Tuesday, February 16, 2016

10. "serious business"

by horace p sternwall

editorial consultant and executive producer: Prof. Dan Leo

illustrations by danny delacroix

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

“wow, this is really something,” brock exclaimed as the naked ladies continued to parade across the big screen.

“yes, but you have had enough for now.” nurse sherman had returned, and she pointed another of her little cigarette lighter things - of which she had an inexhaustible supply, or maybe there was just one that did all the different things? - at the wall and it went blank.

brock turned around. two figures had followed nurse sherman and were standing behind her. obviously the two “conspirators” she had been telling brock about.

nurse sherman made the introductions. “angel, walter, this is brock. brock, angel and walter.”

angel and walter sat down on the couch across from brock, with their backs to the now blank wall. walter nodded politely, and angel with the hint of a sneer.

walter looked like a billion little men who worked in offices and sold things.

angel was short, and at first glance looked like a teenager with a ducktail haircut but when brock saw him in the light he realized he was much older.

“pleased to meet you,” brock said politely. he had no idea what to expect from either of them.

nurse sherman sat down beside brock. she pushed the pot of coffee and the plate of cookies on the table toward walter and angel.

angel picked up a chocolate chip cookie and carefully inspected it.

walter carefully inspected brock. “so this - i take it this is the fellow you told us about before - who has been unconscious for thirty years or so at doctor fenway’s office. i assume that is who he is - your message didn’t make it completely clear.”

“how clear did you want me to be on an open wave?” nurse sherman asked.

“no, no, i wasn’t criticizing,” walter said hastily. “just making an observation.”

“no problem. yes, that is indeed who brock here is. i thought, before we went any further. we might give brock a rundown on everything that has happened in the last thirty-two tears, just to give him some perspective.”

“everything?” walter raised his eyebrows.

“you know what i mean. enough so that when we talk to him we won’t have to be stopping every ten seconds to explain things he doesn’t know about.”

walter looked over at angel, who had decided to eat his cookie and was eating it.

“sounds all right to me,” angel said when he finished chewing.

“i thought either of you could jump in if you thought i was missing something,” nurse sherman continued.

“just start and we will see how it goes,” walter said. he turned to brock. “if it is all right with you.”

“everything,” said angel. “that covers a lot of ground - the miracle over tokyo, the end of the war, the crucifixion of hitler, the overlords, the coming of jack…”

“and then space travel ,” added walter, “the religious upheavals, and on and on.” he looked at nurse sherman, who was pouring herself another cup of coffee. “are you going to read something, or do you have it all memorized?’

“read something! are you kidding? no, i have a presentation i made, for the screen.”

“let’s just get it over with.” said brock. “so i can watch some more naked ladies.”

angel laughed. “you like the naked ladies, do you?” he took another bite of his cookie.

“yeah,” brock agreed. “i don’t know what else you all came up with in thirty years, but that has to be the best.”

“a lot of people think the same.” angel agreed.

walter shook his head. “it’s kind of sad. i remember when the first naked lady screens became available after the overlords came in 1949, i thought they would last two or three years and everybody would get sick of them. here we are almost thirty years later…”

“let’s get down to serious business ,” nurse sherman interrupted. she picked up one her little cigarette lighters and pointed it at the wall.

the wall lit up with a grainy picture, of a plane talking off from a runway in a driving rain.

a yellow subtitle read “1945”…

(to be continued)

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