Wednesday, February 29, 2012

They Don't Accept Food Stamps


Florena and I sat in the cozy and comfortable Andrades Mexican Restaurant in Old Towne Petersburg, Virginia. It was Florena's birthday and she wanted to celebrate. First, she ordered a mango margarita, and I ordered a Sangria. The server returned with our drinks and some nachos. He then promised to return for our dinner order. Studying the menu, I had a few questions for my lifelong friend.

"So, how are you this week? Last week, you were crying the blues over some money issues," I asked.
"Oh, I'm doing better. I guess I just needed to vent," Florena replied.
"That's good."
Still perusing her menu, Florena stated, "I did do something, though."
"What's that?" I asked.
"Well, I went to social services to apply for food stamps. Actually, it's called an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card," she replied.
Guzzling my Sangria, I asked, "Really? Why did you do that?" I then released a hiccup.
"My funds are a little tight until I return to work full-time in a few weeks. I told social services that I need it for just a short time," Florena replied.
"Yes, food stamps are supposed to be a temporary help for people," I said.
"It's called an EBT card. I like that better than 'food stamps'," Florena said.
"I know right."

Minutes later the server returned, took our dinner orders and refilled our alcoholic beverages. I had ordered the seafood eenchiladas and Florena ordered the chicken burritos with a side salad. I made sure that my third glass of Sangria had been ordered and then place another order for a fourth glass - for when my third glass goes empty. Once our dinner order had arrived, Florena restarted our conversation.

"You know getting food stamps is a humbling experience," she said, sipping her mango margarita.
"I'm sure it is," I offered.
"My social worker was very nice and helpful," Florena said.
"Yes, I know a few social workers. They are as nice to you as you are to them."
"Last Friday, I didn't know what I was going to do for food or money. I was so stressed and depressed," Florena said.
"I could tell in your voice. I'm glad you're better, now."
"Yes, I am," she said.

After more conversation and laughing at an irate customer who thought that the wait staff was laughing at her (which they were not), the server returned to close us out for the evening.

He asked, "Will this be on one check or two checks?"
Immediately, Florena said, "Put this on two SEPARATE checks," with authority.
After I had collected my senses, I said, "Well, well, well....two separate checks, huh? I was gonna treat you for your birthday. But, not anymore. Last Friday, you were on the phone crying the blues over money like B.B. King. Now today, you think you got money like Jay Z and Beyonce!"
"I got money on my card," Florena said with a laugh.
With wide-eyed expression, I replied, "Ummmmm....you know this is a fine dining establishment."
"Yes, I do. And what are you saying?" asked Florena.
Giggling, I replied, "Ummmmm.....they don't accept food stamps for payment." Looking toward the front door, I continued, "All I see on the door is Mastercard, Visa and Discover. There is no sign for EBT or food stamps." I then released a deep, guttural laugh.
In a high-pitched voice, Florena asked, "Do you think that's what I'm trying to do - pay for my meal with food stamps - huh? I'm going to pay with my debit card."
Laughing uncontrollably, I replied, "After the weekend you just had? Yes, Beyonce! Make sure you got money on your debit card! No food stamps allowed in this fine establishment!"
Trying to refrain from laughter, Florena replied, "Charles, you are so wrong and so bad! One day...just one day..."

Now, I did grab the check and paid for Florena's birthday dinner and drinks - that was the least I could do.

Until next week...keep praising His name!
Sir Charles

In The Black

In The Black

Preacher Man

and

Behind Every Dark Cloud - The Critically Acclaimed Novel - The Second Edition

Available at www.xlibris.com www.amazon.com www.barnesandnoble.com - Charles Carroll Lee. Soft cover and ebook.




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Clown and a Funeral


Mervin Potts always thought that his family was a bit quirky. His parents died when he was young and along with his brother and sister, Marvin and Mervina, were raised by their paternal grandfather who operated a bootleg joint. Marvin, the oldest, is trying his hand at being a professional bungee cord jumper - despite the fact that he has multiple body fractures from jumping too close to the rocks and using a cord that was way too long. Mervina, the youngest, just divorced her fifth husband and lives in a house without electricity. She's waiting for the next "good" payday to have her power restored. Her dog, Mimi, decided to live with the nice couple down the street until Mervina's next "good" payday. Merv, as he is affectionately known, always struggled to fit in at school and then on the social scene. The women he encountered all had the same reaction, "You stink! Did you take a bath? Where are your teeth?" And all of the reactions are true. Merv does suffer from body odor even with repeated bathing, and there are only two visible teeth in his head at the age of forty.

Unsuccessful in all of his part-time career endeavors, Merv had a great idea. He decided to enroll in clown college and then runaway to join the "Greatest Show on Earth." Actually, Merv is a black history moment. He is the circus' first black clown. All of Merv's previous dates had all called him a "clown", as well. So, what a fitting career option, Merv had thought. For the next several years, he was known as "Mervin, the Clown." The children in attendance called him, "Mervin, the Stinky Clown." He toured the seven continents entertaining those from ages one to ninety-two. Merv severed contact with his grandfather and siblings while he found his rightful place in the world. Merv's life was now great in his opinion. He was the best clown the circus had ever seen.

When the circus began its American tour, Mervina and the fractured Marvin tried to contact Merv. They had heard through some of his friends that he was a clown in the circus. Automatically, Marvin and Mervina contacted the only black-owned circus in the Universe and was surprised to learn that he was not working for them, but instead for the "Greatest Show on Earth." Marvin and Mervina needed to inform Merv that their grandfather had died and that the funeral was scheduled within the next couple of days.

So, the day of the funeral had finally arrived. Marvin and Mervina were unsure if Merv had received their messages. They stood at the church doors ready to stroll side-by-side down the church aisle to say their final good-bye with Marvin in a cast and standing on crutches. Suddenly, they heard a horn blowing. The brother and sister and all of the mourners turned toward the direction of the horn and noticed a clown car parking next to the hearse. Merv, emerged from the tiny car dressed in a purple and yellow wig, red shoes, a polka-dot one-piece outfit and a red nose - much to everyone's amusement. He didn't have time to change for the funeral because he had just finished a performance right outside of town. Mervina clutched her pearls as though she would faint. Marvin almost fell from his crutches.

When the initial shock had passed, the siblings walked down the aisle with Merv in the middle as all of the guests and clergy laughed and giggled. Approaching their grandfather's remains, Mervina flung herself on top of their grandfather's remains and released a loud cry. "Take me Lord!" she exclaimed as Merv tried to pull her off of the bronze casket. The church laughed hysterically as the clown repeatedly pulled the grieving woman with her girdle, slip and pantyhose showing off of their beloved grandfather.

After a few moments, a clown troop from the "Greatest Show on Earth" entered the church as everyone in attendance laughed uncontrollably. The clowns wanted to support Merv during his time of bereavement. They did not have enough time to change clothes, either. So, the clowns sat several pews behind the family as the mourners continued their laughter.

Moved by the support from his co-workers, Merv deeply believed that he made the right decision by joining the circus. Following the comical service, Mervin returned to his rightful place in society. Even though he thinks that his siblings are a couple of oddballs, he had promised to stay in touch with them more often.

Surprisingly, the above story is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, and I even took some creative licence in retelling this story.

Until next week...keep praising His name!
Sir Charles

My novel and ebooks are available at http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee.









Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"It's Cold In Here!"

"Brrrrr!!!" Calvin exclaimed underneath the electric blanket. "It's cold in here! I think I can see my breath. Maybe, I need to put on a hat and gloves just to go to bed."
"It's comfortable to me," his wife, Liv, retorted. She continued, "Why don't you turn up your side of the blanket."
"I have it turned to six. Want me to turn up your side so that the bed can be evenly warmed?" asked Calvin.
"Heck no! It's going to make me sweat all night," Liv replied.

Finally drifting into a deep sleep, Liv was later awaken by the sounds of her husband walking through the house. Intuitively, Liv knew that Calvin was studying the thermostat in the hallway. Liv had paid $800.00 this month for the oil man to refill the tank. She really didn't want to shell out another $800.00 next month for oil. So, she decided to go into conservation mode. Liv had tried to ignore her husband walking around the house, but Calvin returned to the bed and gently shook his wife.

"It's still cold in here," Calvin offered. "I didn't take my eyeglasses to read the thermostat. What do you have it set on?"
Pulling the covers around her neck with her back toward Calvin, Liv replied, "Right now, it's set to 'Don't order any more oil for a while,' which is 66 degrees. Now, you can set the thermostat to 'Let's order more oil for $800.00', which would be 72 degrees. Take your pick."

Exhaling, Calvin slid between the covers and turned his side of the electric blanket up another notch. Liv smiled to herself and fell into a deep slumber.


Until next week...Keep praising His name!
Sir Charles
My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee. They are now available on ebooks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Say Again?"

Roger and Samantha Brewer were traveling home under dark skies following their visit to the car dealership (Read: My Car Don't Understand...). Samantha kept one eye on the sky and the other on the road ahead of her - just in case. Roger, approaching a red traffic light, applied brakes and waited for a moment. He noticed several traffic lights straight ahead at each block. The traffic light turned green and Roger proceeded through the intersection. Samantha gasped.

"What's wrong wit you?" asked Roger.
"The light was red, Roger," Samantha replied.
"No, it wasn't."
"Yes, it was."
"No, the dang light was green," said Roger.
"The light at the next block was green. Your light was still red. I'm glad that there were no oncoming cars..."
Interrupting his wife's statement, Roger asked, "Do you always have to talk so proper?"
"Yes. Are you going color blind or having problems with depth perception? Because, this is the third time this week that you have gone through a red light."
"Heck, Naw!"
 Samantha said, "It must be the effects of that Cialis you are taking."
"Say again?" said Roger, struggling to hear his wife.
"Nothing," Samantha replied in a huff.

Later that night while watching television with the volume turned all the way up in their family room, a weather alert crawled across the bottom of the screen. Squinting to read the message, Roger had an important question.

"What does that say going across the screen?"
Speaking above the loud television, Samantha said all at once, "'A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 11 p.m. tonight'. What is wrong with you? You can't read the message crawling across the screen and you're color blind, too? You ran a red light several times this week. And turn that television down. I can barely hear myself think."
"I can read and I ain't color blind, either. You are wearing a red sweater," said Roger.
"Wrong! It's brown!" Samantha said, loudly.
"Say again?" asked Roger.
Increasing her vocal tone, Samantha said, "My sweater is brown, not red!"
"Oh." Changing the subject, Roger asked, "I took some Cialis. Wanna make out?"
"No. I don't want to do that, now. Besides, you're blind and deaf. I heard that your symptoms may be some of the side effects of male enhancement drugs," Samantha thought to herself. She then replied, "Okay. I'm going to get ready."

Now, standing in the master bathroom dressed in her best lingerie and perfume with a feather boa wrapped around her neck, Samantha made her grand entrance to the master bedroom. She found Roger on his back, fast asleep, and snoring with a sizable tent near his groin area.

Sighing, Samantha said, "I just give up. He's dead asleep and still erect. I wonder when he dies if Cialis will keep him hard while lying in the casket. We may not able to close it. Oh, well. I'm going to bed."

Until next week...Keep praising His name!
Sir Charles

My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee. They are now available on ebooks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Need My Teeth!

Lorna had her few remaining teeth extracted and then purchased a set of dentures or "false teeth" as she calls them. Her family and friends had hardly recognized Lorna with a full set of teeth. When they saw her approaching, the normal question was, "Lorna? Is that you? You even talk and look better, now." She always removed them at night before bedtime so that she can have a more restful sleep. Now, excited about her new set of choppers, Lorna decided to lose a few pounds and take a trip to Costa Rica with two of her dearest friends. She has been dreaming of this trip for a few years. No one understood why Lorna really wanted to go to Costa Rica. She cannot speak a word of Spanish even if her life depended on it. Lorna's general response was, "I have always enjoyed learning about Spanish culture. I believe my great-grandmother was Spanish." After Lorna had lost twenty-five pounds, found a travel agent and obtained her passport; she told her parents about her long awaited trip and gave them the itinerary.

So, Lorna and friends hopped on a plane and made connecting flights until they reached their destination. The three ladies did some shopping, sight-seeing, snapped pictures, ate, and drank until their hearts were content. On the last night of their trip and all packed to head back to the United States, Lorna removed her dentures before retiring. Her friends were tucked away in their own rooms. When she awoke the next morning, Lorna released a loud wail and immediately went into hysteria mode. She could not find her "false teeth" anywhere. She called her friends and then the front desk. No one was able to understand her without her teeth.

The hotel staff had alerted the authorities that there was a "crazy American woman" in the building and help was urgently needed. Several minutes later, Lorna's mass hysteria was briefly interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Yes! May I help you?" she garbled to the dark-haired man who spoke fluent English. He was accompanied by another gentleman.
"I'm sorry. Can you repeat that? I cannot understand you. My name is Luis Santiago, and this is Diego Soto.
Interrupting, Lorna garbled, "I can't find my teeth! I need my teeth! My teeth!"
Showing their identifications, Luis continued, "I still cannot understand you. We are from the sanitarium. We heard that you may be ummmmm....unbalanced. And you are scaring the hotel staff and guests. We can help you."
Running around the room searching for her teeth like a chicken with her head cut off, Lorna continued to shout, "My teeth! My teeth! Where are they!"
Unnerved, Luis said, "Come with us, senora. We insist."
"Come where? I need my teeth! I lost them!" Lorna said, incoherently.
"We are going to take a little trip and give you some medication," offered Luis.

So, Lorna was dragged kicking and screaming incoherently by the professionals from the sanitarium. Her two friends were completely helpless and needed to catch the last flight to the United States. They had promised to tell her parents about the ordeal. Lorna was placed in a straight jacket and given a mild sedative during her brief stay in a Costa Rican sanitarium.

A few days later, Lorna's father managed to have her release because he had some friends that worked "high" places. Lorna still cannot remember what she did with her "false teeth." But, she swore to never take them out before bedtime again!

Until next week...Keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

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My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee. They are now available on ebooks.