Archives for category: the big bad wolf



So there I am, tearing down the high street in my beloved grey marl sweats, and me, I hear a small shrill voice calling. ‘Hel-lo-hoo!’ This voice, it’s tiny, it must be way off, yet it seems right in my ear. ‘Hel-lo! Ari-el! Hel-lo! Help me!’

Me, I come to a standstill, scanning around the street, somewhat confused. People scurry by in their shopping trances, not-there there, all caught up with important nonsense, the glorious a-void-dance we all do so well. Me, I want to do that dance, but the voice, it tells me, ‘Over here! I’m here!’ And frowning, no choice, I follow its apparent direction. ‘Yes, here! This way!’ I’m getting to wonder if this is a ghost. Either that or I’m truly off my trolley—because I seem to be the only one who hears the ethereal call. Tugged by it still, I crash through the door of a busy bakery.

‘Ariel!’ the voice cries triumphantly.

And hark at this: Me, I realise I am mad—bewitched you might say. And it’s wonderful! I am under the influence of a lean, long-legged blonde. A doll with boobs.

Absolutely: it’s Barbie.

There she sits, on a shelf by the window, surrounded by buns, donuts, éclairs, in a little frilly apron—some sort of shop mascot. People queue up, ordering doughy goods, while Barbie, her wide staring eyes stare at me.

Oh, what big eyes you have, I think to myself. All the better to see you with, my dear.

‘Hello’, says Barbie. ‘You found me at last!

To be sure, when she talks, Barbie, her mouth, it doesn’t move. This is not Toy Story. There she sits, smiling. Her lips apart just so.

What BIG teeth you have. I think, saying to her, ‘Hi.’

And she says, ‘My teeth are not big. Wrong story! Seriously, too much big bad wolf, Ariel—you’ve got to quit—all this spying on him is getting to be something like stalking and—’

‘—Blimey,’ I tell her. ‘Okay, Barbie, none of your business. That wasn’t meant for you; it’s an Ariel-to-Ariel ism. What are you, anyway?—telepathic?’ Barbie laughs. ‘This is awesome.’ I add. And believe me, awesome is not a word in my vocabulary. Barbie laughs again.

‘I’m glad you could come,’ she says. ‘Buy a bun and dance with it. Avoid no more. Abundance is the way to go.’

I smile. ‘I like the void. It has its merits. Space and all that. Is that what you got me here for? To buy buns? How much do they pay you?’

‘No. I want to tell the world a thing or two, and you’re the one I’ve picked to do it for me—you get me? Because I’m a doll.’

You don’t say? All the better to sally with you, my dear!

‘So shoot,’ I tell her. ‘I’m game.’

‘Fact is, I’m fed up with being an ideal,’ says Barbie.

‘Yes, that must be a trial,’ I say sarcastically.

‘Be serious, Ariel. This is a serious issue. I’m a toy. But I’m fashioned sexy and it’s very confusing. The messaging—you know, people are making lewd videos with me. I’ve seen them on You-Tube. But I’m straying… Point is, I need some form of humanity. Something that smashes the ideal. Women don’t have bodies like mine. My body is misrepresentative.’

‘But you are a doll, Barbie.’

‘I’m unrealistic. An unrealistic ideal!’

‘True. You are pretty ridiculous.’

‘Hel-lo!’ she says.

‘Well you said it.’

‘No,’ she says. ‘I said unrealistic.

‘Yes, your feet are too tiny. And so is your waist—and your hair is—come onit is—it’s way BIG—it’s fracking ridiculous. Hydraulic.’

Unrealistic,’ she states defiantly. ‘What I am, is a plastic ideal. And I’m sick of it. I want to be a woman.’

‘Great,’ I tell her. And I find myself thinking ridiculously: Oh, if only I were a doll. No real life: an un-breathing plastic ideal. How ideal! And then, desperately, I yell in my head: What is it I want?! And I get to thinking that when I was an ideal, all that time ago—when he, that un-man, was into me —it wasn’t so hot, he never really saw me—because ideal women—idolized, whatever—they have nowhere to go except down. A long long way to fall. To Barbie I blather, ‘So you want me to tell the world how fed up you are?’

‘I want to live,’ cries Barbie.

This takes me by surprise. ‘I want to live?’ I echo mournfully.

‘I want body fluids. You, Ariel, you have them, you own up to them! Your stuff of life.’

‘Yes but…’

‘I want to accept myself. Y’hear, Ariel, accept yourself! Look,’ Barbie says, matter-of-fact. ‘What you can do, what I really want is for you to make me a gusset. What is it you say about it—in your Introduction? That the gusset carries an awareness of the life-cycle. It suggests the state of becoming blemished, by it’s very existence, it’s very purpose—that’s what you say! It represents reality. The opposite of the ideal—oh shame, embarrassment, pain—give them to me!’

Me, I think to myself: You want those things?! Girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

‘I do,’ she answers. ‘I know perfectly well what I’m saying!’ She’s inside my thoughts again. ‘It’s called being alive! You, Ariel, you feel! You dare to feel! You’re brave! Don’t you see? For all the pain, it’s wonderful!’

‘You shouldn’t do that, Barbie,’ I tell her, dazed. ‘It’s rude to stalk my thoughts. My thoughts are my thoughts—they’re not for you to mine.’

Barbie, she ignores me, she cries, ‘We can do it, Ariel! We must survive loss. The loss of idealization. The loss of your loves. Oh make me a gusset, Ariel! Let me live.

Me, I smile ruefully, nodding. I realise, Barbie, she’s a bit of a sage. Ridiculous, but true. And why not? ‘I get you,’ I say. ‘I really do.’

Given half the chance, we’re more than meets the eye. Ideal women do not actually exist. We all spill. To be judged ideal is a camouflaged curse. ‘Blimey, for a moment I was actually willing myself to be you.’

Barbie cries. ‘If I could only be you…’

‘Be me? Why would you ever want to be me?’

It’s ridiculous, but there are tears in my eyes.

‘Oh Ariel, you’re alive. Stop the avoidance! Dance with a bun! Make me a gusset! Avenge me, Ariel! Give me life. Only you can do it.’

I smile with wet eyes. ‘Barbie, I’m going to do it. I’ll do it.’

‘That’s awesome!’ she says. ‘But look, I haven’t got any knickers. You’ll have to get me some—’

Me, I reach up and grab Barbie from the shelf. I turn her upside-down, inspecting her bare plastic bottom; it’s obvious there’s quite a lot missing down there. Barbie, she’s yelling, ‘No! I don’t mean literally! Get off! Ariel, stop it! Put me down! I’ve had enough humiliation!’

‘Sorry, sorry…’ I murmur, up-righting her, holding her ‘perfect’ little body at arm’s length.

At this stage, the shop assistant, she clocks me playing with Barbie, and she’s heading over, red-faced: ‘Oi you! Oi!’

Me, I tell her quick, ‘I was looking for her stamp of authenticity.’

‘She’s real alright,’ Shop Woman says, demanding Barbie with her open hand. ‘Can I help you? ’

‘Have you got anything wheat-free?’ I ask stupidly.

Baker Woman snatches Barbie from my grasp, checking out her pert posterior, her smooth un-crack. ‘If you’ve damaged this Barbie, they’ll be trouble. You’ve no right. She’s our lucky charm.’

‘She’s fine,’ I say. ‘Too fine. That’s her problem.’ As Barbie is plopped back on her shelf, I smile, adding decisively. ‘I’ll take a bun. A sticky bun.’

And to Barbie, I say, ‘Sorted! Let’s give you some real taboo. Let’s give them all a bit of a stir, shall we?! You may not have a cu_t, but I can fix things for you! I will. I’ll give you something that speaks of life, of humanity, something that every person must face. A stain. I’ll avenge your plastic ideal. ’

And I do. And this is that.


How is it that the people that hurt you, those self-serving snakes who used you up then chucked you raw—honest-to-goodness hurt you—how is it, these people, you miss them?

How can that be?

When it was you who ran away?

I mean—you get me?—I’m the first to say it, me, I ran fast as any bunny can. I hopped, skidded and skedaddled up hill and down dale, I scurried the gamut of adapted cliché, slalomed the poppycock of all those well-worn, old hat phrases. Yeah, I saw the writing was on the wall; I leapt out of the frying pan into the pyre; I ran with my tail between my pegs. You couldn’t see me for must.

Muddy truth be told, deep down in the mess of me—you probably realise by now—if perchance you’ve attended these pages—yep, deep down in the sticky jam of me, I miss him.

Even T.B., he who lives with me, he cannot save me from that—for all his love and devotion. Ashamed as I am to admit it, me, I look for that wolf, for that dastardly devil, I look for him in Ted. I want for Teddy to speak big bad wolf words. Because the big bad wolf, he wasn’t all bad, and he sang me many a honeyed verse. And he sure knew how to… (lowered register here)… lurve me; yeah, he sugared my cherry a treat.

This wolf in man’s clothing, he knew how to get to me—you get me?

I’ve gotta admit it, I’ve found in T.B. a creamy, fresh, wholesome version of him. See, Teddy, he’s honest. He tells me things I don’t want to hear, things that he thinks will help me. And he’s celibate these days. We share an innocence, a pure and simple version of love. While at the same time, he’s a bit of lizardy lay-about, and a bit of a puffer—like him—slow-voiced and languorous, hazed in his dooby schmooby; a thing strangely seductive, laced as it is in memory lane.

Poor T.B.

Okay, so while I’m confessing, me, for sure, I’ve been a-runnin and a-huntin some more. I’ve loitered in woods and doorways. I’ve been on the look-out for his natty wolfish form. Betraying T.B. and my own integrity. I’m a foolish tail, harmless enough, but a tail nevertheless. A haunter. And it’s all a dream, miles and miles from reality. Me, I’ve locked myself away, living my own starry fairy tale.

I locked myself in—

and I locked myself out.

Then went about losing the key. On purpose.

The key to myself. To what really happened.

I don’t want to know, I don’t want to go, into the labyrinth of who I am. Yet truly, I long to be found. I peek though the keyhole, getting but a glimpse into my own heart, a tiny keyhole-shaped view, something that shows me just a little bit, a limited aspect, that is enough and not-enough, all at once. I peep into my past—just the keyhole sized parts I can handle. I wantonly live in denial of the truth, kidding myself I’m seeking it. Or maybe, me, I am seeking truth in my own jumbled way.

I suppose I sound like a sap? Me, the maker of my own tower, the guard to my own cell, keeping myself locked out of the now, locked in to the peered-at piece of my past I dare to trace.

Through the keyhole is where I need to go. Open the lock and be free. One day. A long way away. When I can.

When I’m through getting my knickers in a twist maybe.

Me, I’ve been having a bit of a hard time of it lately. It goes something like this:


Do I matter?

What the flip am I doing with this here life?

And I realise that all this clinging to the coat-tails of the big bad wolf, he that is the name-cloaked sweetheart of my once-was life, this coat-tailing, it’s a secret trailing of my long ago loves, a memory-mining of coveted times. It’s a denial of what I have become: naked, running, afraid. Truth is, me, some while ago, some ever after which was not happy, I lost so much; and before that, even longer ago, when I was just a little mite, I lost most of what matters. All in all, me, I lost everything a body could care for.

And now I’m trying to find it (all) again.

Which is impossible—or not—depending on how you view time. It is mooted that time is a manmade construct and that, although we experience it as linear, this is actually not so: everything is happening at once, in a perpetual NOW. In theory, we can step into any time. If every Now is always here…then me, I’m seeking the Now that was Then. The Now that is Now, it’s not a place I want to be. I’m seeking to blot out the sorrows. It’s as if me, I’m trying to explode my cells back to the awareness of Then as Now, vanishing now forever. I’m dreaming the life I used to lead.

I will blur my life with fantasy.

Being of tender stuff, these days, I put on the costume of a tough little customer. That said, I always have. How else would I survive? Sometimes, just to get by in the world, I put on someone else’s smile. I put on someone else’s snarl, I steal their voice, their flashing expressions. I take on characters from films. Taxi Driver. Midnight Cowboy. Always men. Me, I conjure inside Robert De Niro, gettin to feel his blood coursing through my veins; I invite Dustin Hoffman to straddle my heart, vying to be seen, even as I make myself invisible. Inside, he yells, I yell, we yell: ‘I’m walkin’ here!

So here I am: I’m Robert de Niro, Dustin Hoffman, a cookie, a bunny, a pussy, a mouth, a head, some legs. I’m Pegs. Anyone but me. And what is ‘me’? A collection of cells and neuro-transmitters? A psyche? A spirit? A soul?? I can tell you my real name, I can tell you right now: it’s Ariel. There. Does that make a difference? Is that me?

Truth is, we’re still no closer to knowing who I am…

It’s a very, very strange life that I’m leading…or supporting, you might say.

I spend the day mooching in a state of paralysis, feeling that me, I will never, ever get to be inspired again. Yet I marvel in spite of myself at magnolia and things, at the blissful unconscious continuum of nature. Things sprout, they bud, they flower, they fall. The cycle in which we all must live. I marvel at the gold finches flashing in the blue. Me, the birds and the flowers, they’ve always been my friends. The Birds and the Bees, now that’s another matter. And I feel blue as blue can be. Which is black.

And just when I think all in myself is gone, when it feels that me, I am anathema to all that beauty—only then, at my tether’s end, can I thrust myself forcibly into the alive space. The space of creation. And begin.


All that angst simply to begin.


Just how many beginnings can this cookie bake?

…You get me?

One cold day, this bunny went a-huntin. She packed her nap-sack with a sandwich and a shooter. It wasn’t a pea (shooter), nor was it a pea (sandwich). And it wasn’t a bang-bang. It was an up-to-the-minute Canon with big bad sights. A zoom.

Me, I hopped a well-trodden path. Hoppity-hop. Innocent as pie. In a dedicated, spellbound kind of a way. Hop hop. If you’d seen this bunny, you might have spied the ecstatic glint in her eye. I skipped my way to that old place of glories, where vast naked beech limbs reach to clasp fingers of twigs. Under my plates (of meat = feet), beech-nut shells crunched; furry stars breaking in a topsy sky of leaves. The beech shells were smashing and the world was upside down. And I didn’t heed the warning. Who would?

The dear little bunny, she popped herself neatly behind the wide friendly girth of a tree. She sat for an hour or so. And she ate her smoked salmon cream cheese on rye. Not very rabbity, you say. She was expecting a wait, and she was, as you know, prepared. She was infinitely patient, something she prided herself on—and she was parked, to boot, on a dark brown cagoule, her grey marl bottom dry as dry could be. At the appointed time, the smart little bunny, she took up her camera, and scanned around the wood. She proudly knew he was coming. There were certain things about him which were clockwork. Besides, she was somewhat psychic. And she’d been at this lark for more than a week—since the last time she bounced through these pages, telling the tale of when she first click!-ed! his mug—remember?

They say pride comes before a fall—whoever they are—and maybe they’re right. Only the bunny, she didn’t realise. Who would?

Me, silly bunny, I was hooked on the thrill of the chase, hoisted on the scaffold of this new illicit obsession. I knew myself to be stalking, and it didn’t dent my conscience. I felt brilliant, like the clean winter light craning through the branches and dappling the ground. My tender, secret parts dilated with exquisite anticipation. The big bad wolf had become my thing (again). And me, I was getting to think that he wasn’t so bad. Just beautifully, wondrously big. Ah me.

The bunny, she waited, all vibed and fervent, and sure enough his footsteps came, pricking at her pixies (= ears). She raised her Canon to her too-clever sights and zoomed into the gap in the trees where she knew he would emerge, her fertile mind ogling him in advance of his arrival. She spied him at last. But this time, the wolf, his demeanour was different. He was smiling a soft-sugar soup. The wily ol’ bugger, he was not alone. He was holding hands. With a lithe little blondie; the gold of the bleach of her stupid long tresses glinting in the shimmer of a sunbeam. And blow me, if this wisecrack hadn’t gone and found himself some kind of a storybook pal. She was a Little Red Riding Hood in a red red coat, no messin.

Me, I saw at last the message of the crunched up furry floor of the wood: things broken = things over = things gone. I remembered that I was stupid; after all, my mother had made sure I couldn’t forget. I should have known the glory wouldn’t last. It was too good to be true. I stung a little; daft bunny weepers (= peepers = eyes) weeping true to their name. Then I pulled it together, my heart as stone. Me, I didn’t care.

I lined up the two in my sights, and shot them, the pair, good and proper. It was quite a satisfaction. They drifted past me in their dream of foolish togetherness and I stole their secrets in freeze-frame snaps.


Then up the bunny bopped, blithe as can be. Bop bop. This little piggy-pimple, she darted quietly after them, a tiny tell-tale tell-tail crunching underfoot. But they were too wrapped up to notice. She crushed the beech shells gladly, smashing their message of broken times. She didn’t care. Me, I wove in and out, duckin and a-divin, through the trees. Twisted, you may think she is: for she followed them. Twisted and turned through the woods.

On their tails.

One fine day, this bunny went a-runnin for a change. Just a-runnin. In an innocent, devoted kind of a way. Up hill, down dale, through the glades of former glories. With no special intent; no keepin a lookout; no particular reason to be carryin a camera. Me, I like to think she was bird watchin, this bunny. She carefully avoided the paths she used to love, until—by sheer blunder—she found herself ensconced among the beech trees, a place of long-lost thrill and kisses. Heartened—when she might have been blown—she settled herself. And waited. You might even say she hid. She didn’t mind the cold. She welcomed the damp. She was wrapped in her faithful grey marl sweats. Glowing from the run. She was resting. Waiting. Camera in hand.

And prowling predictably through the trees, the wolf, he made his big bad entry. About the time he always did. Not that I had been expecting him, you get me. Not that I had a plan—oh no. Me, I’m just a sweet little cookie, just like my Poppa told me. But I snuck a shot—why not?


Any un-sweet part of me is his fault.


I was centred as the sun in the sky, calm as a cat on a hot tin roof. I was cold as a blistering fire. How beautiful he was still, so powerfully alone. His being charged with my dreams; dreams breathy; dreams gone. I wanted so much to hate him, to hold him, to hold him to me. My pulse rose and paddled, knocking at my heart. Driving terrible tickle to that itty-bitty part. Tides rose and fell, sluiced me of anger.

A certain cotton coddler, dear little thing, discovered the secrets of…

Aah, but that: I keep.

Once, I was a princess. I had long yellow hair and I lived with a man I was mad about. I loved him ardently. I would do anything for him—and I mean anything; I gave him everything he wanted. But, me, I was never quite sure if he loved me back. Because he wouldn’t tell me—and he said he didn’t know what love was. Turned out, it was just the chemistry he loved—my body, my scent, the way that I grooved—it was pheromones and fairer moans, the ecstatic delights of the flesh.

Me, I’ll tell you now, I’m no princess no more. I hacked off my locks and locked up my heart. I threw everything away. The tale was told that the beast turned into a prince when you kissed him—but this prince, it was the other way around, he turned into the beastly wolf, big and bad as you like. The truth was, when I opened my eyes and finally admitted his dark heart, it was too late: he was carrying death in his arms. Death to me. To us. Death to love.

I saw the truth. He looked at me.

And I ran.

And before all that, a long time before, I used to be an angel, can you believe? I used to be my Poppa’s girl. I was born that way and I stayed that way til I was four. My Poppa, he was an angel too. We gloried in our shining light. Perhaps you wouldn’t remember those tiny toddling years, but, me, I remember every bit of them…until, in one foul swoop, I was angel no more. Poppa left and there was no one else willing to uphold so much heaven.

I suppose I waited all my life for the hole he left behind in my heart to be filled once more with love. And me, as you see, I was fooled by a wolf in man’s clothing.


When you don’t feel loved anymore—because you squinnied the big bad wolf and his very sight and memory deluged all self-worth—when you don’t feel loved you are driven to find some place in your heart for yourself. If you can.

Or if not in your heart, then somewhere.

Some days, my sense of lovelessness is greater than my reason and there is nothing to be done but so-woe. But today, me, I find a way, however unlikely. I sew myself a kisskiss, a symbol of acceptance. I make a treasure of trove.

my first forage into a netherworld

Me, a week ago, I saw the big bad wolf. I didn’t expect to see him—but I suppose I should have known. Eventually it would happen: if you tread old haunts you used to share you’re bound to come a cropper. I caught a glimpse of him and my heart started. All the better to eat you with, my dear. The wolf, he rocked my every sum and substance. Effortlessly.

Rocked? you say. How so?

Like, rocked—he made you feel amazing?

Or rocked—he knocked you, shocked you, destabilised your mind?

…this wolf, he made me feel such a mess of feeling that all my secrets went thumping through my rigging. Just like that. Easy as pie. Hate—love—the memory of love. Pain. Excitement. Fury. The dog-man slew me by his very person, from some way in the distance—without even knowing I was there.

Me, I was out running in the park. I run every day, obsessively, as if to keep running from my once-was life—as if?!—come on, girl, face it—you are running from the life you had! (See, I’m intelligent enough to see what I’m doing, and dumb enough to keep right on pretending). And running from it—surprise, surprise!—I ran right into it, didn’t I?

You could say I had it coming.



Triggering our history in freeze-frame images, full colour, too lurid, strung with swish and whiff. And his oh-so tender maw. Those paws. Me, my now was torn and busted and fell away like a dried up snake skin, exposing my past in all its former gory. All that sticky. The wolf, the pig, without even trying, he blew my house right down. You wouldn’t want to feel that kind of blow. I just stood there, stock-still, staring as he heartlessly wandered the glory of our beech trees; I stood and stared til he was gone. Un-there, a phantom-shadow of time gone past. And me, I gathered the mess of my heart and my guts, packed them roughly away. Dismayed. Keyed up. Terrified. What the sight of a person can do. I turned and I took off, running hard and away, back the way I came.

Seeds, they come from the most unlikely places.