There’s been a terrible breach of protocol in BeckyLand, but we will hunt down those at fault for not using all the Page 56 sentences that were posted. It seems that someone only used the comments that came in while she he they were on vacation, forgetting the others that had already been posted, creating a woefully incomplete story.
The evil perpetrator will be tracked and beaten about the head and shoulders, strung up by her his, their thumbs, and not given any cookies for at least three days.
Rest assured, though, it is safe for all of BeckyLand to emerge from the bunkers and face a beautiful new day with a new Page 56 Story. Please don’t worry about the bad, bad blogger in BeckyLand. You’re safe now.
Again, the sentences in red are the 56 Page comments. I added the stuff in black.
MOTHERS AND MONKEYS, RUSSIANS AND RAFTERS
Cast of Characters
Dave — owner of Ye Olde Rafter, a raft supply shop
Moose — a rhesus monkey
Mother — retired educator, now an Olympic knitter, mother of Dave
Vladimir — a really old Russian army officer
Sticky — monkey wrangler, failed novelist and self-proclaimed matchmaker
“What are you reading, Sticky?” Dave asked, placing stacks of balsa wood on shelves.
“It’s a novel about a beautiful yet sensitive author whose spirit is crushed by her domineering editor.” Sticky knew that creativity was an economic force long before the twentieth century, but she still loved a good, solid story dissing editors, especially those who denied her any kind of ‘economic force.’
Moose scampered across her shoulders and yanked the book from her hands, escaping across the laps of Mother and Vladimir warming themselves by the pickle barrel in Dave’s shop. Moose wiggled the dials on the radio and in Des Moines, a live radio broadcast covered the progress of 600 men of the 168th Infantry from East First Street across the Grand Avenue Bridge to Union Station.
Vladimir cupped a hand around his ear and fingered the medals pinned to his uniform. “But little time will be left me to ponder upon my destiny!” he said, inexplicably.
Sticky winked but Mother shook her head. “He is cute, but I can’t have a crush on him because he’s way too old, like twenty-eight or something,” she whispered to Sticky.
“In 1905 he was permitted to return to St. Petersburg,” Sticky explained, as if that would change Mother’s mind.
Just then, the bell jingled and three raft enthusiasts poured into the shop, mid-conversation, which is why it didn’t make sense to anyone.
“When Billy thought we were strong enough, we stepped up the pace, running with rubber tires, which felt like they’d just come off the shuttle or at least that big ole tractor out back,” the first one said.
“Rubber bands?” the dumb one asked.
“No, idiot. Rubber TIRES. Sheesh. Clean your ears.”
“Also, make sure that your children memorize your address and telephone number in case they get lost, and show them how to dial 911 in an emergency,” the third one said, pulling a warm pickle from the barrel.
“Dudes, what are you talking about?” Dave asked.
The first one said, “We’re talking survival, baby. Sur. Vi. Val. For when we go rafting. And unlike the cold winter months, when laundry is dried indoors and takes longer, summer is when clothing can be washed, dried, folded, and put away in a single day.”
“And if there’s a mountain lion?” Mother asked, not looking up from her knitting.
“Hit the mountain lion in the head, especially around the eyes and mouth,” the three said in unison, as if reciting from a how-to survival guide.
Suddenly they stopped and looked around Ye Olde Rafter, as if they’d found nirvana. The first one said solemnly and with poor grammar, “We had reached the country where the balsa tree grows and were to build timber to build our raft.”
Everyone in the shop nodded. Dave asked, “Where are you planning on rafting?”
The dumb one said, “Cornalia, Corneelija, Cornela, Cornelija, Corneleya. The other three — the Great Basin, the Mojave, and the Chihuahuan– are classic rain-shadow deserts.”
Dave squinted at him. “Yeah. And they’re deserts.” Dave knocked over a stack of balsa when Moose startled him by leaping across the shelving.
“He’s looking for you,” Sticky whispered ever so quietly in Dave’s ear (as he’d been keeping a watchful eye on the little rascal since the monkey had landed with a thump on his fuzzy orange rump). Dave shuddered at the sight of the naked little monkey butt.
“Go on, get dressed, Moose…” Sticky commanded. “And not those Spiderman socks this time!”
As Mother dabbed a few tears of joy from her rosy cheeks and chuckled, “Spider legs!” one of us, Sticky, as it turns out, as a final thought, said her fondest memory had to be the one of Mom cheerfully knitting us those slippers with the big pom-poms.
Mother realized her shoes and stockings were still downstairs by the fireplace and the three customers played ‘Keep Away’ from Moose with them. She came to thoroughly dislike the light-headed young fellows of the shop.
Every teacher of middle age or more can count up instances of highly successful former students who, as freshmen or sophomores, even juniors or seniors, seemed silly beyond all hope of reclamation. Mother glanced around the room, thankful she never taught any of these morons.