Call Us Spero III – Connie, Pse & Brian

June 29th, 2007 | Tags: ,

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away–actually right here in my hometown just last week, my English teacher dropped a bomb big enough to blow away the entire class. Charles Dickens said it best when he wrote “It was the worst of times….” Sometime in the course of human events, usually about the junior year in high school, it will become necessary to wrote a short story. When that time comes the story will be found most difficult to write.

Before I get on with the story, however, I should say “Call us Spero.” It’s not actually my name, but it’s a nickname that I like. Calling us Spero is correct. We are the Three Siamese Amigos: Connie, Pse, and Brian. One for all and all in one person called Spero A. Katz. My name is Brian and I will be the narrator for this evening.

We had received the assignment about two weeks ago but failed to do much work. During the week that followed we sold our time to others so that we could buy a Rolex. Having the Rolex, we sold our time again, hoping to do this enough times to come out ahead in the end. After all was said and done we did not come out ahead and even lost the week in which we spent trying to gain time. All of the previous now leaves up at 1:13 AM trying to start on the sixteen page “short” story that is due the next day.

As we settled down by the by the computer to burn the midnight oil, I turned to Pse, “Pse. Hey Pse. Pse!” I eventually shouted, but I got no response. The guy that was supposed to do all the writing for this short story was sound asleep, and there seemed no direct way to wake him up. Cor Pse, called just Pse, because we voted that Cor was a silly name, was the guy with all the looks. Six foot four, with a toned body, and light brown hair brushed slickly back. As Connie often put it, “That guy looks good!” Thinking of Connie, I decided to wake her instead of Pse. “Connie, Connie” I said in an effort to rouse her.

“Brian,” the sweet little voice from my shoulder called, “would you kindly tell me what time it is?”

“Connie, I realize that it is late,” I said trying to soothe her and get off the defensive.

“Brian. I asked what time it is. Please tell me,” Connie said very placidly, so easy going that I got uneasy. One of those times when you hope that you will say the right thing, but know that that will be impossible to do.

“It is quarter after one o’clock, Connie,” I said, answering her rhetorical question as she appeared in her night cap and gown.

“Knowing that I do not like my sleep to be disturbed, and the fact that I went to bed at midnight, do you not get the impression that I do not wish to be disturbed? If you cannot make this deduction then take this piece of advice- leave me alone!” Connie shouted, almost waking Pse in the process. No such luck, however, and she turned to go back into her room.

“Connie,” I explained, trying to sound sweet and innocent, “I would not purposely wake you up without a good reason. You know that. I thought that you might have a piece of advice for me on how to wake up Pse. In your wealth of wisdom I thought that you might lend me a small gem in order to wake him up.”

“Cut the crap Brian. Get to the point.”

“Spero has a report due tomorrow and I need to work on it with Pse, but he is asleep. So please help me think of something to do that may help,” I begged to Connie. I was starting to sound stupid, like I was full of tears and flapdoodle.

“Why not give him a dream to think about tonight?” Connie asked me. Before I could speak Connie answered her own question. “That way he will be ready to work when he wakes up in the morning, or it will give him nightmares and he will wake up. Either way your problem is solved,” Connie triumphantly stated.

“What should I have him dream about?” I asked, like the little kid who wants to get something done without doing any work.

“Have him dream about the ocean. Maybe a place like Atlantis. Why not give him a dream about fish?”

“What kind of dreams are those?” I asked, questioning her cocky attitude.

“Those are like, ah, wet dreams,” Connie said, acting like a Valley girl.

“Oh.”

“I realize that you would like Pse to wake up and write the short story,” Connie said with her basset hound eyes. It’s amazing. She can change her personality in the middle of a conversation as easily as she would change her shirt. Not out in public, mind you, just while with me. “Unfortunately, I will not help you finish the short story this morning, nor will I help you wake him up. I told last week that you should start thinking about the story. I told you last weekend that helping Pse write the story would be a good idea. I told you yesterday that waiting until the last minute was a bad idea. I am telling you now that trying to pull an all-nighter is not a good idea. I told Pse the same thing, and I see he has taken my advice. If you still wish to wake him it is fine with me, just leave me out of it,” she shouted sending needles into my back. Connie walked back to her bedroom near the shoulder. She liked it there because she could whisper in Pse’s ear without me hearing. Connie Science: can’t live with her, can’t live without her. You could have called me porcupine for the next hour, it was so very painful it was for me to sit down.

“What do I do now?” I thought to myself. The idea of thinking came naturally to me since I am the brains of the operation. After resting for a few minutes I decided that I should mull over the lesson notes. I took the film out of my immense library and put it in the 17 year old movie projector. After popping some popcorn, and switching the levers to ‘dream’ and ‘learn’, I sat back to enjoy the show.

“Brian. Brian,” said the voice inside my head. It was Connie. “Brian, make sure that you are paying attention to the lecture. OK?”

“Sure, Connie, whatever you said,” I told Connie to get her off my back and back onto Pse’s shoulder where she belonged. I looked up just in time to see Mrs. S. waddle into the room. Her books raised a pile of dust as they hit the desk with a thud. Mrs. Doofalupagus Schwartzenhiemer, she told us to call her Mrs. Doof S., for short. Doof S., what a name for a teacher to have!

“Pse. Look alive now,” I told the guy with all the looks, “You don’t want that old dragon calling on us.” Pse arched his back and put on the mile-wide grin. The hands folded primly on the desk finished the look saying don’t ask me a question because I don’t know the answer.

Now when I say that Mrs. Doof S. is an old dragon, I don’t mean to be derogatory, that’s just the way it is. The long, green, spiked tail along with her smoking nose kind of give her away. The piece of paisley fabric wrapped around her doesn’t help much. The “Little Miss. Golden Curls” wig and sunbonnet help to complete the Tyrannosaurus Rex ate Goldilocks look.

Spero still had that look when Doof started the lecture. “The first thing that you have to do is find a topic for your short story,” Doof snorted, reeling her head back. Now doing this is not necessarily good, but it’s not the end of the world either. It usually means that she is going to sneeze, and when she sneezes she never covers her nose. And with good reason- she sneezes fire. Not really bad for her, just for those unfortunate souls lucky enough to be sneezed upon.

After helping to extinguish Élohc and Eriol, Spero returned to his seat and Doof continued the lecture. “It has to be a good topic. It has to be a great topic. It has to be the greatest topic that anyone has ever thought of throughout the history of the world. The story must also be good. Rather, it has to be great. No, no, no, that is not the word that I am trying to think of. Oh! It has to be the best story ever written on your chosen topic, or you will fail. You will fail. You will fail!” she explained getting louder with each passing moment. Her ‘fails’ turned into laughs after a while–some of those heckledy-kackeldy-snorty laughs that roast half the class; some char-broiled black, others to a perfect golden brown.

I went to work, reeling with all of the possible topics for a short story. I thought, “Maybe I could do a story about the tragic death of a traveling armor salesman in Medieval Europe and how he affected the life of King W. Hocares.” I knew that it was a great idea–one that would astound the ages.

Doof, however, was not finished with her firestorm. “One last thing,” she said with a twinkle of mucus in her eye, “The story that you write must be believable. No stories about traveling armor salesman. Nothing about medieval kings. No stupid stuff like that, or you will fail. You will fail. You will fail!” she snorted even louder.

Well, she had steamed Spero’s ego, but, he was not scorched, like the rest of the class. “Hey, Pse,” I shouted. “Get us out of here.” Pse twisted Spero out of the seat. Spero barely missed running over the custodians acting as cadaver control as he ran out of the class when the class bell rang. As Spero’s long hair hit him in the face all he could hear was the bell. The ringing from the bells, bells, bells, bells. The ringing, jingling of the bells, bells, bells.

Class was definitely over, and so was the night. The movie tail whipped around while the alarm clock sounded. An empty bowl of popcorn at my feet, I began to think of the prospects for the new day. The lecture had told me nothing, so the prospects for the day were the same- get the short story done before 6th period- no more, no less.

“Pse,” I asked. “Do you think that for one morning you can go on autopilot. You have done the same thing every morning for the last 6 months, no matter what I have told you. So just leave me alone until we get off the bus. That will give me at least a few minutes of sleep. OK, Pse?”

“Sure boss. You said it,” Pse sleepily replied to me.

“OK then,” I told Pse, “Wake me up when we get off the bus.”

“Pse,” I said sleepily as we exited the school bus, “There is a very obvious need for us to finish the story for English class. Not finishing the paper will most likely result in spending another year with the dragon lady, Mrs. S.”

“Yeah,” Pse replied as I continued to wake up, “We want to get done. I don’t like dragon lady. She burn my skin black. I don’t like her at all.” We were walking down the street when Pse continued, “Brian, what we gonna write? I hope you got some idea, because I sure doesn’t.”

“Yeah, Brian,” Connie injected, “What are you going to write about? I hope that you can think of something now that you have put it off until the last minute. I told you to start thinking about this last week, but oh no. You had to be Mr. Procrastinator to the max. Do you think that you will ever learn to get things done on time? I don’t think so. If you would have just listened to me.”

“Shut up Connie,” I yelled. “There is no going back to what could have been. Just forget about the past and help me with the story.”

“No way,” she smarted back.

“Way,” I replied, thinking of some recent movie.

“No way!”

“Way!”

“No way! You are not getting me into that trap again. I told you last time if you procrastinated again I was not going to help you. I would have gladly helped you a week ago, but I am not going to lift a finger to help you now because the short story is due in a few short hours,” she said with a toss of her hair, arrogance with flair.

“But, but” I stammered trying to think of something that might appease her, but I had gone completely blank.

“I said not a finger. Now leave me alone!” she yelled, slamming a nonexistent door and diving into her feather bed. The cloud of down surrounding her said that she really did mean business.

“Well, Pse,” I said as we entered though the front door of the edifice, “It looks like we are own. After all, how hard can it be to write a short story anyway. All we have to do is think of an idea. If you happen to come up with any, please feel free to tell me.”

“Uhh, Brian.”

“Yes, Pse. What would you like to tell me?” I asked the intellectual inferior.

“I don’t have any ideas.”

“Thank you, Pse. Thank you very much for that bit of knowledge from the very bottom of your shallow existence,” I said with just a hint of sarcasm. “I would take time to thank you more but there is a story that must be written.”

Spero walked up the stairs of the Sintro Hi Skool. The halls of the Hi Skool eerily echoed with Gregorian chants as Spero walked up the stairs. Unimpressed by the security guards taking the Gregorians into custody at the top of the stairs, Spero continued on to math class. In the Pre-Calculus room Pse plopped us down in a seat and took the book bag off the shoulder. Pre-Cal, a class where anything can happen, even learning, but only under the very oddest of circumstances.

“OK,” I thought to myself, “There has to be a topic that is good enough for Doof. Maybe I could do one on the traveling… No, she said not to do that. Or what about a story about King W. Hocares… No, no, no, she told us that we could not do a story about that either. I got it!”, I shouted, although Pse was the only one who could hear me, and he probably didn’t care anyway. “I can do a story about all of the neat things that are in my neighborhood. There are trees, and there are kids, and there are cars… did I say trees?”

“You say trees,” Pse thoughtfully reminded me, as if I didn’t already know the answer to my rhetorical question. “Why don’t you ask for help?”

“You given me so many wonderful ideas Pse, I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t ask you for help again. It must have just slipped my mind.”

“Uhh… I don’t know why not,” Pse said perplexedly.

As I thought of other ideas that I might be able to use, the bell rang. The ringing bell signified the beginning of the day during which I was going to have to write the short story for the dragon lady. The main problem now, however, was the so called teacher. I would call her a teacher for sure if I could figure out what was growing out the back of her dress. It’s kind of a cross between the creature in Alien and the blob. You don’t really want to get close enough to it to figure out what it is. When she started to drone on I turned to Pse, “Get ready to take dictation,” I told him. “I finally got an idea for the story and I want you to write down everything that I say.”

“Sure, boss. You say it. I write it down.”

“Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night. It was the beginning and there was nothing. Later on came light and then the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs had the pleasure of being visited by our hero, Mr. Du M. Bass. He was not exactly of high intelligence, in fact he was pretty stupid. With all of the times and places he could have visited in the history of the earth he had chosen the age of the dinosaurs, during which the chance of get stepped on or landing in a dinosaur patty was about one in two.

“The choice had been obvious, to begin a story one must start at the beginning. Any closer to the beginning and there would be nothing to talk about. So here he was, Mr. Bass, in a time period in which he had no importance. That would change later, but not now. He walked along the beach where he has just arrived. At the end there was a woman wearing just a leopard skin who was batting her eyelashes and rubbing the inside of her leg with her hand. Looking like the person who would sit in front of his friend Spero in math class, many years in the future, Du ran after her. He received the same welcome that Spero received everyday, a slap in the face. A hard one right across the jawbone throwing him backwards into a pile. One of those black and green, mushy piles into which the chance of falling was one in two. This was his lucky day. Then out of the distance came the loud, clear sound of a bell. Du wondered about bells now, knowing they would not be invented for many years, but also knowing that the clanging would transport him out of this pile and into another world for Du was a time traveler.”

Spero was not much of a time traveler, just a plain ole student. The “teacher” at the front of the room advised, “Hurry up Spero. You don’t want to be late for your next class.” For once she was right. It was not a good idea to be late to Tech class. Pse gathered the books and walked out the door to the next room while I thought about what came next in the story. He went to the class where Sri Lankan is spoken, the place where machines rule, and the address at which I continued the dictation to Pse.

“Du M. Bass woke up. He realized that he had been transported to another world. One in which life was a huge machine and all the walls were made of glass. He realized that escape from this place was almost impossible. Mirrors abounded in this place, as did the colors of red and blue. Du was very frightened, especially when one of the Bald robots came up to him and said, ‘Doth ewo rky ouare assi gned! Urntay itway inway onway imetay!’ It was as foreign to him as English was to this strange creature, whose shiny head acted as a reflecting mirror.

“Sensing accessibility to the door, Du made a run and soon found himself safe and sound in the Ma Clab. In the Ma Clab, Du could use the computers without fear, for he knew that they were friendly. As soon as he saw ‘Welcome to Ma Cin Tosh’, however, he knew that this was trouble. As evil robots closed in on him, the bells started clanging. The department had come to put out the fire. Knowing that now was his chance, he escaped to the USS Phy-Sucks, sister ship to the Enterprise.

“The USS Phy-Sucks, where all pieces of garbage go to learn. On the USS Phy-Sucks, Du found the crew involved in a food fight. The Captain E. Mery explained it thus, ‘We have been involved in this food fight for years in order to find the optimum force and angle with which to throw the food so that it will hit another crew member at the specified distance. We have also tried to heat and cool the cabin so that the food of others melts while ours doesn’t. This may sound boring to you, but it is actually quite fun. There is no greater thrill than to guess right and hit L. Arry in the face with a five year old cream pie. Arry just loves it and tries to say that I missed him, but I know the truth, he bit the dust. He along with his friends, the sons of A. Nerd; the A. Nerd Sons they call them.’

“Du found himself in quite a fix. He had not understood anything that Mery had talked about, and he just tried lobbing pieces of food up in the air. Most of it, however, fell back and hit Du in the face. The bell that signaled the end of the food fight for the crew, also told Du it was time to move on to the next period in time.

“Du realized what he saw in this scene was not what he wanted at all. It was HiStory, and it started when he was just a little baby. He found out that he was born in a small backwoods hospital, right next to the toxic waste dump at the Love Canal, where he had been conceived. His parents had thought that it was a nice private place that they could go. They had no conception that it was the waste dump. That old Uranium explained his ability to travel through time, Du thought to himself.

“He watched as he grew up and as his dad pushed him down the stairs in his baby walker. The little kid that he saw carried a flashlight up to the bed with him at night; he wanted to be able to see what was going on under the sheet. Then he watched the most terrible moment of his life descend upon the helpless child that he saw- the New Rath came and sent him to school. Twelve years of torture that would only end when he had finished his education. With this horrible image still etched in his head, the bell sounded, transporting him seventy-five years into the future.”

I was tired of this dictation so I decided to rest, and besides it was time for lunch. As Pse ran us through the halls I checked and found that Connie was still asleep. She looked so nice and comfortable in that feather bed, I thought that I might crawl in there for a moment and enjoy life. Unfortunately she was not in a deep enough sleep, and all I got to do was look at her. This, however, was not a bad experience, I must admit. Such a nice girl–we should get together and have a few Sci-Brans running around. Now that could be fun.

As we neared the slop house the smell became atrocious. The so called pizza and burritos that they were serving looked like the stuff that remains in the toilet if you don’t flush it for two days while you’ve had the runs and been praying to the porcelain god. It was disgusting, but what could one do? The signs surrounding the “food” exclaimed the good points saying that the lunch was “good”, “nutritious”, and “wholesome”. I chose ‘D’, none of the above, and continued my dictation to Pse before I got too nauseous and experienced the technicolor yawn.

“Du had been thrown into a post-Apocalyptic waste-land. The shreds of food, pieces of the black and green, mushy piles, and bits of plastic strewn about the landscape spoke of the carnage that had happened only a few days earlier. The governments of all the countries had taken sides on whether the Buffalo Bills would ever win the Super Bowl. When it was found mathematically impossible, the United States decided to fire its nuclear weapons against every other country on the globe. After doing so, the Bills scored the winning touchdown in Super Bowl LXXVII, forcing the US government admit to the rest of the world that it was wrong. Just as this happened, a bell sounded vaulting Du into the life of a man with a beard.

“This man was called Fraud by most people, for that was his name. He said that all people had three people that controlled their life- Id, Ego, and S. Ego. Preposterous thought Du, everybody knows that the three people are Brian, Connie, and Pse. Fraud did not like to be proved wrong, so he sent Du to one of his friends. There Du was drooled over by some angry dogs saying that Du should go back to see Fraud. When he got back Fraud told Du that he should take some cocaine.

“Du did not take the doctor’s advice. He just thought that his life was no good and he figured that the best thing to do would be to just end it. He walked to the end of the earth. He walked a very long time since we know that the earth is round. Then he jumped. The people at the bottom found him, and buried him under the tombstone that said: ‘Du M. Bass’, ‘Alpha-Omega, ‘He tried’.”

“Pse! Pse!” I shouted. “The story is finished. It is all done. Just think- I did it all by myself. You did do the writing, but let’s not dwell on that point very long. The story is great.”

“Sure is good, isn’t it,” Connie said in her nightcap. “Aren’t you glad that you had me to guide you. I did a marvelous job for you didn’t I? I told you that this was the best way to do it. Waiting until the last minute is the only way.”

“You did not say that. You said…”

“I know what I said,” she said with force. “And if you want any future plans for Sci-Brans, then you had better know that when I say that I am right, I am right!”

Can’t argue with her. She always does seem to get the best of me. As the bell rang Pse took us out of that room at the speed of light.

I was elated. Pse and I had finished the short story with five minutes left to spare. Spero ran through the halls with the paper in his hand like a torch. Connie’s laughing face was just along for the ride. Pse vaulted us up the steps and Mrs. S. came into sight. “Mrs. S.! Mrs. S.!” Spero shouted. “It is finished! I got it finished! The short story is done.”

Spero ran with the story in his outstretched hand, but then lunch kicked in. Very bad timing. Our gaseous escape managed to waft it’s way up to Doof’s nose causing her to sneeze.

“Did I do that?” Doof S. asked. “Would you like some help?” she said trying to clean the charcoal off of Spero’s face with her useless forearms.

“No thank you,” Spero said in a quiet voice. “It needed editing anyway.” Spero turned dejectedly into the classroom. The papery pepper substance that remained in his hand slowly sifted through his fingers, scattering itself onto the floor. Death by the red flames. We had failed.

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