Oh boy oh boy! It was “New Shape Saturday.” I had a fresh rum and tonic and a new cigar ready. C.W. and I were alone in the back yard of the farm and he was in high spirits. One head wore a construction hat, another a police officer’s hat, and the third a Sioux chieftain’s headdress. He, they, looked strangely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place them.
He had chairs sat up under a tree and would disappear behind a storage building, wait a few minutes, and emerge as his new shape. I would try to guess who he represented. This is always fun, or it is sometimes. It makes my wife nauseated, so she was off visiting a friend. Hot dog! I lit my cigar and yelled, “Ready.”
A middle-aged man, well dressed in a business suit emerged and took a seat. “One hint,” he said, “TV pundit.”
“Expert?” I said.
“Very much so.”
“Education and background?”
“Bachelor’s degree in business administration and 30 years of military service.”
“Went in as a second lieutenant. Came out as a major.”
“Come on,” he said, “you’ve watched the news. Make a guess. I can’t provide any more information than that.”
“I give up.”
“Expert on military affairs,” he said. "On that so-called news channel named after a wild animal."
“But you retired as only a … ,” I began, but he had already departed. “A 30-year major hardly qualifies …,” I said, mostly to myself. Then he yelled over his shoulder.
“It’s television, dummy. That’s today’s theme. Truth in television.”
A few seconds later, and a great new shape appeared. A disheveled character with a shaved head and long beard came in and sat in front of me. He had divided the beard into two prongs, each held by a rubber band. “Expert,” he said.
“Community college in Charleston, West Virginia. Associate’s degree in restaurant management.”
“Consultant, on the cable network that you call the History Channel.”
“Fast food trainee programs … several.”
“You are a janitorial consultant?”
“Get serious. I’m a featured star.”
“I can’t imagine. I give up.”
He took in a breath, expelled it and said, “Scientific consultant. They identify me as a UFO expert.”
That stunned me. “So, you use your real expertise as a visiting alien to educate the viewers?”
He frowned. “Get serious. I can’t divulge that information. Educate our viewers? Jeez. I just say whatever I feel like saying. The show’s motto is ‘We make it up and you lap it up.’ Can you imagine getting paid for blowing stuff out of your …?”
I interrupted. “Now cut it out.”
“Accumulated superfluous storage,” he finished. Then he disappeared again.
A few moments later, a buxom blond with hair teased to a height of a foot above her head, and billowing across her shoulders, sashayed in and perched in front of me. She teased the front of her blouse to allow more of her ample cleavage to show, and then tried to cover her nether regions with a skirt made from no more than a yard of material. No luck. Glimpses abounded.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she said.
“I doubt it.”
“That’s right, you’re wondering what I do for a living.”
“No,” I said, “I’m wondering if my wife knows about this.”
“Exactly,” she said. “You are man of the world. You’re from the big city and you married your childhood sweetheart.”
“Born and reared in the country, and I didn’t meet her until we were both grown.”
“Precisely,” she said. “And something tells me she was from the city too.”
“A farmer’s daughter,” I said.
“That’s right,” she said. “And don’t you forget: something tells me she still dreams about getting that education she always wanted.”
“She has two college degrees.”
“Like I told you. Now,” she said, leaning back in her chair as I tried not to look. “You’re thinking that you wish I would tell you what I do. Don’t ask me how I know that. I just see things. That's all.”
“No,” I said, “I’m just hoping my wife doesn’t come home before you change shapes.”
“I knew it,” she said, “I just know things, see? That’s what they pay me for. Speaking of shapes, you are going to love this next one. It’s going to be the best shape you ever saw. It’s going to be wonderful. I have this plan, and it is a great plan, the best plan ever, to astound and amaze you with this next shape because it is going to be wonderful. And you will love it.”