Lola was still feeling out of sorts, even though she had been awake for a while now. She almost didn’t dare get up and journey into the kitchen, not knowing just what would greet her?
“Hi Lola. How’s Tricks?” asked her one and only as she cautiously entered the kitchen. How’s about some breakfast? I can whip up just about anything, you can think of, but only if you….What’s wrong Lola? You look as if you had a hard night’s sleep?”
Lola just stared about the kitchen as if she expected something out of the ordinary to happen. What then was ordinary anyway? Didn’t the kitchen blow up last time, because the door was frozen shut, then their son Howie and his friends at the mall in Our Homer…..Our Homer?
“Lola Dear. I’ve been thinking about your readjustment into the fast lane again, so I’ve designed something that’ll help you to tell us when things are not quite what they seem to be. Less than <, Equal to = and more than >. See here! A set of 3 nifty cards with the symbols on them. What’cha think about that?”
Lola responded with, “Sometimes we 3 are Moose, right?” Not waiting for his reply, she continued, “And other times, Howie is a real boy with arms and such, while in extreme cases, the house blows up – Ka Bango!”
Bunky just looked at her with a mixture of concern and whimsy. “Of course we are Moose at times, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still a family, does it?”
Lola turned away and considered going back to the sanctity of the bedroom, but she also knew that sooner or later, she’d need to return to a “normal” way of living, whatever that was?
She went back into the kitchen to hear, “Gosh Dad. When are you going to lend me the Caribou Cart, huh? All of my friends at school have gotten permission from their parents, and Mooseline and I want to cruise downtown Soldotna, you know in Alaska and all, and we…”
“There! You see” yelled Lola. Howie is a boy with arms and such!” Howie and his father just looked at her, as if she had, but she hadn’t, had she?
“Look you two” said Lola. “I’ll just pour me a glass of Moose Juice then we 3 are going to sit down and talk this through!”
Lola looked into the refrigerator, but when she turned back around, Howie just stood there with his new Nerf Football in his mouth, and anticipation in his little eyes.
“Howie” said his father. “Give your mom and me a few minutes, then we can toss the old new Nerf Football around in the snow, OK?” Howie just stood there and blinked, but…
Lola went into the bedroom but emerged again with the < symbol around her neck.
“Good Girl!” said Bunky and Howie acted as if he nodded as well. “Well, now we’re cooking Lola, and after a rasher of Nerf Football, then we can consider our options for the rest of the day, OK?”
Lola just nodded before she yawned a big yawn, and watched as her two boys reached for the door handle.
“Race you to the fence, Old Man” yelled Howie and tried to dodge his father’s long grasp, when the Nerf Football was in play.
“Come on you two” yelled Lola, “You know how I dislike roughhousing in the house!”
They just smiled and nodded, as they chased each other out of the door. Lola just walked over to the window to see how they were doing, but only saw them trudging through the snow, looking for the Nerf Football. “Lola” yelled Bunky. Come and help us out. You know how hard it is for Howie not having hands and all!” Lola just looked at Howie, and he just looked back and blinked. She turned tail and went back into the bedroom, locking the door behind her.
Come on Lola, she said to herself. Get a Grip! We are not Moose, not right now anyway, and Howie is not a person, not at the moment anyway, and it is the winter in Alaska, isn’t it? …If only someone would answer her thoughts and confirm what she was thinking as true. If only there was a Vision Moose around that could….
“At last” thought Barney as he thumbed through the daily newspaper, concentrating on the Racing Form and who was running at Soldotna Downs today? He looked at the Vision Screen, seeing that Lola needed his help again, though she must have been pretty far gone to ask for his assistance, when she only partially believed in him, and what he stood for.
He really loved this part. Slowly in front of Lola’s eyes, a mist appeared, and little by little his shape appeared with just a hint of a bluish-light that seemed to glow about the edges. Lola just looked at him, without saying anything at all, with Barney’s big friendly smile appearing first, almost in a Cheshire Cat way of imagining.
“Lola my Dear. Don’t be afraid. It’s just me, Old Barney!”
Lola just sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed. “I should have known it” she said. “Now I’m hallucinating Vision Moose!”
“Lola” said Barney kindly. “I’m only here, because your reality and mine have crossed each other. I’m only here to help you decide, which reality is best for you.”
Lola thought about Howie. Sometimes, it would be nice to talk to him and get a response, but other times, she knew there was a bond between them regardless of the circumstances.
“You really shouldn’t worry about which reality is best, you know” said Barney as he sucked on an Elephant Toothpick and leaned back in the nearby Recliner. “Those massage versions are the best, you know?” but not hearing any response, he continued with saying, “Sometimes, it might be nice to talk to Howie and hear about his Teenage problems, while other times, it’s nice just to cuddle with him and his blinking eyes! You decide in the end, what feels right for you, then you just need to enjoy it while it lasts. Not really different from the rest of life, you see. Just enjoyment in small portions like fresh milk poured over Moose Flakes in the morning with a nice hot coffee! Man that is really living!”
“Uh. You are really quite wise, Sir. If you don’t mind me saying and all” said Lola humbly as she started to return to the reality of her choice. “Even if I have a hard time believing in you.”
Barney just laughed and said, “Remember when you were younger and were arguing with your sister? Out on a lark, high on a cliff, with the both of you tearing each other’s hair out, shouting and all, when you slipped and almost fell? Why out of nowhere, a strong gust of air, almost like someone butting you up against your backside occurred, saving your life at once!” Barney’s eyes sparkled like Kenaian Mineral Water, without the ice as Lola just sat there and stared incredulously. “You see. You never know when a Vision Moose might be around to help out….
“Oh and one more thing” said Barney as he got ready for his big exit. “While we are on the subject of reality, you might think about correcting “Bunky’s name” once and for all. He deserves his real name, doesn’t he? I like to keep all of my realities in order, don’t you?” – and with that said, a red glow appeared around Barney’s form, disappearing into the mists with his words echoing in her mind, “I just love that red-glow, don’t you….?”
Lola got dressed, brushed her hair and teeth, took a deep breath and went outside.
Reality, come what may……