Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A State of Flummox - Dr. Electro, Episode VII

 Letters from Josh

  Oh God, Make it Stop 11/2/20                                                                          Letter 30

  Howdy, folks!  Greetings from Josh Central, with a cozy crackling fire, and a cello suite on the 1962 Zenith radio.  The only thing missing is a man-made cloud of anxiety.  Oh wait, the election is tomorrow.  (Probably today as you’re reading this.)  I just got off the phone with a high school buddy of mine, and he is in the crucible that is suburban Philadelphia, likely one of the fiercest battlegrounds in the country.  He was texting me a photo of some art his little daughter had drawn, and joked that the airwaves were jammed by the electioneering.  He’s feeling a bit stressed, I’m feeling a bit stressed, and you might be, too. 

So, I offer you two nuggets that will hopefully be of service.  1. I honestly believe, although certainly tied to an outcome, that whatever happens, it’s gonna be OK.  (And I don’t say that often.)  2. I’ll shut up about it.  We’ve got other things to talk about.  Sure, the election is important, but so is this day that we’re blessed with, and I’m aiming to make it a bit better if I can.  I want to tell you about the leaves.  Bobbing along the quiet lane on my morning run today, the cares of the day ahead suddenly lifted, a fog dispelled by the beauty of Autumn.  There to greet my eyes was...a citrus morning.  I mean, talk about lemon-lime, man!  I usually think of Spring being this color, but Fall affords this, too.  The Paw-Paw trees, scraggly forest denizens knee-high to the stately poplars and oaks, had already dropped their fruits weeks ago, and were gently turning a gentle yellow-green of a tired lime.  Here and there, the Pignut Hickory blazed fourth in bold lemon yellow, shouting to the aloof oaks “HEY, I’m strong, too!”  The morning wind heartily shook hands with the forest as it offered one last lemon-lime spritzer to toast the joys of Summer.  There’s something wistful and poetic about a morning when the wind beckons one down the road, at least to imagine, and wander with the mind.  I see vignettes of beaches and carnivals, and hear echoes of noontime laughter that have never existed.  Or have they?  It’s nice to wink back at the wind.  Besides, the neighbors will only think the lone jogger has a gnat in his eye.  

And now, put your poetic hats on, folks, because...

Previously on Dr. Electro: Murphy arrives at a warehouse of mysteries, while Dr. E and Rutherford learn the villains at the League hate...noise.  Just then, Rutherford sneezed.  (And you thought that was out of style in COVID times.)

Dr. Electro - Episode VII - A State of Flummox

  The sneeze that Rutherford brought forth, had network weathermen (and television, for that matter) been invented, would surely have been it’s own hurricane, or at least tropical storm.  Dr. Electro quickly labeled it under his breath (Mabel would definitely have disapproved), and cringed as the Sneeze leisurely rumbled down the dark galleries, where it seemed to pause to say hello to the corners, adding echoes along the way.  The evil villians - for that is what they certainly were, the League of Inquiring Minds - snapped to attention, and then with a great cry, to their feet. 

Chairs clattered backwards, those echoes adding to the sneeze, until it seemed as if the entire giant pipe was a garbage can of jumbled, moldy sound late for the Tuesday morning trash.  “Argh, the NOISE” wailed the leader.  Electro and Rutherford hastily sprang to their feet, and ducked into the first opening they saw.  It’s yawn of blackness nearly swallowed their senses, but glimmering faintly to the right beckoned another chance at escape, and in they zipped. 

The sound of the pursuit provided decisiveness in their speed and wish to leave a winding trail.  “Here a zig, there a zag, everywhere a zig zag!”  “Rutherford, stop singing!” “Oh, sorry, ol’ chap!  I just love a good adventure!”  They strained to see in the glistening dark, winding uphill and deeper into the labyrinth.  Hidden flows of water gurgled in a sinister manner, and Dr. E almost lost his footing several times on the ancient slimy rock floor. 

With enough turns to right almost all the wrongs of Thursday meeting, the sounds of the pursuit faded away. Looking up, they saw a grate, backlit by a mysterious blue light that danced and flickered from the room above.  “Jolly well!” Clearly relishing the Unknown, Rutherford obeyed the allure of the electric blue sprite, and ascended the iron rungs with gusto.  Dr. Electro decided to follow. 

Above Ground, 507 Union Street:  Murphy peered apprehensively at the great iron door, silent and resentful in it’s idleness, not unlike a grounded teenager.  Just then, with a scraping of rusty metal and a sharp clang!, a small metal door slid open. A tiny man with welding goggles propped up on his grimy forehead blustered “Well, come in, come in!”  In a state of Flummox, Murphy complied, ducking in through the small door.  To be continued...

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