I was taking Mrs. Bang for a walk last night, at 2am or so, and mulling over my ideas for a dauntingly large new feature I want to add to my music theory site. One idea spun from another, and I started thinking about mad libs — you know, the game where you fill in the blanks in a pre-written story with input from your friends (“adjective about a person”, “action ending with -ing”, “unusual animal”), then read the resulting silliness aloud.
Well, an online mad-lib engine would be pretty trivial to write — just collect the words from the user first, and plug them into the text of the story in the right places. You could play madlibs at a party without anyone knowing beforehand what the final result would be, or even play alone.
Mrs. Bang and I just got back from a walk.
I’ve been feeling low for the past few days — I’m alone in the house for a couple of weeks (through the 28th or thereabouts), and my sleep schedule is still in the wild adjustment period that happens when my usual source of “go sleep now” reminders is out of town. Last night I made my way up to bed around 4:30, read for a bit, took a long time to drop off and woke up at 10. It’s not that I don’t need the sleep; my body just isn’t very good about telling me when it’s time to close up shop for the night… and I just walk around seeing the world a few shades grayer the next day. My thoughts get more easily tangled, I’m forgetful, and I’m more likely to plan my day poorly… which tends to lead to staying up late again. Anyway.
We stepped out the door just a bit after sunset, and we’d already walked across the square before I stopped and looked around.
So, she has a bed, and it’s absolutely large enough for her, but sometimes she doesn’t seem clear on how to use it.
This is Bella.
We imagine her full name to be Mrs. Bella Bang, principally because she sometimes has the air of a lady “of a certain age” as they say here, who carries a somewhat behind-the-fashion but very sturdy handbag which she is not afraid to swing with great force when some young rapscallion is raising a ruckus and needs some manners knocked into him.
Gave him a thwack on the earhole and sent him to bed without any dinner, eh Mrs. Bang?
That’s exactly right.
To set the scene: it is just barely December 25th, around 1:30 in the morning. I’m out with Mrs. Bella Bang for that last walk before bed. We walk out past the sheltering yellow streetlights, into a narrow lane leading out into farmland. It’s dark and quiet. We don’t bother with the flashlight because we know the way, and the moonlight is just enough for us to avoid the ditch. There’s a field on our left which is generally empty during the day, though sometimes we see cows in it at a distance — brown ones, with horns (but still of the lady variety, yes). Tonight, though, they are here by the road.
We don’t even realize it at first, because they are almost silent. Mrs. Bang and I both freeze and stare into the darkness when the sighing night wind becomes a deep, breathy sigh from an animal obviously much larger than we are, very close by.