Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Nancy and the Magic Coconut
Once upon a time in a tiny white house in a garden of very red roses, there was a Man named and a Woman whose happiness was matched in greatness only by their poverty. Each morning the Man would leave his happy home and go into the dark and wicked world outside because there were simply not enough prefabricated concrete building parts for the kind of simple and fast erections that the naughty Corporation enjoyed. Each evening the Man would return home with two precious coins jingle-jangling in his pocket.
The Woman would greet him with a kiss and smile. He would give her all his money and she would make him very happy indeed because she would let him rub her stomach and sing this song:
Soda cracker, soda cracker, sis boom bah,
Let's make some babies, rah, rah, rah!
One day the Woman sneezed and had a baby. It was a lovely daughter, who was a girl of unparalleled goodness and sweet temper. The Woman named her Nancy, and gave her a middle name that meant Love in another language. Upon returning from work, the Man was very happy, but did not rub the Woman's stomach quite so energetically, and his song was not quite so exuberant.
The next day, just before lunch, the Woman was in the kitchen felt first tickle of a sneeze coming on. She pinched her nose with her fingers, held her breath and tried to think about anything but having another baby. She thought about differential calculus, quantum electrodynamics, and even heavy baryon chiral perturbation theory with light deltas, before the image of a fat, pink little baby wandered into her thoughts. Before she could get a napkin out of the box, she sneezed and had a son. She named the son Spaulding. Upon returning from work, the Man was ... surprised ... however happily, and touched his index finger to the Woman's stomach, and mumbled the lyrics of his song.
The next day the Woman avoided the kitchen altogether and order Chinese take-out. It was small and hot and smelled of a perfectly safe beef and broccoli. She broken apart the chopsticks and opened the package of food. There lying on top of the rice was a little packet of pepper. Just seeing it was quite enough. She sneezed so hard that she spilled the package. When she was cleaning up the mess, she found a brand new daughter in the rice. She named the daughter Fawn. Upon returning from work, the Man was too astonished to speak. After his wits returned, he swore off singing from that day forward.
A beautiful fairy Godmother named Angelique heard of the magical births and came to see the children and give them special gifts. When Angelique saw the youngest baby girl, Fawn, she gave the child the gift of beauty. Angelique knew a great deal about beauty because not only was she pretty and pure, she had been a highly paid wedding gown model before becoming a fairy Godmother. Angelique determine that this child would grow into a beautiful runway model and make millions on the catwalks of Paris and New York.
When Angelique saw the middle baby, Spaulding, she gave the child the gift of intellect. Angelique knew a great deal about intellect because her one true love in life had been a dashing young physicist who worked in an Advanced Weapons Research Lab for the Corporation. An accident with an atomic demolition munition separated them forever, and to mend her broken heart, Angelique was transformed into an immortal fairy Godmother. This child would graduate from MIT and make tons of cash perfecting the design of krytrons (nuclear weapon triggers) in the same Lab where Angelique's love once worked.
When Angelique saw the eldest child, Nancy, all she had left to give was personality. Angelique knew a great deal about this because personality was so enchanting that a mere glance would stop men in the tracks. Angelique preferred the company of women for conversation because most mortal men were only able to repetitiously babble a single word in her presence - "Humina" - which in another language means "Excuse me, Madam, may I clear a space for you to sit?", or, depending upon the vocal inflection of the final syllable, "Hold on t’yer shorts, kumquat. It's gonna get bumpy!"
As Nancy grew into womanhood, she listened to what her teachers told her about the world. She wanted to have fun and earn money. It seemed as though all of her friends were already doing it too. She dreamed of going with her father into the evil world and work for a multinational Corporation. The poor girl bore it patiently, but dared not tell her father, who would have scolded her.
One day a Charming Corporate Prince invited all to apply for a job as a software engineer. He wanted someone with personality who could help with a customer support/relations problem that had dogged the Corporation for years. All the people were invited, but only the young bothered to apply because entry level Corporate blows big time. So the young people gleefully planned their wardrobes, rehearsed their interview questions and prepared their resumes. Nancy made her preparations in secret because her father would never allow her attend an interview in the wicked world outside the red, red rose garden of home.
When the appointed day came, Nancy slipped out of an upstairs window, shimmied down the trellis for the climbing roses and was gone. She tripped and got caught in the thorny roses. Her smart business suit was ruined. She cried in despair. There was a burst of light and Angelique, her fairy Godmother appeared. . Don't be alarmed, Nancy, Angelique said. I know you would love to go to the interview. And so you shall!
And so she did! Nancy knocked them dead with her poise, confidence and sense of humor at the interview. That afternoon, the Corporate Prince called and gave her the good news that she had been selected. She could start on Monday in two weeks time.
Nancy was so happy to work. Every morning she told her father that she was going to work in a family owned Yum-Yum store where they bottled sunshine and rainbows for toppings on ice cream that was only made from the very happiest of the unionized cows in meadows of New Jersey. To make the story complete, she would stop by that store after working for the Corporation Taskmasters, and buy a carton of ice cream and some toppings for her father.
One day the people in Nancy's office at the Corporation were planning a tropical theme party. The theme drink was the Pina Colada. How the Corporate Lackeys worked at this party! One of them proposed using a Cream of Coconut based milk for the Pina Colada. Another proposed a quicker and dirtier substitute "Pina Colada Mix" for the coconut milk and sugar. But there was one Man who was true in spirit and pure of heart. This Man was The Most Honorable, The Corporate Marquess of Nondestructive Testing. He stayed true to the spirit of the coconut. His preference was coconuts, real coconuts and nothing but brown hairy coconuts.
The Marquess was an interesting man in many ways, but moreso for his luxurious hair, almost all sadly being on his back and chest rather than on the top of his shiny head. He had an Engineers common deficiency; that is, the singular ability to find a negative, or in the vernacular, he was able to pick turds out of the daisies.
The Hairy Marquess suffered from a broken heart. Some time ago he and his brother had formed a dart team. They recruited two additional members to build a foursome. There was the Corporate Prince and Dave the Klingon, a bad man who was born on bad day in very bad part of the city. He had the table manners of a goat and same conversational skills as Satan's bottom. Dave's one redeeming feature was that he did have very good hair.
Smoochmachine the Blonde was a storm that blew through the Hairy Marquess' life like a tornado on a warm spring day. Their relationship was passionate and intense. Their fights were legendary, and their make-up sessions just as revoltingly public. Part of this was because she was the Hairy Marquess' first true love. The Blonde One wanted one thing more than anything else in life - a husband.
One day, the Hairy Marquess and the Blonde One had a fight that grew more silent rather than louder the longer the spat went on. It was a "relationship" fight. Becky the Blonde wanted a permanent one and the Hairy Marquess prematurely panicked, hiccoughed a frightened "No!", and refused to hear anymore about the matter. The Blonde One cried. It was exceedingly uncomfortable to watch; that is, for everyone except Dave the Klingon.
He offerred the Blonde One a shoulder to cry on. He was compassionate, gentle and kind. One thing lead to another and they kissed. Then they moved in together. Of course, they moved into her house because Dave's wife lived in *his* house. For awhile Dave went "visiting the Library", then when Winter gave way to Spring, he went to "water the garden." When Summer came, Mrs. Dave caught the lovers betwixt the sticks and the jig was up. There was an ugly divorce, but at last Dave and the Blonde One no longer needed euphemisms.
With all of that behind him, the Hairy Marquess was ready to move with the Tropical Themed Party at the Corporate Office. His first task in building the perfect Pina Colada was to get the milk of the best brown, hairy coconuts that he could find. So he went to the grocery store. At the store he discovered that real brown, hair coconuts don't have pop tops, pull tabs or lids. Well, how hard could it be? He thought. He would get three of them and bring them home for experimentation.
The first coconut was subjected to the drill press. The Marquess discovered that the stubborn coconut would indeed submit to a quarter-inch steel bit. Then he discovered that he needed two holes to drain the thing - one hole for the precious milk and one to let the air inside. Then he realized that no matter how many holes he drilled in the coconut, the holes would not cleanly link up so he could use the shell of the nut for a cup.
The second coconut was subjected to a band saw. The Marquess discovered that the stubborn coconut would indeed submit to the high speed band of steel, but could not contain the juice that rushed out as soon as the nut was pierced. Worse still, the nut tended to shatter under the stress loading of the band saw.
He thought the solution may be in constraining the coconut before tapping on it with a chisel. He put the sole surviving coconut into a tabletop vise and tightened the jaws around it. He took a sharpened wood chisel to the coconut. He raised a mallet and gave it a mighty stroke. The coconut, even in its bondage, jostled. The chisel slipped and bit into the Marquess' bare knuckles drawing blood (and three stitches to close). Rage burned in his heart, and the Marquess raised the mallet again struck the offending coconut hard. It exploded in the vise raining milk and broken shell all over the garage.
The Corporate Prince, the Hairy Marquess and the others in the office gathered around the water cooler that next morning. The Hairy Marquess didn't want to explain the oven MIT sized bandage on his hand. When the truth spilled out, Nancy couldn't believe her ears.
"I can open a coconut ... with a spoon," she said.
The room became perfectly silent. The Marquess locked eyes with Nancy, searching her for a tell tale sign of a bluff.
"Five bucks says you can't," the Marquess said.
"Make it ten," Nancy said, "and I'll open two of them."
"You're on!" the Marquess slammed the ten spot onto the water cooler.
When Friday came, and it was time for everyone to gather at a local watering hole, Nancy got the keys to her father's car.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
She was almost out the door, but now she caught.
"Out with some friends," she said.
"To the Brewery."
"Not in my car you're not!" he shouted. "I won't hear another word about it either."
He went back to reading the newspaper. Nancy burst into tears and ran back to her room and threw herself onto her bed.
While she was crying Angelique, the fairy Godmother, appeared and said, "Why are you in tears? What is the matter?" Poor Nancy told her tale.
Angelique said "Quick, fetch me a pumpkin!" When Nancy brought one, Angelique turned the pumpkin into a 1992 Cadillac El Dorado that she knew Nancy's father would appreciate because there is safety in big old cars like that. Angelique put two big green coconuts into the back seat of the car in a brown paper sack. She handed Nancy an oversize sharp ended spoon, and said, "You can open the magic coconut with this, I've put little grooves in the coconut where you are supposed to open the coconut."
Angelique then turned Nancy's business appropriate dress into a beautiful gown, complete with a delicate pair of stylish, low-heeled leather shoes that fit like slippers. Angelique bade Nancy enjoy the ball, but return before midnight for the spells would be broken.
At the Brewery, the entire corporate court was entranced by Nancy and her charming personality, especially the Hairy Marques, who never left her side. When she was ready Nancy took the first magic coconut out of the sack, slipped the spoon into the groove and pried downward. The coconut opened perfectly straight. She drained the milk of it into the Corporate Prince's cup of pineapple juice. A little dash of rum later and the Corporate Prince lifted the glass to his mouth. It was good!
Nancy opened another coconut for the Hairy Marquess. In an even shorter time, she had his cup full of milk. She poured in the rum and pinepple juice for him. She stirred the drink with her spoon. The mixture chilled into a wet slush.
The Marquess to the drink and touched it to his lips. He dabbed his tongue into the liquid. It was good! He thought. It was really good.
Everyone raised a toast to Nancy. The Hairy Marquess passed her a ten dollar bill. Nancy felt like she was on top of the world.
She saw the clock in the corner and grabbed her pursue. She left only at the final stroke of midnight, and almost lost one of her shoes on the steps of the Brewery.
"I have to go," she asked.
"Wait!" the Hairy Marquess said.
He rushed out the door after her. He was overwhelmed with curiosity,
"How did you do that?" he asked.
"It's a secret. Maybe I could tell you one of these days," Nancy said.
"I'd like that very much," he said.
He walked her out to the pumpkin colored Caddy, and fell in lover with her somewhere along the way. They were married several months later. Their first child is almost a year old now.
Moral: Beauty is a treasure, intellect is a gift, but graciousness is priceless. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything, even open coconuts with a spoon!