Thursday, December 28, 2017

Humpty Dumpty McIntosh

Hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine was marred by loss, but the family made it through okay. Thank you for indulging me last week. Today, we’ll have a short story about a New Year’s Eve celebration.
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Harold Douglas McIntosh was… well, let’s be honest… clumsy. That probably accounted for his nickname, Humpty Dumpty. Of course, his initials might have something to do with it, as well. Whatever the reason, that was how he was known all over town to acquaintances and intimates alike.
HD, his preferred name for himself, thought nothing of it when his cabal of three close friends decided to throw a party on New Year’s Eve down at the Sloe Gin Saloon, which was really just a neighborhood bar with a fancy name. The twins—fraternal, not identical—Elmer and Elmo Glint, called Mer and Mo for obvious reasons, proposed the idea, which was quickly endorsed by Shorty Fabriget, a six-foot-four mixed martial arts battler who took umbrage when anyone pronounced his name Fabergé. He seemed to associate that “slight” with his well-known glass jaw.
Only later did HD consider the effect of alcoholic drinks on his decidedly iffy equilibrium, but upon deliberation, he convinced himself that a double negative made a positive. In other words, the debilitating effect of alcohol combined with his unsteadiness would mesh to render him as steady as the preverbal rock. Therefore, he was looking forward to a pleasant… even a rollicking… evening when he left his job at Judson and Judson, CPA, LLC to go home and get ready. His gait already seemed steadier, he only barely brushed against Mr. Judson Sr, although that did spill a cup of coffee all over the old man’s trousers.
Once home, he brushed against the doorjamb and bounced off the hallway wall on his way to the bedroom to change clothes. He looked rather dapper in his herringbone woolen trousers and green plaid LL Bean chamois flannel shirt when he examined himself in the bathroom mirror—although he’d probably look better if he shed twenty pounds or so, with emphasis on the so.
Should he eat before leaving? He shook his head. There’d be plenty of peanuts and maybe even a boiled egg or two at the bar. Accordingly, he shrugged into his heavy parka and left the house, locking the door behind him, taking care not to break his key off in the lock—as he’d done last summer. Ten minutes later, he reached the saloon/bar without incident, if you didn’t count the traffic cone he’d knocked over or ending up in the middle of the intersection when he stopped for the traffic light over on Emerson.
Mer and Mo were already there, each well into a stein of beer—probably Eisbock, which was too strong for HD. Give him a Coors every time. He had one in hand when Shorty lumbered through the door. The cabal was all present and accounted for. Once the martial artist had his drink, they moved to a corner table big enough to hold them comfortably.
The Glint twins owned a landscaping service, so their conversation was strongly laced with references to flora. Shorty, of course, favored the language of the ring, heavy on violence. HD sometimes spoke in accountantese. A stranger listening in on a scrap of their conversation might have been puzzled.
“You see Teak Wood today?” Mer asked.
“Man, those were tall stumps!” Mo responded.
“Takedown time. Slam it hard, baby,” Shorty chortled.
She’s a debit in my T Account anytime,” HD said.
That was cabalese for “Marylyn Teak looked sexy as hell in her new high-heeled boots.”

Just before midnight, HD’s bladder refused to be taken for granted any longer. As he caromed from table to post to wall on his way to the Men’s Room, he reflected that perhaps two negatives do not always make a positive. He arrived and made somewhat of a mess of the job, but managed to zig-zag his way only as far as the end of the bar before feeling the need to hold onto something to steady himself.
As the second hand ticked toward midnight, his companions discerned his predicament and rushed to join him at the long, polished bar. Mer remembered to bring HD’s drink. As the others lined up beside him and prepared to break out into “Auld Lang Syne,” HD spotted one of those boiled eggs he’d forgotten to eat. Holding his Long Island Iced Tea in one hand, he released his death grip on the polished walnut bar to reach for the shiny white egg in a bowl with the other.
Mistake. HD watched in amazement as the entire room tilted on its side… or that’s the way it seemed to him. He plowed into Mer, who lost his grip on his beer mug as he crashed into Mo, who slammed into Shorty, drenching him with Eisbock. Humpty Dumpty not only had a fall, but he took all the king’s men down with him. And the tall one on the end wiped out two tables of revelers.
No one in the Sloe Gin Saloon noticed when the church bell down the street tolled midnight.

Not back-slapping funny, I know, but I hope you got a chuckle or two out of it. All of you have a safe New Year’s Eve celebration and a great New Year.

And now: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. There are a lot of you out there with something to say… so say it.

If you feel like dropping me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.

See you next week.


New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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