Tag Archives: fun

Bon Mots and Sprinkles

Bonmots Sprinkles

Able was sad to rebuff the minotaur who came to his door trying to sell a box of safety flares, but he learned that while the creature’s features were strong, harsh and disturbing, he had surprisingly minty fresh breath.

I just realized that it’s the first day of summer and also the longest day of the year. Now I’m trying to purge the image from my mind of a giant, full-body, communal, sunscreen dip vat. Shivers

I never considered the potential legal ramifications of having popular, ironic and funny t-shirt designs and slogans done in braille.

Hey chicken lovers, heed this warning! Without explicit permission,  the “finger licking good” thing at KFC is restricted to your own chicken and your own fingers… exclusively. They mean it.

I had this really great idea while giving blood the other day, but then it vanished.
I was totally convinced that it drained out of me at some point during the donation and that it might be swimming around in the blood bag. Despite my pleading with them, the people at the blood bank wouldn’t let him have it back – even for a second – so that i might get the idea – or at least a glimmer of the idea – back by holding the bag up to against my head. or something They just offered me an extra cookie and asked me to leave.

Jax climbed the mountain seeking wisdom from the man at the top. Sadly, it was the wrong mountain. The man at the top was not wise, but a “wise-ass” who berated him with witty, stinging commentary and smart remarks until Jax left.

Tilken opened the note from his hamster. It read, “Dear Tilken – or Master – whatever you prefer, Please remove the wheel from my space. This morning I realized that no matter how hard I work, how hard I try or the strength of my convictions, I will never get anywhere on it. Now, it just reminds me of all the things I’ll never be and it makes me feel inadequate. Please replace said icon of doom with a tiny futon, some high-speed, wireless Internet and a bit more alfalfa. I love that stuff. Thanks – Yours in a cage, Mott”

Tommy tried mowing the lawn in the middle of the night – blindfolded – just because he could, but n the morning, he found that most of his neighbors were very upset with the noise and the random spots in the grass that he missed appeared to spell out something obscene.

I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business when I happen to stumble across  an ounce of prevention. Which made me wonder…id this eve legal? How much trouble could I get in if someone fInd out about it? And as I rolled it around in my hand for a moment I thought, is this really worth a whole pound of cure?

I’m a bit depressed over the notion that the year is speeding along and I have crossed so few items off my personal “to do” lis for the year. I mean, I’m thrilled with the progress I made on New Year’s resolution 57 – get rid of that truck load of iguana pelts – but the rest of it has been a real struggle.

Denton worked hard to write his own words as a means to inspire others without having to rely on apt quotes from those more recognized than he (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Today he writes: “If wine be food for the soul and the burden I carry is wine, let me drink to unburden my cart and my soul, may it gift me the courage to vanquish my foes and summon words to convince this kind Officer Bentley to loosen these handcuffs that I might find my clothes.”

I was invited to take an adventure tour this summer to obscure, yet exotic fishing locales around the globe in search of the rare Marubian Platter Trout. But it looks like there might be some good TV on this summer and anyone who knows me knows I don’t eat from the water.

Dan spent the better part of his life searching for the keys to the mystical crystal palace, but after finding them recently, he cast them back out in to the world, for he realized that he would be now surrounded by nosy neighbors and crystal, being what it is, would force him to spend a fortune on drapes – for he is modest. Thus he asks that you choose your quests wisely and be careful what you wish for.

I never really expected such a backlash. I mean, I never imagined such an impassioned response. The comments clearly unearthed, and eventually laid bare, the emotional and philosophical divisions that lie between us as we, on the surface, politely tap out our glib impressions of a daily life that never really matches our deeper thoughts, hopes and dreams. All I said was that I liked the rain…and I don’t mind the word “moist”.

When you have so much pudding that you spend time trying to come up with “alternative uses” and then you glance over at the tub…stop. You have too much pudding.

Dotson fell, then got up, then fell again, and got up, then fell, before deciding to stay down for a moment or two to contemplate what it might be like to be a doormat. The ripples and grooves in the ceiling above him revealed the likeness of the French researcher François Poulletier de la Salle and he smiled.

Burke saw a sizable rabbit wearing a Panama hat waiting for a bus in the pouring rain. On the lapel of his jacket was a button that read ‘Free Mandela’ and he was jangling the loose change in his pocket over and over again. Rude.

I’m starting to wonder if trying to collect hail in a paper cup is worth all the pain and aggravation.

Dan noticed a bug with his voice recognition software. Now the computer only responds if he uses a Scottish and accent and calls it “Baby.”

Janks retold that story about how we all burst through the door of that small camper with Old Bill screaming, “What in the fuzzy nubbins are you doing to that cat!” Our eyes grew like saucers, it was tense and everything was pretty sticky, but eventually cooler heads prevailed and now we laugh about it. Most of us laugh about it. Not the cat.

Cory finally ended his long-standing feud with the Druids of Persipia. He will grant them safe passage through the Valley of Dread and they will return the carrots… all of them. Who knew it would take so long for such a simple resolution?

Diesel held his breath for a really long time. Eventually he began to see beautiful colors, and tall, nearly translucent, ethereal beings who stood before him in timeless, pinstriped suits. They told him all the bad things that could happen if Bailey Tinn were to become president – in iambic pentameter –  they then handed him a sizable, chocolate eclair. When he woke up it – was Thursday.

I just created an app that turns any cell phone into an awesome paperweight.

Bernard decided that every time the government shuts down, he’s shutting down. Just like them, he will sit with his arms crossed and pout and maybe hold his breath some until he gets his way because that’s what his elected officials have taught him. He may then go kick in an anthill, for his elected officials also taught him that their will is law and masses are pawns at their mercy. That is the game. So who cares what they have to deal with?

Jenk learned that squeezing a tomato can help you determine freshness, but that squeezing them too hard just destroys them…and that squeezing a dozen or so too hard will get you an invite to leave the store immediately – generally followed by a security guard.

After a few tests, Carl found that you actually catch more flies with a dead squirrel than honey.

Know that the second you say, “I don’t want to be that person, but…” – you are that person.

I sent my DNA sample to one of those places that trace your ancestry and was a bit disappointed. All this time I thought I was hardcore Scottish. Come to find, I’m just from New Jersey.

I got a new medic-alert bracelet and wore it on a trampoline. I’ve fallen. I’m back up. I’ve fallen. I’m back up. I’ve fallen. I’m back up. It was fun, but I felt a little bad for the guys from the squad who walked up my driveway, then back to the truck, then up my driveway, then back to the truck.

The Great Bandini had to disband his troupe of amazing dancing monkeys. And while he’s sad to see them go, he takes comfort in knowing Mr. Bangles and Coco will have a safe new life at the Erie County Aquarium and Taco Bar and he knows the fabulous Miss Effy Proust will see great success in her new one monkey stage show in Vegas. And the rest? Well, he knows they will land on their feet…or their hands…depending on how they jump.

Jack is celebrating the one day anniversary of yesterday. He’s so grateful for all the magic and wonder the day held, he’s sending out a special thanks to everyone who helped make it great – the mailman for leaving no bills, Creepy Tommy on the corner of 5th Street and Purchase for not spitting on him, to Burger Tzar for the free pickles and for the Lenny the Mime for pretending to pull a live chicken out his ass…the extended version. He holds such fond memories of the day and was sad to see it go.

I found an old can of whoop-ass in the basement. I’m afraid to keep it because its way past its “best by” date and you just can’t have a random old can of whoop-ass exploding in your living room. I mean, think of the mess. On the other hand, I’m afraid to get rid of it, because you never know when you might need a can of whoop-ass.

Cal was sad that his idea to cut a hole in the debt ceiling to install a debt skylight didn’t get broader consideration from Congress. It provided the stability of a firm structure with the flexibility of breaching the limit as needed. His other ideas that Congress rejected included the debt refinished basement, the debt lawn sprinkler and the debt margarita cabana station with an express mini taco bar.

Tan is working on a book of inspirational sayings and motivational thoughts to help people maneuver the murky waters of this modern day life. Chapter 83 begins with, “Embrace the things you can’t change. Hold them close…tight…really tight…until they stop kicking. Then, bury them in a neighbor’s yard or under some loose tar in the parking lot of an abandoned factory. Then…finally, you can renew your focus on the things you can change.”

Sure, having three bird feeders is excessive, but it makes it so much easier to shoot the birds.

Jerry danced the fandango in a mid-sized tub of tapioca pudding, but it didn’t go well. The pudding was not at the optimum temperature for dancing in.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letters F and U.

Teddy learned the hard way that it’s inappropriate to put on a big smile and do “jazz hands” after giving someone really bad news.

It’s always best to check the status of the roll of paper before committing to the deed.

Nobody cares if the thing stuck in your teeth looks like Marylin Monroe. Just get it out of there.

You know you’re in trouble when your credit card bill comes delivered with a giant bouquet of flowers and a handwritten Thank You note.

There’s no point in having a staring contest with a dog, nobody wins and it just annoys the dog.

Despite his joy over the effectiveness of his time machine, Dil still had to figure out why his pants disintegrated on every trip. lt was getting harder and harder to explain.

For lack of something better to do, Jax finally cracked open the keg of the thick, snot-like artificial drool left to him by his Uncle Bob and found it was great for grossing out kids at the mall and for winning bar bets.

While cleaning up, Chester decided that looking for truffles is not as easy as he imagined and he now has a new found level of respect for the pig.

Hal discovered the hard way that it’s wrong to be a volunteer fireman if all you want to do is wear the hat and ride in the truck…even if you make a good siren noise with your mouth.

Mert thought he wrote the next greatest protest song until the letter came from the record company that said a) the unethical treatment of unicorns is not enraging people these days as much as he imagined b) Finlandia is not so much a place as it is a vodka c) BP is not likely drilling for oil in Finlandia – see “b” d) We can’t prove Sarah Palin was an alien space baby despite what he claimed to be “documentation” e) black holes were not created by the government f) it’s 38 minutes long.

Billy pulled the bag from the freezer. As he looked down, his brow furrowed.
“What the hell,” he muttered to himself while inspecting the bag further. He yelled out, “Jason?”
“What?” Jason bumbled down the stairs to the kitchen where Billy stood with a puzzled look plastered on his face and a bag of frozen hot dogs in his hands. “Those are mine.”
“Yeah,” I gathered Billy said. “Am I seeing these right? Do they all say, ‘Exclusive Property of Jason Schwartzman’ on them?”
“Oh, yeah.”
“Each one individually?”
“Yeah.”
“Why?” Billy asked.
“They’re mine.”
“I get that. It’s clearly indicated on each and every hot dog that they’re yours. How did you do that?”
“With a Sharpie®. I started with a plain one, but then I switched to the fine point. That made it much easier?”
“Why?”
“Duh, the fine point is not as thick, so the letters look better.”
“Why did you use a Sharpie® at all?”
“Well, I figured they would work best, they‘re permanent and non-toxic.”
“No. Why did you feel the need to write on the hot dogs at all?”
“They’re mine.”
“Right, fine. They’re yours. I’ll get to that in a second, but wouldn’t it have been easier just to write on the bag?”
“Well…I didn’t want you to get confused.”
“What, in case some hot dogs I might have somewhere infiltrates your bag somehow and we can’t tell them apart?”
“You don’t eat hot dogs.”
“Which makes this even more bizarre.”
“But yet, here you are in the kitchen hold my bag of hot dogs.”
“Do you really think I wanted to eat your hot dogs? I was looking for something else. I saw these and I clearly remember thinking, ‘What the hell?’”
“I don’t see how it’s so bizarre. You write your name on stuff so I don’t get confused. You have a carton of eggs in there you marked as yours.”
“Right, but you have your eggs and I didn’t go through and mark each one the “Exclusive Property of William Jennings Cooper.’”
“Of course, not.”
“You see my point then?”
“Yeah, you prefer ‘Billy.’”

I’m probably not being followed. That’s paranoid. But it seems like there is a guy with a schedule very similar to mine, who goes the places I go, but is always just a little bit behind me.

Nate is working hard to clean up chunks of the Earth after reading this story about some jerkweed who killed all the Truffula Trees to make something or other. Killing all the trees rippled out to the Bar-ba-Loots and the Swomee Swans and it was just a mess. He also found that while Bar-ba-Loots are terrible house guests, they make great drinking buddies.

Corbin found that beer goes down a lot easier with a beer chaser followed by vodka, then scotch, then beer.

Alex tried hard to get in touch with his feminine side, but when he did, he found she was a big girl with giant hands who was very rough…and a little mean.

Hank really thought the multi-barreled hot dog cannon would generate greater interest. After all, it can shoot piping hot, hot dogs at a rate of 124 wieners per minute – up to 300 feet away. He’s perplexed. Was it because it doesn’t shoot buns too or was it the unfortunate moment when Rodney took one to the eye? Look, he said it wasn’t even his favorite eye.

Gil found out during trick or treating last night that kids are not the least bit interested in bobbing for hot dogs.

Bren spent the evening calibrating his blender to international industry standards so that he might both create smoother pureed beets and a better margarita. Then he thought…what about a beet margarita?

Bill spends a lot of his extra time perfecting his recipe for turning sugared cereals into beer. Imagine for a moment, Froot Loops Lager, Apple Jacks Pale Ale, or Quisp….beer. Anyhow, He plans to promote it as the getup and go morning beverage of choice for movers and shakers.

Dex learned the hard way that it’s inappropriate to put on a big smile and do “jazz hands” while stuttering through “Th – th – th- that’s all folks!” like Porky Pig after hearing the news that someone died.

Tad experimented with the various fountain soda and Slurpee options at the local gas mart to the point where he created an icy cold beverage that tasted just like a roasted turkey sandwich.

*Editor’s note:
To read the latest entries, search for Bon Mots and Sprinkles at the top of the page.
Copyright © 2018 – The JEFFWORKS
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The Glorious Sunset of Taffeta Spaulding – IX

Taffeta managed to move Myrna across the sidewalk and into the passenger seat of her car near the door of the pharmacy. Not that she expected any help from the younger man who was causing her this pain, but it seemed worse to have him watch her struggle.

As gentle as she tried to be, Myrna’s head bobbed with every tug and pull. The whole left side of her face was swollen now, effectively closing her eye.

Once Hover emerged from the store, Danny crawled into the back seat slouching low and leaning into to the window. He pulled a pair of sunglasses from his pocket, slid them on his face and settled into the oncoming high. Hover jumped in next to him wiping the blood from the end of his sledge with some paper towels he pulled from aisle 4.

It was Hover who told Taffeta which way to go. Four miles down Wilkes, take a left, then a right, then two miles, then a right and so on. Taffeta aptly followed his directions, but was more concerned about Myrna whom after twenty minutes of driving still had yet to come to. Besides, she was pretty certain Hover was taking the long way around to wherever it was they were heading, just to throw her off.

Another fifteen minutes later, in a part of town Taffeta never knew existed, Hover had her pull around to the back of a series of brick row houses, mere shadows of what they once were, now boarded up and settling into at least a decade of decay.

“Pull up here and stop the car,” he said. Silently, she did as she was told while keeping one eye on Myrna and the other on any possible pathway to escape.

“Now get out, and get her,” Hover said, climbing out of the backseat and setting the sledge on his shoulder. Taffeta stepped out of the car then walked around to the passenger door. She opened it and leaned in to unclip Myrna’s belt, grab their purses and start to heft Myrna out.

“Hey, wait,” he said, just as Taffeta got her friend to stand limply beside her. “I don’t think you need the bags.”

“She has asthma,” Taffeta blurted out. “She needs her medicine. Doesn’t your mother carry a purse?”

“My mother never carried anything, but a bottle of whiskey and a grudge,” he said dropping the sledge to the ground. He stepped over to her and pulled one of the bags from her shoulder. Looking at her the whole time, holding her gaze, he yanked the purse open and reached his hand inside. His hand moved around the inside of the bag feeling for anything.

“Bah,” he said. “Asthma, my ass. You got nothin’ in there but a wad of tissues, a compact and a handful of candy.” He tossed the bag at her feet. “Pick it up, let’s go.” He turned to get his sledge and start up the steps to the first row house.

Taffeta retrieved Myrna’s bag from the ground, almost dropping her, but then righting them both to standing again. “Do you want to check mine too?”

Hover stopped and turned. He took one step toward her then stopped. He thought, then smiled shaking his head and keeping himself on task.

“Keep it up lady,” he said. “I got more things to do than to rustle around in a bag full of tissues and hairpins. Just get inside, huh?”

“What about him?” Taffeta said nodding her head back toward the car where Danny now slept soundly.

“What about him?” Hover said looking over at Danny. “You best mind your own. You don’t really want to be waking him up when he’s, you know…sleeping. Better for me that you just get inside. Better for you too.”

“You could let us go.”

“Lady…,” Hover said, shaking his head again. “Really, just get inside.”

Taffeta struggled to get them both up the steps and inside the dump of a house, again, without any help aside from Hover impatiently holding the door for her as she moved slowly past him. The house was dark, beyond whatever light found its way through the cracks in the boards that covered the windows. She squinted to help her eyes adjust so that she could get a better lay of the land. The smell hit her first, a hearty wave of rot mixed with a touch of urine. As she stood there she could make out a couch, a small table and a couple of chairs and the along the wall were stacks of boxes.

“Don’t just stand there lady,” Hover said, moving up behind her. “Go over to the couch and sit down.”

“Could you get me some water?” Taffeta asked. “For my friend.”

“This ain’t the Ritz, lady. Just sit down until Danny figures out what to do next.”

She found her way to the couch and slowly dropped Myrna into place first before plopping herself down tightly next to her. She could almost feel a cloud of filth, dust and debris billow up around her. Despite the lack of comfort and the layer of disgust, it felt good to sit. She was exhausted.

Hover came over with a hand full of rope and kneeled before her.

“You’re going to tie us up?”

“Shut up lady.”

“Is that really necessary?” Taffeta said. “I mean look at us. She’s not going anywhere, unless I drag her and frankly, dragging her here was more than I was made for.”

“Just…shut up.”

Hover tied her feet the best he could. Then he tied Myrna’s to hers then worked the rope to connect them both to the base of the couch. Then he left them.

Her first intent was to get free and get them out of there, but the distraction of another soft moan from Myrna, sent her into caring mode. She adjusted her friend to make her more comfortable. Then got herself as comfortable as she should. She stroked her friend’s hair calmly in the dark. Who knows what damage she suffered by the blow to the face. Whatever it was, Taffeta hoped it was temporary. It wasn’t long then until the excitement of the day took its toll and Taffeta herself drifted into a soft, uneasy sleep.

It was hard to tell how much time passed before Taffeta jerked herself awake. Myrna leaned hard against her shoulder, snoring, which was probably a good sign. She was sleeping. Not slipping away into a coma.

Worse still was that in the dimly lit room, she squinted to see Danny standing before her, still, stoic, and staring at them. His face was blank and emotionless. He just stood there drifting ever so slightly back and forth, his dirty hair hanging down across his face. A thin string of drool hung from his lip and stretched down towards the floor.

She watched him.

He stood there. An unnecessary standoff, between the victim and the vacant.

She had no idea how long he stood there before he moved, but when he did, he shook his head and squeezed his eyes as if he were trying to close off someone who might be talking to him. He raised his hand lethargically and waived the phantom voice, away.

“Shut up,” he mumbled, but it sounded more like. “Shuup.”

Then he staggered forward a step, then another, then managed to step slowly into the shadows.

Taffeta breathed out a hard sigh, dropping her head forward. She closed her eyes trying to calm the pounding in her chest.

She must have nodded off again, for when her head jerked up again, another young man was kneeling before her, one she had not seen before.

“Hey lady,” the man said. “You want some water?” He held out a plastic bottle.

Taffeta reached forward slowly. Her muscles sore from hefting Myrna around so much moved under protest.

“Thank you,” she said softly.

The young man looked back and forth quickly before producing another bottle from under his jacket.

“What about her?” he said, reaching out again.

“Yes, thank you.”

“What the hell is this?” Hover said, stepping into the dim light of the room. “What are you doin’ Petey?”

The young man on the floor jumped up, “Nothing. Why? What do you care?”

“Seriously,” Hover said, pressing the other. “What the hell are you doin’? Danny aint gonna like this.”

“Danny doesn’t know what he’s doin.” Petey said. “What’s he thinking bringing two old ladies here?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Hover said. “It’s what he wants and he’s making the decisions. Maybe he wants them to clean up around here.”

“You’ve got to be kidding. We should be letting them go.”

Hover stepped closer to the other man, who held his ground.

“I said…we don’t make those calls,” Hover said. “You sell the stuff. That’s your job. The rest is all up to Danny.”

“Have you seen him? He’s really not looking his best today…or any day lately.”

“So?”

“So…,” Petey leaned in. “I’m making this call. I’m letting them go. They don’t belong here.”

“Don’t do it, Petey.” Hover swung his sledge up slowly to rest on his shoulder as his hands shifted along the handle to find the right grip.

“Screw you, Hover!” Petey said spinning around. “I signed on to this thing for one thing and one thing only – cash. Not kidnapping. Not murder. Just Cash.”

Slowly he stood. “I don’t know what you signed up for and I don’t care. Danny is losing it. He broke the first rule, stay out of the product, and now he’s just a mess. He’s sloppy, careless.”

“Brave talk, coming from a small time street pusher.” Hover said working his hands and training his eyes on Petey.

“Small time?” Petey laughed. “Maybe. maybe it started small time, but who is responsible for this?”

Petey lunged at the boxes along the wall and pulled hard, the first toppled to the floor breaking oven and releasing a spray of cash.

“Or this?” He grabbed another ripping at the flap which allowed more cash to escape.

“This wasn’t Danny. And it certainly wasn’t you! Anything we’ve built, I brought to the table. And this…,” he broke off pointing at the two women. “Is not what we do.”

Petey stood in a puddle of money breathing heavily with his arm stretched out and his eyes fixed on Hover.

“Now,” he said. “I’m making this call. You’d be smart to step back or crawl into whatever hole it is you call home and just let it happen.”

Hover shifted his weight, leaning his head back in consideration. His eyes thinned his stare at the other man and they stood quietly, until Hover finally took a single step back and gestured with one hand as if to say, go ahead.

Petey dropped his arm and nodded with relief at Hover’s slow but, ultimate recognition of what made sense here. He stepped back to the ladies, kneeled down and again, began to work the ropes.

“You ladies get out of here. Get right out of here. Get into your car and go home and for get all about this place and anything you saw here.” He looked up for a brief moment at Taffeta. “You got that?”

“No…,” was the only thing Taffeta had time to mutter.

Petey’s face shifted from contorted confusion at what he thought was Taffeta’s denial, to wide-eyed fear as the woman before him tried to recoil deeper into the couch. There was no time to turn, or flinch or duck for in between those taught seconds, Hover’s sledge found its next target and the aim was true.

The Glorious Sunset of Taffeta Spaulding – IV

“Myrna.”

Nothing.

“Myrna, honey,” Taffeta said, softly dabbing her friend’s forehead with a moistened towel.

Nothing.

“Myrrrrnaaa,” Taffeta said in a low soft voice, quietly singing out the name and hoping her friend would come to.

From the time the clattering sound crawled through the line and reached her ear, it took about fifteen minutes for Taffeta to hang up the phone and get over to Myrna’s house. As the noise registered in her head, the burn of genuine fear and concern filled her chest, for even if Myrna dropped to the ground simply and directly, any fall at their age could be dangerous. It could mean heart attacks, and broken bones, and long convalescences, and pain, and… She shook the thoughts away.

Once she pulled into Myrna’s driveway, she immediately went around to the back of the house. Even though she could get a glimpse of her friend lying there in the middle of her kitchen floor, she knocked quickly, to be polite. When Myrna didn’t move, Taffeta tipped up the edge of a small potted geranium, slid out the extra house key made her way in.

Dropping her purse and the key as she entered, she ran over to the body as fast as she could without tripping, falling or having a heart attack of her own. She wouldn’t mind, but Myrna would mind a great deal if someone came in and found two ladies of a certain age lying next to each other, or however they ended up dead, on her kitchen floor. Most undignified. Scandalous even.

The handset of the phone lay on the floor next to Myrna’s head screeching the high-pitched buzzing tone you get when you leave the line open too long after the person on the other side hangs up.

Taffeta reached over and pushed the button marked by the small red phone icon filling the room with silence. Then she moved closer to Myrna, her movements torn between eagerness and trepidation. She inched her ear close to her friend’s face in the hopes of hearing a breath. Myrna obliged by exhaling a soft, thin, raspy whistle of a breath. Taffeta sighed, swallowed hard and allowed herself to draw a deep calming breath for herself. Myrna was alive.

And just as Taffeta was about to look for a potential head injury, Myrna countered the exhale with a robust and snarling deep snore that seemed to rattle the floor. Myrna was asleep.

Taffeta got herself up, got over to the kitchen sink, moisten a good corner of the towel that sat on the counter and returned to her friend’s side all before the next snore cycle completed itself.

“Myrna?” she said again, nudging her shoulder a bit. “If you sleep on this floor anymore your back will punish you for weeks.”

Nothing. Setting the towel down on the table, Taffeta reached over and lightly tapped at her friend’s cheek.

“Myr…”

“FIRE!”

Taffeta jerked back uncontrollably at the speed at which Myrna’s eyes opened, wide with confusion. A lucky move, for at the same time, Myrna’s arms and legs shot straight out from their resting places and grew rigid, knocking Taffeta back further still. If she were close enough to take the full, direct blow Myrna might have knocked her across the kitchen and into the cabinets. She was not a large woman per se, but Myrna was sturdy and still had a lot of strength left for someone whose primary form of exercise seemed to be walking, worry and hefting the occasional bowl of chips to the couch when she watched her stories on TV.

Myrna’s eyes quickly darted back and forth as she tried to steady herself, tried to calm down, tried to recall where she was and tried to recall what the heck she might have been dreaming all at the same time.

“Oh my word,” she said. Catching sight of Taffeta rolling backwards, Myrna struggled around to her knees and reached out to catch her friend. Getting a hand on her jacket, she only succeeded in pulling at Taffeta in such a way that she spun away on the smooth linoleum causing her to now fall forward.

“Stop!” Taffeta yelled out at as kitchen whirled around her. “Stop! Stop moving!”

They both stilled themselves until the motion stopped and the two of them lay breathing heavily in a pile on the kitchen floor.

“Jesus, Taffy,” Myrna said now facing down. “You scared me to death!”

“Ha!,” Taffeta said in a puff while staring at the ceiling. “I thought you were dead already!”

“I guess I fainted.”

“I guess.”

They stayed prone on the floor taking the time to get their breathing and the heartbeats under control, taking personal inventories on whether either of them might have actually hurt themselves.

“Whew,” Myrna said. “We must look a sight!”

“We do,” Taffeta said in a small laugh. “Who knew you could move so fast? You almost knocked me into the next room.”

“I’m so sorry Taffy. I should have been more careful.”

“How could you? You didn’t even know where you were.”

“Well, I’m sorry.”

“Oh, it’s fine. I’m fine. How are you?”

Myrna brought her hands up to the floor and raised her head. “I’m fine. I guess once I fainted, I must have just drifted into sleep.”

The two helped each other up and plopped down into chairs at the kitchen table.

“I didn’t sleep very well last night,” Myrna said. “The business of the gun and all seems to have settled into my head. It must be even worse for you. I don’t even have that horrible thing in my house.”

“Actually,” Taffeta said, rearranging the salt and pepper shakers on the table back up against the small napkin holder. “I slept great, like a log really. And you know, it’s not a horrible thing.”

“The gun?” Myrna asked. “The gun, your ‘sub-machine gun’ is not a horrible thing?”

“It’s a thing Myrna. It can be used in horrible ways, but all in all, the thing itself is just what it is. Like a car, or a kitchen knife or a hair dryer, it’s a thing that only does what we do with them.”

“A hair dryer?” Myrna asked. “How do you lump a hair dryer and a sub-machine gun in the same class?”

“People have done horrible things with hair dryers. What about that incident in Cardington where that woman killed her husband by throwing the hair dryer into the tub with him?”

“Oh my Lord, why would you think of that?”

“I’m just making the point,” Taffeta said.

“And I don’t think it was a hair dryer.”

“It wasn’t?”

“No,” Myrna said. “I think I remember it being a toaster.”

“A toaster?”

“Yup.”

“Hm,” Taffeta said. “How did he not see that coming?”

“What?”

“Who keeps a toaster in their bathroom?” Taffeta asked. “I think if I saw a toaster in the bathroom, I’d have to ask some questions.”

“Young people,” Myrna said shaking her head. “Who knows what they are into these days?”

“I guess,” Taffeta said. “Look, about the gun.” She decided the pepper looked better on the other side. “Now that you’re sitting, I meant it. I want to learn how to shoot it.”

“Ugh,” Myrna said, rolling her head back. “Why on earth do you want to do that? It can’t be safe. I mean, it looked like an antique!”

“I think it is.”

“Well, there you go! Another reason not to shoot the thing! Guns, especially old guns are not something people should mess around with.”

“Guns,” Taffeta said, “Especially guns of ‘a certain level of experience,’ can still have a lot of good use in them.”

Myrna trained her eyes on her friend. “What ‘good use’ can you possibly see for an antique sub-machine gun?”

Taffeta met her gaze for a moment, but turned back to her work with the condiments. “I don’t know. Nothing I guess. I just think, I mean…it’s a feeling.”

“A feeling.”

“Yeah, I mean, why do you think I got it?”

“It might be that your brother, God rest his soul, might have been… a little insane. No offense,” Myrna said. “I’m thinking that if you want to go around shooting that relic, and please don’t take this personally, because you know I love you and my only wish for you is health and happiness, but frankly, that seems a little insane to me. Sorry, but there, I said it.”

“I love you too,” Taffeta said reaching for Myrna’s hands across the table. “You know I do. I appreciate your honesty, really, I do, but I’m not insane. It’s just a feeling I have. I look at it and I know that it’s OK. And while I think it’s been through some stuff, I don’t think it was ever used to kill anyone.”

“How can you possibly know that?” Myrna said squeezing Taffeta’s hands hard enough to urge her message through them. “Because we are here, and because this is between us, I can tell you that the things you’re saying right now sound a little more crazy with every pass.”

“It’s a feeling, that’s all I can say.”

“A feeling.”

“Right,” Taffeta said. “I’m going to teach myself how to shoot that gun. I feel like I have to.”

“You have to?” Myrna asked.

“Yes, I feel like a have to.”

They sat in silence as the small table in Myrna’s kitchen with their arms stretched out toward each other and their hands clasped tight.

“Well then,” Myrna said, after a deep and dramatic breath while squeezing her friend’s hands with each word as if to underline her intent. “I cannot in all good conscience allow to do such a fool thing on your own. If you are going to go through this ridiculous exercise, you must must promise me that you will include me every step of the way. If you don’t, I will call the police, no…, the FBI and tell them that my friend has gone off her nut and is planning on shooting up the civic hall bingo center.”

Taffeta smiled. “You hate bingo.”

“I do,” Myrna said. “And frankly, I wouldn’t mind if you ran every one of the…how many bullets did you say you have?

“Two thousand.”

“And frankly, I wouldn’t mind if you ran every one of those 2,o0o bullets through the place – provided nobody gets hurt of course, but the FBI doesn’t need to know that. They just need to know about the crazy lady with the antique sub-machine gun who is out looking for trouble.”

Taffeta squeezed her friend’s hands and smiled. “That is just about the nicest thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“I can just imagine,” Myrna said. “You’re out there, God knows where, shooting your gun and something happens to to you. You’ll need me nearby just to call the ambulance.”

“Thank you.”

“I mean, God forbid you shoot yourself,” Myrna said. “Or worse, somebody else!”

“I agree,” Taffeta said. “It will be better to have you along.”

“You could end up igniting some international incident. People will think you’ve gone and joined a gang!”

“Who would think that?”

“I don’t know,” Myrna said. “I didn’t think any of all this so far could have happened  and now instead of calling the FBI or trying to talk you out of this foolishness right now, I’m talking myself into going crazy with you!”

“You’re a good friend.”

“I’m an idiot.”

The Glorious Sunset of Taffeta Spaulding – III

Lester J. Munce was Taffeta’s only sibling and four years her senior. A standard issue American quality male, he found moderate success in all he did by capitalizing on a certain innate cleverness, the ability to both see and seize an opportunity and an infectious, affable personality. He played basketball in high school. He served his country in Viet Nam. He never went to college, but seemed adequately served by the education his life experiences gave him. He never married, but seemed adequately completed as a person through a series of long-term relationships that carried him through the bulk of his life.

He might have been what some would call wealthy due mostly, to his keen ability to sniff out a good business deal.

He might have been what some might call eccentric, for while he wasn’t one to flaunt his affluence, he did enjoy his hobbies. He fancied himself an explorer, a discoverer, a collector.

Once Taffeta settled into her life with Abel, the time she was able to spend with Lester became rare and fleeting. There never was an ounce of bad blood between them, they just focused on being who and where they were at that point in their lives. On those occasions when they could get together, the stories, laughter and hugs flowed like wine.

While she knew nothing of its existence, it was no surprise to Taffeta that he would have a “facility” filled with crates holding the many treasures he collected over the course of his travels. It was no surprise that in the event of his death, those treasures would be distributed to his family, friends and acquaintances according to his very specific directions.

What did surprise her was the fact that she received anything at all, for she recalled a conversation where his ultimate goal was to have his life complete a cycle in which there was nothing left to give. He came into this life with nothing. He planned to leave the same way. Still, in the absence of full control, a decent will was the next best thing.

The other thing that tossed her a bit was the items bestowed upon her.

The circus of events that surrounded the arrival of the crates seemed distant and unreal. What a morning.

Myrna, whether completely emotionally overwhelmed by the sight of what they found in the crates, or deciding to embrace the drama in the concept of being completely emotionally overwhelmed, excused herself from the obligation of lunch that day and decided that what she really needed at that point in her life was a good ‘lie down.” A Billingham version of catching a touch of the vapors.

All the better for Taffeta who spent the time getting back to getting regular by catching up on her pill schedule, getting something to eat and then taking the afternoon to further explore the “gift” that seemed to be consuming her sitting room.

She started with the gun.

Pulling it out of the crate, she noticed that while it had a bit of heft, it wasn’t heavy. Depending on the calibration of her bathroom scale, it came in at about nine pounds. Under the packing material she located the service manual and what the service manual then defined as four empty “magazines.”

According to the manual, what she had here was a .45-caliber M3A1 submachine gun. The Google told her it was commonly referred to as a “greaser,” not so much for what it did to whatever was in front of it, but rather, because apparently, it looked a bit like a mechanic’s grease gun. All the better for she found the concept of “greasing” somebody unsettling.

She learned that each bullet was called a “round” and that each magazine could hold thirty rounds. She learned that it could probably shoot about a hundred rounds a minute, a stupid statistic to her considering the thing only held thirty bullets at a time. And, depending on where you did your research, the gun could shoot effectively anywhere between 50 and 100 yards.

It seemed obvious enough where one’s hands were supposed to go and while she shifted it around to get a feel for it, she put extra effort into avoiding the trigger…just in case. It also came with what she saw as a lightly frayed, yet functional strap.

She moved all the gun pieces and parts from the crate until it was empty and placed them on a towel across her dining room table as if on display. She convinced herself it helped her better understand what she was dealing with to see it all before her.

Doing the same with the second crate, she moved boxes of bullets, noted as 230 grain .45 ACP rounds, from the sitting room to the dining room table. With the last box in place, she looked over the pyramid of ammo, some 2000 rounds in all by her calculation, that proved to be an effective visual backdrop for the gun. She resisted the strong urge to take a picture.

Standing there, staring at it all, she found it didn’t make any more sense why she had these things once they were out of the crates than it did when she first opened them. As she stood tracing her eyes back and forth across her new inheritance, she found herself side-stepping to the window. Without looking, she reached up and pulled the cord to draw the drapes. Not that she cared much, but what would the neighbors think?

Despite having what she equated to a small armory in her home, at least compared to what she was used to, she slept surprisingly well. Her eyes popped open refreshed and ready at 7:26 am just like always and everything felt so incredibly normal and routine that began to imagine that the whole adventure might have been just a dream.

She made her bed, kissed Abel’s pillow, washed, got dressed and moved to the kitchen for breakfast, totally unaware that the urge to confirm if the dream was real or not had quickened her process quite a bit. Walking toward the dining room, she paused. She drew in a slight breath flavored with a mild taste of apprehension she had not expected, then held it and peaked ever so slightly past the door jamb.

Still there.

Forgetting breakfast, she exhaled in a gush of relief and stepped quickly into the room and up to the table like a child on Christmas morning.

“Cora!”

She caught herself. She stopped quickly just short of the table. The tiny step backwards was for, “Balance,” she said, her soft words crushing the silence. Her eyes traced the form of the weapon and the small mountain of bullets. “Oh…you did not just go and name that gun Cora.”

But she did.

She reworked the back pedal into forward momentum and pressed up against the edge of the table.

“Or, did I?” she said. “Cora seems like a perfectly normal name for a submachine gun, much better than being a ‘greaser.'”

Her mind churned. “What else could you be? Rocko? Doniella? Crystal? Monique?” She poured through names like she was reading the phonebook. Nothing fit. Nothing needed to fit. She reached down and placed her hand on the cool steel.

“Cora,” she said.

The four empty ammunition magazines sat straight and still next to the gun as she brushed her fingers over them. It’s real, she thought. But…

Riiing!

Much like the doorbell, the phone rarely rang anymore. Taffeta was so singularly focused on the daydream that the intrusion nearly caused her to fall. Regularity and balance were key to an old…an “experienced person’s” survival as food and water.

Riiing!

She pulled away from the table and stepped into the kitchen to grab the receiver.

“Hello?”

“Taffy? It’s Myrna”

“Hi, yeah, I gathered.”

“First, let me apologize for leaving you in such a spot yesterday.”

“It’s OK. I…”

“It is not OK. I knew you were going to say that, but I won’t accept that. It was rude of me to leave you yesterday in such a spot and I can not even believe I didn’t call to chuck on you before now!”

“Myrna…”

“Now, I just will not accept forgiveness so easily.”

“It’s really all right.”

“It’s not and I apologize from the very bottom of my heart.”

Taffeta paused, partly to let the apology sink in, partly to help Myrna feel good and absolved and partly to take a moment to peek back into the dining room.

“Myrna?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Feel better?”

“Twelve percent,” Myrna said, “But that’s better than nothing.”

“All right then…”

“Do you still have that…thing?” Myrna asked, the tilt in her voice added a dollop of disgust to the word thing.

“Yes,” Taffeta said. “Yes, it’s still here. It’s all right here. I have one submachine gun and about 2000 bullets.”

“Two thousand bullets?!”

‘”Yup,” Taffeta said.

“A SUB-machine gun?”

“Yup.”

“Well…,” Myrna worked to process the words as fast as she could. “What do you plan to do with it? How do you plan to get rid of it?”

Taffeta thought. She really hadn’t gotten that far. She unpacked it, weighed it, set up a small shrine to it surrounded by boxes of bullets on her dining room table and was for some reason, very glad that it was all still right where she left it.

“I guess I have to keep it.”

“WHAT?”

Taffeta pulled the phone from her ear as the shrill screech of Myrna’s voice bore into her head.

“You cannot mean that!”

“Well, what can I do?” she said. “It’s from Lester. It’s the last thing he will ever give me. He chose this specifically for me.”

“To what end, Taffy? What kind of person, family or not, gives another person, family or not, a sub-machine gun and 2,000 bullets? I mean really!”

“He was my brother.”

Each sat on one end of a silent connection for what seemed like a long time.

“Again,” Myrna said finally. “I’m sorry. He was your brother and it is a gift. It’s not right for me to judge the quality of a gift shared between two people. You deserve so much more in a friend.”

“It’s fine, Myrna,” Taffeta said. “You’re a good friend. And you’re right. It’s a weird thing to give to someone, but…I don’t know…it seems like a good gift.”

“How could it be a good gift?”

“I don’t know. When I came down this morning, it all felt like a dream and when I saw Cora there, surrounded by the boxes of ammo, I just…”

Another helping of silence wedged itself between them.

“Wait,” Myrna broke in again. “Did you say Cora?”

“Did  I?” Taffeta said, not certain whether she said it out loud or just thought it.

“You named that thing?”

Chlunk!

Taffeta jumped at the noise.

“Myrna?”

Silence.

“Myrna?”

The sounds of struggle reached through the receiver.

“Myrna!” Taffeta said pushing back on a wave of panic.

“Sorry… Sorry…,” Myrna said finally. “I’m all right. I dropped the phone!”

“Are you OK?”

“I’m fine. I just…when you said you named your gun, what…Cora is it? I just lost my balance a little. I’m sorry. I’m fine.”

“Take it easy over there.”

“I got it. I’m sitting down now. I’m fine.’

“You scared me,” Taffeta said.

“I scared you? Ha!,” Myrna said still settling the phone into place.”You name your sub-machine gun Cora, and I scare you. That’s funny.”

“Are you sure you’re ok?”

“Fine. Yes. Right as rain.”

More silence rose up between the audible spurts of Myrna’s breath.

“Myrna?”

“Whew…, yes dear?”

“I’m going to teach myself how to shoot it.”

CHLUNK!

“Myrna?”

Nothing.

“Myrna?!”

The Glorious Sunset of Taffeta Spaulding

Despite the fact that she stopped using an alarm clock several years ago, it was a rare event when Taffeta Spaulding slept beyond 7:26 am.

This morning, her eyes fluttered open into a beam of sun that made her squint and shift her head into a thin line of shade away from the intrusion into her slumber.

Pulling the sheets from their restrictive placement near her neck she raised her head to get a better look at the clock.

9:58

“Well,” she said to the room, rolling onto her back and staring at the ceiling. “That’s a hell of a thing.” She couldn’t remember the last day the clock greeted her waking with anything but 7:26.

She pulled the covers further away, crawled out of bed and set about the rigors of her routine. It was later, of course. Quite a bit later than usual, so she had to keep moving if she was to stay on schedule. The doctor was very keen on reminding her ad nauseam about the importance of maintaining a healthy and regular schedule.

“Pfft,” she thought. The focus on regular everything seemed to be the only thing she was taking away from being older. Regular this, regular that…regular my ass.

She smiled a bit as she worked. “That too,” she said.

She walked around pulling and straightening the sheets and blankets as she made her bed, pausing for a moment to kiss the palm of her hand and place it on the pillow that lay undisturbed next to hers.

“Looks like one more day, Abel,” she said.

She approached the bathroom mirror with her usual aplomb. She gave up vanity years ago. Where the idea of slim waists and toned calves were the comparative factors in relation to where she stood among her peers, now, at seventy-four, it was who was still alive, who was still functioning independently and who still had all their marbles.

She ran her fingers through her still fairly thick mop of silver hair, pulled it back and secured the mess with a clip. She bathed, dressed and moved to the kitchen for more, more of the same.

In the kitchen, she muttered something of the time and it being so late, more out of the feeling of obligation than really being upset by it. “It’s closer to lunch than breakfast,” she said to no one, but probably Abel. If she made the adjustment to the notion that it was lunch, she would be back on schedule just like that, done and done, except of course for her pills.

Her friend Sylvia from Kettleton took no less than 30 pills during the course of a day, or so she remembers her saying. Taffeta herself was up to a modest 12. Spaced throughout the day, they averaged four per meal. On regular days, it’s never a problem. On special days like today her breakfast pills were already running into her lunch pills, not that it made any difference. No matter how many pills she took in, she felt pretty much the same day to day.

She gathered up her morning doses from the counter near the sink and put them down with a glass of water, then popped open the fridge to see what she might fix for lunch.

Bing, bong.

For as many years as she lived in the house, the doorbell ringing is more and more a rare and fleeting event. She raised her head out of the fridge like a deer that heard a twig snap in the forest. She looked slowly both ways and listened carefully.

Bing…bong.

The chime stirred the air of the quiet house with its confirmation. Taffeta closed the fridge and stepped quietly through the dining room and closer to the front door.

Doors were tricky at her age. She never liked answering them. It was either someone selling something or…actually, it always seemed to be someone selling something. Things she did not need. Unless it was a child with a parent selling cookies, she had little inspiration for front door encounters.

On the other hand, it wasn’t safe to let people on the other side of the door think nobody was home, at least, not with the recent rash of break-ins and such.

She neared the door with stealthy footsteps. Inching her face closer to the peephole, she imagined wiring her doorbell button to a recording of a very large and angry dog barking his fool head off. That would get them, she thought.

On the other side of the tiny telescope, in a fish-eyed distortion stood Myrna Billingham, weaving back and forth in her nervous way, in an effort so see, or at least sense what might be going on inside and if everything was alright. Taffeta unlocked the door, unhitched both chains, worked the latch and swung the door open.

“Thank God!” Myrna said, throwing her hands in the air as far as she dared while still being able to avoid hitting herself with her purse. “I thought you were dead!”

“Two rings, Myrna,” Taffeta said. “No answer on four rings is the key right?”

“Four rings, yes of course,” Myrna muttered as she pushed her sturdy and fairly solid five foot two inch frame past Taffeta to welcome herself inside. “But you know Taffy, if you’re going to be that slow in getting to the door, we might as well make it two…or three. A woman of my experience just can’t take that level of excitement.”

Taffeta considered Myrna, also 74, a friend for life even if she wasn’t a life long friend. They found each other socially several years ago, they helped each other through the passing of their husbands, and now, in whatever time comes to them, they work through the unspoken pledge of keeping an eye out for the other. Myrna was the only person, besides Billy Tendicore back in third grade who called her Taffy. She never spoke in terms of age. She found it more dignified to speak in terms of life experiences.

Taffeta followed Myrna back to the kitchen as she shed her coat, placed it on the hook in the hallway and set about getting to what she saw as her chair at the small table in the kitchen.

“Oh my God!” Myrna said, throwing her arms out to her side and stopping dead in her tracks. “You’re sick!”

“What?” Taffeta said nearly bumping into her from behind.

“No breakfast dishes in the rack,” she said pointing to the empty drying rack near the sink. She spun on her heal to face Taffeta. “Every Thursday when I come over you would be putting your breakfast things away before we go to lunch.” Myrna’s eyes darted over Taffeta searching for clues of illness or traces of despair.

“Is today Thursday?”

“Oh, Lord! You fell, didn’t you? You hit your head.” Myrna grabbed her friend’s head with hands on either side of her face and deepened her examination, what she lacked in a delicate touch, Taffeta was certain she made up for with bona fide caring.

“I’m not sick,” she said through scrunched cheeks. A vision shot through her memory of her mother doing something very similar when she was in school. Taffeta gently wrapped her hands around Myrna’s wrists and gave them a squeeze of reassurance. “I’m not sick. I just slept in a little today.”

Myrna gave one last look into Taffeta’s eyes before she released her grip and turned back toward her chair. “So you say. If you ask me something is wrong. You slept late, but you don’t do that. You say you missed breakfast, but you don’t do that. Apparently, you forgot it was Thursday. You don’t…”

“I don’t do that. I know,” Taffeta said. “Look, I didn’t forget about our lunch.” Although, she had. “I just…”

“Oh my God,” Myrna said slapping her hand against the table. “Did you remember to take your pills?”

“I remembered my pills. In fact, I was just getting my midday doses together when you rang the door.”

“Good thing I did too. We’ll get you back on track.” She shuffled in her chair adjusting her comfort. “You can’t take those on an empty stomach you know. “

“I know.”

“Where should we go to lunch then? You look pale. You pick.”

“I’m fine. You’re being silly. I look the same as I did yesterday and the day before,” Taffeta said patting her on the shoulder. “How about Carsoni’s?”

“With my heartburn? I knew it! You’re trying to kill me!”

Taffeta laughed, “It will take more than a spicy pepperoni roll to take you out my dear. What about…”

Bing, bong.

Again, the chime from the front door rang out and seemed to fade into the quiet that settled between the two ladies. They both turned their heads just enough so their eyes met. One eyebrow rose slightly over Myrna’s left eye to seemingly question why someone might be ringing her friend’s door when they were scheduled for lunch.

“Quit that,” Taffeta said, softly, almost whispering. “I don’t know who it is.”

Bing, Bong.

Thump, thump, thump.

A ring and a knock. They looked at each other closer, puzzled and now more curious. Myrna stood from her chair.

“Well, we should see who it is.”

“Yeah, OK.”

Thump, thump, thump.

“They seem very eager,” Myrna said, grabbing Taffeta’s hand. “Whomever it is.”

They journeyed quickly through the dining room and to the door. Myrna took point and poked her eye up to the peephole holding Taffeta back at arm’s length.

“It’s the Daily Parcel guy,” she said.

Taffeta gently guided Myrna out of the way and again worked the chains and the lock then solely opened the door.

Figuring nobody was home, the Daily Parcel man was two steps off the stoop by the time the door opened.

“Young man!” Taffeta shouted then shuddered. She hated saying that. “I’m home.”

The deliveryman caught himself and turned back. “Ah…” he said as he took three bouncing steps back up the steps.

“Great,” he said, reorienting his clipboard. “I have a delivery, for one Ms. Taffeta Spaulding. It says here it’s a crate.”

“A crate?”

“Yes, Ma’am. If you sign here, I’m happy to go get it.” He handed her he clipboard and jumped back down the steps toward the dark blue delivery van accented with bright yellow letters.

“I’m getting a crate,” she said to Myrna as she leaned her head back into the house a bit.

“A crate…nice, “ Myrna said.

In no time at all, the deliveryman had the crate on a small dolly and wheeled it up to the door.

“I’m not supposed to do this, but I’d be happy to move it just inside the door for you.”

“That would be wonderful, thank you.”

In another moment, the excitement of the delivery was over. The three-foot by two-foot by one-foot crate stood in the middle of Taffeta’s front room with Myrna and Taffeta eyeing it from either side.

“What on earth could it be?” Myrna asked.

“It’s a crate,” Taffeta said, forcing herself not to smile. “The man said so.”

“Ha, ha. Why don’t you get something to open it?”

“Ah,” she said, “Good idea.” She left the room and went down to the basement where Abel used to keep a modest array of hand tools. Grabbing a small crowbar from a hook on the pegboard she went back to the front room a woman on a mission.

“Who’s it from?”

Taffeta slowly knelt down and searched the outside of the box. “I don’t know,” she said. “There’s this envelope, packet thingy, but that probably only has the shipping invoice in it.” She thought a moment, “But, I guess it’s worth a shot.”

Picking at the glue sealed flap of the clear plastic envelope, she raised up enough of a chunk to get a good grip and tear the top open. She reached in and pulled out the contents flipping them over in her hands and unfolding them.

“Yup,” she said, “Here’s the invoice, and this…”

She unfolded the second page and turned it so that is sat right, “This one is a letter, here.” Taffeta passed the page to her friend.

Myrna pawed at the reader glasses that hung from the chain across her chest, brought them up to her face, slid them up onto her nose and squinted, working to see more clearly.

“Dear Ms. Spaulding,” she said. “’In an effort to bring resolution to the last portions of the estate of your brother, Lester J. Munce (Deceased), We are releasing this box and its contents to your care.’ I thought your brother died four years ago.”

“He did.”

“Hm,” Myrna said turning back to the page. “’Amongst your brother’s base belongings, was a key to a small offsite storage facility. In his particular unit, we discovered no less that twenty-three wooden crates of various sizes and weights. Per his instruction, the crates were not to be opened, but to be distributed equally amongst, and as quickly as possible, to the person(s) noted in the documentation. Your brother included the following message to all. Life is too short for the bull shit…’”

“Oh, my,” Myrna said, a bit taken aback.

“Er…,” Myrna looked back to the paper to find her place. “‘Life is too short for the bullshit. Take this, may it serve you well. There is no available information at this time. Once all the crates are delivered, we will consider our association with the Munce estate to be complete. Angela Deffert. Deffert, Smith and Deffert, blah, blah.”

With her knees complaining about their place on the floor, Taffeta stuck the crowbar into what looked like a soft spot and pushed down. The nails and brads which held the crate together for such a long time creaked and groaned in defiance as the worked themselves free. Still, they held until the last, giving the lid very little movement. Pulling the crowbar out she quickly stuck it back in what looked to be a new soft place and repeated the exercise until finally, the lid was free.

Setting the crowbar down at her side, she stuck her fingers under the lid and lifted through the last bit of the nails’ commitment then tilted the lid back to the floor. Reaching in, she grabbed the large piece of foam packing and lifted it up and away allowing her to see the contents clearly.

“Well,” she said. “That’s a hell of thing.”

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Kilt – Part I

Paul Kilt stumbled through the double glass doors of the emergency room, dizzy, no… light-headed, still moderately coherent…luckily, and clutching the plush towel over the end of his newly stumped left forearm. The lights, while flickering due to the growing storm outside, were still bright enough to make him squint as he took a deep breath and forged on toward the customer intake desk.

Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen steps to the welcomed support of the faux marble countertop and a certain measure of prevention from landing face first on the floor.

His counting steps was something he had done for as long as he could remember. His trying to keep his face from smacking the floor with any ferocity, and losing consciousness, was something he tried to keep from doing since college.

On sixteen, he hit the counter hard and leaned onto it with his full weight, puffing out  heavy bursts of air to match the effort. He let his head rest softly on the window as his breath splashed itself across the glass in small, temporary waves of condensation. His head swam. His arm throbbed. His legs quivered. He was sweating and shivering all at the same time as his resistance to giving into shock started to falter.

“Off the counter and on the line please.”

The voice was heavy, gritty, and colored by age, countless cigarettes, a measure of malt whiskey and fair amount of contempt for those she spent her eight-hour work shifts attending to.

“I’m sorry?” he muttered, still trying to catch his breath.

A burly hand reached across and slid the visitor window open with an air of authority.

“Incoming patients must stay off the glass, stay off the counter and stay on the line. We will get to you as soon as possible.” The hand then slid the glass pane shut.

Paul rolled his head along the glass to where he could see the floor, blurry, but still. “Ha!” he thought. There was a line of tape on the floor about a foot away from the counter. Go figure.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I would… love to step back to the line there…the one you have on the floor, really, I would. But I…”

The window slid open again, fast and loud. The business end of a clipboard emerged. “Due to the storm, our computer system is down. Complete the top portion of the information sheet remembering to add your full name, the name of your insurance carrier, insurance group number, family history, any allergies and what brings you to the emergency room tonight. Then have a seat and we will call you when we’re ready.”

He blinked hard to see the end of the clipboard that protruded from the glass partition. It hung in mid air, waiting for him to take it and his place among the others who had brought themselves here for an evening of gentle care and healing.

“Sir?” The floating clipboard jutted out a couple of times indicating a sense of urgency.

He looked down at the death grip his right hand had on the towel, grown damp now from the mix of rain and blood. His subtle laugh forced a tiny hiccup through his body which sent a fresh shiver of pain into his left arm. “Uh…,” he managed through the wince. “I can’t…I’m not really in a position to…”

The clipboard hung in the air for a moment longer and then, ever so slowly, receded back to disappear behind the glass.

“Name?” the gruff voice asked, but he heard it as “nay-MAH!”

“Paul”

“Middle initial?”

“T.”

“Last name.”

“Kilt.”

“Killed?”

“No, Kilt. K-I-L-T.”

“Like the dress.”

“No,” he shifted again, hoping to ease the throbbing coming from the wound. “And it’s not a dress. It’s a traditional garment worn by men dating back to the 16th century and originating in the Scottish Highlands.” He had explained his name so many times in response to the “dress” question that even in his debilitated state, it just rolled off his tongue.

The elongated pause that followed reflected what he was certain to be the deep soul-searching on the part of the emergency room representative as she considered whether or not she would take this any further because she, most assuredly, was not paid enough to “deal with this kinda shit.”

“Address,” complete with an exaggerated hiss of “sss.”

“67 North Algiers Drive, Cardington proper.”

“Phone number.”

His vision started to blur further, as his head grew heavy. The voice seemed to come from farther and farther away.

“Phone number,” the request came more stern this time.

“Three.”

“Excuse me? Ugh. Do you have your insurance card Mr. Kilt?”

“Forgot…to…grab it.”

Another pause allowed him to hear more clearly the pounding that was starting to build in his ears.”

“Reason for your visit this evening?”

This time, the pause was his. Not so much for payback as he was trying to stifle throwing up. “Bleeding…to…death,” he managed. “And…the allure…of…good company.”

“Cause of injury, Mr. Kilt.”

He tried hard not to laugh. It hurt too much. His eyes traced his surroundings back and forth as if he might never see anything ever again and he was taking it all in. He felt himself slipping away from the counter and into the nothingness that was both the air of the emergency room and the darkness of being unconscious. And in that very last moment of lucidity, he giggled, “dog bite.”

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Karrington Kipper

Karrington Kipper magnificent skipper,

Skipped all through the night and the day.

She skipped down to breakfast.

She skipped off to school.

She skipped through the garden on her way to play.

 

She skipped over puddles,

She skipped over bridges,

– through showers of April and flowers of May.

She skipped through the dark and the dangerous forest

– a trick that she learned to keep monsters at bay.

 

And if she was lonely or down in the dumps,

Or hurting, or angry, or blue,

Karrington Kipper, magnificent skipper

Seemed always to know the exact thing to do.

Her skips became bigger, or smaller, or louder,

or faster, or slower, or timid, or prouder.

 

She’d skip and she’d skip

and she’d skip, skip, skip, skip,

– until all was as well as it seems.

Then she’d skip off to bed and cover head,

so Karrington Kipper could skip in her dreams.