Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hannah Dolezal: Fiction/ Roast (speech transcript)

The more seasoned attendees of Dolezal Family graduation parties might know that one of the traditional themes of my speeches is a “roast”, during which I proceed to shrewdly lay waste to the past behaviors of my siblings through several pages of uncompromising text.  However, during this event, I have opted out of the roast segment of my speech.  Hannah is quite sensitive, and I wouldn’t want to make her go crying to her mommy.  Now, the more astute among you may have realized that the previous statement was actually a mild roast in disguise, so let’s proceed to the next section…
     Hannah Elizabeth Dolezal was born on May 13th, 1996, with a haunting smile and several obnoxious microscopic holes in her heart.  During ages zero through four, Hannah served as her brother Ben's loyal companion and rag-doll.  Playing in the side yard usually ended with Hannah screaming bloody murder and Ben acting calm and vaguely confused, muttering to himself in an unknown language.  Video evidence of these events has recently surfaced, and the footage is shocking.

     Yes, those early years were dark and traumatic, but a monumental and life-changing event was just around the bend…

     On his deathbed, Albert Einstein prophesied, "One day, there will be a young girl who will possess such incalculable intelligence and creativity, those around her will be baffled and frightened.  You will identify this marvelous youngster by her first name, which will be a palindrome, and by her last name, which will be confusing and difficult to pronounce. She will suffer from a rare medical defect known as Swiss Cheese Heart. This is the girl who shall be the recipient of my secret invention, the Nuclear Fission Heart.  She will carry on my torch and become one of the most brilliant minds of the 21st century."

     On October 23, 2001, when Hannah was five, a competent team of mad surgeons at the Milwaukee Children's Hospital attempted to install the aforementioned nuclear heart into Hannah.  I remember being on the edge of my seat in the hospital with my family, hoping and praying that the operation would be successful.  Several soul-crushing hours later, Hannah miraculously emerged…as a powerful cyborg that made Dick Cheney look like a cowering rhesus monkey.

     Since the surgery, Hannah has been a lot tougher.  From that point on, she was able to keep up with Ben during all of their activities.  The arbitrary crying fits that plagued her formative years were a thing of the past.  She had conquered death, and it was time to live.

     As Hannah grew up, I first noticed her talents and intelligence through her good sense of humor, which was dark, witty, sarcastic, satirical, obscene, hyperbolic, self-deprecating, and laced with relevant cultural critiques.  And this was when she was seven years old.

     Around that time, I left for college, and Hannah continued blossoming into a lovely young woman.  I often introduced her to new and old music when I visited.  By the time I returned, Hannah was 12, and smart as a whip, just as Einstein had predicted.  She was reading and writing constantly, thriving off of her endless supply of curiosity…as well as nuclear power.

     We went on many adventures during the subsequent years, and had many good times that usually included eating delicious vegetarian food, listening to music, discussing philosophical, sociological and cultural issues, and drinking coffee.  Once, when Hannah was 15, I was somehow conned into letting her drive me to the coffee shop.  Little did I know, it was one of the first times she had ever operated an automobile.  As one might expect, she parked behind another car and proceeded to slam her foot down onto the gas pedal instead of the break.  Luckily, the car was already in park.  Sometimes, while driving to the coffee shop, a song comes on, and Hannah says, "Hey, this reminds me of your life!"  She then proceeds to chronicle stories from our past that occurred when we first used to listen to that specific music on a regular basis.  In fact, many of the times we've shared have been accentuated by a vast arsenal of music, which has become the soundtrack to our lives. 

     Now…some of you might think the fictitious section of this speech, or the “Tale of the Nuclear Heart”, was a bit strange.  Let me explain the metaphor: To me, Hannah is a superhero.  She has special gifts, she is often mysterious – lurking in the shadows of her room – and she routinely rescues us…from boredom.
     Soon, Hannah will be crossing the border of Wisconsin, into the treacherous land of Minnesota, enthusiastic and naive, like a deer crossing the highway, in search of greener pastures. 
      I’ll miss you, sister, and I wish you the best of luck.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"A" is for Audrey

Audrey was despondent.  Better days had come and gone, and this formerly blissful waitress had developed a bleak outlook.  Cinnamon and ginger filled the air - scents that were known to please most patrons, but not her - not anymore.  During her break, Audrey pondered all the dreams she had as a child, all the goals and fantasies she had not yet accomplished.  Eventually the sentiment became ominous, as though the weight of reality was crushing her, pummeling her sore feet into the tiled floor.  Feeling a bit light-headed, Audrey reached for a dark pint glass filled with carbonated water and corn syrup.  Grasping the receptacle were long, elegant fingers, parched from bleach water, with chipped burgundy nails.  Her hand shook lightly as she tilted the black liquid against her glistening red lips.  It was two in the afternoon and the lunch rush seemed to be dying down. 
    "Just one more hour," she thought, attempting to envision the end of another stressful and oppressive shift. 
    "Keep on keeping on, and it'll be over before you know it." 
    Luscious blonde curls bounced freely just above her petite shoulders as she walked briskly toward a table of new patrons.
    Morning came early, and Audrey did not feel adequately rested.  Noisy traffic and chirping birds suddenly infiltrated her bedroom window, along with the piercing high-pitched laughter of children outside.  On her way to work, Audrey stopped at the diner for some breakfast and coffee.  Perusing the dining room quickly, Audrey chose a booth next to the window facing 5th Avenue, and sat down without removing her sunglasses or her zebra-print jacket.  Questions about her past randomly loomed in her mind, many of them regarding squandered potential and fading dreams.  Right when Audrey was about to open the menu, she was startled by a sudden blur of motion in her periphery.   Someone flew down the the isle in an obvious hurry, swiftly dropping a small brown package on Audrey's table.  The man was exiting through the back door by the time Audrey came to her senses and swung her head around to look.  Unaware of what had transpired, Audrey instinctively lifted a folded corner of brown paper to reveal a neat stack of one-hundred dollar bills, about three inches thick.  Vivid images of exotic beaches, pristine waterfalls, and infinite freedom immediately filled her mind, replacing the dismal contemplations of the previous moment.  With an indescribable warmth welling up inside of her soul - some perfect mixture of excitement, adrenaline, happiness, and confusion - Audrey immediately buried the package in her purse and headed for the front door.  Xanax and spare change rattled against the newfound parcel within Audrey's purse, as she dashed toward a parked taxi.
    "You said it was on first street," a young woman barked into her cell phone as she clumsily barged into the diner.  Zebra stripes adorned the women's jacket, and her curly blonde hair, much like Audrey's, bounced freely just above her shoulders as she sat down at a booth next to the window facing 5th Avenue.