Canned Ham and Animal Crackers

Who is living under the bed of ignorance when they refuse to see that the price of
canned ham products and animal crackers are shooting through the roof?

Everything costs more these days and sometimes, you can’t just put necessities off any longer
because of lack of money. I mean, the broken training wheel on my bicycle isn’t going to
fix itself and the pet rock needs braces.

I had to ask for a raise at work. But how?

After shooting 200 top quality steel-tipped aluminum 13/8, 1.828 mm staples into my
cubicle wall from three feet away while pacing nervously thinking about all my money
woes, it dawned on me that I had spelled the word “pleh” out of staples which is “help”
backwards. Indeed… it was a sign.

Finally, at 4:59 p.m. on a fateful Friday afternoon, I walked with determination to the
boss’s office where I was forcefully stopped by the secretary, Ms. Butinsnots. She hit me
in the left eye with a #34 rubber band with a 1/16 thickness. I only know that because
the #24, 1/32’s sting but don’t leave a red mark.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she snortled.

“None of your business!” I shouted back as I ran into the boss’s office, tears running
down my cheeks, right hand over left eye, nose fluids flowing profusely.

I wanted to say “I demand a pay raise” but all that came out was a very garbled, “I
demand a PEZ.” Fortunately, he had a Humpty Dumpty PEZ dispenser on his desk
and offered me several candies. They were strawberry with a slight aftertaste of mint
toothpaste.

“So you want a pay raise, is that it?”

“Yes, yes… that would be nice. Thank you!”

“Well you’re not going to get one. In fact, I had twenty-two complaints this month
alone about someone in your department stapling all the napkins together in the
employee break room as well as writing ‘Ted from Accounting is a jerk’ with staples on
the wall of the senior management conference room.”

I reminded him that it could have been anyone from my department and I would be
sure to dish out swift justice. He then reminded me that I was the only one who worked
in the department. Touché!

As I left his office, Ms. Butinsnots chortled then hit me from behind with a #24. She
wasn’t laughing on Monday when she woke from her nap and found herself stapled to
her chair and her box of rubber bands glued shut. It may have been someone from my
department, but I’m not saying who.

Kazulo’s Krazy Kitchen

The gears in my head were rusty and stuck together. I thought maybe going for a ride would be just the brain WD-40 I needed.

Up in the distance popped up a small roadside building. There was a sign I couldn’t make out. I pulled over to have a look-see.

It was a simple shack of a place, painted in various shades of graffiti. Reds, blues, greens, yellows. As if a rainbow had vomited.

In the front of the shack was an opening like you’d expect from a roadside fruit stand. But this wasn’t a fruit stand. I pulled alongside the window. No one was inside.

There was a hand-painted sign over the window of the shack.

“Welcome to Kazulo’s Krazy Yet World-Famous Kountry Kitchen.”

Then in smaller letters below:

“Menu: Pomegranate Fries. Pea Dunk Soup. Chortle Berry Stew.”

Next to the building was a guy wearing a big straw hat and a knotty brown beard, sitting in a folding chair. He was facing the sun, eyes closed, relaxed.

“Excuse me,” I said, keeping the engine running.

The man’s left eye squinted open then he turned his head to me.

“Greetings.”

“Is this place open?”

“Yes. No. Not really.”

“What do you mean, not really?”

“It is but it isn’t. All depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“Whether you’re just stopping by or if you are, you know, stopping in.”

“I don’t get it.”

With some effort, the man lifted himself from the chair and walked over to my side of the car and leaned on the top of the door.

“If you’re stopping in, then we’re closed. We don’t have Pomegranate Fries or Pea Dunk Soup or Chortle Berry Stew.”

“Must really be world famous if you’re all out.”

He snorted.

“There’s no food here.”

I looked at the sign and then at the man.

“You don’t have food here.”

“Nuh uh.”

“So why is this place world famous?”

“It’s a place to stop by, then be on your way. We’re open, if you want to stop by.”

“Oh so you must be the owner.”

He shrugged.

“Today I am. Maybe not tomorrow.”

“I don’t follow.”

The guy shook his head slowly.

“You don’t have to follow. There’s nothing to follow. This is a place to be. First one who shows up gets the chair. You sit in the chair and you just, be.”

“So what’s with the sign?”

The man looked up thoughtfully.

“Would you have stopped if there was no sign?”

“No, probably not.”

“Exactly.You stopped by because we’re open.” He sauntered back to the chair and reclaimed his spot.

I drove off, shaking my head, pondering the insanity of it all, yet wondering how early I would have to arrive to claim the chair.

Then I made a mental note to bring a lunch.

 

 

Back to Nature

When you first meet Katie Wells, you will notice a number of things about her. But if you are like most, it is her eyes that will draw you in, take hold of you, and lock you in as if you were a prisoner in Paradise.

Magnificent. Startling. Engaging. Mesmerizing. Sensual. Magnetic…

Blue. But not just any blue.

They are two pools of blue. Pools that sparkle. Pools that invite you to dive in and explore. They are as natural blue as the first bubbling spring in the Garden of Eden. Innocent and natural. Created by God Himself.

When I first saw Katie, it was at a gala event. Music and dancing with only the slightest whiff of pretentiousness.

Her eyes beckoned to me. I walked over to her. Besides practically tripping and falling into her eyes, I sensed a natural, clean smell about her. The kind you get after a well-deserved bath.

After a few pleasantries, I couldn’t help myself.

“My dear, I love the natural smell about you. Clean and refreshing.”

She laughed. “I wish,” she said as she pushed back a few strands of impressively blonde hair, exposing dark auburn roots. “It’s called ‘Agua del Bano.’ I picked it up from a street vendor last week.”

I struggled to recover from my faux pas. Something. Anything.

Ah, her dress! A shimmering black flair dress. Sassy. Feminine. Mystical.

“I see you are wearing a Ralph Lauren original?”

“You are too much,” she said, hitting me lightly on the shoulder. “It’s a Ralph Lauren knock off. See?” She lifted the tag on the back of the dress for me to inspect.

“Dolph Lorain?” I sputtered. “Never heard of him.”

“Me neither.”

Her blue eyes beckoned me to continue. So, I did.

“Let me just say you have a beautiful smile.”

“Botox.”

“And your eye lashes, like spring butterflies in flight.”

“Extensions.”

“But you radiate the beauty of youth.”

“Lipo.”

Her right eye began to twitch ever so slightly. Twitching more. It was red and watering.

“Is everything alright?”

She didn’t answer. Instead, she stomped her right foot on the floor, then the left. Her fists clenched.

“Please. What can I do to help?”

“Damn contacts,” she said through gritted teeth. She brought a finger up to her right eye and quickly dislodged the contact lens, revealing a natural cloudy gray color. Natural as the first cloudy gray day in the Garden of Eden.

Innocent and natural. Created by God Himself.

When Tyrants Retire

“I will crush your armies and burn your cities.”

“You make me laugh, Adolph.” Josef took a sip of his latte.

“I am telling you, you will be calling Germany your mother.” Adolph gingerly lifted the cappuccino to his lips.

“Not a chance! Mother Russia with her very large size fourteen boots will stomp upon you.” A smile cracked under his thick mustache.

Both men looked at each other, sadly.

“Yoseph. Yoseph?” The barrister’s voice was so tiny.

“It is not ‘Yoseph, Yoseph.’ Josef said in mock disdain. “Why can they never get my name right?”

“Double frappucphino latte for Yoseph,” cried the barista weakly.

Josef grumbled as he got up from his chair.

“You got yourself another latte? Did you not get one for me?” Adolph asked quietly.

“Why would I get anything for you? You threaten my homeland. I am ready to kill you and all the people of your country. Go get your own.” Josep stomped away.

The light jazz in the background helped Adolph relax. He found himself humming.

“I changed my mind,” Josef said as he sat down with a thud. He put down two cups and passed one to Adolph.

“For me?”

Josef thought he saw a small tear well up in Adolph’s eyes.

“Yes, for you. We are too old for all this nonsense.”

“Who are you calling old?” Adolph said, his small block of mustache quivering over his lip.

“Let’s face it, we are both old.”

The two men clinked their cups.

“To old times,” Josef said.

“To old men,” Adolph laughed.

The two men drank in silence as a crew of barristers in their dark green smocks began closing for the night.

“I hate this Starbucks,” Adolph said as the two men got to their feet.

“I agree,” said Josef. “Let’s meet at Peet’s Coffee next week.”

“Agreed.”

The two men shook hands then walked their separate ways into the warm summer evening.