Mac Eagan beats old people with a buzzard..

(Here the reclusive Mac Eagan discusses the pranks he played in the nursing home) Oops!  I meant   BUZZER! Literati!  I think what he meant is he is trying to beat the odd couple–oops!–I mean beat the odds!  Ya get three chances to win $500 by submitting up to three entries in our contest, but …

(Here the reclusive Mac Eagan discusses the pranks he played in the nursing home)

Oops!  I meant   BUZZER!

Literati!  I think what he meant is he is trying to beat the odd couple–oops!–I mean beat the odds!  Ya get three chances to win $500 by submitting up to three entries in our contest, but each must use the prompt: I swear, it’s not too late.

Mac is back at the nursery home.  Let’s see what he’s up to before the nurse makes her rounds. Here is:

Barry, Harry, Jerry: Beat the Buzzer

by Mac Eagan

 

Jerry stood at the reception desk of the Shady Days Assisted Living Center, tapping Harry’s sweepstakes entry envelope on the counter.  It was supposed to have been mailed that day, but the desk nurse failed to put it in the outgoing basket.

Jerry continued tapping the envelope, thinking.  Harry stood nearby.

“Let it go, Jerry.  Entering wasn’t even my idea.”

Tap-tap-tap-tap.

Tap-tap-tap-tap.

“C’mon, I have a plan.”

Jerry ignored Harry’s objections and headed outside.  Wally, the shuttle driver, was leaning against its hood.

“Wally, we need a ride.”

“Now, Mr. Flanders, you know I can’t just leave. Paperwork has to be filed.”

“File your paperwork when we get back.  We have a deadline to beat.”

“Mr. Flanders – “

Jerry gave his most convincing smile.  “Wally, I’ve told you.  Call me Jerry.  Better yet, Uncle Jerry.  You know, I only let certain people call me Uncle Jerry.”

“You mean like Jamie, the day janitor, five of the nurses, and all the female volunteers?”

Jerry stepped closer to Wally and lowered his voice.

“This ain’t for me.  It’s for Harry. Been kinda depressed, you know?  Anyways, he’s got this idea he can win a million dollars.  Doris didn’t put his entry in the mail and he’s all sad about it.  You and I know nobody wins these things.  I just thought if I got it to the post office on time, he might feel better.  C’mon, help a guy out?”

“Jerry, what are you saying to him?  Don’t ask Wally to break more rules.  Let’s go back inside.”

Wally looked at Harry.  He did seem less enthusiastic than usual.

“He’s not asking me to break any rules, Mr. Flanders.  It’s just a short trip.  Let’s get going.  We’ll beat that buzzer.”

“Buzzer?”

“Move, Harry; the man’s doing us a favor and you’re holding him up.”

A few minutes later the shuttle was on the road.  The men were silent at first, but the quiet soon got to Jerry.

“So, Harry, suppos’n you did win this million dollars, what would you do with it?”

“Haven’t thought about it.  Are you sure you’re not getting Wally in any trouble?”

“Nah, Wally’s fine – right, Wally?”

Wally looked at Harry in his rear-view mirror.

“Everything’s fine, Mr. Flanders.  So, Mr. Flan- uh, Uncle Jerry, what would you do if you had a million dollars?”

“Spend most of it on wine, women, and song.  Then waste the rest.”

Jerry checked his watch.  They were cutting it close.

Finally they arrived.  Jerry charged into the post office and saw the clerk at the counter pull down the steel grate.

“Wait!  I have a letter that has to be postmarked today.”

“Sorry, sir,” she said, “you’ll have to drop it in the slot for tomorrow.”

“You don’t understand.”

“Rules are rules.  No mail collection after 5:00.”

Jerry looked at his watch.  4:58.  He pulled out his cellphone.  4:58.

“Your clock is wrong.  I’ve still got two minutes.”

“Our clock is the one we go by.  Drop it in the slot.”

“That’s it?  Just blindly follow a rule even if it’s wrong?  Typical government mentality…I swear.  It’s not too late!” he yelled.

Jerry turned and saw Harry.  Jerry gave him a triumphant smile, in stark contrast to the startled look on the clerk’s face.

“This is ridiculous!  My tax dollars hard at not working!  Of all the injustices in this world…”

Jerry was at full volume now and paced furiously around the room waving his arms.  The clerk was frozen by his antics, not sure what was happening.  Jerry turned back toward the counter.

“And let me tell you –”

Jerry completely stopped moving.  The silence was as oppressive as his noise had been.  Surprise mixed with fear on Jerry’s face as he grabbed his chest, as if trying to reach through muscle and bone and squeeze his heart back into activity.

Jerry leaned forward, then slid one foot to keep from tipping over.  He slid the other foot past the first.  Foot past foot, Jerry slid his way to the counter, steadied himself on it, then sank to one knee.  His body turned as he sat on the floor, leaning against the wall.

The clerk set down her basket of letters and came to the lobby.  Harry rushed to the counter also.

“Sir?  Sir?  Are you alright?”

Jerry stared ahead, focused on nothing.

“Sir?”

Harry looked over the clerk’s shoulder at Jerry.  Jerry stirred a little, then looked at them both.

“Sir, are you OK?”

Jerry looked directly at Harry and gave him a purposeful nod.  Harry straightened up and saw the envelope sitting on the counter.

Sir, are you OK?”

Jerry nodded again.

Harry picked up the envelope and slid it through the grate and into the basket.

Jerry shook his head.  “Wh- What happened?”

“I think you had a heart attack.”

“A heart attack?  How…?  Where am I?”

“At the post office, Jerry.  Ma’am, we have a shuttle outside.  We’ll take him straight back and have the nurses look at him right away.”

For added drama, Harry walked Jerry back to the shuttle.  They were silent until the shuttle cleared the parking lot, then loud guffaws broke out between them.

Jerry spent the ride back telling Wally of their adventure inside the post office.  When they arrived, Harry looked at Jerry.

“I know what you would really do if you had a million dollars.  You would find some place to live where you could get room service at every meal, someone else would clean up after you, and you would devise some system for getting whatever you might want.

“You would have a chauffeur and on occasion, when he went above and beyond, you would tip him $50 so he could take his wife to dinner.”

“You don’t know me like you think you do.”

Jerry pulled a bill from his wallet, and handed it to Wally.

“Now you take my friend, Benny, here along with your wife to The White Raven.  Tell ‘em Jerry sent ya.”

And here is not Jerry, not Harry but very Barry!

34 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    A brotherhood of rascally elders against the good old USPS made for a great date tale. Stamp me impressed, but never, never put sugar in my coffee nor Mr. Smith’s nor Mr. Wesson’s. Sorry, I got caught up with my pal Clint Eastwood for a moment. Too bad neither Walter Mathau or Jack Lemon are still around to bring this to the movie screen. Your characters, the mission and your scenes are well set up for the final push for the million dollar slot…I mean shot. Hey punk, you made my day. Who’s this Barry kid anyway? Looks like a real empty chair to me. Better have a talk with him about his plans for the future…excuse us please…

  2. Michael Stang says:

    Story telling at it’s best, Mack. Got a hunch where this is going if you give us a third turn. Your writing is so solid and clear, the entertainment does not end, the whole thing comes alive. Consider me impressed too.

  3. Kenneth Weene
    Kenneth Weene says:

    Funny. Not quite sure I followed the last line and its relevance – the
    White Raven and Benny? But I was laughing hard enough so I didn’t notice
    that question until the second read through.

    • Mac Eagan says:

      Really? You read it through a second time? Thanks!
      As far as the last line, the relevance is not really that profound. When Harry told Jerry ‘I know what you would really do with a million dollars,’ he wasn’t guessing. He was describing what Jerry had already done. The reference to tipping the chauffeur $50 was Harry’s reminder to show some appreciation to Wally. Of course, Jerry doesn’t like to be told what to do so to show his independence he pulls a Benjamin out of his wallet and calls it “my friend, Benny, here.”
      And The White Raven is nothing more than a name I came up with that sounded just pretentious enough to be an upscale restaurant.

    • Mac Eagan says:

      Always appreciated, Sal, always appreciated. I’ll let you in on a little secret – my first idea for this contest was a time-travel story but while I was still working out the algorithms you finished yours and got it posted. Good story, too.
      So I had to come up with a new plan.
      I guess I owe you some thanks as well for your Tempus-Spatium Machina, don’t I?

      • Salvatore Buttaci says:

        Mac, since I was a kid I’ve gravitated towards time and space travel. Here’s my little secret: in my pre-teen days I imagined myself a time traveler from the past who came to the late 1940s and early 1950s to collect famous books so I could write them first! Favorites of mine were the crime noires of Mickey Spillaine.

        • Glclark says:

          Hey, Sal. At my age I’m experiencing the time/space travel thing too. I think it’s because of all the college years of Boone’s Farm and tequila killing those brain cells. But, if I could go back and write THE book it would be To Kill a Mockingbird and The Grapes of Wrath. Both character rich and culturally relevant.

          • Salvatore Buttaci says:

            I’m partial to Dickens and Dostoevsky, so I’d go back and steal their verbal gems and win a few million readers and perhaps a prize or two.

          • Salvatore Buttaci says:

            The prize I most treasure is being able to write something to share with others. I know the joy is in the writing, but that’s only the half of it. I read somewhere once that the written poem or story is a wingless bird that can only fly when someone reads that poem or story. I believe as writers nearly all of us don’t earn enough dough to raise a pizza, but the rewards are great when we consider the readers who may gain a chuckle or read into what we write and find some hope, some happiness, some long-lost memory on which to dwell and find comfort. By sharing the word we keep the word alive and we thank God the giver of this joyous gift for infusing us with the desire to put down on paper what was invitingly blank. It is my sincere pleasure to be in your good company and the company of so many great writers here at AWWYP and other sites.

          • Your words are justice and warm my heart. From the first time I entered a story here, I knew Salvatore Buttaci as the one to beat, but never waited a minute to discover the reason why. I think I have read everything you have had published, and certainly those shorts you entered at this site. What hangs me on the wall on a hook is the undying humanitarism and appreciation for the human condition you continue to weave, as natural as your heart for life. It is i who am honored to share these newspaper formatted stories with you.

  4. Sheri Strobaugh says:

    You wrote it like a tv show I’d watch every time! Loved it, their personalities, their whit and antics. Look forward to the next episode! Thanks Mac

  5. Diane Cresswell says:

    Had me rolling again on our favorite trio…god I love this. I know Ms. Peggy is laughing too with this one. You do this sooooo well!!!! Love it.

  6. Suzanne Morse Liy says:

    It was witty and entertaining. Kept me on my feet. The only question I have is…did they beat the “buzzer?” The descriptions were crisp and clear.

    • Mac Eagan says:

      Suzanne – great to see you on the playground again. I know you have been busy. To answer your question – they almost didn’t beat the buzzer but, thanks to Jerry’s “heart attack,” Harry was able to slip his envelope into the letter basket while the clerk was distracted with almost being a nurse.

  7. Stars Fall On My Heart
    Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    …I WANT TO BE THIS WHEN I GROW UP! My besties and I will have wheelchair races in the hallway, hunt for ghosts in our closets, then oogle the cute orderlies ^_~ Thank you for giving me hope!

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