Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter seven of my story Power Grid Failure. We are experiencing a La Nina in the Pacific Northwest and the temperatures here are lower than usual. This is the second time this year we’ve had snow before Christmas which is uncommon in this region. It is most cold outside, and I have not been able to go for walkies for several days. I have found the best way to exercise under these conditions is to rouse the Maltese and fight him. He is a peaceful sort who would have done well during the sixty’s hippie movement. This of course makes me want to attack him more. I have not done well in attempting this activity and a couple of times have found myself sitting alone in a room for a time-out. I detest sitting alone in a room for a time-out. It is boring and I need to manage and command those around me.
I am ready to fight you now.
Tucker, what are you wearing?
This is my sumo suit.
You look like a miniature balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
I brought you one too.
I am not putting that inane thing on.
If you want to fight me, you must wear the sumo suit.
I am not fighting you wearing a beach ball.
Then I will fight you anyway.
Get away from me! This is ridiculous! Stop! It appears I must tend to the catastrophe at hand. In the meantime, here is chapter seven of Power Grid Failure. Merii Kurisumasu!
Power Grid Failure
Gigi the parti poodle
“I’ve got them,” Reynolds says as he re-enters the breakroom. He carries large yellow and red handheld flashlights which he sets up around the tables. “Saw them in the maintenance room when I went to get the elevator key.”
“Why, thank you,” Windy chirps. “It definitely adds ambiance.”
“You’re very welcome. Since we’re all going to be spending the night together, we might as well get to know each other on a first name basis. “I’m Reynolds, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, Windy.” Reynolds turns to Tiffany. Tiffany eyes him warily, not wanting to share that information with him.
“I know the big executive’s name is Mr. Martin Peak.”
“Watch it, Reynolds,” Martin says. “You’re treading on thin ice.”
“You two know each other?” Sloan says. “Like on a first name basis?”
“We’ve met,” Martin says stiffly.
“That’s none of your business.”
Reynolds turns to Sloan. “Do you know her name?” he asks pointing to Crystal.
“She’s our technical writer.”
“And her name is?”
“How should I know?”
“Martin said it earlier.”
“I wasn’t paying attention.”
“Apparently not.” Reynolds turns to Crystal and nods his head at Sloan. “What’s his name?”
Crystal looks at Sloan. “I’m not sure.”
“Maybe you two should introduce yourselves.”
Crystal looks at Sloan. “I’m Crystal.”
Sloan rolls his eyes and says, “Sloan.”
“See,” Reynolds says. “It wasn’t that hard. Let’s recap. I’m Reynolds. The executive there is Martin. You’re Sloan. And you’re Crystal.” Reynolds turns to Adams. “Why don’t you introduce yourself to Blondie?”
“Don’t call me Blondie,” Tiffany says.
“Sorry. Tech Guy, introduce yourself to the blonde.”
“We already know each other,” Tiffany says, “because Adams fixes my computer sometimes. And I know Windy from HR.”
“Yeah, but do you know Sloan?”
“I know he works here.”
“Yeah, but do you know his name?”
“No, I don’t know his name.”
“But I’ll bet he knows yours.”
“I know a way we could all get to know each other better,” Windy says.
“This is stupid,” Sloan says.
“No, it isn’t. It’s a social interaction exercise. We’ll go around the room and each of us will share an activity we enjoy doing.”
“What difference does it make?” Martin says. “We’ll all go back to our regular scheduled lives tomorrow.”
“Mr. Peak,” Tiffany says. “I think it’s a good idea. I know you could share some interesting things you do over the weekends.”
“I don’t want to share, and I definitely don’t want to go first.”
“But Martin,” Windy says. “You’re the leader of the group. It’s imperative you go first.”
“Windy, I put you in charge of social interaction this monstrous evening. You should be the one to go first.”
“Martin, you need to lead the group. I can’t give them the same sense of morale you can.”
“Fine! I like to build things.”
“Oh, that sounds fascinating! What do you build?”
“I built the first house my wife and I lived in.”
“Contractors screw you. I mean you’re stuck hiring guys like electricians and plumbers and roofers. But generally, I did most of the work myself. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper that way.”
“I’d have never pegged you for a guy who liked to get his hands dirty,” Reynolds says.
“Well, I am. And just because I’m older don’t think I won’t do it again. I have a little piece of property on the other side of the mountains I’m thinking of breaking ground on.”
“Why, Martin,” Windy says. “I never knew that.”
“Now you do. You’re turn.”
“Well,” Windy says delighted to be the center of attention, “I love throwing dinner parties. I know it seems like an archaic idea but it’s much more fun than sitting around at night watching those dreadful streamers. They’re so mind numbing. My husband just finished watching one of those lunatic criminals on tape going on and on about how he did this to this person and that to that person and how much smarter he was than the police. After a while those documentaries all sound the same. I think if some of those maniacs would have gone to a dinner party occasionally and made some real friends, they wouldn’t have committed those horrible crimes.
“Anyway, I love throwing dinner parties. They are so much fun. The hor d’oeuvres are my favorite part. Those itty-bitty gastronomical bursts of joy that explode in your mouth are pure heaven.”
“I think it’s your turn, Tiffany,” Martin says.
“Okay,” Tiffany says. “Well…I really like fashion. I love all the imagination that goes into it. I thought that 3-D flower stuff they did a couple of years back where they sewed the middle of the blossom to the clothing but left the petals unattached was super cool. I totally loved how they popped out free of constraint.
“I always wanted to start my own fashion label. I’d like to call it Tiffany’s, but I can’t because, like duh, Tiffany’s. So, I was thinking something like Choquant. You know, a little flirty but kind of, I don’t know, suave.”
“Did you study fashion in college?” Reynolds asks.
“No, I got my degree in sociology. I’m saving money to go to design school.”
“Marvelous!” Windy says. “Sloan, it’s your turn.”
“I already know what Sloan likes,” Tiffany says. “Stalking.”
“I’m not a stalker,” Sloan says.
“What do you mean you’re not a stalker? You stalk me every night!”
“Is that true?” Windy asks Tiffany. “Because if it is I need you to come to my office tomorrow and file a report.”
“I am not a stalker,” Sloan says. “I’m just an accountant!”
“What do you like to do besides stalking, Sloan?” Windy asks.
Sloan rolls his eyes. “I like to read. I like to go to the library and check out a stack of books.”
“What type of books?” Martin asks.
“I always enjoy a good finance book, but I’ve been trying to branch out lately and read action novels.”
“Adams,” Windy says. “What do you do for fun?”
“Oh, gaming for sure,” Adams says.
“That’s obvious,” Sloan says rolling his eyes.
“What’s wrong with gaming?”
“Nothing. It’s just predictable you’re a gamer.”
“Well, it’s not the only thing I’m into. And I’ll bet you’ve done your fair share of gaming.”
“Do you like first person shooter games, RPG’s, sandbox, RTS?”
“I like Grand Theft Auto.”
“Oh…of course, you do.”
“Is that some sort of dis on my gaming taste?”
“No. I just thought you might have brought something interesting to the table.”
“Like Stalker Guy 3000,” Tiffany says.
“Honestly, Tiffany,” Sloan says turning towards her. “You need to stop taking this whole stalking thing personally.”
“You’re stalking me. So, yeah, I take that personally.”
“Well, from what I’ve found out about you, you’re painfully predictable.”
“What do you mean?”
“I could stop following you for an entire week and know exactly where you were at any given time.”
“That’s not true.”
“Do you have any idea how many young women want to be a fashion designer? Not to mention what a filthy business it is. Do you even have an inkling of how many tons of clothing get tossed into the garbage each year? Even Goodwill and the Salvation Army can’t keep up with fashion’s fickleness. Workers at those places walk down the clothing aisles every week checking labels and thinning out what didn’t sell. They take that unwanted fashion and dump it into a gigantic pile that gets a second life as rags guys use to clean their cars.”
Tiffany looks at him with doleful eyes. “You’re a real sweetheart. I wouldn’t talk if I were you. Sitting at your desk every day pushing numbers around for some…”
“Alright,” Windy says. “I think this conversation has gone off on a tangent. This is supposed to be an exercise to help us get to know one another, not tear each other down. Not to mention the focus was supposed to be on Adams.”
“Yeah,” Reynolds says. “You already had your turn, Sloan, so shut up.”
“Stay out of this,” Sloan snaps back. “You’re a custodian. Have you ever even done a team building exercise before?”
“Nobody wants you telling them their hobby is stupid. They just want to talk about what makes them happy. So, do us a favor, Sloan. Shut up and let Adams talk about how video games get his rocks off.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say they get my rocks off,” Adams said. “I just really dig playing them.”
“Mr. Reynolds,” Windy said. “Since you’ve been holding the floor, why don’t you share what your favorite past time is.”
Reynolds leans back in his chair, folds his hands and smiles.
You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments of 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 BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (2022)-HBO Max
This week’s pick is nominated for eight Golden Globes including Best Picture Musical/Comedy. Set in Ireland in 1923 right as the Irish Civil war is ending, the story is about two longtime friends Pádraic Súilleabháin (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor in a Comedy and New York Film Critic’s Best Actor recipient Colin Farrell) and Colm Doherty (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor Brendan Gleeson). One day violinist Colm decides he no longer wants to be friends with Pádraic which throws Pádraic for a loop. Pádraic, a simple man, discusses his befuddlement with his sister Siobhán Súilleabháin (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actress Kerry Condon) the most intelligent person on their island, and young Dominic Kearney (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor Barry Keoghan) the least intelligent person on their island. When Colm tells Pádraic to stop bothering him and leave him alone or he will cut off one of his own fingers, Pádraic vows to mend their friendship by any means possible.
The film was written and directed by the very talented Martin McDonagh (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Screenplay and Best Director) known for his masterpiece Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri for which he rightly won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and most definitely should have won the Oscar as well. The Banshees of Inisherin is not quite as good as that one, but that’s a very high bar and McDonagh should take most of this year’s writing awards just the same. Please bear in mind though this is a dark comedy, with the emphasis on dark, and it has a haunting quality that stays with the viewer long after the film is finished. The movie is also nominated for Best Score for Carter Burwell’s clever soundtrack.