Effective Efficiently @StoryADayMay 29

Effective Efficiently

by Marian Allen

29“You aren’t trying!” Jack’s voice boomed through the cavern without benefit of microphone. Fortunately, he had prepped the room, and all the stone and ice stalactites that were going to fall had fallen.

His audience shifted uncomfortably on their iglerks.

“Cook, people, cook! You can’t lose weight on ice creams, packaged cookies and deep frozen meals! You hear me? You get me?”

“Eh-eh-eh,” the people agreed. Some of them trimmed their seal oil lamps, some removed their gloves and warmed their hands over their Primus stoves, some just slumped over and listened.

“Do you understand what that means? Do you?”

They did, but Jack suspected they didn’t want to. Ice cream and cookies weren’t hard for the Arctic Circle Go Go Chickenfat franchise members to give up, but deep frozen meals were most of their diet – using “diet” in the sense of “what they ate” rather than “what they ate to lose weight.” Deep frozen raw fish, deep frozen raw seal, deep frozen blubber, deep frozen damn near everything. He wanted to impress them with his ripped six-pack abs, but the cavern was fifty degrees below zero and he wasn’t about to strip to the skin!

“Trim off the seal blubber and you trim off your own! Do you hear me?”

“Eh-eh-eh.”

“Any questions?”

Utak, who had been as far south as the King William Land trading post and had learned to speak and understand the childish gabble talk that the white man thought was the Inuit language, raised a hand.

“Yes, Utak?”

It was embarrassing to ask a direct question, but the Kabloona – the white outsider – would understand nothing more subtle. “Will the chicken not be frozen?”

“What chicken?”

“You have told us to stop hunting and eating the seal and to eat the fat chicken. How does the chicken not freeze in the cold? We think its fat must be very good, if it keeps the chicken from freezing.”

“The point is to not eat fat! NOT! Don’t you understand?”

The people understood, all right, once Utak translated into real language. There would be no chicken. There would be no chickenfat. If they stopped coming to the meetings, Jack would resume his actions that had brought them in the first place: invading their igloos, talking interminably, scaring off fish and seal and fox with his slow-witted blundering and lumbering and gibbering.

Utak made a suggestion, to which the people agreed energetically.

Again he raised his hand. “We can go on a seal hunt and then we could be shown what to do after the seal is caught.”

“Excellent! Yes! When?”

“Soon.”

The next day was clear. Three sleds left camp for the frozen sea. Afterward, no-one could remember which sled Jack had been on, although everyone agreed he had fallen into a seal hole and had frozen before he could be pulled out.

The Arctic is filled with challenges, but getting rid of a fool is not one of them.

~*~

NON-SPOMMENT INSPIRATION: Gontran de Poncins’ KABLOONA, which I’m reading aloud to Mom.

A PROMPT FROM THE SPOMMENT FILE: So ice creams, cookies, deep frozen meals are definitely not allow. An effective and balanced meals are important for your system to be effective efficiently and you’ll think more energetic. From there he clearly explains the reasons why most are not able to reach the six pack ripped abs.

MA

Hat Fancy @StoryADayMay 28

Hat Fancy

by Marian Allen

28The headline would be hardest. It was the most important part. Marcie tore up her seventh attempt and tried again: Hat Lover – Female Hat Lover –

No, that made her sound as if she loved female hats. She shuddered. That was just creepy!

Female Lover of Hats Seeks Male of Same Persuasion

Too vague. What persuasion? Seeks male of female persuasion? Hardly!

Female Seeks Male Companionship

Too needy. Which was silly, really. If she weren’t needy, she wouldn’t be putting her profile on a dating site, would she? One must be honest with oneself.

Single Female Casual Hat Fancier Seeks Single Male Casual Hat Fancier For Ongoing Relationship

Hmmm. Yes, that might do. Now the bio. That would be easier, since it was all simple surface fact. Check for spelling, copy, paste, SEND!

#

She was waiting behind the door when Trent pulled up in his hybrid, but she didn’t fling open the door, of course. She watched through the security lens as he straightened his tie, smoothed the brim of – yes! A hat! – and slid out and to his feet. It was a trilby – which might have been rather sporty for a first date, but it was pewter gray with a darker silver band, and the front brim was slightly longer than the upturned back. That dialed down the impudence to an air of lightheartedness quite in line with the occasion.

Her own choice was nearly identical, which presented a dilemma: should she stick with it and see if he found the coincidence charming and amusing? But what if he found it … disconcerting? Perhaps she should change it for something else. She whipped the trilby from her head and stowed it on the many-limbed rack by the door.

He rang the bell and removed his hat.

No time! She smoothed her hair, counted slowly to ten, and opened the door bare-headed.

He stared at her crown.

“Oh,” he said. “Um ….” He glanced up and down the street, as if he might have the wrong house. “I’m Trent Mason?”

“Come in,” she said, with her widest smile. “I need your help.”

“My help?”

She took the trilby from its place. The interior was still warm from the heat of her scalp.

“This is what I had planned to wear!”

She had hit just the right note. He did find it charming and amusing, while clearly communicating to her that it would be just the opposite if she actually wore it, now.

“Of course, I’ll have to substitute something else,” she said, resting a red-nailed hand on his sleeve and pouting her red lips. “What shall it be? I thought … this?” She touched a natural straw cloche with a single white silk flower tucked into the brown band.

His eyes lit up. He licked his lips and nodded, turning his own hat in his hands.

She took the hat to the mirror on the other side of the door and settled it in place, conscious of Trent’s eyes on her.

The online dating site had been a wonderful idea! First date, lunch. Second date, dinner. Third date, sex. Step by step. Time enough then to let him know she was saving herself for marriage. She realized times had changed since her mother’s day, but she had sworn when she was a girl that she’d never ever ever go hat shopping with any man but her husband. If Trent wanted to stop pursuit and move on when he found that out, so be it! A woman had a right to her standards, after all.

~*~

A PROMPT FROM THE SPOMMENT FILE: There’s a way about how you need to word out your headline without coming off as needy, vague, or creepy. Be wary about those who want to have a casual time, unless of course hat iis what you’re looking for. Thionk about ѡhgat you want to ѕayy about you and about thee type of person you aree looking for. You aren’t gping to get anywhere if you lie to yourself. Know what you want. So when most men find out women are saving sеex for marriage or practicing celibacy, men are likely tο stop pursuit and move on to something more interesting and available. The need for a conscious approach to step dating naturally flows into a consciousness around the issues that the couple will face once they develop a relationship. Optimistic, understandng and patient.

MA

A Long Time Coming @StoryADayMay 27

A Long Time Coming

by Marian Allen

27“Mum! Mum!” Elgin stood on tiptoe, as if that would help a six-year-old see over the heads of adults. His mother, in the way of mothers, distinguished his voice through the hubbub and worked her way unerringly through the crowd.

He took her hand protectively. “You must stay close,” he scolded. “I thought we’d lost you.”

Mrs. Meachum knew her husband wouldn’t be far from their son, and found him, exchanging fond glances with him over their boy’s superior manner.

“We’re quite lucky, Penelope,” said Mr. Meachum. “We drew a location on Layer One! First on, first off, so we can accept first shift and be home for a good, wholesome English dinner and our favorite programmes on the telly.”

“Hoorah!” Elgin had taken a great deal of teasing from his mates about his coming banishment to a diet of snails, and looked forward to rubbing their snouts in their error.

Mrs. Meachum smiled weakly. “I do wish we could find work in England. Commuting is so tiresome.”

Elgin scoffed. “Oh, Mum! Imagine if we had to do it by road! The Channel Streamer is faster than driving from one side of London to the other.” He said this as if they hadn’t all read the brochures and contracts, hadn’t all watched the recruitment video together, hadn’t been discussing it endlessly for months. “And, since it rides above the water, it’s unaffected by rough weather and the gyros won’t let it tip or sink.”

Together, the Meachums and the members of the surrounding crowd who had been enjoying Elgin’s parroting of the video all said, “There in a flash, back in a flash. Voila!

From somewhere high above, something that was programmed to sound like a steam whistle blew. The crowd on the dock cheered and threw confetti and streamers.

“They won’t do that every day, will they?” Mrs. Meachum disapproved of untidiness.

A nearby man, heavy and wearing blue denim coveralls, said, “Oh, yes. Paid to, you know, by the Streamer company to make it all look like a jolly adventure.”

“Silly,” said Mrs. Meachum.

“I think it’s rather nice,” said a young woman – little more than a girl – with Peg stitched on the pocket of her blouse. “Almost like we’re going on holiday, isn’t it?”

“Dunno about you,” said the heavy man, “but I’ve got ten long hours ahead of me over amongst the Froggies. Some holiday, eh?”

They all chuckled politely and let the subject slide.

Eleven hours later, Layer One First Shift disembarked in England. Ten hours of catering to English-speaking tourists who refused to learn French for the adults and ten hours of school, recess, and homework in the English workers’ compound for their children had left them all exhausted.

“At least we did get home quickly,” Mrs. Meachum conceded.

“It’ll all get easier as we grow accustomed to it,” Mr. Meachum consoled her with more hope than conviction.

“Bread and cheese for lunch?” Elgin was still outraged. “Mum, can I take my lunch tomorrow? Potted meat sandwich and a tin of fruit cocktail?”

“Of course, dear,” said Mrs. Meachum.

Mr. Meachum clapped his son on the shoulder with fatherly pride. “That’s the spirit,” he said. “None of that nasty foreign muck for us, eh?”

“Snails, indeed!” said Mrs. Meachum, as she stepped thankfully onto good, honest, English soil.

~*~

A WRITING PROMPT FROM THE SPAM FILE: This has obviously been a long time coming, but given the economic conditions of many of the city. Although hiring a good moving company for your shipping needs is one way of mitigating the anxiety of moving overseas, there are other ways of ensuring smooth sailing for your international removal. And there are a large number of families who relocate from the UK to France almost daily. Seven layers are what the OSI model is built on and the counting usually begins from bottom to the top. The atmosphere around the docks is very festive for all.

MA

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