Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marty's Worst Nightmare. A Story of Woe.

Marty and Mary Whiffer live at 15 Sage Creek Road in Cloverdale. Marty teaches computer science at the Comprehensive School. Mary works the Customer Service Counter at the Piggly Wiggly. They’ve been married for two years and have one baby boy, Marty Junior.

It’s Sunday afternoon and Marty’s in a bit of a pickle. Mary was scheduled to return to Cloverdale on the 1:10 Coastal Express after spending the weekend at Tamworth on Tide visiting her ill mother. It’s 1:30 P.M. and there is no train. The station master just announced over the loudspeaker that the train stopped in the mountains because of an avalanche further up the tracks. Everyone was fine and the train would be returning to Tamworth. Marty felt panic setting in. He had Marty Junior for another day - alone. His repeated attempts to reach Mary by cell phone failed. His back was to the wall. No matter how fearful he was, it was just dad and son. alone - together...........

His current predicament started last Friday when Mary got a phone call from her mother saying she was feeling poorly and having trouble breathing. Marty suggested Mary bring her ill 75 year old mother to Cloverdale. His suggestion confused her; Marty and her mother never found a thing in each other’s characters worthy of admiration. A moment later she realized the truth behind his change of attitude. Mary took Marty by the arm, squeezed it and assured him that he could survive two days with Marty Junior. He was a teacher after all; he was suppose to know how to handle children. Marty fell to his knees and begged her to stay. With tear filled eyes he listed his reasons.
  • Marty Junior’s unpredictable mood swings. One minute he was a happy little boy and the next, its as if he had a direct link to the Evil Satellite Network.
  • Marty Junior throws everything across the room within arms reached.
  • He attempts to ingested everything that fits in his mouth. Half the time it ends up in his windpipe.
  • Everything Marty Junior swallows, including his meals, can be brought up later at will. Marty Junior uses this talent at the worst possible times, usually while being tossed in the air over someone’s head.
  • Marty Junior perfected the perfect scream at 6 months. After several weeks of trail and error, Marty Junior found the perfect combination of pitches to drive his parent’s to brink of insanity. He used his parent’s reaction to the various pitches as an effectiveness gage. He started on the low end of the scale, then slowly increased the pitch. He quickly soared to the dizzying heights of Mount Decibel as soon as he saw them react to the sounds by shifting in their chairs. He loved seeing them jump up to quiet him and care to his needs and wants.
Marty and Marty Junior waited at the station, still bundled up from their walk. Marty didn’t want to take the baby home. The very thought of it sent him into a mild shock. His skin was clammy and his heart raced. He tried to calm himself by slowly rocking back and forth while waiting on a bench in the station’s small cozy lobby. From time to time someone entered the lobby from the cold, filling the lobby with a bone chilling reminder of winter. The cold caused Marty Junior to whimper. Luckily Marty had a bottle with him and used it to quiet and distract the boy. Marty watched the large clock over the ticket booth. It was 1:45 P.M. He reviewed his options. He needed his wife. He needed a prolonged Marty Junior break.

At 2:00 P.M. he realized all hope was lost. He stood up, attached Marty Junior to his carrier and stepped out of the lobby and into the cold. He walked down Station Road in the sunless gloom of a pending winter storm. The snow crunched beneath his feet. Small flakes of snow swirled around the lamp posts. He turned onto High Street, then left onto Sage Creek Road. His body took him home by instinct; it had no choice - his mind was nearly gone. Marty reached his doorstep and fumbled for his keys. For an instant he was distracted and nearly slipped on a bit of ice covering the bottom step. The sudden jerk woke Marty Junior up. The baby started crying. He used his trademark lower decibels first. Ten seconds later he unleashed holy hell on the entire neighborhood. Marty stood with his forehead against the front door. The next 24 hours were going to be the longest in his life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Professor Teemont Demonstrates Super Sound at the Community College

Professor Teemont teaches at Cloverdale Community College. Recently he received a grant from the Confederacy Defense Ministry to research new methods to enhance human hearing. Not wanting to duplicate work being done in other countries using electronic methods of enhancing hearing, Professor Teemont spent his grant money to research and perfect a method of hearing sounds from great distances without the aid of electricity.
"Our soldiers in the field cannot always count on electricity to help in surveillance," the Professor said in a recent interview. "My method of amplified hearing solves the problem, thus giving our soldiers an advantage in the field. I call this invention Super Sound."

Professor Teemont demonstrated Super Sound in the college's parking lot yesterday. Attending were local dignitaries, Professor Teemont's undergrad students and members of the government grant review team. All seemed to be impressed although Super Sound's effectiveness in the field was questioned due to weight and size concerns. The Professor said he understood their concerns and was working on another grant to build a smaller version of the product. Professor Teemont hopes Super Sound will keep him in grant money for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Abe Frampton and his South Fork Ranchette. Beef's for Dinner - The Best Beef in Cloverdale

Abe Frampton runs a few head of cattle outside Cloverdale along Highway 3. He calls his ranchette South Fork, named after the famous ranch from ‘Dallas’ an old American TV show.

Abe’s cattle are raised “clean and natural” as Abe puts it. They graze until its time to put a bullet into their head. Once down, the cattle are processed in Abe’s own facility. Its a messy ordeal for sure but Abe’s isn’t bothered. It’s what his family has done for several generations. In fact, Abe got to shoot his first cow when he was ten.

Students from the Comprehensive School’s Foods and Cooking Class list a field trip to Abe’s ranchette as their best field trip of the year. Abe calls the teacher when he’s preparing to process another cow. Students are given special parental permission forms to view the killing and butchering process from beginning to end. The teacher believes students should see for themselves the work that goes into that tasty Frampton steak they love to order at the local pubs and restaurants. On the day of the butchering the students go out with Abe to select which cow will end up on someone’s dinner plate that night. Students put on special plastic aprons and goggles and assist in the processing, butchering and packaging of the meat. The bus driver is usually willing to take the meat into town for Abe. The pub and restaurant owners know to pick up the meat at the school. Those who discover a sudden weakness in the stomach are excused. Strangly enough, some students return to the school as vegetarians having never fully realized the truth behind the steak.

Friends, If you want to taste the best steaks in the Confederacy be sure to order a Frampton steak the next time you eat out at one of the village’s finest eating establishments.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Slang is Approved for Use at St. Batholomew's Catholic School.

Cloverdale’s St. Bartholomew’s Catholic School’s Committee for the Approval of Slang in Catholic Education (CASCE) convened in a special hearing today to hear testimony on the use of a new slang word currently being used by several of the more popular 8th graders.

Tristan Scuddles and his ‘gang’ of language pioneers, as they like to refer to themselves, were called in after school to answer the charge of introducing a new word into the school’s lexicon without seeking permission through proper channels as outlined in the school’s Student Handbook. On page twelve of The Student Handbook it specifically says that proper English is encouraged at St. Bartholomews. It further states that the school, in its wish to stay current in today’s modern society, established a committee to examine student slang to determine if certain words could be used in the school setting without taking away from the academic and spiritual environment the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope established when the school was founded so long ago.

Tristan and his pioneers walked into the Youth Court Room at 3:15 P.M. They were followed by several other students wanting to see the Committee in action. Others in the room came to provide moral support, while others liked the new word and wanted to speak for its approval, if given a chance.

The Committee walked into the room from the adjoining Teacher’s Lounge at 3:30 P.M. They took their seats at the front bench.

“This Committee will come to order,” Selma Flappington said while tapping the gavel on the table top. “Please put away your mobiles. We will not allow calls or texting during this hearing.” Ninety percent of those present stuffed their phones into their backpacks. A few, in mid text, left the room until they finished learning what everyone was doing at that precise minute.

“Today the Committee will hear testimony against Tristan Scuddles, a student of average standing, and his non approved club whose name will not be mentioned pending another hearing. Tristan Scuddles, please stand and approach the podium.”
Tristan stood and walked to the microphone. A rebellious grin formed across his face as he grabbed both sides of the podium and leaned forward, ready to tackle Goliath.

“Mr. Scuddles, it has come to our attention that you and your friends are using a non approved slang word. This word is spoken both in and outside of class and in the cafeteria. How do you plead?” Selma sat back in the high back leather chair and waited for the student’s response. The other five members of the committee leaned forward.

“Selma, I’ve got one thing to say to you,” Tristan said directly into the microphone, loud enough to be heard in the hallway and teacher’s lounge. “Just Chillaxe about all of this will ya.”

Tristan’s pioneers erupted into applause. Tristan used their new word in the very trail deciding if they could use that word or not. Ninety percent of the students in the room pulled out their mobile phones. Texts poured from the Youth Court Room reporting Tristan’s bravery against the Committee.

“Silence. Silence!” Selma shouted while pounding the gavel on the particle board table. “This is St. Bartholomew’s, not that Comprehensive High School down the road. Show dignity and restraint.”
The room eventually quieted down - only after Sister Mary Elizabeth Joseph popped her head into the room and gave them all the look of certain death if the noise continued to disturb the nun’s coffee in the teacher’s lounge next door.

“Tristan, please explain the new word and its meaning so the Committee can understand,” Selma requested in a strangely calm voice.

“Sure. Chillaxe is a combination of two things. You start with the phrase ‘Chill Out’. Then cut off the Out leaving you with Chill. Secondly, take the word ‘Relax’ and cut off the Rel. You’re left with “axe’. Combine the Chill with the Axe and you get Chillaxe,” Tristan was prepared to defend this new slang and continued. “May I remind the Committee that the phrase ‘Chill Out‘ was approved for student use two years ago. I also am assuming that ‘relax‘ is standard English. All we’ve done is taken an established word and married with with a phrase the Committee already approaved. I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong. I propose the Committee immediately approve ChillAxe and let us all go home.”

Again the room erupted into applause. Mary’s gavel connected with he table top several more times bringing Sister Mary Elizabeth Joseph back into the room.

“Chillaxe,” the nun shouted. Sister Mary is one of the more popular nuns at the school for her willingness to adopt the newest slang used at by the students. The room erupted into laughter and louder applause.
“What did I do?” Sister Mary asked Selma.
“We’ve not approved that word yet,” Selma answered in disgust. Sister Mary thought for a minute, put two fingers into her mouth and sounded an ear shattering whistle bringing the room into order.

“My Bad,” Sister Mary said. Everyone stood and cheered. “My Bad,” was another non approved phrase that has come before the Committee several times. The Committee refuses to approve it, reasoning that overusing the word ‘bad‘ could lead to immoral conduct.

Sister Mary left the room waving at her admirers. Selma slammed the gavel several more times before bringing the room into order. Tristan returned to the microphone.
“Can we vote and get this over with?” he asked. “We all know the word is OK. It doesn’t lead one to sin. It doesn’t have anything in it that could be offensive. It means relax and not take things so seriously and heaven knows how much this place can use that advice. It’s just a good, all around good piece of slang.”

Selma started to speak. From the amount of air she inhaled the rest of the Committee could tell she was preparing to take this another hour or so.
“I move we vote right now,” Oliver Potts proposed. 
“Seconded,” Elizabeth Morrill added. Selma looked perplexed. She was backed into a corner. Parliamentary rules required a vote. She had no choice.
“All in favor of approving Chillaxe as a new slang word to be used by the students and staff of St. Bartholomew’s Catholic School please say I,” All hands went up at the table but hers.
“All opposed,” she said while raising her hand. The room erupted into cheers, completely drowning out Selma approval of the word and the final bang of the gavel.

Chillaxe is approved at St. Batholomew’s Catholic School.