The free spirit ……..

The story behind the story……………

This particular story is based on a tale told to me about the son of a friend of mine, a little boy whom I have known since he was born. Over the years I have heard a number of different stories about this young man and his antics, so without further ado, I give you…………

‘The free spirit’……….

Free Spirit 2


“I am a free spirit”, announced Calvin, proudly as his mother gazed at him with loving exasperation, whilst waiting for him to get his shoes on, gather his school bag and get to the door ready for school.

“Free spirits don’t follow timetables, we don’t follow rules and we don’t…..”

“Oh”, interrupted his mother, hastily. She really was not in the mood for a treatise on the benefits of being a ‘free spirit’.  “That is interesting, what do you suppose would happen if we all became free spirits?”

At this Calvin’s, face lit up as his mind drifted imagining all the glorious possibilities of a world full of ‘free spirits’.

What would he do if could truly wander through it as a ‘free spirit’?

No school?

Or school only when he felt like it.

No homework?

Or just the homework that interested him.

No set meals?

Or just the snacks that he liked and when he liked

No timetable?

Or just his perfect day to let his mind wander and soar without the tiresome interruption of teachers talking, trying to teach him something.

No boring shops?

Or just the ones he wanted to go to

No money?

Or just being able to have what he wanted from the shops he wanted

This all seemed perfect.

Ahem”, interrupted his mother again, “We still do need to get to school”

As she gazed at her son, an idea began to take root. “I must admit I really like the idea of being a ‘free spirit’. I think I will try it tomorrow and see what it is like.”

“Oh“, said Calvin, “That does sound exciting, what will you do with your day as a ‘free Spirit ‘?”

Absolutely, nothing”, beamed his mother. “I shall have a day completely to myself. Have my breakfast at lunch time, lunch at tea and wander as free as a bird”

This all seemed perfectly feasible to Calvin until he thought a little more and remembered that tomorrow was a Friday, which was a school day admittedly but it just so happened Friday was one of his ‘days’. All sorts of exciting things happened on a Friday and he needed to catch up with his friends to find out about the party and the band he wanted to start up.

None of this was going to happen if his mother was going to be ‘swanning’ around as a ‘free spirit’.

His mother could see from her son’s face that he was giving her ‘proposal’ some serious thought and that he was perhaps a little perturbed by the idea of her being a ‘free spirit’.

I tell you what, Calvin”, she said gently, “Why don’t we find a day when we can be both be ‘free spirits’.”

As Calvin’s face lit up at this possibility, his mother then said, “But in the meantime, we still do need to get to school.”

Janice Taylor

The ‘Genie’ in my kettle….

The story behind the story…………….

Over the years I have seen two memorable performances of Aladdin the pantomime, once at the Stratford East Theatre as part of a ‘works do’ and the second time with family and friends where we were highly entertained by the London Bubble Company’s version in Deptford, South East London.

So today I am writing this story and wondering what might happen if a genie did actually appear from an electrical appliance?

To be fair, most of the stories we come across as children involving genies don’t really explore what they are like as individuals, so I thought it would be interesting to have a slightly ‘dodgy’ one, with a bit of ‘attitude’.

Influenced, also by the fact that over the years, we have somehow managed to work our way through countless kettles. They only seem to last for a few months in our house can’t quite work out why. So without further ado, I give you:

The ‘Genie’ in my kettle……………

Shortstory Dec 2 2015


“Your wish is my command” intoned the apparition that somehow appeared from my Russell Hobbs kettle as I wiped it down.

I very nearly dropped it, as the ‘apparition’ continued to emerge from my kettle. There did seem to be an awful lot of mist and colour swirling around in my kitchen, but after 30 seconds or so he settled for hovering a foot or so away from me, with a benign yet expectant look on his face.

“Sorry” I spluttered, “what are you exactly and how did you get into my house?”

At my seeming impertinence he closed his eyes and with the barest of sighs replied, “I am the genie of the kettle and your wish is my command”

“This kettle?” at this I really do think he ‘rolled’ his eyes and with a deep sigh said, “Yes, the kettle you have in your hands.”

Well this was a turn up, it’s not every day a ‘genie’ turns up in your kitchen after you have bought what must be your 30th kettle. We do seem to go through them at an alarming rate and to date not one had produced its own genie. Still I wanted to be clear about a few things before I committed myself.

“I do know the story of Aladdin, who has three wishes from a lamp. Do I have three wishes, with this kettle?”

At this, ‘my genie’ looked at me with a slightly puzzled expression and said, “I have no knowledge of this ‘Aladdin’, but you do have three wishes. So use them wisely”

“If you wish, I can make a few suggestions”, he offered, politely.

What happened next would have to be argued over in a court of law, it is my belief that the words remained in my head, but……

Without thinking, I murmured, really to myself, “I wish I knew what to ask for”

Then without me being fully aware, a couple of sackfuls of cash appeared in my kitchen.

“Hang on, I didn’t ask for that” I exclaimed, with some justifiable annoyance. This really was the limit, no good appearing in my kitchen, making all sorts of promises about wishes and then just dumping cash on my floor.

“Oh but you did my dear, first you wished to know, and I have simply provided you with a concrete idea”

As I looked at him, now starting to grin like the ‘Cheshire’ cat from Alice in Wonderland, a hint of disquiet started to grow within me. This seemed far too convenient, bags of cash appearing as if from nowhere. Then I remembered a small item of news that had caught my eye in the local newspaper, about a ‘robbery’ and the cash that had been taken and before he could say or do anything else, I said.

“Take the sacks and go”

My third and final wish, but it felt like the right thing to do. It worked with a small  ‘puff’, he was gone along with his sacks.

Can’t help feeling that I had, had a narrow escape, now all I need to do is go and buy a new kettle…….