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SYNDICATION WASHES ALL THE COLOR OUT OF LIFE BUT IT STILL BEATS EMPTYING THE DISHWASHER ANY DAY BY DAVID S. ATKINSON

THE EAR BY ASAF DAY
December 13, 2018
THE SEASON OF MAGICAL THINKING BY MILEVA ANASTASIADOU
December 15, 2018

Syndication Washes All the Color Out of Life but it Still Beats Emptying the Dishwasher Any Day

Randy dropped the pamphlet when the coconut shot towards his head. He was trying to protect his face.

The pamphlet had been very important the moment before. It was the ticket to Randy’s vacation, so to speak. Randy hadn’t had a real vacation in years, since he was a kid. Something was always stopping him.

His first job out of college promised him two weeks off a year. The only problem was that it paid too low to go anywhere. He stayed home instead and watched TV. The next job paid better, but had a production schedule that prohibited long absences. His current both paid and had vacations, but only after two years. Two years had finally passed. Now he needed something good.

That’s where the pamphlet came in. He found it in his dentist’s office, tucked into an old Highlights for Children magazine, while waiting for a filling. It talked about a service helping you reenact Gilligan’s Island.

Seriously, the pamphlet advertised that the company would categorize you into one of the character types, group you with a full crew for the show, and maroon you after a three-hour tour. Then you lived out two weeks on the island in your designated role, grass huts and everything. Unlike the show though, someone came to get you at the end.

People didn’t want to be THAT realistic.

Randy was pumped. It would be the best vacation ever. He always loved the show and couldn’t wait. Showing up for his categorization appointment, he nearly burst through the office door.

That’s when the coconut came flying at him.

He caught it by reflex. His face was protected, but he hadn’t really intended to. It simply happened, dropping the pamphlet and then catching.

“Ah, Skipper,” a bun-haired woman holding a clipboard summarized, writing.

“Sorry?”

“Skipper. You’re a Skipper since you caught. Gilligans always drop, or worse. That was your categorization. It’s the only test we need to do.”

Randy frowned. “I kind of hoped I’d be the Professor.”

“No…you didn’t make a radio out of the coconut. Nor have you done so since. Do you have any urge to do so in the near future?”

“Not really.”

“Well, there you go. Don’t worry, almost no one does. Also, you’re clearly not filthy rich, so we can rule out both Mr. and Mrs. Howell. No Hollywood glamour star, no sweet and domestic girl next door…no, you’re a Skipper all right.”

Randy shrugged. He imagined it could have been worse. One character would probably be as fun as any other, the trip being the important thing.

“Okay, when do I meet everyone else?”

The woman continued writing. “Oh, you’ll need to give me your information and we’ll be in touch eventually. A deposit won’t be due until we’ve matched you with all the others. I’m afraid it could be quite a while though. Months, perhaps even years.”

“What?”

“It’s the coconut thing. Almost everyone turns out to be a Skipper or a Gilligan. How many obscenely wealthy people do you think come in? Celebrities? It’s been weeks since I’ve even seen a Kansas farm girl, much less one with any homemaking skills. All we get are Skippers and Gilligans. We’re positively slopping over with them. Until we find remaining sets to match them all up with, you’ll have to wait.”

“But what am I supposed to do until then? I want to take a damned vacation! I thought you people ran a service.”

“Hmmmm,” the woman mumbled, lowering her glasses to examine the clipboard. “How do you feel about McHale’s Navy?”

 


David S. Atkinson is the author of books such as ‘Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from my Pockets While I Sleep,’ ‘Apocalypse All the Time,’ and the Nebraska book award winning ‘Not Quite so Stories.’ He is a Staff Reader for ‘Digging Through The Fat’ and his writing appears in ‘Spelk,’ ‘Jellyfish Review,’ ‘Thrice Fiction,’ ‘Literary Orphans,’ and more. His writing website is http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/.

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