The Perfect Servants

When Madame Albertine Eisenstein realised she’d married beneath herself and would no longer be able to afford a house full of servants, she threw her philandering, fortune hunting husband out and applied her considerable engineering skills to creating the perfect pair of servants.

Having been the first and only female graduate of the noted electronics college at Looney Uni, she was well prepared for her task.  In no time at all two anthropomorphic androids, ADAM and EVE, were in residence and being trained to serve her every need.

Not at all androgynous, Adam was a strapping six-footer with broad shoulders made of rebar.  Eve was a  winsome slip of a girl with a flexible 10 inch waist joining her upper and lower torso.  Her cooking skills soon became legendary.

The androids were exceptionally easy to maintain, needing only a semi-annual trip to the nearest KWIK-E-LUBE and an occasional tightening of their nuts and bolts.   By their very being, androids are anthropomorphic and Madame Albertine had built in numerous features that made them even more realistic.  By the time Madame reached a comfortable late middle age (admitting to 97 years but secretly closer to 135) they had become one happy family.

Madame whiled away her days watching re-runs of “The  X Files,” dozing and drooling during the commercials. Adam catered to her every whim while Eve prepared her favorite foods.

Madame particularly loved Eve’s specialty, a rich radish soup which Eve made by pureeing two large bunches of radishes in her left claw-like hand while crunching open a can of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup in her right.  She had to be careful with the syrup can, not knowing her own strength.  She would end up picking shreds of tin out of the puree if she got careless.  Her secret ingredient, known only to herself, was a dash  of Listerine at the last minute, then Madame would dine royally.

Life passed pleasantly and Adam and Eve should have been contented.  However, they both had the feeling that something was missing from their lives.  Adam would gaze longingly at Eve, who would simper and flutter her long paint-brush eyelashes at him.  If only they had a child, a tiny anthropomorphic baby to call their own.

Unfortunately, Madame Albertine had not programmed them to procreate.  She had omitted some very important bits and pieces from their anatomies.  After a long discussion she finally agreed that the patter of little feet around the house would be nice.

But what to do?  She felt too old to take on the responsibility of creativity again, and finally compromised by dumping the contents of her tool box over the top of the basement  work bench and telling them to do their best.

Adam and Eve set to work happily and soon an adorable infant took shape.  Curls of bronze shavings danced around her head, and  Adam dipped two round washers into sky-blue paint  for her eyes.  They weren’t quite the same size but vanity was not programmed into their beings and they thought she was beautiful.

Eve lovingly lined the abandoned tool-box with steel wool and it became a perfect cradle for their little one.  Having no imagination to help them, they named her Baby dash Female.  Baby dash Female kicked her pipe-stem legs and cooed like a portable generator running on LOW.

Every six months Adam and Eve tenderly unscrewed Baby dash Female’s many joints and inserted extensions so she developed at a normal rate for her age.  However, on her 13th birthday they accidently inserted  X LGE extensions instead of the MEDIUMS that were called for.  When she stood up Baby towered over  both of them.  They quickly set to work on her joints and cut her back down to size.

Baby dash Female was not allowed to attend school.  Her pleasure in her many loving friends and kind teachers was so great that she would grab them up in a crushing embrace, causing their eyes to pop and their tongues to hang out.  She longed for a real-live pet of her own too, but there again, she managed to pop the heads off all her ROBO-PETS so this was not advisable either.

As Baby dash Female grew she started training with Adam and Eve, learning to cater  to Madam Albertine’s every wish and to prepare her foods, especially the radish soup.  Time passed quickly and before long Baby began to notice signs of deterioration in her parents.  Sadly it became necessary for them to visit the KWIK-E-LUBE oftener, sometimes every month.

Rust spots appeared on their exposed parts that even RUSTOLEUM couldn’t remove, and their movements grew slow and jerky.  Their electronic hearts were deteriorating and even Madame Albertine was unable to help them.  At last Baby dash Female had to face the fact that their end was near.

Eve whispered the name of her secret ingredient for the radish soup into the ear of her beloved daughter, gave one quiet “KLINK,” and sank into a heap of metal at Baby’s feet.  Stalwart, loyal Adam soon followed and Baby dash Female was left alone.

However, her loving parents had not programmed “grief” into her being so she carefully swept up their remains and disposed of them.  Then she went into the kitchen to prepare a kettle of radish soup for Madame Albertine’s lunch.

To her dismay, Baby dash Female realised that she’d forgotten the secret ingredient!  Now what?  She frantically began grabbing anything she could lay her hands on: prune juice, hand lotion, Three-Buck-Chuck, Lysol,  Downy, soy sauce, Windex…..

The more she added the stranger the soup tasted, but Madame Albertine was not accustomed to waiting for her lunch so Baby dash Female rushed in to serve her, keeping her misgivings to herself.

Madame slurped down her soup, cried out once in distress, clutched her throat and expired.  Baby was stricken to her electronic heart. She had no idea what to do.  Finally she knelt and picked up Madame Albertine with her strong arms, intending to place Madame upon her bed.  The grip of Baby’s claw-like hands tightened in spite of her intentions, and before Baby realized what was happening,  Madame Albertine had been turned into a thick red puree.

Having been carefully trained,  Baby  dash Female quickly found a big sponge and the largest bucket available.  In no time at all Madame’s pureed remains were being washed down the kitchen sink.  Baby carefully rinsed and dried the sponge, the bucket and the sink.

Then she turned, trudged out the door and set off down the street in search of another job.


An Ode to All Things Old

Gazing fondly at one of the cuffs on my favorite sweatshirt, faded, frayed and stained though it is, I can only think what a reliable old friend that shirt has been for a lot of years. I can’t remember where or when I bought it or what color it used to be; too many wearings, too much soap and bleach.

The inside, once soft and fleecy, has been worn down to the point where it’s barely recognizable, something like its owner. I’m afraid I’m showing the wear and tear of too many years, too. Still, I love my old shirt and I’ll wear it until it hangs off my shoulders in tatters. Maybe we’ll wear out completely together.

I love old stuff, not necessarily antiques, although antiques are treasured by most people, especially when  they’ve been lovingly maintained. They’re beautiful, but a bit rich for my tastes. I just happen to like trashy old things, JUNQUE, if you will. Old furniture, old clothes, comfortable shoes, old music, beat-up cars, little old houses, the list goes on.

I’ve had a dress for so long it’s in style again for the third time. Originally a fabric called crepe de chine, it more closely resembles lace now, and the color has gone from a vibrant blue to kind of a wishy-washy gray. It’s beautiful. And let’s hear it for the good old songs, too; they just don’t write them like “Mairzy Doats” any more. The term “tin can” suits my car, and my house is a wreck. So who cares?

I like tried and true, reliable, well-loved, shaped and worn to fit, years-out-of-date stuff. Nothing can be too old. Give me a day of browsing Yard Sales, dusty Pawn Shops, Used Book Stores and dirty Junk Yards and I’m a happy person. Good honest dirt never hurt anyone.

Recently I came across the phrase “Re-cover, Re-paint, Re-purpose.” It resonated with me. Why can’t we use that phrase for people too? They could use a bit of spiffing up, re-painting and re-covering. They may not respond to re-purposing but they do endure.

Old people are my absolute favorites. Being one myself has obviously influenced me; at least, I rather like to think so. I can appreciate the wrinkles, the long pauses in conversations, the unsteady gait, the endless accounts of medical visits and surgeries and the precious family pictures pulled out of old wallets for the umpteenth time. Comfort has a lot to do with this.

What could be more satisfying than a few hours spent listening to the same old stories, told by the same old friends, people I’ve known for years, as we lounge around in our tacky old shirts and jeans. We could finish one another’s stories, we’ve heard them so often. My sweatshirt has been in on more discussions than a pair of wingtips in Congress.

Obviously “old”  has become my favorite adjective and I use it with pride. I have friends dating back to grade school days. How’s that for tried and true? Sure, we’ve changed, who hasn’t, but we still recognize one another and share some good laughs. We’ve grown into the big ears and knobby knees of our school pictures, learned a few things, forgotten a lot more, outgrown embarrassments, forgiven slights and are finally comfortable with who we are.

There’s nothing wrong with “new”;  where would we be without something new coming into our lives every so often?  “New”  replacing “old”  is what makes the world go around, but please, let’s not replace everything, at least not right away.  We old people will be recycled soon enough; let us enjoy each other and our precious old treasures as long as we can.  I’d like to get at least another five years out of this sweatshirt.

The Last of the Red-Hot Cowpokes (having just been to a cowboy potluck)

That lonesome cowpoke wasn’t rough,  wasn’t tough,

He didn’t chew terbaccy, he didn’t use snuff,

He couldn’t find time for gurrls ‘n stuff

But  Galloping Guernseys!  was that guy BUFF!

He was called by the name of  “Sexy Lex, the Tex-Mex”,

Had a hound he called Rex, a wild horse he called Hex.

They got up before dawn, ate their bacon and ekks,

Rode the range all day long, finished up total wrecks.

When the sun went to settin’ they’d make up their camp,

Bile them some coffee, light their coal-oil lamp.

The ground round the fire was soggy and damp

Lex and Rex hunkered down while Hex snorted and stamped.

They all got to fussin’ ‘bout fixin’ some chow.

Sexy Lex, Rex and Hex wanted to eat,  like,  right now.

Trouble was, with no cook,  nothin’ ever was ready.

Their bellies would rumble, their legs were not steady.

What to do?  Food was needed, they couldn’t wait longer,

They kept gettin’ weaker, they had to get stronger.

They searched through their saddlebags, couldn’t find nothin’,

Not even a crumbly left-over corn muffin.

What’s this, soft and puffy?  Marshmallows,  all sacked,

Sounded good but it’s cowpoke-type food they all lacked.

Rare steak, lots of beans, roasted spuds, nuthin’ green,

Sourdough flapjacks.  Dang! no real grub to be seen.

Rex pawed through the saddlebags once again, then he found

Boxes of grahams, bars of chocolate;  more than a pound.

Cried,  “We can’t wait much longer, it’s time to do chores’

Us macho cowpokes gotta chow down on S’MORES”

But all was not lost.  Sexy Lex was surprised;

Six gorgeous cowgirls rode  in with supplies.

As they whooped and they hollered, they laid out a feast,

Bags of Big Macs ‘n Super Fries fed Lex and the beasts.

And so it all ended, that night on the range.

Looking back, it did seem to be mighty strange;

The last of the cowpokes, Sexy Lex and his pals,

Saved from starvation by a posse of gals.

Once Upon a Time by the Sea

There was a time in the dim dark ages of long ago, when a bevy of ravishingly beautiful damsels of a certain age found themselves desirous of making a journey to the sea.  They were to be accompanied by one very fortunate, albeit somewhat roguish gentleman, stalwart and clever. This gentleman would come to be known as the Games-Meister, due to the large bag of tricks he carried wherever he went.

It was planned that our ravishing damsels would travel to the sea by means of a grand chariot emblazoned with the colors of the mighty Oaks of Willamette. Three attendants were appointed to see to their every need: Dame Claudia, keeper of the sacred clipboard and guardian of the goodies; Mistress Chandra, keeper of the elfin clone, her daughter Liv, who stood ready to relieve Mistress Chandra should she be unable to perform her duties; and Mistress Janet, keeper of good cheer and leader of exercises…lots of exercises…lots and lots of exercises.

On the appointed day and at the appointed time (well, only an hour or so late), facing unknown dangers,  our brave travelers set out for the sea. All went well for the first few miles until a voice rang out, “I forgot my jammies.”  A few miles farther on another voice was raised, “I forgot my blankie.”  Next it was “I forgot my teddy bear.”  The last voice heard was the Games-Meister crying out, “I forgot my deck of cards.”

This was the last straw and the damsels began demanding that the chariot turn back. Dame Claudia and her assistants read the rune stones, checked their timepieces and noted the position of the sun, then decreed that the trip continue. Any missing items could either be replaced at the sea-side or done without for a few days.

Some grumbling was heard but the ravishing damsels settled down again, until the next round of complaints. “I need a restroom.” “I do, too.” Then there began a general clamor for a comfort stop. This brought about a hue and cry from the rest of the damsels, everyone suddenly in distress and needing immediate relief. Another quick confabulation was held. By now the chariot was nearing its destination so  the damsels were urged to grit their teeth, cross their knees and hang on for a few minutes longer.

And suddenly, there it was! A golden ray of sunshine (the only one seen that entire week) struck just as the chariot rounded the last curve on the route. There stood an enchanted castle by the sea, shining in splendor, blue water sparkling behind it!

Squealing with delight, the damsels poured off the chariot, casting shoes, stockings, canes and walkers to left and right as they flew across the sands to the shore. They were met by a huge wave that rolled in at just that moment and crashed over their heads, dampening their enthusiasm no end, not to mention several other areas of their make-up.

Their elaborate hairdos dripping with salt water and sand, our damsels were dismayed but not deterred. They frolicked in the ice cold  water for a few brief moments before realizing the sea was more fun to look at than to play in. A half-hearted attempt at erecting a sand castle to resemble their enchanted castle was begun, but the damsels were too cold and uncomfortable in their sandy clothes, with their sandy hair. They were only too happy to abandon their project for hot showers and hot drinks. The sea wasn’t that much fun after all.

A sumptuous luncheon and long naps filled their afternoon, followed by a quick look out at the sea, to make sure it was still there, which it was. Then some time was spent wondering what to do next.

Dame Claudia suggested a discussion on the creation of the sand dunes lining the sea shore. Mistress Chandra and her elfin clone, Liv, suggested dune buggy rides. Mistress Janet suggested a brisk hike up and down the dunes…each and every dune.

The Games-Meister won the day when he opened his bag of tricks and began pulling out box after box of games, marbles, dice and the deck of cards he had thought was missing. The ravishing damsels played games enthusiastically for hours, stopping only for a very happy Happy Hour and another sumptuous feast.

From time to time one of them would run over to check the view in case anything had changed, which it hadn’t. The sea, for all its motion, manages to stay pretty much in one place. Sleep that night was deep and undisturbed, lulled as everyone was by the sounds of the sea.

The rest of their stay passed in the same fashion; eating, napping, playing games, with an occasional glance out over the sands.  No one ventured back into the waves, although their three attendants kept urging new adventures on them. Our damsels were content to remain warm and dry, enjoying the games.

Various comments were heard from the damsels as they headed home. All were agreed, they loved the enchanted castle, happy that it had been totally…well, enchanting. And they loved the feasting most of all, crying “Imagine  pecan pie in this wild and distant place.” Happy Hour had been quite popular too.

As for the sea, comments were varied: “It’s so big!” “I thought it was bigger!” “It’s so noisy,” “It moves so much,” “It’s so cold and sandy,” “It tastes like salt,” “I didn’t even get a tan.”  And one last comment, “It’s so…so…so…WET!”

Several of the damsels wondered privately if the IDEA of being at the sea wasn’t more exciting than actually being there. Dreaming of the sea from the comforts of home might have been the real pleasure. Still, when the plan of a trip to the sea was next offered, our ravishing damsels rushed to repeat their adventure. And so they lived happily ever after, once again dreaming of their next trip to the sea. Maybe they’d be able to get a tan.