What took you so long?

Welcome. I've been waiting for you to show up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tom Cruise's Bunker

I heard that Tom Cruise built a $10 million underground bunker by his Telluride home. His intent was to protect his family when the Dark Galactic Overlord Xenu comes down to Earth. I have no clue whether this is true (the bunker, not Xenu). But let's just say for a moment that Mr. Cruise spent six months of Alabama's education budget on a bunker because the Church of Scientology told him that an enemy is going to attack our planet. I think he got ripped off. I know a dozen ol’ boys who could have have fixed him up with a state-of-the-art, below-ground bunker, including cable TV, for a couple grand. We who live in tornado alley know our shelters. Now, in my own world view, the possibility of a galactic invasion seems pretty low; the probability factor is less than the IQ of your average member of our Legislature before his morning coffee. Also, I tend to think that astronauts, the Hubble Telescope and unmanned space probes would have informed us by now if Xenu had so much as a canoe headed this way. So it puzzles me that John Travolta, Kirstie Ally and Cruise -- who appear fairly smart -- would think otherwise. On the other hand, what if the writings of L.Ron. Hubbard and the new director of The Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, have the right idea, but they got the details wrong. The end times may well be at hand due to the fact that Pakistan and North Korea have nukes. Oh, and Iran. I have also heard a rumor that the South is where the Final Armageddon will start because we (meaning Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina) have banished prayer from our schools when we knew better. Allegedly, prayer banishment was to be expected in the North but not in the deep South. I can't afford a bunker like Tom and Katie's rumored hideout, with its high-tech air purifying system. So I guess I'll go out with the rest of the regular folks --unless Xenu or Kim Jong Il or whoever spares me because I have this secret code message that I bought from the back of a Betty and Veronica comic book in the 1950s, along with a Super Valu-Pak from the Garcelon Stamp Company. What? You think it won't work against Xenu? Who are you to say what will or won't protect me when the Dark Galactic Overlord lowers his landing wheels?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Things Unsaid

"Hannah, honey, hand me my lap robe would you, and roll me out to the veranda?"
My name is not Hannah, and there is no veranda where Mrs. Jackson lives, now. But I oblige her with a bath towel across her knees and turn her wheelchair to face out her second story window. While her back is turned to the room, I make her bed, tidy her belongings and disinfect the surfaces she touched overnight after episodes of incontinence.
"The lilacs must be blooming, Hannah. I can smell them!" she exclaims. I do not tell her it's the floral-scented Lysol spray or that lilacs don't grow in the deep South.
"What shall we do this morning, Hannah?" she asks me brightly. I can see that her mind is wandering over myriad possibilities, over whole continents where she used to go, for real.
"Whatever you like, Mrs. Jackson," I say. "Would you like to visit the neighbors?"
"Yes, I would, and especially that nice Mr. Evellyn."
I do not say that there is no Mr. Evellyn -- which she pronounces EEv-Lin -- on her floor or anywhere else in this facility.
There is more I do not say, more everyday: that a son who never comes has died. That a friend who used to call has died, as well.
Finally all the many things I cannot say fill up my throat, and I feel I might choke on Mrs. Jackson's absent life.