Friday, January 27, 2006

Something or Nothing # 1

This is not Ken's former post Something from Nothing, so don't think we're repeating ourselves just yet (notwithstanding my post yesterday of updating the status on my New Year's resolutions). No, this is a bit different but related to an extent.

I'm not sure if they're still doing it, but David Letterman used to have the Is this Anything? schtick with Paul Schaffer, whereby they'd show some whacky stunt, and then Schaffer would answer whether the act was "something" or "nothing."

Well, every once in a while on a lark, I'll just write some stuff to see if it'll stick to the wall as a potential short story. These are not whole stories, necessarily. Sometimes I won't even be sure where I was going, I'm just writing from flow. Obviously, some of it's going to be real bad, but hopefully I'll land a gem or two. So from time to time here on the blog, I'll throw down a section of something I've written, and everyone else out there in cyberland (even including Ken) can say whether this is "something" or this is "nothing." Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings because I truly write a lot of crapola. I'm not going to respond; I'm just going to listen.

All that said, here's my first entry (if you're still bearing with me):

Sign Reads:

NATIONAL MASCOT CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP


“What in the world are you supposed to be?”

Next to me, the balloon-headed wrangler snickered under his mask. I pivoted my whole body and glared at the cowboy, but he only laughed louder. Returning to face the three talent evaluators, I cleared my throat.

Before I could answer, the lone male judge, who was sitting on the left of the table below, cut in, “I’ll give it a try, Brit.” He measured me a while longer and then commented, “The guy looks like a fried egg, doesn’t he? Maybe a little sunny side up with that faded yellow face paint. What institution would that be? Is there an ‘Egg-lin’ Air Force Base College?”

Audience hoots echoed through the theater. I gritted my teeth and sucked in a mouthful of air.

Today, plain and simply, BIT. Kayleigh’s call started the morning off like a stalactite dropping from the motel ceiling into my heart. Getting dumped by my girlfriend at seven a.m. ranked right up there with the kidney stone I’d passed three months back. I couldn’t stop thinking about her… well, not until an hour later when I tumbled off the top of the mascot pyramid in the Stage 1 practice for gymnastics and cheering. The mild concussion forced me to skip competing in the stage. Although they said I’d get another chance to go it alone, the fall effectively rendered me out of the running for the competition. Still, I refused to just go through the motions, but with all the heckling… well the day just BIT!

“No, sir,” I stated as the noise simmered down. “We’re the Fighting Hominy of Topeka State.” Raucous laughter burst from the seats behind the judges. “Uh, we moved from Division II to I-A last year.”

The raven-haired lady, the head judge, in the middle raised and lowered her arms. When the din quieted enough for her to be heard, she asked, “Okay, Mr. Cowboy of OSU, what’s your particular talent you’ll be showing off today.”

Sidling up to the front of the stage, the head that was five times too large for the gunslinger’s body stared out at the judge. “Lassoing, ma’am.”

“And you, um, Mr. Hominy? You’re here, so apparently you have a talent, too?

Wild Bill returned to his place as I waddled past. “Oh, yes, miss. My talent is moonwalking.”

All three evaluators gasped, and again the spectators were rolling. The guy judge shouted, “Moonwalking? How can…? Your costume looks like an off-white horseshoe that’s been filled in, and your feet and hands barely stick out of the holes in your suit. You can’t possibly moonwalk in that!”

Even with Buffalo Bill by my side, the stage felt really lonely. My cowboy competitor didn’t help much anyway as he clutched at his sides, yucking it up as hard as he was.

“Well, actually,” I began, “even though you might think I look like an egg, most people we’ve run into think pieces of hominy look like little moons. So when I dance, they say I’m moonwalking. Get it?”

“Well, I’ve never seen a hominy dance, so this is one I’ve gotta see!” the judge bellowed. “You got a track queue up, G-Money?”

An old Michael Jackson song blared out of the speakers at the sides of the stage. Hearing the music, I started to twist and could feel the heavy material hanging from my arms waving back and forth. Pretty soon after, all I could hear was laughter, but I kept bobbing from one foot to the other.

Finally, the crowd quieted, and I had no idea how long ago the music had stopped, so I quit my prancing. Working like that in the hominy costume winded me.

“So, how’d I do?” I inquired, panting.

The judges, all still smiling and wiping at their eyes, glanced at one another. “We… we… didn’t have a gong,” the woman on the right squeaked out between giggles.”

“But thank you for that.” The man judge pointed at me. “Now I can say I’ve seen it all.”

“You’re dismissed.”

[That's as much as I'm going to put out right now, but there's more to this short story, which is sort of a spoof about how seriously we take ourselves. Regardless, just from what you've read so far, is it something or is it nothing. Thanks.]


1 comment:

codepoke said...

ROFL.

Dude, you don't make this easy on us!

I have no idea what to say about this. I can't stop laughing long enough to type this. I have never seen life from inside a grain of hominy corn before, but from what I hear it bites.

I have to say that you made me care about the poor slob out there moonwalking. (A line you might use: My ex-wife once broke up with a too devoted suitor over the phone one morning, and hung up because she was in the middle of aerobics and didn't want her heart rate to drop. The guy was WAAYY in love with her.) That he gets slammed so hard by the judges is a gut check.

Yeah, if you are going somewhere with this, it's very something. I see Adam Sandler cussing up a storm inside that suit when it gets made into the movie.