Tag: Stories

The reckless record player story

We had some new windows installed in the warehouse. They’re really nice. The company that did them did a great job. They’re bright and shiny and clean. We’re thinking about installing a glass ceiling just because they’re so good.

It was expensive, though. Windows aren’t normally something that you want to be spending money on, especially in November. You have enough on your plate right now with holiday celebrations. There’s laundry to do. There’s a closet that you’ve needed to clean out for three years. And there’s a door upstairs that you’ve never even opened. You’d expect your windows, of all things, to be the one thing that you don’t have to worry about right now.

But no. There’s a problem that needs fixing. Windows. And you need to spend your whole day-off standing by idly as the problem’s taken care of. And you know you don’t need to be there while the people are fixing your windows because they’ve done it hundreds of times before and you have not, but walking away from service providers while they’re in your house is like choosing to sit down and watch TV while the police are out hunting down the guy who stole your wallet. You can’t do anything about it right now, but gosh-darn-it, at the very least look like you’re interested!

Sorry. There’s a lot of built-up anxiety around deadlines during this time of year. I need to relax. Maybe I should clean out the refrigerator.

Now a new shipment of old record players was delivered last Friday. Wally had seen someone’s advertisement for them online, saying that he bought them for practically free and didn’t want them, so he was selling them for dirt cheap, like new, must go.

Wally jumped on the sale and the fifty units arrived in a truck on that very evening. It was snowing. Since Wally is always willing to get into the Christmas mood early, he grabbed his collection of old Yuletide records the next morning and had one playing on one of our new players in every corner of the building. It was a magical day – almost everyone wanted to disappear.

Before too long, though, we noticed something odd. One of the record players had become quiet. I headed over to investigate, and I found that Wally’s copy of “Irish Christmas Lullabies for Violin” was missing. Not only that, but a nearby window was broken. Did somebody just break in?

I quickly ran to the next nearest record player. It was still spinning along, having played “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for a week now. I looked out the window to see if anyone was nearby.

Then, on starting the twelfth day, the song started speeding up. I looked over and saw it rotating faster and faster. I stepped back, afraid that it might explode. As soon as it reached the end of the song, “…And a partridge in a pear tree!” the needle lifted and the record launched from the player, right past my head, shattering through the window and out into the yard.

Let me tell you, it scared the living daylights out of me (which was a shame since I’d been saving up).

As the story would have it, those record players were Schreft & Dewd Classic Turntables, which were actually discontinued six months after they were first produced in 1971. A quick intra-web search revealed that the company marketed them as the “finyl player you’ll ever buy!” Without any exceptions, they were probably right.

Wally called his seller, whose online handle is “Mr.(_)*_*(_)Muffs,” and told him about the problem:

WALLY.  So, there’s an issue that I had with your turntables that you sold me. Did… did you know that they are projectile weapons?

MUFFS.  Huh?

W.  They launch records like Frisbees. At baseball pitching speeds. It’s very scary and we’ve broken windows already.

M.  Frisbees?

W.  Yes, Frisbees!… Records thrown like Frisbees!

M.  Well why are you doing that?

W.  Those record players that you sold us are doing that! They’re very dangerous!

M.  Yes, that is very dangerous.

W.  Where did you purchase them?

M.  Huh?

W.  Where are they from?

M.  Why, you can get Frisbees from the dollar store!

W.  No, where did you get the record players from?

M.  Oh, uh, uh… I bought them up when the company was going down. I knew the owner, and he told me I could get them for cheap, and so I bought them all up and have been trying to sell them off for all those years since to turn a bit of a profit.

W.  Well they’re not good.

M.  They’re not cooked?

W.  No, I said they’re not good!

M.  So they are cooked? What were you throwing them around like Frisbees for?

W.  Sir, I think you are going deaf. All I want is a refund.

M.  Well, thank you for talking with me, but you’re right, I really do need to go get Jeff, and I want you to have fun, to.

W.  No, sir, I said–

–But the man on the phone had hung up. I knew he was putting on a show, just dodging responsibility for his mistakes. How? you might ask. Our shipment was 29 count. And the record players only go up to 70 decibels. Think about it.

And including the replacement of those windows, those record players were easily the worst $55.13 that Wally has ever spent, in terms of ROI.


I do not currently know where I am – Pt. 2

*This post is a continuation of part 1.*

I found myself propped up anew on a very tribal-looking yet very comfy couch. The woman continued to look at me with the strangest grin as she flicked on the room’s two coconut-themed lamps. She was clearly going for some tropical motif, but it felt more like a doctor’s office containing a couch and two lamps.

“Who are you?” I asked in the awkward silence.

“Oh, you wouldn’t know me, hon, but I read yer blog-thing!”

I shuddered. “But my mother is the only one who reads my blog.”

She cackled as she lifted herself up onto yet another hospital bed, of which she apparently has several. “Well, no more o’ that. With the start of advanced content discovery algorithms, people from all ’round the world are able to access yer blog and be a part of yer quest to regain yer dignity. Remember? From yer first post, Seeing the glass half full? This is the culm’nation of yer master plan, a part of which I seek to be a part of which. I want you to fulfill yer destiny, and that’s why I brought you here.”

“I don’t understand,” I said, not understanding.

“Now which one was it where you said, ‘I’m so not with it that I could report myself missing. In fact I just might do that and hide in bed for a few days’? You said that, don’t you remember? It was in Three St. Andrew’s Hospitals too many, a Tragedy in one act–which, by the way, was an awesome title that got me so ready for yer hilarious story. I said, ‘This kid needs a break, and I’m going to give it to him,’ so I finally kidnapped you and gave you a hard earned chance to lie low for a while!”

I was in utter shock, dumfounded by what she was telling me.

“A thank ya’ would be nice!”

“I have no words. Y-y-you kidnapped me because you couldn’t see that I was joking, and now you want me to compliment you? As though you just did something good for me?”

“Don’t be such a square-head. This was what you wanted–you said that! You think it was easy to find the right guys who could nab you and bring you here and set up this hospital room with the right paint and the right bed and a lady to play the nurse just like in the real St. Andrew’s Hospital and make sure that you weren’t disturbed this whole time? Huh? You think it was easy?!”

“I was unconscious! I might have memory loss, plus I have a job and a life that only I can put on hold, not some random person that’s trying to stalk me! How did you even find me?”


“But how did you find my address?”

“Oh, well that’s easy! I visited every Futuristic Coney Island franchise in the area and asked. Eventually someone knew what I’s talkin’ about.”

“I’m at a loss for words. This is so despicable, it’s–it’s–”

“–I see. So ya don’t appreciate yer readers.”

“I don’t give a flip about my readers, not one of them! What you’ve done is illegal!”

“Says the boy who has been hiding in my shed for three weeks.”

I stared at her.

“You think anyone’s gonna believe you now?”

It took me a few moments to realize that she was suggesting she’d blackmail me. It was true that I couldn’t prove she kidnapped me, and so I didn’t know what to say.

“One way or another,” she told me, “you’ll have to be realizin’ that I’m doin’ this all for you. We’re friends now, and if you won’t learn that the easy way and just accept my help and support, then yer gonna learn it the hard way, which I haven’t figured out yet, but it won’t be as easy as the easy way I can assure you. Are you gonna stay here for a little while, or are you gonna try an’ escape like a coward?”

“I’m not going to try and escape,” I said.

“Good,” she said. “So first thing’s first–”

“I’m just going to escape,” I said, and I smashed the button that tilts her bed. She flew backward onto the floor in a twisty manner.

I jumped to my feet and hobbled through the house to the front door and outside.

I looked both ways down the neighborhood street and crossed it.

She opened the door, yelling, “You’re not gettin’ away, coward!” and chased me as best she could.

Both with limps now, we gave good chase for about twenty minutes before reaching the next street. I waved as a taxi was driving by, and the driver waved back with a smile.

We turned the corner and made our way out of the neighborhood, and I spotted a grocery store on the corner. In its direction I stumbled.

A boy scout was standing outside the door: “Troop 121B – Camp Yankee Dolphin welcomes you to Greene’s Grocer. Would you like to donate $10 to support children in impoverished areas prepare for the school year?”

“Not today, thank you.”

“You get free popcorn!”

“Anyone who would change their mind after learning about free popcorn is an evil person.”

“Well at least fill out this survey for–“

“–I just don’t have time right now!”

I burst through the doors, feeling a bit like a heel. Speaking of heels, my pusuer was on mine. She paused by the boy scout, though. She started talking with him. I took the opportunity to escape.

I hid in the bathroom for what seemed like an hour but was really only 53:22. After I left, the building was empty and the lights were off. I walked up to the front doors and just barely pulled them open–and trust me, it took a lot of pried on my part. An alarm sounded, but I had enough, so I took to the nearest diner I saw and had a lot of freedom fries while I had the opportunity.

I hitchhiked my way home through midnight, but I’m quite certain that this is not over.

The bad cheese story

Some time between Monday night and this morning, someone dropped off several thousand pounds of Swiss cheese at our door.

We did not want to sell it. It had already half-melted in the morning’s warmth and began to smell rather bad. Transitioning it to a place inside, so that we could get the forklift in and out, took a fair struggle that required all-hands-on-deck and an early vegan lunch.

Wally went into his little office and reviewed last-night’s security footage. After twenty minutes emerged, we got the news:

“Someone was definitely here last night,” he informed us.

We all pretended to be shocked.

“It was a big, burnt-reddish van that stopped by at 4:15 in the morning. Two guys jumped out and unloaded the Swiss faster than a flapjack on the 4th of July. It was actually pretty cool watching how fast they moved. I was impressed. Angered, but impressed.”

“Did you catch a company name on the van?” I asked.

“Oh, you know what? That’s a pretty good idea. I guess I should’ve been looking for that, but there’s just a lot on my mind right now with the holiday and all. I’ll check it out.”

He did that, and we opened some windows. We packed some orders that had come in yesterday, but everyone was left anxious by the cheese’s presence.

I tapped on Wally’s office door. He opened up with a note in his hand. “Deer Dairy–they’re the ones who gave us the cheese.”

“What took so long?” I asked, again the one to question authority.

“Huh? I fell asleep. You know, anxiety. Anyway, they’re just down the road, so I’m going to put in a call and see if I can’t figure out what happened last night.”

Unsure if we had the integrity to wait out another elongated period by standing around without getting anything done, Fouvre and I decided to play a round of horseshoes with some spare croquet wickets we had found in a bin for assorted sports equipment. The game ended promptly, though, when the notoriously square BARNDALE Junior asked us what we were doing.

Without any orders coming in or going out, thanks to management’s preoccupation, we began growing indignant, throwing fits, catching drifts, and just being all-around blunderpuffs.

Wondering why Wally’s next task was taking longer than the first, I flipped out my phone and dialed up his office line. After three rings, Wally finally picked up his end of the call and answered:

“This is Wally Walid Washington. How can I help you?”

“Hey, Wally, um… we’re all wondering what’s going on.”

It took five seconds for him to burst out of his room and say, “Oh–Great Scott–I’m sorry. I guess I must’ve drunk something I shouldn’t have. Anyway, uh, they confirmed that they did drop off–this is Deer Dairy–that they dropped off cheese here and that they thought we were Futuristic Coney Island.”

“We don’t look anything Futuristic,” Barndale shouted. “At least we throw our trash out!.”

“I said those exact words,” Wally laughed. “They apologized and said they’d take the cheese back for its proper disposal. I didn’t even know that that was a concern for cheese.”

“Oh, yes,” I said, “cheese is very concerned about apologies.”

However, one hour later, as the cheese was still sitting on our floor and causing irritation, we received a call from the dairy saying that they were done, but our previous estimate of several thousand pounds was way too high.

It became clear what they meant when the suited-up MR. MADGE, owner of Futuristic Coney Island (and several other locally misnamed businesses), pulled his full-size sedan into our drive. Crinkled napkins and paper cups fell from his door as he stormed up to Wally’s office.

“This isn’t funny, Sawyer! You think you can just walk into my place and steal cheese? Yeah, well you can’t! Well, you apparently can, but it’s still not funny!”

Wally opened the door and looked at him.

“Hey,” Mr. Madge said, “you’re not Sawyer! Where’s he hiding?”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“Of course you do! He owns this place…!” and then he paused for about twelve seconds, taking a good look at the surroundings. “…This isn’t Deer Dairy, is it?”

“It isn’t.”

Boy, did his expression change real quick. He fixed his tie with one hand and retreated to his car, which in turn retreated to the street and drove away.

This afternoon, a representative of the real Dear Dairy showed up with a cheesecake-gift and informed us that their delivery van’s GPS had been malfunctioning recently. We all had a good laugh and partook of the kindly gift with high spirits.

I realized that Wally wasn’t present by then, though, so I searched the premises for him. He was nowhere to be found. I even briefly interrogated our hoarder coworker, asking if he had kidnapped him. (He said no, but that doesn’t generally mean much.) The mystery, therefore, stood: Who would eat Wally’s piece of cheesecake?

Wally had, in fact, driven home in secret, admitting to himself that he was unable to stay awake anymore. He called the rest of this week off, leaving us plenty of time to clinch our horseshoe prowess.

The Onyx, The Oryx

Please enjoy my poem titled The Onyx, The Oryx, which was written with intent that it would be read while listening to Claude Debussy’s Nocturnes, although anything that is older than 1898 is passable.

This poem was created for an assignment that I had in 10th grade English with MR. LAMPLOIS, a notoriously difficult teacher. The piece was written to fit the description, “An ode which captures the essence of life as an inanimate object,” as Mr. Lamplois had dictated to us one very long morning. It was up to the class to figure out what that meant.

The Onyx, The Oryx, inexplicably, was good enough to garner a C+ on the assignment. It was, of course, very contrived (and it tongue-in-cheek, too, until I saw my grade). So, once again, please enjoy this sufficient poem that I currently consider the highlight of my writing career:


The Onyx, the Oryx,

Teach me of your ways.

Your labyrinthine characters

Are certain to amaze.


The Onyx, the Oryx,

You’re my seed of hope.

You stop the cracking whip when I

Reach the end of my rope.


The Onyx, a special stone,

With semiprecious fate.

I open up my heart to you;

It’s like we’re both agate.


The Oryx, the antelope,

The cantaloupe of deer.

Sweeter than a honeydew

And smarter than a steer.


The ancient Greeks have honoured you

For millions of days.

My words are all I have for you–

They’re all I have to says.


The Onyx, the Oryx,

I must tell you true

That I intend to one day win

A Scrabble game with you.


After the semester was over I found out that I was one of only four kids who passed the class. In fact, Lamplois told me on the very last day that he thinks that I should become a poet.

“You have talent, kid,” he told me. “Not as much as I did when I was your age, but some.”

“Wow, Mr. Lamplois. I can’t express my gratitude.”

“If you are interested in publishing any of your work, please let me know. I’d be willing to sponsor a strong submission from you to a journal. Wouldn’t that be exciting?”

“That would be exciting,” I said, unsure if he was asking about the publishing opportunity or about him offering to sponsor me.

I soon later wrote what would be an unofficial follow-up to Onyx  titled The Ibis, The Iris. Here we go again:


The Ibis, the Iris,

Two creatures of a kind.

They must be parking meters–

They’re so easy to fined.


Dogs are called man’s best friend;

For girls, it’s diamond-stuff.

But compared to Ibis and Iris,

Those things seem quite rough.


The Ibis, the giraffe-chicken

Who flies across the sea:

Your wings will never hit

What your eyes will never see.


The Iris, the Iball,

Receptacle of light.

Someone get me a mirror,

‘Cause man! your outta sight!


After a long, long day

Of feeling weirdly weary

It cheers me to know that part of

My eyes spell the inverse of Siri.


In this way, dear Iris,

And Ibis, just as so,

You make my days much brighter

Than you will ever know.


Like ever, ever know.

Like, please don’t even guess.

You would be so far off that you

Would need a new address.


“My days are much, much brighter”;

Those six words shall suffice.

If you keep nagging me for more

I might not be as nice.


Like seriously, back off.

I’m trying to keep it cool.

I’m not the one who’s standing there

And acting like a tool.


Fine, be that way, then!

I’ve saved this up ’til now,

But no one needs input from

Unqualified critics anyhow.


Without indicating any of the intended irony, I submitted this new poem to Mr. Lamplois to look over. He changed his mind about sponsoring me, and I don’t blame him. The world was not ready for this level of postmodernist technique. Or maybe I was so far ahead of my time that my time was way behind me. Maybe it was a combination of the two and I just needed to find a new niche.

One way or another, though, I would grow to appreciate the days of that following summer, of not knowing what to do with myself. Those days, of course, are gone, however. Maybe some time soon I’ll sit myself down and get back into that poetry mindset, but when you always have something important on your mind, it’s hard to come up with anything creative. Trust me–I’ve gotten pulled over a lot.

The leather jacket story

Essentially, all I do is put and take stuff on and off shelves all day, but it’s not as boring as it sounds.

Once a guy’s truckload of used leather jackets from an antique motorist club’s local chapter was deposited on site and it was my job that morning to clean them. Now, like with most used clothes, these jackets had some “pocket-treasures,” if you will, but you may find this case of special interest.

Firstly, practically every member carried a business card–I suppose technically it would be a “club card,” but the inclusion of office #s, FAX #s, and some address on the cards sort of confused me.

Secondly, trinkets. Random things. Not even hood ornaments. One guy had a cardboard-origami swan in his pocket. A zip-up pocket. What significance does that play? And what about the blank dice? Or the metal spork? Or the broken mouse trap?

One carried a set of false teeth. That’s right–actual false teeth! This was when I was convinced we weren’t playing lost-and-found (or at least this was what I was now hoping).

I called the office phone number that the cards provided and asked about their various objects to make sure that this was not an accident and that they for sure were not needed. The phone never picked up.

I called back the guy who made the drop-off–his name’s DEW Cedar. Dew told me the club had been disbanded for over a decade. Well, alright then.

He said the trinkets were their way of identifying each other’s cars. They would be hidden inside their vehicles, and if ever one was stolen they would just use an “ASCII table” of sorts (???) to map each member to their unique item and determine ownership and whatnot.

To show me the significance of these cars in their world, he went on to tell me that in 1992 a buddy of his, WILLY, had his white ’53 Chevy Corvette stolen one night.

The next week, at a famous car show, the club was gathered in the lot as a green ’53 Corvette entered the scene. The DRIVER stepped out and proceeded to open the hood and the trunk. The entire group followed Willy to the critical vehicle. This was the following conversation:

WILLY.  That’s a darn-fine car you got there. ’53 Corvette?

DRIVER.  Good eye.

W.  I had one of those. Up until about a week ago.

D.  …Oh. …You’d sell a car like this one?

W.  Nope, I’d never sell such a beauty. And I wouldn’t say it was a car like that one.

D.  …You wouldn’t…?

W.  How long have you had this one?

D.  …Almost 20 years….

W.  Mind if I take a look in the trunk?

D.  I suppose not, as long as you don’t run away with it! *laugh; realization that he is alone in doing so*

W.  *close inspection of trunk* What’s this hairbrush doing in here?

D.  Hairbrush? Oh, yes, the hairbrush… I… use it sometimes… when I’m changing a tire.

W.  Yeah? I guess that’s too ridiculous to be a lie. You know, I actually kept a hairbrush in my trunk, but I guess that’s just a coincidence and nothing more.

D.  …Yeah, weird.

W.  Nice paint job, though.

D.  Thanks! But it’s always been green.

W.  I didn’t say you changed the color. You could’ve just done some freshening up, right?

D.  Right, of course. I guess I just inferred from your facial expression that you meant I changed the color of the car and I was like, “What? That doesn’t make any sense.” That’s what I was thinking–you’re the one who said it oddly, not me. I’m just here at the car show with my car.

W.  You mean my car?

D.  Um, no, ’cause it’s not.

W.  You’re not a very good liar.

D.  Excuse me–you mean I’m not a good truth teller, because that’s what I’m doing.

Willy then pulled a key out of his pocket and quickly locked the driver door with it.

W.  Curious, this random key of mine happens to work on your car’s door. Isn’t that curious?

D.  N-no, that’s…. No, it’s n-not, because y-you stole that key from me!

But that was enough of that. The group helped Willy help himself into his car. As Dew said, the rest of it is history.

I informed him that it was all, in fact, history, but I thanked him for the story. By now the jackets are probably distributed across almost the entire nation via online resale, but if not I might look into keeping one.