Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Keg on Skate

Six fellows had been enjoying mugs of beer on a Saturday night. Money had been collected, a keg of inexpensive beer had been purchased and the contents were being imbibed. A mild commotion made itself known nearby and the good natured fellows went to correct the disruption. They were very capable, these ones. Well, five of them at least. The sixth, being of slight build, was charged with transporting the keg to the next locale instead of intermingling with a potential scuffle. The group disbanded and the sole waif refreshed his mug before taking on his transport mission.

He hefted the keg, still three quarters full of precious gold carbonated liquid, and moved it out the front door to the tiny porch. Really tiny, the porch was no more than a three-foot by three-foot square of raised concrete intended as a point of demarcation from the apartment complex’s concrete walkway. He grabbed his skateboard, lifted the keg onto the skate and was on his way.

The rendezvous locale was three blocks away and he would travel without his muscled escort. The neighborhood was not one of violence, but at this hour on a Saturday night in a quadrant of highly populated dilapidated apartments occupied by students in the city of Isla Vista, immediately adjacent to the university campus of Santa Barbara, there may be opportunists of unsavory intent. With that thought lightly weighing on his mind he quickly put his concerns to rest. ‘It’s just three blocks. What’s that, five minutes? Here I go.’

He felt like a king in charge of this whole keg while on a skateboard. Covetous looks were showered upon him from student-aged pedestrians. He pompously pretended to be oblivious, but enjoyed the attention.

One might think that a keg of beer, a full-sized keg, not one of those diminutive pony kegs that could be easily lifted as if conducting a set of arm curls, this full barrel, one’s first impression, might be that an awkward ride was to commence. Not so. He quickly discovered a keg on the skateboard was an amazingly effective stabilizer! The added weight allowed the skate to hug the ground without so much as a jolt when rolling over each sidewalk crack, twigs or small stones. Debris that might otherwise present a possible err was to be overcome without hesitation. Turning was also vastly enhanced. The keg easily overhung each side of the skateboard such that effecting a left or right turn was easily performed by a mere leaning on one side of the keg or the other. Smooth sailing, in sea-faring parlance.

First block down, he’d be pulling off cups of beer in no time. So elated at the ease with which this perceived difficult task had turned that he noticed not a wit that the next block was rather dark. And when I narrate that it was dark, the street lights were mostly inoperable or had been actively disabled. Ominous one might say.

The corner turned, no cars, pedestrians or other skateboards. It was entirely clear, nothing but the pleasant sounds of his skateboard tooling elegantly down the street with a prize possession in his entire care, custody and control. Except, of course, for the house on the right with a fire pit in the front yard and a balcony loaded with eight rabble-rousers. The sound of the skateboard regrettably won their attention and the rowdies got eerily quiet while heavy metal music continued to wail from the stereo system. Waif looked toward the house, all rowdies were looking at him. No words spoken, eyes locked, mental motion began to spin. The rabble rousers huddled hastily and hushed tones were eagerly exchanged. Waif was a silly fellow, but not a dumb one. He recognized that this might be a good time to expedite his arrival time.

The street was smooth as if recently paved. This allowed him to confidently increase his rate of speed without a significant corresponding chance of a wipe out. While the rowdies expended precious moments deciding on their course of action, he did not need confirmation, he knew the decision, only not how long by which the result would be accepted widely enough to set their plan in force.

The home was deeply set back from the street so the rowdies, already appreciating inebriating effects to their motor skills, wasted additional time fighting their way downstairs and picking out their bicycles from the haphazard scrum of two-wheeled vehicles on the front lawn. Isla Vista is a land of self-propulsion devices necessitated by the expansive university campus. Bicycles were possessed by most as the choice vehicle of self-propulsion. Waif, as we see here, however, chose a skateboard. He was a block away from the destination where he hoped reinforcements would be present, but this hope would be rendered futile if he did not first get there.

He was traveling well, if at a reckless pace by now, when he heard the cluster of rabble rousers hit the streets. His lead was 100 feet and they would close quickly. Less than half a block away he saw the driveway, his goal was within sight. He was skating at full speed as the luxury of safety no longer intersected with his circumstances. A pothole would easily spill him and the barrel of beer harshly across the asphalt. That risk he accepted knowing this to be a game of all or nothing. They were too fast, he could hear their breathing! The cat-calling started, “Hey, we just want a refill, fill up our cups and we’ll leave you alone.”

The muscled reinforcements, oblivious to the brewing confrontation, in a beautiful gift of timing, walked out from the driveway awaiting the arrival of the keg. It was the five from the onset. They’d completed their brief task, traveled to this locale and were ready to reengage the keg.

The skateboard pulled into the driveway as the rowdies rode by with parting wicked remarks. The reinforcements laughed immediately realizing that waif had been in a race for his proverbial life and emerged unscathed by the thinnest of margins. A brief breath catcher, and a refill. Those next few sips were very sweet, much sweeter and tastier than if there had been no chase.

[Inspired by a true life event circa 1990 up to and including the rabble-rousers on the balcony, except for the chase.]

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Test Tubes

It was Kilroy’s first day reporting to work and he was more than eager. As a recent science graduate of a prestigious university he was in awesome spirits having attained employment at a laboratory. The office handed him a key, provided the lab room number and he was sent off to begin his work. He was employed as the test tube cleaner! He was seeking more elevated permanent employment than this, but it would do while that search continued. The lab room was located and he confirmed the number match on the key. ‘This is it. I go,’ he played out in his head. The door opened, he stepped in.

‘Oh shit,’ he said in his head, immediately regretful of the harsh tone in his thoughts. This was a full-sized 2,000 sq. ft. laboratory stacked with innumerable crates of test tubes. Well, sure, not exactly innumerable, but there were very many, more than he had imagined possible awaiting his arrival. The chemical odor from the dirty tubes was strong and the air still. The window blinds were in disorder casting an irregular louvered effect on his vast uncleansed inventory with the early morning light. The tables, desks, aisles and most surface area contained bins and cases of spent tubes. Clearly these tubes had been waiting months for him, or anyone, to clean them and release them back into circulation. But holy cow, the mass quantities were difficult to accept.

Just then a knock at the door! A greeting party? An introduction to the task at hand and how best to proceed? With a hopeful stride he returned to the door and opened with a smile.

Hi, I’m a scientist in the lab next door. I heard a test tube-cleaning monkey had been hired, looks like you’re it. I’ve got this dolly full of dirty tubes for you. I know a few other labs have been holding their dirties because this room has been full for a while. They’ll probably bring them by soon. Thanks.” The scientist departed without hesitation and took the dolly leaving the carts of tubes outside for Kilroy’s manual effort. No introduction, no solicitation at all for the ‘monkey’s’ input. The final indignity had been delivered.

Kilroy was a guy accustomed to getting things done, monkey or human. The load was hauled in, he locked the door behind him, donned his gloves and goggles and got started. Monkey, he thought to himself. The local lab boners had underestimated this one and it fueled his rage. Two hours passed, it was nearing lunch with no visible progress. Positive visual effects were still days away. Another knock at the door, “Hey, I’ve got more test tubes for you. I was told someone was here. Are you in there?” ‘Screw them,’ thought Kilroy, ‘this monkey’s busy right now.’ The knock at the door was ignored.

Day two, he arrived to two additional dirty test tube deliveries. Eight hours into this job and he was deeper in the hole than if he had not started at all. The tubes were hauled inside then he unpacked his backpack. A CD-player loaded with a compact disc of Pink Floyd was turned on to lighten the mood and would be followed by Rush, King Crimson or Blue Oyster Cult depending what was needed at the time. He locked the door, again donned his Personal Protection Equipment and knuckled down. Kilroy had things to do and they would get done.

At the end of day two the number of cleans trickled in to fill several crates registering as the tiniest of victories. He would win this battle, but wow, how long? And how tedious?

By day three the cleaning protocol was in full swing. Dirty tubes were introduced en masse to the presoak. While the new batch soaked the prior batch of tubes were removed and forwarded to the test tube washing machine. Tubes in the next phase progressed from the drying rack to the autoclave for sterilizing. Test tube caps were cleaned, sterilized and dried, then matched with clean tubes. These finished tubes were proudly packed in the crates and placed by the door for pick up.

The lab room and its related duties had been under Kilroy’s reign for two weeks now. There had been no further ‘monkey’ references by the lab workers. They sensed that this one was powerful, a catalyst. Crates of clean tubes had been rolling out in impressive and efficient quantities. The quality was above reproach and a corresponding respect had stirred in the air.

It took two months before the inventory of dirty tube had been extinguished in their entirety. His work, this miserable task, had concluded. The blinds were uniformly drawn closed, the lights turned out and the door locked. A scientist looking through the window saw Kilroy departing. “There he goes,” he said to nobody in particular. Kilroy walked away in triumph continuing the search for more meaningful employment. It would be found and they’d be lucky to have him.

[Inspired by a job my brother had for a brief period of time many years ago.]

Friday, December 29, 2017

Air Raid

Germany, 1944 in the late fall

The air raid sirens broke the peaceful silence of the cold cloudy night. For the third time this month momma was frantically bounding around the house getting the kids out of bed to go to the bomb shelter. Willy, the oldest, was not having any of it and remained steadfast calmly lying in bed.

“Willy, get up, we’ve got to go to the bomb shelter. Don’t you hear the sirens?”

“No, I’m not going tonight. I’m staying in bed.”

At ten years old he was the oldest of five children and was wildly more mature than his years. Growing up in World War II Germany would do that to a kid. The first time the air raid sirens went off was four months ago and it was very frightening causing the kids to scream and cry. By now the frequency of the siren brought a more mundane nuisance aspect to the bombing that is difficult to comprehend in peace time. Mother and the kids hopped to action, but not Willy, at least not tonight.

“Willy, we need to go now! We’ve got to go! Get out of bed, your brothers and sisters need you.”

“Momma, I’m not going. It’s cold tonight and I finally got this bed nice and warm, I’m not getting out. You go ahead, I’ll be fine.” He was stubborn, but as the oldest he was not to be trifled with.

The arguing carried on for only two minutes as she called out to the other four to get ready. She couldn’t continue expending valuable time on him any longer knowing it would be to no avail. The others were up and had their jackets as the protocol was by now ingrained in their young minds, and away they went running to the neighborhood shelter. Willy remained behind cool as a cucumber having secured this one-time reprieve.

The bomb shelter was tight, cold, dank and filled with neighbors. Huddled up in close confines for two hours breathing air that rapidly became more stale was a miserable experience, but they were safe with the sky full of Allied bombers. The Americans usually bombed during the day with their B-17s. A nighttime raid, Willy figured correctly, would be the British Lancasters. This raid would be conducted with a relatively light 80 bombers, a bomber sortie could easily consist of 150 or more. Tonight’s bombers were not loaded with the white phosphorus incendiary bombs that would soon eliminate Dresden. These aircraft each carried 14,000 pounds of general purpose bombs with a mix of delay fuses and instantaneous [nose-armed]. This was the bomb load specific to carpet-bombing an industrial target, as in tonight’s case, a city playing host to factories and many miles of railway.

Within ten minutes of his mother’s departure the skyward rumble could be heard along with the ‘ack ack’ of the German anti-aircraft guns. The explosions of the bombs were distant but their result was easily felt this far away. Willy lay in bed more upset at the nuisance and commotion than scared of a direct hit. Living through war since one’s earliest memories will alter that sentiment regarding the possibility of dying. When death seems ever present its ability to cause fright is diluted. War is hell, people are apt to say. Empty words, those, when delivered by someone who hasn’t lived it.

The explosions were steady and far enough away where the rumble yielded a soothing effect while he lay in bed. Industrial buildings and railway infrastructure were being decimated along with innumerable homes and citizens. An hour passed, the bombers passed, the fire fighting and emergency brigades were at work. Momma and the kids returned safely, tossed their jackets on the sofa and checked on their big brother. He had rolled over on his belly and was sound asleep!

[Inspired by Opa’s real life events.] 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ant Moat

It was a land of miniature ants. Sure, such beasts are already minute, but these guys, these ants, were tinier than most. And quick, oh they were fast on those six sets of tiny ‘toes’. That, then, sets the stage for this trip to the Bahamas.

The waifish fellow was on vacation with his lovely fiancée. How he got her to commit to marriage was a question for which he was never fully sure he could answer, though grandly thankful he was. He tasked himself to suppress the surprise every time he thought of the forthcoming marital vows. But I digress. This fellow had a silly inclination of pilferage, as it pertained to food. An inclination is, admittedly, too delicate a term. A driving compulsion, however, was speaking in the proper measure.

The two were enjoying an all expenses paid vacation. Dining was at no additional charge regardless of how much he could stuff down his gullet. As each meal neared conclusion he would take his tertiary perusal of the food quadrants and scout out his pilferage options. Upon meal conclusion he made his final swoop, secured the chosen items, carefully wrapped them in a napkin and the two young beauties left the dining area. Returning to the room the food was placed on the countertop. They changed into their swim trunks and stepped out for a beachside read and swim. The weather was truly delightful.

Nearly two hours elapsed. They returned to the room where they promptly opened the window to soak in the sea breeze, turned on the ceiling fan, and she turned on the television to watch the baseball game. The month was October and her favorite ball team, the Cleveland Indians, was in the playoffs facing the Baltimore Orioles. She desperately hoped for an Indians’ victory and hopped on the bed hugging a pillow to watch the ballgame. She was always exquisite in her nervous pre-game jitters. Meanwhile, his top priority, check on the pilfered grub.

He was alarmed at the activity taking place where the food had been set. It resembled the surface of a fast moving river. Bending his torso closer to the countertop he saw that the motion was a sea of ants! Oh, so tiny. And fast, they moved so fast that he quickly stood up straight to put some distance between him and them. Despite the fright he successfully stifled a squeal of alarm. The ants had commandeered his two cookies, one of which he claimed was for his fiancée, but there existed vast amounts of doubt as to whether she would have actually received the cookie instead of him gluttonously consuming both.

Defeat, dammit! While the food acquisition had been a success, his care, custody and control had failed outright. He grabbed two squares of toilet paper, opened the front door, quickly snared the ant-laden cookies, and forthwith efficiently hurled them into a nearby garbage bin in the courtyard. He cleaned the countertop of intruders to the best of his ability and returned to watch the ball game. He sulked in silence and pondered the next day’s pilferage effort.

They awakened to another glorious day of light blue skies, two puffy pure white clouds and more limitless servings of food. They spent the morning with a several-mile beach walk, farther than he had anticipated but there was no stopping her. At lunch he again made his tertiary scouting trip to review the daily changing meals and dessert options. He found what he wanted, wrapped the items in a napkin and the two young beauties returned to their room where they would change into their swim trunks so that they might prance upon the beach. Late in the afternoon they would return to their room to throw open the windows to enjoy the sea breeze and watch his fiancée’s Cleveland Indians’ playoff baseball game. But first, he must administer care for his pilfered goods.

Twenty fours hours had passed since his last engagement with the ants. It was time well spent thinking through a crafty rebuttal. He started with a rectangular plastic tray. It was the size of a small tv tray with a short lip circumnavigating the entire perimeter. He filled a plastic cup with water and emptied it into the tray. ‘That’s a good start’ he thought and did it again. The tray was now a reservoir. He placed the unused ice bucket into the middle of the tray. His treasured food items, still wrapped in the napkin, were placed into the bucket, and the lid was then added as a final touch. A moat, an ant moat, this should work. Pleased with his work, he changed into his swim trunks and they engaged the beach and the sea.

Nearly two hours elapsed, they returned to the room, opened the window allowing in the wonderful sea breeze. She turned on the ceiling fun and ballgame, then hopped on the bed smiling with her pre-game jitters and got ready for the game’s broadcast. Her every motion was irresistible to him.

Before changing into his leisure shorts he scoped out the food. His protocols were deemed a success as there were no ants! The ant moat had worked! He offered one of the jumbo chocolate chip cookies to his soon-to-be-bride and they watched the ball game cheering her Tribe to victory.

[Based on true events on a trip to the Bahamas in 1997.]

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Off Hand

“Oops, hey, could you hand me that,” he said so calmly with the impeccable, intentional pun. The fellow industrial employee, donning a clever set of overalls, had a stricken look on his face. He bent over to retrieve the item that had landed on the metal grate-like 3-foot narrow suspended walkway. The item was the first’s severed hand.

Picking it up by the thumb, the only part not twitching, he handed it up to his short-handed colleague. It was a large hand with a surprisingly clean cut. The first guy, Woodward, grabbed the hand, politely said, “Thanks” then promptly passed out.

In his collapse he inadvertently propelled the loose hand in a regrettable trajectory landing directly into the now operable industrial compactor. He had been doing regularly scheduled maintenance on the machine and had it working perfectly a few moments too soon. It resulted in the hand being lopped off. In his vast experience-induced overconfidence he had neglected to follow proper lock-in-tag-out safety protocol. [Remove the key to disable the machine before maintenance starts, then install key once completed to restore functionality.] He’d been doing this work for years and felt an unnatural connection with the machinery thinking they would never harm him. Oh well, he won’t do that again.

He was delivered quickly to the hospital. The factory’s loss control manager had called in advance and provided every detail before the medical staff could even ask. The manager, like Woodward, also had vast experience. This kind, however, yielded a cool head and he performed at the top of his game. This exquisite efficiency commingled with the fantastical odds of a recent hand donor on hand [well, the hand, at least, the donor having expired only hours before] had the medical staff immediately prepared for a hand transplant procedure upon the handless gentleman’s arrival.

Woodward was groggy, but well understood the grim circumstances and gravity of the doctor’s query.

“We have a hand, just by chance, ready to be installed. You’re in luck, it is a right hand like the one you’re missing. Would you like us to go forward with the procedure? We can start right away.”

“Yes, yes, please. Thank you, doctor,” came his effusive reply. And so the trouble commenced.

Woodward was a 42-year old 240-pound athletic male. The hand donor had been a 16-year old female of slight build. After the transplant his left and right hands did not match. The two were in visible and glaring opposition. His hairy right forearm met his cute little hairless right hand with a line of demarcation as abrupt and distinct as a colored map designating the borders between two countries.

The first few months after the transplant he would hardly leave the house, aside from his therapy sessions, out of fear of having to explain the embarrassingly dissimilar appendages. There was a professional liability lawsuit against the doctor, naturally, but this was mere background noise to him and his new reality. Eventually, though, he had to get on with his life. Go on, yes, but with modifications.

He stopped shaking hands when greeting people, although his closest pals would insist upon a shake, and frequently. He good naturedly abided the close friends, all others would be met with hand in pocket. He changed from being right-handed to left-handed and, boy, was his new writing atrociously sloppy. He now wore his watch on his left wrist so he’d not have to look at that hand or the bottleneck of the forearm matching up with the tiny effeminate hand. He stopped playing softball because his ineffectively diminutive new hand had difficulty grasping the softball and winging it accurately across the baseball diamond from third base with any velocity.

Driving was another source of frustration. It bothered him to see his hands at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel with the painful difference between the two. He came to prefer wearing gloves while driving, but glove wearing came with its own set of problems. One glove was always too tight or too loose depending on the hand. The idea of buying two pairs of different sized gloves only to throw away one of each was even more infuriating.

Despite these mental drains there was some degree of upside to possessing a smaller hand. If he were to drop something in the car between the driver’s seat and center console, for example, the smaller right hand could more easily resolve the issue of fishing it out from the crevice. In the past this task had often rendered him, with his original pair of beefy hands, into an angry mess unsuccessfully trying to work his large hands into tight confines to no affect. Present day, a mere inconvenience with his slender right hand reaching the target without difficulty.

The one precious development was his infant daughter’s reaction to the new hand. She was in middle school and getting to be a ‘big girl.’ She wanted her independence and the days had become scarce when she willingly held Woodward’s hand walking to school. Since the hand transplant, though, his daughter took a renewed interest. ‘Give me your girl hand,’ she’d often say matter of factly on their approach to the school’s entrance. She liked the smaller, more comfortable hand than his oversized male hand that nearly envelope her own. The ‘girl hand’ was softer and more her size. He would give away nearly anything to reverse the effects of the accident, but this recurring hand-holding allowance rejuvenated his spirits and provided a momentary reprieve from the anguish. He’d walk back to the car with both hands seeing the light of day, not thinking that the girl hand should be quickly shoved into his pocket where nobody could see.

He came to treat it different than the left. The left hand was his brute force or filth hand. It was employed for such tasks as opening a tight jar of pickles, using a thumb nail as a flat head screw driver or reaching in to clean out the rain gutters. The right was his precision hand called into duty to remove a splinter in the absence of tweezers or to retrieve the desired pickle from above mentioned pickle jar.

His right hand remained softer and more delicate through the balance of his days. The malpractice lawsuit against the doctor raged on. He got on with his life.

Monday, August 28, 2017


The family of four had spent a three-day weekend up the coast. Hiking the blooming hills in the morning then seaglassing on the beach in the afternoons had been the focus. The car was packed and they sought a meal before the four-hour trek home. It took not long to find the quaint little breakfast shop two blocks off the town’s main road.

They were seated near the front window, the bright Sunday morning sunlight shown like a spotlight on their table. The waitress provided menus and water then returned shortly afterwards to retrieve meal orders. As the four made chit chat about the weekends’ highlights, he noticed movement on the rim of the small white ceramic condiment bowl in the center of the table. It would have been the cutest little thing, given different circumstances, but here, now, it was an ominous beckoning. An inchworm, tiny and the most refreshing light green of a new lawn or of a mossy Irish landscape adjacent to a chilly waterfall. Its back inching up and down as it moved along the rim around the entire bowl. It was a trip destined to have no end but the worm did not know this. Nor did it know that it had been spotted. Nor, also, that it had spoiled the meal’s enjoyment for the fellow.

He observed the worm, knew not by what means the worm had come to this precarious position and its perpetual circular course. The guy had instantly made the decision that he would not consume the jellies in the inchworm’s bowl. Additionally, with the cloud of uncleanliness cast at the existence of the worm, he needed to decide on a more serious issue. Would he dare test the untidiness of the syrup dispensers? Laughable idea, of course not, he'd eat the soon-to-arrive pancakes dry.

The meal arrived, looked delicious, and he commenced consumption plain. Affirmative, a plate of three hot cakes eaten with nothing. The options of syrup, compote and jams were all unflinchingly negated.

“Don’t you want syrup,” asked his Sweet Pea.

Wanting not to spoil everyone else’s dining experience he said, “No thanks” making no reference to the worm. Although, he found it difficult to understand how nobody else had seen it. It was right there!

The son, sensing something was askew based on his father’s odd, though not unprecedented, behavior also opted to eat his pancakes dry.

“I don’t know what’s up with you two,” she said at a loss. From the son’s perspective, neither did he. The father, he loved his bride very much. This is the one that made his world a delight.

The breakfast was tasty, the weather was just right and the early stretch of the drive home would have an ocean view. Not too shabby, despite the worm.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Unlikely Saviors

They had come from the outer reaches of outer space. They were small, the aliens, not at all physically intimidating. They were hairless creatures of an attractive forest green wearing no clothing, nor ornamentation. They were distinguishable from one another by shapes, sizes, facial features and blemishes on their bare exposed bodies. The dimensions of full grown aliens ranged from the size of a four-foot tall child to as small as a one-foot stuffed doll. They looked harmless, benign and seemingly content like a child occupied with the task of consuming a large chocolate chip milk shake.

There had been an initial stage of human trepidation upon the aliens’ arrival with much discussion about what to do about them. Nearly a year, in fact, of heated discussion raged about whether or not to fight and eradicate the aliens from the earth. Discussion continued until their gift unto the human race. At the height of the human argumentation the aliens revealed a new clean energy technology that was far more efficient than the best technology known to man. That’s when all talk of their annihilation ceased. Well, there remained a few outliers still calling for caution, but their voices were largely drowned out. It was not until the U.S. Presidential gala that the aliens’ true intent came to light.

During the ceremony’s practice dress walk-through the aliens took action. With no outward show of anger, no words spoken, no weapons visibly employed, the vaporization commenced. Most humans present were vaporized, not all of them, not the president, but many people, most, in fact.

The offensive lasted less than a minute. The president remained unscathed, but his aids and security, and numerous elected officials had been unceremoniously dispatched. Nothing remained of them. It was a very clean attack! The president was alone and shaken. What could compete with this kind of firepower? What kind of weapon was capable of such destruction without even visible hardware of a weapon?

In total disbelief and feeling of defeat, the president sought a quiet place to collect himself. He wanted to be able to convey the proper demeanor and message when a TV announcement would ultimately be required. He opened a door into a small study, he just wanted to sit for a few minutes out of sight. The room had dark wood panels lining the walls, curtains were drawn shut, a single low wattage lamp was alit on an end table. Three cats were leisurely strung out on a chair and sofa. They were unconcerned about the commotion. They looked almost pleased, if such a creature is capable of experiencing pleasure.

An alien entered the room, closed the door behind itself and was about to communicate with the president. The president turned to face his aggressor just in time to see the nearest cat jump, land on the alien and consume it whole! Astonishing! It had been one of the four-foot tall aliens, the lead alien, and was consumed in its entirety in a matter of seconds. It seemed the aliens had no bones, tendons, or anything, apparently, requiring chewing. Their density was deceptively overstated much like chocolate covered marshmallows. The president was baffled. Also confused, but mostly ecstatic with this development. He wasn’t sure what would happen next, but he liked the possibilities. Being a man of action he opened the door and issued a single sweeping motion with his arm for the felines to exit the room. The three felines entered the banquet hall with the eagerness of grade-school humans being offered an endless supply of ice cream. The cats went to town, so to speak. They were ravenous and insatiable in their consumption of the aliens, equally as clean as the aliens’ prior vaporization attack.

The cats were more numerous now as the president reentered the banquet hall, possibly local feral cats or domestics from neighboring abodes. There were dozens of cats now racing about in a feeding frenzy. They must have been somehow immune to the vaporizing experienced by the distinguished humans. The aliens were fleeing but their effort was entirely unsuccessful as they were fully incapable of hustle.

A few people were now peeking out from behind drapes, overturned tables, a bartender was filming the action from behind the bar with her mobile phone held up high over the counter top to record the decimation. A television news report was being broadcast from Asia showing cats on the attack and aliens on the losing end of their retreat. Cats had saved the world!

[Based on a dream that was definitely inspired by my daughter’s fondness for cats.]