Call Me Ishmael

That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me*. And she certainly didn’t intend for me to use her “gift” for my own personal gain. Did she really think I was just going to smile, say “thank you”, and play her twisted little game? That poor, naive creature. I guess I should technically thank her for the life I’ve been able to lead, but sitting here in this jail cell it’s hard to really thank her for the predicament I’m currently in.

It all started when I was 7. I had always been an anxious child – worrying over the smallest things, especially how people viewed me. Their thoughts and opinions meant the world to me. If someone said, or did, something that led me to believe they were angry with me, or didn’t like me, I had to know for sure. I was making myself sick over the smallest slights.

Of course, my mother had to involve our dolt of a fairy Lucinda in the matter. Teas were brewed, special foods consumed. Nothing gave me the permanent relief of not knowing. Then one day, Lucinda had her “brilliant” idea. She gave me the gift of knowing. From that day on, I was able to know people’s thoughts. I think she just meant for me to be able to know their thoughts towards me in particular, but it didn’t stop there. I knew everything. I couldn’t read their minds or find old forgotten secrets. I could only know and understand something that they were thinking at that exact moment. If I was standing close enough to them.

It didn’t take long for me to start manipulating people. How easy it was to change the cook’s mind to make me a cake for dessert instead of her nasty apple tarts.

Mary, what’s for dinner tomorrow? 

Braised chicken and carrots love. You’re favourite. And maybe a little something special for dessert. Oh, how excited will she be when she sees it’s her favourite apple tarts! 

Ooh, that sounds yummy! I hope the special dessert is cake. You make the best cakes Mary. Always so yummy and delicious. Mmmm I wish I had my birthday every day so I could eat one of your cakes. 

You’re too sweet. Now run along and play dear. If I pick up some extra sugar when I’m at the market tomorrow, I could make the dear a cake!

The next day, a cake would magically be on the dinner menu.

I can’t say definitely when I decided to use it for more of a personal gain. For a nine-year-old girl, cake whenever I wanted was the best personal gain I could think of. But slowly it started to change. I’d sit beside the smartest girl in class and pass every test. I’d know codes for security alarms, and just want to test them out. First just to see if they would work, and then to open whatever it was that was being protected. Once, I sat in a closed shop for two hours, just because I could, before getting bored and leaving. Making sure to reset the security code as I left.

Then one day, it wasn’t enough. Those little thrills weren’t enough. I started knicking small items when I would go into places late at night. I’d use information to blackmail my university professors for exemptions from assignments. It’s surprising what the smallest nugget of information will get you.

Soon, even that wasn’t a big enough thrill. Things just started spiraling out of control. I slipped up. Got overconfident. I see that now. I know where I went wrong. Now if only the guard would let me have my one phone call, I could try to get myself out of this mess! But no – he wants to make the pretty little thing wait. I want to know how she did it, maybe some time locked up will make her reveal her secret and we could help each other out. 

Maybe I don’t need that phone call after all…perhaps I should thank Lucinda when I see her next.

January 5 Call Me Ishmael Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it

the first sentence of your post.

*Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine.

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