Thursday, September 25, 2014

Story 51: I Hate the Moon

            I resent the fact that so much of our lives are dictated by the presence of a huge ball of rock caught in our planet’s gravity.  No one really knows how it got there, if it actually is a part of Earth that got knocked free after something else hit it (I’d feel better about that) or if it was wandering by and decided to set up shop here, forever.  Either way, it’s given way too much respect for the amount of damage it’s caused.
            I mean, I wonder if we’d have tides at all if that thing weren’t around pulling them in and out.  Maybe our beaches would be in that much less danger of eroding if there was one, constant, low tide.  Stupid moon!
            I can’t believe people even worship the thing.  Look at it up there, shining like some fake sun, acting all mystical.  Of course, it’s the feminine, the goddess – the trouble-maker!  Every time a lot of crazy things happen, everyone says “must be a full moon”.  Is that correlation even a true causation?!  Lunacy?!  If the moon really does drive people bonkers, then why, may I ask, has no one shot it down yet, hm?  Oh right, the whole gravity thing.  I’m sure somebody could figure out how to do it if they really wanted to, though.
            And why, would someone tell me, is the moon (the moon, mind you, the only one we Earthlings care about) so special that it gets its own calendar?  Why isn’t the sun enough?  Everyone’s sleeping when the moon’s out, so why should I pay attention to how much of it is showing from one night to the next?  I refuse to have my religious holidays dictated by which full moon falls when.  What does it matter?  The moon doesn’t care – it just keeps spinning and orbiting – so why should I?  Wait until its orbit completely decays and it crashes into us – then that’ll be an important enough event to determine holidays, I should think.
            I also can’t believe that there have been dozens of space trips to get in the vicinity of and/or land on that thing.  Woo-hoo!  Interstellar travel was achieved and technology was advanced.  Big deal, humanity, now you just found a way to litter up yet another celestial body.  Way to go.
            Bottom line: Earth’s moon is just a natural satellite that exerts its influence on us like some creepy party crasher that never leaves.
            Although – it is pretty when it’s full, especially over water.  I think I’ll take one more photo, just to, you know, complete my collection.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Story 50: The Local Miniature Golf Tournament

            Announcer 1: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the First Annual Seaview Towne Miniature Golf Tournament.  Our two contestants, Rodgers and Hart, each have had strong showings this year, hitting at or below par consistently on every miniature golf course in the tri-state area.
            Announcer 2: You said it, and these two ladies are even more extraordinary in maintaining low scores no matter which course they are on, since, as you know, no two waterfalls or windmills are alike.
            Announcer 1: Today’s tournament is being held at the Oceanfront Mini-Golf, Batting Cages, Racetrack, Jet Ski, and More Arena: For a world of sports fun, OMGBCRJSAMA literally has it all.  Aaaaaand it looks like our contestants have arrived on the green.
            (Two women select their colored balls and putters, pick up score cards and tiny pencils, and walk to the first hole.  They are followed by their caddies, a referee, and a large group of spectators.  A coin toss determines that Hart will putt first at Hole 1.  After the shotgun start, each player putts and scores)
            Announcer 1: Two holes-in-one at Hole #1!  That must be some kind of record!
            Announcer 2: Well, Hole 1 typically is the easiest hole on the course.
            Announcer 1: Don’t ruin this for me.
            (The contestants match each other stroke for stroke on the first four holes)
            Announcer 2: Rodgers lines up her shot for Hole 5.  It’s a tricky one: dogleg to the right, then around a Mother Goose to reach the hole in the back left corner – and look, Rodgers and Hart are stepping aside so that little girl and her parents can play through, what great mini-golf etiquette!
            Announcer 1: They are good sports: I remember once being stuck behind a fivesome for all 18 holes, and not one of them made a shot under the six-stroke limit.  Longest game of my life – almost gave up by Hole 3.
            Announcer 2: (Hushed voice) And Rodgers lines up her shot again… she gauges the angles needed… putts… oh!  (The crowd groans) So close, but not quite!
            Announcer 1: And a slight modification to the rules, for those of you new to the game: each mini-golfer plays until their respective ball is sunk, rather than taking turns for each stroke.  This lessens the chances of opponents’ balls knocking each other away.
            Announcer 2: Yes, this isn’t bocce, folks.
            (At Hole 9, Rodgers hits the ball hard enough to reach the hole at the top of a hill, but it then rolls down the other side into the nearby stream.  She raises her arms in disbelief as her caddy rescues the ball with a net, then positions him to stand at the edge of the green to prevent the ball from rolling into the water again)
            Announcer 1: Our first water hazard penalty of the game, and I believe the referee is notifying Rodgers that she will be penalized the additional stroke even if her ball is blocked from entering the water by the caddy.
            Announcer 2: Yes, well, the caddy is not a natural part of the course, now is he?
            (At Hole 12)
            Announcer 1: Hart has an especially tricky shot here, with having to navigate through the rotating ducks, a sand trap, and a barrel to get to the hole on the far right.
            Announcer 2: She’s judging the angles… the wind… there is dead silence on the course, aside from the crying babies… she putts… and she avoids all those obstacles by hitting the ball to the right side and sinking a hole-in-one!
            (Hart turns to the camera baring her teeth in a wicked smile)
            (At Hole 15)
            Announcer 2: Rodgers, still struggling, could even the score with this shot if she makes par.  (Rodgers taps the ball to the hole; the balls falls in and bounces right out again)
            Announcer 1: And the referee declares it no good!
            Announcer 2: I do have to side with Rodgers on this one; the ball did sink in the hole.
            Announcer 1: I would agree, but the ball also has to stay in the hole.  I wish I could tell Rodgers to save her breath: there is no arguing with referees.
            Announcer: 2: Yes, the referee’s decision always stands.  We’d never get anywhere otherwise.
            (At Hole 17)
            Announcer 1: Ah, here is one of those double holes, where the ball easily sinks in one hole, travels through a tunnel, then be must sunk for real in a second hole.
            Announcer 2: The steep hill to the first hole doesn’t help: both contestants have taken at least three strokes each after their balls kept rolling back down to the tee.
            (Rodgers finally sinks the ball in five strokes; Hart becomes increasingly frustrated as each putt keeps missing the hole.  She reaches the six-stroke limit, and then drags the ball into the hole)
            Announcer 1: Draggies usually aren’t permitted, but considering she already maxed out, the referee is ignoring it.
            Announcer 2:  Raw deal for Hart, on the penultimate hole of the game.
            (At Hole 18)
            Announcer 1: This is it, folks: the final hole in our tournament.  Not only will this determine the championship, but sinking a hole-in-one on this also earns the player a free game.  The odds of doing that on this hole are, well –
            Announcer 2: A billion to 1: the hole is at the top of a mound off to the left – even putting at the best angle will only position the ball in the vicinity of the hole.  No glory to be had here.
            Announcer 1: Rodgers is lining up her shot – the referee is stopping her – oh, she had taken a driver from her bag.  Only regulation putters may be used, I’m afraid.
            Announcer 2: You can tell how difficult a shot this is by the desperate maneuver she just attempted.  She takes the putter… calculates the angles… stares… stares… putts… (“Ohhh” from the crowd is heard) she misses the hole but makes it in two.  (Applause as she turns in her putter and adds her scores)
            Announcer 1: Silence falls again as Hart lines up her shot… sweat forms on her brow… she putts… and she nails it!  I don’t believe it!  It just fell right in!
            Announcer 2: Rodgers can’t believe it either: she’s broken her pencil, but she’s conceding the match!
            Announcer 1: The arena manager himself is hoisting Hart on his shoulders – balloons are flying everywhere – folks, this is history in the making!
            Announcer 2: And that concludes the First Annual Seaview Towne Miniature Golf Tournament at Oceanfront Mini-Golf, Batting Cages, Racetrack, Jet Ski, and More Arena where, I have just been informed, we are all being offered a free ice cream sundae in honor of that never-before-seen hole-in-one on the 18th Hole.  (Announcer 1 rips off his headphones, leaps from his seat, and runs to the ice cream parlor there) Thank you for joining us in this exciting event, and be sure to stay tuned for the Boardwalk Bumper Car Semi-Finals, up next.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Story 49: Unlicensed Parasailing

The group’s first inkling that something was not quite right about the crew taking them parasailing was the slapdash paint job on the motorboat.  The captain and first mate then emerged from a nearby cabin: twin brothers who each had an eye patch (on opposite eyes) and quickly took everyone’s cash payment as they hustled the 10 adventurers on board.  With a sputtering roar, the captain started the jet engine and his sound system, with everyone flung backward as he howled and the stereos blasted “DEAAAAAAAATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Slow – No Wake Zone” signs and fellow boaters were ignored as the ship of doom careened out of the harbor at 100 knots; no fish, gull, or stand-up paddleboarder was safe.  The first mate shouted instructions the parasailers needed to know to survive, but nothing could be heard over the engine, the screaming music, or the screaming passengers.  The captain’s maniacal laughter every time he upset another boat also was distracting.
The first mate grabbed the two passengers closest to him, who were strangers to each other but appeared to meet the weight requirements, and shoved life jackets and harnesses on them.  As the sail was deployed, the emblem of a supernova dripping blood blossomed beautifully open.  The strangers were then attached to the sail’s harness and a gust of wind blasted them off the boat and 1,000 feet into the air.  The captain cruised around for a few minutes, using the laws of physics for human entertainment by turning the boat this way and that and then slamming to a halt so the parasailers crashed into the ocean below.  A passing dolphin gave them a nose-boost back into the air, and they were reeled in by a winch to crash land onto the flight deck.  The first mate then pulled them out of the harness while shoving the next pair of strangers in, having already efficiently prepared them while the previous group was in flight.
This system continued up until the last pair, who were released from their tether by the captain because he wanted to give them “the ultimate experience”.  As they sailed through the pre-hurricane air, one of the passengers still on the boat grabbed a knife the captain had hanging nearby and threatened the twins with it if they were not returned to the nearest land immediately.  The captain begrudgingly ran the boat aground on a local beach, where the passengers ran for their lives; two hours later, the lost parasailers glided themselves safely onto the dock where they originally had disembarked, now facing the struggles of escaping the harnesses and deciding who keeps the sail.  Alone, the captain and first mate removed their unnecessary eye patches and started repairs on the boat.  They also spent the time concocting new variations on how to the do their run: after all, doing the same thing day in, day out, gets awfully boring.