Friday Fictioneers – A White Sport Coat…

(Author’s note: Hoping to publish some actual stories in the near future. It’s more that right now I just need to survive the next three months at work. Once I get that done with, it’s all better sailing from there. Enjoy my throw back to the past. )

j-hardy-rubble

© J. Hardy Carroll

A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)

by Miles H. Rost

40 years ago, I met a beautiful young lady named Michelle. We were in an art class at a local community center.

We grew close. We dressed up fashionably, to go out dancing and impress our friends on campus.

After each night of dancing, we’d doff our clothing and work on our art, painting each other in all that God gave us.

I told her that I would love her forever.

40 years later, I have bought the building, the old art hall where we met. The art hall that was destroyed by grenades fired by national guardmen.

The hall where she died.

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Dancing In Heaven

by Miles Rost

The ringing of the phone told him it was time.

“Hello?”
“Gabe? It’s Jennifer.”
“Jennifer! Hello! Are you calling to say you’re ready?”
“Everything is done. How long will it take you to get here?”

After telling her it would be about 15 minutes, Brian “Gabe” Gabrielson exchanged the last pleasantries with the girl he had wanted to be with for so long. Ever since he saw her fixing her shoelaces in 8th grade gym class, he felt that Jennifer Cross was the girl he was meant to be with. Finally, after 7 long years and many classes together, Gabe was about to get his wish.

He hung up the phone, looked around the room, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Then he jumped in the air and gave a loud “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWWWW!”

He grabbed the keys from the board and ran out to his vehicle. He slid across the hood, doing his best impersonation of Luke Duke while praying he didn’t plant his face in the gravel. With luck, he landed on his feet and hopped in his 1971 Oldsmobile 442.

Within a minute of hanging up the phone, he was in his car. Within 10 minutes, he was outside her place. Within 20 minutes, she was in the passenger’s seat and they were tearing down the highway heading out from Las Cruces. Tonight was going to be a blessed night, and one for the ages.

“Are you ready to do this, Jenny?”
“I’ve been waiting for this for many years, Gabe. I think our first time should be really special.”

Gabe smiled and blushed just a bit, as he blasted down I-25, and onto a paved but relatively deserted county road. The sun was still high in the sky, but within two hours, it would be dark. And that would be where the fun began.

They drove for a long while, talking about what they were thinking about doing after college, and how the 7 years they knew each other flew by. Jennifer played with her hair, curling it around her finger, while Gabe kept running his hands through his own head of hair.

Finally, after a long drive through the craggly Southwestern landscape, they finally turned onto another paved road, where they would meet their destiny. A sign in front of them greeted them:

WELCOME TO SPACEPORT AMERICA!

They stopped the car at the terminal, and they waved to the waiting cameras as they filmed them walking through the terminal and out to their new vehicle, “SpaceShipFour”. Reporters tried to ask questions, but were held back by a team of skirts and suits. They just smiled as they entered what looked like an oversized commuter jet.

“Dancer 1 and Dancer 2, are you ready to go?” the pilot asked them.”Seat belts fastened. You got the gravity generators ready for the room?” Gabe responded.
“That’s been taken care of.”
“Our other guy is on the plane?”
“He’s strapped into the room. Once he gets the green light, he’ll be able to walk around. Cameras will also be operational there.”
“Then let’s do this thing.”

The control tower squawked their clearance, the pilot responding with a “roger”, as they taxied to the edge of the runway. With a short boom, SpaceShipFour blasted down the runway and took off at a high rate of speed. Cameras rolled as it quickly buzzed east through the skies.

Within 10 minutes, the sub-orbital was past the Karman line. Within 15 minutes, the vehicle was orbiting at around 300km above Earth’s surface. The signal was given to Gabe and Jennifer to unbuckle and to float towards the door to the other room. Doing so, and avoiding bumping into anything, was a bit more difficult. They both made it into the room, and closed the door. After holding onto a railing near them, the lights came on in the room and a whirring sound filled the space. Their feet landed on the ground with a short thud.

“Gravity has been set,” Jennifer said, as she walked over to the flat, vertical platform where their guest was. After unstrapping the man, he proceeded to pull out a notebook, and walked over to what looked like a music system.

“Alright, you know the rules as we agreed. Once the cameras start rolling, the song with start playing, and within 10 seconds, you will have to start dancing,” the man said, with a nasal intonation, “After the song is finished, we will certify the results, and we’ll get ready to land. Are you clear on this?”

Both of them nodded.

“As a member of the Guinness crew, this is the first time this has ever happened. Let the cameras sync!”

After a second, the cameras turned on and the music started to play.

This night, Gabe Gabrielson and Jennifer Cross would make history as the original holders of the Guinness World Record for Highest Elevation Dancing. They would “bossa nova” 300 kilometres above the earth.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

by Miles Rost

for Maggie, RIP

1980. It was a bad year for Labour, but a great year for my boys. I was a member of Parliament at the time, but I took a leave of absence in order to take care of my wife, Hilda. A lovely lady, she was staying with some of her cousins in Pittsburgh, and came down with something incredibly awful. Now if I could only remember what it was.

Anyhow, May of 1979 was a big time for my boys in blue. Or, rather, in this case, it was my boys and girls in blue. See, we just got off a major win taking over Westminster. 63 extra seats netted us 339 seats in total. This was excellent! Old Ed Heath couldn’t have done that if he was standing upside down, wearing a Donald Trump toupee and singing the Doctor Who theme song!

Anyhow, I just got back over in January so I could meet the new leader of our fair United Kingdom. I met her before, when she was merely an MP based out of Finchley. To see Margaret Thatcher, who I loved to call “Mags”, as the head of all of the British Commonwealth made my heart tickle. I happened to arrive at 10 Downing on a beautiful Friday morning.

I was just about to go into the residence, when I heard the most interesting sound coming from behind the door. I heard music. And not just any music, but music I was familiar with. And, sure enough, as I was let into the Prime Minister’s place, I heard music that I likely only would have found in Studio 54 back in New York.

Poor ol Denis was sitting at the table, slowly lowering and raising his head on the table, looking like he had lost his mind. And there was the Prime Minister, Maggie “Iron Skirt” Thatcher, enjoying her latest addition to her collection of music: Abba’s Greatest Hits, Volume 2.

“Oh, this is particularly delightful! I have not experienced such music in a good long time. Tis’ a shame it’s wasted on American youth, when the British should be getting into it as well!” she said, aloud, as she danced across the telly room. I recognized the song that she was listening to, with it’s popular refrain of “Gimme Gimme Gimme, a man after midnight.” Which she also happened to sing with an interesting lilt in her voice.

I cleared my throat and chuckled as she danced. She turned around and looked at me, and grinned a large grin that I had not seen from her in quite some time.

“Actually, my fair Prime Minister, it is currently #3 on the British charts. So our youth are, in fact, getting into it.”

“Well, that will be a wonderful note to add to my list. How is your wife, Prentice?”

“She’ll be alright, just a little confusion,” I told her, lying through my teeth, “She’ll be back in Birmingham in no-time”.

Maggie turned down the volume on the song, which was ending anyways, and looked at me with those stern eyes that would later stare down Mikhail Gorbechev.

“You, sir, are lying. What is going on with your wife?”

I sighed.

“Alzheimer’s. Early onset. She’ll be staying with my cousins in Pittsburgh. It means I’ll be making trips periodically. I may have to stand down at the next election.”

She looked at me with sad eyes. I will never forget what she would tell me next.

“Your wife will be a treasure even while you’re away. You will live long lives, no matter where you are.”

That was Maggie. She was someone I could admire, and someone who would always be there to give someone comfort. Even if some of the more ardent of folk didn’t care for her.

We talked for a good 20 minutes about the important things, which allowed her husband to gratefully go upstairs, change his clothes, and go out for a while. I’m thinking he found a hotel and took a nap, though I cannot be too sure.

After our 20 minute talk, she insisted that we listen to more music while working on the rest of the new developments that would impact my constituency in Birmingham. So we continued to listen to Abba’s Greatest Hits, volume 2. Everytime “Gimme Gimme Gimme” would come on, she would dance and laugh. It delighted me so, that even when I retired for the 1983 election, I still would remember that song and the look on the old dame’s face.

I went to live in the States after 1983. And, as I sit here and watch the world pass me by in my chair looking out over the business that is Pittsburgh, PA, I remember Maggie Thatcher very vividly. An old Tory warhorse, now reunited in heaven with her companions. Here’s a pint to you, Iron Lady.

* This was a fictional account. No one actually knew IF she actually danced to ABBA, but we figure that it would be quite awesome if she did. RIP Margaret Thatcher.

Moonlight Lady

by Miles Rost

Hirsan was getting bored with the party being held in his honor. The bespectacled 24-year old grad student had just finished a major exam in his Geography 507 course, dealing with the political intrigue relating to assassinations and their relative location to national capitals. He received a text message to come and visit his father at the estates in mountains in Orange County.

He didn’t realize it was going to be a 24th birthday party.

Sure, he was the son of royalty. The heir to the new throne of Syria, once the old dictator Assad was brought down to his knees and the insurgent Iranians sent back to their native land. However, today, he thought of himself as simply a college student and a deeply humiliated individual.

Hirsan liked to live frugally, to learn how to survive on his own and work with the other people. He wasn’t religious, and preferred to be focused on love and life, rather than political intrigue and negotiations. However, this surprise party was his father’s idea.

“When King Rahsan gets an idea, you know there will be lots of money and pomp behind it,” he said, dejectedly.

He scanned the floor of the main ballroom from his perch on the second floor. The main ballroom was gigantic. With marble flooring and bright orangish colors up the sides, it was surrounded on a second floor by four large open corridors with seating along both sides of it’s wide hallways. He sat next to the edge overlooking the ballroom, looking at the main ballroom doors to the north. A string ensemble was on one side of the ballroom, while a disc jockey was on the other side. While the adults played, the string ensemble were in play. After the adults would retire, the youth would have the disc jockey for the rest of the night. The DJ was a good friend of Hirsan’s, brought down from San Francisco for the occasion. He had a list of certain songs that Hirsan would be using on most nights.

He was just about to get up and walk towards the kitchen in frustration when he saw a face appear through the main ballroom doors. His heart froze, and he stood, transfixed. He knew this person who walked through the doors, and he did not know what to do.

She wore a beautiful peach-colored satin dress. It was definitely flirty, but it wasn’t over-doing it. It stated confidence, like it knew what it wanted and that others should stay away. Her skin was light, but had a tinge of color to it. Likely unnoticable to most people, for Hirsan, it was a perfect color that showed the beauty of East Asia. Her almond eyes lit up with kindness as she was greeted, and her light-red lips gently displayed laughter.

Hirsan immediately bolted to the stairs closest to the string ensemble. He ran over to the main conductor and tapped him on the shoulder. After talking in an animated way to him for close to a minute, the conductor gave him the nod, and he continued to quickly rush over towards the DJ. He gave him the number 51, and told him to wait for his cue. The DJ just let out a hearty chuckle and slapped him on the back. Hirsan then proceeded to walk slowly in the direction of the young lady.

He came to within two feet of her, and she turned to look at him.

“Hirsan?!” she said, gasping a slight bit, “You’re the birthday boy?”

“It is, Keiko! How did you end up coming over here?”

“It was your dad. He said that you mentioned me a couple times, and he thought it would be nice for me to come celebrate your birthday.”

Hirsan smirked, while looking down and shaking his head.

Dad, there some some days when I have to wonder just what’s going on in that head of yours.

He looked back at her and smiled.

“You look absolutely gorgeous this evening. It’s a change from seeing you in normal clothes in Heitler 150.”

Keiko looked back at him, and gave him a sly nudge.

“Are you trying to say I don’t look sexy?”

Hirsan immediately tried to explain, tying up his tongue and eliciting a guffaw from an old colonel who was standing next to him.

“Don’t dig yerself a hole there, Hirsan. You may just fall in.”

Hirsan quickly facepalmed, took a breath, and sighed.

“You look great in anything you wear. I just never have seen you in as elegant or, shall we say, shiny of attire.”

Keiko blushed slightly.

Hirsan knew his next move, one that he hoped he would be able to pull off. He proceeded to gently pick up her hand, placing it in his.

“Keiko, would you care for a dance to one of my favorite songs?”

Keiko responded with boldness.

“Of course I would, Hirsan. You might be surprised by what you ask.”

Hirsan proceeded to take her hand and move her around a couple directions. He gave the signal to the composer to stop, and the “5-1” with his open hand to the DJ. Both did as they were supposed to do while Hirsan brought Keiko to the middle of the ballroom. Other people started to move out of the way, as the couple finally arrived. At the precise moment they arrived, his song started up.

For the first 30 seconds or so, he slowly moved with her around in the middle of the crowd, which had opened up into a circle. For the near 3 and a half minutes, Hirsan moved across the floor with Keiko. He utilized partner dance skills that he had been taught long ago as a child, and applied old-style charm in a bid to make those four minutes the greatest of Keiko’s life.

He twirled her around in the choruses, and did tango/mamba mixes during other parts. She just grinned and laughed as they went through the song. He found himself at the end of the song looking into her eyes and saying words that he never thought he would have uttered in his life.

Sexy sexy lady, you just drive me crazy.

Keiko looked into his eyes with what could only be termed as a “sultry stare”.

“Is this just from our dance, or has this thought been going on for a while?”

“Ever since we first met in Wilshire 100 lecture hall for Professor Chaudhury’s World Geography class.”

Keiko blushed, showing that she too had the same answer.

“Well, now that we know we can dance to the music, let it play!” he said, giving her a flourish and signalling the string ensemble to start playing again.

It was definitely going to be a great 24th birthday for Hirsan.