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Friday, January 2, 2015

Idle Hands

Scruffy McBubbles performed his regular antics onscreen for me
Vainly attempting to entertain and educate the audience
Both things seemingly out of his cartoon four fingered reach
Consistently for the entire run of 8 seasons so far

Today's debacle had something to do with counting the fish he was catching
Tossing each rubbery muppet brand fish onto the pretend glowing coals of a grill near him
With Scruffy calmly explaining the circle of life and prime numbers
All while the latest flexi-foam trout writhed in mock agony upon the metal grating
Staring with blank puppet eyes at the camera with each pan and zoom of the lens

It is no wonder I bored of watching
The trifecta of faux animal cruelty, mathematics, and recycled Lion King philosophy was nothing to hold my attention
So I sat back in the old wooden chair with a creak and groan of wood
Drumming my fingers upon the old square pine armrests
Looking around my vicinity for something to occupy my hands

What did my little eye spy
But a really cool roller thing on a yellow handle
Which I scooped up with nimble small fingers

Pick, pick, pickety pick
Two fingernails plucked at the edge of the black rubber handle upon the device for a few minutes
Producing a soothing noise to accompany Scruffy McBubble's empty hearted teaching moments
Until my thumb found something to squeeze

When I squeezed the handle on the yellow thing
A circular blade popped into view!
Wow, but it looked sharp

Scruffy's voice was completely drowned out now
At an ironically inappropriate moment oddly enough
As his big flapping face mouth was just then cautioning all his young friends watching
To never play with things adults might leave lying around
Because something could happen
Just look at his friend here
Lefty Bumpkin
At which, a one armed muppet wanders onscreen trying to carry a large pizza box
And failing miserably
Flopping a cheese pizza onto the ground
Topping side down

Though not even that distracted me from my new toy
Which seemingly of its own volition
Was busily carving straight lines into the old chair armrest

The old wood accepted the blade easily
As dry pine will
Creasing in an addictive way around the razor's edge passing over and through it
Flaking off the clear varnish in small scale-like pieces as it went
An original finish applied sixty years before by a man named Hank Winston
In a factory only sixty miles away
When camp furniture was all the rage for a new middle class
Who needed such furnishings for their newly built cottage vacation homes

After converting much of the smooth wood surface to something more like a knurled finish
And the silky varnish into confetti on the floor
Wandering young fingers found a pair of glasses
Hmm, I wonder what this blade would do to these?

A quick motion later
Accompanied by a very quiet sound much like nails on a chalkboard
A one half inch curly bit of plastic fluttered to the carpet floor
To lay there with the other leavings of my idle time activity
And a grand deep scratch now decorated the exact center area of the right lens of the glasses

I felt a bit guilty at that point
So I hid the glasses in a drawer I found within reach to my left

Now satisfied that I had hid the evidence
I blankly watched Scruffy McBubbles berate his one armed companion for being one armed
Telling old Lefty Bumpkin muppet puppet that after all
It had been his fault for playing with his grandfather's dynamite in the barn
Which was only to be used for stumps

At that I laughed with a tiny snort from my young nose
Since I was just sharp enough to realize that the dynamite Lefty had played with
Had done what it was supposed to
Sort of
Since instead of removing a stump
It had made one!

My right hand still gripped the yellow handle with the black rubber grip tightly

My left hand came up to fiddle with things as well
But coming into contact with the round disk razor blade head
Cutting deeply into my palm
With an ease that put the lines I'd made in the soft pine wood earlier to shame

For a shocked instant
My eyes looked and registered nothing but cut meat
Blood hadn't had a chance to flow yet
And that moment held itself for an eternity in my mind
A Polaroid photo of a parted skin sea
Where the water walls were red and glistening
Like fresh steak ready for a barbecue

Then I breathed again
And the picture started moving
Blood filled the short trough in my hand
Overflowing out and across
Then cascading onto the cream colored carpeting in a miniature waterfall

The yellow handled roller razor cutter with the black rubber grips got tossed off into the corner by the television
Where Scruffy had switched to baiting some poor homeless rabbits into a debate on unemployment
And I found my sneakered feet moving automatically
Carrying me into the kitchen at the other end of the house
Tears leaving streaks upon my cheeks
Blood leaving a half-footprint imprint trail back the way I'd come

I'll blame it on grandma
I silently decided

She shouldn't have left that thing laying around