Friday, November 2, 2012

Junk Food National Historic Memorial

Friday Fiction

The beefy hand of the park ranger slid the pass to me and droned, “Please don’t remove or consume any historical items from the memorial.”  My eyebrows puckered; silently I queried the dusting of powdered sugar near his lower lip.

It had been ten bland years since the prohibition against all forms of junk food.  The military was pressed into service, called upon to round up junk food from manufacturing plants, warehouses, store shelves, and even from the private sector.  It was transported to a rural area, where confections and snacks were bulldozed into a misshapen obese mountain.  Within months of the junk food ban, the Bible was also banned.  Of these two dangers to society, only junk food was memorialized with a National Historic Memorial.

In the penumbra of the gastro-monstrous mountain, the concrete Visitor Center and Museum beckoned.   After the greeting by the sticky museum door handle, I felt the need to slide my hand down the spinach-green slacks I’d chosen to wear.    Inside, a standard gray movable sign on the left announced, “Junk Food National Historic Memorial -- mountain tours begin on the hour.”   I checked my watch; I had thirty minutes to explore the museum before the next tour began.

The adjoining room to my left was labeled “Snacks.”   I entered its dimness, allowing my eyes to focus on the bright displays.  The first told the history of the potato chip, its origin and packaging through the years.  Memories of fun-filled days spent with Jimmy at the county fair flooded as scents of popcorn and chips were vented into the room.  The adjacent display used glaring geometric shapes and blaring neon colors with a chilling reminder of the calorie content and emphasized bodily damage from potato chip consumption.

Next, my buff non-junk-food-contaminated body hurriedly perused the snack cake display with its similar history followed by a consumer warning.  Nostalgia smacked my lean six-pack with longing for those crème-filled delights of bygone days.   Other rooms off the main hall were labeled, “Soda Pop,” and “Pastries.”   I had my choice of which junk food rooms to sample next.

The last room I visited was labeled “Experience the sluggish life of a junk-food junkie.”    This room was set up to be an experiential warning, where the participant could suffer through two minutes in the life of a junk food addict.   This was the room I secretly and eagerly anticipated.  This National Historic Memorial was the only place in the country where junk food was legally sold—in limited quantities.  Just before entering, I purchased my artery-clogging, blood-pressure-raising junk food of choice.  There was an overstuffed couch along the back wall of the lamp-lit room.   I plopped onto the overstuffing and set my feet atop the coffee table that fronted the couch.   The opposite wall sported a mounted television with a football game already in progress.    I kicked-off my two minutes when I popped the soda can top and ripped open the single-serving bag of chips.    The salty crisps and the fizzy liquid were an explosion of enjoyment, reawakening smothered and forbidden sensations.   The two-minute experiential warning was pure ambrosia.

As I awaited the mountain tour, suddenly warning whistles blared.  Uniformed personnel swarmed from every direction like ants looking for the last picnic crumb.   The loud speaker announced that a praline had been stolen from the historic mountain memorial and recent mountain tourists would have to undergo a search.   Then came a saccharin apology, “We regret that due to the theft, there will be no more Junk Food Mountain tours today.” 

I gave a quick wave to the park ranger as I left the National Historic Memorial.  His double chin pumped his head in my direction as his mouth remained fixed and his hands seemed preoccupied with something beyond my vision.    The sign at the park exit warned, “We remember; lest we go back.”  

I plan to return next year, just to be warned again.

  © Beth LaBuff -- September 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Fiction

Plain Crash
by Beth LaBuff -- October 2011

A zephyr swept savanna's plain.
The African sun blazed.
A crash* of rhino's searched for food,
Their grassland overgrazed.

A league of scholars heard their plight
And since it's common knowledge
That "Information holds the key,"
They rallied at their college.

They formed, to raise awareness,
The Rhino-Smarts Foundation.
They gathered funds for laptops--
Tax deductible donations.

The rhino boasts keen hearing,
Though poor eyesight overall.
It's also common knowledge that
His brain is somewhat small.

An herbivore with thick gray skin,
Each foot displays three toes.
He's none too bright, quite comical
With horn atop his nose.

The Rhino-Smarts Foundation
Presented to the crash,
A laptop for their personal use,
With giga-memory cache.

The rhinos, grateful for the gift,
Began appropriation.
They plotted ways to ascertain
Some prudent information.

With keywords, "vitamins" and "grass,"
Each word spelled with precision.
They searched which grass variety
Would boost their feeble vision.

They googled which would strengthen
The horn atop their nose
And which would banish athlete's foot
Between their triple toes.

They also searched for recipes
To turn the grass to mash
That promised thick-skin softening—
Grass lotion for the crash.

Just as they sought to google
Specific grass locations –
Their laptop flashed a message,
Caused arrhythmic palpitations.

"Warning! Virus Warning!"
Spread confusion like a flash.
Poor vision, plus their pint-sized brains—
A virus struck their crash ? ! ?

They googled, "virus symptoms."
They yahooed, "rhino pain."
Confused their rhino brains.

It started with a sniffle, then
Progressed to horn congestion
"The virus" rampaged through the crash—
The powers of suggestion.

While virus through the laptop spread
To giga-memory cache,
The monitor went haywire then
Their laptop system crashed.

Sometimes a little knowledge
Can misdirect the brain.
The ailing, fevered rhinos crashed
And burned upon the plain.
*crash—a herd of rhinoceroses


Friday Fiction is hosted by
Rick @ Pod Tales and Ponderings
Head on over for links 
to more inspirational Fiction.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stellar Appellations

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by
Karls (Karlene Jacobson) at Voices...
Head over for links to inspirational fiction.

Stellar Appellations
by Beth LaBuff

An aging brick façade, sat decomposing on the lane,
Held a rusty pock-marked door that was weather-beaten, stained.
Inside, a single dangling bulb launched shadows in a hall
That pointed to a doorway, set mid-center on the wall.

Inside the room, Sir Abram toiled while fifty years accrued,
His livelihood for fifty more if wishing stars held true.
Sparse furnishings—a single desk presided o’er the space.
“Twas daily here, Sir Abram’s methodology took place.

The walls and ceiling of this room were painted midnight blue
With tiny starlight pinpoints plotted—prompting easy view.
Beside each tiny stellar point, in pristine script of white,
The name he’d chosen to bestow upon that distant light.

A list each morn, with newest stars was tacked up in the hall,
And by day’s end, each star was named and charted on his wall.
He’d satisfaction in the fact that each star known to man
Had carefully received a name by his own thoughtful plan.

Each working day Sir Abram rambled down that shambled lane,
Regenerated once again inside his starred domain.
As father with his children, he recited starry names,
Then when at rest, sat at his desk, a job well-done—acclaimed.

At mid-point of the fifty-second year of his employment,
A shadow loomed that dimmed his light and halted his enjoyment.
It seemed a ruthless act, to slide a pink slip ‘neath his door,
But there it lay, a bearer of bad tidings on the floor.

“The Appellator, Bureau Office, Stellar Appellations,
We hereby give you notice of our budget lacerations.
For due to lack of funding, we inform you to our sorrow,
We’re shutting down this office; it’s effective on the morrow.”

So voila! Unemployment, his reward for fifty years!
This pink slip proclamation predicated life to veer,
At workday’s end, he offed the lights— symbolic— darkened-day.
But satisfied each star was named, he sadly trod away.

Despite his melancholiness— new stars that offer light,
Though still unnamed, regardless, go on shining just as bright.
And if uncharted nor assessed—the distance from our sun,
These unnamed stars, unfathomed lights—still have been named by One.

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

Look up at the heavens and count the stars...So shall your offspring be.
Genesis 15:5

© Beth LaBuff -- January 2012