Daily Archives: September 17, 2016

Zomcation – Chapter 5

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Mack had taken his dress uniform out of the dry cleaner’s bag and laid it out on his bed.

He stepped into his pants and zipped them up, then put on his clean white dress shirt. He stared into a mirror as he made sure that he fastened every last button.

Next, he tied his tie and made a perfect knot. He put on his coat and buttoned it, then took a moment to admire the medals pinned to it.

Finally, he put on his beret. The outfit was complete.

The solider inspected himself in the mirror, brushed a bit of lint off of his shoulder, then shouted, “Atten hut!” and snapped to attention.

“Left face!” Mack barked as he snapped his body in perfect time to the left.

“Right face!” was next and Mack quickly snapped to the right.

“Forward!” Mack found himself standing up straight in front of the mirror again. He snapped his right hand up to his temple in a salute then whispered to himself, “At ease.”

The soldier stood there, trembling. He unholstered his service pistol, pressed it up against the side of his head, closed his eyes and clicked off the safety.

His hand shook as he hovered his finger over the trigger. He was thinking about pulling it when he heard a car door slam.

Then he heard some familiar voices.

“Look,” came Abby’s voice from outside. “I don’t need this. You two are going to stop being little monsters for one week and you’re going to have a good time.”

“How can I have a good time now that Tommy is going out with Heather instead of me?” Paige asked. “Hashtag life over.”

“Your life is not hashtag over,” Abby said. “One week at Wombat World and you’ll be saying, ‘Tommy who?’”

“Wombat World is a tool of the man to turn us all into mindless consumers, slowly giving away pieces of our soul to the corrupt and oppressive capitalist state,” Dylan said.

“Maybe,” Abby replied. “But its also fun as all get out so stop complaining. Huh. Weird. Why is Mack’s car here?”

“Shit,” Mack said as he clicked the safety of his pistol on and holstered it.

The soldier shut the door and sat down on the edge of his bed as the voices of his family poured through the house.

“Can’t we just have a nice vacation at home?” Paige asked.

“Yeah,” Dylan said. “I can work on my beatboxing skills.”

“You have no skills,” Abby said. “God, you kids are the worst. When I was your age I would have killed for a trip to Wombat World.”

“When you were our age there was only like three things to do,” Paige said.

Mack lowered his head into his hands and closed his eyes as the voices grew louder.

“That’s not true,” Abby said. “There was at least nine things to do.”

Abby knocked on Mack’s door.

“Mack?”

Mack grunted as his sister creaked the door open. “Are you decent?”

“Yes.”

The door opened all the way. Dylan ran into the room and playfully socked his uncle in the gut. That move would have hurt most people but Mack just shrugged it off.

“Aww sweet, you’ve got your uniform on,” Dylan said. “We gotta play Power Action Ninja Soldier Force.”

“After dinner,” Abby said as she held up a pizza box.

Paige poked her head into Mack’s room. “Unk can you teach me how to drive? Mom can’t handle it.”

“I guess so,” Mack said.

“Thank God,” Paige said as she left. “Hashtag someone knows what they’re doing.”

Abby shook her head in disgust. “Dylan go polish your action power soldiers.”

Dylan instantly corrected his mother. “They’re power action ninja soldiers serving together in a single force.”

“Whatever,” Abby said. “Uncle Mack and I need to talk.”

“OK,” Dylan said as he left the room.

Abby sat down next to her brother and opened up the pizza box to reveal a steaming hot wheel of pepperoni pineapple.

“Some za?” Abby asked.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Mack replied as he took a slice.

Abby took a slice for herself and closed the box. Brother and sister sat there for awhile, silently chewing and avoiding talking to each other.

Finally, Abby gave in. “So, you were supposed to be working until five.”

“Yup,” Mack said.

“I take it another job has bitten the dust?” Abby asked.

“You take it correctly,” Mack said.

“What happened this time?”

“I shared one of my stories,” Mack said.

“Oh,” Abby said. “No wonder.”

“To an eight year old kid,” Mack said.

“Oh God,” Abby said.

Abby pulled a crispy piece of pepperoni off of her slice and ate it. “So to recap…”

“Do we need to recap?” Mack asked.

“To recap,” Abby said. “There was the car wash where an engine backfired and you tackled your boss to the ground because you thought it was an ambush.”

“Right,” Mack said.

“Then there was the job at Price Town, which was going well until you told an old lady which common household items she should stock up on and how to use them to kill intruders,” Abby said.

“In my defense,” Mack said. “She asked.”

“The deli where your co-workers accused you of looking way too happy while you were slicing the ham,” Abby said.

Mac had finished his slice of pizza and started working on the crust. “Trumped up charges if I ever heard them.”

“The club where the patrons accused you of bouncing too hard,” Abby said.

“Had they not started shit they wouldn’t have been bounced at all,” Mac replied.

“And the groundskeeper gig you went way too overboard on,” Abby said.

“Squirrels are no match for C-4,” Mack said.

“You blew up a golf course, dumb ass,” Abby said.

Brother and sister each grabbed a second slice.

“So,” Abby said. “I can’t help but notice that you’re wearing your dress uniform.”

“Just wanted to take it out of mothballs to see if it still fits,” Mack said.

“I’d believe that if it weren’t for the gun on your hip,” Abby said.

“You have to take them out once in awhile and clean them or they get rusty,” Mack said.

“Bullshit,” Abby said. “I’ve seen Scent of a Woman, Mack and I know perfectly well what you were up to.”

“You do?” Mack said as he took a bite of his pizza.

“Yes,” Abby said. “And I think it sucks. These kids love you, you know.”

“I know,” Mack said. “I’m not sure I was even going to do it. Sometimes it just helps to know its an option.

“But…why?” Abby asked. “Why would you even entertain such a thought?”

“This,” Mack said as he looked around the bare room. “This isn’t a man’s life.”

“What?” Abby asked.

“Outside of America there’s a whole world that’s a pile of shit,” Mack said. “People are suffering. My fellow soldiers are dying. I’m not able to do the one thing I’m good at.”

“Are you ever going to tell me what happened?” Abby asked.

“Can’t,” Mack said. “Classified.”

“Come on,” Abby said. “Something embarrassing happened, right? You got drunk and brought a hooker to the base or something?”

“No,” Mack said. “And thanks for thinking so highly of me.”

“Well I don’t know,” Abby said.

“You’re not cleared to know,” Mack replied.

Abby scoffed. “Fine. But you have got to figure out how to make it as a civilian.”

“I can’t,” Mack said. “There’s no one like me in the civilian world that I can relate to. No one has done the things I’ve done, seen the shit I’ve seen. No one at a regular job understands me and I can’t do any security contracting because of the bogus dishonorable discharge, which I assure you, was completely undeserved.”

“And I trust you enough to take your word for it,” Abby said. “And you know you’re welcome to be here for as long as you need to be.”

“Thanks,” Mack said. “But real men pay their own way. Real men have their own homes. Real men…”

“The kids listen to you when you tell them to do something and the house has never been cleaner since you moved in,” Abby said. “That’s payment enough.”

“It’s not enough for me,” Mack said.

Abby stood up and held her hand out.

“What?”

Abby flexed her fingers toward herself.

“A soldier never surrenders his sidearm,” Mack said.

“He does if he wants to keep staying here,” Abby said. “I don’t need the kids coming home to your blown out brains one of these days.”

Mack grimaced then stood up. He popped the bullet out of the chamber, took out the clip, and handed it all to his sister.

Abby reached into Mack’s closet, took out a lock box, and locked the gun and parts inside.

“This stays in my room for awhile until you’ve got it together,” Abby said. “Understood?”

“Understood,” Mack grumbled.

“Good,” Abby said. “Now come hang out with the kids. You’re not going to see them for a whole week.”

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Zomcation – Chapter 4

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Paige was sixteen years old with a mouth full of braces and hair that was best described as “frizz bomb aftermath.” She’d tried shampoo, conditioner, various sprays but nothing could tame her locks. Even though she had her hair pulled back in a pony tail, strand after strand had managed to escape and reach for the sky.

But that, much to her mother’s dismay, didn’t stop her from pursuing a social life.

“O…M…G…” Paige said into her blue tooth headset as she completely ignored the road. “Oh to the M to the friggin’ G, Becky, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Paige,” Abby said from the passenger’s seat as she monitored her daughter/student driver, “You’ve got to watch what you’re doing.”

“And then Bobby said what?” Paige asked. “No! Shut up! He did not. He did? Hashtag classic Bobby.”

Paige’s brother, fourteen-year old Dylan, sat in the back seat. The black hair undernath his backwards ball cap was long and it covered the buds in his ears. The boy loved his music and he lost himself as he repeated the lyrics to a rap song from his favorite artist, the controversial gangster rapper Stank Daddy.

“Bitch,” Dylan rapped. “What makes you think I won’t cut a bitch? Chop yo’ head off, leave yo’ ass lyin’ in a ditch…”

“You know I thought Justin and Laura were acting way too buddy buddy lately,” Paige said to her friend through her blue tooth. “But they’re totes official now? Wow…are we calling them ‘Jaura’ or ‘Lustin?’ Right. Jaura because Lustin would be way too dirty. OMG Jaura is so going to be trending on Lifebox…”

Abby’s stomach did backflips as she noticed a stop sign coming up that her daughter was completely oblivious to.

“Paige…”

“And who is Judy to be even complaining about this?” Paige asked her friend. “She was all like, ‘Justin is so twenty sixteen’ but now that she sees him with another girl she’s all like totes sad hashtag whining like Adele.”

“Paige…”

Dylan was of no help. “Set yo’ ass on fire, bitch, run yo’ ass over with my tires, bitch…”

The stop sign had officially become way too close. “PAIGE!”

“Oh my God!” Paige squawked to her mother, “What?!”

Paige followed her mother’s pointing finger until she too finally saw the stop sign. She jammed on the breaks, knocking Dylan ass over teakettle until he landed on the floor. The car was stopped just in time to narrowly avoid being creamed by a pick-up truck whose driver honked angrily at Paige.

“OMG,” Paige said to her friend. “I almost got run over by the worst driver ever.”

“Dylan,” Abby said. “Are you ok?”

There was an unusual amount of quiet in the back seat until Dylan finally popped his head up, flashed a gang sign and proudly declared, “thug life baby!”

“Paige,” Abby said. “Hang up the phone.”

“Oh God,” Paige said as she rolled her eyes. “Becky I have to call you back. Yeah. I know. Hashtag drama.”

“Look both ways,” Abby said. Paige did so.

“Move,” Abby said.

Paige took the car through the intersection and was on her best behavior when Abby ordered her to pull over.

“Oh come on.”

“Now,” Abby said.

Paige did as instructed. Abby got out and walked around the front of the car as Paige scooched over to the driver’s seat.

Dylan took a break from his rapping to make an observation. “Women drivers. No survivors.”

“Shut up douche face,” was Paige’s response.

“Make me, brace face,” was Dylan’s one-up.

Abby got in and took the wheel.

“I don’t know why you’re doing this to me,” Paige said.

“Because,” Abby said as she checked her blind spot and rolled out onto the street. “You almost got us killed.”

“Come on,” Paige said. “That could have happened to anyone.”

“Anyone who’s talking nonsense to her friends on the phone instead of paying attention, yes,” Abby lectured.

Dylan returned to his rapping. “Bitch don’t you know that I’ll blow yo’ ass sky high? Blak ka ka kat goes my nine when I do a drive by…”

“Dylan,” Abby said. “What are you listening to?”

The boy ignored his mother and kept rapping.

“How am I supposed to get my driver’s license if I don’t get any time behind the wheel?” Paige asked.

“When you’re ready to listen to me, you get all the time you want,” Abby said.

“Whatever,” Paige said as she folded her arms and stared out the passenger’s side window. Hashtag Hitler mom.”

“Did you just verbally hashtag me?” Abby asked.

“Hashtag maybe,” Paige replied.

“Bitch you know I’m strapped,” Dylan rapped. “Got an AK-47 and a big ass bat…”

“Dylan!” Abby shouted.

“What?” Dylan whined as he popped out his ear buds.

“What are you listening to?” Abby asked.

“Stank Daddy,” Dylan said.

“I don’t like it,” Abby said.

“Then you’re racist,” Dylan replied.

Abby felt her blood pressure boil. “Excuse me, young man?”

“You don’t like Stank Daddy because he’s black,” Dylan said.

“I beg your pardon?” Abby said. “I’ll have you know I voted for Obama twice.”

“So?” Dylan asked.

“So I don’t like Stank Daddy because he talks about chopping up bitches and blowing them up and so on,” Abby said. “Those are very violent lyrics and ‘bitch’ is not a nice word to use to refer to women.”

“He’s not using ‘bitch’ in the female sense but rather as a term to emasculate the various societal forces that want to keep him down due to his blackness,” Dylan explained. “And you wouldn’t be complaining if some white bread country ass turkey like John Denver Michael Mellencamp Bolton or whoever was talking about blowing up bitches.”

“I certainly would,” Abby said.

Dylan shook his head and popped his buds back into his ears. “A phony ass cracka like you just wouldn’t understand.”

Abby felt all the energy drain out of her body as she took a right and headed for home. “Hashtag worst kids ever.”

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Zomcation – Chapter 3

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At times like these, Abby needed princesses.

She opened her desk drawer and found her collection of animated princess films, all produced by Carruthers Brothers Amalgamated Studios, the parent company of Wombat World.

Abby thumbed through the plastic DVD cases. There was Princesses Forever, The Happy Princess, Princesses vs. Unicorns, Sally Sloane: Undercover Princess, Princess Force, Princess Power, The Puppy Princess, The Princess of Vamagaroon and Princess Party, just to name a few.

The Princess and the Witch was Abby’s personal favorite. She took the disc out of the case, popped it into her computer, and put on her headphones. The library was still using those big oversized ones from the 1980s.

An instrumental number played over the credits as an old fashioned 1930s era announcer read them allowed.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Carruthers Brothers are proud to present, The Princess and the Witch, now in fabulous technicolor!”

The opening scene featured a bright eyed blonde princess in a pink dress brushing her hair in front of a mirror. She looked rather sullen and spoke in a Marilyn Monroe-esque baby doll voice.

“Oh, I’ve been ever so lonely ever since that nasty old witch locked me away in this tower! Perhaps if I sing loud enough my friends will come visit me.”

The princess stood up, walked over to a window and began to sing. “Tra la la la la, tra la la la la! Animals of the forest, how I miss you!”

With that, a flock of adorable chirping blue jays flew through the window, carrying Chester Chimp and Ferdinand Ferret with them.

Chester Chimp wore a yellow plaid coat and an orange bow tie, but no pants. Ferdinand wore a pair of trousers over the bottom half of his elongated body, but no shirt.

“Lord have mercy,” Chester Chimp said. “Princess Paulina, did that dirty old witch lock you up again?”

“She sure did Chester,” Paulina said. “What ever will I do now?”

“Probably just sit here until you rot,” Ferdinand said. “Everyone knows that dames are useless.”

Abby frowned but then she remembered this was a 1930s film and powered through it.

“Perhaps if you call upon your fairy wombat,” Chester said.

“My fairy wombat?” Princess Paulina asked. “What’s that?”

“He’s not a what,” Chester said. “He’s a ‘who.’ Everyone has one and yours will help you.”

“Well,” Princess Paulina said. “How do I call him?”

Chester pulled a violin out of his pocket, which made no sense, seeing as how his pockets weren’t big enough to hold a violin. He then broke out into a musical number.

“If you’re face has a frown, and you’re feeling down, call your fairy wombat…”

“My fairy wombat?” the princess sang in response.

“Oh if you’re locked up by a witch, who is a big stupid…meany…call your fairy wombat!”

Princess Paulina smiled. “My fairy wombat!”

Ferdinand pulled a flute out of nowhere, tooted it, then joined in. “If you’re down for the count, and your woes are starting to mount, call your fairy wombat!”

Chester brought the diddy home. “If you’re up against the wall, there’s no one better to call than your fairy wombat!”

Poof! A gust of smoke swirled around the center of the room then disappeared to reveal a rather goofy looking character – a chubby little googly eyed fur ball with a set of wings that had been stapled onto his back and a cone shaped hat on his head.

“Did somebody call for a fairy wombat?” the little guy asked.

“I did!” Princess Paulina said as she raised her hand.

“Glad to meet you, princess,” the wombat said. “Willy the Wombat’s my name. Getting folks out of a jam is my game. What can I do you for?”

“A mean old witch has locked me in this tower and I’ll never be able to get out on my own,” the princess said.

“Of course you won’t,” Willy said. “You’re a woman and as we all know, the only thing slower than a woman is a bag of molasses in January.”

Abby winced but kept watching.

“Sister, what you need is a man,” Willy said.

“A man?” Princess Paulina asked.

“A big strong handsome prince to do all the thinking for you on account of your feeble female brain.”

“Ugh,” Abby said.

“A handsome prince?” Princess Paulina asked. “Your really mean it?”

“I really do,” Willy said as he waved his magic wand. “Abracadabra, hocus pocus, hippitty dippitty do, a prince I present to you!”

Poof! Another smoke cloud. This time it disappeared to reveal a handsome prince with an impressive physique and a walnut cracking jaw.

“Did someone call for a prince?” the prince asked.

“Me!” the bubbly princess said. “I did!”

“Princess Paulina,” Willy said. “I present to you, Prince Handsome. He’s a super rich stud muffin who will do all your thinking for you from now on.”

“Oh thank goodness,” the princess said. “I so hate to think.”

“Princess,” Prince Handsome said. “You are by far the most beautiful princess in all the land but tell me, why are you so sad?”

“A witch has locked me in this tower and I can’t figure out how to escape,” Princess Paulina said.

The prince walked to the door, turned the knob, and sure enough, it opened.

“Now why didn’t I think to do that?” Princess Paulina asked.

“Because you’re a woman!” Chester declared.

All the characters grabbed their bellies and laughed and laughed and laughed.

“Hoo wee!” Willy said. “Broads sure are dumb.”

Abby turned the movie off, ejected the disc, and put it back in its case.

“They really need to update this.”

Abby’s cell phone buzzed. She looked at the screen. It simply read, “My Prince.” It was a pet name she’d listed husband down as in her phone contacts during happier days.

“Scott?”

“‘Sup babe.”

Abby felt her heart flutter. Scott had moved out a year ago. They kept in touch once in awhile over stuff involving the kids but Abby hadn’t heard from him in a month.

“Not much,” Abby said. “What uh…what’s up with you?”

“Nothing,” Scott said. “You good?”

“Me?” Abby asked. “Oh yeah. Real good.”

“Kids?” Scott asked.

“They’re good,” Abby said. “They’re looking forward to Wombat World.”

There was a long pause.

“Oh I forgot about that.”

“Yeah,” Abby said. “Umm…you know…”

“What?” Scott asked.

“I mean we planned this trip so long ago and your park pass is non-refundable so if you wanted…”

“Ahh no,” Scott said. “Can’t, babe.”

“OK,” Abby said.

“Still need my ‘me’ time, you know?” Scott said.

Abby sighed. “I know.”

“Cool,” Scott said. “What’s up with this orthodontist bill you sent me?”

“Oh,” Abby said. “You said you were going to help with the kids.”

“Five hundred bucks?” Scott said. “Shit, I could just go at Paige’s teeth with a pair of pliers and a wrench for free.”

“That’s….not really that funny,” Abby said.

“Yeah,” Scott said. “Well, I don’t know babe but I can’t help you with this. I’m broke.”

“You’re broke?” Abby asked.

“Yup,” Scott said.

“That’s funny because Dylan said when you picked him up and took him out for the day two months ago you were driving a fancy new sports car…”
Long pause.

“Abs, you’re really harshing my mellow…”

“I’m sorry,” Abby said, reflexively.

“Every time you get like this I feel like I need more ‘me’ time, you know?”

“I know.”

“You can’t really expect me to find myself while you’re always nagging me, can you?” Scott asked.

“I suppose not,” Abby said.

“Cool,” Scott said. “OK babe. I gotta run.”

“Scott,” Abby said.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think you’ll be finding yourself anytime soon?” Abby asked.

“I don’t know, babe,” Scott replied. “Its a whole process. Later.”

Click.

Abby went into her contacts and changed Scott’s pet name from “My Prince” to “Assface.”

“My prince my ass,” she said.

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Zomcation – Chapter 2

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The woman sitting behind the reference desk of the Parker Public Library was slightly plump, though nothing a few weeks at the gym wouldn’t have cured. She wore a purple button-down sweater over her ankle-length dress and her brown hair was pulled back neatly in a bun. Her face was pretty, though her large, tortoise shell glasses distracted from it.

At the front of her desk was a meticulously arranged line of plush toys, each one a different character in the Willy Wombatverse. There was a flute playing Ferdinand Ferret, a saxophone toting Chester Chimp, a ukulele plucking Willy Wombat and not to be outdone, Willy’s girlfriend Wanda appeared to belting out a song into a microphone. Willy and Wanda looked alike, except Wanda had a pink bow stuck to the top of her head fur.

In the middle of this makeshift band stood an engraved name plate that read, “Abby Lane, Reference Librarian.”

Abby was in the process of checking in a stack of returned books when she sniffed something foul. She looked up to find herself staring at an unkempt vagrant wearing tattered clothes that hadn’t been washed for months, if ever. The aroma he gave off was a mixture of gin and urine.

“Sign me up for a computer,” the rummy barked.

“Hello to you too, Burt,” Abby said as she scribbled the man’s name down on a clipboard. “I’ll put you down for number three.”

“Good,” Burt said.

“You’re not going to use it to look at porn again, are you?” Abby asked.

Burt was aghast. “What is this? Soviet Russia? I don’t have to answer that!”

The wino stormed off in the direction of the computer lab just as the phone rang.

Abby picked it up. “Parker Public Library?”

“Yes,” squawked the old man on the other side of the line. “Where do you people get off using my hard earned tax dollars to warehouse books so smarmy ass no-good hippies can build up their egg heads while our boys overseas don’t have enough napalm to drop on the gooks?”

Abby closed her eyes and sighed. “Hello Mr. Daniels. How are you?”

“Terrible!” Mr. Daniels replied. “What day is it?”

“It’s Friday, Mr. Daniels,” Abby said. “Have you been taking your medication?”

“And allow some incompetent doctor to tinker with my brain?” Mr. Daniels snapped. “No thank you.”

“I think you should hang up and call your son, Mr. Daniels,” Abby said.

“I have a son?” the old man asked.

“Yes,” Abby said. “Remember? That nice man who came and picked you up when you got lost and wandered into the library and started yelling at me for wasting your tax dollars with my existence?”

“Oh right,” Mr. Daniels said. “Because you are. Which government idiot had the bright idea to hire you when the money spent on your salary could be used to buy a rocket to launch up Ho Chi Minh’s ass?”

“Vietnam’s been over a long time, Mr. Daniels,” Abby said.

“Really?” Mr. Daniels asked. “Then I want to know why…”

Abby made a bunch of staticky sounds. “Gerrshhh kursssshhhh…. oh no, Mr. Daniels, you’re breaking up.”

“I’m not finished yet,” Mr. Daniels said. “I’ve got a lot of complaints about that useless library and you’re going to listen to every last one of them.”

“Brrzzt oh my God, Mr. Daniels,” Abby said. “We’re getting disconnected! Brrrzzt brrzzzt call me back never! OK bye!”

Wap! Just as Abby hanged up the phone, a tatted up college student with a diamond stud in her nose dropped an assignment from one of her classes down on Abby’s desk.

“Hey lady,” the student said. “Write this paper for me, ok?”

“Umm,” Abby said. “Not ok.”

“Excuse you?” the student said.

“I’d be happy to help you look for the information you need to write this paper,” Abby said. “But you have to write it yourself.”

“Ugh,” the student said as she snatched her assignment paper back and walked off in a huff. “Why the crap is this stupid place even here anyway? You can just order whatever book you want off the Internet and a drone will fly it to your house.”

“Not everyone can afford to buy every book they want!” Abby shouted. “And depending on drones to bring books to your house is how Skynet begins!”

Behind Abby’s desk, there was a door. Etched on the glass were the words, “Edna Cravenbush, Library Director.”

Abby knocked on it. The sound of a snoring old lady was the only response, so Abby knocked again.

“Huh?” the old lady asked.

“Edna?” Abby asked.

“Oh,” Edna said. “Come in, Abby.”

Abby turned the knob and the door squeaked as she pushed the door open.

Edna Cravenbush looked a lot like a mummy. She was in her seventies and her gray hair was pulled back in a bun, a pair of tortoise shell glasses covered most of her face, and like Abby, she also wore a button-down sweater over her ankle length dress, only hers was green.

“How goes the battle out there, dear?” Edna croaked in her froggy voice as she struck a match and sparked up a cigarette.

“Not bad,” Abby said as she took a seat in the visitor’s chair on the opposite side of Edna’s desk. “I only had to warn one person they were courting Skynet by becoming dependent on book delivering drone technology.”

“I literally have no idea what you just said, dear,” Edna said as she puffed away. “What can I do for you?”

“I just wanted to remind you I’m only working until two, today,” Abby said.

“Oh?” Edna asked.

“Yes,” Abby replied. “I have to pick the kids up from school and get them packed for our trip.”

Edna grinned, revealing her yellow, tobacco stained teeth. “You’re going on a trip? How lovely! Where to?”

“Wombat World,” Abby said. “Remember? We talked about this awhile ago.”

Edna chuckled. “Honestly dear I’m at a point where if it didn’t happen five minutes ago I could give a shit.”

The old gal sucked in a big drag, then expelled a smokey cloud. “But you have a wonderful time. This uh, what is it?”

“Wombat World,” Abby said.

“Wombat World,” Edna said. “It sounds lovely.”

Abby stood up. “Thanks Edna”

“OK then dear,” Edna said as she plopped her white tennis shoe clad feet up on her desk and leaned back. “Have a wonderful time.”

“I will,” Abby said. She put her hand on the door and was about to push it open, then stopped.

“Edna?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Are you going to be ok?” Abby asked.

“Of course,” Edna said. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“It’s just…”

Abby sat back down. “I know it’s not my place to tell you that you shouldn’t smoke in a public building but, I just worry about being away, because sometimes I catch you sleeping with your cigarette in your mouth still lit.”

“You do?” Edna asked.

“Yes,” Abby said. “I usually just take it out of your mouth and put it out without telling you.”

“Oh,” Edna said. “So you’re the one.”

“Yes,” Abby said.

“Stop doing that, dear,” Edna said.

Abby sat there silently, unsure of what to say next.

“My dear,” Edna said as she flicked some ash into a coffee mug, “My time has come and gone. I’m ready for it all to be over.”

“Over?” Abby asked.

“Precisely,” Edna said. “You see, when I first started out as a librarian so many years ago, sitting at the very desk that you sit at now, I felt like I’d chosen a profession that would give me an opportunity to help people, to really make a difference. Alas, all I ever got were people complaining that the library was a waste of their tax dollars and students demanding that I write their papers for them.”

Abby cleared her throat. “That’s um…more or less what I experience all day…plus vagrants who want to use the Internet for porn and people who mock me about how they can get whatever information they want on the Internet.

“Oh,” Edna said. “Don’t even get me started on that. Would that I could kick Al Gore in the crotch for dreaming up that nightmare. It’s all tits and ass and writers who act like geniuses even though their blogs are read by three point five readers, you know.”

“So I’ve heard,” Abby said. “But aren’t you at least happier as the library director?”

“Oh not at all, dear,” Edna said. “It gets worse at this desk. Once a week I must go to battle with some government bureaucrat who wants to put the library out of business. In tough economic times, libraries are the first to go, you know.”

“I know,” Abby said.

“This week, the Mayor wants to shut the library and use the space for a methadone clinic,” Edna said. “Last week, the Department of Public Works wanted to gut the building and use it as a garage to park their dump trucks. There’s always some scheme afoot to shut down the library and use the building for something else.”

“But you always talk them out of it,” Abby said.

“For now,” Edna said. “Though the older I get and the less the public cares the harder it is for me to do so.”

“I’m sorry, Edna,” Abby said. “But even with all of your burdens I’m not sure an early exit is the way to go.”

“There’s nothing early about it,” Edna said. “I’m done and now I’m just waiting for God to take me. And I’m sorry to say my burdens will soon be yours.”

“They will?” Abby asked.

“Of course,” Edna said. “I’ve already recommended that you take over my position when I shuffle off this mortal coil. You’ll be back here talking the town fathers out of bulldozing the library so that the land can be sold to a strip mall developer and some younger lady will be at the reference desk, being scolded about how libraries are useless thanks to the Internet. It’s the circle of life.”

Abby looked the old gal over, then took stock of herself. The hair buns. The button down sweaters. The ankle length skirts. And yes, they were both even wearing white tennis shoes.

There were way too similarities.

“Surely, you’ve found some happiness in your life?” Abby asked.

“Oh for a time,” Edna said. “I had my husband and children…until my carousing husband left and my children grew up and found lives of their own. Once or twice a year they call out of guilt but they rush the conversation and get off the phone as soon as possible.”

Abby felt all the color rush out of her face. “OK then, Edna. I’ll see you in a week.”

Edna, not seeming to care, took a sip out of her ash laden coffee cup. “Very good dear, see you then.”

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Movie Review – Sully (2016)

Do I really have to call SPOILER ALERT when this was all over the news in 2009?

Oh well.  Assume I just did.

BQB here with a review of Sully, the Clint Eastwood directed film about U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s miracle landing of an airline on the Hudson River.

Stupid geese.  They ruin everything.  And all those years ago (seems like it was just yesterday, doesn’t it?) they flew into Sully’s engines and knocked them out.

With little time to think and a plane that was going down, Sully (Tom Hanks), with the help of co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) made a split decision to land the plane in the Hudson River.

The film takes us through the event from a number of perspectives – office workers who see the low flying plane and fear it is another 9/11, illustrating the toll on the American psyche that attack has taken, the frightened passengers, the flight attendants who keep their cool and lead the passengers through what they need to do, the rescue workers who respond to the scene in time to save the passengers from freezing to death in the bitter January cold.

It was a heck of a story when it happened.  There have been many plane crashes in history, though none that I can think of where everyone survived.  Sully was the toast of the town immediately thereafter, hailed as a hero and brought on as a guest on multiple talk shows and news programs.

But what we didn’t realize is that behind the scenes the ole Sullymeister was being railroaded big time.  Thus, the brunt of the movie focuses on NTSB investigators (boo!  gubmint bureaucrats! boo!) attempting to string Sully up with computer simulations indicating that it would have been possible for Sully to have landed the plane at LaGuardia or in New Jersey.

With flashbacks to his youth as a crop-duster and military pilot interspersed throughout, Sully fights to preserve his good name, his reputation, his wings, his pension, and ultimately to prove that he wasn’t flying some video game, this was the real deal and he did what he needed to do to save the day.

One thing that struck me as I watched was just how densely populated New York City is, how tall the buildings are, combined with giant planes flying overhead constantly, one wonders how there aren’t more crashes and ultimately, you walk away with a greater appreciation for pilots like Sully who move these giant metal beasts through the sky over populated areas everyday.

And that’s the rub. Sully didn’t just save his passengers, but also the people in the city his plane would have crashed into.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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