Lights, Camera, Action! – March 10, 2021

Consider the source…

Friends, I’m busy. No more than usual, but with an edge; something I’ve not done before. It will demand my full attentions, so I can’t dream up a brand new piece for today, maybe tomorrow either. Dug into the vault and pulled a piece I did almost a year ago. A year by old guy standards is almost the same as brand-spanking new.

Flash, approximately 1,000 words. C’mon, you can do this. Piece of cake!

Pay attention for ill-disguised social commentary, snide castigation, and oblique (or cockeyed) external reference to things real and imaginary. For your amusement, I offer…

Lights, Camera, Action!

“Hey!  Somebody get me the Foley guy!  The dad-gummed sheep have gone missing.  Again!  Understood it during the Werewolf shoot cross lots, but this?  If I’m gonna get this in the can I gotta have sheep sounds for Peep.  Where’s that animal guy? Whatzit, Brown?  Security!  Find that farmer guy.  Make sure he knows he’s messing with Goldwyn Goldwyn here, and I’ll have Cheater, Cheater & Crooks on him like ugly on a four hundred-pound gorilla, he doesn’t get his sheep back here. Where’s that Brown guy whatshizname?

“Farmer.  Farmer Brown, Mr. Goldwyn. He left this morning, something about ‘til the cows come home…’ or some such thing, I dunno.”

“Really.  The man’s name is Farmer?  So, I look like some kind of rube?”

“Parents do weird things with kid’s names, Mr. Goldwyn.  Take Goldwyn Goldwyn, for example.”

“Okay.  Made your point.  Who the heck are you anyway?”

“Denny Wentwhistle. Assistant Third Best Boy, electric.  For the Iowa location crew.”

“Best boy me some sheepy animal sounds!  Get me a Foley man!”

“Sir, the Foley people work after the shoot.  Post-production.”

“Don’t give a snort!  We need animal sounds, to set the mood.  That Peep lady…”

“Ms. Beaux?”

“Yes. Like we have two Peeps? Oh, heaven help us!  Two Peeps would be the end of this film!  My cousin, Ishmael saw me coming on this one! ‘Piece of cake, Goldwyn,’ he said.  ‘Twenty-six-minute run time, Goldwyn,’ he said…”

“Well we do, you know, Mr. Goldwyn.  Have two Peeps.  Miss Beaux’s stand-in.  Candy. Candy Cosplay. She’s hot. Hotter than Beaux Peep.”

“Probably easier to work with too.  You got an eye for this Cosplay woman?”

“Um, yes sir, I do.  She’s nice, too.  Why do you need the sheep, Mr. Goldwyn?  All those scenes are over.”

“Peep wants sheep sounds to ‘set the mood’ so she can ‘emote’ for the closing scene.”

“Well, I guess I can see that…”

“She’s a dimbulb.  Got no clue.  Can’t act.  Thinks sheep sounds will help her ‘emote.’  Emote!  Needs to learn to act!  She thinks sounds will get her in the mood.”

“Mr. Goldwyn?”

“Whaddya want, Wentwhistle?”

“Sleepytime Mattress.”

 “They steal my sheep?  Sleepytime?  What’s a Sleepytime?”

“That’s a commercial shoot over in Lot Seven.  They’re pretty miffed too.  Had sheep.  Had.”

“Okay.  You have my attention.  Why?  And why do I care unless they took my sheep?”

“Brown supplied them sheep too.  I guess, ‘counting sheep’ and all that.  Farmer Brown took your sheep and the Sleepytime sheep, loaded them into his trailer and headed home.”

“Why? Sheep Union?”

“PETA was demonstrating.  Said sheep didn’t have to sacrifice to keep hunters’ nether parts warm in the winter.  Brown explained his sheep only got ‘haircuts,’ but the PETA people weren’t buying it.  Wanted Brown to submit to and pay for a Sheep Safety Service Rep onsite at his farm.”

“So?”

“Their bellyaching and chanting upset his sheep.  You’d a thought PETA would been sensitive to that.  They weren’t.  Steamed Brown. He loaded-up and took off.  Said something about city folks being too sensitive and altogether ignorant.”

“What on earth did that mean?”

“I dunno, I don’t speak farmer.”

We gotta contact that Farmer guy.  I need sheep.  Gotta finish this shoot.  I’m out of Maalox.”

“You don’t need sheep.  You just need the sound, Mr. Goldwyn.”

“Point?  Um. Get me a Foley man!”

“Listen-up everybody!  Accounting!  Livery!  Properties!  Catering!  Get over here.”

“O-o-h. I get it, Wentwhistle.  These folks make like sheep.”

“Not a stretch, Mr. Goldwyn.”

“I’ll take over, Wentwhistle.  Listen up folks.  Miss Peep lost her sheep. We need you to make sheeplike sounds to set the mood for her for the closing scene.  This is your chance.  Works out, you may consider leaving the trades.  Become voice actors.  Get yourself agents. Become something of stars yourselves. Group around and let’s try this…  Now, Baa-baa your little hearts out.”

“Baa.  Baa.  Ba-a-a.”

“More feeling, sheep people.  More sheepy. More feeling.  Dialogue people, help out here!”

“Ba-a-a-a-a-a-a! Ba-a-a-a-a!”

“Sound, can you do something with that?”

“Don’t need to, GG.  Sounds are already down.  We don’t need it.”

“I do.  Beginning to feel good to me.  Besides, Peep wants it.   Hey, Peep!  Vance!  Vance Studlee!”

“That’s Ms. Peep, GG!”

“Don’t’ get uppity, Beaux. I’m the Director here.”

“My uncle is the Producer!”

“Excuse me Ms. Beaux Peep!  You ready to do this last scene?”

“I don’t hear sheep.”

“Cue Sheep.  Let’s hear it!”

“Ba-a-a-a-a!  Ba-a-a-a!”

“Might work. I’m feeling it.”

“Let’s do this! Sheep! Studlee!”

“Ba-a-a-a!!”

“VTR ready?”

“Rolling.”

“Camera?”

“Speed.”

“A-a-a-nd, action!”

“Baa.  Baa-a-a-a-a!“

“GG!  I’m not kissing Vance!  Studly smells like those sheep!”

“Ms. Peep, come back!  Mr. Studlee, what’s the deal?  Lookit!   Peep’s leaving the set.”

“It was the chase scene, GG.  But I know Miz Beaux won’t come back.  She’s been finding excuses since yesterday.”

“Hang it!  Hmm…  Makeup!  Wardrobe!  Wentwhistle!”

“Yes, GG?”

“Cosplay!”

“Sir?”

“Get over here you two.  You’re doing the last scene.”

“Yes sir!”

“Yes sir!”

“You know it kids, but I’ll lay it out.  Sheep make sheep sounds.  Sun sets.   You take her in your arms, Wentwhistle.  You kiss her.  Like you mean it.   Can you handle that?”

“Yes, sir, I can.”

“Cosplay?”

“Sure. I mean, yes.”

“Makeup, wardrobe.  Doing the final scene long shot. Make these two kids up. Meanwhile The sheep are gonna rehearse…  Cue Sheep!”

“Ba-a-a-a-a-a-a! Ba-a-a-a-a!”

“Great. Gonna do fine.  I feel it! VTR?

“Ready.”

“Camera.  Were’ not going to track here.  I want a long shot, over Wentwhistle’s shoulder.  Fuzzy profile, but clear enough to see, well, you know.  On my cue, pan away to the sunset.  Got it?”

“Got it, GG”

“Wardrobe!  Makeup! Those kids ready?”

“Yes, GG!”

“Okay.  Let’s do this.”

“Rolling.   Speed.”

“A-a-a-nd. Action!”

“Baa.  Baa-a-a-a-a!”

“Kiss her Wentwhistle!  You fool! Kiss her!  That’s what this scene is all about.  Oh, for pity’s sake!  Cosplay, you kiss Wentwhistle!  There. That’s it.  Oooh!  Nice touch, Cosplay!  Good.  Good with the hands.  Get that, VTR!  Get that! Just a few seconds more while the camera pans out…  Pan, camera!  Good.  Good. And cut!  Print!  Wentwhistle!  Cosplay!  Scene’s over. You can stop now, kids!” 

“Mmm.  Oh. Unh. Yes sir.  Maybe another take?”

“On your own time, Wentwhistle.  That’s a wrap people.  Let’s go home.  Sheep sound people: go over to Commercial Lot Seven.  Sleepytime.  They may need you there…”

© SP Wilcenski 2020
(Originally posted to Prose 5/9/2020)

Night Watch – March 9, 2021

Innuendo, couple of rude words, and some compromising scenes

After retiring from the city PD four years ago I found I didn’t like fishing nearly as much as I thought.  Liked it so little I finally sold my boat and trailer.  Nobody wants to buy old fishing tackle, so I gave that to charity.  

Finished all the little fixups around the house I’d been putting-off while I waited for retirement.  Never married, too late to do much about that, so that’s a hobby I won’t be taking-up any time soon.  Don’t think so anyway. Did all the traveling I’d care to do when I worked for Uncle Chuck’s Navy.  Nothing left suggesting retirement activity.

Found as much as I looked forward to retirement, my police career fairly-well defined me, made me jump out of bed mornings and exposed me to life and people enough to satisfy my simple needs.  Many retired policemen go into “private police” work, one of three ways.

Senior officers pick-up handsome consulting gigs for private concerns.  Sometimes as head of security.  That requires a suit-and-tie attitude. A uniform is fine, but I’m uncomfortable in a suit, feel out of place unless it’s a wedding or a funeral.  

Entrepreneurial types open private agencies doing background investigations, spouse surveillance, skip-tracing, that kind of thing.  Comes across interesting, even exciting in a Hollywood way.  In real life not so much.

Most beat cops unless they aspire to fame and fortune leading them into consulting or independent agencies, go to work in their afterlife as security guards.  If they go back to work at all.  Some might be content fishing five days a week.  Whether they wear an insignia-labelled blazer or a uniform behind a badge, security work is similar – controlling facility access, protecting property, mostly just being a “presence.”

My last eight years as Shift Sergeant, in uniform, put me in contact with streetside policing now and again, but was mainly administrative.  I got used to it, that’s what I preferred.  Just to earn cigarette and whiskey money, I took a job with Dimmel-Klaghsen, an international contract security agency.  It’s me or one of my associates you see at the desk or gate when you enter or leave a corporate facility.

Second shift at the Pettigonne Building suits me.  First shift overloads you with people. Third shift is like watching a morgue.  Second shift is the best of first and third, just enough human interaction to keep you sane and on your toes.

“Sue” was not an exceptionally good-looking woman. Then again, she wasn’t bad looking either.  She was one of those ‘mystique’ women, the kind that don’t immediately make men act like idiots, but once men notice them, they have difficulty not noticing them every time they’re around.  Bright red hair and what is called a “statuesque” build helped considerably.  She started in HR on the ninth floor.

First paid attention personally when Sue signed in at my lobby desk after eight pm one evening “to file some state employment reports.”  Fine.  At eight forty-five, one of the eleventh-floor execs signed-in.  Not my business to inquire why of an exec and he didn’t offer. About two hours later, the state HR reports apparently done, Sue signed-out.  The exec signed-out shortly after. No office equipment went missing.

Yup.  Went on this way every other week for a couple of months. Then the phone registry I work from said Sue had moved up to the eleventh floor.  Now as Compliance Director.  An executive from the fourteenth floor started to work from the office one evening a week.  Sue signed-in usually first, though not always.  State reports of a different sort I guess still required late night attention. Still no office equipment went missing.  

For almost six months, Sue’s schedule of late-night report-filing overlapped executive work by the gent on fourteen.  Besides becoming noticeably more attractive, Sue was obviously good at what she did. Professionally, I mean.  She moved to the fifteenth floor as Assistant VP of Strategic Planning.  All office equipment, on my shifts at least, remained safe.

Strategic Planning obviously requires a lot of hard work.  One evening a week, usually Wednesday, Sue signed in.  Since she was an AVP, I didn’t feel it necessary I be able to report I knew what she was working on.  She didn’t offer. A twentieth-floor Vice President found Wednesdays the best night to put in a little overtime, too.

Two months into this new work schedule, Mrs. Twentieth Floor VP showed up at my desk one Wednesday evening about nine pm.  She signed in.  I dallied.

“Ma’am, if you’ll give me a minute, I’ll call up for your husband.”

“Why?”

“Policy.”

“Policy?  Why don’t I just go to the elevators and go up?”

“During the day, that’d be fine, but policy dictates non-employees be escorted by an employee after-hours.”

“Oh.”

I called the VP’s number.  Ten rings and no answer.

“Hm.  No answer.  Know he’s here.  Maybe in the executive break room. Let me try that.”

I dialed AVP Sue’s number.  On the fourth ring, Sue, seeming a bit winded, answered.

“Excuse me sir, Lobby Security here.  I tried your office but got no answer, so I thought maybe you’d be in the break room.”

With the tiniest bit of confusion, Sue replied. “I’m not, um, oh, yes, I see, I guess.”

I continued.  “Your wife is here in the lobby and would like to come up to your office.  Would that be alright?”

Sue recovered. “Oh, yes!  If you could just stall for a minute or two, that would be good. You understand?”

“Perfectly, sir.” Before the connection broke, I overheard sounds of people seriously scrambling around.

Addressing myself to Mrs. Twentieth floor VP, I said, “I’d best make note of this.  Before I forget.  Stickler for detail, my boss.  Interrupting executives always best documented. Then I’ll personally walk you to the elevator.”

“Of course,” replied Mrs. Twentieth-floor VP.

My logbook had managed to secret itself under the evening inter-corporate mail pouch.  Finally, I made careful notes of my brief incursion into executive affairs on the twentieth/fifteenth floor.  I answered an un-ringing phone line twice to address questions from non-existent other late-evening overtime workers. Then I escorted Mrs. Twentieth Floor to the bank of elevators farthest from the main desk.

Mr. and Mrs. Twentieth-floor VP signed-out of the building twenty minutes later.  Half an hour after, in perhaps the first conversation of any length she’d had with me, Sue expressed her appreciation for my clumsy but fortuitous intervention.

“That was quick thinking. You saved our asses.  We both want to thank you but, the Missus and all you know, it’s rather up to me.”

“Not exactly sure why I did it.”

“But you did.”

“Yes.  You’re adults.  Not, I think, all tucked-in around the edges, but adults, and who am I to say?”

“Well, we appreciate it.  Saved two careers.  If ever there’s anything we can do for you, you let us know.”

“Well, I appreciate that.  But I’m retired and in the slow-down lane. No axes to grind.  Just passing time. Smoke a good cigar.  A good glass of single malt.  I’m pretty much satisfied.”

“I think we need a new head of security here.  What do you think?”

“Pardon?”

“You know, we boot old whatshisname up the ladder and make you head of security.  How about that?”

“Be okay if I think about it?”

“Why not jump at it?  Job’s yours.”

“Paperwork, normal hours…”

“When you’re the boss you can shitcan all the paperwork!”

“Lemme think on it.”

“Sure.  Take your time.  Let me know.”

I did receive a nice box of cigars. Anonymously. Someone who knows a good smoke picked them out.

I’d hoped the participants had learned something from their close call.  They did.  How or why, I don’t know, but Mr. Twentieth-floor VP transferred to the west coast offices.  Sue moved to the twentieth floor, as VP of Overseas Acquisitions.

Indeed, there are positions beyond VP.  Sue continued to work on her career.  Even with the staff support she surely had, occasional evenings were required of her.  I guess exciting things were afoot at the company.  Involved enough a senior board member worked alternating Wednesdays, into late evening when he did.

A soccer dad’s van t-boned my little compact one Wednesday afternoon weeks later.  My car was totaled but I required only an overnight in the hospital for “observation.”  A sub was dispatched to cover my shift. That shift turned-out somewhat eventful.  I got the skinny when I debriefed the day shift desk man Thursday.

“Big Hoo-Ha here yesterday evening!” he offered as if it were prime gossip.

“How’s that?”

“Good looker on “Rug Row?  The one with the big boomers on the twentieth floor was working late.  So was one of the board members.  You know the young-ish looking big dude?”

“And?”

“Must have been some hanky-panky is all I can say.”

“Why?”

Board guy’s wife showed-up.  Stormed past the guy working the desk to the elevators up to the twentieth.”

“So?”

“Wife came down about twenty minutes later.  Flew out the front door and disappeared.  Police are looking for her.”

“Because?”

“Must have caught that looker VP and the board guy in a compromising way. Wife apparently shot them both.  Cleaning crew discovered the bodies about midnight.”

“No?”

“Yeah.  Ain’t that something?”

I don’t believe I’ll be moving-up to head security any time soon.

© SP Wilcenski 2021

Button Button – March 8, 2021

Before I start. Didja know this is “International Women’s Day”?  Is it too late to get my tree up?

Some devious little snot1 keeps moving my tenny-runners.  At the end of a day, which lately is after I’ve covered the grill – post chops or chicken pieces or exotic steak episode – I shed those comfortable doobers.  Always put them in the same spot.  Just inside my office door.  Always. 

Okay, you got me.  If I finish the day in the garage, especially if there’s a veneer of mud or grass, or post-wet grass tromp dampness on them, I’ll slip out of them at the top of the stairs just outside the door to the kitchen hallway.  One day out of ten.

If you’re doing the math2 you are onto the idea that ninety percent of the time my Air Monarchs3 are in my office, convenient to the ritual of foot balm slather, general foot inspection, sock tug-of-war, and tenny-runner installation and tie-down.  That’s where they are expected to be.

I am a creature of habit.4  When I park it5 in a chair in front of my desk, I’ve all component pieces for the shoe circus handy. This is necessary as early-on in this forced retirement, I’d start the routine and get all the way to “socks” before discovering my tenny-runners were not beside the doorway staring at me, eager to begin the day’s adventures.  If I’m current on chores, the wood floors I must navigate conducting a search in these cases for milk-carton6 tenny-runners are slip-slide affairs for the wax on them.  That’s nice if you’re a six-year-old, but dicey if you’re above the age of fifty7 or walk-chew-gum challenged.

Whether I’m on my game and make sure my Monarchs are handy as I begin the ceremony or find them missing when my socks are appropriately placed, if they are not where expected, the search begins.  Because certainly someone has moved them.  Some mischievous, misguided, evil imp.  Motivation?  Not sure.  In the old days, it might have been to hear me go-off on a blue speech soliloquy.

Nowadays, I’m more reserved.  Besides, a proper rage over the gremlin crew’s hiding my shoes requires a lot of wind.  I’m saving my breath for up-an-downing ladders I’m not supposed to climb.

Searches are predictable.  Completing a circuit through the house and the garage the first time, I crank up the volume and do the whole pattern again.  Seems it’s always the third trip when the doobers show up.  Not sure, but suspect, especially on a really vocal day, the mischievous gremlins continually move my shoes to prolong their enjoyment of this hilarity.  On discovery most days, I’m certain I didn’t put my shoes behind the bar in the kitchen, under the bed, or on the boot dryer in the laundry room.

This morning, the world was off kilter.  There was a search.  As searches go, it was brief. Finally located, I do recall placing them where I did and why.  On entry from the garage, I’d not carefully inspected my shoes before I walked up the hallway.   Seeing behind me a yard-work Hansel and Gretel trail, lest I track-up the whole house, immediate removal was necessary.  Left them right there, knowing I would remember where and remedy the situation later.  I added to the “to-do” list, “vacuum the kitchen hallway.” Job security.

That was an exception to prove the rule.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to head off to the big boy toy store8 for some parts.  While I’m there, I will do some window-shopping.  Lemme just get my keys out of the top-right desk drawer.  That’s where I always put them.

What!  Who in Sam Hill took my keys?

1 Snot.  Yeah, you know what I mean.  Working to stay G-16 here.

2 Statistics is math, right?

3 I receive no monetary incentive here.  It’s just for the last, I dunno, twenty years or more, these are my non-boot preference. Wide, comfortable, easy-on, easy-off, and usually patiently waiting for the morning ritual as expected.  Did I mention, inexpensive?  Not cheap.  Inexpensive. There is a difference.  Oh.  And dur-a-bull.  In twenty years, only three pairs, and as I am no longer dragging the Florsheim Wingtips out of the closet for the daily slog and usually only donning my one-ton work boots on weekends, these tenny-runners get a lot of wear.

4 Surprisingly, most of those habits are good habits or at least innocuous. 

5 “It” is my sit-down padding.

6 Stateside, some clown figured the way to publicize “missing” children was to put their pictures on the side of milk cartons. Flawed idea at best.  Few buy milk in the half-gallon plasticized cardboard cartons anymore, preferring the big gallon jugs.  Second, assuming this is 2021, the picture of the missing kid was taken in 1999 when the kid was four.  I understand and appreciate the need to return missing kids to their homes, but Timmy now at the age of twenty-six, it will take real detective work to see the guy behind the meat department counter is Timmy, missing since 2000.  My guess is Timmy doesn’t want to go home anyway.  Then, there’s the issue of his wife and two kids.  Don’t misunderstand me here.  Missing and (usually) estranged parent-abducted children is a serious problem. Just reckon if corporate America wants to spend their money on a solution, they should instead hire a cadre of abductor-trackers to professionally work on it.  Let’s hope anyone hired has a better jump on each case than twenty-years after the fact.

7 Which I am.  Or I suppose if you’re emulating that “Risky Business” slide, it would be swell.  Just hope your insurance is paid-up and you have time to sit for several weeks while broken old bones mend.

8 Hardware store.

Roger and Larry – March 7, 2021

Audience alert: some swearing – words like Republican, Democrat, vegetarian…

“Hey Roger! Howya been?”

“Pretty good, I reckon, Larry.”

“Only just ‘pretty good’?”

“I get a little confused now and then.  Bothers me some.”

“How’s that?”

“Well, seems every time I turn around someone wants to know what I am.”

“Hell, everyone pays attention knows you’re Roger, best damned plumber in Warsaw County.”

“No.  Folks allus askin am I this or am I that.”

“Not following you here, Rodge.”

 “Like they ask if I favor Republicans or Democrats or Green Peas.”

“Peace.”

“Right. What they ask.  Green Peas.”

“Not peas, peace.   Like in ‘make peace with your enemies.’”

“Unh.  Thought it made no sense, two of’m liars and no-goods and one a vegetable.”

“Jury’s out on that one.”

“Huh?”

“Nothing.  But whoever’s asking you is confused themselves.  Democrats and Republicans are not clubs either one excluding Green Peace advocacy or advocates.  Green Peace is about saving the planet among other things.”

“And Democrats?”

“Don’t know as I can pin that one down for ya, Rodge. Might be some Democrats would like to save the planet.”

“Ok. Republicans?”

“Can’t pin them down neither.  All I can say is Republicans and Democrats think different about money, and social affairs, and how much government is good or bad.  Hard to draw boxes and put all Democrats in one and all Republicans in the other.”

“And the Green Peace folk?”

“Likely find some in either box.”

“Which is good and which is bad?”

“No such thing there, Rodge.”

“What?”

“Lookit. How’d you vote on the village tax increase?”

“Against.”

“And the school millage?”

“For.”

“Why? I mean why’d you vote the way you did?”

“Cause it was what I figured best.”

“Gonna bet you in either case there was both Republicans and Democrats and even Green Peacers voted the same as you.”

“Confusing.”

“No, It ain’t.  You’re doing it right.  Voting what you feel best, not paying no mind is it vanilla or chocolate.”

“Oh. Well.  Seems folks and I are having a nice constipation and…”

“Conversation.”

“Huh?”

“Conversation.  Constipation is when you can’t, well, you have difficulty evacuating your…”

“Yeah. What I thought. In the business, you know.  Kinda.”

“Like a doctor.”

“Unh. Yuh. Well.  Have difficulty sometimes with words.”

“I’ll say.”

“Say what?”

“Never mind.  Stop worrying about titles, Rodge.  Someone feels it necessary they nail you down it’s because they’re likely unsure of themselves.  Let them figure that out.  Ain’t necessary they know where you are to figure out where they are.”

“Thought it mighta been they was looking to learn something.  My opinion, you know?”

“Then they should be asking your opinion, not what political party you support. If the first thing they gotta know is are you a Republican or Democrat, they’re looking to argue, not learn.  You just keep making your decisions accounta what your head and heart say, not what some club member says.  Unless you agree with them.”

“Sounds right.  Still some issues to sort out.”

“Maybe I can help you there. So long as it’s not politics. Like what?”

“I’m not sure if I’m a vegetarian or a lesbian.”

“Hm. You eat beef?”

“You betcha!”

“Well, you ain’t vegetarian.  Can guarantee you ain’t lesbian.”

“How?”

“First qualification would be you were female.  Which you ain’t, so you ain’t.”

“There’s more qualifications?”

“After the first, no others even count.”

“So, is it good I’m not vegetarian and not lesbian?”

“You happy as you are?”

“Yep. Think so.”

“Then you’re good to go.”

“Vegetarians happy not eating beef?”

“Any meat. Seems so to me.  Seen happy vegetarians.  Could be foolin me, but I doubt it.”

“Well good for them. And Lesbians?”

“Reckon they’re on the whole happy too.  Unless their car won’t start or their drain’s backed-up.”

“We all got those kinds of problems.”

“Right.”

“Then all these titles don’t mean much.”

“You are a wise man, Rodge.”

“Whew!”

“Roger, don’t think I’d give it much thought.  Nobody’s business but yours.  And those folks who keep trying to pin you down black or white, or hot or cold, or Ford or Dodge?”

“Yeah?”

“Reckon when they commence to running their mouths what you’re witnessing is not conversation of any sort.  More a sort of constipation.”

“Hah! Say.  Got time for a cup of coffee?”

“Sure. You buying?”

“Flip you for it.”

So much to do.  Wall and ceiling repair.  Stone and brick repair.  Spring chores getting ready to start.  Expect a scuffle over how much “garden” we’ll do this year.  Travel in the offing.  Aches and pains.  Taxes this month.  Client potential vacillating.

Hey!  I’m breathing.  Fingers working pretty good.  Collected Comedies parading outside my window.  Not a bad day.  Let’s see who I can mess with…

Missing You – March 6, 2021

There are WPers I genuinely miss.

One or two old dewds [a categorization near and dear to me] who are absent from WP for long periods.  Weeks.  Months. That’s an event [or non-event, if you will] that makes the old thumper0 go bumpity-bump, knowing we old dewds sometimes rudely just up and die. It’s not, as far as I am able to understand at present, you surely see, that we have much choice in the matter.  Anyway, never met (most of) these gents except through comment exchanges. One or two I’ve taken to the bench to avoid public spectacle.  Some I know are still aggravating the snot out of real people as they look in on my drivel regularly. Nonetheless, I miss their insightful and occasionally odd suppositions. And those I can’t “see” in stats or comments raise my concern.  To the point I’ve gone private with inquiry. 

Two thoughts on us old dewds.   

We (old dewds) should lay-out a way Sig-Os, once the insurance money is spent, the flowers wilted, and life, as it always does, moves inexorably on, can sit down1 in front of abandoned keyboards, pull-up a “when I die” document and post and email to networks who in this scenario would otherwise wait a real long time before finding out FlashFinger203 now blogs on another site, that is, is no longer among the living.

Two: (I said there were two; I am a man of my word until numbers exceed my ability to comprehend, or my mental prowess disposes of a promise innocently as a function of failing mental acuity.) My extreme conservatism, cynical outspokenness, and perceived gender bias2, has by design or the sagacity of WP readers, mostly limited me to male WP associates.  Lady people don’t trust me, and I don’t trust them for reasons I cannot explore lest this become not a ramble but a rant.  I suppose there are some “older” lady people (because their WP handles are such as SmartMouth221, MotorMouthGxy, or some such accompanied by profile “pics” devoid of gender-specificity3) who might be (pardon me) dewdettes I’d similarly miss were I to assume them male or (impossibly) understand them well enough to relax my standards of conduct.

Then, there are folk who just fade away. 

Fade away?  Yeah.  Post regularly and look in on me with the same regularity.  Then one of two disasters visit. 

My posts lose any appeal4 to these folks.  I have two really bad creative days and I’ve lost another follower. Or I can’t sustain three days posting about the Ishpakeepsie Marble Tournament, 2015.  (Frankly, I lost interest in the match when Thumbs Rathbone knocked Warts Mc Schooner out of the contest.  And it was after all, six years ago!)

Or.

There was never a real interest in what I had to write.  Maybe hopes that I would eventually deliver were crushed when I didn’t. Once in a while, it’s the case that the “fader” isn’t posting any more or with short regularity and only looks to see others when on WP to complete a post.  (Gasp!  Some people have lives?)

Or.5

The Train from Chicago to Denver does not return to Chicago.

Secret.  For reasons obvious, I fade away too.  I’m not embarrassed.  Disappointed but not embarrassed.

Another secret.  Once in a while. I look-up a “fader.”

Because I miss them.

0 Why not zero? It’s a number, innit? The heart as the receptacle of strong emotion – love, hate, fear, amusement?  Pap and I had a long discussion about that more years ago than many of you are old. The heart is just a blinking machine.  The stomach on the other hand is a real organ of sensual perception if not intelligence, the least of which is hunger.  Teen kid – that first crush.  Did your chest hurt?  Nope. But golly your stomach churned like a cyclone.  Summich cut you off on the interstate – your heart swell with hate? Nope, but your stomach puts out enough acid to recharge a Tesla.  Your heart shiver when you’re scared?  Nope.  But the butterflies in your stomach are the size of elephants and in mid-stampede. [In this case, the only other candidate to be emotional poster child is your bladder. Enough said.]

1Sit down.  Anybody “sit up” in front of a keyboard?

2 Better betcha ‘gender bias.’ No matter how you look at it.  I get on (surprise, surprise!) better with males of the same gender as myself. Constipationally, comes to appreciating the mystery, beauty, and charms of gender, I much more appreciate them in the female camp.  To look at, to argue with, to be around, to match wits with.  Greater challenge.

3 It is difficult to develop a complex WP-relationship unaware of the gender of the other side of conversations.  Male, or female, or ‘I’d rather not say,’ or indeterminate, I respectfully hold back on tone, substance, humor, and language when commenting unless I have a reasonable mental profile of my correspondent.  Somewhat true if I have no clue as to the age of the other side of a WP conversation.

4 Understandable.  I do not post the same style, form, subject matter, or length consistently.  Imma Heinz57 poster. Short story one day, poem another (rare) day, a rant or semi-rant, a piece of flash fiction.  Detective Noir.  Small town vignette.  Personal snapshot. Conversational humor.  Range?  Don’t ever bet on me – I’ll go 50 words one day, 2,000 the next.  Um, I’m not a blogger in blog tradition either.  Not “today I…”  Not “This recipe is fabulous and will take only about six hours to pull together.” And not “if you don’t want to visit my sponsor’s site, at least buy my latest compendium of poetry ‘Straight Jacket Jamboree’.”

5 See?  I do have trouble with enumerated lists.

Unplugged – March 5, 2021

Well, this would be one way to unplug…

Do you know today is, according to some “authority” the National Day of Unplugging?  That ‘authority’ I discovered is NDU.com.  Is this a little bit self-serving or what?

The idea is good.  There is merit in re-examining how we wire ourselves into the world ignoring people, nature, and ourselves.  I question one more net-connect to further the cause.

What we need to do individually if it strikes us that we spend too much time on the net, in front of the tube, on social media, is to find a non-electron way to zone. Music, walking, sports, reading, a serious conversation with our dogs, cats, goats, and hamsters. Maybe our spouses or Sig-Os. Aquarium denizens notorious for being so unplugged, making a connection with them is neigh impossible.

Now, I’ve one or two more things that demand attention and merciless electron abuse, then I must get to the local pharmacy to see if they have any NDoU cards left.  I’ll atone by carrying over into Saturday.  Noon ought to do it.  What is an appropriate NDoU gift?  Anyone?

Unplugging…

[I see by their site, research of course, that though called “National” the idea enjoys global support.  Time for the IDoU?]

At A Loss – March 4, 2021

Recycle, recycle, recycle.

Dunno where to go.  Readers need my rambling to have something that makes everything else seem better by comparison. Started off on a rant.  Was a good one too.  One of my faves.  The gender/sex/undecided thing.  Determined a lot of difficulty or controversy is because those who love to feel themselves the ‘wronged’ side of the issue bring most of it on themselves. 

Imagine me, a dude, sitting there minding my own business. You know, waiting for a moment of privacy so I can pick my nose.  Along comes Beverly/Bruce.  S/he spies me contemplating the square root of pie, or another cup of coffee with or without pie, square or otherwise.

(Still imagining) I made the mistake that morning, earlier, old dewd and all, of dressing like, well, a dewd.  Guy.  Male.  Scared to death over that but prepared to deal with it.  Then, there’s my skin color and my age.  My fault. I asked for it.  Beverly/Bruce walks up…

“What are you looking at?”

“Umm.  Who?  Me?”

“Yeah, you!”

“Ma’am?”

That clearly was a mistake.  What a sexist thing to say! 

I admit, once Beverly/Bruce had my attention, I wondered if s/he had naturally purple and green hair. Or if it was a good idea to have that much metal lanced into (visible) body parts in the beginning of thunderstorm season here – a walking lightening-rod.  Admit too, I wondered how one could work so hard at dressing “male” simultaneously failing while not clearly establishing maleness, and why, for the love of all that’s holy, if maleness is so ******* wrong, why that’s what Beverly/Bruce was striving for?  Why not something clearly androgenous or clearly a new gender-identity?   Saran wrap and aluminum foil?  Coconut husk and hemp? Why springboard from the disgusting male gender? Start fresh!

You can see a rant predicated on such a shoddy premise was not one of my finer moments.

Of course, dispensing with the ever-popular gender thing, my rant deteriorated into Republican/Democrat insanity.  Thereafter the purple/green discrimination thing.  Finally, which was a clue my vitriol should never see the light of day, I lapsed into the deplorable Ford and Chevy argument. Sometimes, self-censure is a good thing.

Maybe a piece of flash, I thought.  All my shamus starts are waiting for a chance to become yet another big-time piece doomed to molder-away unfinished, or anyway, unpublished, or not well-enough noodled to support either a short or flash. 

Maybe a poem.

Good Morning Dear

Mornings here are quite a riot –
Buzzes, splashes, never quiet.
There’s beard to scrape from off my face,
While she mascaras eyes in place.

In days gone by it wasn’t bad,
Was two full bathrooms then we had.
Since we’ve downsized to only one,
Our morning rush just isn’t fun.

When scheduled right, we do it well.
That we’re cramped you cannot tell.
Miss a beat there’s hell to pay,
We’ll end up in each other’s way.

One morning I, a bit too slow,
Was out of step, and badly so.
As she passed by, she did implore,
“For pity’s sake, please close the door!”

Clearly my heart’s not in it. Not today.

Kids These Days – March 3, 2021

Dang. Two days in a row. I apologize.
What else will I do with this junk?

Master Andy Jackson

Naughty Andy Jackson caused his parent some distress,
A small scrape here, a dust-up there, this time an ugly mess.
Pure of heart, with motives gold, still troubles fell like hail.
The Jacksons now, are pressed for cash to make young Andy’s bail.

Miss Julie Higginbottom

Seems wee Julie Higginbottom drives her poppa mad.
As young lasses her age go, it’s not that she is bad.
She fancies boys and they like her, now eight years after ten,
Lads she draws like moths to flame, are not young boys but men.

Master Tommy Byrum

Little Tommy Byrum distressed his momma so.
“What, my son to do with you, I simply do not know.
Your bed is made, your room is clean, your schoolwork done today.
I suppose there’s naught for you but to go outside to play.”

Ms. Sophie Lassiter

Redheaded Sophie Lassiter was such a lovely child.
A ginger see, you’d think that she, would be a creature wild.
Her folks’ pride, until they died, she works hospice up the street.
She is in fact, a lass each Jack, just dreams one day to meet.

© SP Wilcenski 2021

Miss Anne Thropy – March 2, 2021

There’s people that amaze me – the impressions they beget.
I’ve paid some mind to what they’ve said, seen stages that they’ve set.
Please don’t think that I’m unkind,
Having spoken thus my mind.
With mild distress, I do confess, these folks I’ve never met.

© SP Wilcenski 2021

Change of Heart – March 1, 2021

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

“Whew!  Tough game, Tuluki!”

“Pulled it out, Clifford!  Fourteen – Seven. We’d gone for a field goal, been a tie.”

“Hate ties.  Buster can make point after.  Can’t nail a field goal.  Kinda jinxed.”

“Say, Cliff?”

“Yunh?”

“Can you drop me off downtown?  I’ll walk home from there.”

“Not going to the dance?”

“Nah.  Asked Crystal.  Turned me down cold.”

“Guess I can drop you off.”

“Whoa!  There’s a note here in my jacket pocket!”

“What’s it say?”

“Meet me at the dance.”

“Whosit from?”

“Says Crystal.”

“Guess she had a change of heart!”

“Me too.  Just drop me off downtown.”