Return to the Village of the Damned: Sunday in the Parking Lot with Brian

Off-camera person that we cannot see because this shot was poorly planned: “Excuse me. Do you have time for a few questions?”

Brian, center: “That depends. Who are you and why are you holding a microphone?”

Person: “My name is Humadora von Swizzlestick. But you can call me Hugh.”

Brian: “I wasn’t planning on calling you anything. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m on my way to a Christmas dinner party where they will be serving Cornish game hens. And there’s a rumor that somebody on the guest list met an untimely end in a recent post on this very blog. I’m not sure which plot point I’m more excited about.”

Hugh (at least to her friends): “You seem to have a lot of focus issues, both literally and figuratively. Why are you so fuzzy in this shot?”

Brian: “Well, two things are at play with my wispiness. One, I just did a blog post about adult beverages. There were 15 cocktails, and I tried them all, because I believe in the integrity of research. But as someone who is rapidly approaching the age of 56, it takes me a bit to recover from such an adventure in an admirable manner.”

Hugh: “I wouldn’t know anything about that. I’m 27 and still under the illusion that my body will last forever no matter what I do to it.”

Brian: “Good for you. Embrace your invincibility with nihilistic gusto. Back to me. Two, the person who took this photo, also known as ‘my alter ego on the other side of the keyboard’, is essentially useless with a camera. That ineptitude, combined with the low-light conditions one usually finds in a low-wattage Christmas Village, has led to me looking as ill-defined as the policies of the Trump Administration.”

Hugh: “You do realize that making political statements in your blog posts both makes the posts dated and limits your audience, yes?”

Brian: “You know what? I think we’re done here. This enormous candy cane is really heavy and I’m going to be late for the dinner party if I don’t go shove this stick somewhere, a phrase that only makes sense in the surreal world of Bonnywood.”

Hugh: “Uh huh. Okay, I’ll let you go on your merry way, with your stick and your attitude. Oh, unless you’re interested in making your blog finally have some relevance after all these years.”

Brian suddenly forgot all about his stick, a surprising achievement on its own, never mind what might follow: “What are you saying to me?”

Hugh: “Oh, nothing that you haven’t already heard, it’s just that you refuse to listen. I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past Blogs, just to set the narrative straight.”

Brian: “Now you’re throwing me, especially with the straight reference, because I haven’t been that since the age of two, when I heard my first Original Cast Recording of a Broadway play. And you’re only 27. How can you be a ghost?”

Hugh: “Ghosts can be young, you twit. Do you want to continue with your unrequited ageism or do you want to listen to me?”

Brian: “Sorry. Listening. Emotionally destabilized, but still listening. Something I’ve also been since the age of two.”

Hugh: “I think we can move past your childhood, even if you haven’t. But speaking of getting beyond, let’s talk about the George Bailey character in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.”

Brian: “Oh my god! Please don’t make me act out a scene with Donna Reed. She was so vapid and uninteresting, just like Melania Trump 70 years later. And her performance as Miss Ellie in the ‘Dallas’ TV show that one year? American television has never recovered.”

Hugh: “This would be a good point to mention that your over-stimulated, self-imposed drama is not helping anyone. Let’s stick with the script. What did George learn at the end of that movie?”

Brian: “Well, based on the manipulation of the director, we’re supposed to realize that George had a wonderful life after all. But I had a problem with the end bit.”

Hugh: “That sounds like something you should discuss with your proctologist.”

Brian: “No, really. That quote the one guy scribbled in the Tom Sawyer book? ‘No man is a failure who has friends.’ That always bugged me. What about the people who don’t have friends? That quote makes it sound like they are not worthy.”

Hugh: “Everybody has friends.”

Brian: “No, everybody has acquaintances. There are so many people who feel lost and alone, especially in this modern age where technology is negating human interaction. Granted, some people don’t want to deal with other people, and that’s fine. But what about the people who want a sense of belonging, a sense of camaraderie, a sense of being among other people who will not judge you for what you have to say, even if they might disagree somewhat with your thoughts?”

Hugh: “So, what are you saying? Destroy the Internet?”

Brian: “No, I’m saying welcome to Bonnywood Manor. Where we sing show tunes all the time and there’s plenty of room in the choir. Even if you’re still a little bit bitter about your childhood.”


Previously published, tiny changes made.


30 replies »

    • Oh, you already have your own guest suite, over in the Free Spirit Bungalows. I haven’t finished decorating it yet, as I’m waiting on the contractors to finish the special window so you can take wide-angle photos of the sunrises and sunsets…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love ‘It’s A Wonder,’ don’t think much of Donna either, and in real life Uncle Billy would have taken a decent kicking, even from Saint George. But I still love it, though the family leave me to it; They’ve seen enough of it over the years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I will say that Donna was faintly admirable in “From Here to Eternity”. Then again, so was Frank Sinatra. There must have been something special in the coffee on the set of that flick…

      The family leaves me to a lot of things, as well. But that’s been the case since I first tap-danced out of the womb and demanded access to a typewriter…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “people who will not judge you for what you have to say, even if they might disagree somewhat with your thoughts”

    Does such a person even exist?

    “It’s a Wonderful Life” leaves me entirely unsatisfied. Boundless optimism, just because. Most lives come and go and leave not a mark on the world. Lots of people have no friends.

    I just realized I have no plain ordinary friends. I have a wife, two grown children, two dogs, two cats, a desert tortoise, and a small smattering of friendly acquaintances. Nobody that would simply be a friend like you always read about. That guy you love to trade insults with, hang out drinking beer with, and watch bad Netflix with. The guy who has your back and you have his and you both enjoy the same eye candy.

    I might have had one in high school but I’m not sure. I had one for a couple of decades in LA but he died of post-polio syndrome after consuming Godly amounts of speed and acid. Since then, nobody.

    Perhaps that’s why so many people flock to the internet to make “friends” you never need to get close to. You’ll never hear them belch or smell their farts.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I completely get what you are saying. “True” friends are actually quite rare, despite what the books and the Affirmation Posters and Hallmark movies might tell us. I have had many good friends over the years, but there has never been that one person with whom I could share everything and never fear judgement. Realistically, most of us modulate what we share with nearly everyone. The idealization of the perfect friend is just that, an ideal. Generally. But I still have hope that such can be found, perhaps marking me as a fool. But I’ll wear that honor proudly…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have three friends of very, very long-standing, and then there’s my M. I am very fortunate. Lots of people don’t have friends and some don’t want them.
    It’s a Wonderful Life is a product of its time. Donna is so saccharine and Jimmy, well, few of us can measure up to him. The problem is that lots of people, given enough exposure. can start to believe that dreck. There have been some really big, real-life examples of that lately. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. People are often swayed by conceptions and not reality. Despite the bubbly proclamations of “best friends forever”, such relationships are much more rare than most folks would like to admit. End of day, though, we must make the best of what we have and be thankful for those pivot points where you find kindred souls who still still be there through times both rough and smooth…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know all the words to every song in West Side Story and Guys and Dolls. If that doesn’t qualify me for full time membership in the Bonnywood club…. my ridiculously large stockpile of tequila should.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve always thought “It’s A Wonderful Life” is overrated….but then, my sign isn’t Capra-corn. Then again, I think astrology is also overrated. It’s not that I have a jaundiced outlook about everything — for example, I think Scrooge is life’s best role model (or was, until Trump came along).

    Liked by 3 people

      • I don’t believe I ever had a quilt shop either. I started small…only covered the top of my grand (not baby grand) piano. Then, it spread all over the place. LOLOL
        What I have left is in bins in the shed. I got rid of all most of it. I always wanted to find the Biltmore House. Never did. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ever since entering the portals of Bonnywood, I’ve felt at home. And everyone knows my name, too (none too subtle reference to a TV show that aired eons after the feted “Wonderful Life”). Because the characters who reside in Bonnywood and those who are frequent guests are ALL somewhat fuzzy and out of focus, whether due to bad photography or over indulgence in the plentiful drinks which abound at Bonnywood, remains to be seen. The fuzziness is part of the overall ambiance and charm too. It has been made more than clear, however, that persons under a certain age ought to visit Bonnywood with the strict instructions that they are to LISTEN and LEARN from the fuzzy ones (that did sound vaguely obscene. Sorry), and not carp on about the fact that they still have their limberness and flexibility and illusions about never dying. They’ll learn.

    Side note for no particular reason: I’ve seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” precisely once. I didn’t like it. So to see it offered now, via my streaming portal (yeah that sounded obscene too, it’s just one of those days), in full color OR in original black and white, makes me the teensiest bit nauseous. And yeah the fact that I don’t care for that film might make me subversive. Does that damage my standing at Bonnywood? Because all kinds of boats float in the ponds of Bonnywood…and some of them don’t contain a vast love of twerps who have it good and never know it. Maybe because the alleged hater of said film sees themselves reflected in the tale..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Firstly, of course you should feel at home at Bonnywood. You are one of the esteemed guests who has a permanent residence in one of the premium enclaves on the estate. (Heads up, though: We might have to move you to temporary quarters, as we are planning to renovate said enclave in the first quarter, next year. Our resident designer, Henri de Henri, as decided that the wallpaper needs freshening.)

      Secondly, I like the concept of fuzziness. Whilst I do have my pointed points to share, I also try to generalize my sharing so that everyone can find a little nugget or two in my wordiness that speaks to them.

      Thirdly, “Wonderful” is not one of my favorites, so there’s no love lost if you don’t find it fetching. I appreciate it for what it is, but it actually could have been much more…


    • Yep, “proctologist” is a real thing. (I know from very personal experience, mind you.) And the “vegetable beef” refers to a kind of soup. You can’t tell from the way I took the photo, but the building on the right is a “Campbell’s Soup” store/diner. It’s one of the pieces in the “Department 56” line of Christmas Village houses. They’re a little pricey, but they’re really cute…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My problem with It’s a Wonderful — his life and work clearly mattered to many people, and most of us don’t come close. As well as the whole friend business, that’s a good point too.
    My comment before on how I plan to rewatch Christmas Carol – that is by far my favorite Christmas story and I’ve pretty much watched every version, including Mr. Magoo’s.
    Scrooge is a despicable human being and no one likes him, and then he transforms at the end and according to the book, lives with Christmas in his heart the whole year through. I want to believe that’s possible. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, we can change.

    Oh, I got too deep again. Sorry about that.

    God bless us, everyone. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know I don’t mind when you get deep. And even when you do, we follow the same blueprint. Make your point but baste everything in whimsy and humor. Honey, not vinegar, and hope for the best. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in a most de-wryful way.

      And I want to believe as well. But some people sure test my patience… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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