The Iron Writer Challenge #29
2013 Iron Writer Autumn Equinox Challenge #7
The Millennium Falcon
GI Joe Action Figures
A Waffle Iron
It Flashes Before Your Eyes
Joe De La Garza
He was so deep in thought behind the wheel that day he didn’t even notice the flashing lights and speeding red convertible in his mirrors. It clipped his rear bumper; sent his car skittering into oncoming traffic and directly into the toothy grin of an eighteen-wheeler.
It was an instant, a snapshot. He saw the surprised look of the truck driver, his sweat stained cap, even the air freshener hanging from the rearview. A picture of the Millennium Falcon and in the classic Star Wars font the text: Smugglers do it in less than twelve parsecs. Then came the stars and darkness.
The feeling was familiar.
When he was a boy he wanted to surprise his parents by making them breakfast in bed, to do that he would need supplies, the most important of these being the waffle iron perched high atop their monolithic Amana refrigerator. Being five years old and three foot nothing it may as well have been on Everest, and he would have to improvise to make the summit.
He used plastic cars under the legs of a heavy oak chair to maneuver it over from the breakfast table, stacking items on top of it to make a ladder.
He climbed the shaky contraption and reached for the cast iron waffle iron blindly as it was still out of his line of sight. Using clumsy kindergarten hands he fumbled along the alien landscape that was the top of the fridge. At last he reached what had to be it, but he only had the cord, he shifted his weight to get a better grip and it all came tumbling down. Reflexively he grasped the cord of the waffle iron as he fell back to Earth. The culprit? One of the plastic cars under the chair had sped off of its own accord, behind the wheel and sitting shotgun in that car were Zartan and Destro.
He hated those bastards.
He hit the floor in a heap and instantly the waffle iron sailed right into his skull. He saw stars; it knocked him from his consciousness and his body. He saw himself sprawled on the floor surrounded by the elements of his ladder. He floated above himself, just above the fridge, and he could see everything on top of it. He saw his handprints in the dust where he reached for the iron moments before, even the Slim Whitman album he scratched that his mother hid up there so his father didn’t see.
Then like a whip crack, he was drawn back down into his body. He awoke to see his parents running toward him, startled from their sleep by the noise.
Now again he floated above himself, above the wreck of his car and the firefighters that carried his body out of the wreck, the weightless familiarity was soothing. This time however there would be no whip crack, and he knew it. Even before they covered him in that yellow plastic sheet.
Nils could hardly wait for this day to arrive, and here it was. He had just finished rehearsing his inauguration speech for the umpteenth time and, feeling loaded for bear, proudly marched downstairs. In just a few short hours, he would accept the presidency of the Emerald Hills Middle School Slim Whitman Fan Club.
It was a natural progression that started for Nils six years ago when he was just six. Tall for his age and slight of build — slender bordering on gaunt — with a head full of black hair that was always cut clean, he was the separated-at-birth spitting image of his idol, sans pencil-thin mustache, even then. From the very first time he heard Whitman yodel on the Nashville Interstate Fair stage, he was smitten.
“Well, good morning, little man,” his mother cooed, kissing his forehead. “You’re looking especially dapper today. Nice touch,” she said, patting the sterling amulet that was smartly lassoed around his neck and resting on his chest. “Slim would be proud.”
“Thanks, mom,” he returned.
“I’m making your favorite,” she said, lifting the lid of the waffle iron to reveal a perfectly dimpled specimen of golden goodness.
After inhaling the plateful of buttery, syrupy bliss, he tossed a couple of GI Joe Action Figures into his pack for luck, slung it over his shoulder, and made for the door.
“Just go down there and give them all you’ve got,” she said, quoting the same advice that country legend Hank Williams had delivered to a beleaguered Whitman early in his career.
The entire Emerald Hills Middle School student body was gathered in assembly.
When it came time for Nils to take the stage, he started with a minute-and-a-half a cappella rendition of Whitman’s “Una Paloma Blanca”, prompting a sufficient amount of jeering from his peers.
Undaunted, he cleared his voice and segued into his well-rehearsed, if under-researched, speech.
“I only wish Mr. Whitman, God rest his soul, could be here with us himself to bear witness to this day,” started the what-some-might-call-hopelessly-unaware tween. “Accepting the presidency of the Emerald Hills Middle School Slim Whitman Fan Club is an honor I can’t even begin to describe. I can only imagine that what I am feeling today is akin to what others before me, both real and imagined, must have experienced in their respective moments of glory, like when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon or Captain Kirk took the helm of The Millennium Falcon.”
“Hey, bolo boy,” Tommy Sterns bullied from the third row, in reference to the auspicious neckwear Nils wore in homage to his hero. “Everybody knows that Han Solo commandeered The Millennium Falcon not Captain Kirk. What a nerd.”
“Well, I’d much rather be a cultured nerd than a science fiction geek like you,” Nils retorted. “Everyone knows that geeks have had their fifteen minutes of fame and now is the time for the nerds to have their day.”
An Attic Adventure
The rain pelted against the window. There was nothing for my brother and me to do on a stormy summer day like this. It wouldn’t be so bad but it has rained for two weeks straight and our mom is an over protective Germaphobe. She has never let us go outside when it rained; she’s scared that we’ll catch a cold.
“Mom, we’re bored. What can we do?” my brother whined as he trailed mom into the kitchen.
“Well you could go look for something in the attic. It hasn’t been cleaned out in a while so there might be something up there that you could entertain yourselves with.”
We were off. There were so many boxes that we just picked the first one and started digging. The first few boxes were old papers, and kitchen appliances that we never used like a waffle iron, and toaster ovens.
About the fifth box was full of some black round things that we could only guess to be oversized CDs. There were singers that we had never heard of before but the one that we kept seeing was Slim Whitman. Our parents must have liked him.
“What do you think these songs are about?” I asked my brother who had pulled out one that read “In a Hundred Years or More” and “What’s This World A – Coming To”.
“I don’t know. Let’s come up with a story that goes along with the title.”
It was the year 2150 and the only thing people used to travel was space ships. One such was called the Millennium Falcon. It was the grandest of all the ships. However, one day it was docked for minor repairs when it was stolen by what people could only describe as a GI Joe action figure looking person.
Jimmy was on the mechanic on duty when the Millennium Falcon was taken. He had to find it or the consequences would be severe.
The first place to start is always at the scene of the crime. At the mechanic dock, Jimmy looked for any clue that would be helpful. After looking for two hours, he decided that there wasn’t going to be any clues. He decided to take a small break and think of a different way to solve this mystery.
Taking one last walk around the dock, Jimmy saw a faint footprint leaving out the employee exit. The footprint turned into a path that lead to the commander’s room.
“The Millennium Falcon has finally docked. Nobody will find it now.”
After hearing this Jimmy barged in and confronted the command, who was sitting slouched in his chair.
“You have been caught. Everybody counted on you to protect our prized ship and you have stolen it!”
The commander looking shocked and hurt replied, “I have not stolen it, simply hiding it away for the new look that will be showcased at the end of the month. However, I appreciate your concern.”
I think it’s safe to say my brother and I have found out our new raining day remedy.