Song Parodies – Day 2

#The100dayProject

Sing the parody to the tune of the title song.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Healthcare, Healthcare, where are you?

One that covers me and you,

Not the kind that costs an arm,

Or only covers major harm,

Healthcare, Healthcare, where are you?

Universal – that will do

 

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean    

Their laundry lies over the footstool,

Their bedspreads lie onto the floor,

Their closet doors can’t even shut now,

So help me I’ve said it before.

Pick up, hang up, oh why is it never their job, their job,

Fold this, wash that, oh,

Help me before I implode.

 

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider  

The itsy-bitsy back pain climbed down the il-i-ac

Wham came the strain and wrenched the muscle back

Out came my feet and laid me outright flat

Now the mega-duty back pain 

Said, “How do you like that?”

 

Advertisements

The Honeymoon

True story…

It was a beautiful, crisp October morning in 1976 as Jim and I headed for Bayfield, Wisconsin, in my parents Buick on our honeymoon. We had just gotten married the night before. I was 20 and he was 26. We had met in February, hardly enough time to get to know each other very well. I was working at my first ‘real’ job at a clinic in Wayzata and Jim was a lab courier who dropped off lab results and picked up blood samples from our office. He was shy and quiet. We exchanged several nods and smiles before either of us spoke to one another. I started scheduling my breaks around the time he would arrive and eventually we started talking.  

Heading out of town Jim laughed and said, “Remember the day I first saw you and how I went back and told my boss, ‘I saw the girl I am going to marry today.’ He fist bumps my shoulder and laughs again, “I was right wasn’t I?” “Yup, you can’t get out of it now” and I leaned over to kiss his cheek. 

Taking the scenic route on Highway 8 we stopped in Taylor Falls at the road side rest area and sat on the rock railing overlooking the St. Croix valley and river below. The fall colors were magnificent, reds, yellows, oranges. The sun was bright, the air was slightly cool but it was a magical scene. Every breath of fresh air we took in was like a drug, and aphrodisiac maybe, making things seem more surreal, exaggerated, and more alive. We had someone take our picture, proudly telling anyone that would listen that we were on our honeymoon. Even the kisses shared on the rock ledge were sweeter in the cool sunlight, the anticipation was visible as we headed towards our destination.  

The night before we had celebrated until the wee hours of the morning. Our wedding had been a small church wedding followed by a party in my parents’ basement in Dayton, Minnesota. Because it was the hunting opener weekend, many of our guests had cake and coffee at the church and went home. The diehard partiers in my family celebrated while dancing to the oldies, drinking beer and whiskey at a makeshift bar and eating sloppy joes and beans made by neighbors and friends. By the time we left for home, several people had already found their place for the night hanging over an arm chair or splayed out on the couch. It was a familiar scene for me. My parents liked to party. Jim and I returned to our new apartment full of shower and wedding gifts and unpacked moving boxes. We had only the weekend to call our honeymoon and were anxious to get started in the morning.  

Once we hit Ashland, Wisconsin, we talked more seriously about what kind of place we should spend the night at. We had heard the motels in Bayfield had awesome views and since we were only staying one night we felt the urge to splurge. A pool would be nice. A great restaurant would be good, too. We had not noticed, however, that the motels and hotels we were passing along the way all said “no vacancy.”

The sunset over Lake Superior was mesmerizing. The colors of the leaves, tipped with fading sunshine mirrored off the water, created a picture impressed in my mind I never wanted to forget. Holding hands, we walked along the streets of Bayfield towards the water as the sun went down. It was at the Bayfield Inn, crowded with people, large parties of them waiting to be seated for dinner, where we learned the bad news. This was the weekend of the annual Apple Festival in Bayfield, Wisconsin. It was a huge event. The main street and sidewalks had been full with vendors selling their crafts and art all day and now that the sun was setting they were relaxing in the bars and having dinner. Tomorrow they would do it all again. The bartender told us we would be lucky to find a place to sleep within a 100 miles of Bayfield.  

As the dream of a honeymoon night in Bayfield started to deflate like a punched balloon, so did my spirits. Having just come off weeks of planning a wedding, starting a new job, finding an apartment, and trying to stay calm, I was irritated that Jim did not know about the Apple Festival. Every Bride’s magazine I had read since April listed the honeymoon as the man’s responsibility. It seemed common knowledge to me. He should have known that we would need a reservation. Traveling all this way and having nowhere to sleep was not my idea of a honeymoon and I told him so. As always in his quiet, reassuring way, he would pat my knee, then squeeze it firmly in the spot where he knew it would tickle and make me laugh. My laughing was how he knew I really wasn’t mad at him. 

It was dark when we left Bayfield, headed towards Duluth on Highway 13, along the shores of Lake Superior. Surely there must be one room left somewhere, it didn’t need to be fancy at this point. We passed through the small towns of Cornucopia, Herbster, Port Wing…. no luck. Everything said “no vacancy.” In Duluth, still passing “no vacancy signs” we made the decision to drive north on Highway 61. Jim’s family had visited the North Shore often as a kid and he remembered there being a lot of small little log cabins along the shore; maybe we could stay in one of them though by now it was getting pretty late to check in anywhere. I was tired and crabby. We talked about sleeping in the car at a rest stop. All I could hear was my mother saying when we got home, “You did what?”   

The scenic spots sped past, Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock, Beaver Bay, ghosts in the night except for their respective signs. When we reached Silver Bay, our car needed gas. We stopped at a filling station, turned the car off, and Jim took my hand. “I don’t know what else we can do,” he said. “It’s already after midnight, we may as well just sleep in the car. You can have the blanket and sleep in the back seat. I will stay awake and keep warming the car up so you don’t get cold.” Our honeymoon, in a car, in the Mobil gas station parking lot. How romantic. What a story this would be.  

Jim filled up the car and went inside to pay for the gas. I sat in the car waiting, thinking about our situation. Here we were, newly married, on our honeymoon, with no where to spend the night. After having been sitting in this car now for 10 hours, the thought of sleeping in it made me furious. I also thought about the cops driving by, checking our license plates, shining their big flashlight into the steamed windows thinking they’d caught some teenage lovers. How embarrassing for us and how comical for the police to discover me lying in the back seat, Jim in the front, both sleeping from the exhaustion of being married for just over 24 hours.  

When Jim finally returned from paying for our gas, he got into the car smiling sheepishly. He handed me a piece of paper with some directions on it. He said he told the cashier woman about our plight and how we were going to sleep in the car but she insisted on calling some resorts in the area to see if they had a cancellation for us. When she got no answer she called her husband. The piece of paper Jim had handed me were the directions to the Silver Bay Baptist Church. We were to drive to the church and the woman’s husband would meet us there and let us in. At least we would be warm, she said, but she also said we had to be out of the church by 7:30 am because that was when it opened for Sunday services.  

I looked at Jim, and then down at the directions. They said take 61 to Outer Drive and turn left, go to Edison Boulevard, turn left. On Law Drive, take a right. Silver Bay Baptist Church would be on the right. I looked at him again. “What?” he chuckled, “at least we aren’t in the car.” I gave a long sigh, closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the headrest.  

When we arrived at the church, a man met us in the parking lot. He had obviously been dragged out of bed by his wife’s phone call, hair sticking out from his cap, sockless feet shoved into his slippers. We grabbed a sleeping bag that was in the trunk, presumably leftover from a family camping trip, and he let us into the church. He directed us to the nursery. His wife had told him to tell us it was the only room in the church with carpeting. He showed us where the bathrooms were and how to shut out the lights. He, too, reminded us that we needed to be gone by 7:30 so as not to meet any early church members arriving in the morning and then he left.  

The nursery was a small room. Four cribs hugged the walls, a small changing table filled with diapers and creams sat beside two rocking chairs and a small bucket of teething toys and stuffed animals. There were no windows. The floor was carpeted by a thin area rug. We opened the sleeping bag and we settled in on the floor. I used my purse as a pillow and Jim used his jacket. We discovered the small blanket from the car was not big enough for both of us as we tugged it back and forth affectionately. On our backs staring at the ceiling we held hands and started to laugh.  We laughed at how we had come to find ourselves here on this floor, laughed at how people would never believe us when we told the story. We laughed at the thought of us sleeping too late and parents dropping their babies off to find us sleeping together on the floor, like vagrants who let themselves in through an unlocked door. It was funny. Then again it was not funny. Sleeping on the floor in this house of God…in a nursery… was not the place to fool around, honeymoon or no honeymoon. While Jim chose to believe there wasn’t a God and this was just a room, I couldn’t help but think My God was in the room watching. And so we slept there, that is all. 

We awoke before 7 and gathered up our things. At the front door of the church we stopped to read a bulletin board showing announcements, old bulletins, and other church news. I felt that we should leave the church a thank you note for letting us stay the night. In this small town, I figured the news would have spread quickly from the woman at the gas station and her husband to others about us spending the night in the church. We left a $20 bill attached to the thank you note I had scribbled on the back of old bulletin. We locked the door and went out into the early morning sunshine. We took a picture of the church sign, further proof for the people who will not believe us when we get home. 

We got breakfast in a small family restaurant and talked about what we should do. We had planned to only stay one night in Bayfield and then return home to arrange our apartment and settle in. Driving away from Silver Bay, all of the hotels and inns we passed now showed “Vacancy.” All of them. We drove back to the sights we had missed the night before like Gooseberry and Split Rock. We spent the day near the water hiking, throwing rocks, and still laughing about the night before. The weather was gorgeous with lots of sunshine, cool autumn breeze, and the water was very cold as we dipped our feet in. We had driven past Lutsen earlier in the drive and we both decided that would be a great place to end the weekend. If we could afford the price, we would stay another night and drive home early Monday. We could do our unpacking anytime.  

Checking into Lutsen, we discovered the price of staying in the main lodge was prohibitive but we paid for a night in one of their many chalets and came back to the main house for an expensive dinner and a drink. It was our first dinner of this kind for us as a couple, white tablecloths, burning candles, too many forks and spoons, waiters with red towels draped over their arms. Certainly I had dined this way with my parents before but I had never seen the bill.  We looked at the menu, trying to decide what to order, what we might share, and if the wine was necessary at $3 a glass.  We ended up throwing caution to the wind as we ordered what we wanted, drinks too, and even dessert. We were finally honeymooning like adults, painting a deceptive scene like we were rich newlyweds who could afford to stay at this high end resort after their extravagant wedding and reception back home and who would probably soon be off to Belize. We, on the other hand, were dumbfounded by the amount of the bill. We paid for it out of the rest of our wedding money, but we both knew that meant our rent would be short or paid late. This practice of robbing Peter to pay Paul would last throughout our marriage as we always had more month left at the end of our money.

We headed home the next morning to parents who were already thinking this marriage would not last, but we were high on the love we had for each other. The Kenny Loggins, “Danny’s song”, was OUR song. “We were the lucky ones. We were just beginning. Even though we ain’t got money, I’m still in love with you honey, everything was gonna be all right.”  This would be our mantra.

 

 

Clyde

I was enjoying my third cup of coffee Monday morning when Detective Hal Tomkins entered my store. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him my name was Clyde, the owner of the shop. He started asking questions about a girl and handed me a picture.

“Have you ever seen her, the detective asked me. “Her name is Sandra Moreland.”

I leaned against one of the jewelry cases and looked at the small wallet-sized school picture. Nervously, I turned it over to see the back, and then turned back to the picture again. The girl had an unruly head of red hair, long dangling earrings and wasn’t smiling. If it wasn’t for the red hair I probably wouldn’t have recognized her.

“That name doesn’t sound familiar”.  I handed the picture back to him and said, “But I think I did see her in my store last week with a man and another woman.”

“Really? Did they buy anything?” the detective asked not looking up from an old comic book.

“Actually, no”, I sighed. “The man seemed interested in the jewelry but that girl in your picture started acting really strange and ran out of the door. She knocked over a lamp on her way out. The guy and the other lady left then, too.  I do get some weird ones in here sometimes with the bar right next door.”

“Had they been in your store before that day?” the detective asked. “No, I don’t believe so”, I said shaking my head and nervously straightening some old doilies in a basket. 

I had decided not tell the detective about the locket I found on the floor that day while picking up the lamp. It was on a long gold chain and looked very old, possibly Victorian. Neither woman had been wearing it so it must have dropped from one of their pockets. I had put the locket in the jewelry case until I could look up how much it could be worth. Now while talking to Detective Tomkins I remembered I never did.

The detective walked over towards me and asked, “So was that the only time you ever saw Sandra?”

Clearing my throat I said, “Well, I might have seen her Saturday night when I was locking up.”

“How did you know it was Sandra? Was she alone?” he asked as he walked to the front windows and stood there, looking left and then right down the main street sidewalk.

I told him she had been alone. She walked past my store with her head down, red hair sticking out from her hoodie, looking at her phone.

I went to the stand beside the detective hoping he would forget he asked me two questions.

He turned to me, “Did you talk with her, ask her where she was going?”

Surprised, I said quickly, “No, sir, I didn’t talk to her, I don’t think she even saw me.”

The detective seemed to let that thought sink in before he asked me, “What time did you say you closed up Saturday night?”

I stared at the ceiling trying to avoid looking at him. “Let’s see, after locking up the cash drawer I shut off the ceiling lights and set the security alarm. I left out the front door and locked it behind me like I always do. I’m sure I was home by 11:05. But, hey, why all the questions? Has something happened to this Sandra girl?”

Detective Tomkins walked around my store, making notes on his pad, then he stopped, the tip of his pen tapping on the jewelry case. He looked down into the case shaking his head slowly. My body froze when I realized he had probably spotted the gold locket. Suddenly he stood up straight, adjusted his glasses and came to stand directly in front of me. “We are not sure if Sandra is okay or not. She is missing” the detective said putting his note pad and pen back into his shirt pocket. He handed me his card. “If you happen to remember anything else that might be helpful please call me.” He put his hand out and we shook hands. Before he walked out, he turned and asked me if any of the jewelry in my case was valuable. I gave a slight chuckle and said, “I wish.”

I put his card near the cash drawer and watched from the window as he drove off in his dark sedan. For the rest of the day I thought about why the detective thought Sandra had been in my store. I also wondered if he thought I had been the last one to see her.

The next morning I arrived at my shop later than usual. When I turned the corner onto Main Street and looked towards my shop I noticed a tall man leaning against my door. My first thought had been the detective was back but I didn’t see his sedan anywhere on the street. I parked my car in front of the shop and grabbed my lunch from the backseat. When the man saw me approaching he quickly threw his burning cigarette out to the sidewalk, blowing the inhaled smoke into air. Seeing it wasn’t the detective I extended my hand and introduced myself as Clyde, the store owner, but he did not reciprocate his hand nor offer his name. As he moved aside so that I could unlock the door, his reflection in the glass revealed him watching me closely. I entered the store while he waited outside watching me as I approached the loudly beeping alarm. I fumbled with the little key, trying several times to turn it off. For some reason this man watching me made me nervous.  I waved him inside and said, “have a look around the shop”. He went straight to the jewelry case as if he had been here before. I went to the checkout counter and put away my coat and hat. I unlocked my empty cash drawer making a note my revolver was still there. I glanced at the light on the phone, no calls or messages. I noted the desk clock said 11:23. The man was still standing by the jewelry case when I went to pull up the blinds. The store filled with winter sunshine from the large front windows. I made my way to where the man was stooped down in front of the jewelry case and I turned on the display light.

“See anything you like?” I asked.

Without speaking the man tapped his large gold ring on the glass pointing towards the gold locket, the very one I thought Sandra might have dropped.

“Nice choice,” I said, “is it for someone special?”

He made no reply.

I unlocked the case and carefully handed him the chain and locket. There was no price tag because I had forgotten to look into a price. From his pocket he produced a jeweler’s magnifier and inspected the locket and the chain carefully. He held up the chain to the light letting the locket swing back and forth. In the sunlight the locket sent arcs of light onto the walls of the store like dancing diamons. I studied the man while he was distracted. He was about my age, broad shoulders filling out his dated 2 button suitcoat.  A graying hairline peeked out from under his fedora, his gray moustache was in need of a trim. The locket looked very small in this man’s hand as he studied the back of the locket. In the quietness of the store, I heard the wind blowing outside, I could see swirls of dusty snow whirlpool at the front door. As I was thinking I need to put some salt on the sidewalk, he finally spoke, “I’ll take it.”

Damn it.

“Don’t you want to know the price first?”

“I’ll take it,” he said again.

“The price of that locket is $2400”, I said, surprising myself, since I had no idea what the thing was worth, or for that matter, who it even belonged to. I figured $2400 sounded steep enough to discourage this potential buyer until I could investigate the locket further.

“I’ll take it,” this time sounding annoyed. I mentally kicked myself for not quoting him more.

“Is this a gift? Would you like me to gift wrap it?”

“No,” he said clearing his throat and sighing loudly.

I took the chain and locket from his hand and asked him to follow me to the cashier counter. Over my shoulder I asked, “Will you be paying..”

“Cash,” he said cutting my off.

With my back towards him at the counter I quickly looked on the back of the locket and using my magnifier saw the inscribed initials S.A.M. Quickly, I opened the locket to look inside. A very small piece of yellow paper fell out and I quickly brushed it aside.  As I turned back around the man had his wallet out and had meticulously laid out 24 crisp one hundred dollar bills straight across the counter in front of me.  I couldn’t help to notice that his wallet still quite thick. I picked up the money quickly and stuffed it in the cash drawer forgetting to make a receipt. The man sighed heavily again as I wrapped the locket in tissue paper, put it inside a small box and then in a small bag. Handing it to the man I added, “Thank you for your business, sir. I hope she enjoys it.”

He quickly grabbed the bag and rushed out the door. I hurried to the window to see him walking briskly down the sidewalk before entering the bar next door. The cigarette butt he threw to the ground earlier was still smoking on the snowy sidewalk. “Have a nice day, jerk.” I said under my breath. I went to the cash drawer and removed the $100 bills and smelled them. I love the smell of money. I licked my fingers counting them like a teller making sure there were 24, hoping there were more.  I put the bills in my wallet, the extra weight feeling good in my back pocket. On the counter next to the detective’s card, I noticed the small piece of paper that had fallen out of the locket. Opening it, two thick black words glared from the yellow square, “HELP ME”.  Feeling lightheaded and nauseous, I grabbed my gun from the cash draw, hung the “closed” sign and left the store. I got into my cold car and drove away from the store with only one question on my mind, Help who?

 

Targeted

Max ↘ One of 5 characters in “Targeted”

Max felt disoriented, his thoughts shifting quickly from feeling sick to being dead, images swam together like a rolling angry sea in his brain making him nauseous. As the headache started in his left temple he willed the war memories not to come again that would pound his brain like bullets. In the next instant his sick fog was broken by a jolt of adrenaline and panic. He kept his body perfectly still, stopped breathing and listened. He knew this feeling well, this warning in the darkness alerting him he was in danger. He knew without opening his eyes he was again captured, confined in a small space.  Feeling faint he took in a weak breath and slowly let it out while listening for the breathing of his comrade. Not hearing anything near him, Max  slowly moved his hand down to touch Rudy. The second his hand touched the brick his mind exploded and he flung both his arms out into the darkness sweeping them back and forth hoping to contact something he was familiar with.  He struggled to gain sight and clarity in the darkness. Losing his balance he fell backwards into the cold brick wall behind him sending a zinging shooting pain through his shoulders and head. Where did the cage go he wondered wildly? Before passing out, Max screamed for Rudy to save him.

Max and Rudy had served together in the Gulf War, pilots with the US Army. Their AH-1 Cobra helicopter had been shot down in January 1991 in Saudi Arabia. They survived the crash and did the best they could to manage their injuries. They wandered through thick brush with insects covering their burn wounds like moss. For six long days they wandered aimlessly, sweating profusely from the heat and fever while fighting to keep themselves upright and awake. When their enemy eventually found them Max and Rudy foolishly thought about food and water. However, instead they were blindfolded, gagged and dragged behind jeeps for what seemed like miles to a remote secluded camp. For 146 days they sat side by side in a square steel dog kennel barely big enough for the two of them. The metal cage was rusty with jagged points that caught their hair and cut their skin with any movement. The two of them struggled to find their own space in the small cage. Rudy was Max’s superior officer but in the cage they were just prisoners. Rudy apologized over and over to Max taking the blame for their situation. He promised Max he would make it right if they ever got home. Rudy spent many nights trying to understand why the US Army had not come back for them yet. He tried to convince Max they were close to being rescued and keep his spirits up. Rudy didn’t have much hope for his own life but he wanted Max to see his family again. The two soldiers spent day after day talking about the reunion with their families and discussed plans for their escape. But when the disappointment of another day overtook them they dozed off with their bodies intertwined like a couple in love who can’t get close enough. They found this approach relieved the cramping in their arms and legs, if only for a while.

Every morning when they woke up, they could watch the enemy go about their day, making a fire, eating their meals, sometimes all of them leaving the camp for hours. At least twice a day the enemy would come to the cage to point and laugh at Max and Rudy. It took some Houdini maneuvering and most of the day to get themselves facing with their backs towards the door. This helped to not have to look at the other cages which stood nearby with other prisoners who did not survive. Their bodies laid one on top of the other rotting in the swelling heat. Max and Rudy presumed the bodies were of other soldiers though their clothing had been removed. Staring at the pile of white rotting skin proved too much for Max and that is why Rudy suggested they turn towards the back of their cage. Between the decaying body smell, hundreds of biting flies, and their own odor and excrement, they often talked about how they might kill themselves before help arrived; sometimes joking about who could kill who first and how. Their captors gave them dirty drinking water sparingly and leftover food the enemy might have cooked over an open fire days before, which was usually charred black, cold and moldy. After many days of fasting, refusing to believe they would not be rescued in a few hours, their hunger took over their thoughts of rescue and they started to pick at the moldy food choosing to eat the bits they thought might not kill them. Many other hungry insects and vermin were more than happy to eat what they did not, even biting at the soldier’s hands and feet if they were within reach. There came a point where Max was unable to tolerate the daily attacks from the rats and became increasingly paranoid that the rats were going to kill him. Every time a rat would appear Max would scream and push his body closer to Rudy, sometimes so hard the cage would lift off the floor on one end. The screaming would go on for hours until Max fell quiet from exhaustion. As Max slept he sometimes heard Rudy’s voice telling him it was going to be okay, it would be okay.  Max never recovered from his memories in the cage. Even after help arrived and he was being pulled from the cage by his US Marines, his mind never left the cage or his comrade Rudy, who did not survive. 

(to be continued)