Sunday, June 29, 2014

Five Things I Don’t Want To Be Doing During An Earthquake

As a California resident I am reminded of the importance of earthquake preparedness on a daily basis. I know we are overdue and I do have certain items in place in case of emergency but the biggest danger is that you don’t know where you will be when it hits. It would be nice to have ample warning so you could get yourself to an open field because it isn’t the earthquake that injures people it’s falling objects.

Of course we all pray that we won’t be in an elevator, under the freeway overpass, in a sports stadium or in a bowling ball warehouse but yesterday I gave serious consideration to five things I would prefer not to be doing during an earthquake.  

1.     Getting a Mammogram. Believe it or not, I always ask the technician where the emergency release switch is. I can only imagine the tech running from the room as the shaking starts leaving me to ride out the quake with one breast trapped.

2.     At the Beauty Salon. Because I have those ‘natural’ highlights added to my hair the procedure makes me look like a missing person poster for a Reynolds Wrap employee. Running elbow to elbow with several other women donning layers of hair filled foil ravioli on our heads sounds like a joyless race to me.

3.     At the Dentist. Since I haven’t had a simple filling for many years, I would hate to be caught with my mouth propped open and a rubber dam isolating the thousand-dollar prep for the crown the dentist is putting in. Not to mention the Nitrous Oxide would severely inhibit my ability to run.

4.     Having a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. Although the technician makes comments like, “you have a lovely colon,” and I always compare the procedure with gardening because it involves a hose, a droplight and a blower, it would be extremely embarrassing to leap from the table with the sigmoidoscope still deep in my bowels and blasts of air propelling my escape.

5.     In the ball bearing aisle of Home Depot browsing for the perfect replacement balls for my Magic Labyrinth game.  During an earthquake, getting to safety is the number one priority, I don’t want to be doing the Curly (The Three Stooges) shuffle in addition to running like a girl.

I know. I know. Earthquakes aren’t funny but that’s why I’m finding humor before it happens ‘cause there sure ain’t anything funny about the aftermath.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Junk Mail Junkies

(It's a Blog, It's a Short Story... No it's Just for Laughs)

The corner of Roy's mouth tipped up in a crooked grin as he looked around at Harry's latest pigsty. It was a Goldenwest singlewide. The natural wood grain was photographed veneer but glued nicely from floor to ceiling. Panel so thin it cracked from the sound of a loud fart. Harry's chihuahua, Halapeeno, had done a keen job on the carpet. He liked to dig and since Harry didn't have a yard, Halapeeno dug up the green tufted carpet in the corner of the dining room. Harry didn't mind though. He and Hal were soul mates. They had been together so long they began to share a resemblance as couples often do...Hal with his pointy ears, short cropped hair and buggy eyes and Harry with his.

Roy's upper lip curled. "Don't you have a wet sponge?"

Harry grabbed a handful of envelopes and slapped them on the table. "Quit your complainin', you should be glad I'm lettin' you help."

"Come on Harry, you really think you're gonna make any money doin' this?" He shook his head and took a long pull from his beer.

"The ad says you can make up to five thousand dollars a month in your spare time." Harry whacked a pack of cigarettes three times hard against the heel of his hand.

Roy smirked. "I guess that means you're gonna be rich 'cause spare time is all you got."

"Go ahead and laugh." Harry's eyes squinted into slits of annoyance. "But you'll be laughing out the other side of your mouth when you see how much money I'm gonna make." He took a drag from his cigarette and licked the flap of an envelope. The smoke curled from his mouth, coiled around the edge of the paper then floated above his head to hang like bug mesh. 

Roy took a last swallow of his beer and got up to get another. "How did you find out about this anyway?"

"I took a walk to the liquor store a couple of weeks ago and saw a sign on a telephone pole."

Harry always walked when he was too drunk to drive, it saved him a lot of court time.

"Liquor store?" Roy opened the harvest gold refrigerator door with a jerk. Bottles and jars joggled and clinked together threatening to jump from the door. "I thought you was drinkin' Ginny's moonshine." He snagged a beer and twisted the cap off. He stuck the end of his tongue into the bottle before tipping it back.

Harry frowned. "Sometimes I gotta lay off Ginny's rotgut. It scorches my innards." He reached down to the floor and lifted up a jug to knock back a swig of the new batch. He winced and swallowed loud then pounded twice on the chrome-framed formica table. The vibration sent his 'Dust Mites On Board' sign from the window onto the floor.

Harry never actually saw Ginny's still, so she could have been pouring pure turpentine in those jugs for all he knew. It didn't matter, not at all, it took him where he wanted to go and the times it didn't, the scars were worth it. 

"Let me try a swallow of that stuff." Roy sat down hard on the vinyl chair. Air whistled out one of the cracks and flipped a corner out to catch the fabric of his jeans. He reached for the jug. 

Harry jerked it to his chest possessively. "Not out of the jug, you're not! Get yourself a glass."

Roy blew out a breath and got up to get a glass. "What'sa matter, you think I got cooties?"

"Cooties! Who the hell says cooties anymore?" Harry cackled. "Just you bring one of them glasses over here and I'll show you what I'm talkin' about."

Roy walked back and sat a shot glass on the table. Harry stood up, holding the jug as if it were filled with nitroglycerin. He carefully calculated the distance from the mouth of the jug and the glass then tipped it slowly. He didn't know what this stuff would do to the Formica if it spilled. The liquid was clear but seemed to have a thickness about it and he could swear he saw chemical fumes rising from the surface.

Roy lifted the glass slowly with a slight tremble. He pursed his lips, kissed the edge of the glass and filled his mouth. It took a few moments for his throat muscles to surrender but they finally relaxed and he swallowed as quickly as he could. The elixir scalded every inch of esophagus on the way to his stomach and even a bit farther. 

"Aaaaah!" He slapped a palm on the table. Halapeeno growled and barked. Roy clutched throat and gasped. "Man, that stuff is good."He dropped to his chair, put his elbows on the table and cradled his chin. The corner of his mouth tipped up to form a goofy smile. He blinked and slid his glass toward Harry.

"Oh no you don' want to drink? Then you have to work." Harry shoved a box of envelopes in front of him. 

Halapeeno jumped up on Roy's lap. Roy lifted his hand to pet him but Halapenno bared his teeth and growled. Roy held his hand in front of Halapeeno's nose to prove he was friendly then tried to pet him again. This time Halapeeno snapped at him. 

"What the hell is with your dog?" He held both hands in the air.

"Oh, he won't let you pet him. He just wants to try you on."

"Try me on?"

"Yeah, he's the boss. You do what he wants, when he wants it." 

"Why does he have a bandage on his eye?"

Harry chuckled. "He took a shot to it."

"He got shot?"

Harry bent down to bring up another box of envelopes. "Toenail."

"Toenail? He got shot in the toenail?"

"No stupid, he got shot with my toenail when I was clippin' 'em."

Roy laughed. "Can't say he didn't deserve it."

Halapeeno growled again.

"You want to get this one-eyed mongrel off my lap?"

Harry lifted the jug and took a few gulps and filled Roy's glass before he put the plug back in. He reached down and took off his shoe, looked at Halapeeno and smiled before taking off his sock.

Halapeeno yipped, jumped down and bounded for the bedroom.

"I knew that would get him out of here." Harry cackled. 

Roy belched and picked up an envelope. "Who are we sending these things to anyway?" He lifted his glass and downed the contents then set the glass in front of Harry for a refill.

"How the hell do I know? They just said to stuff the envelopes and seal 'em up." He squeaked the cork from the jug, filled Roy's glass and took another slug for himself.

Roy squinted at one of the addresses. "Who do you suppose would name their kid Duncan?"

"I don't look at the names," Harry said and snagged the envelope from Roy. "Yep, Duncan."

"What's his last name?" Roy tipped his glass up and drained it, now they were going down slicker than snot.

"Can't pronounce it." Harry frowned and drank a few more gulps.

Roy burst into laughter. "Is it disorderly? Duncan Disorderly?"

Harry's face turned bright red with laughter. He seized his crotch to keep from peeing his pants. 

Roy picked up another envelope. "Hey, this guy is Harry too. Harry Wacker." He slapped a hand on the table, wheezing and laughing.

Harry dropped to the floor and rocked back and forth exchanging fits of laughter and coughing. 

"Look at this! Richard Head...ya' think his friends call him Dick Head?"

Harry's laugh was inaudible, his face was frozen into a red toothless grimace. It resembled the mask of Thalia with a few liver spots over each brow. Just as the veins on his forehead looked ready to pop, he sucked in two loud lungfuls of air and let out a hoarse guffaw. 

Roy grabbed the jug, pulled the cork and tipped it up. He used the back of his hand to wipe his mouth. "Okay, Harry. Enough foolin' around. You gotta help me do these."He grabbed a few inserts and jammed them into an envelope. He frowned and pounded it flat with his fist to get the flap to stick.

Suddenly, Harry sat up straight as a tombstone. He put a hand of either side of his head. "Judas Priest!"

Roy looked up. "Is he on the list too?"

"We forgot to put the samples in!"

Bewilderment washed over Roy's face. "Samples?"

"These!" Harry brought up a box of packets and dropped them on the table.

"What the hell is that?"

"Detergent." Harry plopped back in his chair. 

Roy stared at them a long while, then he shrugged. "To hell with 'em." He garbled a laugh and reached in to fish out one of the packets. He tore the the top off and inhaled deeply. His scarlet nose wrinkled and twitched before he gasped and sneezed soundly into the open packet. The powdered detergent blew out, coated the top half of his face and thickly dusted his eyelashes like snowflakes in winter. He brushed at his face and snorted detergent. He shook his head and coughed.

Harry eyeballed Roy for a full minute before bursting into a deep-throated laugh that caused him to empty his bladder right then and there. 

"I think you're gonna need this more than they are," Roy managed to say, holding up the half-empty packet and pointing to Harry's pants.

"Damn!" Harry stood up, reached down and unzipped his zipper. He slid his pants down just past his knees and hobbled toward the laundry porch. His bowed legs quivered as the cool air hit his damp white skin. 

"Last time I saw legs like that, there was a message tied to one of 'em," Roy hollered after him. "I sure hope you don't go out of the house with those short on. Didn't your mother ever tell you about clean underwear preventin' accidents?" Roy bellowed again and fell off his chair in hysterics.

"Thank you! Thank you very much! You have been a big help!" Harry yelled sarcastically over his shoulder. He took several inadvertent hops in the wrong direction, and then...

The sound of Harry's head hitting the corner of the lamp stand was a solid crack like when a softball meets a bat. Silence followed.

Roy slowly rose to his feet and stood slack-jawed as he gaped at Harry's lifeless body. He plopped back down in his chair and stared in disbelief. Just a moment ago, they was drinking, laughing and earning a boatload of money. It's strange how life can be kind to you one minute and so cruel the next.

"Harry?" He called softly. "You want me to finish this for you?" Harry didn't answer. Roy reached over, picked up the jug and swirled it around. It was at least a quarter full. 

He sighed. "No use lettin' good shine go to waste."