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Disneyland Fiction :)

A few years ago I saw a headline in the newspaper and decided to write a fictional story about it. Now after taking a class in fiction writing,  I have edited it.

Newspaper headline: Disneyland Halts Ticket Sales (I think it was because the park got too crowded)

My Story: Mickey Mouse Ears Hats Sold Out

Mickey turned on his heel, focusing on the red bricks and cement that carpet the deserted Main Street. Locking the visitors front gate was the hardest thing he has ever done in the Magic Kingdom. Starting right now Disneyland is the Unhappiest Place on Earth.

Thank God, Minnie and Goofy were nearby but out of reach. It helped to have someone else on that side of the gate to take some of the heat. As Mickey stepped away and turned his bowed back to the gate, he could hear the metal groaning against the crush of the wave of crying kids and their cursing parents. “You rotten rodent, open this fuck’n gate.” he heard one father scream. “Minnie! You bitch!” Another yell spouted from the hostile horde.

Mickey stared at his mittens.  The bright white cotton streaked with dirt from the children’s tiny grubby hands desperately reaching through the iron bars to prevent him from snapping the lock. “I’m lucky I didn’t lose a finger.” He said to himself as he tried to wipe off the grime.

With the gate secured he walked away from the moans and wails from the crowd. The reverberation of hate traveling up his spine and made the fur on his ears stand up. Only Minnie’s warm strong hand resting on his shoulder was a comfort. Goofy walking behind them just kept smiling and humming that same stupid tune he always hums when he is uptight. Mickey wished he would for once…just this once…shut up.

Mickey scanned the empty park ahead and shook his head in disbelief. “What’s happening.” he asked the air.  He could feel Walt’s eyes following him from somewhere in the heavens. The white hot heat tore through the fluffy clouds and bore a hole in his soul. He knows what Walt now knows, this happened on Mickey’s watch.

“Where’s Donald?” he asked directing his question to the pair.

“I got no idea, boss.” Goofy sing-songed “Haven’t seen him in a day or two.”

“Me neither.” Minnie joined in checking her fingernails.

“We need to call a meeting and figure this all out.” Mickey kept on and said, “Get Pluto on this too, we need answers.” Then he thought what good would Pluto do? He will just start spouting his hair brained “hostile take-over” conspiracy theories again…Eisner…it is always about Eisner.

He needs Donald now…he’s the money guy.  Comes to him naturally, his Uncle Scrooge really knew how to pinch a penny.  Donald always had a head for business…Mickey he’s just public relations.  That’s all he has ever been good for all these years.  Everyone loves a cute mouse in funny short pants.  That’s just how it is:   Donald money, he handles PR, and Goofy well he’s just good for a couple of laughs over drinks or at the Christmas party.

Minnie, God bless her, is worthless. She, the love of his life, used to be great but for the last couple of decades it is all about flashy jewelry and face lifts.

Mickey’s head was pounding and spun with questions. How could we run out of Ears hats?  Why would they cut off our deliveries? Why has our credit curdled like so many tons of curds and whey? Has someone cooked the Disneyland books? What happened?

The problem burned into his brain as he shuffled down the thoroughfare.  How many times had he traversed it on happier occasions with a smile and a big wave for all the kids? Every night riding high in the Electrical Parade on that fake steam locomotive with the street crammed with well wishers. Now the quiet was bursting his eardrums.  His tail was dragging and picking up dust from the flange way of the streetcar tracks. He doesn’t even notice.

“Mickey, honey,” Minnie said, “Your tail is getting all dirty.”

“Shut up.” Mickey growled back.

“But, Mickey honey…” she countered

“Give it up, Minnie,” he said looking up at the larger than life size statue of Walt holding the hand of his bronze likeness “Don’t you get it?  The party’s over.”

As they approached the entrance to Cinderella’s Castle, he noticed something crazy.  Was it the stress of the day’s events or was he still hung over from those three Limburger cocktails last night?  He rubbed his eyes to try and stave off the confusion.

His hands were shaking and said, “Shit I could use a smoke.” He tore the nicotine patch off his arm ripping off some fur and didn’t even flinch.  He bummed a smoke from one of the guys cleaning the moat. He took a long drag of the Marlboro, threw his head back and slowly emptied his lungs. Smoke rings in the shape of his own head came pouring out of his nose.  Goofy started laughing, “I just love it when you do that!” He said bending over holding his stomach in delight.  Pissed at the remark, Mickey let it go; he was too tired to deal with him now.

Mickey felt terrible about letting down all the people at the gate. He appreciated how far they traveled just to get here and all he did was slam it in their faces.  Somehow he knew that the gate would never be open to kids 2 to 92 again.  He wiped his brow and for a second time checked out his mittens.  “Will my hands ever be clean again?” He wondered aloud taking another deep inhale and burning up the cigarette to the filter. He tossed the butt onto the ground and looked up at the Castle again.

He wasn’t hallucinating, there was Huey, Dewey and Louie handcuffed together being lead away by Chip and Dale in their ranger outfits. It looked like some crazy chorus line.  Mickey thought: Why are those guys always screwing around? I’m I the only one in this place that takes things seriously?

As he got closer he could hear the chipmunk duo. “I am so sorry the handcuffs are so tight.” Chip said. “Yes, it is a shame that you must endure such discomfort.” Dale explained. Then in harmony – pointing north – they said, “Please continue to walk this way.”

By the tone of the furry duo, Mickey could tell this was no joke. He lifted his filthy mitten and held it high to stop the group.  They all slammed together like a derailed train and looked back at him.

Mickey’s eyes, wide and filled with tears, asked the question since words would not come.

The feathered trio, they collectively staring at the Fantasyland walkway, answered in unison: “Uncle Donald.”

Thankful

I just want to read my book…about writing.  I joined a writing workshop and want to read the basis for the group’s meetings.

So, after yoga, laundry, grocery shopping, taking my mom her pills, and a couple of other errands I just want to put my feet up and get in a chapter or two.  No luck.

Chessie is being her bossy self.  She has left her splash of sunshine on the second bedroom quilt and jumped up on my lap between me and the pages.  She is purring, rubbing her mouth against the books spine causing it to sway and I cannot focus.  No amount of petting, rubbing, or cajoling can satisfy her. She continues to make extreme eye contact and will not blink.

After about five minutes and several kneading claws into my thighs she settles and drops her head and quits moving…yet the lovely purring still continues.  Mr. Spock said it right while holding a tribble: ” Most curious creature, Captain. Its trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system

I am thankful for everything in my life. Right now as I sit at just turning 59 years, I am the happiest I have ever been. Yes, I have a ton of responsibilities….and I am not talking about my full time job.  That is going great too…but busy.

Lonnie is laying down relaxing and hoping not to catch a really bad cold I just let go.  So, I can hear the hum of the TV in the bedroom. It is a nice sound. I know he is happy just zoning on auto auction and fix it shows.  Blend that with the purr up close and it is a lovely white noise.

Life is good and I am blessed with many fine friends and family.

Sac O Tomatoes

here is an episode or two of the TV show Thirty Rock where Liz is contemplating following the man she loves on a move to Cincinnati.  She is reluctant because it is not New York. She treks to Ohio and discovers with her talents and looks she is an instant star and even a sought after fashion model.

That is kinda what happened to me here in this Northern California valley community. Well…not the model or star part…but the recognition of talent that I didn’t even know I had.

The Sacramento area is not where I wanted to end up. I guess I don’t know if I am ending up here…I am only 57. However here I type in an adorable little house just a mile or so from one of the largest railroad yards west of the Mississippi.

Today it is predicted to be 108 degrees at 6pm, going to be that hot until Saturday. I hate this. Also, that Sacramento doesn’t have a great reputation of a big important city…although it is California’s State Capitol. Maybe it is our Lt Governor’s now infamous quote: “It’s just so dull.” He openly admits he spends the majority of his time in his home town of San Francisco…a dream of mine: To live and be able to afford a home and life in “The City.”

I came to the area from Santa Cruz (cool Summer Marine Layer) with a two year side trip in Burlingame (more cool weather) before coming up here for my real job and affordable housing. I know heat. I lived in Arizona and the Southern California desert town of Indio. I just don’t like it. I feel slow and stupid when the mercury ticks above 90 degrees. It is hard to get anything done while sweating. I lived in Tucson…which is a very cool place except for the heat.  It would be a crazy crowded town if the weather was less brutal.

But, here in this area with no more formal higher education than a high school diploma, I am a magazine writer. And even get PAID well for it!  Stories based on my adventures here have been published on a national magazine’s website, and I have been published in a national anthology of stories. I have been included in our local PBS station KVIE locally produced “Viewfinder” series  twice and did an on-air 60 second spot for them for the local PBS “My Source” campaign that was picked up by the national PBS website…it is still available on-line. I think it occasionally shows on air and although I watch our station KVIE a lot… I have only seen it once…the guys at work say they see it. Also, KVIE used my written testimonial and photo for a few months to solicit donations through a series of mailings.

So, here I am. My talents known where they wouldn’t have been even tested in a larger market. I am ecstatic.  Not only do I have a lovely home, a loving husband, a bunch of crazy fur children, but I have a cool second career as a writer. And this just isn’t a fly by night thing; I am celebrating my 5th year contributing to the Style Magazine family of publications.

There is something fun and rewarding about interviewing and writing a good story about deserving non-profits, great artists, doctors, lawyers, newlyweds and so many others.  It keeps me grounded and with my “day” job that is very necessary. I consistently find people that are happy, up beat and really happy to speak to me.

So I may hate the outside heat, but the inside heat generated within my heart of my finally recognized talent is keeping me happy in a very cool place.