Sunday, February 7, 2010

Twin Cat Feet

Today was the long-awaited day that the three-tier dresser table would be reassembled. I was so happy with the yellow enamel paint that I obtained from the hardware store that was closing its doors after about 75 years in business. It took nearly an entire can of red spray paint from Walmart to paint the three plastic knobs. The knobs had to be painted on the bottom first, then after a couple days of drying, had to be turned over and painted on top. Saturday afternoon was the time I had scheduled to remove the masking tape from the large wooden frame, and also from each of the three knobless drawers. In order to not contaminate the delicate components, I decided to call on NASA to assist me in this critical stage of three-tier dresser restoration.

The phone at NASA rang. "NASA Community Affairs, Methusaleh Anna speaking," I was excited. I had reached a live person.

"Methusaleh Anna, good afternoon. This is Hooknose McGee. Can you connect me with Dr. Turcott?".

"Are you the Hooknose McGee?" Methusaleh Anna asked, in the nervous tone of voice typical of the average groupie.

"That would be me," I replied.

"Wow!" Methusaleh Anna gushed. "My fiance used to get your newsletter and we died laughing over those made up stories."

"Well, when's the wedding?" I asked.

"Oh, we broke up and I joined an online dating site," Methusaleh Anna explained.

"Excellent, Methusaleh Anna. That would be just the right place for you to find your dream aeronautical engineer to replace the guy that bailed out."

"That's a rocket scientist, right?" Methusaleh Anna inquired.

"I think so, Methusaleh Anna. Can I talk to Dr. Turcott now?".

"Sure, just a moment, Mr. McGee," Methusaleh Anna stated, with admiration in her bureaucratically high pitched voice.

"Dr. Allen Turcott here. How may I help you?".

"Dr. Turcott, this is Hooknose McGee, and I am a big fan of yours. I have read all your papers on quantum physics and experimental time travel. Plus, I bought your two books."

"That is good to hear. I made four dollars in royalties from you alone."

"Dr. Turcott, I am working on the delicate restoration of an older dresser, and I really would like to come down to your compound from Alabama so I can remove the masking tape in zero gravity and a total vacuum so that these heirloom dresser drawers do not get contaminated."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. McGee, I would like to help you, but NASA gets all its dressers through the General Accounting Office, and does not get involved in private dresser transactions unless they in some way impact national security."

"But I went through proper channels, Dr. Turcott. I contacted Community Affairs and they like me there. I just want what is best for America. We have to preserve America's heritage one dresser at a time." I pleaded my case with as little whine as I could muster, mingled with sophistry.

"Well, why didn't you say so, Mr. McGee?" Dr. Turcott blurted out, apologetically. "I am dispatching a C-141 Cargo Plane to Dothan Airport to transport you and the heirloom dresser to our location. A shiny 40-foot limousine will pick you up and transport you to the airport. Everything is being put on hold here at NASA until your arrival! And for God's sake, Hooknose McGee, hurry!".

Man, are those C-141's noisy. I had to wear earmuffs the entire 55-minute trip. I had wrapped up the heirloom three tier dresser in a large green moving blanket, and held onto it in front of my seat that was bolted to the wall of the spacious transport plane during the entire plane ride.

I was in the vacuum chamber in a NASA spacesuit for one and a half hours. It is a tedious operation to remove the masking tape from a dresser that is a relic from a former century. Then I exited the vacuum chamber and removed the spacesuit in the adjacent decompression chamber. I was driven by golf cart back to the C-141, where the captain and crew had been waiting patiently on the NASA tarmac for my return.

Methusaleh Anna came running out to the C-141 as I started up the steps, and blurted out, "Hooknose McGee! Can I have your autograph?".

I took a step back. "Methusaleh Anna! Please don't come near this dresser, because it is in museum condition. I don't have anything to write on. You got anything?".

Methusaleh Anna rummaged through her purse and said, "All's I got is my time card." She fetched it out of her purse and slapped it down on top of the three tier dresser.

I wrote on the back of the time card. "Methusaleh Anna, don't you cry for me. For I'm going to Alabama, with a three tier dresser on my knee. Best wishes in your future endeavors. Hooknose McGee. February 6, 2010."

Then I climbed the stairs to board the C-141 Cargo Plane. Faintly, above the roar of the C141's engines, I could hear Methusaleh Anna shout to me, "Mr. McGee! You wrote down the wrong century!"

Before entering the open door, I hesitated on the platform of the stairs. Clutching the precious three tier dresser to my bosom, I turned and smiled at Methusaleh Anna, and waved farewell.

Methusaleh Anna stood on the tarmac, her hair up in a bun, tossed by the turbulence of gusty winds. Galvanized by the moment, she stood unmoved. I suddenly realized she had only a timecard to remember me by. I walked down the metal stairs and placed the three tier dresser gently in front of Methusaleh Anna. I had a feeling it was going back to a time where it would feel very much at home.

(c) 2010 by Hooknose McGee

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