SWADDLE VERDE

Are swaddling blankets supposed to be round? Jim wondered, staring down at the swaddling station.

The tiny baby in his arms let out an inquisitive sounding “Ahha?” as if in reply.
“Yeah you’re right,” he said, “I can do this.”

Jim was a good Father—a new Father—but a good one. He let out a long, slow sigh and carefully set the baby down. As he stood there wondering what came next, a freckled teenager in latex gloves reluctantly shit-heeled over and with one hand, scooped the baby up. Jim froze, bewildered. The teenager mumbled something incoherent.

“Excuse me?” Jim said.
“Black or Pinto?”
“Uhhh pinto,” Jim answered casually, not wanting to let on to a teenager that this was his first time swaddling a baby.
“Salsa?”
“The green, please.”

Jim hadn’t been expecting so many questions, hell, he hadn’t been expecting someone to pick up his baby and start covering it with Monterey Jack cheese either, but this was a whole new world, the strange realm of parenting that nothing can prepare you for.

The teenager deftly rolled the little baby up in foil paper and asked Jim for $6.99, and Jim happily paid it, it was his baby after all and he was a good Father. He opened up the warm bundle and watched the burrito gently expand and contract.

“That salsa verde put him right to sleep,” he whispered, smiling down at the boy.

But the prideful moment was cut short as his stomach started to growl and he soon found that he couldn’t help but think about the warm Spanish rice, the avocado, the sour cream. On some level Jim understood that his infant Son had accidentally been covered with toppings and wrapped up in a tortilla—it was simple, really. Sure, he liked burritos—hell, he loved them—but wasn’t his baby in this one? Still, the smell was intoxicating.

His pulse raced and he swallowed hard, closing his eyes.
“Just one bite…”

A TRIP TO THE ZOO

I went to the zoo the other day.
Just when I was about to leave I realized that I hadn’t seen my favorite exhibit! I quickly found an employee and asked him about it.

“Excuse me, Sir, can you direct me to the Donkey Kong exhibit?”
“The what?” he said.
“The Donkey Kong exhibit. You know, they live in trees and eat bananas?”
His eyes narrowed.
“No joke,” I replied, “just last week I saw a Donkey Kong eat three of them.”
His mouth opened, but no words came out—probably worried they were eating too many bananas.
“Will you stay right here for a moment? I have to, uh, get someone more experienced.”

When they came back they were both smiling. Working at the Zoo must be really fun.
“What exhibit are you looking for again?” the first employee asked, nudging his friend.
“The Donkey Kong one,” I said.
Bigger smiles.
“Right this way!” said the second employee.

A minute later we rounded a corner and there they were! Donkey Kongs were everywhere, happily swinging from branches and ropes.
“There they are!” I said, smiling back at the employees.
They roared with laughter.
I looked back in time to catch a Donkey Kong yawning. I laughed too.
I guess it was pretty funny.

THE TIME MACHINE

A time machine accidentally showed up in the mail today. I know it was an accident, because it was addressed to someone else. I know it was a time machine because after tearing into the package I found a note that read “Time Machine: DO NOT USE.”

“A time machine!” I said, ‘Thanks John Doe!” But where would I go? What would I do? My mind raced with the possibilities.

Dinosaur times? No—it would probably smell bad and if there were cavemen around, it could be dangerous too. The future? No—everyone would probably already have a time machine and I would look like an idiot with my old one.

I finally decided to take a gun back to George Washington times. “Everyone will look awful silly throwing their swords down and cowering before The Great Wizard,” I thought, grinning with satisfaction. “All that’s left to do is find a gun!”

I checked the front porch for another package—nothing.  I looked under the bed and in the closet—also nothing. I was about to give up and order a replica of The Constitution, so I could get it signed by George Washington, when I remembered where a gun was!

I ran to the living room and there before me on the mantelpiece was my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather’s gun with the knife on the end of it, back from some long forgotten war.

“Perfect!”

I grabbed the gun and dialed the time machine to 1776. There was a buzzing sound and a bright flash. I found myself in the middle of a muddy field, a wall of soldiers facing me from each direction.

“Hey everybody,” I shouted, “check out my gun!” I felt a sharp pain in my neck and the sudden urge to take a nap. When I came to, there was a nurse standing over me.

“The box, the funny looking box,” I groaned, “where is it?”

“Shh,” she whispered, “you’ve been shot in the neck and trampled. Quite gravely I’m afraid.”

“It’s a—time machine,” I sputtered, “don’t use it!” I told her to package the time machine up and send it to my address, post-dated for the future.

“Whom should I address it to?” she asked.

“…”

A COIN TRICK

Would you like to see some magic?” I said, gazing at them through my eyebrows. They looked at each other in wonder.
“I guess,” one of them said.

I placed a silver-dollar between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand and passed it into my right, closing it into a fist.
“Which hand do you think it’s in?” I asked them.
“Your right,” they said.

I opened my right hand—the coin was gone! They looked to my left hand, still clenched into a fist.
“The thing is,” I whispered, “it’s not in my left hand either.”

Rapt silence.

“Can we see?” they asked.
“Why, cause you wanna marry it?” I said, putting the hand into my pocket.

They rolled their eyes and walked off, completely bewildered.

THE SECRET: The coin was in my left hand the whole time!

A Yelp Review

I arrived for my appointment 5 minutes early, and after 35 minutes, was taken to an examination room by the front desk clerk. I spent the next 30 or maybe 45 minutes lying down in an examination chair, listening to a satellite radio station completely composed of ads. This was a little longer of a wait than I’m used to, but not altogether un-enjoyable.

A man entered and left the room several times, throwing his hands up into the air, and muttering to himself. Finally, he spun a chair around and flopped down, straddling it.

“To put it plainly for you, your spinal column is slightly fucked.”

This was news to me, as I had just come in for a routine dental examination.

“You see?” he said. “Look at this.”

He shoved a handful of X-rays in my face and shook them. Had it not been for his angry tone I might have asked for a second glance, as the shaking, and distance of the X-rays, made it impossible for me to figure out what I was looking at. As it was, I didn’t want to take up the good Dentist’s time with my foolish questions, so I just put on a look of concern and replied, “Oh my yes, that doesn’t look good does it?”

This was apparently the wrong thing to say, as he once again threw up his arms, and left the room.

Now to be fair, I haven’t done much travelling outside of a trip to Europe, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Mongolia, and the Dominican Republic. There was also a two-week stay in Iceland, but as it was a layover, I hardly think it counts. That said, it is very possible that I accidentally did or said something that offended the Dentist. I couldn’t exactly figure out what country he was from, though the accent suggested India, or perhaps New Zealand.

In any event, a half hour later, a smocked woman came in who I recognized to be the front desk clerk. She sat down and began to put together some sort of dental device.

“I hope I didn’t say anything to offend the Dentist. I have rather limited experience with other cultures you see, and I just hope that I didn’t unknowingly cause offense.”

“Open,” she said.

“You see, I couldn’t quite place the accent and

“Armenian,” she said.

“Oh,” I replied. “I knew it was one of those.”

She clamped the device to my lower jaw and extended a sharp-looking rectangular plate into my mouth.

“Bite down.”

I bit down and tasted blood as the device cut into the roof of my mouth.

“Don’t move till I come back.”

I waited as she went into the other room to take what I believed was an X-ray. 10 or maybe 15 minutes later I heard a toilet flush and then footsteps behind me, entering an adjacent room.

The Dentist came in and stared at the device clamped to my jaw.

“Are you allergic to Element 115?”

“What’s Element 115?” I tried to say, but with the device in my mouth I could only manage to gurgle out a few broken and unintelligible syllables.

“Excellent!” he said, springing up and disappearing behind me.

No sooner had he left, when the device started to hum, and the smell of burning plastic filled the room. My vision doubled, and I slipped into a deep sleep. When I came to, the smocked desk clerk was sitting there watching me.

“All done,” she said, standing up. “We’ll see you up front.”

I reached a hand up to my face and realized that the device was gone. After a few minutes of dizziness and slight nausea, I started making my way to the front office. In my disoriented state however, I opened the door to the Dentist’s personal office, and interrupted him meditating in the fetal position on the floor.

He opened his eyes and looked at me.

“Look,” he said, remaining lying on the floor. “We had a close one today, ok? No more lifting above your waist, ok? No more rice foods. No more turning up right, or else you might not be as lucky next time. Next time I might not be able to help you. Ok?”

“Oh yes. Yes, that all sounds fine to me, and sorry for the trouble Doctor.” Admittedly, I hadn’t the foggiest what he meant by “rice foods”, or “turning up right”. Certainly not how it pertained to my periodontal. But that’s why I’m not a Dentist.

I took his eyes closing as “goodbye”, and backed out of the room, being careful to shut the door as quietly as I could. A few more minutes of searching and I had found the lobby.

“600 hundred dollars,” the front desk clerk said.

“Oh, I have insurance!” I said, remembering the card in my back pocket.

She sighed heavily and took the card. Several moments passed as she stared into her computer screen.

“550 dollars.”

I handed her my credit card and she cringed, informing me that there was a 50 dollar processing fee. I reassured her that I knew how those “sorts of things” went, and not to worry about it. I know how banks can be and after paying my mechanic 20 dollars for new battery tags every month, a one time charge of 50 dollars didn’t seem out of line at all.

Now, as for the missing star in the review: I hate to be a stickler, but when I show up on time to an appointment, I hope, in most circumstances, to be called within the next 20 minutes or maybe 30 minutes. Though to be fair, clocks can easily be off by 5 to even 10 minutes in some circumstances, in which case I only waited an extra 10-20 minutes. Which isn’t too bad.

EDIT: Fifth star given. Sorry for the trouble!