Saturday, April 4, 2009
Wordzzle 57...it ain't about Heaven
Do yourself a favor and stop by the Raven's Nest, will ya? You're sure to find all the scoop on Wordzzling.
This Week's Ten Word Challenge: apoplexy, doctor, hummingbird, shallow end of the pool, brigadier general, mustard, greed, parallelogram, slumber party, casual
Mini Challenge: Mount Olympus, arsonist, portraits, birch trees, "that car needs a new muffler"
The Week's Episode: Road Trip
The drive to Laughlin could be interesting, tedious, scary or educational. For Thomas and Jean McCool driving always made them both philosophical and misanthropic at the same time. Heading up I-10 into Phoenix, Jean noted an extraordinarily loud car belching smoke. "That car needs a new muffler" she stated. "And some valves too" chimed in Thomas.
In Thomas's opinion there was no excuse for the stupid moves made by some drivers. As he put it "These folks come from the shallow end of the pool, the gene pool that is." Jean cautioned him to avoid the bouts of apoplexy he had experienced in his youth. He deferred to her by treating other motorists like they had the plague; he stayed as far from them as he could. "This trip is just what the doctor ordered" he said as they got off onto Grand Avenue and headed into downtown Phoenix. If they stayed on this road all the way to Hwy 93 it would add another hour to their drive and take them past the Sun City complexes. These were adult retirement housing communities filled with thousands upon thousands of old folks.
Instead they would take a couple of shortcuts to avoid the traffic and congestion. Jean settled back in her seat after putting disc #1 of the new Eagles double album on and enjoyed the city scenery. Both had been feeling the need to travel. Thomas missed the pines and birch trees of the high country. There would be the opportunity to detour into Flagstaff on the way back and see some old friends. Jean just wanted to get out of Dodge for a few days and enjoy another road trip with Thomas. Their entire life together seemed like myriad and plentiful excursions stitched together with new homes, new towns and periods (not too long) of being settled down and comfy.
They made it out of town and stopped in Wickenburg for lunch. McCool chose a real restaurant instead of a Mickey Dees for the meal. They were rewarded for this choice by being given a show of a rather large male hummingbird protecting his territory around an Ocotillo plant in full crimson bloom. This native desert plant occupied the small island twixt the parking lot and the front door of the Wickenburg Inn, a rather territorial looking local eatery. The outside was slump block and tile roof, while the interior was dark and cool with walls featuring portraits of famous Arizonans. The striking visage of Carl Hayden greeted them on the wall behind the receiving desk.
Service was good though somewhat casual and Thomas ended up getting the mustard for his corned beef sandwich from another table. The food was hot where it was supposed to be and the drinks were cold. The items looked and tasted like the ones advertised on the menu and the prices were decent. The waitress looked a little as if she'd just come from a slumber party, but the couple ignored her disheveled appearance and made sure to tip a little extra. It seemed the hard times of the recession had hit the small town of Wickenburg in a big way.
Folks weren't going to gamble away their money like they used to and stops along the way were feeling it. Even the retirees that had started to move out of Phoenix to the more idyllic setting of a small town had stopped coming. The greed of Wall Street had reached all the way to a desert burg in Arizona and stole the heart of the town. Thomas wondered if Wickenburg was doomed to go the way of Winslow and Holbrook. In another century those cities had been booming.
They left Wickenburg with Thomas wondering if the arsonists that set the global economy on fire would now be able to extinguish the flames of world wide recession before it consumed towns large and small on many continents.
In Cape Town South Africa, Cathy was coming out of surgery with a comforting buzz in her head and not a few tingles in her face. The surgeon assured her that they had taken extra precautions to precisely calculate the symmetry of her face, going so far as to use an optical parallelogram projected onto her skin to assure precise alignment of eyebrows, nose, mouth and ears. She would indeed retain her beauty, but in a visibly different way. No one who saw her now would recognize her as Cathy or any of her other previous identities. Of this the surgeon was positive.
Dr. Hans Koolde loved these new ID jobs. He was given free rein to create a brand new visual persona. It allowed him to be both artist and craftsman. He was very good at his work. Luminaries as wealthy as Jackie O and as venal as Brigadier General Mugabe had utilized his skills. He knew enough not to ask why his current patient wanted to exchange her charmingly beautiful face for another. Instead, he concentrated on creating one even more becoming than the original. He could not have cared less that his new creation would allow his patient to ascend to the heights of Mt Olympus in her greed, lust and malevolence.
For her part, Cathy was anxious to get back to her new home in French Guiana. The healing would be expedited there by another doctor who would know her as Charlotte Vignoire and no other. Her triumphant return to America would follow soon thereafter. The flight back was uneventful until she dozed off.
The scene in her dream replayed itself for the hundredth time. She hadn't had the nightmare for some time though the consequences of the event had changed her life and forged her destiny. Perhaps is was the leftover anesthesia or the aftereffect on some other medication, but she fell into a deep sleep.
She was back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in High School. Her family had just moved there from New Jersey. She'd excelled in sports at her old school and made the team in her new one. Her dream took place in the girl's locker room after basketball practice. It had started out as harmless hazing, but then the team captain had taken offense at the new girl, Constance Lawler, and her arrogant attitude.
To teach the upstart newcomer a lesson, the group had serviced Constance with a plumber's plunger. Not only had this broken the girl's hymen and literally busted her cherry, but one overzealous teammate had managed to damage Connie internally, forever preventing her from bearing children. The combination of the laughing girls, the intense pain and the humiliation of being gang raped by her teammates changed the impressionable Constance forever. There would never be the slumber parties and casual girlfriends for her.
She woke up in a cold sweat, feeling as though she'd been violated all over again. She choked back the impulse to vomit and wiped her brow with a handkerchief. The passenger across the aisle had taken notice of her fitful sleep and now smiled at Cathy/Charlotte. The look on her face sent a shiver down the man's spine. He returned to his book and didn’t look in her direction for the rest of the flight. He wanted no part of whatever had put that amount of evil into the woman across the aisle.