Another sheer outtake from DVM’s upcoming book Meltdown in the Cereal Aisle and Other Stories

Another Tom-and-Rachel passage omitted from “Sheer Musical Joy for the Ages”:

Rachel never discussed politics with anyone, because people got upset so easily nowadays; she had never liked causing strife in the world.  However, she had always held conservative views about government, the economy, and (of course) morality.  In 2000 at age nineteen, she had voted in her first election, choosing George W. Bush for president, as she would do again in her second election four years later.  She considered him a decent and honorable man, though she had strong disagreements with him about that whole torture business.  Having lived through 9/11 and the two ongoing wars that had followed, she understood the natural desire for revenge against the monsters who had attacked America and continued to attack it, but torturing a terrorist meant you considered him special, worthy of the extra attention, worthy of the extra effort required for beating, kicking, stomping, waterboarding, forced foot-licking, and other harsh interrogation techniques.  As for using those techniques to gain information that would prevent an imminent attack, the ticking time-bomb scenario happened only on TV; real-life terrorists didn’t deserve any media-related glamour.  The government should remove whatever mystique terrorism had by treating a terrorist as any other criminal, making him do hard time in an ordinary supermax prison, tossing him in solitary forever, driving him crazy with boredom.

On the other hand, Tom probably wanted to coddle the terrorists, having the government pay for luxuries such as cable TV or high-quality legal representation, meaning he probably leaned to the left on the political spectrum; she had never seen him wear Birkenstocks or carry around a National Public Radio totebag, but she did know about his lack of interest in religion—something she’d known about before today, true, but, all right, she had hoped to convert him, because a hunk like him didn’t deserve to get broiled after death.  But to no avail—he remained unconverted.

All right, she would get intimate with him in a millisecond if doing so wouldn’t cause her soul to wither.  Maybe she should show him just enough physical affection, not going too far, proving she can set boundaries and teaching him how to set them.  Maybe just a little touching.  Her soul wouldn’t wither too much if they just touched in a careful manner.

Maybe just a little kissing.  She’d never been kissed.

Maybe just—

No, why would she even consider extreme involvement with him?  His questionable morals had had a deleterious effect on her.  She needed to back away while she still could.  A moment of so-called fun, and she’d foot the bill forever.  No, she could never belong on his team or vice-versa.

And she knew the importance of teams.  Her father had run track in high school and college.  Even today, he still had a lean, muscular physique and still towered over most of the world at six feet, two inches; she’d inherited her tallness and her athleticism from him.

His sophomore year of college, he met his future wife on the campus quad while walking to the dining hall for lunch.  “We met on a cloudy day, but it was the sunniest day of my life,” as he would put it on many occasions years later.  She had just gotten saved and had started witnessing; he was her first witness (or witnessee?) ever.  It was also love at first sight for both of them.  They talked, they started going out together, he got saved thanks to her, and they got married two years later after graduating.

Rachel was born a year after that and had a Christian upbringing.  Every Sunday, she attended the Church of the Shining Light of Garnetville for Bible school and religious services. Every weekday after public school, she watched King Christian on the PraiseHim channel.   Every Easter, she watched the Charlton Heston version of The Ten Commandments during that movie’s annual broadcast on the ABC television network.  And at bedtime, her parents would read to her from Doyle’s Christian Media Presents the Big Book of Bible Stories for Good Little Children; as an adult, she still remembered the book’s cartoony, candy-colored illustrations of Adam, Eve, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, et cetera.

 

Copyright © 2012 by David V. Matthews

A sheer outtake from DVM’s upcoming book Meltdown in the Cereal Aisle and Other Stories

Omitted from the story “Sheer Musical Joy for the Ages”:

Tom and Rachel had their first official date two nights later, Saturday night, at Bamboo Circle, a tropical-Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Garnetville, a few blocks up from the arts center.  The restaurant—owned and operated by a white preppie prick Tom had known in college—was surprisingly popular considering Garnetville’s whiter-shade-of-pale quality, or maybe not so surprisingly, considering the restaurant’s toned-down exoticism, though a few cute young Asian waitresses did work there.  Large, swirly, earth-toned, five-foot-tall plastic vases of plastic bamboo decorated the restaurant, sitting on the floor near the circular black-velvet paintings that hung on the walls, expressionistic paintings of palm trees, grass huts, rosy-cheeked monkeys, and natives canoeing in silhouette past neon sunsets.  Tom had eaten there a lot and thought the food was all right, but he really liked what he considered the unapologetic Caucasian cluelessness, the Disneyfied multiculturalism. 

Rachel had eaten there a lot, too, but she liked the food more than he did, and she really liked the décor in a sincere way.  She liked all restaurants from fast-food to family-style casual dining, always enjoying the adventure of experiencing new culinary worlds while never failing to appreciate the effort other people had put into creating those worlds.  She was an adventuresome woman, scaling the rock-climbing wall at the exercise center with her eyes closed; knowing several non-Christians on a friendly basis; and in particular having dinner with Tom, a stranger she had just met a few days ago.

Tom wore what he called his dinners-and-depositions suit: a dark-blue, three-button model with a white shirt and a grayish tie.  (He’d never given any depositions.)  Rachel wore a short-sleeved, low-cut, above-the-knees black dress, though she had marred her majestic breasts by wearing her version of a KEEP OFF sign over them, namely a gold chain necklace sporting a three-inch ceramic crucifix that looked like two rainbows intersecting.

“That’s a nice necklace,” Tom managed to say about that kitschy eyesore after they’d sat down at their table and placed their orders.

“Thank you,” Rachel said.  “I made it myself in a jewelry class a few years ago.”

“You make jewelry?”

“Only now and then, when the spirit moves me.  And the spirit had moved me to create a necklace that symbolized my—well, you could call it my fusion-minded philosophy.  I like when people and cultures combine to form something unique, something individualistic based upon many individualities.  After all, God didn’t make the rainbow monochromatic.  The beauty of the rainbow is the variety of the colors.”

“And all those colors mix together like a real rainbow connection, huh, Kermit?” Tom asked facetiously.

“Yes, like a rainbow connection!  I remember that song!  I used to watch The Muppet Movie on TV all the time as a child.”

“Really?  Me too.”

“Such a great movie.  I nearly levitated off the floor and through the roof when I saw Kermit—the entire Kermit, legs and all—ride that bicycle.  I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen in my life.”

“Me too.  I must have been six or seven when I saw that for the first time, and I wondered how they’d pulled it off.  Did they use strings?  A robot?  A guy in a Kermit costume?”

“You had an interest in movie-making even then.”  Rachel picked up her glass of imported Italian raspberry-flavored carbonated artesian well water and took a sip.

“I guess I did.”  Tom picked up his glass of the raspberry-flavored artesian well water and took a larger sip.  Not bad.  He’d ordered the water at her suggestion.  “Today they’d use a computer-animated Kermit, but that would rob the scene of its charm.  I don’t mind computer animation, but too much of it looks too perfect.  This may be just nostalgia talking, considering I haven’t seen them in years, but the old Muppets had a, shall we say, low-tech appeal.  Even as a kid, I could see the sticks or poles that the Muppeteers moved the Muppets’ arms with.  It took me years to realize those sticks looked like crutches.  Oh, those poor Muppets—they couldn’t walk at all.”

“They didn’t need to.  They could hitch rides on the arms of human beings.”

Tom laughed.  Rachel had a surreal sense of humor sometimes, he noticed for the first time.

“So anyway, did you watch the Muppet Babies show, too?” she asked.

“Not really.  I’d heard of it, but I’d outgrown the Muppets by then.”

“Well, I watched that show every Saturday morning.  You know how they always portrayed their human nanny from the shins down?  Well, I’d wonder why she couldn’t wear better shoes.  Maybe she couldn’t afford them.  The Muppet parents should have paid her better.”

“Yeah, the nanny in orange, Day-Glo platform shoes.”

“Or five-inch black stiletto heels.”

“Or Air Jordans.”

“Or, uh, purple golfing shoes, the ones with the cleats.”  

“Or—”

Copyright © 2012 by David V. Matthews

Song Lyrics #2: A Sport of Measurable Discipline

Football / A sport of measurable discipline / Baseball / A sport of measurable discipline / Basketball / A sport of measurable discipline / Hockey / A sport of measurable discipline

Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser

Tennis / A sport of measurable discipline / Golf / A sport of measurable discipline / Soccer / A sport of measurable discipline / Rugby / A sport of measurable discipline

Winning isn’t everything, but losing isn’t anything

Boxing / A sport of measurable discipline / Wrestling / A sport of measurable discipline / Swimming / A sport of measurable discipline / Skiing  / A sport of measurable discipline

I should say something snarky here about American competitiveness.  No, wait, you’re better at snarkiness than I am.

Whatever  / A sport of measurable discipline

(repeat above two lines as song fades out)

 

© 2011 David V. Matthews

January 11-12, 1999/August 22, 2011