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Day #161: Too Tired to Think of a Title

The Story:

Four or five “We’ll need a few more minutes, sorry”.

One hastily ordered entrée, I’ll have the eh, uh… steak thingy… yeah that one (turned out to be pretty dang tasty).

Three glasses of pinot grigio sipped slowly- drained a good deal earlier than the conversation.

One waitress who performed an impressive disappearing act around hour two.

At least three “hold that thought, I gotta pee”.

Eight or more stories that began with “So what ever happened to…?”

An entire childhood, two in fact, to reminisce about.

12 years too long between chats.

      days until our next get together?

Dear Jess, please don't hate me for dusting these off... mkay thanks.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Sorry guys, but I’m gonna make this one short and sweet since the majority of my energy has been devoted to a long awaited reunion with a high school friend that I haven’t seen… well, since high school. Since the days we used to be inseparable, since the days we played in her parents game room, talked about boys till we couldn’t think of anything else to say, the days where we learned about Biggie Smalls being shot down and we went to my first concert (The Wallflowers, thank you very much). It was awesome catching up with her, I mean we basically lived at each other’s houses, and talking about all those people from the past that made up our world when we were 15 -18 years old. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about and unfortunately, due to adult (gag me with a pitchfork) responsibilities had to cut short (after only three hours, can you believe it?!?). Anywho, I hope this is the first of many reunions, and Jess- see you soon?

Ah... such innocence, such youth...

Love & Squirrels.

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Day #78: Cecil Pauses

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The Story:

“…no way! The clucking lion is way funnier than the clucking cat!…. uh… Danny?” Cecil looked around and for maybe the ten-thousandth time in his life, and he knew… he had done it again. “Crap,” he sighed and kicked at the dirt in the corner of the dugout. Checking the vacant baseball pitch, more out of habit than anything else, he picked up his water bottle and walked slowly to his car. Danny, and the rest of the kickball team had probably left the field hours ago. Noticing something on his t-shirt, Cecil saw that a note had been pinned a little below his collar, “When you snap outta it, come meet us for a brew at Pub and Grub. We’ll be waiting!  -Danny & the rest of the gang”. Smiling, Cecil crumpled up the note and thought, “Well, at least it sounds like we won!” and headed towards the bar.

It was not the first time Cecil had found himself in this kind of situation. Far from it, I’m afraid. It first started following a car accident Cecil and his sister were in on the way home from high school. Cecil had taken a pretty had thump to the noggin but the doctors couldn’t seem to find any damage and sent him home with a clean bill of health, barring a few minor abrasions. But, the next day as he was getting ready for school, Cecil was struck almost completely catatonic just as he was spitting out his toothpaste. Imagine, if you can, Cecil’s poor mother coming upon her son in such a manner, rigid and unresponsive, toothpaste dribbling from his still open mouth; why, it almost left the women catatonic herself!

When the emergency crew arrived 10 minutes later, they found Cecil in the exact same manner, although the toothpaste had dried and now looked like someone had had some fun with chalk all over Cecil’s lower face. Attempting to load him into the ambulance without causing injury to Cecil’s rigid appendages proved quite difficult. Scratching his head in frustration, one nimble-minded medic finally suggested they give the boy a sedative to relax his muscles, at which point Cecil burst to life.

“…I think slap bracelets are definitely gonna come back, it’s only a matter of time,” completely reanimated, Cecil seemed to be in the middle of a conversation with someone before he took stock of his surroundings and realized something was amiss. About 100 probing questions later, the response team decided he was not in need of transport and left with stern instructions for Cecil’s mother to get the boy to a doctor as soon as possible. Scared out of her wits by the incident, she was on the phone within the hour and had scheduled an appointment for Cecil later that afternoon.

Later, on the car ride to the doctor’s office, Cecil stared out the window and wondered what had happened to him. “Cecil,” his mom timidly looked over at her son in concern, “what was it you were saying when you woke up? Do you remember?” Cecil looked down at his hands and tried to make his response make sense (which was difficult since it still didn’t really make a lot of sense to him), “It’s hard to explain, mom. I remember what I said but I don’t know who I thought I was talking to, or if I even thought I was talking to anyone specifically. All I know is that it wasn’t anything like a dream, it felt real, the conversation made sense… that is until I woke up, or whatever you wanna call it,” he looked out the window again.

Fast forward through dozens of doctors, over seven specialists and neurologists, hundreds of tests, biopsies, and blood lettings and no one was any closer to understanding what was the cause of Cecil’s mysterious ‘pauses in time’ or the bizarre conversations he inevitably held for the few seconds after returning to the waking world. There was no rhyme or reason to them, and they struck Cecil at random intervals, making it very difficult for the teenager to live a normal life. After several ‘pauses’ during tests, team sports or trips to the men’s room (and the subsequent harassment he received from the other kids) Cecil’s mom yanked him out of public school and Cecil was home-schooleld for the remainder of his junior and senior years of high school.

Over time, he learned to cope with his illness, or Cecil pauses as they were now known in the medical world, and he became a relatively well-adjusted adult, working from home as a graphic designer and even joining a recreational kickball league (much to his mother’s chagrin). Still, the Cecil pauses continued to dot his life, as did the seemingly random, one-sided conversations.

Arriving at the Pub and Grub, Cecil searched the dimly lit bar for his group of friends. Spotting them in a back booth, Cecil headed their way and slid into the booth, “Hey, guys. How’d we do?” Cecil’s teammates proceeded to run through the highlights of the game, each detail a little more exaggerated than the last. Danny, noticing their waitress nearby and called to her so Cecil could order a drink. After a few more calls that went unanswered, Danny turned to Cecil to make a disparaging remark about the shoddy service but Cecil had again succumbed to a Cecil pause and was as unresponsive as the waitress. Danny gave an exacerbated chuckle and pointing to Cecil and their waitress said, “I think these two are a match made in heaven!”

“…ooo, that’s a hard one… OK, if I had to pick…I guess it would have to be… bacon, yeah, definitely bacon.  What about you, what’s your favorite indulgence?”

“No question, not even going to hesitate, Malt Balls. I love those things, have ever since my mom said I couldn’t have them at the movies cause my teeth would rot out. I have at least three stashes of Malt balls at home… and one in my locker here at work. Ok, now I want to try something. At the count of three we both yell out our favorite ninja turtle, sound good?”

“Yep… let’s do it.”

“OK, ONE. TWO. THREE!”

“Raphael!” Cecil yelled before realizing he was back in the booth surrounded by his kickball team.

“Whoa… that was really weird,” Danny said but he wasn’t looking at Cecil, he was looking over his shoulder.

“What? Come on, dude. If you’re not used to my pauses by now, then maybe there’s something wrong with you!” Cecil elbowed his friend good naturedly.

“No, man. That’s not what I meant. You and our waitress just yelled out Raphael at the exact same time… it was like, spooky,” Danny was still staring at the waitress who looked like she was shaking off a bad hangover. “Seriously, Cecil, it was weird… one minute she is frozen, kinda like you get, I couldn’t even get her attention and when someone bumped into her she didn’t move a muscle. Then you both scream out the same random ass word? Creepy…” Danny looked like he was recounting a ghost story.

“That is a little strange, but I’m sure it’s nothing. Just to satisfy your curiosity though, I’ll go and say ‘hi’,” Cecil slid out of the booth and walked towards the waitress.

“Um, hi… I was wondering,” Cecil’s eyes grew wide, instantly he felt a bizarre connection with the pretty blonde with slate grey eyes who turned around and met his stare. She looked as if she had seen the mysterious ghost from Danny’s story as she looked up into Cecils’ eyes.

“Your favorite indulgence is bacon,” she said matter-of-factly.

“You have a thing for Malt Balls,” Cecil replied in awe.

“You think the lion is funnier than the cat… but clearly you’re not remembering the commercial right,” she said with a growing grin. “My name is Rose Lively, by the way. And I’m still waiting for the epic slap bracelet comeback you promised…”

“Mark my words… they will make a reappearance. I’m Cecil Greene and thanks for chatting with me for so long… it’s nice to find someone who you can go years without seeing and pick up right where you left off,” Cecil smiled, “so where were we?”.

While the Cadbury Cat is comical... I'm still a bit partial to the lion with bunny ears... BRAAAWCK!

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Today I was thrilled to reconnect with two old friends (as in from the past not elderly) from my high school days. It had literally been years since I’ve seen either of them and we had such a loverly time (at least I believe we did) that we all seemed a bit puzzled as to why we hadn’t thought to meet up sooner. It was one of those reconnections where you don’t miss a beat from where you left off, it felt as if we had never parted and had continued to hang out over the last ten or so years (wow… now I feel old). Anywho, it was so great to see them both and catch up, talk about our big girl lives, make some of the same jokes we were making in high school (they never get old!) and just generally having a grand ol time. The idea of friends picking up where they left off from years ago led me to think about the ultimate ‘reconnection’ which in Sam’s brain equals a guy who suffers from temporary impromptu comas where he has full on conversations with another coma girl that he’s never met. My brain… sheesh, you do not want to come in here!

Yay for reunions!

TWO:    The name Cecil comes from the wizened chap behind the counter at my local Discount Auto Parts store where I stopped by this evening for a few pick-me ups for Tink (my car). He pronounces it with a hard ‘C’ like See-cil and it just had a musical quality that was kind on the ear. So I put it in (that’s what she said!  <– that’s for you Jax & Jessica!)

Love & Squirrels.

Day #1: edgar’s words

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The Story:

They couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

But it was quite obviously a work of genius. It had to be. Everything edgar touched turned to literary gold and his final work would be no exception. Everyone was sure of it. Now if they could only figure out what it meant…

After 65 years of producing masterpiece upon masterpiece, after reshaping the grammatical standards of the English language, (after all, capitalizing one’s name was nothing more than a self-indulgent manifestation used to appear more grandiose than one actually is…surely you agree) edgar now lay dead–  face down in what looked to be two day old pancakes, smothered in canned peaches and what smelled to be some sort of hot sauce.

It was a travesty to be sure, the world had lost its one true voice, but a small glimmer of redemption was soon found in a neat stack next to his writing desk. On chancing upon this discovery, edgar’s editor benita together with his assistant blu, forgot all pretenses of  proper mourning etiquette as they launched themselves at the treasure trove of edgar’s final words. Their joy was soon replaced by uncomfortable confusion, and ultimately to flat out frustration as they sorted through the sixty or so pages.

Each line of each page they found contained no more than a few words. Sometimes the words would make sense, while others hinted at some impenetrable meaning that perhaps mere common folk, such as we, couldn’t possibly hope to understand. To show you what I mean, a sampling of edgar’s swan song can be found below:

Literary authorities from around the world each took their turn attempting to interpret edgar’s final words, and while they all agreed quite unanimously that it was impossibly brilliant, not one of them could bring any real understanding… at least that could be grasped by the rest of us poor sots. No matter; any true work of greatness is expected to outstrip our grasping attempts at definition, the authorities claimed, and therefore the pages must be published immediately and shared with the masses. And so it was.

Heralded as the greatest work ever to grace the page, edgar’s pages, as it was eventually dubbed, sold out worldwide almost immediately. It was soon considered a classic and quickly became a mandatory read for all high school juniors. To this very day, more than 378 years later, it is considered to be the standard to which all other works are measured (and ultimately fall short).

Incidentally, it was soon discovered that edgar was in fact murdered by his cantankerous neighbor who’s squabble with our poor edgar centered around the theft of lemons from the prize tree on his property. Years earlier, when asked about his hankering for swiping the fruit, edgar would merely shrug his boney shoulders, carefully remove his glasses and only after meticulously cleaning them on the cuff of his silken sleeve and securing them once again to the bridge of his beaklike nose would he answer- “I wanted lemonade”.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the follows tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Throughout my day I am required to compose various professional letters, emails invitations etc., and many times the word I want to use evades me. When this happens I have the habit of opening a fresh Word document, typing a synonym of the word I am looking for and launch the thesaurus function to find the word I want. At the end of the work day, as I close down each application on my computer in order to log off for the day, it is not uncommon for me to find this untitled document with an entire series of words that I have looked up that day. I’m fascinated with words and the English language and to my mind this string of random words paired up or sporadically typed on one page ends up looking like poetry (very fragmented poetry, but to me, that’s all the better).

Fun fact, the words used in the story are actually word pairings that I have collected over the years…that’s right, I jot them down and save them. Like I said, I love words. Total nerd.

The actual lemon... looks closer than it is, believe me.

TWO:       Today I decided I wanted to make a batch of fresh lemonade. I have a tasty recipe (found online of course) and was craving a fresh, cool beverage… nothing else would do. Unfortunately, I am low on lemons. Ah, but my neighbor has a lemon tree that is ever so close to my backyard fence. And low and behold, there hanging in yellowy perfection with sunbeams winking off its plump skin is the biggest lemon I’ve seen this side of the Mississippi (don’t you just love sayings like that?). So on go the shoes, and up goes the Sam onto the fence. Of course the lemon is just out of my grasp and as I’m teetering over the edge of a sadly dilapidated fence, I am struck by the absurdity of the situation. Me, now a 30 year old, stealing lemons. For shame! So I gave it up (made a smaller batch, like a good little girl) and decided to write about it instead.

THREE:     The number 378 is a number I kept running across today. Just thought I’d add it.

So, how did I do for my first story? Comments welcome.

Love & Squirrels.