THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 110

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 110

…“Let’s go!” She flashes her Miss Universe runner-up smile, gently nudging his throttle hand forward; the RPMs of the turboshaft engines match the beating of her heart, the 44 foot rotors, her spirit…

“This is KR 2022 requesting S-SE clearance for Jamaica.”

“You can liftoff after that AAL Jumbo heads out to Europe.”

Straight up, more or less, is less disruptive that conventional aviation.

“Any weather out there?”

“There is a Pacific Low wobbling over the Yucatan, but you are out ahead of it.” The controller salutes to the air, “There goes a real American Hero.”

Roy looks at his passenger, straight in the eye, “Let’s go!” She flashes her Miss Universe runner-up smile, gently nudging his throttle hand forward. The RPMs of the turboshaft engines match the beating of her heart, the 44 foot rotors, her spirit.

Destination: Montego Bay, Jamaica—

Houston sunrise

—Departing: Houston, Texas — The nimble aircraft is off the ground, ready to leave Houstonian airspace behind, but not before one last glimpse of what they are leaving behind.

Roy looks out to his left, across the early morning expanses of the Gulf of the Americas and the dimming lights of the Florida Panhandle. It is at Lovell Space Center that the bizarre story of Gurkhas Dhangotma, aka unknown is unfolding, with its veiled twists and unfinished suspense. No, he was not onsite himself to drill the intruder, but he knows he would only get in the way of fact-finding interrogators. By the time NASA security, the CIA, the FBI, and NSA get through with him, his government appointed lawyer may recommend suicide as a more desirable option… And then there is the New Mayflower.

For Francine, the sun’s fleeting reflection on Houston’s glass canyons provides a backdrop for the new life she would have to make for herself from this day forward. A cloudy past, littered with lofty ambition and vapid relationships, her career in television up in the air and her mock engagement to a management stiff mercifully dashed… and then there are her near-term prospects.


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She’s Looking Forward by Steffanie Lorig

Episode 110


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 108

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 108

…there is nothing but 1350 miles of 80 degree bath-water between Houston and Montego Bay – rest stops and dry land are few

montego-bay-port-jeffrey-samuels

Montego Bay Port by Jeffrey Samuels

— True to his word and happy to do so, Roy and his limo cruise into Hobby (Airport), with one worn-out Samsonite suitcase and a pocket full of American cash.

Tucked away in an obscure corner hanger, at the far end of the airport’s least used taxiway, sits Roy’s expensive toy: a vintage Sikorsky S-76D.

And never mind that 30 year old Learjet sitting next to it. He does not own an automobile, too slow.

Francine pulls up to the open hanger door in a Cooper Mini Taxi whose tail is dragging from the weight of her bags. Roy is busy talking to his hanger’s mechanic about the critical pre-flight inspection. With nothing but 1350 miles of 80 degree bath-water between them and Montego Bay, rest stops and dry land are few. And with Cuba still stuck in the political Cold War, it is not an alternate landing spot.

It is a brisk late January, where 50 above zero winds do chill those with Southern roots. Not the sort of weather for wide-brimmed plantation hats or a sundress, which is exactly what Francine is wearing. She fights to keep the mid-calf hem below her waist.ouch-001

Roy catches a glimpse, peaking from under an engine, dropping an extra-large crescent wrench on his foot.

“Come in and get out that darn wind,” he insists while hobbling on one good foot. “I see that you dressed for the destination.”

“86 degrees with a chance of clouds, yep. The Chief Meteorologist at Channel 13 gave me my farewell forecast, the 14-day outlook, is that far enough out?”

“We’ll see. If Braden and the Colony-Incident Audit come up with something on Korea and Talibanistan, I may have to bail early,” he takes a shop rag to his hands, handing the wrench to the hanger mechanic. “You look fantastic… and me in a pair of coveralls.”

“I love a man who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty,” she may be speaking euphemistically about ex- fiancée (Larry).mr-silly-001

“Didn’t you bring any luggage; a month is a long time you know.”

Silly, silly unsuspecting man. Francine’s taxi backs up to the hanger door. “Where is the skycap?”

“This thing usually seats 12, but I took out seats and replaced them with fuel reserves that triple its range, so I will need to turn away any other passengers…and you will need to sit in the copilot’s seat.”

“Isn’t that secretary of yours coming along?” It would not be farfetched for that platinum blankety-blank to implicate herself.

“Are you kidding? I may be impulsive, but stupid I am not.”


 THE RETURN TRIP

roys-helicopter-001

Episode 108


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 107

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 107

CHAPTER SIX

Timeout

…“He is not just any guy, he’s twice the man you are and BTW, who puts up with a woman who stonewalls her fiancée for 5 *_*_*_*  years?”…

2x-the-man-001

True to her word, Francine Bouchette has packed up her future and stuffed it into two underused Samsonites; but she will be lucky to get out of Houston with her head atop her shoulders.

As she may have guessed, given the element of surprise, lack of warning, the upcoming February ratings slotting, and her jilted fiancée, she has upset the KHST 13 apple-cart. She does not care for threats, but she is threatened with disciplinary action for “breach of contract”.

Her United Talent agent is beside himself, given his income is tied to his clients and she is his biggest.

“They will take you off the anchor desk.”

“Go ahead.”

“They can reduce your salary by 75%.”

“I can live on $250,000.”

The intended (Larry) weighs in on her irrational behavior, “You are throwing away your future, for what, a guy you just met?”

“He is not just any guy and he’s twice the man you are. Who puts up with a woman who stonewalls her fiancée for 5 f***king years?”

So it is and that is that. With him watching her pack everything from a bikini he had
bought her and she never wore, into two duffles stuffed with evening wear and lingerie (Larry), KHST VP is left standing aghast and agape, watching his fragile pride walk away from her penthouse without turning or looking back. The only thing she does do, is issue the following order, “Make sure you take anything that you value, leave your set of keys in the foyer and lock the door on the way out.”

She takes a taxi to William P. Hobby Airport and pity the poor driver who has to handle her crammed to the brim hard suitcases and hefty Hilfiger bags. She neglected to ask the helicopter owner whether there was a weight limit. —


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William P Hobby International

Episode 107


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 106

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 106

…“Roy???” Braden wonders if his friend has suffered brain damage…

Image result for mind blown gif

“All in all, I think this bash has been a chart-topping smash!” Braden King has bid adieu to all but two of the birthday partygoers, Francine and Roy, who seem to be chart-toppers-001reluctant to part company.

“A great day for those boys,” Francine has been welcomed like family. “And there are some interesting people working for NASA, well except for Roy’s secretary.”

“It is nice of you to stay on Francine. Your support and friendship is a valuable public relations coup for the space program.” Personal feelings aside, Roy cannot help but speak the truth as he sees it.

She has utterly blown off any other plans, or anyone linked to them.

Peachy“Copy that!” Braden echoes his appreciation. “Bring that bottle over here bartender,” He points to the bottle of peach schnapps and pours three shot glasses. “Let’s raise a glass to the fine people connected with Space Colony 1. Here’s to Space Colony II!”

“To Space Colony II and Sampson & Celeste McKinney,” Roy increases the tote; three small glasses of nectar clank together, by three peachy people.

The trio sits around the circular island table, dazed yet unable to wrap a bow around this evening.

“I don’t know what is, but right now I feel like getting away for a while, you know like get my butt out of this island of titanium and technology and get it down to one of the last unspoiled islands in the Caribbean.”

“What???? Roy Crippen, married to space is considering a vacation to Puerto Rico, no way?” King knows Roy’s hesitance about the 51st State. Conversely he is serious about the man’s devotion to the Space Colony project, ever since it was on the kma-kiss-my-001drawing board.

“Yeah, what the hell, New Mayflower has no need of my doting and the “cold” weather this winter is getting to me AND to top it all off, the United States Congress is on recess; they can kiss my ass.”

“What on Earth will we do, without Mother Hen looking over our shoulders, beating a path back and forth from Galveston and Oskaloosa? Please do us a favor.” Braden cannot help himself.

Francine can identify with Roy, treating vacation and sick days like stepchildren, all the while keeping her puss in front of the camera lest a single Sweeps Period goes by without her help, including February’s. “Were you planning to leave before the end of the week?”

“I was thinking Sunday; need to tie up some loose ends, why do you knock-me-down-with-a-featherask?” He is curious.

“Well I get a discount through the station for United Airlines and Hilton Worldwide and if you don’t mind a tag-a-long…” Knock him over with a feather. “I hope I’m not overstepping, but I happen to adore Jamaica and I am overdue for a getaway.”

“I don’t fly commercial and don’t like big Hotels either.” Is he blowing her off? Is he blowing a chance at love a chance of a lifetime?brain-damage

“Roy???” Braden wonders if his friend has suffered brain damage.

‘I gave it a shot,’ Francine thinks privately, having stuck her neck is out to its vulnerable limit.

“What do you think about us taking my helicopter instead? It’s quicker and I have open reservations at a little spot called the Silver Seas in Ocho Rios.”


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Image result for silver seas hotel jamaica

Silver Seas Hotel

Episode 106


 page 100 (end ch. 5)

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 105

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 105

…“Hey look, this is the ending to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony!” Only Cel would know that. It was underneath a brochure of the 1893 Columbian Exposition…

columbian-exposition

Sam & Cel discuss the antiquities room aboard the dormant NEWFOUNDLANDER.

“The pristine state of this stuff leads me to believe that they are the originals, not poached from a crypt. Whether Egypt or Mesopotamia, these have not seen the harsh exposure of the centuries since,” Celeste postulates.

Image result for plunder artwork

“Pirates” by Migy

“I guess that this explains which direction these pirates were heading?”

“Perhaps, but it seems that they have been going forth and back for a minimum of 5000 years.”

“Would you call these artifacts stolen goods?”

“They did not steal this stuff. If they had pilfering in mind, this hold would be filled with more and much of it would be gold.”

“What if gold is as common as sand is on Earth,” Sampson McKinney is skeptical as to the motives employed by such an advanced race.

”You’ve got me there, but if you really put this into the proper perspective, why would a superior civilization bother with plunder. They may be in the midst of determining if Earth is worth the bother.” She points out some other non-Earth items. “Look at this kaleidoscope thing; have you ever seen anything like it? Or this clay creature doesn’t look like any specie I know of.”

“Alright, I’ll cut them some slack, but they have some things that may have changed the course of history, or if our archaeologists had seen this stash, pieces of unrecorded history would be easier to decipher. “

Panning the circular room in review Celeste relents, “Yes these things would set some theories on their ear, but you have to view space travelers as benevolent, until they prove otherwise. The way they have cared for it, they had intended on putting them back where they found them.”

“Your compassionate side is why we make a good team. Me and say, Rick Stanley, would be treating these guys like petty thieves and they’d be lucky to be dead. You, on the other hand, always give people the benefit of the doubt and I have to make sure you don’t take any wooden nickels. How many nickels is that Khufu equal to?’

kill_devil_hills_banner“Nothing if their beaches are made of gold dust.”

“Wouldn’t the Golden Strand or Kill Devil Hills North Carolina  look mighty fine right about now?”

“Hey look, this is the ending to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony!” Only Celeste would know that. It was underneath a brochure of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

“The Newfoundlian equivalent to B minor probably starts up these rusty engines up… on the count of 3………” Is Sampson kidding?


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Episode 105


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 104

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 104

…“Khufu,” she singles out a solid gold bust!

“God bless you.”

“That would be Cheops to you Sam.”…

cheops

The Pyramids of Cheops at Giza by Moonlight By Duane Michals

“I just wonder, work with me here, that these Newfoundlians communicated through what we think as music?”

“TAPS is the only tune these guys were singing.”

“That is cruel Sam, after all we may be found someday, decomposed in each other’s’ arms, and LONG GONE LONESOME BLUES will be playing in the background.”

“So sorry my diminutive friends,” he backs down from his frivolous speak. “I don’t think they know what hit ‘em.”

mystery-room

Escape Games Mystery Rooms

The single most important thing that the McKinneys and the crew of the NEWFOUNDLANDER do not share, despite sharing presumably an identical environment, is Sam, Cel & bun-in-the-oven is alive and thankfully well. No killer virus present; the tried and true maxim of cause & effect has eluded the spaceship’s new tenants.

After gaining admittance to the mystery room, soft indirect lighting reveals the stowage function of the space, as Celeste had predicted. It possesses all the peculiarities of a storeroom, only without the dust that normally collects on legacy items, on a ship of this size, on a planet where dust is a staple.

Equally unique is its relative emptiness. Why is such a space on an interstellar vehicle so underutilized? The answer to that question may have to do with the muted lighting and filtered environment.

“Does this remind you of museum storage room, where incomplete dinosaur skeletons wait for missing pieces?”

fourth-dynastyAt the precise moment they near some items, mostly likely activated by a motion sensor, pre-focused shafts of light appear.

“Fourth Dynasty Egyptian.”

“Are you serious,” Sam asks?

Statue of Khufu in the Cairo Museum

Statue of Khufu

His versatile wife numbers Egyptology as an educational pursuit during her college career. “Khufu!” she single out a solid gold bust.

“God bless you.”

cheops-adventure“That would be Cheops to you Sam.” He was not making fun, merely his lack of similar expertise. “There are references to this bust, but no one has ever seen it… 4500 year old solid gold.”

Another shaft of light is cast upon, “And what is this?”

“Another piece of the Palermo Stone, I don’t think this one has been catalogued. Do you see the similarities between Egyptian writing and the Newfoundlian Scrpit?”

Image result for code of hammurabi drawing“English grammar is confusing enough.”

“That is the Code of Hammurabi,” she points to the writing on a Diorite stone tablet, nearby, “Cuneiform writing for damn sure!!!!!!”

And though he is not as versed in Egyptian antiquity, in the manner and scope of his encyclopedic partner, he is not completely devoid of ancient historical knowledge. “The Code of Hammurabi is from 21st Century B.C. Babylon, kind of a wage scale and social ranking for old-time Near East lawmakers.”

“Very good Sammy Mac and here I thought that space had vacated your unrelated memories; there is more than g-force and time travel up in that brain of yours.”

He is used to her deriding his seeming lack of culture, not that she is entirely wrong.


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antiquities-001

Episode 104


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

…“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth…

mortician_by_ezekielcrowe

The Mortician by Ezekiel Crowe deviantart.com

With Sampson obsessed by the microcosm/engine room, Celeste’s medical training has shouldered the grizzly task of logging/identifying the many vacuous uniforms that held the long-dead Newfoundlian  crew. She was determined to give them a proper burial outside the ship, if that was their custom or not. “We will not lose our humanity out here Sam. If Earth’s flag is to be planted here, we will have given a good account of our kind.”

grave-digger-by-karyn

Grave Digger by Karyn

Sammy Mac does not spend all his time tinkering with other civilizations high-tech machinations, lest he ignore his part in the burial process or his marital good fortune. He does the digging; he does the hauling he gathers rocks for marking the mass grave, made to hold the four score Newfoundlians in total.

“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth and young Sam would help with the family business while visiting. That experience gave him the inspiration to do something else with his life, like join the Air Force & ultimately NASA.

“Yes and no,” she answers.

“Come on Celeste, my bad back is flaring up.”

“You don’t have a bad back and I saved back the one we deemed as Newfoundlian Commander for posterity, he is in their supposed infirmary.

“Also, there is one cabin I could not get into. From what I can tell, the door is jammed.”

“Let’s take a look at it; I don’t want to have to do this again.”

“You were so busy in the engine room, I didn’t tell you about a lower level I found,” she admits as she guides them down a hidden passage.

“But we are on ground level??????”watch-your-head

“I know…….watch your……..”

Thuddddddd!!!!

“…head. It’s pretty cramped down here.”

“Thanks for the warning pal,” he rubs his forehead.

“I figure this is life-support and storage, notice the ducting?”

“My head did.”

At the end of the narrow hall, they come to the jammed door. It was like every other one on the ship, but it does respond to Celeste’s black onyx decoder-scrambler-door-opener or even flinch at the pinging note A of the tuning fork.

“I’ve tried every code I know, or have guessed,” she demonstrates thumb movements she has used before.

A typically male reaction to a stuck door is to use the escalating force method, which his Biblical (minus the “p”) namesake exhibits time and again; this Sampson does not have long hair or the strength needed here.

“Just a second Honey,” Celeste pauses to clear her throat. From out of her voice box comes out an acceptable middle C.

Low and behold the utilitarian slide-by opens w-i-d-e.


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Episode 103


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 102

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 102

…With each successive voyeuristic visual journey, the microcosm reveals more about its workings, in time-lapse speed…

Related image

stardust-acdemy.deviantart.com

“Mission Control, are you seeing what we’re seeing? It isn’t very big Braden but it’s matching our speed right down to a fraction,” Rick Stanley has been trying to outdistance New Mayflower from the object.

“Braden and Roy are out at the ranch, you’ll have to settle for me,” a NASA tech explains. “Can you send us a picture?”

“It is staying out of range, but it isn’t acting very natural, staying ten thousand meters back.”

“It sounds like you picked up an echo Rick. There shouldn’t be any reason for concern, but let us know if it starts acting funny.”

“The thing popped out of nowhere about 3 milldos out.”

Similar false echoes have been plaguing radar for most of its 120 year existence, proving that the human eye or camera lenses are more reliable.

The incident is logged but not prioritized; on to Mars.

meanwhile-caption-001

Sampson McKinney uses a recording of the musical (earth) tone of A to close the door to the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s power plant for the fifth time since stumbling on the wonders’ of its miniature Universe. With each successive voyeuristic visual journey, the microcosm reveals more about its workings, in time-lapse speed.

Image result for time lapse gif

The most profound discovery about this futuristic kinescope has to do with its duality. Not only is it the source of immense power, of which 1/1014  is being used, it also serves as a laboratory to further understand the mechanics of Universal development.

And though he has not mastered anything about it or conceives its technology, he is convinced that he is dealing with a four galaxy section in this quadrant of space that includes the Milky Way. He theorizes that the Newfoundlians navigate that very expanse both by ship {this} and out of body. There are markings herein, much like old-school pins on a mapRelated image and in other locations, figurinesstar-trek-50th-kirk-and-spock-vinyl-figurine-2 perhaps to indicate solar systems that have developed life.

Whether real or growing in this marvelous vessel, hey isn’t that Earth just East of Canis Major? —


THE RETURN TRIP

canis_major

Canis Major as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825.

Episode 102


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

…”I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor…

north-star

“I have been avoiding my fiancée, some boring media banquet he wanted me to go to. Sometimes he treats me like a station commodity, not a future wife.”

“It sounds like you don’t see things his way.” Roy dares to test her loyalty.

“We are speaking different languages these days” True feelings bubble to the surface. “I think I have become his pet project, but that’s why I have a talent agent wedding-invite-001and I have no need of two.”

“Have you set a wedding date,” he forces the issue?

“A date, we’ve had 4 June dates and counting; not in the same year and I have managed to tiptoe into July every time,” like it is a Girl Scout badge. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I love him? I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor.

Francine nods and goes on,“He has done a lot for me, but we are losing touch, both kinds.”

“Sometimes that happens,” like Roy has ever been serious about a girl since his high school physics teacher.

interuptus

Deke and Gus choose this moment to settle a dispute, “Didn’t you choose Mom & Dad to go to Mars because they were the best astronauts for the job? Bobby says that his Dad told him that it was for advertising.publicity-stunt

“That would be a publicity stunt, Gus and no that is false. A husband/wife team was first put on the table years ago,” Roy directs his recollection at Bobby.

“My father said they flat-out screwed up,” another 15 year old’s blather.

Francine steps in, “I think your father should get his facts straight! Who is he to say something like that?”

talk-bubble-001Roy leans over to whisper in her ear. “His father is the chairman of the Senate Space Appropriation Committee.”

“Then he needs to get his facts straight, nobody screwed up here.”

“What Miss Bouchette means is that the Senator from Oklahoma needs to reconsider his position, pending the results of our internal investigation.” He puts his arm around Bobby’s scrawny neck. “The entire world is rallying in support of Gus’ Mom & Dad.”

“THE 1st people on Mars and we are damned proud of them!!!” punctuates Deke, who has been encouraged never to swear… but there are exceptions.

Endless Space Video Game

Adolescent squabbles are best settled over high-tech video consoles. Bobby apologizes to the adults and off they go to the house.

“Thank you for defending Sampson & Celeste with such vigor.”

“I hope to have the privilege of meeting them soon,” she is sincere.

“I’ll hold you to that.”


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my-project-23-001

Episode 101


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 100

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 100

…You seem to be quite popular with the ladies Roy, you know, pot roast and old lace…

ladies-night-001

“Here are the New Mayflower heroes, together again,” a stray female employee from LSC/Okaloosa and longtime crusher on Roy speaks with a hint of sarcasm. “Doesn’t a heroes-001crisis make for strange bedfellows?”

Roy has been deflecting loosely-founded assumptions with phrases like, ‘not dating’, ‘a misunderstanding’, ‘they are just friends’, etc… etc……

“In that case Roy, the next time you come over to Lovell, I’ll have a good “home cooked” dinner waiting for you, you remember where I live right?” The woman is smug, glaring at Francine as if to imply that the TV personality has rudimentary domestic skills.

“Yes, I mean no, well maybe I will keep that in mind,” he replies diplomatically, having dated the older woman briefly, but not more than once, that is if you don’t count that Christmas party in ‘22.

After the parade of miss-takers and assumers has dried up, there comes the arsenic-and-old-lace-001opportunity for the rubber to hit the road. “That was very sweet of you, including me with your gift that is,” her words mitigate, her intentions questionable. “You seem to be quite popular with the ladies Roy, you know, pot roast and old lace,” she cannot resist countering that panhandle (FL) pussycat.

“She was a decent secretary, but as for her cooking?”

“I’m giving you a hard time Roy. Like I said, it was nice to include me, but I did look a little clueless, some warning would have helped me not look so… clueless.”

“I was caught off guard when I saw you walking in right behind me. I thought it would be a thrill to have you giving them a gift… my lame reasoning behind that gadget and the card, I love those boys.”

“And they love you, that is plain to see, you are a great guy.”

cell-phone-001“Can I get you another drink?”

“One more, then I need to be going. My phone is lighting up my purse.”

“The station calls you on your days off?”

“No, I have been avoiding my fiancée, some boring media banquet he wanted me to go to. Sometimes he treats me like a station commodity, not a future wife.”


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Image result for clueless artwork

Clueless from #lordmesaart

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