Between itching, being careful not to scratch, applying toothpaste and drinking only tea I brought with me I was gradually clearing more space. I was creating some of those great prizes, piles of empty containers which I wouldn’t be using again and which could be burned to heat the home, which though not as near as the room itself was still more homelike than this cluttered room. Though the room was now so familiar as to start seeming like another home.

On looking in a particular box I found pieces of something. Not separate things but bits which had different shapes but looked similar. Was it a sort of puzzle?

It didn’t take much rummaging to find a couple that fitted together. However, they could be fitted together in more than one way. It was the same for the next few pieces I tried.

I noticed the corner of a plastic bag partway down among the pieces and pulled it out carefuly , shuffling the pieces but not spilling them. The likeliest reason for that bag being among the pieces was that they had once been in it . I had opened it and tipped them out to start building whatever it was. Could there be an instruction sheet for assembly?

There was. A small separate bit of paper , blurry under the dust on the bag but when I brought it out reading COULD BE AN IDEA     (!!!!!!!!!)…

No wonder I had failed to assemble that kitset the first time. I had done the next best thing – kept the bits together in a hasty kind of way until I had the time to do it properly.

Had that time arrived at last? Or should I keep on tidying – stick to what I’d started doing and finish that before starting something new and risking my precious tidied space?

I thought of that poem by Robert Frost, about the two roads in the yellow wood. Which was my road less traveled by, that would make all the difference?

This would need some serious thinking about.

I switched the TV off.



After that nice cup of dragon tea I felt refreshed and carried on unstacking, sorting and restacking.

A few days later (I lost track of time) I could easily get through the door when I entered or left. The folded boxes stuck inside each other, the signs of actual rubbish I wouldn’t be using any more, were more now and making up their own stack on one side. On the other side was the stack with contents that looked as if they still might be useful. Either that or they looked so unrecyclable I hoped they would prove reusable.

I had never worked so much in this kind of space before, and it was starting to affect me. A new kind of skin rash appeared, mainly around my arms and other working parts. If I just ignored it and carried on working the way I’d been used to doing before, the rash quickly swelled into clusters of threatening lumps. So instead I worked in smaller shifts, kept my skin more covered, took care to notice the early feeling of a new spot erupting and treated any spots I found with toothpaste, which seemed to work.

Between work spells I mentioned the situation to healers and others. While some treatments seemed to bring some relief, I went on living with the unusual feeling that anytime I wanted a spectacular allergic reaction (as if I ever would) I could produce one by working hard and carelessly for only a few minutes.

Maybe there was something in that dragon tea I hadn’t expected. Or was it all the dust in the room?


The next thing to do was to find a box with some space in it. There’s always some leftover space in a mess, that’s why it’s a mess. Or did I say that before?  If so, throw out one of those comments and people won’t have to read so much !

Hours later I had taken down ten boxes, emptied three of them, stuffed the empty three inside each other to save space, carefully squashed most of the contents into the other seven while leaving a small pile of sorry-looking junk by itself on the floor. There was still the same amount of floor space though, as the boxes were mostly stacked about six high – just enough room to get out the door. WHICH I WAS ABOUT TO DO.

Suddenly I heard faint sounds. From various directions I could just make out the buzz of decisions, the hum of affirmations, the crash of mental diets and the clicking of press release beetles. With a rush of empathy I realised I wasn’t alone in the building.

Cautiously I took a deep breath in case there wasn’t enough air for it  and called out ‘Who’s there ?’

The tiny dragon that had just appeared, wearing a smirk much bigger than itself, suddenly thought better of it, whipped out a notepad from its belt pouch and started taking notes.


Immediately the dragon saw me, it pounced on me and ate me up.!!

…if only it were that easy. My excuse for not doing my homework wouldn’t be “The dog ate it ,sir!” but “Sorry miss, a dragon killed and ate me so I couldn’t get it done”. The teacher would never believe it. They’re just too experienced.

Also strange was how a dragon could fit in the leftover space which seemed so small to start with. Yes I know, it was probably huge, at least much bigger than I am but I forgot to specify. Although some people are scared of things much smaller than they are. So in order not to be scared I said “Boo!”

Dragons don’t tend to have mobile lips for speaking, perhaps because they’ve found over the epochs that it’s easiest to communicate by direct telepathy. So you always get the message but the understanding depends on your knowledge of each other’s culture.

The dragon’said’ “Not this again, people trying to scare me. It’s so… booring.” Like that joke, I supposed, at which it couldn’t even raise the slightest smile.

“You don’t scare me”, I said, changing the subject and bluffing a bit, “anything like the thought of having to tidy up all this mess in here. Are you going to try to stop me or mess with my tidying?”

“You’ve got so much mess there I doubt you’ll ever tidy it,” it replied. So I reached up and lifted down a box of junk, carefully putting it against the door as that was the only space available. Once I found some partly empty boxes I was going to fill them more tidily, empty some other boxes and flatten them. Nothing is ever quite full if it isn’t tidy. So I’d have the doorway clear in time for morning tea.

There was a hiss, and the dragon suddenly turned into a cup of tea. Everything has its use if you look at it the right way, I thought.


This time I’m really inside (I think…) Anyway it was hard to get through the door. Next step is to clear the doorway a bit. So I can get out with the treasure I’m going to find. Somehow I just assumed it’s all mine.

I mean, who else would want anything to do with a mess like this? Some of the stuff looks kind of familiar under its layer of dust and other junk. Some might be sharp and dangerous, but they’re all only things aren’t they. No one else would be here. No one’s going to mind if I tidy things up a bit. If someone comes and says “Hey, what are you doing with my stuff?” I could say “Well I thought you wouldn’t mind if I tidied it up a bit”. Or it might not be their stuff at all, they just might be trying something on.

Ok. I’m going to assume its my junk for the time being. Could it be arranged any more tidily? Well yes, so I bend over to pick up a box and I hear a sudden sound. I look up and see a SCARY DRAGON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s a tight fit getting through the door this time. Which means it’s more likely to be a real door. There seems to be a lot of junk piled behind it.

When Aladdin went into the house of treasure for the (evil) old magician, the way in was down. After that it levelled out  and turned into a treasure cave which was an architectural wonder, with everything beautifully laid out and the most importand bit at the far end.

Remembering garden sheds I’ve known, they could be packed really full, perhaps packed isn’t really the word when you throw things inside and push the door shut on it all. On the other hand, if the door opens inwards you could carefully stack stuff to leave just enough room to open partway and squeeze in. Unless the careful stack falls over against the door…?

What if I’ve been in here before and just didn’t do a particularly tidy sorting and stacking job because I was ‘going to do it later’????


Sounds are coming from inside. A voice calls out.

“It’s like this! Sometimes you think you’ve got through the door because you’ve done everything you think you should need to do to get through. But have you checked what you’re carrying? It might be holding you back.”

That’s a point. I look down, and would you know it, the voice was right . I’m carrying BRAGGAGE and trying to get through the door without putting it down.

Long ago at home I used to like making as few trips as possible through a door. I’d do this by carrying as much baggage as possible on each trip. I would push my fingers to the limit and wish I had another hand or two. I would break precious fingernails.

So I changed to another way, only carrying a few things at a time because it gave me more chances to take a nice little walk. I got thinner and the door was even easier to get through.

But I wasn’t doing that this time because it was vital to hold onto everything I had. If I was going to get through this door I would need to leave my braggage behind.

Or ahead.

I started putiing little bits through by reaching in without going in myself  (yet)