Big Oxygen

“Look! It’s right here on the front page of today’s Washington Post,” Sam protested as he shook the paper at his roommate. “And, this is your favorite paper!!!”

Dillon glanced at the shaking paper uninterested and commented as he turned away towards the kitchen counter where his english muffin laid naked on a paper towel, “fake news.”

“Fake what?  This is your only source of news,” accenting “your” to drive his protest.  “You quote the Post like Bible scripture!”   He dropped the paper to the table and started poking the headline as he read it aloud, slowly, “Big Oxygen is here to stay.”

Sam continued reading the article as Dillon continued spreading cream cheese on his muffin halves. “Scientist have agreed that the Atomic Mass of an Oxygen molecule is now .0163 daltons bigger than commonly believed.”

“Hey, didn’t you date Sandy Dalton,” Dillon interrupted. “She’s now bigger too!  Why didn’t the Post do a story on that?” Dillon turned around with half a muffin in hand, taunting his mouth, “maybe the bigger oxygen makes Sandy look bigger, hmmm?” Dillon nodded his head in self agreement as he bit into his breakfast.

“You’re such a dick, Dillon.  You always change the subject whenever I’m right about something.  Big Oxygen is real and you hate to admit that I was right!!!”  Sam shook his forefinger at Dillon and shared a huge, cheesy smile.

Dillon pointed back and exclaimed, “perhaps if you used that finger she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant, huh?  Are you the baby’s daddy, Sam?  You and your Big Ox? Or lil ox…”  Dillon’s extended finger slowly pointed downward.

“Dude, we dated like three years ago.  Wait, she’s pregnant?  Really?”  Sam looked at Dillon questionably, not sure if he was making things up to continue off of the subject.

“Sam, you need to F’ Book more often, life is electronically scrolling right by you!”   Dillon threw in a evil laugh as he turned to grab his other half of the muffin. “I thought you stalked all of your ex’s?  Or is that me?  Yeah, I stalk all of your ex’s to see how well they did leaving you!”  Dillon began his self agreement nodding again and added a small shoulder drop dance move and hip shake for more emphasis.”

“I hope you choke on the cream cheese, asshole,” Sam retorted as he turned his attention back to the article, skimming for relevant facts.  “Oh, I understand now.  It says here that Big Oxygen basically contains more oxygen and can make people act and say stupid things more frequently! See, dumbass, it’s so real, you can’t stand yourself!”  Sam giggled at his findings.

Dillon shook his head in disagreement.  “No, you got it wrong, Sam boy.  Everyone knows that an increase in oxygen makes you smarter and more clear minded.  Obviously, it’s not real, because you’re quoting dumb ass shit!  Now, let’s get going to work so we’re not late from all of the dumb ass drivers who can’t breathe properly.”  Dillon turned back to the countertop and crumbled up the paper towel and used it to wipe the extra crumbs onto the floor. before tossing it into the trash can.

*     *     *     *     *

Sam opened the passenger door to Dillon’s Toyota hybrid Camry, leaned in and continued,  “you’re a BOD!”

Dillon shook his head as he started the car and immediately reached for the volume control to turn off  the news that overtook the listening space.  As he shrunk back to his left, he tilted his head towards Sam and regretfully asked, “what’s a BOD?’

Sam happily jumped into the passenger seat as if his favorite NASCAR driver invited him for a test ride.  As he reached for the safety belt, he laid the morning paper across his lap and matter-of-factly stated, “Big Oxygen denier.”

As the doors automatically locked and Dillon turned to back out of the drive, he shook his head and replied, “you’re making shit up now.”

“No, really.  You’re a BO denier!  Classic response of ‘fake news’, ‘doesn’t exist’, “you’re an idiot’ attacks.  Classic denier responses.”  As he looked away from Dillon and began tapping on the window with his knuckle, Sam added, “too bad.  Big Oxygen will save the world!”

The car stopped dramatically as Dillon heavily sighed, switched out of reverse and  began driving his normal route to work. “Save the world, now?”

Sam rolled his eyes and answered, “first, true or false, global warming is real?”

Dillon smiled, “that’s so true, even Neil deGrasse Tyson the scientist has proven it to be so.”

Sam stifled his laugh to a small hum, “okay, assuming that Global Warming is true, it is said that the GW is melting the ice caps, right?”

Dillon nodded as he merged in with morning traffic.

“The larger oxygen molecule brings in cooler weather as the sun’s UV rays are slightly reflected.  This cooler weather is stopping the polar ice caps from melting, as noted in news reporting a record number of  ice cutting boats getting stuck in the frozen water faster and sooner in the seasons.”  Sam turned to watch Dillon’s expressionless face, then continued, “so, if global warming is melting the ice caps, Big Oxygen is the cure and not only stopping the melting, but disproving the effects of global warming and lowering the sea levels!”

“That’s the stupidest thing you’ve said so far,” Dillon retorted as he shook his head in disagreement. “How does bigger oxygen make the air colder, ridiculous!”

“Well, how do cow farts contribute to the warming of the atmosphere?And how is THAT making a carbon footstep?”

Dillon laughed, “Footprint.”

Sam began getting excited, “footstep. Footprint. It doesn’t matter because Big Oxygen is real and you hate it, because it’s GOOD.  It’s good for the planet, good for the animals, good for the plants and farmers growing food.  It’s good, and you can’t stand GOOD!”  Sam turned back to the window to watch other commuters sitting in traffic with them, cars idling at a near stop.

Sam continued, “and oh, Big Oxygen also reduces smog and produces cleaner air.”  He stared at Dillon anticipating a response.

Dillon smiled at his own thoughts, “so what you’re telling me is that because the oxygen molecule is larger, it magically PUSHES the smog away, somewhere,  and provides cleaner air? Do I have that right?”

Sam shrugged and replied, “sure, kinda like that. It’s no different than a cow fart turning our ozone layer into cheese clothe or burning holes in it!”

Dillon shook his head is disbelief, again.

“You’re such a BO denier!  Big Oxygen also helps the natural gas companies recover the gas faster and environmentally safer as the bigger oxygen molecules push the gas upward.  Fracking will be a thing of the past, as Big Oxygen is pushed down and the natural gas rises.”

“Causing earth quakes from the enlarged oxygen, right?”  Dillon so wanted to change the subject.

“Of course not, stupid.  The earth absorbs the oxygen, giving more life to the good insects helping to till the soil underneath.  And, Big Oxygen is also known to help the farm animals grow bigger without steroids.  And, the bigger animals, breathe out more CO2, providing more growing fuel for the plants and vegatables, reducing World hunger.  You see, Big Oxygen is good.”

Both men were silent, running scenarios in their thoughts.  The ticking of the turn signal intermediately broke the quiet.

Dillon spoke first, “Sam, you’re my friend.  I can put up with your theories and bullshit.  But, don’t start this up at work, please.” Dillon noted the turn signal arrow and pulled into the parking lot of the EPA and began looking for a close parking spot as he continued, “you know how militant some people are around here and nothing good will come of you trying to prove that Global Warming is gone and replaced by Big Oxygen.  And, Christ, nobody would have a job here if something benefitted everyone and made the world a better place.  There’s no money in good things happening naturally!”

As they pulled into a spot and Dillon shifted into park, he kept the motor running and look over at Sam.  “You good?  You can do this, right?  Put the paper down and we’ll discuss this on the way home, but for now, it’s over.”

Sam sighed, “I know, I know.  I don’t want to go through all that again.  It’s a one sided political hell and I have to smile and pretend to believe in the Kool-Aid.”

Dillon turned the engine off and pocketed the keys, “and that’s how you keep you’re job!”

As Sam opened the door, he smiled and replied, “and that’s why you’re single and will never get the Big O!”

Behind the Easel

“Don’t move,” she mumbled under her breathe as she peeked around the large canvass and held up the paint brush in her right hand to gain perspective of the subjects.  Soft guitar love songs  rolled gently out of her laptop on the coffee table.  Several flies darted past her as she returned to painting.

The natural sunlight was traded for large parking lot lamps emitting enough light through the picture window to light up her canvass.   She stood perpendicular to the canvass to avoid a shadow while she applied small touches of paint, slowly, like the melted watch in a Dali painting.  “Perfect,” she whispered again.

The efficiency had a single pole lamp in the main space with three lights pointing variously at the far wall with her subjects and ceiling to cast an overhead glow upon them on the blood stained leather couch.  Old cartons of oriental food and pizza boxes were strewn across the floor, covering the remains of the broken plates and glassware.  The microwave light flickered through the unclosable door hanging over the empty countertop below.

“Oh, you’re going to love this,” she broke the silence again as she stepped back to view her work.  She pushed a large strand of her messy dark, brown hair back around her ear and continued, “remember when we took the kids to beach to watch that beautiful sunset?”

Before there was an answer, she mumbled again, “of course you do, it was gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous, is what you said.  And it was, just like us, our family, gorgeous…”  her excitement trailed off.  A loud slam sound echoed through the room as a broken cabinet door finally fell to the floor.

“i’ll fix that,” she said with her startled eyes wide open.  “As soon as I’m done here, just a few more final touches.” Her eyes nervously darted around the room as a few more flies buzzed around her painting.  She began comparing the subjects and her painting for any last minute detail changes.

Her hands fell to her side, her mouth opened like a large yawn and the realization began sinking in as her front door crashed open with a rush of city police yelling demands.

“On the ground. On the ground.  Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened here!”  Sargent Collins stared at the couch overflowing with two small lumps and one large hump of blood and mangled body parts.  The air was filled with the smell of iron and decaying flesh.

Two of the deputies picked up the handcuffed,  small framed woman wearing a smock covered in a mix of old paint and dried blood.  Her head hung down in shame as her messy, dark brown hair hung lifeless towards the ground.  She said nothing.

“Sarge, look at this painting she was working on,” called another deputy from across the room.  The Sargent looked at the placement of the easel and the pile of bloody bodies.  He question his deputy, “was she painting them?”

The deputy shrugged as the Sargent walked over to the easel.  On the upper left corner was a photo of sunset over a beach and a family waving at the camera.  The woman, her husband and her two children, all with large smiles like the experience was perfect.

The painting was a photographic  replica of the sunset and beach.  In place of the family, there were red shadows, with the tops of the receding waves a crimson blood color.  As if washing away her sins and crime.

The Sargent looked at the Deputy and replied, “she nailed the gorgeous sunset”  and turned away to follow the parade of police and entering EMT with black body bags.

Hello world!

Welcome to Behind the Writer’s Easel, where stories of life are revealed and shared.   Be they fictional, non-fictional or somewhere in between, may they always be enjoyable and perhaps inspirational.