Monday, November 30, 2009

Z-A Monday: The Final Leg? A fly in the ointment?

Xavier paid the fee for a bus ride to Florence, KY, then up the freeway toward home. He flopped down next to a formless figure and started flapping his gums with him.

"Hi. I'm Xavier. Where you headed?"
"I'm Frank, going to Florence. Tried to fly. Fogged in. I'm a financier, freelancer, work with Fortune Five Hundred firms, mainly."

"Ah, I'm finagling my way up to Ohio. I've been on a frivolous foray, kinda foolish, really."

"Well, you never know what's foolish and what may be fantastic. Just hafta move forward, y'know?"

"That's fine, but I need to function with more focus, find work...among other things."

"Don't get too frustrated, bud. The finish line's still far away for you. Fame and fortune can wait."

"So I fear. That fog is pretty thick out there."

So thick, in fact, that Floyd Franklin, the bus driver, flipped on his flashers and fell back to forty mph. Just then, in a flash, a Ford Fusion forced its way into his lane. Floyd hit the brakes ferociously, causing the bus to fishtail, fracturing the fender and fanny of the Fusion in the process, and flattening the tires of the bus.

Inside, frightened passengers flew into a frenzy. Xavier surveyed the interior, didn't note any fatalities. Unfortunately, Floyd had fractured his fibula in the fracas, so Xavier took the fire extinguisher and flailed it to force open the non-functioning door. He noticed a couple small children frozen in fright in the fifth seat back, and fearing the engine could spill fuel and flare up any time, he firmly grabbed them and helped them flee. Then, while everyone else filed out and all seats were surveyed fore and aft, he offered a firm shoulder for Floyd to limp out into the frigid fall weather.

Along with the fire engine, first responders, and EMS squad came the WFTV Five News crew, looking to find a fabulous feature for the five o'clock news. Floyd faced the cameras as Francine Fetterbaugh of the Five News Crew forced a microphone on him.

"I faced a choice...and the feasible choice was to force a turn, avoid flipping...but I owe a fervent thanks for a faultless evacuation to that guy", he said, fingering Xavier.

Frank spoke up.

"I was formerly talking to this fine fellow. He helped facilitate a first-rate escape. He was flawless, really, forsaking his own..."

Xavier had to cut in.

"Thanks, Frank, but the fact is, that's a bit of a fabrication, a little far-fetched. I was just functioning as anyone would."

"OK, thanks, fellas" said Francine, finishing the filming and fleeing to the Five News Crew studios.

Xavier fell to the curb, feeling a bit faint but otherwise fine. And he was famished. Where's some fast food when he needed it?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another fine mess...

So the neighbors had to move to a place that does not accept pets. And they had this dog, Ollie... hated to give him up. Like the gullible person I am, I said sure, we will take him for now if it's us or the pound, but keep looking for a permanent home! So here's Ollie. A large 3-year old. I road tested him just now with a one-mile walk, and he needs a bit of training in this regard. Gave me a good forward pull most of the way. Not a "heeler". But he will sit and understands "no" - stops in his tracks with a good, loud "NO!".

As for the "fine mess", if you know what I mean, we'll chalk it up to nervousness in the new surroundings, and we shall expect a better working knowledge of where certain functions are to be taken care of in the future.

Yes, there is a resemblance to our two past dogs, but this guy is (a) a guy, (b) maybe twice the weight, and (c) a bit untrained in some respects. Maybe it's the youthfulness.

I am not sure where this leads. We are hopeful that the now ex-neighbors can find a good place for him. We're glad to watch him for a while. A while.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Z-A Monday - Those Garage Band Guys, aGain?

Xavier got to the Holiday Inn' s glittery lobby, only to hear familiar guitar riffs coming from The Gathering Place, the hotel lounge. He glanced in - yep, it was the guys, old band name gone, new name gracing the bass drum - "the Guardians of Groove". Geez, he thought. Gaudy name.

At a break, he hailed the gang, gulping a Guinness while gushing about his getaway adventures.

"Dude", said Vince, "you can so sit in on this gig. I've got a spare guitar, a Gibson."
"What are you guys playing? I might be grasping for notes here."
"Oh, we're the Guardians now. We do Golden Oldies, with some pop. You know, Grand Funk, Guess Who, some gnarly Guns n Roses."
Vic added, "and mix it up with a little Vince Gill, Barry Gibb, Goo Goo Dolls. A little Golden Earring, Genesis, Gary Glitter..."
"And", said Vince, "we end with Lee Greenwood, everybody all grateful to be an American and all. It's gorgeous."
"OK", said Xavier, "I'll give it a go."

And so the set ground on, Xavier gelling with the band, the Gibson grooving along, til the grateful audience got their Greenwood and the guys loaded out their gear. Then they grabbed a quick glass and gabbed a bit.

"So, Xave", said Vic, "how's it with the girlfriend?"
A pang of guilt.
"I may be a goner. I haven't gotten through to her. I guess I'm guilty."
"Xavier, Dude, you've gotta get to her from your gut. Gut level, Guy. It's gut check time."
What was with all this gut stuff?
Vince looked at Vic. "Dude, since when are you the guru of getting girlfriends? You're all like 'Grasshopper...'. Gimme a break."
"Guys", Xavier said, with a gaping yawn, "as much as I'd like to gorge myself on your glorious wisdom here, I've gotta get some sleep. I've got a get a ride in the morning."
After goodbyes with the Guardians, Xavier got to the room and gazed at the picture of generic geraniums on the wall. He thought about Wendy, wondered what gut-level gems would generate any more interest, and why he, the genius, couldn't gather the nerve to get her on the phone.

Xavier awoke early the next morning, got up, and got out, only to find his driver was gone. Looked like it was the Greyhound for him.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Xavier thought, you know, the heck with the Honda or Hyundai. He wanted to head home now, so he'd hitchhike. He headed for the highway and hefted his thumb, hailing a ride.

After hundreds seemed to pass as he hoofed along, a hick-looking guy in a horrendous looking old pickup halted. He got in and said hi.

"Howdy, mister. I'm Huck, and this is my truck."

"Hooray", Xavier thought, "The king of the Hillbillies".

"Where you headed?"

"Uh, Ohio, right around Columbus"

"Cool. I knew a guy in Hilliard. Used to cruise High Street with'im."

"So, where are you headed, Huck?"

"Back to Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Got a shotgun shack up in a holler there. It's home, you know. Good for huntin', hollerin' at the moon, and just hangin' around. Say, you hungry?"

"A little..."

"Well, if you get a hankerin', I've got half a hedgehog left in that handsack back yonder."

Xavier felt like hurling at the thought of it.

"Uh, thanks, um, kindly, but I'll hold out for a hamburger or something."

Farther down the highway, maybe halfway home, the pickup made a hair-raising sound.

"Aw, heck!" said Huck. "It's heating up. Ain't gonna haul us any further."

Huck exited the highway and, siting a nearby hotel, said "Hain't goin' no further. Y'all might's well hole up in this here Holiday Inn. Me, I'm gonna hunker down in the truck. If I get 'er goin in the morning I'll give ya a holler."

Well, hallelujah, here he was in heck's half-acre, halfway home, still living hand to mouth, feeling haggard 'n' hog-tied. He wasn't happy, but it wasn't hopeless, either. Life handed him a lemon, and he figured he'd lost it, like the book said. In hindsight, the hillbilly was kinda hilarious. He'd
handle whatever hurdles happened tomorrow. For now, he'd hit the hay.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Z-A Monday: On the Interstate

Spending some of his last funds investing in an old Impala, Xavier took the wheel and instantly entered the Interstate interchange. He felt inspired enough to impulsively head homeward.

It would take some time getting through Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, but he wasn't impatient. It was time for introspection, improving on imperfections, seeking inspiration for the next installment of his recently idle life.

Outside Indianapolis, impaired by sleepiness and incapable of going further, he stopped at a roadside Inn and innocently entered the foyer.

"I need a room", he intoned.

"You need more than that", said the innkeeper, pointing at the flaming, incendiary Impala.

"This is insane", thought Xavier, looking in his wallet for the car's invoice and not finding it.
Inside, the Impala's interior was shot; his investment a total, irreparable loss.

Later, on the phone, he irately itemized and inventoried his lost belongings to the insurance adjuster.

"Cause of loss?", inquired Irma the insurance adjuster.

"Idiocy. Insanity. It just went up in flames."

"I can't insert 'idiocy" in the box", said Irma.

"OK...let's say...leaking fuel injector. Or maybe the ignition. Yeah, that sounds good."

"Sir, we will have to have an authorized inspection. Your invented input will not help."

"Fine - but look - I need new wheels. I need to scoot, get out of Indy."

"We will have Ira's Indy Body Shop assess the impact and issue an itemized assessment. Then we issue payment and you can identify a new car. It will take...less than a week."

Next week! Not very immediate; he'd wanted an instant answer, but the impact was inescapable. Indy was inescapable! Ick!

Next week! Perhaps he'd consider a new Honda or Hyundai. Or a Harley! For now, he felt helpless. No, not that horrible yet. Just really irritated.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Balmy November Day?

It was so nice and warm and sunny that we got out our inflatable raft and headed over to a local body of water at a conservation club we joined and put 'er in for a row up and down the shore. No pictures of the boat in action this time, but here was a little inlet where we just floated and watched the blue sky, knowing that in just weeks we would likely be shoveling that white unmentionable substance. It is an oddity when you are out barefoot in November, getting buzzed by bees, looking at the dandelions, but I am sure we are on borrowed time.
And we have failed to keep up with Weird Objects around here on Fridays. Here is one - late though it is - submitted by our daughter. I believe a friend of hers at work may have produced this pumpki-gourd-snail, with a pumpki-shroom background!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Mid-Week Cute Kitty Shot

Well, it is a pretty normal week, and being the first week of standard time, I get up in the quasi darkness and come home in the gathering gloom of night, so there is little opportunity to provide wondrous shots of nature around me (although there was quite a CLOUD of birds - starlings or such - heading southerly above my car, the cloud stretching off infinitely to north and south, this morning. A marvel. Must have been tens of thousands of them. And my windshield passed underneath this cloud unscathed!)

My point being, nothing new to add to the blogosphere, so let's trot out an incredibly, imho, cute picture of that cat we boarded a couple weeks ago, until its owner found us via a couple free ads in the local paper (she actually posted an ad saying "lost cat" the day our ad saying "found: cat") was published - talk about ships in the night!) and a friend putting two and two together and calling her up. Seems the cat's named Theodore because he looks, to his owners, like a teddy bear.

So one more time here for Teddy and then we move on. And I have to give props to my wife, who took this one with the Sony. You can always tell her shots - she loves to brand 'em with the date, or time, or something. Good for the archives, I guess. Not so good for overall composition, but that's just me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Z-A Monday: As The Journey Winds Down

Yeah, it was time to jettison this junket and journey homeward. Time to follow that jagged trail, quit the joyriding and other juvenile behavior (like jail time! Jeez!). That call from Wendy jogged his memory, juxtaposed with the juggernaut of that journal entry in that Life Guide.

Xavier would take the time on this journey to juggle the facts, justify his next actions, and join the jogsaw pieces together. He tried not to be judgmental, just to judiciously sift through the jetsam of the past few weeks. If only he hadn't so hastily jumped into that Jeep way back when ... but perhaps he was getting jaded, too jaundiced. The trip wasn't altogether joyless!

As he journeyed home, he resolved to join the living.
Get a good job.
Find the joy and jocularity in life.
Not jump to conclusions.
And as for the jilted Wendy?
He'd give her a jingle.