Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Christmas Canine

Bob Cratchit got up from his desk as Ebenezer Scrooge hunched over his account books.
     "Sir?" he said, tapping on the old man's door. "I've copied all the letters and filed the paperwork. I also brought in more firewood and swept out the ashes."
     Here, Bob Cratchit paused, and then began again.
     "And, well, it's closing time, Mr. Scrooge."
     "Fine," Scrooge replied. "If your work is finished, you may leave."
     "Mr. Scrooge?" Cratchit proceeded cautiously. "Tomorrow is Christmas, a day to spend with family."
     "Christmas? Bah!" Scrooge all but spat. "Fine. Take tomorrow off, but be here early the next day."
     "Yes, sir," Cratchit acquiesced. "You can count on it, sir."
     Cratchit pulled his coat snug around him.
     "Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge," he said, and then stood there.
     "Well?" Scrooge said, getting up from his desk.
     "I just thought…"
     "You thought what, Cratchit?"
     "I just thought, it being Christmas and all, that there might be some kind of a bonus?"
     "A bonus?" Scrooge exclaimed, as if the word were distasteful to him.
     "Yes, sir," Cratchit continued. "A… ah... Christmas bonus."
     "Humbug!" Scrooge growled, and opened the front door to let Cratchit scurry out.
     On his way home, Bob Cratchit saw some neighborhood boys sledding down a hill.
     "Merry Christmas," he wished them, but his words could not conceal the sadness in his heart.
     Another Christmas without a bonus. It was not as if Ebenezer Scrooge paid an honest wage. If he did, then Bob Cratchit could make due with what he had, but the slave wages Scrooge recompensed were barely enough for Cratchit to honor his commitments, much less support his family.
     His wife performed miracles with the meager finances Cratchit brought home, but it was not enough for day to day expenses, much less to properly celebrate the holiest of holidays. Here it was, Christmas Eve, and there were still no presents for his children, nor would there be. It was easier back when he could merely wrap a small stone or a stick and call it a gift of the Magi, but his six children were too old to fall for that now.
     Cratchit smiled sadly to himself, remembering the potato he had convinced the children was a shy turtle. They loved their pet until it "ran away from home." Ran all the way to the dinner table, where it made a nice soup.
     His stomach rumbled at the memory. They barely had enough to eat, and, sometimes, not even that, much less food for a Christmas feast. The cupboards in his kitchen were as empty as the hole in Scrooge's heart which generosity should have filled.
     Cratchit stopped just under a streetlamp, his melancholy an unwelcome acquaintance. He felt too ashamed to go home with empty hands and barren pockets. A teardrop fell from his eye and landed on the tender snow between his feet.
     "I fear," Cratchit lamented to the salty liquid, "that I can ill afford to lose you as well."
     A stray, adrift in the empty streets, came to where Cratchit stood. Trembling and afraid, it made its cautious way to his side. Even frightened, the abandoned dog desired the friendship of a stranger, and was willing to chance a violent rebuke to attain this.
     "Alone and friendless, you come to me, eh?" Cratchit told the pup, rubbing its head affectionately.
     A wagging tail was its eager reply.
     "It seems I shall not go home bereft of blessings for my family, after all," Cratchit said cheerfully, and lifted the grateful animal close to his chest. "Thanks to you, my friend."
     When he entered his home, his joyous family greeted him with jubilation at the sight of the Christmas miracle in his arms.
     "A dog?" his wife gasped. "That's … that's wonderful!"
     Martha, Belinda, and Peter nudged at each other, trying to be the first to pet the happy dog's head. The two smaller children jumped up, trying to get a closer look.
     "God bless us," Tiny Tim sang out happily. "Especially this one."
     The following day, their bellies filled to bursting, the Cratchit family sat around a cozy fire and all agreed, it was the best dog they had ever eaten.
American Chimpanzee

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Week In FIRED Tweets!

What's the most important thing to take with you when camping in the wilderness?
Your credit card.
For when you decide to rent a room instead.
This Just In!
Charles Manson!
After spending almost FIFTY years on Death row!
What did he die of?
This Just In!
Charles Manson!
"Remind me," asks a perplexed President Trump, "which season of Celebrity Apprentice was he on?"
This Just In!
Scientists determine alcohol causes cancer!
Let's face it, EVERYTHING causes cancer. 
This Just In!
Mourning the death of his one true love, a brokenhearted David Cassidy follows Charles Manson to the great hippy commune in the sky.
"Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life," advises Yoko Ono. "Oh, and marry a millionaire."
Why Black Friday?
Because White Friday is racist.
This Just In!
The White House confirms President Trump WON'T campaign for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore!
"Great!" exclaims a jubilant Moore. "Now I'm GUARANTEED to win!"
This Just In!
El Paso city government will return to a five-day work week!
"I guess I'll have to change my Fridays doing nothing back to spending my Fridays at work doing nothing," says one disgruntled employee.
This Just In!
North Korea launches ICBM!
Ending two-month lull in testing!
Why don't you feed your starving citizens instead?
"Why don't you mind your own business?" answers the well-fed Kim Jong-un.
This Just In!
Chicago, Illinois House Democrat U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez WON'T run for 14th term!
"And it has nothing to do with any possible future allegations concerning sexual improprieties for which I'll apologize in advance."
This Just In!
Officials speculate gunman killed in Reno, Nevada high-rise may have had mental problems!
Duh! You think so?
This Just In!
NBC's Matt Lauer!
"I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is a dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here," commented Savannah Guthrie. "Well... except for the women he raped, that is."
This Just In!
Minnesota Public Radio FIRES A Prairie Home Companion's host Garrison Keillor for sexual impropriety!
"How else is an ugly guy like me supposed to get laid?"
This Just In!
President Trump vows new North Korea sanctions over Kim Jong-un's provocative ICBM missile test.
"First, we'll take away his Twinkies," a spokesman commented, "and we'll see how it goes from there."
This Just In!
Government working hard to once again overhaul tax code!
Why is it the more politicians "fix" things the worse they get?
This Just In!
Singer Pink is raising her children to be "gender neutral"!
"I'm just trying to screw up my kids as much as humanly possible."
Modern Problems: "Where's my phone?"
Pre-Historic Problems: "Where's my leg? Oh, a saber tooth tiger is eating it."
This Just In!
A fired Matt Lauer "decides" to "retire" and spend more time with his family.
You know, the wife and kids he ignored while he was busy raping women.
Good friends are important.
Who else are you going to borrow money from?
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
Considering I could live another 60 to 70 years, I'd better go back to bed and get some sleep.
American Chimpanzee

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Taking Medication

My father and I have just returned home from an appointment with his doctor.
    He doesn’t drive any more. Since he now lives with me, I find myself chauffeuring him around to conduct his personal business. I always thought the older you got, the less you did. Apparently, that’s not the case. At least with my father. I’m always taking him here or there, doing this or that.
    He’s closer to the end of his century than the beginning and has been diagnosed pre-Alzheimer’s. You might think that Alzheimer’s is something that happens to someone else, but don’t fool yourself, we’re all pre-Alzheimer’s. We just need to live long enough for it to catch up with us.
    It's 11am. Still early. He's studying the medicine his doctor prescribed, and which we've just picked up from the pharmacy.
    "Can you believe the price of this medication?" he asks.
    Of course I can. I just paid for it.
    "Now remember,” I tell him, “the doctor said you have to take it in the morning when you first wake up, with lots of water. Or you can take it right before you go to bed, but you have to take it on an empty stomach."
    We walk into the kitchen, and seat ourselves at the table. My wife comes up to say hello.
    "How did it go with the doctor?" she asks. "You guys hungry?"
    I look over at my wife. It's been a long day, and it's not even noon. She can see it in my eyes.
    "I'm not hungry, sweetie," I tell her.
    "Well, I am!" my father pipes up, so she starts to serve him.
    My father and I continue our conversation.
    "So I take it when I get up," he tells me.
    "That's right, or before you go to bed. The important thing is that you don't eat anything before you take it."
    "But I take it in the morning."
    "Yes," I repeat, "as soon as you get up, but before you eat anything."
    "I can't eat anything?"
    "That's right."
    He looks at the food in front of him.
    "But I'm hungry."
    "You can eat now, dad, but just not before taking your medicine."
    He starts to dig in on the feast my wife just served him. She's a good cook. My father's a good eater. It’s a match made in Heaven.
    Speaking of my wife, she knows the direction this conversation is taking, so she gives me a little wave and makes her escape. I give her a little smile. A very little smile.
    Chomp, chomp!
    "Are you sure that's what the doctor said?" my father says between bites. "I've always heard you have to eat before you take your medication."
    "That's true, but with this medicine you have to take it on an empty stomach.”
    "I don't know about these pills. I don't think they'll do me any good."
    "They might."
    "And you're telling me I can take it in the morning or at night?"
    "That's right. Take it as soon as you get up, or right before you go to bed. It just has to be on an empty stomach."
    "But I'm hungry in the morning. Does this mean I can't eat all day?"
    He takes another big bite of food.
    "No, it means that you take it as soon as you get up. You can have breakfast after that. Or you can take it at night before you go to bed. It just has to be on an empty stomach."
    "But I always have ice cream before I go to bed."
    I'm too tired to answer.
    "Well, I guess your wife can serve me less," he says.
    Chomp, chomp!
    And then continues.
    "She always serves me too much."
    He thinks, and then he thinks a little more.
    "Why can't I just take it now?" he says. "What difference does it make?"
    "I don’t know, dad, that’s just what the doctor said."
    "Doctors," he sniffs, and rubs his nose in disgust. "They don't know everything."
    "Just do it, dad."
    "Okay, okay. So you're saying that I take the medication as soon as I wake up."
    "You've got it. As soon as you get up, take your medicine. You can have your breakfast after that."
    "But sometimes I go for a walk with my dog before I have breakfast."
    "That's fine, dad. Just take your medicine when you wake up, go on your walk, and when you get back you can eat."
    "I don't know about those characters. I tell you, sometimes doctors don't know what they're doing."
    "So I'll take this medication right after I wake up but before I eat. After I brush my teeth and take my shower."
    "That's right," I say, happy he’s finally gotten it.
    "Hmmm..." he says, checking out the bottle. The pills are small, and the directions are right there on the label. "...ahh... well."
    He's continued eating throughout this whole conversation, but he's finally done. He then gets up, grabs his medicine, and tells me on his way out:
    "I guess I'll go take my medication now.
Full or empty, your stomach can visit me at,, or @JimDuchene.
as featured in Desert Exposure Magazine

American Chimpanzee