Peter thinks that plaits look delightful on his daughter, or the neighbour's little girl, or adorning the head of a supermarket checkout girl, or even the barmaid who usually serves his pint.
With his wife, though, it is a different matter.
He yearns to run his hands through her golden tresses and feel her silky locks tickling his bare skin.
He pleads with her to loose her hair at bedtime.
Ellie frowns. âIt will tangle and take too long to comb in the morning,â she says.
Peter heartily dislikes plaits. He buys pretty combs for Ellie and lives in hope.
âLadies!!! Gentlemen!!! Sick of paying ÂŁÂŁÂŁ for products to give your hair volume? We have the answer. Did you know that some birds can raise their crest feathers at will? Imagine big hair, or an obedient quiff, at your command! One almost painless injection of our EFF (Extract of Feather Follicles) is your lifetime solution.â
The owners of the small clinic grew rich overnight as the beautiful people flocked to have the treatment. Celebrity endorsements flooded in and the sales increased exponentially.
One day, the clinic closed. The owner flew abroad leaving no contact details.
Then the moulting season began.
Heâs a bit of a goth is Vinnie, with his skull rings and black eye make-up. I know Iâm The One because Saturday heâs taking me to meet his parents.
Clutching his leathers, we ride on his bike up to a huge mansion, all topiary bushes and, inside, marble floors and candles. Itâs like a film set waiting for the actors but the wine is real enough.
"Whereâs everyone?" I slur.
"Theyâre here waiting. Theyâre going to enjoy you."
The dining room is bare, except for two silver coffins.
The lids rise, as my eyelids close.
"Mum! Dad! Dinnerâs served."
She imagined the wind catching her long hair and flowing around her like a shimmering dark veil. Her full skirts flouncing in a colourful twirl as she danced and frolicked over luscious green pastures.
She felt loved, she was sure. Hers was a happy life, she wanted for nothing.
She had felt free and joyous, but she could feel something in her bones as she read the inscription carved in the tombstone.
She just knew Amelia Anderson was everything she was not, and she could never pass this grave without feeling a slight pitch of envy knotting in her gut.
A loud scream emanated from the President's private apartments.
The bodyguards drew their guns and went racing to the rescue. Whatever could be wrong? Had an intruder assaulted their leader?
The President stood in the centre of his chamber, clad only in his trousers and a half-finished shirt. He was scowling fiercely.
âDo stand still, dear!â chided the First Lady, brandishing a pincushion.
âYou might stick another pin in me!â growled the President.
Seeing their leader's expression, the bodyguards hastily left the room, suppressing their laughter.Â To think that his guards could keep his enemies away, but not his wife!
A demon drops onto the shoulder of an unsuspecting girl. It unfurls a forked tongue and sticks it into her neck.
Her guardian angel, who due to her unique situation is also a warrior angel, strides across the school hallway, summons a spear and jabs it through the demonâs eye. The monster disintegrates.
The angel steps back to resume guarding the girl who will soon be not only his charge, but his trainee.
Suddenly, she drops her textbook to rub at her shoulder blade, in pain due to the appearance of a demon.
Her wings wonât stay hidden much longer.
Idleness and Mischief were downing pints at their local pub and complaining about the lack of jobs.
At a nearby table, Hard Work and Perseverance were in earnest discussion about their next project. Opportunity joined them and offered some ideas, but advised they employ extra staff.
Luck arrived and, seeing Idleness and Mischief, she suggested them as likely candidates. But they had been joined by their good friend Misery and were so engrossed in consoling each other that they failed to hear Opportunity calling to them.
Luck and Opportunity gave disappointed sighs and simply passed them by as they left.
Father left on the nine-thirty train,
With a sombre look, marbled with pain.
âGoodbye,â he said, with a glistening eye,
It broke my heart seeing him cry.
I asked my mother, âIs Father coming home?â
âNo,â she said, âNow we are alone.â
Her puffy eyes told no lies,
I saw beyond her powdery disguise.
So I followed for answers, aboard the coastal train,
An optimistic peacemaker, to mend this severed chain.
To the world, they were husband and wife,
Hyenas laughing, larger than life.
Dear Mother asked, âIs he coming home?â
Choked was my answer, âWeâre better off alone.â
He was under pressure. There was a great deal of people depending on his leadership, and yet here he sat in this small cottage, in effect hiding.
So much was going through his mind about what he had to do, how he could organise his people, and what he needed to win the day.
Yet there was something nagging at him, something that he had to do here and now. An immediate concern for him to see to, yet he couldnât remember what.
A funny smell was distracting him, and a woman's voice yelled.
âAlfred, youâre burning the cakes again!â
I love the sunshine, feeling it warm upon my fur and turning ginger to spun gold. The grass is soft beneath my feet. It is pleasant to be outside, enjoying my domain.
I love the cheeky robin who sits atop a tree just out of reach. I know he is teasing, but I can close my eyes and imagine climbing the tree one day.
I snooze, lost in pleasant dreams.
But what's this? Water is pouring from the sky and drenching my beautiful fur!
My slave calls, âCome in out of the rain, Harry!â
Thankfully, I retreat within the house.