Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter six of my story Corn Maze. This week the Maltese and I have committed to doing a challenge. For one week we must do the following:
- Completely avoid social media and click bait for seven days straight. No Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram, etc.
- Exercise 30-60 minutes each day for six of the seven days
- Read a fictional or non-fictional book for 30-60 minutes on each of the seven days.
- Take one of the seven days off entirely and do no work at all.
- Listen to My Sharonna by The Knack at least one time through on each of the seven days.
I am Tucker and I am a Maltese and I love My Sharonna by The Knack. I am listening to it right now. I love dancing. I am dancing. I am dancing to My Sharonna by The Knack.
Yes, well anyway this is our challenge. Let’s see how we do. And now here’s chapter six of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!
Gigi the parti poodle
“What do you think you’re doing, Farley?” Valerie asked as she entered the kitchen livid over the previous night’s events.
“Whatever do you mean?” Farley replied before sipping his coffee.
“You’re insane. This whole conjured mess of yours is insane.”
“I’m trying to be a gentleman,” Farley said leaning back in his kitchen chair. “If Harley wins the race, you two can have the night of eternal bliss you’ve been wanting for years.”
“Don’t be smug. You’re doing this to ruin lives.”
“The truth, Val, is you’ve always wanted Harley. But because of elements beyond your control, you never got him, and you settled for me instead.”
“Oh, come on! What you want is to throw Harley’s life under the bus and bed his fiancé in the bargain.”
“You were outnumbered, Val. Mallory agreed to the bet. Harley agreed to the bet. You were the only one who voted no. Not to mention you seem certain I’ll win.”
“That’s because you always do, Farley. You always win.”
“You know, winning takes on different forms. I was standing in the post office the other day ready to mail back those tennis shoes that were too big. And up at the front counter was a young father. And the father had his little boy with him. The boy had blonde hair all neatly cut and trimmed. And where I was standing there was this display of cars because you know that post office is inside a store. You know the one. And that little boy came bouncing over by me and started looking at all those shiny little cars. And because it was early in the day there was no one behind me. And I got to thinking that father up there isn’t paying attention to his son. His back is turned, and his kid is next to me looking at the cars. There’s only one postal worker at the window and she’s focused on the packages this young father has put on the counter to be scanned in.
“And I thought what if I were a terrible man. Even with the store’s surveillance system if I were a terrible man, I could grab that boy and take off before anyone knew I was gone. The door is just over there. I could grab the boy, run outside, toss him in the pickup and drive home.”
“We could be a family. Just you and me and this guy’s kid. We’d all be winners, wouldn’t we? But the kid would never really be ours. We might be his new parents, but he’d always be something we’d stolen from his father. I think when we look at the perspective from the right angle, even though we’d be winners we’d still be losers.”
Farley took a sip of coffee and went back to reading his newspaper. Valerie, her mouth agape, shook her head, spun around, and marched out of the kitchen.
Harley lay in bed staring at the ceiling. His helicopter sketch would not do. Not if he wanted to win this competition…if that’s what it was. After mulling over last night’s festivities at Farley’s he couldn’t decide if he should have taken the bet or not. On the one hand he wasn’t in love with Mallory. He’d thought trying to be in love with her would somehow make it work. But it didn’t. He’d spent every night this past week lying awake wondering what he was doing.
On the other hand, Valerie was engaged. He should have ended up with her, but he didn’t. That was the downfall in Harley’s life. He could often see the better way but was unable to change the course of action. Still, he loved her, and couldn’t decide if the opportunity he’d been given was in his favor or a setup for his downfall.
If he won, he could finally go out with the girl of his dreams. On the other hand, it would only be for one night. How smug would Farley be about that and what would he do to Valerie if they did go out? And afterwards how could he go back to Mallory? Should he try and secure a night with the woman of his dreams, or should he renege on the bet? If he could convince his parents to sell the farm he and Mallory could move to another state. Maybe get into organics. Maybe he could give up farming altogether and go back to doing sketches for retail. He liked doing sketches for retail. No, he thought sadly. He could never convince his parents to sell the farm. He was stuck with it. There was nowhere to run.
Harley got up, sat in his parent’s old rocking chair, and stared at his design. Maybe the helicopter was a bad idea. Perhaps a different design would be wiser. But what? No, a helicopter wouldn’t do. Not if he wanted to beat Farley. He rocked back and forth and thought about opportunity. It was a heavy door that closed slowly a little at a time until hopeful light vanished, and darkness remained.
A helicopter wouldn’t do. It was too simple, too predictable. He was thinking too small. He needed to think big, go beyond everyday objects. He had to imagine something that was not easy to put into words. He had to express complexities. He had to express the construct of his imagination. He knew the basic rules for designing a corn maze. He knew the lines had to be possible. But that didn’t mean they had to be ordinary. It had to look like chaos but be utterly rational. It had to be madness made sane.
Mallory entered the Tulip Valley Café to order a coffee and a sweet roll. That’s when she looked over at the booths and saw Valerie studying. Valerie’s back was to her which made it feel like an ambush. This brought joy to Mallory’s heart.
“Table for one?” Pat asked her.
“What?” Mallory said.
“Table for one?”
“I’m meeting Val. She’s right over there.”
“Oh, sure. Did you want a menu?”
“No, thank you. Just a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll.”
“Cream and sugar?”
Mallory headed across the red patterned carpet that looked like it was in desperate need of a deep clean shampoo and a vacuuming and sauntered up to Valerie’s booth. She slid across the vinyl seat surprising Valerie and causing her to bolt upright.
“Val,” Mallory said. “We should talk.”
Valerie slowly closed her textbook and said, “And what is it you want to talk about?”
“How do you feel about being made the prize of a corn maze face off?”
“I could ask you the same thing.”
Mallory laughed. “If Harley loses the contest I’m going to sleep with your fiancé.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“That’s the deal. And I can tell you, Harley’s taking this whole thing very seriously. He completely scrapped his first idea and he’s been spending the whole morning out on the porch designing some crazy maze that doesn’t make any sense. No rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. He’s driven to win this thing and I’m willing to bet Farley’s doing the same thing.”
“Farley’s always insane when it comes to designing his corn maze. This year is no different.”
“If Farley loses, will you sleep with Harley?”
Valerie studied Mallory’s face. Then she said, “The deal is the winner goes out on a date with the other’s fiancé. No one said anything about sleeping with anyone.”
The waitress walked up to the table, turned over Mallory’s cup and poured her coffee. “I’ll be right back with your cinnamon roll,” she said. Then she turned to Valerie and asked, “Would you more coffee?”
“No, thank you,” Valerie said.
The waitress left and Mallory pushed the dish of creamers that was sitting on the table aside and said to Valerie, “You didn’t answer my question.”
Valerie opened a creamer and poured it into her coffee. “Yes, I did. And for that matter I already know if Harley loses you will sleep with Farley.” She grabbed her backpack and shoved her textbook inside. “Enjoy the booth and your cinnamon roll.” And then she got up and left.
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: THE MORNING SHOW (2019): Apple TV+
The Morning Show sets out to examine a very Matt Lauer type of situation. As the curtain opens around 3:30 AM in New York City we find out one of the show’s hosts Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) has been fired after being accused of sexual misconduct. His co-host Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) who worked with him for fifteen years is left in a precarious position. She and Mitch had a rather peculiar relationship both on air and off and she was aware of some of his transgressions. She begins to realize the network wants new blood and has plans to replace her and not renew her contract. And at the same time her marriage is falling apart.
After being made aware of a field reporter’s aggressive actions that end up as a viral video, Alex decides to make the reporter, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) her new co-host and ally. Alex’s bold move sends tremors through the network who had planned to bring in a new male and female pairing. Bradley, who is caught completely off guard reluctantly takes the position and finds out its far more challenging than she imagined.
New head manager Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) sees this unexpected changing of the guard as an opportunity to eventually oust arrogant, underhanded Chief Executive Fred Micklen (Tom Irwin) who enabled much of Mitch’s actions. Meanwhile top producer Chip Black (Mark Duplass) fights to keep the flailing show and his career under control as he finds himself being set up as the patsy who allowed Mitch’s transgressions to go on.
The show has some excellent episodes particularly “Lonely at the Top”. It also has some mediocre and disappointing ones, namely the season one finally “The Interview” which is sappy and poorly written. Anytime a film or show (except maybe Donnie Darko) uses montage as the crux of their final scene, it’s a glaring sign of bad writing. That said, despite some of the operatic emotional choices the show makes, it often manages to rise above its syrupy heartstring pulling moments to deliver an overall engaging and fascinating story.