Toopid Moose (the reboot)


The child holding the string cheese triggered a mental flash from her past that she did not remember.

Kind of odd when she thought about it. Not knowing her past was not a new thing. She was adopted from the agency when she was 9. She loved her adoptive parents and felt no need to find out who gave her up or why it was done.

Until she saw the child in the park.

She was going on a stroll through the park to clear her head and enjoy being outside. People were riding bikes, sitting under trees and basking in the warm summer glow. Kids were running around, like kids do, and it made her smile.

She saw a family having a picnic. She glanced over and saw the pretty young girl hold up a strand of string cheese, cock her head sideways and giggle.

That was when the image overtook her vision. It was her, as a 5 year old child, head cocked sideways. The face held a blank expression. She was holding up something and the words she saw herself mouth were, “Toopid Moose”.

She stopped in her tracks. She couldn’t understand what it was. She tried to shake it and just couldn’t do it.

She went home and thought about it. The one thing she could remember was when she lived at the adoption home, she was always watching “Rocky and Bullwinkle”. A cartoon with a flying squirrel and a moose. But it just didn’t fit with the image.

The image wouldn’t go away. In her sleep, she heard her own childhood voice repeat that phrase, “Toopid Moose”. When she looked in the mirror, she would be sitting behind her in child form holding up…..whatever it was with a tilted head and blank face. She had to know what it meant.

To find they answer she went to her adoptive mother and father.

She normally had dinner with them once a week. Upon arrival they knew something was up. She wasn’t herself.

“What’s wrong, honey. You look a little pale. Have you been sleeping well?”

“No Mom I haven’t. Can I ask you a strange question?”

“You know, you can ask me anything.” she replied as she began placing the the dinner plates on the table.

“I’ve been wondering about my childhood…..before you and Dad adopted me….do the words toopid moose ring a bell with…

The plates hit the floor with a crash. Mom lost color and held the chair for support.

“Mom? What is it?” she asked.

“Well, I had a feeling this day would come …..but I prayed to the good Lord that it wouldn’t. Your Father and I can’t be the ones to tell you the truth. The only one who can is your old caretaker from the adoption agency. We made a promise to her to let her tell you. You know how we are about our promises. We keep them. Just like the promise we made to love you as if you came from my womb on the day we adopted you.”

Mom reached into small box and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to her. ” Here is her address. Go visit her and ask for the truth. She promised she would.”

She left her parents house and went directly to the address. She pulled her car up to the curb and got out. An elderly lady sat on a bench on the patio. As she approached the steps the old woman spoke,

” My, My….I knew it was you the second you got out.”

“it’s been over 15 years since I was adopted. How could you possibly remember me?”

“The look on your face now matches the one you had when you came to us. Bright green eyes, blank expression. You came for the truth, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I keep having this image of me holding up ….string cheese….and saying toopid moose. What does it mean?”

“Sit, child. I have to get something.”

She went inside and returned with an old cigar box. She back back on the bench and placed it beside her.

“Child….When you were brought to us, you were in a state of shock. Your biological mother loved you dearly but could not handle the state of her affairs. Financially, emotionally and spiritually broken she was. You were not a burden to her….she wanted you to have better but did not know how to accomplish it. The more she tried the more depressed she got…….

for right or wrong I took it upon myself to attempt to train you to hide your memories of that night. That cartoon with the moose was the best I could come up with. I had you watch it continually to cloud your memory of the words you always repeated. Toopid Moose. I thought because of your young age you would forget the truth. Eventually the truth always wins out.”

She opened the cigar box and handed her a newspaper clipping…..

The headline read- Single Mother Commits Suicide While Child Watches

Police were dispatched to a home in response to apparent suicide. The woman was found hanging from a noose tied to a basement ceiling rafter. Her young daughter was found in the room. Name withheld due to her being a juvenile…..

A white flash erupted in her vision. A scene from her childhood began to play.

“I need to end this sweetie. Someone will find you. If I could just figure out how to do this knot right….”

She tied her 4th attempt at a noose to the rafter and got up on the chair. She placed her neck into it and kicked the chair out.

And for the fourth time the rope came unloose and she came crashing down.

“Stupid noose. I can’t even kill myself right.”

The child lifted up the first discarded attempt at a noose, tilted her head and said,

“yeah mommy toopid moose.”

The mother became frantic. One more try…..

She picked up the thick rope from the hardware store and REALLY concentrated on the instructions she got online. She tied the square knot around the rafter and pulled it tight. It seemed secure. She calmly figured out the height of the noose she needed and formed it at the other end. She looked at her daughter.

The child looked up, cocked her head, held up another piece of rope and said, “Toopid Moose”

“Hopefully not this time sweetie. I love you” before getting on the chair she picked up the phone and dialed 911, and left the phone receiver lying on the shelf. She got up on the chair and placed her neck in the noose….

“Emergency services, how can we assist you?…..hello….is anyone there….hello….”was heard in a muffled voice

She kicked out the chair. The rope tightened. She struggled for a moment….then swung in the air until she stopped.

The child looked up, holding a piece of rope, and said, “Toopid moose!….. Mommy?….mom meeeee!!…”

Her normal vision returned…and she began to cry. The old woman held her and rocked her like she did when she first met her 19 years before and said,
“There, there child…. It’s over now.”

20120831-203140.jpg

This was the first story I wrote on this blog years ago.

Entertainment wise….the world seems to love reboots.

As I attempt to break in my new story writing boots…..

I’m trying on the oldest to see if they still fit.

I hope it caused some sort of stir of emotion, as stories should.

Advertisement

Chasing Home 4- Truth And Consequences


20140413-115028.jpg

After hearing the snap of the hammer and the voice of the dealer of my past addictive pleasures I stole a glimpse of Misty, who stood off to my left with a sad look in those auburn eyes.

She clasped her hands together and pleaded with me.

“I’m sorry, Mick….I had to…he heard you were back…it was either cooperate with him or he would kill me…”

Victor chimed in before she could finish,

“Come on..ese…even with a gun to our mans head…you still lie? Truth is Mick…she met me at the bar last night…once she came in, I saw in her eyes that something was up. As you can see by her face….it took a little persuading to get her to talk. Consequences, Mick. Keeping things from me has consequences. You have kept things from me for 10 years. You owe me truth. I deal the consequences.”

I tried to get up to speak my truth and face the consequences. As I began to turn around I was met with the butt of the gun, square at the base of my skull.

I saw a few stars and thudded to a heap on the cemetery ground right in front of Chase’s headstone.

My world went quiet and dark.

“Hey, homies…pick up this piece of crap, tie him up, blindfold him, tape up his mouth and put him in the trunk of my Impala….Chavo…you ride with pinche Misty in his truck back to his hotel and clear out his stuff. He’s checkin’ out.”

Chavo puts his gun into the waistband of his pressed Chinos and replies,

“No problem, Boss. You want me to bring her to you after that?”

Victor shoots a wry smile and her and replies to Chavo.

“Nah…you find a way to keep her occupied. I’ll call you when I need her.”

Chavo agrees and walks over to Misty, pushes her toward the truck by the shoulder and says to her,

“Only one way to keep a girl like you occupied, ese. You drive. Let’s go see how good that bed is in the hotel.”

Misty slashes a scared yet angry look over to Victor.

Victor answers her look with a sharp reply,

“Better do what he says, chica…..unless you wanna go another round with me.”

Victor’s other 2 associates slam the trunk of the Impala with Mick securely bound and gagged inside, turn towards their Boss and say,

“All set, SeƱor Valdez.”

Victor puts his gun back into his shoulder holster begins to walk to the Impala and says,

“Bueno. Let’s go show this gringo what it’s like to be back home.”

Victor gets behind the wheel, starts up his Impala, plays with the hydraulics to get a little bounce. After hearing the body slam around in the trunk, he smiles and puts the car into drive and follows Mick’s truck out of the cemetery.

Misty turns right and heads back to Holiday Inn, like she was ordered to.

Victor turns left and heads toward the abandoned house that Chase learned the meaning of truth and consequences in, when he crossed Victor Valdez so many years before.

To be continued….

“Where is she going – ooh, she looks like she’s lost
Won’t someone help her – somebody give her a hand
She’s got such sweet eyes – look like they’ve seen too much
Knew someone like here – nobody helped, but she’s

Home again….home again.”

Home Again– Oingo Boingo

***************

To start at the beginning of the story, press
here

Past Me


Don’t let life discourage you…everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard Evans
__________________

What a joy it is to be up at 4 am. Sleep is always hard to come by at the end of the year.

Might as well make some coffee, sit on the sofa and watch the ceiling fan blades make their never ending clockwise journey and think about what was, what is, and what could be.

I sigh and remove the eyeglasses from the bridge of my nose and rub my eyes with my thumb and forefinger.

My introspective moment is shaken by a voice from the love seat sitting adjacent to the sofa….

“Why don’t I have any hair?” The strangely high pitched yet familiar voice questioned.

I put my glasses back on and look in the direction that the voice centered from.

I was quite surprised to see…me.

Minus 30 years, waiting for a response.

I returned the question with a bewildered look and asked,

“What?”

I took off the baseball cap I always wore, pointed at my bowl cut, unruly, red hair that hung just over my eyebrows and said,

“Where does my hair go?….I mean you are me…..except bald….why?”

As I look at my younger self, I question whether I should respond with the truth about the cranium shaving or avoid the impending heartbreak of me knowing why….years before I should.

I mean….would the 14 year old me believe it….even understand? Would it change anything?

I bite my bottom lip while I decide.

“Mom does that when she doesn’t want to tell me truth about something….” I say from the love seat.

“Does what?” I reply.

“Bites her bottom lip. You’re not gonna answer me….are you?”

I chuckle to myself….about myself…at how even at such a young age I realized my Mother’s nuances and apparently took them on myself.

“No. Not right now. Maybe later. I would like to know how you got here and why you are here.”

I look back at my younger self and wait for a reply.

My 14 year old self squints his eyes and unknowingly begins to bite his bottom lip while searching his own cranium for the answer.

“I don’t know….the last thing I remember is Mom telling me I had to go to bed…..Dad is drunk again and took off in the car. I hate him when he drinks…does he ever stop for good?”

I look deep into the eyes of my younger self and see……and feel….actually feel the pain and despair that I felt back then about life at home.

My Mom tried so hard to keep a sane and normal home life while dealing with an alcoholic husband. Our normal was not everyone else’s normal, but it was the only normal we knew.

Outside appearances were important. We tried to keep the implosion tightly within the confines of our crumbling family. Our job as the kids was to act like everything was great when out of the house. When at home, the reality was Dad was someone we hated (when he drank) and we didn’t know what to do.

I pondered how I should reply. Would telling me the truth alter what ends up happening? Would I believe me either way? Is this really happening?

Am I really having a conversation with a 14 year old me?

Hope wins out. I remember that at that particular age that all I wanted was hope.

“Things will be tough…..but he does stop. If you can do anything just hold on to that. Eventually…..he does stop.”

My 14 year old self relaxes a little and smiles. Then looks up at the sky and slumps his shoulders and says,

“I gotta go. Mom has to get Dad out of jail again….I gotta watch the babies. You sure he stops?”

I look at myself and fight back the tears of yesteryear and memories of how hard it was, what happened, and what eventually came to be and reply….

“Yeah, just hold on and never…ever…give up hope. Sometimes….that’s all you got.”

I smile and look back up at the ceiling fan that is still in its perpetual turn for a moment to stop the tears from falling then look back at the love seat which sits empty…..

Except for the baseball cap I always wore when I was 14.

20131228-122149.jpg

To continue to Part 2 press “here