Would you like ice with that?

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills writes about her daughter’s current lifestyle in Longyearbyen, the world’s most northern town. I thought the town may have been named for seeming to have a long year when the days are dark and sunless. But no, as I found out in this article, 12 facts you never knew about Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost city, it was named after American John Longyear who started the Arctic Coal Company there in 1906.

The article is worth a read for the information it shares. What spoke strongest to me, in these times of horrific shootings, was a sign displayed on the entrances to buildings:

“All the polar bears in this shop are already dead, please leave your weapon with the staff.”

The article explains that, as polar bears are quite common in the area, locals are required to carry high-powered rifles when they are out and about. There is no need for them indoors.

It was thoughts of her daughter’s icy environment that inspired Charli’s challenge to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you.

My thoughts went immediately to Elsa in the movie Frozen, based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. In the movie, Elsa has the power to turn things to ice. The song Let It Go became very popular, and for a while I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a little girl dressed as Elsa, or hearing another one singing it. I didn’t mind. I love the song and blue is my favourite colour. I couldn’t help but smile at the enthusiasm with which the girls belted out the song.

Elsa’s ability to turn things to ice reminds me of the curse placed on King Midas to teach him a lesson about greed–everything he touched, including his beloved daughter, turned to gold.

Neither ice nor gold were particularly good outcomes. E.T.’s healing finger would bring better results.

If you had fingers with power to affect everything they touched, what would that power be? Perhaps it is impossible to know in advance all possible repercussions, but kindness would be a good place to start. We don’t have to try to heal the world.  It is best to start small and effect positive changes and heal hurts within our own circles of influence.

Back in the old days at school, we used to kiss small hurts better with a Band Aid. Nowadays, when children may be allergic to the materials used in plasters of any kind, ice has become the “kiss” of choice, with many children believing it to be imbued with magic healing powers.

That’s where I’ve gone with my flash, renewing acquaintance with some of the characters from the Marnie stories again. We’ve met Jasmine and Georgie before here and Mrs Tomkins here.

band aid ice

Ice Magic

Mrs Tomkins was sorting the mail when she noticed two big tear-filled eyes peering up at her–Liam.

“Can I have some ice, please?”

“Where does it hurt?”

“All over.”

She pointed to the chair and got him some ice.

“Now tell me what happened.”

“No one will play with me,” he said, holding the ice to his temple.

“Have you…”

Mrs Tomkins looked up as Jasmine and Georgie burst in.

“Liam. Come on. We’ve been looking for you.”

Liam thrust the ice at Mrs Tomkins.

“Thanks,” he said, smiling. “The ice worked.”

Mrs Tomkins smiled too. Ice magic.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

32 thoughts on “Would you like ice with that?

  1. Hugh's Views and News

    The magic of ice, Norah. I think, as children, just about anything can seem magical. I can remember my first trip to Disneyland and how magical it was. By the time I went again (20 years later) it was more of a nightmare for me. However, for me, Christmas is just as magical as it was when I really believed that Father Christmas delivered all my presents and that he really could squeeze down any chimney pot without getting burnt or dirty.
    I loved your piece of flash fiction. I couldn’t help but smile after reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Hugh. I’m sorry the magic of Disneyland didn’t linger with you into your adult years, but I’m pleased the magic of Christmas has stayed.
      It’s nice to know my flash fiction gave you a smile. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Jules

    Your accounting shows me just how smart a young child can be. And that once you know you can trust someone like Mrs. Tomkins – there is a place where kindness and respect can grow.
    I popped over to read the links too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Jules. I hope you found the information in the links as interesting as I did. 🙂 Mrs Tomkins is a real gem. Every school needs at least one. I pleased you see the goodness in her heart.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Pingback: On Ice « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  4. Charli Mills

    Norah, I was a bit startled to learn there are 3,000 polar bears on an island where my daughter lives! She had told me that they post sentries in guard towers at the edge of town. So, I don’t understand how the reindeer have no natural predators! Winter is good because they are all hibernating.

    I love your flash with its message of kindness being the magic element behind, ice, teachers, and friends. I would want a magic finger that heals inner pain.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Living on an island with 300 polar bears would be a bit scary. Don’t polar bears like the taste of reindeer? I checked it out: https://seaworld.org/animal-info/animal-infobooks/polar-bears/diet-and-eating-habits I guess if there’s enough other food around, the reindeer are safe.
      A magic finger that heals inner pain would be great.
      I’d like a finger that keeps your comments out of spam. I found six there this morning, including this one! I don’t know why your comments are hitting the spam bin at the moment.

      Like

      Reply
  5. roughwighting

    What a terrific, heartwarming story you wrote here, Norah. I loved it! Isn’t it true that the worst pain is that of the heart. A feeling of being left out. A feeling of being unloved. If I had a magic finger I would want to be able to point it to each person so that his or her heart grew from feeling loved for the rest of his/her life. 💚💙💜🤓

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pam. I’m pleased you enjoyed the story. You ‘got’ all the nuances I tried to add. I would so love a magic finger like yours, too, Pam. We do our ‘little
      bit with our pencils in our hands. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  6. dgkaye

    Loved the theme here and the use of the prompt Norah. I dared not click on that Elsa video for fear of hearing the Let it Go song, lol. My grand niece went through a longggggggggg phase of Frozen and that song tends to get stuck in my head LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Debby. I don’t mind that you didn’t click the link to “Let it Go”. I know just what you mean. I was singing it “in my head” for hours after adding it too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  7. Jennie

    I absolutely love this, Norah. You wrote a story with a ‘full circle’ build up- from ice to Frozen to King Midas to the power of touch to ET to bandaids and back to ice, all under the umbrella of feelings and kindness and healing. The magic touch. Powerful and wonderful flash fiction!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  8. Annecdotist

    I love this flash, Norah. So much character in such a short piece. And was it the ice that was magic or Mrs Tomkins’ kindness that did the trick?
    I like how you’ve woven in the film Frozen (which I know is one of your favourites) and gone from there to King Midas. Another kind of magic touch is in Naomi Alderman’s novel The Power in which women’s electric touch makes them the dominant sex.
    But wouldn’t it be nice if our superpower could be kindness? Well, at least you’re making a start in your posts!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Good question, Anne. Of course we both know it was the magic of Mrs Tomkins’ kindness, not to mention friends coming to play. 🙂
      I haven’t read The Power. I wonder would I like it. It’s a pity anyone feels the need to be dominant. Kindness is indeed a superpower. I do try to spread a little of it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

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