Friday, February 5, 2010

A Social Call From One Mr. Mize

One day last week I heard a tapping at the front door of my apartment. It was not one of those bang the door down because you have the honor of my unexpected arrival kind of knocks. No, it was more of a timid, reserved, apologetic, sorry to disturb you type of knock. My curiosity caused me to quickly stride to the front door, which was closed. Heck, a knock that faint could be administered by a Colonial girl from the 1700's dressed in a gingham gown, bringing me a wheelbarrow filled with kindling wood her father had chopped, but they had overstocked, and Spring was fast approaching. I opened the door, and the only thing standing between me and the spectacle in front of me was the screen door, which, for my safety, is always latched.

"Good afternoon, Mr. McGee, my name is Earl E. D. Mize," the visitor said, gravely.

"Well, that would mean you have four names, then?" I asked, guardedly. "Would you like to come in?".

"Yes, thank you," replied the unexpected guest, "Don't mind if I do." The black-cloaked entity leaned his scyth against the brick wall next to the apartment door and walked inside as I pushed open the screen door. "Say, that is some dresser there!" he marveled. I motioned for the black-cloaked one to be seated in the comfortable armchair, as I sat down on the stark wooden desk chair.

"I did all that work myself. A total restoration," I said modestly, leaving the words of laudatory approval to be spoken at all times by strangers. But I am always watching over them closely, in case they faint and pitch forward. "I love taking the scuffed up dressers at thrift shops and yard sales, and turning them into respectable members of furniture society." I hestitated for a few seconds. "So if you don't mind my asking, what does the 'E. D.' in your name stand for?".

"Oh, those initials stand for 'Early Death'. It is quite appropriate for a man in the business I am in to have four names. You are aware, aren't you, that in Chinese the character for death and the character for the number four are one and the same?" Earl E. D. Mize asked, his voice rising.

"Yes, I did know that. Can I get you some milk, or would you like for me to brew up a cup of Top Ramen beef flavor broth? People are dying in droves. You must have walked at least two blocks to get here, and you could be on the brink of being famished and dehydrated," I stated sarcastically.

"You are such a gracious host, Mr. McGee," my guest stated, apparently comforted by my hospitality. "But I am not here on the occasion of your dying. I would love to try that Top Ramen beef flavor broth you mentioned."

"I have a cousin named Earl," I confided in Earl E. D. Mize, as I went to the kitchen to put water in the copper kettle and turned on the electric burner. Here we were, breaking bubbles together, and I could feel a rapport developing with this harbinger of foreboding tidings.

"Yes, I know, and he's gonna get his, too," my mysterious visitor assured me.

"He's gonna get his what?" I asked, shocked that Earl E. D. Mize knew, or asserted that he knew, I had a cousin named Earl.

"His pending appointment with me, of course," Earl E. D. Mize replied, surprised I had not yet discerned his itinerate odyssey. "I stay busy making my actuarial rounds."

"Now that we have had a proper introduction, I trust that you will tell me why you are here, Earl E. D. Mize," I entreated him, hoping the news would not be dreadful.

"This is your Notice appointment. Your Warranty is about to expire. I am giving you your 90-month Notice, and I advise you to make the most of your remaining time here in this Earthly realm," Earl E. D. Mize stated softly between slurps, as he sipped the Top Ramen beef broth from the Pantry mug.

"Ninety months?" I mused. "That would be seven and a half years. I guess that means I should take early Social Security, huh?".

"Either that, or you could move back into a storage shed, if that is the lifestyle you prefer," Earl E. D. Mize stated, empathically. "How you proceed from here is entirely up to you, Mr. McGee. Have a nice day."

Then Earl E. D. Mize gently pushed open the screen door and went on to his next appointment.

(c) 2010 by Hooknose McGee

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