Weekend Quickie #91

Beta max



A man in a white van

200 words

6 thoughts on “Weekend Quickie #91

  1. Peaches
    Joey stared out the dusty windshield of his van at the highway that seemed to stretch on forever. The vehicle was supposed to be white but the roads in South Carolina had left it a mottled brown.
    He enjoyed playing Elton John’s “Rotten Peaches” as he rolled past the countless roadside stands. It had been one of Marie’s favorites.
    Jack the cat leapt onto the passenger seat and melted into an orange puddle in the heat.
    “We’ll be at the coast pretty soon,” he told the cat, lying about the amount of time they had yet on the road.
    “Then there will be new work, new home. But no new women.” He felt his heart wince at that last statement.
    All he owned was in the back of that van. They had laughed at him for packing the old beta max but he still had so many home videos of Marie that he wasn’t ready to toss out.
    He could have had the car fixed and driven it but he just couldn’t face the fact that she had died in it.
    He pulled into a stand, throwing up a cloud of gravel and dirt.
    “One basket of peaches, please.”

  2. That man in the white van again. Was it time? Or was I paranoid?
    I closed the curtains and turned on the lights, ready for another night in. They were showing some Star Trek shows tonight on TV, out of respect for Leonard Nimoy. Looking for a snack, I opened the cupboards only to find a can of peaches. A few hours later, the shows were over, the peaches gone. Tom the cat came creeping in, purring away. Time to feed him. With Tom in one hand, I peeped out to see the white van still sitting outside. Paranoia overload. Was it really time?
    After feeding Tom, I went into the basement and searched the boxes. Found it, along with some old tapes. I hoped it worked. Upstairs, I plugged in my old Betamax, switched it on and it came to life. I unplugged the TV cable from the back of the TV and hid it in the secret hole in the wall. There was a ring at the door. I fumbled with a tape and pushed it into the machine, hearing it whirr away.
    “Excuse me sir, but I’m with the BBC. Can I see your TV license?”

  3. Mr. Simmons had been a regular client for several years. I had spent all those years hand pruning his shrubs back into decent shape, and just when the Simmons’s place was lookin’ like “the cat’s meow”, Mr. Simmons told me he no longer needed my services. I was floored. What had I done wrong? He told me times were rough, and he was going to go with another company.

    A few weeks later, Mrs cooper told me the same thing. I had been pruning the Cooper’s peach orchard for several years, but she just up and let me go; said she hired another company who could do the same work faster and cheaper. I was stunned. You can’t do this kind of work faster and cheaper, well, not and maintain high quality.

    Turns out this guy in a white van had been sneaking around, like a stinkin’ tom-cat, and stealing my clients by selling his services with slick talk and grand promises. I had been “Beta-maxed!”:

    Well, here it is a year later, and the Simmons’s shrubs have been sheared and look like crap, and the Cooper’s trees didn’t bear any peaches this year at all.

    Cheaper is not necessarily better.

  4. Great stories. Love them all.
    Peaches – Can feel the emotion. Cassettes and cine film of family. Nothing to play them on.
    TV license – First home away from parents, completely forgot about a licence until knock at the door. Paid there and then.
    Pruning – nothing worse than those badly cut back trees.

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