Monday, October 18, 2010

The Story of the Week: Snowflake and Barb

The ABC television network debuted a new weekly program in 1969, The Movie of the Week, featuring films "produced especially for ABC". It was sort of a new concept; not a theatrical movie having a showing on television for the first time, but an original "motion picture for television". Perhaps the most famous of the movies of the week was the Steven Spielberg directed Duel, about a man's horrifying encounter on the highway with an insane truck driver.

The Movies of the Week were uneven, with some great ones, and some mediocre ones. Some were essentially pilot episodes that later became series, such as Marcus Welby, M.D..

The Movie of the Week was a hit for the struggling ABC network (usually in third place behind CBS and NBC) and would help propel the network to later success in the 1970's. The movie highlighted in the video below is called Second Chance, and starred Brian Keith, of Family Affair fame, and was first broadcast in 1972.

So, what's all this preliminary stuff about an old T.V. show about? Well, it inspired this new Skeptical Eye series, The Story of the Week, which will feature an original story written especially for Skeptical Eye, every week (hopefully every Monday evening). Also, I just like to ramble on about things I like, such as old television from the 70s. When there were only 3 or 4 channels to watch, television just seemed more exciting, and anyone alive at that time in the United States will never forget openings like the classic Movie of the Week titles and theme music in the following video. After the video, the story. This week, Snowflake and Barb.

Snowflake got out of bed and dressed for work. She knew what was coming, a firing most likely, but she also knew she could face them, the bastards and crooks! Rich assholes driving BMWs and Audi A8s. Who the hell did they think they were, anyway?

Two weeks of vacation a year after working like a slave for almost four years! They got at least five or six weeks standard in Europe, she was sure of that. She was going to request vacation time, but now thought better of it. Even if she didn't get fired this time, it would happen eventually, and she'd need that vacation money as severance pay if she lost her job.

Barb put her book down and wondered again about Snowflake. What was wrong with that girl; approaching an old lady like herself for sex in the women's restroom? Outrageous! But also kind of flattering! Or did the girl just have an old lady fetish? Barb was a bit puzzled by it all. Should she file a sexual harassment complaint, or just let it go and bask in the glow of her lesbian appeal? Maybe it was all the vampire romance novels she always read, with their lurid lesbian covers. Yes, even though Barb had been married for forty years, she knew a lesbian cover when she saw one. Where were all the hunks that used to be on the covers of her horror romance novels? Maybe she was shopping at the wrong bookstore? Snowflake had introduced her to Blood Sucking Sisters Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Shop, but really, it was just a name, wasn't it?

Barb thought for a few more minutes before pulling herself free from the bed covers. Maybe she should have sex with Snowflake. Harold hadn't been much in that department for ten years or more. Maybe it was time to try something different.

Snowflake hopped on her bicycle, making sure her bike helmet was secure before proceeding. No way was she going anywhere without a helmet! Safety first and foremost was her motto, and besides, it was the law now, and she knew the laws were there for her own good. She navigated through traffic, praying (even though she didn't believe in God) that she'd arrive at work safely. Maybe today she would leave Barb alone. The woman wasn't ready for a mother/daughter relationship. She was ready to be the cub to Barb's mama bear, but she just thought Barb was too hetero to go for it. Oh well, she'd find someone else... Wouldn't she?

Barb hopped on her motorcycle and strapped on her helmet. Stupid helmet law! At least she had room for a few books inside her giant helmet. That was its only benefit as far as she was concerned. If she wanted her head squashed like a ripe melon on the street, that was her business, not the damn government's! Someday she'd be driving around on a brand new Beemer (and Barb did know her BMW history, and that for cars it was Bimmer) and thumbing her nose at all the unwashed masses living off their stolen-from-the-hard-working-taxpayers welfare checks.

As she approached the busy intersection without the stoplight (a foolish "libertarian" experiment that she knew was crazy, but that she remembered hearing Barb speak of approvingly) Snowflake slowed down, then saw the crazy, reckless motorcycle lunatic coming her way. Funny, the rider almost looked like...


Barb opened her eyes and saw through the blood a familiar face.

"Snowflake?" she managed to ask.

"Yes, Barb, it's me," the girl replied.

Barb looked up at the kind eyes gazing down at her. Then a confused look came over her face.

"Is that a helmet you're wearing," she asked Snowflake.

Snowflake reached up and touched the protection covering her head.

"Why yes, Barb, it is."

Barb tried to speak, but Snowflake shook her head.

"Why are you shaking my head?" Barb asked.

A worried look crossed Snowflake's face. "I'm not, dear, are you okay?"

Oh, come on, thought Barb, how stupid is this girl?

"No, I'm not okay!"

At the hospital, Snowflake waited to hear the news on Barb's condition. When the doctor finally appeared, he approached and asked if she was family.

"No," she answered, "just a friend. And a co-worker."

The doctor looked confused. "She said you were lovers, that you'd been together for a long time, and that you were getting married in a few days."

For a moment Snowflake thought she was dreaming. This was exactly like one of her dreams, so yes, that must be it!

"Yes," she replied. "I just didn't know if she'd said anything to you or not. But yes, we are to be married. How is she?"

The doctor smiled. "Oh, she'll be all right. A mild concussion and a few scrapes and bruises. She'll be here for at least a few days for observation, though. That was a pretty bad spill she took."

Six weeks later, as they lay in bed together, Barb mentioned for about the hundredth time their getting married.Snowflake spoke softly in reply.

"What about your husband, Gerald?"

"Harold. And he doesn't count for anything, Doesn't even have an interest in me."

Snowflake put her hands under the covers and was about to...

"Don't even think about it," said Barb. "We're living in sin, being unmarried like this!"

"What are talking about! You're the one that wants to commit bigamy!"

"Hahaha!" Barb began to laugh nearly hysterically, like she couldn't control herself. It went on for several minutes. Finally, she managed to somehow compose herself.

"Look," said Barb, now all of a sudden quite serious, "we can't be called bigamists, because gay marriage isn't even legal in this state!"

"I see," said Snowflake. She got up on her knees and held her pillow in her arms. "Barb, do you mean it? Will you really marry me?"

"Of course, my love. Now, let's start planning the wedding".

"But Barb, what will you tell Harold? How are you going to explain it to him?"

"I'll tell him you're my cousin on my Auntie Mildred's side of the family. Harold doesn't keep up with my relatives, doesn't even know who they are or know half of their names. Yes, sweetie, this it it, we begin our new life together, and right under old dumb Harold's nose!"

So they all moved in together. Harold did seem as stupid as Bard had suggested at first, but after a while, Snowflake could sense he was getting a little suspicious.

"You're Barb's Auntie Who's what?" he asked her one morning while Barb was still showering and she was pouring herself a bowl of Nature's Best Organic Granola Flakes and he was popping open a can of beer and grabbing a fistful of cold pizza from the fridge.

Snowflake looked up, startled, from her bowl of cereal and organic soy milk. "Uh, daughter, yeah, Barb's cousin."

Harold looked at her quizzically, and with more than a touch of lust in his puffy eyes, too, she thought.

"What's your mom's name?" he said.

Snowflake stood up suddenly, spilling soy milk all over the kitchen table as she did so. "Oh. look at that, will you," she said. "Clumsy me! Where are the paper towels?"

That night, as Harold snored away on the living room couch, the television still on ESPN, Snowflake and Barb snuggled by the fireplace.

"He's catching on," Snowflake whispered in Barb's ear.

Barb stared into the flames and Snowflake wasn't sure at first if she would reply, or if she'd even heard her. Then she heard Barb whisper back, and thought she had misunderstood. The words "Let's kill him" are what she thought she'd heard, but it had to be the wine; she'd drank too much at dinner (Harold and his damn trips to Bevmo!). She snuggled in closer to her lover, and then heard the same words again, with a few more added: "Let's kill him. He's of no use to anybody, and besides, the old bastard deserves it. There's something about him you don't know, something I've never told you before."

Continued in Part 2

Okay, so I hope you aren't too disappointed that this was only part one. I'm not a miracle worker (as I'm sure you could tell by reading the story), so the rest will have to wait until next time.

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