Welcome to Part Nine of my 12-part Zodiac Blog Series. On Tuesdays in
autumn I'm posting a story or poem each written especially for this blog
by a different author. Each piece of writing has taken one of the signs
of the zodiac as its inspiration. For the full list of participants -
from established authors to first-time writers - plus the posting
schedule and links to previous stories and poems, please visit the Zodiac Blog Series Page.
This week we have a story by Iain Pattison and inspired by Aries.
Birmingham-based Iain Pattison is an expert in the craft of writing and
seIling short stories. He is the author of the best-seller, Cracking the
Short Story Market
. A prolific short story writer and competition
winner, his work has been published on both sides of the
Atlantic, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and appeared in a raft of popular
magazines. When he's not penning quirky tales he's a busy
competition judge, creative writing tutor, script doctor and appraiser.
As an Aries - March 27th if anyone wants to send a card - he says he
just had to "grab the ram". It may result in a court case...
You can find Iain on his website
, or you can read his stories for yourself by clicking here
Ram-a-Lama Ding Dong!
His Most Exulted and Celestial
Reverence the Dalai Lama slapped his hand across his mouth just in time to
prevent a string of obscenities turning the Tibetan air blue.
Blinking, he rubbed his eyes unable
to accept what he was seeing. Instead of a benign, portly man with bulging
stomach and holy aura, the statute that had just been unveiled was an animal –
a towering 20-foot woolly vision with horns.
He gazed darkly at the beaming young
monk leant against the plinth of his creation, clearly delighted at the results
of his six month labour.
“Whaddya think, chief?” he urged. “Isn’t
it great? Isn’t it just what we need to bring in the punters.”
The Dalai Lama wanted to answer “I
can’t believe it’s not Buddha” but had an eerie feeling he’d heard the phrase somewhere
before. Instead, he spluttered; “But, it’s a .. a… sheep!”
Screwing up his face, the monk nodded.
“Technically, yes. But it’s actually a ram. Much more impressive.”
His holiness’ various lives flashed
through his mind as he tried to recall what he’d ever done to deserve this. His
orders had been clear – build a new religious edifice to boost the dwindling
numbers of pilgrims making the arduous climb to the temple high in the Himalayas.
Create something traditional; signalling that this was a place to seek
enlightenment, inner knowledge and spiritual peace. He hadn’t mentioned
anything about livestock.
“It’s in your honour,” the monk
explained. “I researched your Holiness’ birth chart and discovered you are an
Aries. Hence the ram…”
For someone who was supposed to be at
one with everything, the Dalai Lama found himself at sixes and sevens. It was
all too much. It was difficult to be sure – all the monks looked identical with
their shaven heads, bare feet and orange robes - but he had a horrible feeling
it was the same initiate who’d suggested a range of Buddhist t-shirts
emblazoned with slogans like:
Reincarnation: in my next life I’m
coming back as evaporated milk!
Keep Karma and Carry on Meditating!
When you get angry, stop and count to
Nirvana – you’ve heard the music, now
try the state of mind.
He knew he should be furious, but reminded
himself forcefully that the demented disciple had meant well. Besides, he suddenly
had an idea of how he could rescue something from the mess.
“Fetch me some paint,” he instructed.
“And rollers, lots of rollers.”
Several hours later, His Most Exulted and Celestial Reverence
smiled serenely as he surveyed pilgrims making their way upwards – hundreds of
them – all attracted by the dazzling sunlight reflecting off the top of the newly
The yellow hued ram was gaudy,
admittedly, but he knew once word spread the curious would be – he allowed
himself an inner chuckle – flocking to see it.
It just went to prove the golden rule
of all faiths, he mused wisely – if you gild it, they will come…