550. Jokes for Nurses

Jan is having a gala event in June for the nursing school addition, including ballroom dancing, which is how we met several years ago. As she explained something intelligent to my wife at our last dance meeting, I pondered a nurse/dancing joke for Jan. I waited patiently for the opening.

“You know Jan, there is a famous nursing dance that came out of the Civil War era.”

“No, I didn’t know that.”

“Yep, it’s like a Chuck Berry one-legged hop called the Hacksaw Amputation without Anesthesia Polka at Antietam Battlefield. It’s a beauty.”

Image result for chuck berry dance gif

“Really? How can you joke about… never mind. Of course you’d make a joke like that.”

“Yeah, that’s my tasteless schtick.”

“Hmmm, would you consider telling some jokes at the gala? For maybe 15 minutes.”

“Sure. I’ve considered it and I think I’ll pass.”

“Oh, come on. You can do it.”

“I’m sure that I can, Jan. The problem is a lack of desire to do so.”Image result for uninspired faces

“Surely with your crazy mind you can think of ten minutes worth of clean nurse humor.”

“Madam, I am no Florence Nightingale or Betsy Ross!!”

“You know Betsy Ross sewed the American flag in the Revolution, right?  She wasn’t a nurse.”Image result for sexy betsy ross pictures

“Yeah, I knew that. I was testing your nursology knowledgy. Hmmm, how about I do ten minutes of nursing trivia? That could be fun.”

“Okay, but we won’t have time to collect answers. I expect a few hundred guests.”

“Ah, no problem. We can have a scripted team like on Jeopardy. Let’s see, Your Fred, Jeanine, who really is a nurse, and a local celebrity.”

“We don’t have any local celebrities. This is Franklin County, remember?”

“Touche. How about someone dressed up like Donald Trump?”Image result for jimmy fallon trump impersonation  pictures

“I, I, I’m not sure I want to get into political stuff at a nursing program gala.”

“Jan, what could possibly go wrong? It’s like a well oiled bank robbery. I know my destiny now. Just hold my beer and I’ll explain.”

“Oh, no. What have I done?”

“We’ll need three microphones for the contestants and one for me. Also some jingle music and sound effects. Maybe the Jeopardy theme. I’d like a gold lame dinner jacket with a matching bow tie and a gold cumberbund with rhinestones. “Image result for liberace in gold lame suit

“Okay, here’s your beer back. Let me take notes.”

“Alright. Lighting. Talent. Microphones. Now, we need material. Let’s see…. nursing stuff. I’ll start with a generic nurse joke.”

“Contestants, ready, set, go:  This phrase refers to a younger woman with an older widower in Florida. Fred?”Image result for jeopardy contestant pictures

“What is a nurse with a purse?”

“Well done. You get twenty points. Ding, ding, ding.”

“Jeanine? Are you having a seizure. What is it woman?”

“I happen to be a nurse and here’s my purse. What do I win?”

“Excellent. You get forty points. Dingy dingy doooo.”Woman hitting a man

Fred, “Wait a minute! I got the question first. How come she gets double the points?”

Burrito, “She got the daily double, Fred. Plus she is an actual live nurse not just married into the field like you.”

Fred, “Oh…(mutters to self, “That’s not fair.”)

“Fred?  Louder please.”

“I said ‘It’s not fair. In the rules of Jeopardy, Alex always says…'”

“Whoa, Buddy. This is Nurse Trivia. Bite your tongue. Now repeat what you just said.”

“Thysthaidthitsnophayre.”Image result for man slurring words gif

“Bartender, cut that man off. He is clearly slurring his words.”

“Fred, you can let go of your tongue now.”

“Sheesh! I told you, Jan. This was a bad idea.”

“Next question. This movie, circa 2000, starred Renne Zellweger as a confused nurse in a soap opera/bank robbery.Image result for nurse betty images

“Donald?”

“What is the Art of the Deal?”

“No. Jeanine?”

“What is Nurse Betty?”

“Correct. You get 160 points.”

Donald, “Now wait a second, Alex Baldwin. I said Nurse Betty first.”Image result for jimmy fallon trump impersonation  pictures

“Uh, no you didn’t.”

“Yes, I did. And I have my personal attorney Michael Cohen here to sue you for deprivation of character.”

“Mr. Trump is correct. I will sue you because that’s what I do. Sue people.”Image result for michael cohen pictures

“Pssst, Michael, it’s not really Mr. Trump. It’s Eddie Laugherman from the VFW. We just dressed him up to look like Donald. Okay? Thought the crowd would get a hoot out of it.”

“Oh, alright. Well,  I’d still like to sue someone on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Are there any porn stars in the house?”

“Okay, Michael, we’re gonna continue with Nurse Trivia while you get your double D depositions.”

“What do you call it when the hospital runs out of maternity ward nurses?”

“Fred?”

“A mid-wife crisis.”Related image

“Well done, Fred. Ding ding ding. Add another ten points to your score. Let’s see you’re at thirty, Jeanine is at 200, and Donald is still hovering at zero.”

Fred, through clenched teeth… “This is stupid. I am going to join the Donald in a class action suit against you and this whole thing as soon as his stupid lawyer stops measuring women’s chests.”

“Fred, that would really kill the profit margins on the gala. Think about it:  Happy wife, happy life?”

Fred, “uuuurrrrrrgggghhhhhh. Alright. Motion withdrawn.”Image result for judge judy gif

Donald, “Uh, Alex, I’ve never understood that saying. My wives, and I’ve had three hot ones and Ivanka, plus all the side chicks, and they were always very miserable. Eh, eh, I always said that was the quid pro quo for dating a man like me. I’m very rich and can afford contemptuous women as long as they are super models. I mean, no one loves pouty supermodel nurses like I do.”

“Thank you, Don. Now, back to our game. In One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest…she antagonized the character played by Jack Nicholson.”Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

“Fred?”

“Nurse Ratched.”

“Sorry, Fred. Your answer must be phrased as a question.”

“Ahhhhhhhh!!!!”

“Jeanine?”

“Who was Nurse Ratched?”

“Ding, ding, ding. Jeanine, you’ve won another two hundred points for your team. And we’re at the end of Round One. So let’s all have a few drinks and some sworn testimony, and then we’ll be back for Round Two of Nurse Trivia.”

“Donald?”

“I can’t lose. I’m a winner. I win, that’s what I do. ”

“Of course you are a weiner, Don. You are, you do. And we love you… at zero.”Image result for donald trump in hotdog bun

 

 

 

 

 

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544. Legends of the Fall

Image result for s curve concrete sidewalk picturesWe were joyously walking down the curving concrete sidewalk that sloped down and away toward the Harvest Restaurant at Hershey Hotel. Brunch on my birthday. How nice. I carried my 20 month old grandson Max at the front of the party. My bride was behind me with granddaughter Leah, age 5 yakkety yakking to Grandma about Barbies and kindergarten politics. Grace, Jess and Zach brought up the rear on this chilly, blustery brunch hour. That’s when it happened.

Related imageIn a flash I stepped slightly off the left side of the curving sidewalk and lost my balance with my precious little buddy in my arms.  We lurched forward awkwardly. I thought I’d recover with my cat like reflexes, but not this time. My momentum was potentiated by the slope and Max’s forward leaning weight. I splayed out forward, trying to keep Max’s noggin from slamming into the concrete. Thinking about that second now, I see myself as a wide receiver trying to drop the caught football safely out of bounds. I could not break my fall with Max in both arms, so I extended and tossed him to the dormant grass to my left. Then my right elbow hit; the rest of my body torqued in unfamiliar ways; and I rolled into a full somersault. In the midst of all this kinetic activity, my brain tumbled into itself like an Idaho baking potato falling into an abandoned missile silo. Bad.Related image

As adrenaline raced to all parts of my falling body in preparation for a hard landing, I thought several thoughts. First, Max must land softly. Second, this reminds me of my seizure 15 years ago. That was not good. Third, pull up and out, don’t fade to black. Fourth, what if I never wake up from this moment?  It was a good run. Give my knees to the needy and give my love to Rose. Fifth, is anyone else seeing this?  If so, could I reach an out of court settlement for real and/or imagined injuries? Where is Joel when I need him?Image result for fallen man pictures

One second later I was facing my worried family who had rushed to help me out of my wild eyed gymnastic crouch. Grandma comforted Max who gently reached out to rub my arm and back. What a sweetheart! I checked my knee and elbows. No broken parts or blood, though I felt swelling erupting in the right elbow. “Yeah, yeah. Okay.” I stared at the perfectly unblemished sidewalk. How did that happen? No matter. Just ride out the adrenaline rush. Humor is always a good tool for defusing any situation.Image result for brad pitt legends of the fall images

I asked Zach, as an entertainment trivia ringer, if he knew Brad Pitt’s early work in movies?

“You mean Legends of the Fall?” he responded.

“Exactly! We have a winner.”

Later on he asked if I was familiar with Alicia Keyes’ work.

“Of course, in fact your mother-in-law and Grace went to see her here at the Giant Center back in high school. There is a funny outlaw story connected to that experience.”

“So you know her break out hit, “I Keep on Falling… in and out of love with you.”

“Well done, sir.”Related image

“How about ‘I Fall to Pieces‘, by Patsy Cline?”

“Then there’s Dylan’s ‘A Hard Brain is Gonna Fall‘.”

“I believe that’s ‘A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall.”

“Don’t forget ‘Papa was a Rollin’ Stone‘.”Image result for temptations images

“Technically that’s the Temptations, not the Rolling Stones.”

“I was just about to say that one. Uh, uh, Tom Petty, ‘Free Falling‘.”

“Elvis, ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You‘.”

‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again‘, Dionne Warwick.”

“Impressive. That’s an oldie, Burt Bacharach most likely.”

“I’ll  see your oldie and raise you with ‘When I Fall in Love’, Nat Cole.”Image result for nat cole pictures

“‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love?‘, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Boom!

“Stop the madness! Have I passed the cognitive function test, Doctor? I need to know if I have a concussion.”

“Please sit down, Mr. Burrito, on this arm chair. What you have is not a concussion but a a butt cushion.”

“One more pun and I will gouge your eyes out with a plastic spoon.”

“Your threats are harmless, sir. I think you’re tripping again. Gouge out my eyes and I will market them as white olives, sir. Also known as mozzarella balls.”

“Did you know Malcolm X said, ‘A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything‘?”Image result for malcolm x pictures

“That’s deep, but I stand for anything, even the national anthem of Croatia, and fall for nothing. Here’s a sweet one, ‘Into each life some rain must fall.'”

“Okay, I am weary of this tomfoolery, young Berkie. You have matched me weird for weird. Now, let us duel for a final victory round.”

“It’s a four part final Jeopardy question. Capiche?”

“Capiche.”

“Fallen Angel….”

“Fallen arches…”

“Fallen late night t.v. host…”

“Fallen Waters…”

“Okay, Lucifer is the Fallen Angel.”

“Judges say, Okay.”

“Fallen Arches, the medical term is pes planus.”

“Judges say, wow kid. Nice work.”

“Fallen late night t.v. host… Jimmy Fallon.”

“Judges say, okay. dilly dilly. That was a ringer to make everyone feel smart.”

“Finally, Fallen Waters, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house in Acme, Pa. “Fallingwater terraces “Technically, it’s called Fallingwaters.”

“Okay, close enough. Let’s not sticklerhood get between old friends, shall we?”

“But Jimmy Fall on. His name is a soft a like fallow or foul ball, not fall on.”

“Listen, like salty pretzels I’ve had about all I want to have from you.”

“What are you gonna do, Bro?”

“Quote Jimmy Cliff lyrics, ‘the harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all….'”

So as sure as the sun will shine 
I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine 
And then the harder they come 
The harder they’ll fall, one and all 
Ooh the harder they come 
The harder they’ll fall, one and all

“Oh, mahn, I deed not see that one combin’.”

“Me neither, Bro. It’s like a crack in the sidewalk, ya mahn.”

“Yah, Bro. Like a pocket full of posies, mahn, we all fall down.”Image result for bob marley pictures

 

 

 

398. Sanguine in Sedona

Nothing surprises me anymore. Here I am checking my blog traffic in the lobby of  the hotel in Sedona and “Play that Funky Music Whiteboy” is on the muzak soundtrack. I suppose it all has to do with the cosmic confluence of energies and vortexes that New Age folks in this town blather about. If you want your soul’s aura mapped, hey, no problem. Consider it done. Need your energy balanced?  Boom, level as a bevel. Raki and yoga are also available across a vast spectrum so that you can get your inner chakras aligned with the great Giver Bear’s liver.  Crystals and readings are omnipresent for whatever ails a weary spirit. You can get a quinoa enema with jasmine highlights at bedtime or snort gluten free steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. Okay, I am making some of this up, but it’s like the Grateful Dead’s tour bus blew a tire here and never left. Hipsters, dipsters, whipsters, and post-menopausal slipsters all chug about in their karmic glory.At any moment Vishnu could sit next to you at the organic deli.

“Is anyone sitting here?” says Vish.
“Dude, you should know that one.”
“Sir, I do indeed know all, but I do not vish to be so conceited as you.”
“Okay, sorry. What are you ordering?”
“I love the hot bean curd.”
At the next table…

“So, like, I was in Glastonbury, you know, and it was, like, such energy, you know, and I was buzzing with it in my lower spine. Don’t know what that means, but it was sooo coooool. Better than an iced colonic.  My aura was pulsing. I could feel it moving… you know?”

“Totally. Glastonbury vibes with Stonehenge and other alien sites where crop circles just erupt from the earth mother like pimples on a teenager’s face cuz the earth is going through adolescence. Sedona is so like that, man. All these canyons vibrate with past and future spirits that course through them with the monsoon rains. And it all comes to oneness in the vast random non-uniformity of nature. The Flow is where the power rolls, the current, the frequency, the quirky quarkiness of it all.” Blather, blather said the big guy who needed deodorant a year ago last winter. Arrogantly grandiose, he carried on without taking a breath while his two disciples breathed in every stinky molecule of his wizzdum. I’ve run into folks like this on a few occasions in my life, but they were on their way to psych wards.

The waitress takes their orders. “We’ll share an unsweetened iced colonic with spearmint and lemon in a recyclable paper cup that was not used in experiments on animals.”

“Great choice. We are the world. What’s inside is out, and what’s outside is in.”

Seriously? Even Jerry would hurl at such b.s.

 

I’m thinking we should never have come to this vegan garden of vectors and vicissitudes, but my wife and daughter were salivating over the menu of organic, gluten free, flavor free offerings from the Vedic beyond, imagining all their special dietary needs would be soothingly and enthusiastically  accommodated. So I drove over there in a psychological headlock, feeling like a virgin on prom night in a frat house. Nothing good was going to come of this adventure. My pessimism was not disappointed. (Is that a triple negative? What ever happened to Heidi the goat herding virgin? She got sick in the low valley as I recall.)

I was also thinking that a cheeseburger would be good, but we were immersed in a meat free/ preservative free/ hormone free / neo- Fascist food zone. I feared that the truly unwashed crowd might turn on me if I dared to suggest anything carnivorous. I ordered the Sedona Burrito. It seemed the least offensive thing on the limited menu. Beans, sprouts, quinoa, kale, and various other death defying ingredients. I washed it down  with a vodka/Pepto Bismal shake. Very proactive but to no avail. Nasty is what nasty does. It was nasty, lemme tell ya.

It was the worst meal I’ve ever paid for, even surpassing old Leroy’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken that I had on a local adventure years before. It’s hard to ruin barbequed chicken, but Leroy met that challenge before he died. And until this excursion to vegan land I thought I’d come to the end of Gastronomical Nightmare Lane. But I was wrong. This vegan burrito tasted like a dirty sock taken off a death row prison inmate and then dragged cell by cell through prison soup de jour until it dripped no more. Laid out on an unadorned white plate, even the flies would not land on this thing. In perfect hindsight I should have just eaten the plate.

My wife and daughter choked down salad somethings. I wondered if this was really a training camp for sadistic chefs and masochistic diners. No one could serve this sort of slop daily and stay in business, unless, unless every other customer were stoned out of his/her brain. Hmmmm, then even dirt would be palatable and full of cosmic vibes. It was my fault for coming here sober with taste buds that were not hobbled by psychedelics. If only I’d known and smoked up a bunch of Hawaiian herbs, I could have been in the vortex with the others instead of standing outside the party separated by plate glass. A stranger in the great ape house.

The next day we were all suffering buyers’ remorse. Immodium was coveted by all. I’ll skip the sensory details.

“Wow, I feel so freed up, unbound from intestinal fortitude but chained to the porcelain bowl.”

“We are never eating crap like that again. And don’t even say ‘I told  you so'”.

“How about ‘So, I told you’?”

“Don’t make it worse with your verbal incontinence.”

“Okay. But you know what I’d like right now?”

“Surprise me.”

“That milky chalk solution you have to drink before an MRI. It gags you and you think you’ll explode if you have one more sip, on top of Johnnie’s new dog food…”

“Shut up!”

Thank God it’s so beautiful.

 

359. where are you from?

Simple question.  Where do you come from? Everyone has a different answer.  You come from your Momma’s belly, and she… may not be available or even known. Orphans don’t know where they came from, which can cause some primal insecurity. On the other hand, there are folks who are equally insecure because they know exactly where they came from and are ashamed of it. “That drunk woman on the floor of Aisle 9, that’s my mother. She’s pretending to have a seizure now to get the pharmacist to fill her fake OxyContin script.” Or maybe something less dramatic– “That’s my father. He never learned English and just wanders the town all day, lost and dizzy, hopelessly alone, searching for his village in India.” Where we come from is not necessarily where we are going to, though.

Image result for brooklyn movie still picturesMost folks came from a family unit, no matter how dysfunctional or reconstituted.  And that family unit came from somewhere, some place that is tattooed on the family’s consciousness somehow. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of home are wrapped around our brain stems.  This past Saturday a bunch of us went to see the film Brooklyn,  about a young female Irish immigrant named Eilis . Lovely film, never in a rush to tell its story. Superb acting. Every character comes alive and imprints on your heart for better or worse. The original home place is Wexford County, Ireland. Simple and plain and the Dead End of a vibrant life. The destination place is Brooklyn, N.Y.

Our friends met  us in Gettysburg for the evening. They come from New York, Ohio, Charleston, and nearby Newville. “We’re all immigrants”, Sue said later at the Irish pub where we had dinner and a pint. True. Some of us are orphans as well. None of us is from Gettysburg. Now Gary almost went to college there  but was put off by fraternity life. What an odd advertisement for the Greek system… “We make you uncomfortable in our debauched  brotherhood neighborhood…until you conform to OMEGA DELTA OMEGA.” One decision alters everything, you see, because Gary eventually met his lovely bride Suzanne in Charleston. Heck, it’s a love story inside a pinball machine inside a cosmic drama. Then again, so is your life, my Lucky Blog Mates. We all have a home, a story, and a destination.

Place is more than geography, so it is. What we call home is a feeling more than a blue gps pinpoint that blinks on your I-phone map. The main character, Eilis, is sent by her loving older sister to America for a chance to make a life. Why? because her hometown has no prospects of any sort for her.  Big sister Rose sacrifices to make a way for Eilis, who soon replicates home in Brooklyn by living and worshiping with all Irish folks. Funny, quirky Irish women. Though she struggles with homesickness for weeks, she flourishes after falling for Tony, the Italian guy who adores her. And no wonder, she is angelic with her auburn hair, pale blue eyes, and unfreckled milky complexion.  Home is truly where the heart resides, and her heart is given to Tony, the Italian plumber. Until…

Eilis must go home due to a family tragedy, and this is where the weird juju starts to flow. Her historic home has unspoken power over her. Folks start telling her what to do, how to behave, and whom to love. It’s all so familiar and nearly unconscious. The locals possessively nudge her toward a destiny that they have created. Brooklyn, freedom, individuation are all put on pause as guilt-inducing prospects are opened up for her.  Eilis is almost swept away by it all, except that IT is petty, jealous, gossipy, predictable, nosey, and suffocating. She suddenly  remembers why she left the first time and who she is. Eilis sails for Brooklyn again, a much wiser woman. Free from the constraints of small town Irish life.

Image result for compass picturesWhere are you from? The answer changes for lots of us. My folks would answer, “Boston. Cambridge actually. Fenoe Street and Mass. Ave.” I would answer “Virginia Hills, Alexandria, Virginia. Dorset Drive and The Parkway.” But that was over forty years ago. I am still from there, yet I say, “South Central PA, not far from Gettysburg.” And this may change again before I cease to be from anywhere. I’m hoping to say, “I live in Tucson” in the near future. Like Eilis I left a place behind. Must be some wandering Irish gypsy gene. My children too live far away, or should I say too far away? Ironically my oldest lives in Brooklyn, though she is not from there yet.

So, full disclosure, I am 100% Irish, but I am not from Ireland because I have never been there. It is a destination I’d like to visit along with Italy, where my wife’s DNA arose. But for now we are from here, trying not to be self centered and blind to the bigger world around us. And yet, there are deep unconscious tugs on our souls to be somewhere else. This is not our home yet.

Interviewing a candidate for associate pastor of our church years ago, I was the only non-local on the conference call. The senior pastor directed the candidate’s question about the town’s ethos to me. “Tell him, Burrito. You moved here back in 1980, right?”

“Well, buddy, it’s like this. If your grandfather is not buried in a local church graveyard, then you are not from here yet. And you can’t bring your grandfather’s coffin with you and rebury him here. That won’t count.” After a chuckle, our pastor concurred. “That’s about right.”

Where are you from, mate? What’s your story?  Where are you headed?

1. Prequellus

When I started writing this blog four years ago, I intuitively began with #2. I had a hunch that I’d want to come back and begin again, so I left a slot, headspace to expand if you will allow for the analogy. Now I’m editing and tweeking the occasional post, updating with pictures that I did not have originally.  I’m not sure if I can wedge this in the original place. I guess I’ll find out when I publish it. That’s as much of a plan as I had when I started the autobiographical blather I call eccentric self absorption. Currently I’m at post #344. At about three hours per post, I’ve racked up over a thousand hours blogging. Seems impossible, maybe shocking to my faithful three readers who often wonder if I simply typed a post while I slept or showered. I have not done that yet, but I appreciate a good challenge.

Sue B. asked me if I wrote under the influence. Well, how can I answer that?  I do not write or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, though you may not be able to tell by simple observation. I do write under the influence of eccentric urgency to spew out an anecdote or two. Why?  Maybe because I need to balance the overwhelming input I get from listening to clients all day. My brain’s inbox gets too full and I need to drain off some balderdash and baloney.  Here is some educated help…

“Bologna refers to a type of sausage made of finely ground meat that has been cooked and smoked. Baloney is nonsense. It is an early 20th-century American coinage derived from bologna. It may also be influenced by blarney, which in one of its definitions means nonsense or deceptive talk.”

So, for me, the highly emotional verbiage from others is psychological bologna input that I relieve by rendering it into baloney. The same analogy holds true for coffee and beer, but that output would be rude to exclaim. So there it is! I am guilty as charged:  baloney monger in the first degree. “Off with his head!”

Prequels are background stories made up after a certain story becomes popular. After The Godfather 1 & 2, someone figured out that making a pre- Godfather 1 might earn a boatload of money simply by brand association. Usually these obvious money grabs don’t hold up to scrutiny because they are contrived and must not contradict what is already known to the thinking audience. I, however, have no fear of contradiction or obvious contrivance. It’s what I do. My problem is not the prequel; it’s the fact that the rest of what I write has no marketable appeal beyond the inpatient mental health population. Again, Sue B. told me that hubby Mark has trouble following my bunny trails. No duh. I have trouble following my own bunny trails. As George Costanza said, “It’s not you; it’s me.”  It was his famous break up line that was used against him during one break up gone wrong. “I invented the ‘it’s not you; it’s me’ line,” he emphatically insisted. I would reiterate here but I’m already guilty of redundancy.

Shocking: An enormous python (pictured) descended from the ceiling into a family in Guangdong, ChinaYeah, that’s a python coming out of the ceiling.

 

“For the love of God, say something substantial!!” I want to yell at myself as I muddle around, cleaning my literary navel. Some days are like this– without beginning, middle, or end– and so we just muddle about wondering about time and gravitational pull; tides and whether pythons can live above dropped ceilings. If one did drop out of the ceiling, I’m sure it would be in order to feed on a warm mammal after crushing it/him/her. I mention this because the ceiling at the coffee shop is collapsing ever so slightly. I pointed this out to Andrea in my most proprietary manner. She dutifully took a picture of it with her phone and texted it to higher management. Meanwhile I am watching for monster snakes to slither out and around sleeping customers, slowly compacting their ribcage with each shorter breath.

“Dustin, wake up! A twelve foot python is crushing you to death.”

“Oh, I thought I was dreaming… I was in my ’88 Toyota Corolla and being compacted at the junkyard. Whew! That was really scary. I couldn’t move my arms or legs. It was horrible.”

“Uh, news flash, Buddy. This is not a fire hose wrapped around you. It’s a freakin’ python, snake, leviathan, soul less reptile.”

“Okay. No problem. I know how to deal with these critters.”

“Really.”

“Yeah. My girlfriend says I have dragon breath, so I’m just gonna breathe right in his face. He’ll lose his appetite. Just watch.”

The slimy beast just tightens up and Dustin’s complexion reddens.

“I’m watching. Nothing, man. They are descended from dragons, Dustin. It’s like mom’s home cooking when you breathe on it. Maybe I should call 911.”

“No, I’ll be dead by the time they show up. And there will be all that negative news coverage, you know. ‘Monster Snake devours local Saint’. We don’t want that kind of media hype in our coffee shop.”

“Okay. So what’s Plan B?”

“Try singing Cher songs. One time in the Amazon I was being crushed by an Anaconda, and all I could think of in my last moments were Cher songs. So I sang them and unbelievably the snake went limp and died.”

“Okay, Dustin. Tell me, I’m blank with fear. Name a Cher song.”

“Uh, what did I sing to that Anaconda?  Oh yeah, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”

In a husky alto…

“Gypsys, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us Gypsys, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down”

“It’s working. He’s going slack. Hurry, sing ‘I got you, Babe.

“Sure,

‘They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe’
“Oh, look at that. The coward is slithering right back into the ceiling. Couldn’t stand a little Cher. huh? Some dragon descendant you are. You’re a disgrace to your race!”
‘They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
I guess that’s so, we don’t have a plot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe’
“Okay, he’s gone now. You can stop.”
 “Not till I finish the bridge. It’s my favorite part.”
‘I got flowers in the spring
I got you to wear my ring
And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around’
“Seriously, we’re good. Stop it!!”
“What’s the big hurry? You were almost dead a minute ago and now you’re Mr. Crankypants.”
‘Don’t let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb’
“Enough!! I appreciate your singing snake intervention, but a thinking man can only stand so much and no more. I will strangle you if you utter another Cher syllable.”
‘Babe’
“That’s it!! Argghhh.” Thrash. Wrestle. Strangle. “Oh, no. What have I done? I’ve choked out my only friend, my rescuer…. my. Oh, he’s coming back, say something, Buddy.”
‘I got you babe
I got you babe’
“No. Die you fiend!! I’ll plead self defense and insanity. Joel will understand.”
‘ I…….got…..you.”