Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Chronicles of Tulip Touzie : Chapter Five

*Disclaimer: If you are just now beginning to follow this blog, scroll down and begin with Chapter 1 for your enjoyment.*


Three hours after King Tsao young woke up on board Flight 226, he discovered that he was not en route to the UK. Here’s what took so long. King Tsao woke up next to a frightened middle-aged woman who compromised about an hour of his time talking about airline safety and ‘how often these planes get hit by birds’. She (Claudette) then commanded about thirty minutes more to apologize for what might have been unnecessary fear escalation in an environment from which there is ‘no escape’. King Tsao had a few Zanax in his carry on and dropped one in Claudette’s drink when she excused herself to use the restroom and asked him to hold on to her drink. The next thirty minutes were high anxiety for Dr. Tsao young. He mostly just twiddled his thumbs and dried the sweat from his upper lip. What he did was both wrong, and possibly harmful; depending on what other drugs she might have in her system, not to mention the plethora of possible allergic relations and dangerous but unlikely side effects. Luckily, Claudette’s reaction to the anxiety meds went just as planned and she was off to sleep just thirty minutes after consumption.

King Tsao felt like he could finally relax and mull over what had happened at the Toronto International Airport. He remembered that he saw Martin. He grimaced at the thought. He knew they were boarding the same flight. He retraced his steps in his mind: He was at the boarding gate- that was as far as King Tsao could remember. What lead to boarding the plane? It was a total blank. He decided the best way to retrieve his lost memory would be to clear his mind and relax. Surely it would come back to him. So, King Tsao turned on the small TV screen in front of him and selected a movie from the in flight entertainment. It was at that point that he thought he’d better check the live “My Flight” option which displays where you are at, distance traveled, and distance to go. It was also at that point that he realized that he was not on his way to London, but in fact on a plane to Santiago del Sorio, Spain. The revelation was bittersweet. He would most definitely miss his convention; on the bright side however, now that he knew Martin Lebrowski was not on the plane, he could get up and stretch his legs.

King Tsao stopped on the way back to his seat to inquire with a stewardess about the likelihood of getting a connecting flight to London upon arrival.

“I’d like to inquire avout the likelihood of getting a connecting flight to London upon arrival in Santiago del Sorio.”

“Um. I will have to check, sir. I’m glad to see you are okay, sir. You gave your mom quite a fright in Toronto. You two nearly missed the plane. She wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to bring you on board unconscious. But, I am glad-" King Tsao interrupted, "You know, I really don't think it is necessary to hash over all of the details. In fact, it was quite an embarrassing incident. Just let me know when the next plane departs for London and I'll try not to blackout again. Thank you."

Claudette was in a daze when King returned to his seat. Unfortunately, she overheard his discussion with the Stewardess. “Sir. I apologize.”

“Listen, Claudette, it is really not necessary to apologize again. I am a confident traveler and you did not scare me with your fears. The way I see it, the worst that can happen is: the plane goes down and I die. There are far worse ways to die. Trust me. I have seen the worst possible scenarios in my field of work.”

While it was externally inappropriate to suggest the event of death to an obvious Aero phobic, King needed to know where she was at with the drugs he slipped in her drink earlier. Her unfazed reaction revealed that she was clearly still under the influence. “No sir,” she mumbled, “What I am sorry for is carrying you onto this plane earlier.”

Claudette was dropped off at the Toronto International airport by her now ex-husband, Jack. She was sure that the depression and overwhelming desire to die would make flying much easier. What did she have to lose? Her life in Toronto? Lost it. Her husband? Moved on. Snickers (her dear labradoodle)? He belonged to Jack now. Claudette thought she would be completely at ease on this flight. How invigorating! Braving the open skies for her new life in Santiago Del Sorio. She was free as a bird.

She was as scared as a live shrimp on a hook when she sat down in her exit row seat and realized she was the only one in the row. Salvation was on her shoulders alone if that plane went down. She freaked. Knowing there was still thirty minutes before take off she escaped the plane to ask the ticket agent at the gate to please change her seat. Before she could, she saw Dr. Tsao Young passed out near the neighboring gate.

“My Son!” She yelled. She then proceeded to scoop up Dr. Tsao Young and carry him onto the plane. She told the flight staff he was narcoleptic and buckled him safely by her side. He wasn’t going to make it on any plane in his state, so maybe she took him off track. At least he was going somewhere, and at least Claudette wasn’t going somewhere alone.

King Tsao took about two and a half minutes to absorb what Claudette had revealed. He did not believe in speaking out of impulse (something he had learned when he was running for mayor). Instead he looked straight ahead at the blank screen on the seat back in front of him, and he practiced silence while he thought about what it was he wanted to say.

“Claudette. Are you crazy?” King Tsao asked, still staring at the blank seat back ahead of him.

Claudette pursed her lips and took a deep breath in and then out. Then she said unwaveringly, “No Sir, I am not crazy. I am not the one who passed out mid-terminal. I am not the one who slept with my secretary,” her speech was escalating to a yell, “ and I am not the one who asked to sit alone in an exit row. Alone! In an exit row!”

King Tsao was mortified. Claudette was making a public nuisance. What happened to that Zanax? Did it seriously wear off that quick? This woman was mental. And Dr. Tsao Young was in a situation from which there was ‘no escape’. He popped a Zanny and realized that he and Claudette were more alike than he could have ever imagined, despite their social differences. He was fast asleep in about ten minutes.

The stewardess approached. “Hi there. Claudette Shoely, right?”

“Yes.” She replied.

“It says here that you requested a low calorie meal. Would you like a turkey sandwich or the hot dish which is chicken breast and brown rice?”

“I’ll have the turkey sandwich, please.”

“Okay Mrs. Shoely, we’ll be coming around with food and beverages shortly.”

“Thank you. Hopefully my boy won’t pass out in his dinner. Poor thing. He’s out like a light again.” She pet his head.

The stewardess flashed a sparkling and empathetic smile. “Maybe I should bring him a turkey sandwich too? The lasagna could get messy.”

Claudette nodded. “As long as it comes with something chocolate for desert. My boy just loves chocolate.” She giggled a bit and looked for a mother's approval.

“That will be no problem Mrs. Shoely. No problem at all. I’ll stick a little something on his tray for him.” She smiled again. Claudette thought the stewardess was clearly a mother.

“That’s very sweet of you.” Said Claudette as the stewardess tip toed away.

King Tsao woke up to a half eaten turkey sandwich and a glass of water. Claudette had a mouthful of food. She looked at him like a deer in the headlights. She then struggled through her dry turkey sandwich mouth to say, “Ahrgain, I feerl rike I harve to aporogize. You shee you were ashreep and I'm-a-bip of a nervousheater so I fimished mine and tried choo wake choo up", she swallowed and took a swig of King Tsao's water, "but you were really knocked out and so I thought maybe I could finish this before you woke up and you’d never know what happened, but obviously you did wake up and so for that I am very sorry but I think the stewardess on this plane has a real sweet spot for you. Maybe because I told her you have narcolepsy. So she will most definitely bring you another meal if you just ask for one, or if you feel uncomfortable, I don’t mind asking seeing as how I ate your meal without you knowing and that was just unfair and so, yeah, I will ask for your meal sir. You just don’t even worry about it. Also I am sorry I yelled earlier, I am just going through a lot of stuff and I think I just took it out on you, and that was also unfair…”

King Tsao put on his headphones and turned the volume up on full blast. Claudette’s mouth was still spraying crumbs everywhere and talking way too much.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chapter Four: The Chronicles of Tulip Touzie

*Disclaimer: If you are just now beginning to follow this blog, scroll down and begin with Chapter 1 for your enjoyment.*


Meanwhile in the panhandle, Tulip had gotten in touch with some Mennonites in Spain via Craigslist. She saw their advertisement for a comfy efficiency in exchange for light home labor and emailed them immediately. She felt like the stars were in perfect alignment because when she searched for plane tickets, SimonAir had a ticket for only eight dollars plus taxes and fees. She had heard of these amazingly low priced airlines but had no idea that they existed in the United States! What fortune for Tulip that SimonAir departed from Tallahassee, Florida on a by-weekly basis. She could catch the next flight tomorrow afternoon if she packed quickly enough. Tulip figured that the Mennonites were probably just as excited as she was and would surely e-mail her back by tomorrow. If not, she’d just hit up an Internet cafĂ© in Santiago Del Sorio. Tulip figured it’d probably take like two days to get to Spain anyway. You know, because it’s really far away, and because of time differences and such. Surely three and a half days was sufficient time for the Mennonites to e-mail Tulip.

Tulip Touzie couldn’t speak a lick of Spanish so Freddie Hornito offered to give her a crash course the night before her big departure from the working world. Freddie was excited to have gained Tulip’s last evening in America, even if she was just using him for the Spanish. He collected several books from his childhood, a conversational Spanish cassette tape, and a few apples, and headed over to Burrito’s.

Tulip was in the kitchen cutting up corn tortillas when he arrived. Freddie Hornito walked in the door, took a good look at Tulip, and sighed, “Tulip. I’m seriously gonna’ miss walking into this kitchen and seein’ you here.”

“Freddie,” Tulip smiled, “I am seriously gonna’ miss frying up chimichongas with you.”

She walked slowly towards him and gave him a big bear hug. She loved hugging his big round belly. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. He smelled like Old Spice and freshly shampooed hair. He always smelled like that. Tulip imagined that this was probably what Dads smelled like, because of Old Spice’s combination of affordability and popularity. She thought Dad hugs probably felt a lot like Freddie’s too; big-solid bear hugs.

“You know, Freddie, you always smell exactly the same. There’s something comforting about that”.

“So what does that say about you, Tulip? I don’t think you’ve ever smelled the same twice. Whadduhya’ have? Like two hundred perfumes?”

Tulip lifted her arms towards the ceiling and looked up. “I think it says I am a woman of many dimensions…” she twirled in a circle and danced like a hippie at Burning Man. “I have many more smells to discover on my journey across the world, Freddie”.

Freddie’s look said with no words, are you fo’ reals?

“What are you wearing today, Tulip?”

Tulip sniffed her forearm, then her biceps, and then her armpit and replied, “Today I am wearing tea tree and eucalyptus essential oil. I find it’s the only scent that makes me smell clean after three days of not showering.” She laughed.

“If smelling the same everyday is comforting, Tulip, then I think we can go ahead and say that the opposite is true of the opposite”.

Tulip took a big rip from the apple core.
“Are you saying I make people uncomfortable Freddie?” She exhaled a huge puff of smoke in his face and laughed.Freddie fanned his face in an exaggerated movement, snatched the apple core, and air kicked Tulip in the crotch. Tulip feigned fatal pain and then picked up a taco shell and started to prepare a chicken taco.

“Hey Freddie- Shit! I mean, Meirda! I meant, Hola Eddie, quiero uno taco de pollo?” Tulip smirked with pride.

Freddie’s belly bounced as he chuckled, “Have you been studying without me? Shit Tulip, you’re full of surprises! Except for you botched that one up you know. You told me that you wanted a chicken taco. I assume that was an attempt to offer me one?”

“Is that what I said? Hmm.”
Tulip put the taco in a basket on the counter. She walked out of the kitchen and sat at a table. She reclined and kicked her feet up on the table. “Nope that sounds about right to me. Quiero una cerveza por favor. Retirement begins now, Freddie. I’m not gonna’ be making the any more food tonight. It’s all you old man.”

Freddie brought her the taco and a Corona.

Muchos gracias.” Tulip attempted an accent along with it this time.

“Nice accent Tulip but you sound like a damn gringo. I’ll put my tape on while I cook, maybe you’ll absorb some of it.”

Tulip remembered the time she incorrectly attempted to absorb information for her final exam in advanced costume history. She thought that if she slept with her head on her book, she would remember all of the information through the complicated brain process called osmosis. She slept on her advanced costume history book for three weeks; diligently turning the pages nightly so that she would have the entire book memorized by exam time. She couldn’t understand why the shit she didn’t recall one single answer on her practice exam. Except for “cod piece” a late fifteenth century flap that attached to men’s trousers to cover their nads. She recalled this one because of an autistic student named Anthony who yelled “crotch piece” every time her professor pointed one out. At least she got that one. Too bad modern pharmaceuticals had masked most verbal disabilities; she may have gotten a few more right. Tulip figured she’d play Freddie’s tape while she slept tonight, making it entirely unnecessary to actively listen now. Besides, she knew the god Osmosious quite well at this point. She’d ask him to do her a huge favor and cram that nonsense into her medium-sized brain overnight.

Tulip and Freddie agreed not to say good-bye. They were pretty stoned at this point and the permanence gave them anxiety. Instead they sadly said, “See you later”. And parted ways.

Freddie wondered if he’d ever see Tulip again. Logically speaking, no employee who moved out of Tallahassee had ever returned to Burrito’s, but then Freddie added a ‘yet’ to that thought and felt comforted in that possibility.

Tulip never considered the thought that she might never see Freddie again. She was a ‘big picture’ thinker and always considered the afterlife. She returned home to pack the last of her belongings, never once looking back.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Moving Faster Than Time

I have this dream.

I'm traveling, out in the sweet unknown. I dip my toes into lakes, oceans, rivers, and never stop to dive in. The water is too murky, too cold, too deep, or too uninhabited, and then time runs out. I pack my bag and go back home, the sun is going down.

Someone asks me what is was like ( they've never been there) and I tell them how it was. Beautiful. So vast, so different, something they'd have to see for themselves.

They ask me what it felt like, and I don't know. I'd only skimmed the surface.

Then they tell me what the Ocean is like in St. Tropez.

It's amazing. Red mountains on one side of you and the vast ocean at your other side. Your feet hurt from the warm shifting pebbles below (they don't have sand). You feel foolish because the locals are running and playing, as if the stones were soft granules beneath their feet, and you're just struggling to make it to the water without losing your balance. After breathing a deep breath of dry salty air, you dive into the water and float faster then you could ever imagine. The water is so dense with salt that it is an effort to swim deep beneath the surface.

If you go anywhere, go to France.
You have to feel the water there.

In hindsight I think, I should've jumped in. How could the darkness, the murkiness, the time stop me? Time was never going anywhere and yet I was pretty sure it was.Logic tells me that time never ran out because it is definably impossible.

And then I wake up. I look at my clock. I slept in. I think of all the things I need to do to catch up with yesterday and prepare for tomorrow. And I get to work, as fast as I can.