Thursday, November 26, 2015

24c: Happy Thanksgiving!

"I'm famished," Christian declares decaratively.
     Me, too. Although you wouldn't think so, after my having just ingested a mouthful of dirt. Somehow, I had always thought dirt and grass and grubs would be more filling, but it's not. Like Chinese food, after a half hour I'm hungry again.
     "Would you like something international or something a bit more continental?" he says, giving me a choice.
     I look around. This close to the airport, I see nothing but hotels and an IHOP.
     An IHOP?
     Hmmm...
     "I'm in the mood for something continental," I tell him, remembering how, when he told me he was taking me to a world-famous restaurant, we ended up at McDonald's.
     He didn't lie, I guess.
     Immediately, he pulls off the road and into the driveway of one of those hotels.
     Did I mention we were in his car? Well, we are. For the sake of the story, just go with it.
     He finds a parking space close to the entrance, hangs his "handicap" placard on his rear-view mirror, and we exit the car and enter the hotel.
     We walk briskly through the lobby, holding hands. He's a step or two ahead of me and is anxiously pulling me along. My, but my naughty boyfriend seems to be in a hurry. A certain part of my body tingles at the thought of what he's in the mood to eat.
     "Just pretend we're staying here," he tells me.
     I'm not sure I understand what he means, until he leads me into a dining area, of sorts.
     "You're bringing me to the hotel's free continental breakfast?" I ask in surprise.
     "Hey," he says, "I didn't get rich by being wasteful. Besides, you're the one who said she was in the mood for something continental."
     I couldn't argue with his logic. It was irrefutable.
     His eyes were sparkling, like his skin in direct sunlight. I've never seen him this happy, this giddy, and it's a joy to behold, as opposed to beehive. My eyes are probably sparkling, too, as I see food from one end of the room to the other.
     "And it's all free," Christian agrees.
     In the middle of it all is a giant cornucopia laying on its side with fruits and vegetables and grains pouring out of it. I pick up a corn-on-the-cob and begin to eat.
     "That's plastic," Christian tells me, and he's right.
     Delicious plastic.
     "Here," he says, again taking my hand, "let me show you around. Oh, look, Ana. Eggs!"
     I've never seen anyone get so excited about eggs, unless you want to count Harry Fierstein. Christian continues.
     "What makes them continental is that they're hard-boiled. Any hack can scramble two eggs together, but to hard-boil them properly, it takes an artist. And look at how many different kinds of cereal they have. Wow! Frosted Flakes! Look, Ana, they even have high-fiber cereal, if you're into that kind of thing."
     I don't know what kind of thing he means, but I'm sure I'm not.
     "And if you're so inclined, you can make your own waffles over there, by the bagels and cream cheese. Excuse me, my dear, while I indulge help myself to some of this yogurt."
     As he starts to slurp, I look around. The dining area has a nice Pilgrim-like theme to it. A turkey here, some corn-stalks there, and pumpkins scattered all around. There's even a girl dressed as a Native American helping people at the waffle station. She looks Latina or Hispanic. It might sound racist, but I can't tell them apart.
     "She's an Indian," Christian says in his typical un-p.c.-like way.
     "No, she's not," I tell him.
     "Yes, she is."
     "No, she's not," I insist.
     "Yes, she is."
     "Indians are from India," I say, correcting him.
     "Be that as it may, she's still an Indian."
     Christian is such a control freak that I'm determined to prove him wrong. I go up to the girl.
     "Excuse me," I say, by way of introduction, "do you speak English?"
     "Si," she says.
     "And do you work here??
     "Si."
     "In the kitchen?"
     "Si."
     "Can I ask you a silly question?"
     "Si."
     "Are you supposed to be an Indian?"
     "Si."
     "Really? What kind?"
     "Sioux."
     "Sioux?"
     "Si."
     "See?" Christian tells me, and he leads me to a table where he's already served the two of us.
     My, how thoughtful he can be when he wants to be. Thoughtful, that is.
     "You are so unpredictable, Mr. Grey," I tell him.
     "That's only because I am, Miss Steele" he tells me back.
     "This has been a wonderful day," I tell him.
     "I know it has," he tells me back.
     "Thank you," I tell him,
     He looks at me intently.
     "No, Ana," he tells me back, taking my hand in his, "thank you."
 
 
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Fifty Shades of Parody (Chapter 24b)

The hot air balloon is a big beautiful beast, with the words "State Fair" above the name "Omaha" emblemed on the side, if "emblem" can be used as a verb and a circular object can be said to have a side. It has an inside and outside, I guess. In which case, it's on the outside.
     Christian offers me his hand, inviting me to join him. The basket floats just above the ground by about a foot or two. I take Christian's hand and step aboard. My added weight causes the basket of the hot air balloon to touch down on the earth with a soft thud.
     Thump!
     I said "thud."
     Thud!
     I see Crockett handling the burner, which heats the air until it causes the envelope to raise heavenward. The envelope is the actual balloon part of the hot air balloon, and the basket can also be referred to as a gondola. That's Mister Gondola, to you.
     "Let's do it," Christian says, looking at me but talking to Crockett.
     "Okay, boss," Crockett says, and gives the burner a boost.
     Slowly, the magnificent beast defies gravity and pulls away from the earth. It lifts us higher and higher into the atmosphere. I look over the edge of the basket, and see the airport growing tinier and tinier beneath me, the people looking like ants. Ants with arms and walking on two legs, that is.
     "Do you feel reckless?" Christian asks me, with a mischievous grin on his face.
     "You bet I do, boss," Crockett answers.
     "Not you, you idiot," Christian barks at his right-hand man. "I'm talking to Ana."
     "You bet I do, Christian," I answer.
     "Not you, Ana," he tells me. "Can't you see I'm talking to Crockett? Can't anyone follow a simple conversation?"
     Neither of us say anything.
     "That's an open question," Christian enlightens us. "Either of you can answer."
     Crockett answers by goosing the burner even more.
     I answer by moving closer to him.
     "I feel reckless," I whisper seductively, feeling the warmth of his body. I had always heard about the mile-high club. I wonder if this is what Christian has in mind. With Crockett right there? Oh my, that would be naughty.
     Christian reaches down and pulls out something long and hard.
     A bungee cord.
     He secures it around his feet, opens the gate to the gondola, and dives off the side in an Olympic-quality exemplification of bungee jumping. When he reaches the end of the bungee cord's elasticity, it snaps him back, and he sticks a graceful three-point landing any Russian gymnast would be proud of.
     "Your turn," he tells me, as he removes the bungee cord from around his ankles.
     Uh, uh. No way. I'm against euthanasia, and I'm not talking about Chinese children.
     "No," I tell him
     "You won't believe how exhilarating it is..."
     "No."
     "...or how alive you'll feel..."
     "No."
     "...when you stare death in the eyes and laugh in its face."
     "How many times do I have to tell you..."
     "There will be a Hostess Twinkie waiting for you when you get back," he bribes.
     What can I say, his bribing works. If bungee jumping doesn't make me feel more alive, the Twinkie sure will. Do you know what I like most about Hostess Twinkies? There's two of them. And I'm not just saying that because of all the free Twinkies the company is paying me with for product placement.
     "I just need to know how much you weigh."
     "Er... wha?"
     "Your weight. I need to know how much you weigh so I can choose the proper length of cord."
     "Aren't they all the same?"
     "Of course not, Ana. You do understand physics, don't you?"
     If I wanted to understand physics, I wouldn't have slept through my classes in college.
     "Mumble, mumble, mumble," I mumble.
     "What, Ana? I couldn't hear you, you've got to speak up."
     I think about it. Control freak that he is, he'll never stop pestering me. So, should I tell him in pounds, in stones, or use the metric system? I decide to go with pounds. It sounds thinner.
     "Good girl," he says, and chooses the proper length of cord.
     He secures one end to my ankles, and double-checks that the other end is attached properly to the gondola. He must really care for me, if he takes the time and effort to make sure I don't die a horrible death.
     "Make me proud," he says.
     "I will, boss," Crockett answers.
     I do a graceful swan dive off the side of the basket in an attempt to impress Christian, and my body cuts through the brisk air like cold steel. I drop toward the ground faster than Bill Clinton's pants at the Miss Arkansas pageant. I feel so free as I plummet toward the earth, so... alive. Darn that Christian, it is exhilarating. I wish I could fall forever, like that Chinese girl at the end of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and I'm not just saying that because Ang Lee promised me a part in his next movie.
     The bungee cord stretching, stretching, stretching...
     WHAM!
     My face slams into the ground.
     I shouldn't have lied about my weight, I think to myself.
     There's a pause, and then the cord snaps back up with a force so great my head hits the bottom of the basket. Which forces me to go down, and not in the fun way, again hitting the ground. I leave an imprint this time of my nose, eyes, and open mouth.
     Bo-iiiiing!
     I shoot back up. There's a dent where my head had hit before. I leave another one. I keep slamming up and down, up and down. Oh my goobers, it seems like it's never going to end.
     Basket! Ground! Basket! Ground!
     WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!
     By the grace of Lord Xenu, one of Newton's Laws of Motion finally kicks in and I find myself just dangling by the bungee cord off the side of the hot air balloon.
     "Ana!" I hear Christian call from above. "Are you okay?"
     I'm too stunned to answer. Also, the chunk of grass stuffed into my mouth like a good sex act gone bad doesn't help. I feel the cord being tugged on above me, but, between Crockett and Christian, they're unable to pull me up.
     "Doobie!" Christian calls out, his voice in a panic.
     A whiff of burning herbs whooshes past me, the pungent smell lingering.
     "Yes, Harry?" a familiar voice slurs. He must pause to look around, because he says, "Talk about being high."
     I can almost picture Doobie's moist, round eyes blinking in the high altitude.
     Christian ignores Doobie's faux pas with his name, and quickly commands, "Quick, Doobie, get Ana!"
     "Yes, you  four-eyed mumble, mumble, mumble."
     There's another pause. Then I hear Doobie take a deep drag from one of his special hand-rolled cigarettes.
     "Liftus elephantus!" he exhales.
     Somehow, I find myself back in the basket. I look around and see only Crockett and Christian.
     "Are you okay, Ana?" Christian asks, concern in his eyes. With a gentlemanly swipe of his sleeve, he wipes the green gobs of concern away.
     I spit out the chunk of real estate from my mouth...
     Spit! Spit! Spit!
     ...and assure Christian that I am.
     There's such loving concern in his eyes, as he gently cleans the dirt from my face.
     "You've soiled yourself," he tells me.
     "Trust me, that's not soil," I tell him back, wrinkling my nose.
 
 
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fifty Shades of Parody (Chapter 24a)

"But really, mom, there's a room right behind this wall," I tell my mother as I huff and puff and fail to move the false wall that Crockett so easily opened.
     "Try saying 'open sesame,'" she offers helpfully. "Or 'open, sez ME!'"
     "Oh, mother," I say, getting frustrated. "The wall slides right open, I just need to find the switch or the handle or whatever."
     "Sure, you do, honey," she answers, sympathetically. "Sure, you do."
     I finally give up and crumple sadly to the floor.
     "I should have paid more attention," I say, more to myself than to my mother.
     "In school?" my mother asks. "Or just life in general?"
     She pauses, and then her mothering instinct must kick in, because she tells me, "Ana, your boyfriend, if he really does exist, seems like a nice guy for someone I never met. He is a nice guy, isn't he? He didn't molest me while I was unconscious, did he?"
     "No," I assure her.
     "Well, I won't hold that against him. A real gentleman would have shown me the courtesy of an enthusiastic grope. Anyway, you should go after him."
     "After him?" I repeat, mulling the idea over in my mind. "You really think so, mom?"
     "Of course I do. You only live once, honey. After all, we don't want you to end up like those two old drunks over there."
     I look, but I don't see who she's talking about.
     "Which two?"
     "Those two," she says and points across the room from us.
     "That's a mirror you're looking at, mom," I tell her. "But if I go, what will you do?"
     "Don't you worry about me. If there's one thing your mother knows, it's how to take care of herself. I wonder what Bill Cosby is up to? Now that guy knows how to treat a lady."
     I think about the sweet time Christian and I spent in the round room, laying in each other's round arms in the round bed. Hmm... have you ever noticed how most foods are round? Round eggs, round berries, round pancakes. Waffles are round, but in a square kind of way. Cupcakes are round, muffins are round, manhole covers are round. Donuts are round.
     Mmm... donuts.
     I don't mean to make you blush, but a man's penis is long and round. Long, I guess, if you're lucky. Although I've heard that girth is more important than length. Kate told me that.
     "Girth is more important than length," she said, and then reminded me to not forget the cucumbers on my way home from the grocery store. "I want to make my special salad."
     Funny, in all the time we've been roommates, I've never seen her prepare anything in the kitchen, much less a salad.
     A woman's vagina is long and round, too, but in a different way. It's an emptiness that goes inward, rather than a fullness that goes outward.
     Hmm... fullness.
     If you're lucky, I guess.
     Just after our decadent time in the circular room of roundness, Christian fell to sleep for a few minutes. Jokingly, I took the blue ribbon I was wearing in my hair and wrapped it around his yankee doodle dandy. I tied it in a nice bow. When he woke up a few minutes later, he looked down and slyly commented, "I don't know where I've been, but it would seem I won First Place while I was there."
     "Tell me about yourself," I coaxed, and he did. He told me how his first job was at McDonald's.
     "I was in charge of putting the sesame seeds on their hamburger buns," he said. "I would take a tiny brush, and spread a glue-like substance on one side of the sesame seed and then stick it to the top of the bun. After that I tried a career in law enforcement. I was the head security guard at Jamba Juice. So you see, Ana, Mrs. Robinson really did save me from myself."
     Uhg... there's that name again. Mrs. Robinson. I don't know why he calls her that. I guess, because I do.
     I drift off, and when I come back to the surface of consciousness I hear him say, "Pope Francis, or Frankie 'Five Fingers,' as we used to call him in the old neighborhood..." I drift off again. "My father always told me I had rocks in my head," I hear from someplace far away, "and my mother always told me knowledge was more valuable than gold, ergo rocks must be more valuable than gold. That's how I made my first million. With rocks." It's like I'm floating down a river, occasionally touching the shore of consciousness, which is a lot like the surface of consciousness, except it's on the side and not on top.
     "I threw the football and hit the referee square in the head," Christian's words float somewhere above me.
     "Did the ref go down?" I asked, dreamily.
     "I'm not taking about his private life."
     "I mean, did it knock him to the ground?"
     "Yes, so I flipped him over and he woke up to find his pants missing."
     "I see," I said, but I didn't. Not really. I was off once again to Slumberville. That's right next to Lidsville.
     "It was the saddest day of my life," I heard him say in the distance and brought myself back to the conservatory of consciousness to conscientiously hear what he was saying of consequence.
     "What was?"
     "Aren't you listening to me, Ana? You're the only one I've ever told any of this to."
     "Really?"
     "Yes. Only you. You and my bodyguard Crockett. He needs to know these kind of things."
     "Just me and Crockett?"
     "Yes, just you and Crockett. And Doobie. You and Crocket and Doobie, that's all. And my receptionist, she knows too. You, Crockett, Doobie, my receptionist, and my parents. As well as my maid and cook. You and Crockett and Doobie, my receptionist, my parents, my maid, and my cook."
     "That's everyone?"
     "Yes."
     "Really?"
     "Yes, really. Donna, Jean, and Little Missy, I told them, too. That's everyone."
     "Everyone?"
     "Yes, everyone. Everyone, except for the President of the United States of America, that is. I told him back in the first chapter. That's why you saw him crying when he left my office, how sad that day was."
     "How sad what day was?"
     "That day."
     "Which day?"
     "That day."
     "That day, when I saw the President of the United States of America leaving your office?"
     "No, I'm talking about the saddest day of my life."
     "What happened?"
     "What happened what?"
     "What happened on the saddest day of your life?"
     "I thought we were talking about the President of the United States of America."
     "You were about to tell me what happened on the saddest day of your life."
     "Oh... that day. I've never told anybody about it."
     "You can tell me," I suggest softly.
     "I had a twin brother, Ana. His name was Billie Joe, and I say 'had,' because he committed suicide."
     "Oh, my goodness."
     "Goodness had nothing to do with it. It was a girl. Maybe that's why I find myself so disconnected from women and feel the need to punish them. It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty, Delta day. We were out chopping cotton and her brother was baling hay. And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat. And her mama hollered out the back door, 'Y'all remember to wipe your feet.' And then she said, 'I got some news this morning from Choctaw Ridge,' but she must have decided to break the bad news more gently, because she seemed to change the subject. She said, 'Everybody who doesn't have a brother who killed himself jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge, take a step forward.' As I was about to step forward, she held up a hand. 'Not so fast, Christian,' she told me."
     "Zzzzzzzzzz...ack!"
     "So, you go over the rainbow," my mother is telling me, "to Sugarcandy Mountain, or wherever it is you need to go, to find your boyfriend, Ana. You go, and, when you find him, you tell him, 'We believe in you, Carlton...'"
     "Christian."
     "...Christian. We believe in you."
     That is all the encouragement I need, and I run off to find Carlton... I mean, Christian. I catch up with him just outside, on the airport's tarmac. He's preparing to leave.
     "What the heck is that?" I ask him, my mouth agape.
     "Ana!" Christian calls out, and I can see that he's surprised and actually happy to see me. "You came after me!"
     It's a statement, but it sounds more like a question that's already been answered, which it has. I mean, I'm standing right there.
     I'm standing, because I've stopped in my tracks. He holds out his hand to me.
     I don't know. I'm not sure.
     "What the heck is that?" I say again.
     "It's a hot air balloon, Ana," he explains. "It's the only way to fly."
   
 
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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fifty Shades of Parody (Chapter 23b)

Christian's nostrils flare. His voice becomes husky with hunger. I'm hungry, too, but in a different way. I wonder what Ronald McDonald is doing?
     "I want you, Ana," he tells me, stepping over my mother. "I want you bad. And I have to have you. I have to have you now."
     With that declaration, Christian snaps his fingers. Crockett appears from the ether and quickly empties the room of all the excess first class air passengers. Some of them have to be encouraged with a swift kick from his Gucci loafers. Funny, I never noticed before that he didn't wear socks.
     When it's only me, Christian, and my unconscious mother, Crockett walks over to the wall behind the mini-fridge and pushes. Osh kosh b'gosh! It's a false wall, and on the other side is a bedroom.
     "How did you know?" I ask Christian.
     "How did I know what?" Christian replies, coyly.
     "How did you know there would be a bedroom behind that wall?"
     "I had it built, knowing that you would be here," he explains. "Just in case you feel the need to make the beast with two backs."
     It's my turn to be coy.
     "The beast with two whats?"
     "Two backs. You know, bump uglies."
     "Bump what?"
     "Bump uglies. You know, riding the baloney pony."
     "Riding the baloney pony?" I rinse, lather, and repeat. I didn't know Christian could be so romantic.
     Gosh, I don't know what to think. On the one hand, I want Christian so bad I wish I could come up with a clever metaphor that's both original and funny. On the other hand, it goes against everything I was raised to believe in. I can remember the Reverend Pryor, even now,  reading in church from the Book of Wonder.
     "'If you believe in things,'" he thundered from his altar, "'that you don't understand, then you'll suffer. Superstition ain't the way!'"
     Oh, it was superstition he was talking about, not sex. I guess that makes it okay. I follow Christian into the room. It's a huge round room with a huge round bed in the middle of the huge round room. There's a fish tank in the corner. Um, I mean if a round room can have corners. I bet in quantum physics it can.
     "Why a fish tank?" I ask, curious.
     "I like to have an audience," he explains. "It adds a little spice to the proceedings. I'm old-school, Ana. In my day, we didn't even have Viagra. You actually had to be attracted to a girl to have sex with her."
     "Are we going to do it doggy-style?"
     "With you, Ana, every style is doggy-style."
     "That is so rude."
     "What do you mean? I love dogs."
     With that he flops me backward onto the bed.
     Finally, what I've been waiting for, the big sex scene of the book. Maybe this time I'll even get some foreplay. My Inner Goddess rubs her hands briskly together in antici... PAYshun. I remember asking Kate what foreplay was once.
     "You know that vague feeling of dissatisfaction you get when you're hungry for something but you don't know what?" she said, answering my question with a question of her own. "You eat this and you eat that, but somehow it's never what you want?"
     "Only all the time," I admitted.
     "Well, it's kind of like that, just not as exciting. What foreplay is, is laying back and pretending to enjoy your lover's bumbling fumbles or fumbling bumbles, I forget which, but that doesn't matter. What matters is I usually like to take this time to paint my nails."
     So that exactly what I do, lay back.
     I see his head disappear between my legs. When it reappears a few minutes later, he looks like the Joker from The Dark Knight Returns. There was something very important I should have warned him about, but he doesn't seem to mind the surprise. He emerges holding a vampire's tea-bag. He twirls it over his head and makes helicopter noises. Then, when he lets go of the string, we watch it fly across the room, hitting the wall with a wet smack.
     Well, first we carve a slice, then we cut the mustard, then we dip the schnitzel. After that we do the humpty-hump, the bumpity-bump, and the ziggity-zag. Then we grind the coffee, haul our ashes, and lay some pipe. He parks the pink Cadillac, hides the salami, and gets it up to the nuts in guts. He spears the bearded clam, the hairy donut, and the fuzzy wuzzy. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?
     Amazingly, we finish at the same time. Him, having his way with me, and me, painting my nails. We lay there looking into each other's eyes.
     "What?" I ask, smiling shyly.
     "What?" he asks back, his eyes dancing.
     "Tell me about yourself," I say.
     Strangely enough, he does. I'm not saying he puts me to sleep with his long ramblings. He does, but I'm not saying that. When I wake up, he's getting ready to leave.
     "Your mother is quite lovely," he tells me on his way out. "Especially her breasts. When I saw her for that brief instant falling to the floor, they looked like two meteors racing toward the earth."
     Um... that was awkward.
     No sooner is he out the door, than my mother finally rouses out of her coma. I'm not saying she drinks a lot, but you can go to the bathroom with her and be able to tell what yesterday's drink specials were.
     She gets up, looking in the distance, probably wondering what other career paths she could have chosen. My mother. Just because she's hairy, that doesn't make her Bigfoot.
     "I'm so sorry, Ana," she tells me. "I didn't mean to fall asleep."
     "That's okay, mom," I say, excusing her the way I have my entire life. "I thought you were meditating."
     "I don't meditate, I medicate," she corrects me. "Did I miss anything important while I was going toward the light?"
     "Oh, mom," I tell her, "you just missed him."
     "Him?"
     "Yes, him."
     "Him who?"
     ""Christian."
     "Christian?"
     "Yes, my boyfriend."
     "Your boyfriend?"
     "Yes, he was just here."
     "He was just here?"
     "Yes, and you missed him."
     "And I missed him?"
     "Yes."
     "Like the way I've missed all your other 'boyfriends'?"
     "Almost, but this one is real."
     "Sure he is, honey. Sure he is."
 
 
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