Tag Archives: short story

Ned Goes To the Airport In Lagos, Nigeria

In the 1950’s oil was discovered in what is now Nigeria.  By the 1970’s Lagos was a sprawling megalopolis, and it seemed that every citizen of Lagos owned a car. But the roadways and infrastructure remained those of the African village it had been before  the oil boom.

My friend Ned Seelye had completed a business transaction in Lagos, and had booked a flight to his next destination.  As he settled his bill, the hotel attendant advised Ned to give himself plenty of time to get to the airport.

With what he thought was an excess of caution, Ned climbed in a taxi at 8 a.m. for a trip across town..  Ned and his taxi were caught in Lagos traffic for more than eight hours, and he missed his  5 p.m. flight.  True story.

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Saving the Enchantment

“There are strange things done “
in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold.”
Robert Service, “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”

The men who moiled for gold back in Robert Service’s Yukon Territory were hardworking,
straight forward fellows. They prospected. If they found a vein, they staked a
claim and mined it. On the other hand, the men who wanted to turn The Enchantment
into a strip mall were insidious and devious. Thanks to Ribby von Simeon and the
Vigilance Corps, they failed.
The Enchantment is a dingy roadhouse on the outskirts of Letongaloosa. It’s the
kind of place every college town needs to maintain academic accreditation. I go to
the Enchantment to have a soft drink and chat with friends—some of whom live here
and some, like my robot alien friend KB 11.2, live a long, long way from here.
Letongaloosa has grown a lot lately, and Letongaloosa Community Junior
College, has more students than ever before. You used to know that the college was
not in session because there was a lot less traffic. Back then folks were a bit
embarrassed by the Enchantment and were glad it was a long way out of town.
Nowadays people think the Enchantment is quaint. And it seems closer to town now
that every square inch of land in the county is plotted, platted and spoken for.
Tad Tedwell was elected sheriff of Kigame County after the Vigilance Corps
helped him defeat Buck Johnson’s campaign for a fourth term. The Vigilance Corps
came about because Tad worked the overnight shift and because he liked breakfast.
When Tad came off his shift he’d eat breakfast at three or four locally owned cafes
every day. In any given week he’d have visited just about every café in town. He met
and talked to the same old guys in the same cafes day after day.
After he decided to run for sheriff he realized what a valuable resource his
coffee buddies could be. Most of them were veterans and most were members of
fraternal organizations.
So Tad organized a club and concocted bylaws. He even invented secret
handshakes and passwords. He called it the Vigilance Corps. He organized his coffee drinking pals into autonomous cells based on the cafes they frequented in the morning.
He prepared “dead drops,” where they could leave their reports. Tad did everything
but provide those guys with Green Hornet secret decoder rings.
It was Vigilance Corps member Maximo Perez who dealt the first serious blow to
Buck Johnson’s campaign. Maximo had retired from the county registrar of deeds
office. He poked around and found some highly suspect paper work on Buck Johnson’s
ranch and suburban properties. He put that information in a Vigilance Corps dead
drop. Tad used that information effectively in the campaign to cook Buck Johnson’s
goose.
Maximo found evidence that developers had used bogus paperwork to illegally
bend, fold and staple the dingy old roadhouse and the parcel of land on which it is
located into their suburban plots and plats. They apparently they want suburbia to
stretch from horizon to horizon. A lot of other folks don’t.
Fortunately, the true owner of the land was Ribby Von Simeon. Ribby inherited
that parcel from his tycoon father Balderdash Von Simeon and he had already used
part of the land to commemorate a cherished voyage on an ocean liner that he and
his mother, the famous actress Sippa Margarita Von Simeon, had taken. Ribby bought
the ocean liner after it was decommissioned. He had the ship hauled here, piece by
piece, and re-assembled on a hillside outside of town. The party Ribby threw for the rechristening
of the ship was the social event of the decade. As they moiled for gold,
the developers figured that their out of town lawyers could bulldoze the deal through.
For them the Enchantment was just a dingy roadhouse, and Ribby was just some guy
who taught horticultural dyontonics at a local community college. But Ribby loves
going to the Enchantment, and when it was threatened he used the Von Simeon
tenacity and the Von Simeon fortune to blast developers and their fancy lawyers out of
the water or, rather, off the land.
-30-

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor and author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the  Forth Dementia available on Amazon.

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Notes To Garrison Keillor

I wrote “Garrison Keillor” in my computer file box and up came eight notes that I sent to Mr. Keillor (one a day for eight days) prior to the Erma Brombeck conference in March 2008,  I don’t think, when I met him in the hotel, I even mentined that, because there was no response from the Keillor office about my letters.

The Secret of Walter Mitty,” and “The Short Happy Life of Frances Macomber,” are on my list of the top ten stories ever written.

Somewhere in the top 100 is my own short story   “Heavenly Spin.”

That’s ego talking.

“…she made him a tomato salad and he ate it and they went up those well worn stairs and the house shook…”

 

Larry Day

Readers can find “Heavenly Spin” in my book of humor columns, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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Drag Street Harlot

 

IMAG-A-SCENE

THE SCENE: A prep school English classroom. The teacher hands a manuscript to a pre-teen student. The teacher speaks:

“While your story, “Drag Street Harlot,” is provocative, Justin, you must realize that it’s derivative.”

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Kaybe’s Trick or Treat©

Hello,

If you are looking for my November column, this is it. Yes, I am celebrating Halloween in November!! Move over Tom Turkey!! I write for The Kaw Valley Senior Monthly and it just so happens that with printing and mailing schedules, this month’s column landed on doorsteps and in inboxes on Halloween!! It was only fitting I write a spook-tacular piece so goofy it lasts ’til Thanksgiving.Enjoy!!

Early one Halloween night I was nursing a soft drink in a back booth at The Enchantment.  That’s a dingy roadhouse north of here. I was on my second bottle of pop when Kaybe rolled up.

KB 11.2 (Kaybe for short) is my alien friend from outer space.  He  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 of his lid.  Kaybe eats drinks and communicates telepathically.

No one at the Enchantment even looks up when Kaybe rolls in.  If fact, some of the patrons, including Harry the Hulk and his diminutive pal Miniature Mike, are also aliens from outer space.   So is the waitress, Four Finger Fanny.

Kaybe gave me a telepathic “hi,” and joined me.

“Kaybe, where’ve you been?” I asked.

“Doing some business in a galaxy far away.”

“Well I’m glad you’re  back.  Let me buy you a drink. Fanny, please bring Kaybe a Sarsaparilla.”

Just then four costumed customers walked in and sat down at a booth near us.  There was a green-faced witch wearing a pointy black hat; a short, potbellied Frankenstein monster with a realistic looking bolt in his neck; a realistic looking Chewbacca, and an aging Princess Leia.

With all three eyes, Kaybe  stared at the newcomers.

“What galaxy are they from?” he asked.

“Those are earthlings,” I said. “It’s Halloween. Those folks are just wearing costumes.”

“Is it some kind of holiday?”  Kaybe  asked.

“Yes.  It used to be called “All Hallows Eve,” and was started to honor the dead.  Nowadays children dress up in costumes and go door to door saying  ‘Trick or Treat’ and hold out sacks.  People give them candy. After people put candy in their sacks, the kids run to the next house.  They go all over the neighborhood gathering sacks full of candy.”

“The folks in that booth over there look pretty old to do trick or treat,” said Kaybe.

“Halloween has evolved, and now adults celebrate Halloween too. They put on costumes and go to parties, or out to bars and restaurants.

“WOW!”  said  Kaybe.  The words appeared  telepathically in capital letters in my head. “That sounds like fun.  I’ve always wanted to go around town and see the sights, but the way I look I’d cause a fuss.  Tonight   I can roll around and no one will think anything about it.”

“Hey guys,”   Kaybe communicated telepathically with Harry the Hulk and Miniature Mike and three strange-looking aliens in the bar. “Let’s go trick or treating.”

“Will you be our guide?”  Kaybe asked.

“Of course.  Parents take their kids trick or treating. The parents stand out on the sidewalk while the kids go up to the doors.”

“You want to go trick or treating, Fanny?”  called Miniature Mike.

“No,” she called back.  “I’m still on duty.  Beside my feet hurt.  But you can take my truck.”  Fanny tossed me the keys.  “It’s the old blue pickup in the back corner of the parking lot.”

I boosted Kaybe into the passenger seat, and the others jumped in the back of the truck.  I drove by a supermarket and picked up trick or treat sacks for everyone.  When we got there, my neighborhood was awash with goblins, ghosts and phantoms.

My alien friends were  shy at first, but Kaybe encouraged them.

“Come on guys. This will be fun.”

At the first house, I stood out on the sidewalk.   Harry the Hulk put Miniature Mike on his shoulders and marched up and rang the bell. Kaybe and the other aliens crowded on the steps behind him.

A woman came to the door.

“Trick or treat,”  said Harry the Hulk.

“Wait just a minute,” said the woman.  “George,” she yelled, You’ve  got to see this. These are the best costumes I’ve seen all night.”   -30-

Dr. Larry Day is a retired foreign correspondent and KU J-School professor. He is now the author of countless short stories and the author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia. http://www.daydreaming.co

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