The Fox at Dawn


6.15.19 Boldly going where I went long ago

Among the discoveries from the Great Possum Invasion (more on that in another post) and the subsequent destruction of cardboard boxes storing much of my evidently long life’s ephemera, was a long neglected collection of writings printed off my sister’s computer, back when she was in medical school and had the only computer in the family. Seems I used it a lot, to write letters, scripts, scraps of things- long long banners of work printed on that porous paper that connected end to end. Remember how that fed into the printer? What I have read so far is simply strange, it is quite as if someone else wrote it. And I supposed that’s true. All those lovely long letters I used to write! Back when my attention span was not compromised by my overuse of screens, small and large, and the seduction of social media. Back when I had time to think.  

What I share here made me laugh, reading it again all these years later. I do not remember writing it. I do remember the circumstances. I spent a great deal of time helping my mother care for my grandmother, her mother, who lived in our family home since I was 12. Toward the end of her life, Mama was pretty much confined to her room, if not her bed, and required someone to be with her at all times. This was sometime in 1994 or ’95 I think, putting me in my early thirties. Though Mama has been long gone now, reading this makes that time present again. Mama is just in the other room about to call me.

Sitting at kitchen table with the baby monitor, clothing catalogues and Star Trek Next Generation action figures.

Loren: This is so ugly.

Data: Yes, I concur. Is that a catalogue from the Earth period known as the incredibly tacky seventies?

Loren: No, this is a catalogue from the desperate nineties reselling the tacky seventies.

Data: I see.

Loren: This one is kind of nice though, what do you think Data?

Data: It appears to be very practical, made of a fiber that could serve as a transition between fall and winter, even between winter and spring.

Loren: Yes, but it has no pockets.

Data: A drawback to be sure. But are pockets absolutely necessary in a dress?

Loren: I can never be absolutely at ease if I don’t have somewhere to rest my hands.

Data: Very interesting.

Loren: Yes, it is true. I think other people feel the same way, ask Dr. Crusher.

Data: Dr. Crusher is the only person on the Enterprise with pockets. If your hypothesis is correct, one could conclude that she is the only one on the Enterprise completely at ease.

Loren: It’s possible. She’s the only one who can carry around a Kleenex or a breath mint. She is the only one who can make fists when she is frustrated without anyone seeing.

Troi: Is that why you need pockets, Loren, to hide your frustration from others? Do you find it difficult to express anger?

Loren: Oh, not particularly, Deanna. 

Loren smacks the Deanna Troi figure down.

Troi: I’m sensing some hostility. I’m sensing a broken arm. Troi to Dr. Crusher, medical emergency on the kitchen table.

                                                                        Dr. Crusher beams in.

Dr. Crusher: Deanna, what just happened?

Troi: I’m afraid we’ll have to put Ensign Crawford back in the brig. Her violent outbursts have returned. She may be in for a court martial.

Dr. Crusher: Well, your arm is definitely broken. Here, that should be better. This is very unusual behavior from Ensign Crawford, she has always been so kind and caring. Perhaps I should examine her.

Troi: Be careful Beverly, whatever you do, don’t mention anything about pockets.

There is the sound of a toilet flush over the baby monitor. Loren bolts up from the table and runs out. The following conversation is heard over the baby monitor.

Loren: Mama, why didn’t you call me?

Mama: I didn’t know where you were.

Loren: I’m right down in the kitchen Mama, where I always am. I have the monitor, all you have to do is call. You know that.

Mama: Turn on that light.

Loren: Did you have a good nap?

Mama: No, I couldn’t sleep.

Loren: Do you want some juice?

Mama: I always want juice after my nap. Always thirsty, always have to go to the bathroom. It’s a vicious cycle.

Sounds of Mama sitting down, groaning, turning on the TV

Loren: There you are. I’ll be right back with the orange juice.

Loren re-enters the kitchen, pours a little glass of juice, gets the mail, exits again. Voices over the monitor.

Loren: Here you are.

Mama: Thank you.

Loren: And here’s the mail, nothing exciting, some catalogs…

Mama: Get me my emory board. Thank you.

Loren: OK, I’ll be downstairs. Call me if you need to get up.

Mama: Alright…You’ll be downstairs?

Loren: Yes Mama, in the kitchen.

Mama: Is the front door locked?

Loren: Yes Mama.

Mama: Alright.

Loren re-enters. Stands blankly in the kitchen. You can hear Oprah over the monitor.

Dr. Crusher: Yes, her personality has changed, ever since her last shore leave to Raisa. A medical scan is definitely in order.

Loren: Next on Oprah- Do inter-species marriages really work? What about the children? Up next: a Klingon man who was raised by humans and a woman who is herself the product of a mixed marriage, human and betazoid. Can it really work? What about the sex thing? Yes, we’ll let it all hang out after the next commercial break.

Picard: Deanna, Lt. Worf, have you lost your minds? Starfleet regulation 247c3 expressly forbids any appearances on daytime television. Oprah, Geraldo, One Life to Live, I don’t care, it’s not Starfleet.

Loren: (Singing) I’m so bored I’m so bored I’m so bored. What’s for dinner What’s for dinner What’s for dinner…She’ll be asking soon….(In a French male voice) Once upon a time, you were so beautiful, so fascinating, you had the world at your feet, and now, now your best friends are action figures. (In a female French voice) Allo, Je m’appelle Dominique. Je suis une etoille de la cinema Francais. Peut-etre vous me connais? Non? I have made many many films, well, deux films anyway- Tattoos Are Forever and its sequel fantastique Tattoos Two. I have been called the French Meryl Streep, in fact, we are currently working together on a remake of the classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

Picard: Dominique, you are more beautiful than I remember, your pictures do not do you justice, you are far too rich, too complex to be confined to just two dimensions. Please, will you dine with me in my quarters this evening?

Loren: On one condition.

Picard: Anything. 

Loern: That you wear your sexy pyjamas, I cannot resist your little PJ’s Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc, why is it you have a French name and a British accent?

                                                                        Voice over the monitor

Mama: Loren! Loren!

Fin.

Yes, I still have the action figures.


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