Tag Archives: comics

Do You Do the Jumble?©

 

 

Years ago I wrote a column titled “Code Blur.”  That story revolved around a World War II decoding device that I saw on display as “relics of technology,” at a local department store. As the story evolved, the feds thought I was involved in some  espionage plot. I had a  dicey time before it all got straightened out.

Welcome to déjà vu all over again

Emmaline and I have a mid-morning routine.  We sit in the living room and read the local newspaper.  Once we’ve noted the condition of the nation, the state and the community, we read the comics.  Sometimes we wonder which individuals are the comic strip characters and which are  our leaders, who are acting like comic strip characters.

Then we turn to the puzzle page and work on the word puzzle. That’s a grid with vertical and horizontal numbered boxes.  Printed opposite each box is a set of scrambled letters that spell

the answer to the clue if you put them in the right order.

Most days between us, Emmaline and I solve the puzzle without help.  Sometimes though, there’s a weird clue.  After we have tried the combinations of letters, I trudge upstairs to the computer  to try to unscramble the letters.  I type in the random letters from the puzzle trying to figure out a pattern.

There’s nothing sinister about that, right?  Wrong!  The other day while we were working on the puzzle, two black SUVs drove up in front of our house. The first SUV drove into the driveway. The other one blocked the driveway at the curb.  Four suits got out of the SUV in the driveway, and came to the door.

“Federal agents.  Open the door.”

I opened the door and they poured in.

“What’s this about?”

“We’ll ask the questions,” said the shortest suit—a bald guy with horned rim glasses.

“Show me some identification first.” I said.

Agent Horned Rimmed flashed an ID.

“Who are you?”

“We’re from the Department of Electronic Citizen Surveillance.  Our algorithm devices have detected coded messages coming from your computer.”

“I type random letters on a search engine looking for clues to the Jumble Puzzles in the newspaper,”

Agent Horned Rimmed ignored my answer and said, “Do you deny communicating with an alien who uses the code name KB 11.2?”

“KB 11.2?  “Kaybe,” are you kidding? Kaybe is the alien robot character I created for my monthly humor column?”

“There’s nothing humorous about espionage,”  said Agent Horned Rimmed. “Or aliens, either, for that matter.”

“”But Kaybe is fiction.  He’s a character in my book,” I said.  “Show them, Emmaline.”

“Don’t move,” said the tall suit standing behind Emmaline.

“I just want to show you the book,” said Emmaline.  It’s right here.”

Agent Horned Rimmed made a quick lateral move with his head, and said, “Get it.”

Emmaline crossed the living room and picked up my little book, Day Dreaming. She opened the book to a story titled “I Speak Alien,” and handed the book to Agent Tall Suit.  Agent Tall Suit leafed through the story, grimaced, and handed the book to Agent Horned Rimmed.

“It’s a humor book, Deke,” he said.

Emmaline handed Agent Tall Suit a page from the local newspaper.

“Here is the puzzle those words came from,” she said.  You can see that the letters in the grid match the written clues.  You solve the puzzle by putting the right words in the grid horizontally and vertically.  Sometimes we get stumped, so my husband types the letters into an Internet search engine to see  if it will unscramble them.”

Outside, the neighbors were beginning to gather in their front yards.  They were staring at the guys standing around the SUV that was blocking the driveway.

“It’s another surveillance network screw-up, Deke,” said Tall Agent.

“@#$%^&*,” said Deke. Then Deke gave his trademark lateral move of the head and the suits melted out through front door.

As they were running, one of them yelled,  “wrong address!”

Then they jumped into their SUVs  and sped away.

“Who were those unmasked men?” asked Emmaline.

-30-

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. His book,  Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available on Amazon.

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A Day Late, A Dollar Short

Hello, All!!

I’ve pulled a story from my archives called, “A Day Late & A Dollar Short” & it written in  2011. It one of my favorites. I hope you like it, too!!

They were married in the Manti, Utah in December 1960.

Today, and for the last fifty years, it’s been the same—he’s been a day late and a dollar short.   But she loves him anyway.  She loved him back then, and she loves him now. She loves him with a knowing sufferance that is sometimes masked by sharp tones. She loves him with a tenderness that reveals itself through a quick squeeze of his hand as they sit side by side on the worn couch in the loft, watching a rerun of some syndicated TV program.

One morning a month ago, they were in the bedroom. She was sitting on the bed, two pillows propped behind her back. Ginger, the dachshund snuggled under the coverlet beside her.  He was on all fours on the floor on the far side of the bed.  She was reading the sports page. He was reading the main section of the local daily.

The bedroom TV, a relic of the analog age, flickered in silence.  Then, as Regis and Kelly walked onto the set, she reached for the remote, and there was sound.    Minutes passed.

“Regis and Kelly are sponsoring a love story contest,” she said.

“Uh,” he said.  He was reading the funnies.

“You’re a writer.  Why don’t you send our love story to Regis and Kelly?  The deadline is January 21st.” she said.

“Huh?” he said, absorbed in the intricacies of “Pickles.”

“You should write our love story, and win us a trip.”

“Oh.  Okay.”

As the days went by she reminded him a couple of times.

“Did you write our love story for Regis and Kelly?”

“Not yet, but I will.”

“No you won’t.”

“Yes I will.”

January 21, 2011, 10 p.m.

“Did you write our love story?”

“I’ll write it tomorrow.”

And he did, but he was a day late and a dollar short.

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor, & humor columnist and author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia, a collection of short stories that have NOTHING to do with old age!!

 

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Pop Culture

 

“Pop”means popular and “culture” means all the stuff you spend your hard-earned allowance on, like movies, books, comics, video games, roller coasters, and other fun stuff.”

James Buckley, Jr. and Robert Stemme, Scholastic Book of Lists, Scholastic Reference, an imprint of Scholastic. Santa Barbara, CA., 2006, page 203.

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