Apr/May 2004  •   Spotlight

Getting to Hodgingsons

by Claire Louise Conway

It's a long and winding road to get to Hodgingsons, but you don't need to know that. All you need to know is that if you walk, you'll get there. The trees will laugh and the leaves will cackle, but you'll get there by walking.

Or you could dance. If you dance, you'll get there quicker. The trees won't laugh, and although the leaves will still cackle a bit, the moss will shush them and they'll go brown and die.

You can drive, to get to Hodgingsons. It's not far. Tipperary is farther, and you can get there by candlelight if you're quick. To Tipperary, that is. Hodgingsons is too far for candlelight.

Maybe, if you try really hard, you can go by moonlight. You can go buy moonlight in a jar, from the street vendor who waits for you to pass. You see, he captures it, captures it and then sits by the wayside, waiting for the trees to whisper and the bushes to laugh, as you drive by in your car and worry about the candles. You worry because there are no candles, and it's dark and you can't see a thing.

So you buy the moonlight, and you get back in your car, only slam the door and start the engine quick. Start the engine quick or the man will take off, he will, he'll take off and leave you with the car. You have to leave him. (The bushes laugh at people who are left. The trees look on in mourning. They are more sympathetic.)

But whatever you do, if you want to get to Hodgingsons in one piece, don't skip. You mustn't, you must never ever try to skip to Hodgingsons. The road will take your rope and you'll be stranded. Stranded, in the middle of the long winding road. Stranded with no moonlight, no man who is a street vendor, and the trees and the moss will laugh at you as you wait. Don't wait for the road to come back.