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Midday Matinee – Tuesday’s Tale: Some Assembly Required

December 25, 2012

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – Tuesday’s Tale: Some Assembly Required

“Mom, when will dinner be ready?” Billy asked.

“Dad, when can I ride my new bike?” Jenny asked in the next room. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include The Snow Day and Doompocageddon! We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….


Gina looked at the recipe on the counter while her husband Steve studied the instructions on the living room floor. Both gave the same reply.

“Today, I hope.”

“Why are we having Crusty Herb’s Apple Cider?” Billy asked. “And who is Herb? And why is he crusty?”

Gina almost choked on her sip of wine. “It’s Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy, sweetie. We’re having it because I wanted to try something new.”

Billy nodded. “You didn’t explain who Herb is.”

“I think he designed your sister’s bike,” Gina said.

In the living room, Jenny wondered if the piles of pieces that looked almost nothing like a bicycle, yet, would ever become one.

“You’re not supposed to say those words, daddy,” Jenny whispered.

Steve stopped muttering and nodded. “I know, sweetie. I’m sorry. I’m trying to find part 53-L.”

“What does it look like?” Jenny asked.

“From this drawing,” Steve said, “it looks something like mommy’s turkey.”


Have fun!

  • addisnana

    “Well,” said Jenny, “the turkey is most like the bicycle seat. The seat is the only piece that is even close to as big as the turkey. Are you looking for the seat, Dad because it is the only part other than the wheels that even looks like part of a bike.”

    “No Jenny,” muttered Dad, “even I know what the seat is.”

    Billy wandered by and picked up the directions. He looked at the diagram and looked at the parts. He stood there gazing from one to the other and finally bent over and picked up a piece.

    “I think I found the part, Dad” Billy announced. “It even says 53L right on it.”

    “No Billy,” said Dad, “That’s not 53L it is SEL the maker of the bike. Every part has that stamp.”

  • NCrissieB

    “We’re looking for something that looks like mom’s turkey,” Jenny said.

    “Have you checked the kitchen?” Billy asked.

    Steve looked at his daughter. Jenny looked at her dad. They shook their heads. Then they nodded.

    “Mom?” Jenny called. “Does your practice turkey have a number on it?”

    “Yes, it does,” Gina called. “Fifty-three-ell. Why?”

    “Practice turkey?” Steve asked.

    Jenny looked at her brother. Billy looked at his sister. They nodded.

    “I’ll get it,” Jenny said.

  • winterbanyan

    “Oh my G— Um, good heavens,” Steve said as he looked at the part Jenny handed him. “It’s covered with stuffing. The holes are filled with it.” He tapped it with a screwdriver. “It’s like cement! What did you do to this, Gina?”

    “Stuffed it and baked it,” she called back. “Why? Is it important?”

    Steve put his head in his hands. Billy patted his back. “Maybe Jenny can ride the bike tomorrow, Dad. Don’t worry.”

    Steve waved the directions. “I won’t even be able to call the company for a replacement part until tomorrow. How am I going to explain this?”

    Jenny cocked her head. “Tell the truth.”

    Steve put his head back in his hands, muttering something about how nobody would believe this.

    “Sure they will,” Billy said brightly. “They even have emergency numbers to call to help you cook a turkey.”

    Jenny frowned at him. “Cooking a turkey wasn’t the problem.”

  • NCrissieB

    “You could try their emergency number now, daddy,” Jenny said, her bottom lip quivering.

    Steve looked at her and picked up the phone. To his astonishment, someone answered. He just wasn’t sure what language they were using. When the speaker paused in what Steve hoped was the introductory greeting, he said: “I’ve had a problem with part fifty-three ell.”

    “You stuffed and roasted it,” the woman said.

    Steve gulped. “Well, actually it wasn’t me. But … yeah.”

    “What kind of stuffing?” the woman asked.

    “I’ll have to ask my wife. May I tell her your name?”

    Her answer sounded like a noise an iPod might make while being lowered into apple cider vinegar.

    “Frizzblurnitz?” Steve asked.

    “Just call me Betty,” the woman said.

    “Okay,” Steve said. “Hold on. Hon! There’s a woman from the bike company on the phone. She needs to talk to you about the stuffing.”

    Gina came in and took the phone.

    “Her name is Betty,” Steve said. “Actually it’s something like Frizzblurnitz, but she said to call her Betty. She wants your stuffing recipe.”

    “Hi Betty,” Gina said. “I used wild rice, seasoned mirepoix, turkey stock, and apple sauce. Why?”

    “Oh dear,” Betty said. “Was the apple sauce fresh?”

    “Well sure,” Gina said. “I mean, I’d just opened the jar.”

    “Can you set another plate for dinner?” Betty asked.

  • Jim W

    “Jenny, get another plate,” Mom said.

    “I guess that was the emergency number,” Bill commented.

  • winterbanyan

    “Are you sending someone?” Gina asked. “That fast?”

    “She’s already hovering over your house. Close your eyes so the light doesn’t blind you. She’ll beam into your house in three minutes.”

    “Wait!” Gina said, almost panicking. “Who the heck are you and where are you from?”

    “You didn’t think Santa was a human, did you?”

  • NCrissieB

    They shut their eyes when the light began to pulse. A moment later the glare shone even through their closed eyelids, then went away.

    “You can open your eyes now.”

    Steve did and saw … well … something. It wasn’t exactly a tiny reindeer, and its nose wasn’t precisely red. But he could understand how people made the mistake. “Hi, I’m Steve,” he said. “And this is my wife Gina, our daughter Jenny, and our son Billy.”

    “I’m …” and another sound that an iPod might make if lowered into apple cider vinegar. But this cider had once been mulled. “I’m Betty’s sister.”

    “Flarznibribbit?” Gina asked.

    “Just call me Cindy,” the not-a-reindeer said. “So where’s this stuffing Betty was talking about?”

    “Inside part 53-L of my bike,” Jenny said. “If it will ever be a bike, that is.”

  • winterbanyan

    Cindy sighed. “If only you knew how often I need to repair that part. I keep telling the engineers to redesign it. But before I can fix it I need an entire turkey dinner to get my energy up.”

  • NCrissieB

    “As it happens,” Gina said, “that’s what we’re having for Christmas. Do you like mashed potatoes?”

    Cindy’s eyes sparkled. “Of course! I invented them!”

    “You invented mashed potatoes?” Billy asked.

    “Not the mashing part,” Cindy said. “That was Betty’s idea. I invented the potatoes.”

    “Will I be able to ride my bike when this is done?” Jenny asked.