was having far too much fun listening to his music that her yell fell on deaf ears.

Eventually though, the man stopped the mower & appeared to be walking around it to pick up a stone that was in the way. He picked up a few stones & tossed them up & above the right side of the hedges & before turning around to continue mowing he quickly dropped into a move where his right leg was straight & his left leg was bent under him. He then began to play an air guitar & was head banging all the while!

“Alright, I have had enough of this,” said Felicity.

She walked up behind the dancing man & as he stood up & spun around to continue mowing he screeched in horror, sounding like a young girl who just saw a ghost!

“AAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

Placing one hand on his chest & the other above his eyebrows to block the bright sun from his sight, he said, “Oh my! You scared me!”

“Apparently,” Felicity thought.

“Hello, I’m sorry to have startled you, but I have been stuck in this maze all night. Can you please tell me how to get out of here?”

“Of course, Miss. Turn back & make a right at the last turn. You will then make a left, right, left, left, right. Double left, then right again. There you will reach the exit of the hedge maze. Happy trails!”

And with that he turned back around & continued mowing & side stepping in between his wiggles & bottom shaking.

“Good grief,” sighed Felicity, “will I ever get out of here?”

So back Felicity trailed, right, left, right, left, left, right, double left, then right again.

“At last!!!” Felicity shrieked as she began to see the cottage in the distance.

“I made it!” She yelled triumphantly.

Felicity fell to the ground after passing the exit of the giant hedge maze out of pure joy & began to cry. Laying on her back looking up at the blue sky, she weaped. She weaped and weaped until she finally just fell sleep.

Waking up to I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 playing in the background & the blonde haired “lawn mower guy” dancing relentlessly in what looked to be a kitchen made entirely of wood. The man was singing & using a wooden spatula as his microphone. Singing, he would bend his legs & shut his eyes to belt out the words. The man had on a white tank top with blue and white striped shorts and no shoes on. His once blond shaggy hair looking shiny & combed sitting nicely on top of his head. Felicity looked around to realize that she was obviously not outside on the grass anymore. She was laying on a water bed. Yes, that’s right. She was laying on one of those beds that have water on the inside. The inside of wherever she was seemed to be all one big room with the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, library, sitting area & “magic space” all connected as one. The reason “magic space” is worded in that way is because there was literally a wooded sign that read “magic space” on the left side of the big room. The “magic space” included a table in the middle with nothing on it, but with glass bottles and books on shelves & stands around it. The ceiling was very high up & included three wooden ceiling fans. The high walls had many shelves with more glass bottles & books on top. It was a clean cottage, but was somewhat cluttered.

Felicity sat up as best she could on the wobbly water bed & scooted to the side to stand up.

“You’re awake at last!” yelled an excited male voice.

“Lawnmower guy, right?” Felicity said.

“I suppose you could call me lawnmower guy. Or Carl. My name’s Melvin, but I’ve always liked the name Carl.”

“Interesting…” Felicity replied.

“Listen, Carl, or Melvin, how long was I out? And where are we? I’m supposed to be looking for the cottage at the end of the giant hedge maze.”

“I’ve decided. I don’t like Carl anymore. I like Kyle. Call me Kyle. Yeah, Kyle is cool,” said Lawnmower guy.

“Okay, Kyle, please tell me where we are & how long was I sleeping for?,” pleaded Felicity.

“Nope, it didn’t sound as cool as I thought it would. I think I like Carl again. Let’s go with Carl.”

Felicity shouted, “Okay, then CARL! Please try to focus and please tell me where we are!”

“Well your at the cottage off of Giant Hedge Maze & Blue Berry Springs, of course! You know, I’m really sorry about before, I thought I liked Carl & then I got self-conscious & wrecklessly chose Kyle. Then I realized that Carl was what I actually liked all along, but now I’m wondering why I tried to change my name at all when I have had a perfectly good-sounding name all along! I’m Melvin, the local Wizard & who you are here to see. Did you like the handwriting on the note I sent you?! I LOVE writing in curls!!!”

“That was you who sent the note?! Wait, you are the wizard? This is the cottage?! And if you ARE the wizard & you sent me the note & this is your cottage, then why didn’t didn’t say something when I saw you back in the hedge maze?” Felicity asked inquisitively.

Melvin looked up as if he was processing all the questions being thrown at him all at once, “why, yes, yes & yes! I didn’t say anything back in the hedge maze because you didn’t ask (& I was in the middle of a jam sesh). Also, you slept all day yesterday & all night last night. Good morning!”

“I see, well it would have been nice to know that you were the one who sent for me when I was lost & asking for help out of the maze when I first spoke to you thinking you were a simple garden worker! But I suppose you DID give me proper directions out of there & you DID provide a bed for me to sleep while I was out, so I can’t be angry. Apart from that, good morning. I want to thank you, Melvin, for sending me the beautifully written note. I have been not very happy for a long time now. I couldn’t be happier to leave where I was. The captain mentioned that my destiny was at this cottage. What did he mean by that?”

Smiling with such a genuine and sweet smile, Melvin responded, “oh, you mean Rustle?”

Felicity looked puzzled, “well, now that I think about it, I didn’t think to ask his name. How inconsiderate of me. Yes, if you are referring to the captain of the boat as the man you call Rustle, then yes, it must have been Rustle.”

Melvin turned to look in a small, brown leather book, “was he bald with a stash?”

Felicity responded, “I’m sorry, bald with a what?”

“A stash,” Melvin repeated.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what that is. What’s a stash?” asked Felicity.

“You know,” explained Melvin, “a muhssy, middledash, lip beard, storage of last week’s meatloaf, nose hair extension-“

Felicity interrupted, knowing if she didn’t, she would be there all day listening to silly nicknames, “you mean a mustache?”

“Yes, a mustache. Was he bald with a mustache?” Melvin replied.

“Actually,” Felicity recounted, “I believe he was bald with a beard.”

“Ohhhhh, you mean Larry. Larry is bald with a beard. Heck of a sailer too,” said Melvin.

“Well,” Felicity said, putting her hands on her hips & sighing, “I’m here. What now?”

“Now,” explained Melvin, “you get to take your place as princess.”

Felicity, responding with shock, “as what?!”

Ch. 1 – Maze to Destiny

Waking up to the warmth of the sun on her face, entering from the balcony doors stood on the left side of her & Stew’s bedroom, Felicity sat up staring outside at the busy street. The traffic was backed up, horns were beeping, the taco & coffee trucks were out with customers lined up & the florist shop across the street had fresh flowers in plastic bins lining both sides of the entrance. Noticing it was already 8:00, Felicity stood up & began making the bed. First chore of the day, complete. Next, coffee. Walking downstairs to make a pot of coffee, Felicity noticed a bright white envelope taped to the front door. The front was blank. Curious, Felicity grabbed the envelope & opened it up to see what was inside.

Pulling out a bright blue ticket with a note that read, “The ship leaves at 9 a.m. sharp. This is your chance.”

“Is this some kind of trick?” Fecility thought.

“No, Stew would never spend money on me to go anywhere. And the writing, how odd. It’s written in someone’s large, swirly handwriting. But not a child’s writing, this writing seemed to have a sort of sophistication to it. What do I have to lose? Nothing.”

9:00 a.m. sharp — Felicity, carried nothing but her blue ticket & purse containing her I.D., $13 & her signature red lip stick. Her hair slicked back in a low pony tail, wearing a black and white tank top, black jeans, black boots & black sunglasses (the sunglasses were to be concealed just enough to where she could have time to dodge any of Stew’s buddies [or their wives] if they were to think they had spotted her).

A light brown ship, seeming to be filled with nothing, but rope and hay pulled up to dock and a short man with a bald head, white beard & bright red shirt with dark brown corduroy pants steped from the boat on to the dock.

“Ticket?” He asked.

“Oh, yes, sir. Right here.” Felicity handed the bright blue ticket to the man.

“Welcome aboard, Felicity. Come with me.”

Felicity followed the happy, stout man on to the boat. He took her into the cabin of the boat & down the long stairs.

“Wow,” thought Felicity.

Walking down the stairs, Felicity noticed that on the right side of the wall looked to be a never-ending open window of a beach with waves crashing down onto shore. Felicity could feel the breeze & hot sun & smell the ocean air. She saw a white lighthouse in the distance and besides the seagulls & waves, there was no one in sight.

“But how?” Felicity questioned to herself.

“I’m on a boat, this has to be some fancy artwork that tricks one into believing it is a live scene.”

While still keeping pace behind the captain, Felicity put her hand out of this long open window & grabbed a handful of sand & in amazement, slowly dropped it back down onto the shore.

Looking to the left of her on the wall looked to be another large open window that seemed to go on for days, but outside of this window was a clearing in the middle of a forest on top of a mountain with snow all over the ground and on the pine trees. It was night time & there was a full moon. There were random trees that were lit up like Christmas trees with lights strung all around them. It was silent & calming & snow was falling from the dark sky. Felicity put her hand out & watched as snow flakes fell into the palm of her hand. Felicity felt such calmness and was so immersed in the beautiful, lively scenery that she began to slow her pace. She had the best of both worlds at just the tips of her fingers, why would she want to go anywhere else?

“Come along now, Felicity, we have much more to see,” said the captain.

Felicity, coming back to reality, sped up her pace. The stairway came to a completely dark, but very large room with no walls or ceiling in sight. The only light in the room came from the wooden door at the far end & it looked to be draped with green vines.

“Ladied first,” the captain said as he turned towards Felicity & gestured for her to enter a two-person seat on rails that looked to be part of a roller-coaster ride.

“Oh, thank you,” Felicity said as the captain helped her in.

“Here we go!” shouted the captain.

No sooner than she sat down they were on the move & FAST! Before she knew it, they were at the wooden door that just moments ago looked to be miles away. The captain put his hand out to help Felicity out & handed her a skeleton key.

“This is where I must leave you, Felicity. Use this key to open this door & through here you will need to make your way through the giant hedge maze. After that, you will reach a small cottage. There you will find your destiny. Pretty cool, huh?”

Felicity took the key out of the captain’s hands & noticed that there were two other keys on that key that were very small, but were indeed keys just as much as the skeleton key was a key.

“Okay, wait, so I need to do what now?”

But as she looked back, he was gone.

“Oh, great. Here I am left alone in a huge dark room in some magic boat. Fantastic!”

Felicity took a few deep breaths to calm herself down, “it’s okay. I got this. All of this is better than being trapped in a house with an abusive man for the rest of my life. I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Let’s do this.”

Felicity put the skeleton key in the key hole of the wooden door handle. Nothing. She tried jiggling it a bit. Nothing. Then she noticed a small sign on the side of the door in the same swirly handwriting that was used to write the note in the envelope she received this morning.

The sign read, “Three keys are better than one!”

Felicity was stumped.

“What is this supposed to mean?! There is only ONE key hole. Where would the other two even-“

There. Right there under the key hole were two small key holes. Very small. Felicity took the skeleton key out of the key hole & removed both small keys from the skeleton key. She then put all three keys in the key holes & turned each one of them. With that, the door creaked open & daylight spilled it’s way onto Felicity’s face as she stood in front of the doorway with eyes wide.

It was beautiful. There was a bright, clear blue sky and the birds were singing & the sun was shining & in front of her was fresh cut grass with a maze of perfectly cut rectangle hedges. The hedges had to be 10 feet tall. As Felicity walked through the doorway, the entrance of the giant hedge maze magically & quickly moved to the very front of the doorway to where all she saw now was the inside of the hedge maze. No more beautiful cut grass field & other places to walk to. Although she could still hear the birds singing & see the clear blue sky above & light from the sun. Felicity had no choice, she must either walk through the giant hedge maze or turn around. And turning around was no real option as all that was behind her was a black room with nothing in sight.

So off she went, Felicity walked through the hedge maze with determination. Each time she had a choice to make on which way to go she randomly chose which ever direction she was intuitively drawn to. As Felicity continued through the maze, she realized that the sun was starting to go down & she was losing light.

“Oh no!” Felicity thought.

“What am I going to do when it gets dark?!”

Felicity decided right then & there to begin to run in hopes that she would get to the end quicker. Felicity ran & ran, but there was no end in sight. It became even more dark & eventually she could hardly see her hand in front of her face. Felicity decided to lay down on the next bench that she felt around for as every so often in the maze there would be a bench sitting on the side if the trail. But as she was feeling around for the bench she began to feel something stone. It seemed to be a statue of some sort. As she felt around to see what the statue was, she came to the conclusion that it was of a gnome or elf. She felt the chubby little face & the pointy hat with the large nose & long beard.

“Um excuse me!” a voice shouted in an annoyed tone.

Felicity shot back in fear, “hello?!”

“Do you mind? I’m trying to sleep!” a grumpy male voice called out.

Felicity couldn’t believe it. Was this statue alive?

“I’m so sorry, I thought you were a statue! I’m trying to find my way out of here. Can you please help me?”

“Of course I’m a statue — you become a statue when you sleep. Well, I was until you so rudely woke me up! If you don’t mind, I have to get back to sleep. I have a lot more hedges to trim tomorrow,” he said.

“I’m sorry I woke you, but I am trying to get out of here. If YOU would not be so rude, would you please tell me how to get out of here. I am looking for a cottage.”

“If you want help, then you will have to find the wizard & the wizard, I’m afraid, is in the cottage. I am no help to you. Goodnight!”

And at that he rolled back into the hedges & was off to sleep again.

“Wonderful,” thought Felicity.

“Now I’m back in the dark with no one to help. I better get some sleep too then.”

Felicity yawned as she curled up in a ball & began to fall asleep.