Since his wife has used the computer mostly for her online shopping it had been mostly collecting cobwebs in the basement for nine months now . He had no real purpose for it except to email his twice and third removed relatives every couple weeks or so. He fancied the bible over any text his eyes had ever fumbled over, although he did keep a shoebox of dirty pictures he had collected throughout his travels in the Midwest back as a salesman. The height of technology was a microwave in his eyes.
Occasionally, though, he would venture downstairs to peruse his vinyl collection or organize his tackle boxes that his wife had sanctioned him to keep downstairs. When he did traipse into the damp basement, the sleek silver computer monitor would wink at him from the corner of the room like a reflection of the future. It was a gift from his, now, big city daughter. He had only contacted her two times, since her mother’s passing.
I hope you’re doing well in the city. It would be mighty nice to hear your voice rather than read these little blinking letters. Now that your mama is gone I’d rather appreciate some home cooked food of yours over these microwave dinners I’ve been living on. How is your acting career? Maybe once you get some money you could wander back out here and care for your old papa”
The other letter was of same sound and sense in most respects. Mauve had yet to reply to either letters. Mauve had those big doe eyes that widened so deep that if a guy wasn’t careful he could wind up doggy paddling around in them. She had fled the rural tractor-side shantytown for a bustling metropolis in hopes of nurturing a career in entertainment. One time an ex-boyfriend had said she “looked just like a fatter Judy Garland”.
This particular evening the father was feeling atypically lonesome. As he cooked his repast of beans and ham, he pondered the happenings of his twice and third removed relatives. Fat simmered and congealed to the sides of the pot like murky pond scum while he chewed his cud and formulated the next email he would shoot out to his deceased wife’s step-brother’s godson. He scooped out his dinner and feasted on the sweet, salty pork goodness. With a resounding belch, he dumped his plate in the crusty sink and headed downstairs to pen his email.
Pressing the ON button with his index finger, the computer whizzed to life. Exotic buzzes and red and green lights danced enticingly across the monitor. It reminded him of the city his daughter probably occupied. The device gleamed like a monolith at the break of dawn before his horn-rimmed glasses. He opened his email account.
xXxHEY BIG SPENDERxXx
Screamed the title of a message from an unknown sender. He scrolled his mouse up to click the DELETE button, when a second thought occurred to him. He had heard, before, of these Internet sites that could offer a man any fathomable fantasy. Webpages, that Joe at the post office had bragged, could curl a man’s toes into the bottom of his own soles. This evening his soul was the only one at his residence. Clicking on the banner of the email, he was brought to a page garnished white teeth and bouncing breasts. Being a man of old fashioned tastes he went for the Wizard Of Oz themed video tagged “We’re Not In Kansas Anymore”. About twenty years back, before Mauve was much older than 3, he had done some sales in Kansas and had found it to be quite a hospitable choice.
Perspiration beaded his forehead as a scantily clad Dorothy followed the Golden Showers Road to the Emerald City. The Tin-Woman and Toto were classic country beauties in their own right, but it was the Cowardly Lioness who really piqued his fancy. Her billowing curls and innocent brown eyes stared into his eyes through the screen and he felt, for a moment, a visceral connection.
It didn’t take him long. Wiping his glasses, he tossed the tissue into the wastebasket along with the rest of the used box. Pushing the OFF button with the resignation of an assured voter at the polls, he put the machine to rest. He then creaked up the stairs with a slight oomph in his step, which he hadn’t sensed in months. He strolled in the twilight down the path to his mailbox admiring the birdsongs and the scent of June honeysuckle. Lifting the mouth of the mailbox, which gaped like a deep-sea fish, he saw there was nothing but a cobweb awaiting him.
“Damn!” he whispered aloud.
“I forgot to send that email!”
Grumpily, he meandered back down to the computer to hash out that email before it got too late. He squinted at the shiny screen and opened his digital mailbox. To his surprise there sat a lovely little email from his very own Mauve. Excitedly the old man clicked it open and began to read,
Sorry for the delay of this letter. I’ve been so busy all over town. Meeting all sorts of big-wigs and even scoring some spots in some plays! You’d be so proud Daddy. I even got to play the Cowardly Lion in this recent film. I know people always said I looked like Judy Garland, but who knows maybe I’ll keep moving on up! Hope you’re doing well you old dog.
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