Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter five of my story Corn Maze.
Hello, everybody. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. I am here to help Gigi introduce her blog because it is Forth of July weekend and because I am a dog I do not like fireworks. We know not everyone cares about dogs, but we do hate July 4th more than almost any other day of the year. It is loud and scary, and every year people get hurt with those things they set on fire.
Honestly, if the tables were turned dogs would celebrate July 4th by setting human’s credit cards on fire. I know how much they detest the smell of burning plastic.
Yes, yes, that is true. I don’t know why those things are so important. They are small and flat and not very fun to play with.
I concur. One time I found one just lying in our novelist’s wallet and I pulled it out with my teeth and chewed it up. She was most disturbed by it. At first, I thought she was concerned I’d swallowed that dreadful little metal square thing. But no, no, all she was worried about was her precious plastic card.
So, have a safe and happy 4th of July and consider being nice to dogs and burning your credit cards instead.
And with that here is chapter five of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!
Gigi the parti poodle
“I baked a cherry pie,” Mallory chirped. “Harley’s trees had so much fruit on them I had to do something about it.”
“Thank you, Mallory,” Valerie said taking the round Tupperware container out of Mallory’s hands and carrying it into the kitchen.
Valerie peeled the lid off and studied the creation. It was the perfect pie with crossing strips of pastry finished with pinking shears and baked a golden brown. The crust was sprinkled with sugar like fairy dust. The cherries were a perfect glossy red. She opened the cardboard box and studied her own pie, the one she’d rushed to buy at the grocery store. She shut the lid and covered the box with a couple of dish towels and set it behind the Kitchen Aid blender to obscure it from view. She sighed, smoothed out her apron and walked back out to the dining room where everyone was sitting around the wooden dining table.
“Whatever you’re cooking smells terrific,” Mallory told her.
“It’s a broccoli and beef stir fry,” Valerie said.
“Val didn’t feel like cooking tonight, so she whipped that up instead,” Farley joked.
Valerie shot him a nasty glare and asked, “Can I get anyone something to drink?”
“Well, I’ll have a microbrew. Harley, you want one?”
“Sure,” Harley replied.
“Do you have any wine?” Mallory asked.
“Of course. Would you care for white or red?”
Valerie returned to the kitchen and grimaced. She despised wine. She retrieved the bottle of Pinot Noir she used for cooking. Suddenly, she realized she didn’t have any wine glasses. She opened the cupboard and surveyed her options. All plastic. The glass glasses were already set out with the plates and silverware.
Then she remembered something. She trotted out to the dining room, walked up to the hutch, and opened the bottom door. Inside was a box with a pair of fluted champagne glasses. She carried them back into the kitchen, took one out and poured Mallory a glass. Then she retrieved two beers from the refrigerator and carried the drinks to the dining room.
“Thanks, Val,” Mallory said as Valerie handed her the glass. Valerie, by the way, did not like to be called “Val” by folks she hardly knew. “What a beautiful glass!”
“Only the best for my guests,” Valerie said.
“Thank you, Valerie,” Harley said quietly looking at her briefly then back at his beer.
“Val,” Farley said. “Why don’t you go get those hors d’oeuvres you whipped up.”
Horror shot through Valerie like an arrow. “Hors d’oeuvres?” she asked hoarsely.
“The ones you said you were going to make.”
Valerie plodded back into the kitchen. Now, what was she going to do? She had no hors d’oeuvres and she’d only mentioned it as a passing idea. She opened the freezer and grabbed a package of mini pizzas and a box of mini creampuffs. She set both boxes on the counter, flung open the cupboards and retrieved a plate and a moderately sized plastic bowl with Easter eggs on it. She laid the mini pizzas on the plate and shoved it into the microwave then dumped the mini creampuffs into the Easter bowl.
Three minutes later Valerie returned to the living room with the pizzas, the bowl of still frozen creampuffs and a stack of dessert plates. She arranged everything on the coffee table and took a step back.
“What the heck is this?” Farley asked after scrutinizing the delicacies.
“Hors d’oeuvres,” Valerie said.
Harley and Mallory looked at her equally surprised. Harley reached over and took one of the cream puffs and popped it into his mouth.
“I love these,” he said.
The cold hit one of his fillings and his eyes bugged out. “Tasty,” was all he managed to say.
Mallory looked at the creampuffs then shifted her eyes to the pizzas which seemed the safer choice. “I didn’t know mini creampuffs had become a hit as hors d’oeuvres.”
“Oh, yes,” Vallerie said dryly. “They’re in vogue.”
“Hmm,” Mallory said picking up a plate and placing two mini pizzas on it.
“I suppose you’re wondering why I invited you and Mallory to dinner, Harley,” Farley said.
“The thought might have crossed my mind,” Harley said before taking a sip of beer.
“Today is a special day. A special day indeed because exactly one year ago Valerie and I were engaged.”
“Congratulations!” Mallory said. “That’s fantastic! Isn’t that fantastic, Harley?”
Harley looked at Valerie. Their eyes met briefly before Valerie reached for a plate and put a couple of creampuffs and a couple mini pizzas on it.
“Yep, a year ago. Isn’t that fantastic? And I wanted to make certain to have my corn maze sketch finished on this most auspicious day.”
“I’m sure you’ll win, Farley,” Harley said.
Farley smirked at him and then laughed so loud it make the hairs on Harley’s skin stand up. “Oh, I plan to win alright, Harley! I plan to win big!”
“Dinner’s almost ready,” Valerie said. “Let’s all go sit at the table…”
“Yes, let’s.” Harley, Farley, and Mallory headed to the dining table while Valerie headed into the kitchen. “So, Mallory,” Farley continued after they were seated, “I’m certainly having a slice of your pie this evening.”
“I thought I might try Valerie’s pie as well,” Harley said.
“Oh, no!” Farley exclaimed. “That wouldn’t be right. You need to choose. Can’t have both.” Valerie walked out and set the broccoli and beef stir fry on the table. “Besides, Valerie’s is store bought, isn’t it sweetheart?”
Valerie gave Farley a cold angry look. “It’s alright, Harley,” she said. “Mallory’s is much better.”
“Oh, now, wait a minute,” Farley said. “Let the boy make his own decision.”
“Farley,” Harley said becoming more and more agitated. “What’s the point you’re trying to make here?”
“The point? The point is you must decide. You can either have a slice of my fiancé’s pie or a slice of your girlfriend’s. Not both.”
“What are you saying, Farley?”
“You must think I’m stupid,” Farley said leaning in and glaring at Harley.
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean? You know exactly what I mean.”
Valerie felt a sudden sense of guilt. Why guilt? She hadn’t done anything wrong. But there it was: guilt.
“I have a proposition for you, chief,” Farley continued.
“A proposition?” Harley said becoming more uneasy by the second.
“I’m tired of winning trophies for my corn mazes. I want a real prize this time.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Well now, Harley,” Farley said sitting back in his chair and contemplating his beer. “I seem to remember way back at the end of high school there being a dispute between the two of us.”
Valerie’s feeling of guilt turned into terror.
“A little argument ‘twain the two of us. A rivalry if you will.”
“Last time I checked you won that battle.”
“Well, now, Harley, that’s what I thought too. But some light has been shed to contradict my thoughts on the matter. Perhaps I never won that battle after all.”
“Farley…,” Valerie started to say.
A silence fell over the table. Mallory picked up her wine and took a sip. Valerie sat back in her chair and waited. Harley narrowed his eyes at Farley. What was this lunatic on about this time?
“I propose,” Farley said, “a contest between the two of us. Your corn maze against my corn maze with the prize being something…personal.”
“Get to the point, Farley,” Harley snapped.
Farley laughed. “Well now, the true test of a corn maze, as I see it, is not just the beauty of the design. It’s how long it takes for the person experiencing it to arrive at the exit. The longer the journey the better the corn maze. So, Harley, what I propose is a friendly contest betwixt the two of us. Each one of us goes through the other’s completed corn maze. Whichever man gets through the other’s the fastest wins.”
“So, you’d time me, and I’d time you.”
“Oh, no! I envision this to be much bigger than that. I say we advertise our competition all over the valley as a little side contest come Halloween so there are plenty of witnesses. Keep the whole thing fair and such. I want everyone to see who’s the winner and who’s the loser.”
“And why would I agree to this cockeyed idea of yours?”
“Oh, Harley, surely you’ve figured this one out.”
“You ever played that video game Donkey Kong?”
“What’s the point of Donkey Kong?”
“To get to the last level.”
“And what’s waiting for the lucky player who’s able to outsmart the game and reach the end?”
“Ah! Now, you see my point.”
“What exactly are you saying, Farley?”
“I’m saying whoever gets to the end of the corn maze first gets the princess or rather the other guy’s princess.”
Harley, Mallory, and Valerie all stared at Farley.
“You’ve always wanted Valerie and we both know it. Now I’m giving you the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“Harley is engaged,” Mallory pointed out, “to me!”
“I’m engaged too, sweetheart. And if I get through your fiancé’s maze first, well…”
“Let me get this straight,” Harley said. “You want us each to build our own corn maze and then in addition to the yearly competition you want to tag on an extra competition just between you and me where each of us goes through the other’s corn maze and whoever gets out first wins the other’s fiancé?”
“One date. One night. If I get through first, I get Mallory for a night and if you get through first, you get Valerie for a night.”
“I’m not going on a date with you,” Mallory told Farley.
“Oh, aren’t you now? You think I didn’t notice the way you flirted with me when you came by asking for directions the other day? You’re as much in on this contest as I am. And as for that matter Valerie has been putting off moving in with me. She’s not sold on getting married to me because she and Harley have unfinished business. Isn’t that right, Val?”
Valerie glared at Farley. “Mallory and Farley are engaged,” she said. “You have no right to go around breaking up their engagement.”
“I’m giving you a free pass.”
“No, you’re not.”
“I’ll do it,” Harley said.
“Are you mad?” Valerie said.
“If Mallory and Valerie agree to it, I’ll do it.”
You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!, Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: GET ME ROGER STONE (2017)-Netflix
If you are a fan of The Thin Blue Line, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Farley Brother’s films, this one is for you. Netflix does a great job showing different types of psychopaths through its documentaries. Roll Red Roll and Audrey and Daisy show you the psychopathic rapist. Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story shows you the psychopathic pedophile. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting and Internet Killer shows the psychopathic kitten and human killer. This one takes you inside the realm of psychopaths at the elitist level.
If you need someone to run your campaign, look no further than the highly experienced, highly effective, highly immoral Roger Stone. He’s charismatic, intelligent, and dangerous. He knows how to manipulate his audience with the same tactics repeatedly starting with the slogan, “Make America Great Again”. It was used in both the Regan campaign and more recently in the Trump campaign. The operative word here is Again. Let’s break this down into personality type:
SJ: 40% of the population: Looks to the past
SP: 40% of the population: Looks to the present
NF: 10% of the population: Looks to the future
NT: 10% of the population: Looks at time in cross sections
Guess which group is the most likely to have voters who would get behind a campaign that promotes, “Make America Great Again”. As you can see it’s a very big group. In fact, it may be slightly larger than 40%. These folks tend to be hard working, good with money, traditionalist to the point of being Amish and not very intuitive. Not all SJs will vote this way but a good enough portion will, enough to tip the scales.
And a campaign like this is going to pick up a good portion of those in the group who looks to the present provided the campaign has a charismatic candidate. Because most of them are charismatic and thrill seekers themselves regardless of whether they are introverted or extroverted.
Nigeria did an astounding study I’ve mentioned in other blog posts where they examined the members of fraternities in their country. The members and pledges break down into three groups:
The psychopaths (primarily SPs) run the place. The suckers (primarily SJs) are the henchmen and those who get used by the psychopaths. The grudgers (primarily a mix of NFs and NTs) are the ones who see through the garbage. Grudgers are by far the smallest group and last about one year in a fraternity. They either quit, are thrown out or both.
In this documentary the psychopaths run the campaign. The suckers vote for the candidate that feeds into their deeply entrenched and never changing beliefs whether right or wrong.
Stone is very adept at knowing who to target and how to target them. And he and his teammates are willing to win at all costs. Logic and truth are the enemy. The name of the game is perception. It doesn’t matter if what they are saying is based in fact or scientific study. It’s a matter of telling people what they want to hear and playing into their doubts and paranoia. And they do it well. They don’t do anything creative or rational, but they know that repeating the same tactics works.
Watch The Hunting Ground and see how many victims of campus rape were ensnared by the same con. They single out a younger undergraduate in their class. They ask them to a party say one week away. They butter them up, talk to them, give them attention. The girl goes to the party. The guy gets them drunk, not even with roofies, mind you, but just plain jane alcohol. They ask the girl if she wants to go upstairs to lie down and sleep it off. The guy rapes her. And they run this con repeatedly.
Mr. Stone is a mundane paint by the number’s frat boy on a large scale. He’s just been clever enough to secure a position as a career college student and plays the con better than everyone else. But it works and that’s why when a candidate wants someone to get them in office they say, “Get me Roger Stone”.