From the Abyss

“Water!  Captain, I need water!”

“Higgins, get this man some water.”

“There’s your water.  Now, get back to rowing.  You’d be wise to do what you’re told and not complain about it.”

“Aye, Captain.”

He’d learn a lesson right quick, if I tossed him down in the hold, the Captain thought. 

The ship’s rigging strained and creaked.  Sea water made the decks slippery.

“Higgins, see what the prisoners are hollerin’ about.  Be quick about it–unless you’re desiring to be down there with ’em.”

It had been a tough pathway from prisoner to deckhand.

Scattered about the ocean floor were the bones of those that dared break the chains of command.

 

From the Boneyard

H. H. Gregg and Applebees, latest discards, tossed on the growing rubble pile of failed/failing franchises. Regurgitated from murky waters of competition, public tastes, balance sheets drowned in red ink.

Shining new faces atop the trash heap, fade in relentless summer suns, until washed away into the recesses of memory.  Forgotten by most, except for a few nostalgia freaks, such as myself; waiting to spring out on some obscure trivia night.  From dusty shelves, some reporters reaching for ratings, will find fodder for another “whatever happened to?” story to fill a slow news day.

The cemetery of fallen franchises grows ever larger.  Still more are on the critical list–Sears and K-Mart come to mind.  May the fallen rest in peace.  I wish the rest safe passage on their way to franchise Valhalla.

Franchises failed for various reasons.  Why Outback Steak House couldn’t make it locally is still a mystery.  Speaking from my little corner of the world–what was with the proliferation of restaurants offering chicken fingers?  “To franchise gurus, venture capitalists, wherever you may happen to be–help, we’re drowning in chicken finger restaurants down here!”

–image, http://www.jsfburgerchef.homestead.com/–

 

Ultimatums

They seem cruel now–but, back then they were attempts to gain control.  Different from admonitions, these were warnings; do/don’t do this, or this will happen.

“Come on, I’m going.  I’m not telling you again.  OK, you can just stay here at Aunt Edna’s.  Your Bubba bear is going to miss you.”

A few tears, later and the recalcitrant youngun’ came dragging along.  He wasn’t about to abandon his favorite teddy bear.

Behind Rose’s Market was an outhouse and a storage building.  The small town grocery store, was an after school meeting place.  Old men from town, met in the back, by the oil-burning stove, for their daily gossip fest.  Charlie Rose, the proprietor, gave a familiar warning.

“Get away from that shed–the boogeyman will get you.”

Grandparents gave an ultimatum or two.  Some of them quite macabre.

“Don’t play on the telephone.”  Or, Nelson Fenton, proprietor of the local independent telephone company, would come and, “Cut our ears off.”

Ultimatums came from everywhere, from aunts and uncles, teachers, townspeople.  They were battles of wills; attempts to maintain order.

“If you don’t stop crying and behave, I’m going to take you to the doctor and get you a shot.”

That usually did the trick.  No kid I knew liked getting shots.  Working in health care later, I discovered this approach, hindered more than it helped.

“Hit your sister again, and I’ll swat your butt.”  Direct and to the point–nothing else needed to be said.

Along the path to maturity, these ultimatums were no more cruel, than those elsewhere in the animal kingdom.  Mother cats cuffed misbehaving offspring; carried them by the scruff of their necks when necessary.  All creatures had to learn their places.  There were consequences for misbehavior.

 

 

 

Poke the Giants

A few years ago, some wise guy started a coffee shop named “Dumb Starbucks.”  The idea hit the media by storm.  Of course the mega franchise wasn’t amused.  Giants didn’t take kindly to being poked.  The giant’s legal team roared, swatted the irritating little fly and “Dumb Starbucks” faded to oblivion.

Some advice for others wishing to poke other corporate giants.   You’re going to be smacked down by the giant’s legal team anyway–why not be more creative, than calling the object of your disdain, “Stupid” or “Dumb?”  Learn from the “Dumb Starbucks” guy, be more original.  Why couldn’t he have preceded Starbucks, with “Not,” or “Knot,” as in “Not (Knot) Starbucks?”

Throwing down the gauntlet–more Poke the Giant ideas:

Drunken Donuts:  Alcohol infused pastries and sweet treats

Pizza Hat:  Haberdashery and men’s wear, featuring pizza crust formed into edible hats.  I think thin and crispy would work best in summer.  Perhaps deep dish in winter?

Goggle:  Search engine, like Google, the real one.  It would be a PR nightmare.  This one would throw the giant into an earth-shaking, rage–since Google, is frequently misspelled this way.  Of course, the other, obvious search engine bungle, would be, “Bingle,” instead of Microsoft’s Bing.

A Minor Inconvenience

At the beginning of each new month, since last year, I go to the clinic for a vitamin B-12 shot.  The wait isn’t long–and as much as I despise getting poked with needles–it doesn’t really hurt.

This took place after results of my last physical examination.  My B-12 level was extremely low.  As it turned out, vitamin B-12 deficiency, in persons over 50 isn’t that uncommon.

A history of taking medicines to control acid reflux had something to do with it.  Not taking acid blockers, would be worse than the shots.  The B-12 supplements I’d been taking were apparently a waste of money–since my system couldn’t absorb them.

Deficiencies of B-12 can have nasty consequences–including dizziness, skin problems, blood problems.  Vegans, of which I am not, are prone to B-12 deficiencies.  This deficiency can mimic signs and symptoms of dementia.

Reason enough to make the monthly trip and get stuck in the arm.  The co-pay is only a dollar–small price to pay for good health.

Goldenrod, Lies, and Alibis

Among tombstones

Butterflies flew

Tall goldenrod grew

They went and they came

From evening to dawn

Lies became alibis

When the money was gone

Buzzards watched

From rooftops nearby

Expenses paid in full

One way or another

Too big to cry

Those that were there

Knew the reasons why

Among tombstones

Butterflies flew

Tall goldenrod grew

Right or wrong

They went and they came

From evening to dawn

 

 

 

Crunch Time…

In which the writing process began in earnest–consisting of soft things, nice things; things your mama, your grandmamma, and them would like.

Overbearing male role models, tyrants, the clueless, the oblivious, were excluded–as a matter of course.  If those were the only things to come out of my brain, I’d prefer to rewrite old stuff.

Feet don’t fail me now.  We’ve got to get out of this place.  Any place, but here; where I’m at-at this moment.  Wasn’t that old schtick from the Gong Show?”  If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’ pa-rump-bump.

Felt like a summer day, warm, sunny, and humid.  The backyard hammock felt good.

“Have you ever been, or are you now–a member of the Communist Party, or any other subversive organization?”

“No, Mr. Chairman.”

“Remember, you’re under oath.”

“Yes, Mr. Chairman.”

“That’s ironic, because I have evidence that suggests otherwise.”

There was a lot of coughing, throat-clearing, more perspiration beads on high foreheads, before the hearing continued.

“Would you like to reconsider, before you’re marched out of here in contempt?”

“I’ve nothing to say, because I’m not guilty of these accusations.”

“Guards, take this man away!  Maybe some jail time will give you time to think about what you’ve done?”

I hadn’t done anything.  That’s why this was all so strange.

“To the left–march!”

“Left, left–left, left, left”

All the marchers had two left feet.

“You ain’t got no friends on the left–you’re right”

“You ain’t got no friends on the right–you’re left”

“Left or right?  Left or right?”

“Sound off, sound off, one, two, three”

Leftovers from the Cold War.  Another daydream from this daydreaming boy, finished in time to fire up the barbecue grill.