Tag Archives: daydreaming

Cosmic Prime Time Television

 

 

Here in Letongaloosa, a humid, sweaty July gave way to what

everyone expects to be a humid, sweaty August. We all hope that

August will give way to a sweet September, and that then will come

a glorious new prime time television season.

The other night I asked two of my best friends what they

thought about prime time television, things got weird in a hurry.

That’s not surprising since my two friends were a robot from outer

space, KB11.2, and Biggley Masters, the legendary writer/producer

of prime time network television shows.

The three of us were having soft drinks in a back booth at the

Enchantment, a dingy roadhouse north of here. The Enchantment is

the kind of joint that every college town has to have to maintain its

academic accreditation.

My Alien friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector

Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs

drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball

bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the

ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.

No one at the Enchantment even notices when Kaybe rolls up

to my booth. Half the patrons, including the waitress, Four Finger

Fannie, are aliens themselves.

Biggley Masters is a true television prodigy. At 19 he was lead

writer for a very popular network soap opera. In his mid-twenties he

wrote and produced several award-winning prime time series.

Biggley has principles. He held out against a network executive who

demanded that Biggley compromise a show’s plot so the network

could sell more commercials in that episode.

So there were Kaybe, Biggley Masters and I in a back booth at

the Enchantment discussing the upcoming prime time television

season.

 

“The folks on Hebe, a minor planet in the Andromeda galaxy,

love “Toast of the Town,” and “The Fred Warring Show,” said Kabye.

“Whoa,” said Biggley, who was something of a TV historian.

“Those shows aired in the 1949-1950 prime time season. They were

the first prime time television hits. How can you say that the folks on

Hebe are seeing those shows?”

“FM radio waves and television signals pierce the earth’s

ionosphere and travel through the vacuum of space at the speed of

light,” said Kaybe. The shows from the 1949-50 television seasons are

just now reaching outer space planets like Hebe.”

“So the folks on Hebe must have picked up Marconi’s first radio

signal, the letter “S” (three dots) that he transmitted in 1901,” I said.

“Oh, yes,” said Kaybe. “In fact, the Hebian Supreme Council

met in a special session to discuss a response to earth’s distress

signal. They decided, given time and distance, nothing could be

done.”

“I’ll bet the Hebians will love “M.A.S.H,” when it finally gets

there,” I said.

“Oh, yeh, ‘M.A.S.H. will be a big hit on Hebe,” said Kaybe.

Biggley took a folded paper from his jacket pocket.

“This is the new prime time network schedule,” he said. “Kaybe,

I’ll name a show that is going to be broadcast this fall on U.S.

Network TV. Then you can tell me the name of a show on that will be

airing this fall on some planet in the great Cosmos.”

“Wonderful,” said Kaybe .

“Grey’s Anatomy,” said Biggley. “That’s a long running medical

series on U.S. television.”

“Rick’s Robot Repair Shop,” said Kaybe. “That’s been airing on

the planet Relontov (in the Bode galaxy) for 200 earth years.”

“Criminal Minds,” said Biggley. It’s a cop show.”

“Zap! Crack! Blam!,” said Kaybe. The Marilians LOVE that cop

show.”

“Where is Marilia?” I asked.

“It’s a small planet in the Triangulum Constellation. There’s

been no crime on Marilia for centuries. There are no cops, no jails,

no courts, and no prisons on the planet. The Marilians are

fascinated by the concept of “badness.” But they have to import

their TV crime shows from Gobokovandan, a nearby planet that has

a ton of bad guys.

I finished my soft drink and slipped unnoticed from the booth. Kaybe

and Biggley were engrossed in a discussion of interstellar TV. I told

our waitress, Four Finger Fannie, to put the whole bill on my tab.

-30-

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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“Jump Shot Jim” Says Goodbye

Jim Higgins reminisces as he looks down from the press box high above the court.  He is preparing to broadcast the last play-by-play of his long career as the voice of the Letongaloosa Community Junior College basketball team.  Fittingly, the Leopards are playing the La Mancha Mongrels.
In a game decades ago against the Mongrels, Jim earned the title “Jump Shot Jim.”  In that contest, Jim had launched a desperation shot from midcourt just as the buzzer sounded. The ball swished into the net, breaking a 41-41 tie and giving the Letongaloosa Leopards the game and the conference title.
Higgins has been known as “Jump Shot Jim,” ever since.  His transition from player to broadcaster was seamless.  He received a degree in Duplicative Communicology from LCJC, and landed a job at radio station LCNU- FM.  One night the station manager said:
“Zip down to the gym.  You’re going to do the play-by-play of the Leopard’s game.  Richard Handley’s voice cracked as he was doing the pregame show.  He sounds like Donald Duck.”
Jim zipped down to the gym, clattered up to the press box, and slid behind the microphone just as the announcer began introducing the players.  Jim scanned the names of the players on the other team.  The broadcast went well and Jim became the new voice of the Leopards.
Jim did play-by-play as the team competed for conference titles and in postseason championship games.
One of Jim’s favorite trips was to the Florida Keys. He did play-by-play as the Leopards competed in the Banyan Basketball Invitational.  He loved southern Florida. Now, standing in the Leopards’ press box preparing to broadcast his final game, Jim watches the team warm up and studies the Mongrel’s roster.
It turned out to be a great game.  The lead went back and forth and was tied at the end of regulation play.  In overtime the Leopards came out looking tired and the Mongrels dumped in six unanswered points.  The Leopard’s coach called time out.
As the game resumed disaster struck the Leopards.  Finney Fraser, the high scoring point guard, got hurt driving for a loose ball and had to come out.  Two Leopard players had fouled out. The young sub who came on the floor was playing in his first post-conference game.  Jim ran his finger down the Leopards’ roster looking for the sub’s name, and found it:  Kurt Curtis, walk-on from Letongaloosa High School.
After the huddle and before the referees called the teams back onto the court, young Curt looked up at the press box.  Jim couldn’t figure out why, but he waved and gave the boy a big thumbs up.
As the overtime minutes drained away the Leopards fell behind by four points. They picked up three on a jumper from the right side, and another on a free throw. The game was tied with seconds remaining. The coaches called time out.
The Leopard’s coach told his team to run down the clock and then feed the ball to their high scoring forward who would drive in for a buzzer-beating a lay-up.  The play went perfectly until a high jumping Mongrel defender batted the ball away.  The ball flew to mid court and landed in the hands of the Leopard’s substitute Kurt Curtis.   Jim described the scene to the radio audience as Kurt let fly a jumper  from mid court.
It was a swisher.  All net.  The Leopards won by three at the buzzer.
Jim lingered after everyone had left the triumphant Leopards  arena. As he emerged from the door of the gym, young  Kurt Curtis jumped down from the team bus and ran toward him.
“Sir, I’m  Kurt Curtis.  I’m a Duplicative Communicology major.   When I was a kid my grandpa told me about your shot from mid-court that won the conference title.  I want to be a play-by-play broadcaster.”
“You’ll be great one,” said Jim.  “Everyone is already calling you “Key Shot Kurt.”
-30-
This particular column is near and dear to this ol’ humor writer’s heart. The Kansas House declared April 28th, “Bob Davis Day” in honor of KU’s beloved broadcaster’s , Bob Davis’ recent retirement. Rock Chalk!!

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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A Visit To The Ice Cream Shop

My nephew sent this story to my inbox the other day. It made me chuckle. It just goes to show there is humor in every day life. Enjoy!!

A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlour and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool… After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split.

The waitress asked kindly, ‘Crushed nuts?’
‘No,’ he replied, ‘Arthritis.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

 

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Do You Swear??

As far as I was concerned “yuck” was not a swear word, and I didn’t think that
tearing the label off an empty tin can created indecent exposure, but that was before
my alien friend KB-11.2, filled me in on the finer points of galactic decency.
Kaybe and I were having a soft drink together at The Enchantment, a dingy
roadhouse north of Letongaloosa. The Enchantment is the kind of joint that college towns
like Letongaloosa must have to qualify for academic accreditation.
My alien friend Kaybe isn’t one of those scary bug-eyed, green-skinned beings
that you see in sci-fi movies.. Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set® arms
sprout from the curved sides of his body, and three spindly metal legs drop from the flat
underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet. Three sensoreyes
wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top of his lid.
No one at The Enchantment even raises an eyebrow when Kaybe rolls in and
joins me at one of the back booths. Customers are used to seeing unusual folks around
the place.
One night Kaybe and I were chatting in our favorite booth when Recycle Rick
came in carrying a big black garbage bag.. Rick picks up cans and bottles along the
highway. He starts in town and when he gets to the Enchantment he stops in to sort
everything. Then he mooches a ride back to town.
Rick is meticulous. He takes the items out of the big bag one by one, tidies them
up, and sorts them. Then he puts them into smaller plastic bags. He knows all the recycle
rules and regulations.
On the night in question, Recycle Rick came in and set up shop right across from
Kaybe and me. The first item he pulled from the bag was covered with mud. “Yuck,”
said Rick, and wiped away the mud .
“He shouldn’t swear like that,” said Kaybe.
“Yuck,” isn’t a swear word,” I said.
“It certainly is,” said Kaybe. “The Commission on Foul Communication has
banned that word throughout the galaxy. All it would take is a complaint from an alert
cosmic citizen and that guy’s communication license would be jerked, and he’d face a
seventy thousand mazimba fine.”
“Recycle Rick doesn’t have a communication license,” I said.
“Of course he has a communication license,” said Kaybe. “Everyone in the
galaxy has a communication license. Every word you say goes far beyond these walls.
Your words go out into space. Children on other planets could be listening.”
“So, if I say, @#$%^ and someone turns me in, I can be censured by the Galactic
Commission of Foul Communication?”
“No,” said Kaybe.
“Why not?”
“Because ‘@#$%^’ isn’t a swear word.”
“But ‘yuck’ is?”
“Yes, of course, everyone knows that.”
“I didn’t know that, and Recycle Rick certainly doesn’t. Mild mannered Rick
would never swear.”
Just then Rick pulled out an empty tomato juice can from his bag and began
ripping the label off.
Kaybe rotated away and lowered his antennae with their three sensor-eyes to
the table in a gesture of acute embarrassment.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You saw that,” said Kaybe. “He stripped that tin can bare. It’s indecent. I can’t
look.”
“You can look now,” I said, “he put it in a sack. You’re weird.”
Kaybe raised his antennae from the table and winked at me with one of his three
sensor-eyes.”
“You’re jerking me around,” I said.
“Guilty as charged,” said Kaybe.
“So ‘yuck’ is not a swear word?”
“Not in this galaxy.”
“And there’s no Galactic Commission on Foul Communication?”
“Oh there is, but it doesn’t concern itself with words like ‘yuck.’ The Galactic
Commission on Foul Communication deals with such reprehensible terms as ‘federal
regulator,’ ‘plausible deniability,’ ‘social justice,’ ‘politically expedient solutions,’
‘federally mandated diversity,’ ‘combatant rendition,’ ‘enhanced interrogation
techniques,’ and the like.”
“People on Earth use those terms all the time and the Galactic Commission on
Foul Language has never done anything about it,” I said.
“You live on a third-world world,” said Kaybe. “The commission doesn’t waste its
efforts on backward planets like Earth.”
“Lucky for us,” I said.
“If you say so,” said Kaybe.”

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Eloise & the Dark Stranger ©

 

A slick Basque conman tried to marry Eloise Simpelkins, and take her for millions of dollars, but an old friend from Letongaloosa showed up just in time to save her.
It all happened at an exclusive private club on east 55th Street in New York City. A romantically smitten Eloise Simpelkins was having dinner at the Toure Club with what she thought was a handsome Spaniard . He called himself the Marques de San Selmo. His real name was Zigor Ordoki, the slickest con artist the Pyrenees had ever produced.
Eloise Simpelkins, is founder and chief executive officer of a highly successful home cleaning enterprise, and until she fell for the phony marques, was a very level headed woman.
Eloise was born in Letongaloosa on the wrong side of the tracks. She spent the early years of her life cleaning houses in La Mancha, the posh section of town. She was as plain in speech and looks as the phony marques was handsome and eloquent. As an entrepreneur she had turned an astute observation about the fastidiousness of upper middle class women into a highly successful cleaning business.
A friend introduced Eloise to the phony Marques at a charity ball. As they danced, the hard-headed entrepreneur who had never had time for romance, melted like a marshmallow. The phony Marques had pursued a number of wealthy single women. He chose Eloise because she looked to him like the richest and the dumbest.

Now, it was show time, and as they sat after dinner in the Toure Club, the Marques was ready to spring the trap.
“My darling Ale-low-eez, I have fallen madly in love with you. Will you do me the honor of being…” At that moment his elaborately planned marriage scheme was interrupted. A tall long-faced man with big ears and a loopy smile called out to Eloise from across the quiet dining room.
“Eloise Simpelkins, is that you?,” The man was Blair Trimert , a dear friend from Letongaloosa. Blair stood and threaded his way to Eloise’s table.
“Blair Trimert!” cried Eloise, “why it’s been years.” They embraced.
Eloise and Blair were children together in Letongaloosa. After they grew up Eloise made made a fortune in business, and Blair inherited a fortune from the Basque parents who had adopted him as a baby.
Blair spoke fluent Basque.
“Please join us,” said Eloise, for whom courtesy was an inbred quality. She introduced the Marques as a dear, dear friend from Spain. Blair guessed the rest of the story from her eyes and voice tones. The Marques masked his frustration with a practiced smile, but his eyes were cold as flint.
A waiter arrived and they ordered after dinner drinks. As Eloise and Blair were catching up on each other’s lives, the Marques’s cell phone rang. He took it out.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I have to take this.” He stood and turned away from the table.
“Yes,” he said in English. Then the Marques spoke again in Basque.
“Ez dago arau bat izan da.” (“There’s a slight complication”).
He listened and then said “Relax. Ez dut hau ergelak uso behatzak bidez irrist utz du. Bakarrik hartuko du ogun bat, hor, da dena. Gogora tu oraigdik dirutza bat ogin onderen, hemen duga.”
(Relax. I’m not going to let this stupid little pigeon slip through my fingers. It will take another day, that’s all. Just remember, we’re after a fortune here.”
Blair understood perfectly the words and what they meant. He squeezed Eloise’s hand and whispered, “This guy is speaking Basque. He’s some kind of conman who is trying to get your money.”
Blair grabbed the cell phone from the to the Marques’s hand.
“Zu pukas, langun!,” he growled. (“Your’re busted, Dude!”).
Without another word, the phony Marques fled, knocking people out of his way as he ran from the Toure Club. The police caught up with him a few minutes later.
After that Blair moved back to Letongaloosa, and Eloise, still single, opened five more franchises on the West Coast.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Grant Us ©

Late last spring I was sitting in my office weighing my summer options. My wife Emmaline and I could take a luxury cruise to Tahiti. We could go on a five-star guided tour of Scandinavia. We could rent a cottage at Martha’s Vineyard.
Actually, I wasn’t weighing my summer options, I was daydreaming.
My real options were much more proletarian. I could get a job stocking shelves at the local Wally World, I could get on as a flagman on a county road crew, or I could sell magazines door to door.
It’s like that every summer. From September to May, I teach info-graphic communicology part time at Letongaloosa Community Junior College. Because I teach part time, my paychecks end
when my last class is over. That’s when the prospect of an impecunious summer looms on the horizon like a cloud of Mormon crickets.
As I pondered these realities, the phone rang. It was my boss, the dean of the college, Dr. Ima Farseer. Letongaloosa Community Junior College has two departments: The Department of Technology et. al, and the Department of et. al., et. al.
“Would you like to make some extra money this summer?” asked Dean Farseer.
“Do I have to bump anybody off?” I asked..
“No,” she said. “There may be some grant money available.”
Dr. Farseer explained that last fall Prof. Johan Swifter and Prof. Leo Toliovsky had submitted separate research proposals to the Federal Furtherance of Communicalogy Commission (the FFCC). In January the FFCC informed them that it would fund a joint proposal.
“Where do I come in?” I asked.
The dean said that after nearly five months of effort, professors Toliovsky and Swifter hadn’t come up with a joint proposal.
“The grant submission deadline was looming like a cloud of Mormon Crickets,” she said. “I want you to work with them. If you succeed in getting them to submit a joint proposal before the
FFCC deadline, I’ll pay you $500 out of the 35 percent overhead that the college collects on all funded research.”
“Wow,” I said. “That’s more than I made all last summer working at Wally World. How big is the grant?”
“Eight thousand dollars,” she said.
“That’s big money,” I said.
“Right,” she said, “The overhead on that grant would be the equivalent to the entire discretionary budget of the college for an entire year. That’s why it’s so important. Will you do it?”
“I’d love to,” I said.
I decided to take on Prof. Leo Toliovsky first. He was the senior professor —by two weeks.
Toliovsky and Swifter both joined the faculty the year Letongaloosa Community Junior College was founded. Toliovsky teaches The Theory of Fictitious Creativeness in the department of et. al.,et. al.. He is a prolific fiction writer and poet. One of my students told me that Prof. Toliovsky has received more rejection slips than any other writer in America.
Prof Toliovsky is a tall man with a shock of white Carl Sandberg hair. His office is pincushion neat.
The icons on his computer screen are symetrically aliened. 3
The “IN” box is precisely aliened with the right rear corner of the otherwise empty desktop. The “OUT” box is similarly aliened on the left rear corner. When I visited him, The IN box was empty. In the OUT box was a neat stack of graded papers. The books on the floor to ceiling shelves are meticulously arranged by size and color, rather than by author, title or subject.
“Dr. Farseer wants me to work with you and Prof. Swifter on your grant proposal,” I said.
“The Dean indicated to me that it was her intention to seek the assistance of a disinterested third party in this endeavor,” he said.
“I just want to help,” I said.
“I sincerely hope that you can,” he said. “There is, I assure you, no animus between Johan and me. We have successfully negotiated ninety-nine percent of the joint project on the telephone and by electronic mail. Nevertheless, when we meet face to face to transact the final few details, our efforts are fruitless. I have no idea why that should the case, but it is.”
“I’ll talk with Prof. Swifter,” I said.
“Such an endeavor would meet with my complete approbation,” said Toliovsky.
Prof. Johann Swifter teaches Theory of Techno-creative Expressionism in the Department of Technology, et. al. The disarray in his office was a monumental. Piles of books, file folders, student papers, and pieces of obsolete computer equipment covered every square inch of the office
floor. Swifter’s desk, which was in the center of all this chaos, was awash with debris. Messages, scrawled on yellow Post-it notes, were sticking on every flat surface. Swifter’s huge computer screen was an unintelligible hodgepodge of icons.
Johan Swifter himself can best be described as Shakespeare’s Falstaff playing Professor Johan Swifter.
“Professor Swifter, I’m…”
“Sit down, sit down,” he roared. “You’re the hired gun from the dean’s office.” “You’re well informed,” I said.
“I’m bright too. Bright but slow,” he said.
“I spoke with Prof. Tolivsky just now,” I said. “He told me that you and he agreed months ago on all the major points of the combined grant proposal by email and over the telephone.”
“Right on brother,” said Swifter. “But when we try to work face to face on the final draft, we get nowhere. If we meet in his office, I get goose bumps and hot flashes, and in less than five
minutes, I’m outta there. The same thing happens to him when we meet here in my office. He opens the door, he says “hello,” he sits down, he stands up, he says “goodbye,” and he’s outta here.”
“Have you tried meeting on neutral ground?” I asked.
We’ve tried that several times, but that doesn’t work either,” he said. “We both get heart palpitations and the cold sweats.”
“So you are comfortable here in your office, and Prof. Voliovsky is comfortable in his office, but the never the twain can meet,” I said.
“That about sums it up,” said Swifter.
“I’ve have an idea,” I said. “I’ll work on it and get back to you both,”
“Good luck, man,” he said.
I went back to my office and picked up the telephone.
“This is a job for super geek,” I said, and I dialed my old friend Dr. Henry Mullins, the brilliant research engineer at Middledorf University out in California.
“How are you Henry,” I asked.
“I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest,” he said. “How the hell are you?”
“I’m well, thank you, but I need your help. When I visited you last spring, you showed me a virtual reality gizmo you had just invented. Can I borrow it?”
“Shore thing,” he said, “What ‘dya wanna do, make yer wife think she’s havin’ a vacation in Tahiti?”
“I might do that later, but first I have to make a couple of professors think they’re sitting in their own offices when they’re really sitting side by side in my office.”
“It’ll be a lead pipe cinch with that gizmo,” said Henry. “I’ll overnight it to you.”
And the rest, as the man said, is history. Right now, I’m enjoying my five hundred dollars, and Emmaline is enjoying being on vacation in Tahiti, virtually.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Star Eater

Albert Einstein thought that a black hole—

A collapsed star so dense that even light

Could not escape its thrall—was too

Preposterous a notion to be real.

Einstein was wrong.

Michael Finkel, “The Truth about Black Holes,” National Geographic Magazine, March, 2014, page 88.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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March ©

 

With rain a-drizzle down my neck

And puddlied mued to trap me;

With cloud-strewen sun a distal speck

And wind-borne sleet to tap me

I think of flowered distant lands,

But not with poignant yearning

For I see birds all wining north,

Delighted with returning.

A crocus shows her golden head

I hear a robin sin;

While pussy-willows softly tread

March introduces Spring.

Reflections, poems by Edna Hickman Day, Topeka, Palindrome Press, 1972, page 79

 

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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The Cosmic House Slippers©

 

I was disconsolate as I nursed a soft drink in a back booth of

The Enchantment. That’s a dingy roadhouse on the outskirts of

Letongaloosa. Every college town needs a joint like the

Enchantment to maintain its academic accreditation. The

Enchantment is where I go to have a soft drink and relax. On that

night I had gone to The Enchantment to brood. I had goofed up,

and I was feeling low. Then, happily, my robot friend Kaybe rolled up

to my booth.

Do you believe in aliens from outer space? I do. I’ve been friends

with one for decades. KB-11.2 doesn’t have green skin and luminous

eyes like the aliens one sees in sci-fi movies. Kaybe looks like a giant

tuna fish can.

Erector Set® arms sprout from the curving sides of his body,

and three spindly metal legs drop down from the underside of his flat

stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet. A floppy

two-foot antenna, with three sensor-eyes, stick out of the middle of

his lid. Kaybe comes from the Alpha Centauri star system. Many

years ago on a visit to Earth, Kaybe saved my marriage. Now here

he was again to cheer me up.

My wife Emmaline and I had taken a vacation to Northwest

Florida where we used to live. We had spent a lovely week at a

hotel in a room overlooking the beach. On the last day as we

packed and got ready to leave for the airport, I realized I hadn’t

packed my house slippers.

But there was not a smidgen of room in any of our luggage.

These house slippers were brown suede. And they were OLD. The

rubber sole of the right one was flapping, and the tops of both were

heavily spotted with toothpaste. So I stuffed them into an already

loaded trash basket, and walked out the door.

I felt a pang of regret immediately. I had worn those house

slippers forever. They were with us on our trips to the Smoky

Mountains, and with me on my journalistic assignments to Central

America and the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. Yet now I

had callously left them in a trash basket in a tourist hotel room far

from home. It wasn’t right.

Emmaline, practical and logical, said it was long past time to

get rid of those house slippers.

“The sole of the right one was coming off, and they were filthy,”

she said. “Filthy,” is a relative term with Emmaline. The word covers

everything from something that is undeniably dirty, to a tiny spot on

an otherwise pristine necktie.

Emmaline was right, of course. It was past time for the slippers

to go. But I loved them. And I was born in the year of the Dog. In

Chinese astrology, people who are born in the year of the dog are

innately loyal to their belongings. Even, apparently, a pair of worn

out house slippers.

As the plane took off, I thought how those dear old house

slippers would soon be lying under a heap of trash in some

malodorous landfill.

I continued to brood even after we had unpacked our

suitcases and put them back in the closet, and I had picked up the

mail that the Post Office had held for us.

“You need to go to The Enchantment,” said Emmaline. “Go

have a soft drink and get this out of your system.” That’s where I

was when Kaybe, my alien robot friend, rolled up to my booth.

Kaybe communicates and takes nourishment telepathically,

and he’s highly intuitive. Kaybe ordered a nonalcoholic beer from

the waitress, Four Finger Fannie, who is also an alien. I watched the

brew disappear from the mug without Kaybe ever having touched

it.

His words filtered into my mind, “You loved them, right?”

“Dearly,” I said. “They didn’t deserve to be abandoned like

that.”

“Then be of good cheer. Your house slippers are safe and well,”

said Kaybe. “I pulled them from the landfill, and I flung them into

space. Your dear slippers will sail happily through the galaxies

forever. Now go home and get some sleep.”

I tried. I really did. I said goodbye to the patrons at The

Enchantment, walked out and drove back into Letongaloosa.

Emmaline was asleep when I got home. I undressed in the walk-in

closet off the master bedroom and put on my pajamas. Then I

automatically tried to slide my feet into my dear old house slippers.

Duh! How dumb was that? I just walked back out to the living room

and collapsed on the sofa.

“I’ve got to get those back from outer space,” I said to

myself. It was late, but I got in the car and headed back to The

Enchantment.

Kaybe was there. He felt bad when he saw how glum I

looked, and few days later Kaybe located and retrieved my house

slippers from a Florida land fill and brought them back to

Letongaloosa. Bless him!

But I still had a problem. For Emmaline, those ratty house

slippers were objets non grata. What could I do with the sorrylooking

things?

Then I had a burst of inspiration. I would have my house slippers

near at hand without ticking Emmaline off.

Emmaline wanted me to toss the house slippers because they

were old and ratty looking. I had a plan to transform them. The idea

had come to me after Emmaline and I attended a baby’s first

birthday party and saw one of the gifts.

I transformed my ratty old house slippers from objects of scorn

to objets d’art. And now the dear old things occupy a prominent

place on my office shelf—as bronzed bookends.

-30-

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Havana Rebound ©

Travel to Cuba is off limits to U.S. citizens. The United States put an economic embargo on Cuba back when U.S. cars had giant fins  and candy bars cost a nickel. The embargo is still in effect.  You can’t go to Cuba without a license.

Prof. Zimmy Tarbox, a professor of entomobugology at Letongaloosa Community Junior College where I teach, got a license from the U.S. government to give a paper at  an annual Bugological Symposium in Havana. Zimmy  avoided all the government rigmarole by bamboozling a bureaucrat in the government licensing office. He got his license to travel to Cuba in less than 24 hours.  Two days later he was sitting at a sidewalk café on the Malecon sipping Perrier water. The Malecon is a boulevard that swings along Havana’s sea wall near the city’s colonial center.

“Well if it isn’t the infamous cockroach enthusiast,” said a melodious woman’s  voice from behind him.  Without turning Zimmy Tarbox said, “Kate Billingsly, England’s  premier pond scum skimmer, I had a feeling you’d be here.”  The two bug scientists had been friends since graduate school.  Now, in Havana,  they shook hands and Kate Billingsly sat down.

“Where are you staying?” she asked.

“I’m at the Hotel Havana Libre.”

“Me too,” she said.

Zimmy  signaled the waiter, and said “Let’s take a walk,”

The two strolled down a sidewalk along the sea wall. Bicycle riders and bike rickshaws rolled passed them on the Malecon.  Lovers  hugged and kissed on top of the five foot  wall. Dozens of other people stood at the wall casting fishing lines into the bay.  The two chatted  about Billingsly’s world renowned research on water skeeters and  Tarbox’s groundbreaking work on cockroach larvae.  Both were scheduled to present research papers  at the conference.

As the two stood at a curb, a bicyclist sped up, braked to a stop, and thrust a folded newspaper into Zimmy’s hand, then sped away.

“What was that about?” asked Kate.

Zimmy unfolded the tabloid newspaper—that day’s edition of Granma, the mouthpiece of the Cuban Communist Party. A message was printed on the front page in large block letters with black magic marker:   It said “Back  booth, Hotel Libre bar 5  p.m. Both of you.”

Kate and Zimmy looked at each other.

“Looks like CIA” said Kate.

“Or MI-6” said Zimmy.

At five p.m. Kate and Zimmy were sitting side by side in a back booth in the darkened bar behind the lobby of the Hotel Havana Libre.  A few minutes passed, then  two shadowy figures slid into the booth across the table from them.

The two wore buttoned up beige  trench coats, but the woman had on a haut couture turquoise wide brim Preakness hat that was definitely not  spy code dress of the day, and the man wore a black GG fabric baseball cap with black leather trim.  The hat definitely  put him outside  the spook uniform  dress code..

The man spoke intensely  to Kate in  an English accent.   “Your paper on water skippers breaches British national security.  We have purged it from your laptop. We’ve installed  an acceptable version of the paper in its place. You’ll  present that version. This conversation never happened.”

The man pulled down the brim of his baseball cap,  slid out of the booth and walked away.

The woman pulled her wide brim of her  Preakness hat  down and leaned across the table toward Zimmy.  She hissed: “The Castro government is dying to get the data in your  cockroach study.  The U.S. Department of What’s Good for America has designated your paper top secret.  You can’t present the paper, in fact you can’t ever read it again.  We’ve installed a new version on your computer. Give that.”

The woman slid out of the booth and disappeared.

Kate and Zimmy looked at each other.

“Same old same old,” said Kate, and shook her head.

“Yeh, just like the Mogadishu  conference last year,” said Zimmy.

“I assume you have a back-up  version of your paper  saved on a secret memory stick,” said Zimmy.

“That I have,” said Kate.

“Me too,” said Zimmy.

:They never check,” he said

“I know,” she said.

They slid out of the booth and Zimmy leaned down and kissed Kate  on the cheek.           “Good luck with your presentation,” he said.

“You too,” she said.

“See you next year in New Delhi.”

“Right,” he said.                                     -30-

 

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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