“What the heck am I going to do with this thing?” Sara thought as she looked at the newly unwrapped birthday present from her father. “He can never just get me something normal… like a check,” she mumbled as she looked around her tiny apartment for a place to stow the monstrosity. It wasn’t that Sara didn’t appreciate her father’s attempts at thoughtful gifts; it’s just that he never really ‘got’ how different their tastes were. For example, when Sara was eight all she wanted that year for Christmas was a pink Huffy bike. It was all she could talk about for months (which is a long time for an eight year old). So when the big day arrived and her family had gathered around the Christmas tree in their PJs, Sara was delighted to see a large, oddly wrapped gift with her name on it peeking out from behind the tree. Giddy with anticipation, Sara clawed into the giftwrapping to expose a… replica of a 19th century Albanian goat cart acquired somehow on one of her father’s many travels. Who gets their eight-year-old a goat cart?
Finding some space on the top shelf of her bookcase, Sara wedged the gift in until it sat snuggly between ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’ and a book on Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Taking a step back, she scrunched her brow as she stared at her father’s latest gift. Starring back at her was a ceramic, large mug or medium-sized planter, she wasn’t quite sure, crafted into the shape of Captain Ahab from the classical novel, Moby Dick. And sure enough wedged against the captain’s ear, there was the infamous whale himself, in a perpetual thrust towards the surface, doubling as the handle of the ambiguous vessel. The sudden thought of clasping the whale and drinking a vat of margaritas from the oversized, hollowed-out cranium of a fictitious sea captain sent Sara into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Teary-eyed from her outburst, Sara let out one more chuckle before collapsing into her beanbag chair with her laptop.
Scrolling through her email of mostly spam, Sara was about to call it a night and head to bed when she heard the ‘ping’ of her Instant Messaging system notifying her that someone had IMed her. Minimizing her email, she saw that it was her friend Laura:
Laurasmiles87: Let’s celebrate 1 last time B4 the end of the world!
SARAdaresYA: What the heck R U talkin bout?
Laurasmiles87: Seriously? It’s been on the news for like days… some wackjob thinks the world is gonna end this Saturday. There are like a million parties goin on tomorrow.
SARAdaresYA: For real? Man, guess I need to crawl out from under my rock more often. So what you thinkin?
Laurasmiles87: We should meet up dwntwn for happy hour. Everyone is getting on board with this thing. I’m thinkin Slippery Willy’s. They are having BYOC special for $10 all night.
Laurasmiles87: Yeah, Bring Your Own Cup…BYOC. you really aren’t with the times are ya? ;o)
SARAdaresYA: LOL. I don’t even try anymore.
Laurasmiles87: Well, N E way, people get really creative with their ‘cups’. Everyone tries to out to everyone else. I’ve seen people drinking from trophies, cowboy boots, you name it. It’s pretty fun.
SARAdaresYA: OK, that sounds awesome, I’m totally down. I’ll meet ya out front, say 6ish?
Laurasmiles87: Yay! Works for me! And drinks are on me tomorrow, Happy b’day!
SARAdaresYA: Sweet, thanks man. Ok, gotta grab some shut eye. So I’ll give ya a call when I’m there tomorrow, k?
Laurasmiles87: Sounds good! Toodles!
The next day was a complete blur- from the time Sara left the house in the morning to the time she logged off at work, she hadn’t stopped. In her mad dash to get home in time to change before meeting Laura at Slippery Willy’s she grabbed a granola bar and crunched on that during her 20 minute commute home since she hadn’t had time to eat all day. Streaking through her house, shedding clothes like a snake on acid, Sara threw on some jeans, grabbed a V-neck T-shirt and after giving her face the once over, decided it would have to do as she rushed out the door. As she was locking up she remembered the BYOC conversation and ran back inside to find something, anything to use as her cup that night. Glancing at the sky-high pile of dirty dishes stacked in the sink (and all around it) Sara scanned the rest of her place for a quick replacement. And then she made eye contact with Ahab. Smiling a minxy smile, (Laura is going to die when she sees this!) she snatched the captain and his nemesis off of their shelf and dashed out the door.
Easily finding Laura in front of the bar, the girl was practically six feet tall and wearing a bright teal halter-top, Sara gave her a quick hug and with a smirk proudly displayed her ‘cup’. “Oh my God, Sara. That is freakin hilarious! Where on earth did you get that thing?” Laura couldn’t control her giggling. “Take one guess,” Sara laughed. “Dad,” they said in unison. Sara’s father’s ‘unique’ taste in gifts had earned a reputation over the years. “I call it, The Ahab,” Sara proclaimed with a feigned sense of drama. “Well, it’s awesome. You might just win a prize or something for that thing,” Laura said over her shoulder as the girls presented their IDs, extended their arms for their wristbands and climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor bar known as Slippery Willy’s.
It turned out to be a great night. Not having to wrestle for a drink since beer girls circled the entire place replenishing empty SOLO cups, coffee mugs, steins, goldfish bowls and a few footless shoes with an endless supply of their cheapest brew, combined with the constant attention her nautical accessory was attracting, had Sara feeling like a rock star. It wasn’t just Sara having a good time though- everyone seemed in high spirits as they swapped jokes about getting last minute acts of debauchery in before everything came to a crashing end the next day. Laughing and taking a shot with Laura every time the bar played R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It, Sara couldn’t remember having so much fun at a bar. She even met a guy playing trivia and they really hit it off, playfully exchanging competitive digs as they tried to outsmart each other. But the fun had to end sometime, so as the lights flashed on in Willy’s Sara and Laura shuffled out with the rest of the crowd, and all Sara wanted now was her bed.
Sunlight poured through the curtains and Sara peeled her eyes open, instantly regretting the ‘fun’ she had had last night. “Ughhhh…” she moaned as the throbbing in her head made itself comfortable. As her eyes focused she was instantly aware that something wasn’t right. Fighting the urge to panic, Sara looked around and quickly confirmed…she was not in her room. Trying to recall the events that transpired after leaving the bar, Sara was coming up completely blank. Adding to her growing aloarm, Sara discovered she was wearing nothing but a man’s T-shirt and her panties. “Ok Sara, ok…no need to panic, obviously you came home with someone and you just don’t remember,” her pep talk was not helping. Quickly throwing on the clothes she had worn last night, Sara tip toed out of the strange bedroom into the living area.
“Oh my God, it happened! It was true! They were right! Oh GOD!!”
Sara stumbled backwards unable to take her eyes off of the scene she had found in the living room. It looked like a murder scene ffrom a TV show, only… there were no bodies, there was no blood, there was no sign of even a struggle. There were just clothes- clothes that were neatly laid out in such a way that it appeared their owners had… evaporated.
Sara found the doorknob and ran out of the strange apartment. Looking around for anything familiar that might give her an indication of where she was, Sara failed to notice at first that the street and sidewalk around her was littered in more body-less clothes. Then, she saw them. And just as her panic began to choke her, she saw a bright teal halter-top. Slowly walking over to the familiar top laying on the sidewalk along with a pair of white skinny jeans and size 11 silver flats, Sara recognized the Laura’s outfit from the previous night a split second before everything went dark.
“Sara? Saaarrra!!! Can you hear me?”
Fluttering her eyelids open, it took several seconds before Sara recognized the hovering shapes above her as the face of-
“Laura!” Sara screamed as she grabbed her friend in a desperate hug.
“Are you ok, chick-a-dee? You had us all a little scared there,” Laura looked authentically concerned. “We?” Sara managed to squeak. Then Sara noticed the two vaguely familiar guys standing behind Laura in nothing but their boxers. “Come on honey, let’s get you back inside,” Laura said as she helped Sara to her feet.
“I don’t understand. I thought… I thought it had come true! That the rapture had happened and everyone had been taken away. And then I saw your clothes on the sidewalk, and I guess I just lost it,” feeling a little sheepish but still very confused by the situation, Sara allowed her friend to guide her back inside the strange apartment and handed her a glass of juice.
“Don’t you remember last night?” Laura asked and seeing that her friend obviously didn’t rememer, she stifled a giggle. “I’m sorry, I know you’re upset, but let me try to explain. We met up with the guys, you remember Doug and Scott?” Laura pointed at the two hovering male figures and they gave a little wave at their names. “Well anyway, we all came back here to Scott’s place and were watching Monty Python’s Holy Grail and we thought how funny would it be to lay out all our clothes like we had been zapped up to the mother ship, ya know? Prank some of the old farts that live around here, in good fun of course. So we practiced laying them out in the living room, then we took a bunch of the guy’s old clothes and my clothes from last night and layed them out around the apartment. I guess you must have passed out in Doug’s room before we talked about it. Oh honey, I am soooo sorry!” Laura wrapped Sara in a giant bear hug.
Feeling like a complete idiot at this point, Sara was at a loss on how to respond and still maintain a shred of dignity. “Well, I’ll be a SO’B,” she said in her best country twang, “Don’t I feel like a horses’ pa-toot. Guess the only thing I can do now is find The Ahab and tuck tail home,” she plastered a fake grin on her face and took another sip of her juice. Everyone exchanged glances and within seconds were all bursting in laughter, including Sara. Over breakfast at the Waffle House a few minutes later, the others filled Sara in on the details of the night just as the waitress politely interrupted, “Honey, you need coffee?”. Sara grinned as she pulled out The Ahab and placed it in front of her, “Yes ma’am, fill er up”.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Shout out goes to Sara O’Brien for her fantabulous idea of the ‘end of times’ happy hour in reference to tonight, the eve of what many a billboard has heralded as “JUDGMENT DAY!”. So thanks Sara, hope you liked it! And Happy Rapture Eve everyone!
TWO: In keeping with the time, I have a confession- I am a serious thrift store nerd. Partly out of necessity, partly out of the enjoyment I get from discovering forgotten treasures, I can usually be found in one of the area thrift stores just about every week. And last week, I might have found the holy grail of thrift store randomness. The Ahab. Is this not the definition of awesome? I found it at a Goodwill and it HAD to be mine.
I’m pretty sure it’s handmade, as I peeled off the dingy rubber pad that was on the base to reveal a date and a signature, if only the first name (see pic below). What possesses someone to craft such a thing? My mind is still having trouble containing all the questions I would ask, were I to chance upon the artist. This piece of rad-ness now resides in my office, where it will remain until I can come up with an appropriate use for such as vessel. This mug/planter was meant for greatness, and greatness it will have.
Hope to see everyone tomorrow… ;o)
Love & Squirrels.