The Trouble with Bubbles

Margaret slips into a warm bubble-filled bath.

“Calgon,” she says, languidly, “Take me away!”

Then come the Calgon-horses down from the sky, four of them, caparisoned with the foam of the stars. Their eyes are burning with blue fires and their breath is smoke in the void.

They are racing past the bathtub now. There is a wrench and a jerk as their bathhooks catch hold. Margaret’s bathtub lurches into motion. It crashes through the bathroom wall into the hallway of her apartment complex. It skitters down the hall, now leaning right, now leaning left. It breaks through the outer wall of her apartment complex and arcs majestically across the street.

A truck horn roars.

“No, Calgon!” cries Margaret. “Left! Left!”

The horses rear and whinny. The bathtub whisks to the side. It careens against the window of a Chinese food store, drenched with hanging ducks. It rattles along the sidewalk.

Now Margaret points upwards, towards the city that is her destination.

“There,” she says.

But the horses lower down their heads, and look into the grates along the street; and a cold chill horror joins the lavender of the bath.

“Please,” says Margaret. “No. Calgon, don’t take me below.”

Mr. Clean is standing in the distance, on the streets, his bald head shining. His hands are on his hips. He is laughing.

And Margaret casts her eyes to him in appeal, but that doughty man of affordable cleaning solutions is as ruthless as the sun.

“Someone,” says Margaret.

And there are a few who run towards the bathtub rather than away, but they are not enough.

What has been said cannot be unsaid; and Calgon takes Margaret to a place without recourse.

13 thoughts on “The Trouble with Bubbles

  1. “Calgon,” she says, languidly, “Take me away!”

    Then come the Calgon-horses down from the sky

    This made me grin.

    -Eric

  2. Emeline looks up. Emeline smiles. It’s like the sun.

    And Margaret casts her eyes to him in appeal, but that doughty man of affordable cleaning solutions is as ruthless as the sun.

    Looks like the stories are looking at different aspects of the sun again. Possibly Iphigenia is still thinking things through.

  3. Now, the question is: Does Calgon take her to A place without recourse, or THE place without recourse?

  4. Emeline looks up. Emeline smiles. It’s like the sun.

    And Margaret casts her eyes to him in appeal, but that doughty man of affordable cleaning solutions is as ruthless as the sun.

    Looks like the stories are looking at different aspects of the sun again. Possibly Iphigenia is still thinking things through.

    Interesting, I was treating it as a simple extension of the Persephone histories we’ve been getting.

    I suppose this would be more amusing to me if I had more than the dimmest memories of some product called Calgon.

  5. A place, I’d say, since this is a legend. But that’s not a combination of words that would occur by chance in Hitherby, I don’t think.

  6. I suppose this would be more amusing to me if I had more than the dimmest memories of some product called Calgon.

    In one advertisement a woman is seen in a chaotic home scenario. As her tension rises she utters her famous line “Calgon, take me away!”, and is then seen relaxing in a luxurious bath in a quiet room. Despite being viewed as somewhat sexist (ie. that women need to rescued from chaotic situations), the commercial is viewed as having been a success since people still remember it even though it has not been aired in many years. Even today, a difficult day or situation is often referred to as a Calgon moment.

    EDIT: Interestingly enough, Calgon and Mr. Clean are owned by two different companies… :!:

  7. A place, I’d say, since this is a legend. But that’s not a combination of words that would occur by chance in Hitherby, I don’t think.

    I was, in particular, thinking about the nature of The Place Without Recourse, in that it is a place for people without answers, and how that would link to the plea for escape to dreaded Calgon.

  8. Oddly enough, in the UK Calgon is a chemical that you put in your washing machine that helps it resist limescale damage and wotnot. :D

    Bathing in it… :shock:

  9. Yup. Same stuff. It softens the water, making soap more effective. Besides the “Calgon, take me away!” commercial, there’s also one touting it as a laundry booster; the tagline there is “Ancient Chinese secret, huh?”

    Hmm. Perhaps Mr. Kong could be connected to this somehow….

  10. Sorry about the late post, I am playing catch up after taking a few weeks off to become a parent. One day I might have to admit that I grew up!

    This whole post reminds me of the old addage, “be careful what you wish for … as you might just get it!” Something akin to The Labyrinth’s “I wish the Goblins would come and take you away … right now!” However, such comparisons are perhaps best not made as I am not sure David Bowie is ready for the Hitherby treatment.

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