Now, I do love a good literary challenge. And this one was unique. The World Map Challenge suggests that I write a story based on a literary hero or author and a place I would like to eventually visit. My place is Negril, Jamaica, and my author is James Thurber. Although, I probably won’t attempt what my protagonist James Thurber attempted.
If you’d like to participate:
- Choose your dream spot destination (never been before!).
- Explain shortly – why would you like to visit the place? (you can add the photo)
- Pick any literary hero or author and create a story, flash or poem about visiting that dream-destination.
- The style and the genre of the writing – any. Link to the blog that nominated you. Bend the rules if you have to…
- Spread the challenge: nominate 3-5 blogs.
The rules say “Bend the rules . . .” so I’m bending them into a non-nomination type challenge. I won’t be nominating other blogs. Without further ado, here’s my tale titled Negril and Its Secrets.
Negril – Jamaican resort town on the western side of the island – saw Mr. Thurber as the mild-mannered no one that he felt himself to be. James had written several pieces that had been published but he still saw himself in his mind’s eye as a non-effectual person. He may write a hundred stories in his lifetime of Walter Mittys being heroes of action, but he’d still inevitably feel like a hero of the mundane. He nursed his drink at the bar while people chatted and socialized around him.
A man beside him chatted up a woman that he knew the man had just met. The man said he’d tackled a bear at one point of his life when he was on vacation in the Appalachian Mountains. Oh, well, it was a bear cub, and its mother wasn’t around. So, he bopped it in the nose as he wrestled with the clawed beast. The bear hightailed away from his campsite once it had gotten a whiff of the man’s prowess. James wondered how much of the man’s story was a Walter daydream. People have often a different recollection of past events after the fact. The past is often built on ego and luck and not much else.
Time to check out some other place had arrived, James felt. Some place where people were more real and less cartoonish. He’d seen Bugs Bunny and some of Bug’s prowess. The camping man and Bugs sounded a lot alike. He’d hate to think a camping man could pick up a gullible, drunk woman in a Negril bar on the premise of a cartoon. More lucky stars had fallen for less, James supposed.
“You finished, Mr. Thurber?” asked the bartender.
“Yes. Um, I was going to go to Mama Hertha’s Tea Room. Can you tell me where that is?” Thurber asked.
“Ah, Mama Hertha’s. The taxi driver will know. Just be careful. It’s an open-air bar type restaurant establishment. Some seedy people have been known to shake things up there.”
“Will do. Thank you, sir.”
James left the bar expecting Mama Hertha’s Tea Room to be close by. The taxi driver began driving off the beach side into the “backwoods” as they say. Off the main drag and into rural Negril. Mama Hertha’s was apparently nothing more than a shanty off the roadside. They had a special going on. The special on their special tea. James decided to give their special tea a good go. Why not?
No one told Mr. Thurber about the special taste of the tea. It tasted how a cow patty smells. Two drinks and he thought better of the idea. But, unknown to him, two drinks were all it would take. The effects didn’t immediately start. The process took about thirty minutes. Before James knew, the tea had begun to tickle his brain into hallucinations. He could’ve sworn he just saw a bear in the weeds. Was it dancing? There were no bears in Jamaica, he thought. He supposed he was wrong possibly. The bear danced to the rhythm of the song someone had put on the jukebox. Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire had never sounded so good. What’s more, Mr. Thurber had never seen a bear dance to the song. Holy . . . ! What kind of tea was that?! James thought it best he left the restaurant. He had the restaurant call him a cab. The cab pulled up and James got in.
“To the Ferry Inn,” James said.
“Got ya, mon,” the cab driver said. “Hey, need the ganja, mon?”
“No. I definitely need no ganja,” James said to the driver’s reefer reference.
The moon was so bright over the ocean when the driver stopped at James’s hotel. People moved about on the beach even after dark. There was a gorgeous woman walking on the beach. James recognized her as the gullible, drunk woman the camping guy tried to pick up. She was alone. The guy had obviously either not succeeded or gotten done with her already. He felt a pang of hurt for the woman. He approached her as he tried to maintain his physical balance as well as his mental acuity.
“Hey there,” he spoke.
“Hi. I hope you aren’t trying to pick me up like that other guy was. I saw you beside us at the bar. Oh my lord, that guy was so full of crap. He wrestled a bear, for god’s sake,” she said. Apparently, she wasn’t as gullible as he thought at first.
James said, “Yes. I think I saw the same thing happen in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.” They both laughed. James suddenly felt his spirits pick up. She had a beautiful laugh. They talked until she decided to let James see the inside of her hotel room.
The next morning when he woke, she slept soundly beside him. But this could not be the same woman he’d met last night. Whoever this woman was, she’d grown hairs out of moles on her head and, at the same time, grown a new head. James stuttered to his feet and sneaked out of the room like a ninja who’d just assassinated a dancing bear.
James Thurber flew back home reading about the place he’d just left. Mama Hertha’s Tea Room, he read, was famous for its special tea – tea made from psychedelic mushrooms.
So, that’s the tale. Hope you liked it and feel free to leave a comment! Until next time . . .