Friar Tuck Came to My House

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Yes, it’s me again. I’m here to tell another amazing story from the pages of my life’s saga.

Some say, I’m an expert storyteller because I am full of ’em. (I think that’s what they said!)

I swear to you, in my mind, all of my stories are absolutely true!

I will say, however, any reference to an existing deity or human, how they look, what they say, or who they represent, is strictly coincidental.

I will also mention, each night between 10:15 and 11:00 p.m. I lose consciousness. Oft times, I startle awake as these memories spill from the darkness of my unconscious into the light my of conscious to be documented for generations to come.

Having said that:

Now….. Friar Tuck

Six months ago, I entered my name to a questionnaire online. It asked me all the usual stuff like name, address, how many children, married, average income (not specific), religious affiliation, and occupation.

For “occupation”, I typed “Writer of Tales”. I filled in the rest of the blanks with my name, where I live, one daughter, three boys, married, my average, average income, etc. Once all the usually ‘required’ blank spaces are addressed, the questionnaire asked these two questions.

1) Would you, and your family, be willing to host an internationally known, foreign, religious dignitary for seventy-two hours? This dignitary would be traveling incognito so as not to draw attention to himself or his entourage. The purpose of this visit is to experience the life of an average American family in an average American neighborhood to get in touch, and relate to his people here in America.

This “person” would also like to absorb as much of the city culture as possible in the two days and nights allotted for his visit to your area.

2) Would you allow an in-depth investigation of yourself, your spouse, friends, and family to guarantee the safety of our “person” during his visit?

Of course, I answered “Yes” to these questions. I have nothing to hide, and besides, I did not take this questionnaire seriously.  What’s the worst that could happen?

*****

Sixteen hours ago, I received a phone call from a party verifying, we have been chosen by the “person” and his security staff. They apologized for the short notice, but for security reasons, the announcement of the arrival times to the actual arrival times had to be kept short. The party of twelve would be arriving at 5:00pm the following day.

I was to check my E-mail for a list of acceptable food items needed along with other instructions.

I was to tell no one. I am instructed to follow my daily routine and act as normal as possible so I would not attract undue attention.

I followed these instructions. I will say this whole thing was beginning to make me nervous. What had I done to myself this time?

The next day, precisely at 5:00pm, three white Suburban’s arrived at my curb. Several large shouldered men with “Men in Black” sunglasses stepped out first. With feet planted wide,  they pivoted their heads on those yard wide shoulders. They looked like owls on a branch, hunting. Each had one hand under his suit jacket while poised to talk into his wrist transmitter on the other.

Nothing moved or made a sound for about twenty seconds. Then, each man in black spoke into his wristwatch.  A door opened on the curb side of the middle suburban.

Out stepped a rotund, gleefully smiling fellow in a white guayabera shirt, creased, designer, denim jeans, and sandals. I’m sure my eyes were as large as silver dollars. This was not the vision I had in my mind.

I was standing on the middle step of the five up steps to my house. He came right at me with that grin, his arms held wide, and a security supplied picture of me in his hand. It was a robust hug with a European gentleman’s kiss on each cheek. I’m positive I pulled back.

Anyway, I attempted to step back, but he would have none of it. Insisting, he pulled me in tighter, firmly. Thank goodness he then tossed me aside and headed for my front door. It allowed me to be side-by-side instead of “head on”. This was a man who is used to having his way.

Two of his security had already entered my home, and I’m sure, quickly cased each room. I had moved my wife and myself out of our master bedroom into the guest room and gave this gentleman our master so he would have his own private bath and television. Also, for his convenience, there was a patio on the other side of this bedroom’s sliding glass doors.

Once inside, I was formally introduced. I then introduced my wife. My kids were grown and did not live here anymore, most of the time. I pointed out the pictures of them on the wall and named each for our guest.

That was it. My wife had prepared spaghetti and meatballs for our thirteen guests. HE was fascinated with this Americanized Italian dish. I am sure he over ate because his food handler didn’t look happy when he asked for his third plateful with the garlic bread.

The balance of the evening was spent in conversations about politics, America, the world problems, and religion. I, a writer, am expected to be knowledgeable in each of these disciplines. I was somewhat, but not as learned as the rotund one.

We talked so late into the evening, my wife and I had to excuse ourselves. It was far past our bedtime. We told them “what is ours is yours”, and “feel free to watch a movie or do whatever you do.”

I went to bed.

*****

     I suppose you are guessing who our guest was. I’d tell you except, I was sworn, by penalty of death, not to tell.

I did give him a nickname.

The next morning, I was first up, made a pot of coffee, and went out through my garage/workshop to breathe some morning air while the coffee was brewing. When I came back inside, the food handler was in the kitchen making up what looked like a minty vitamin drink.

As it turns out, he was preparing for his morning walk. I am told, this practice never varied and shall be done each and every morning. He came out of the bedroom like a boxer, downing the minty green drink, dressed in oversize brown sweatpants, and a matching brown hoody with the hood up. He handed off the empty glass, an attendant wiped off his minty green mustache, and he headed for the front door. His routine unbending, he went out, dramatically walked fifty feet, turned and came back with a prodigious “thoroughly pleased with himself” grin.

I mentioned I had a nickname for this man. It came to me as he turned back at the climax of his fifty foot trek. This large person in that giant brown hoody reminded me of Friar Tuck of Robin Hood fame. For a moment, my mind’s eye saw a large mutton drumstick in his hand.

So, I named him Friar Tuck.

Friar Tuck went back to his room, and emerged one half hour later, smelling like my Irish Spring, dressed in his tourista’s duds, ready to go.

He had an agenda but took a moment to sit down at the breakfast bar with me. One moment ago, my wife had taken two full trays of oatmeal raisin cookies out of the oven. They had cooled enough to transfer to the cooling rack. I gently grabbed one, and he followed suit. That grin got bigger and wider with each bite.

In between swallows, I asked how his evening went. He said his group and he watched one of the VHS movies from the stack on the floor next to the TV stand. I thought they would have gone to the living room to watch a DVD on the big screen.

I occurred to me that the only VHS I had were in my bedroom. He said it was a pretty good movie and the acting was done well. Except for the use of his interpreter once in a while, “The Friar” enjoyed the movie.

He did say the plot surprised him. Because of the title, he expected something entirely different. My bedroom TV is a thirty-two inch Trinitron hooked up to an old VHS. I never use the tape deck anymore, and the movies were mostly recorded from the TV years ago.

Curiosity made me ask, “What movie did you watch?”

“House of the Rising Son.” He said. “It seemed appropriate!”

My head dropped to my chest, eyes down.

I thought any chance of me “rising” years from now were gone. I should have removed all that sort of stuff from sight, but in my defense, I did not know who was coming!

To my surprise, Friar Tuck liberated another cookie, stood up and then led all of his little “duckies” out the front door, ready to do some absorbing at the mall.

Closing the door behind them, I went back to the breakfast bar to eat another cookie and contemplate my future life after my life on this planet is used up.

Would you believe not one cookie remained! His escorts had liberated every one as I was walking the Friar to the front door. This might be my salvation!

A reprieve maybe? I felt my fragile future had but one chance. I turned to the pantry to check out the raisin and oatmeal supply.

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About Ronald D. Drobeck

I've read, learned, been discriminated against, patronized, lied to, laughed at, laughed with, and ignored. I'm not a minority, not tall, not good looking, not skinny, not hairy, and can see 10 miles, but not two feet. I've been a paperboy, college student, licensed nursing home administrator, professional musician (swing drummer), duck and goose hunter, fisherman, conservationist, Eagle scout, camp counselor, canoeing instructor, lifeguard, comedian, restaurant owner, licensed exterminator, insurance agent, warehouse manager, carpenter, conservative, father of 4, baseball coach, husband, worrier, writer, embryo gardener, and nice guy.

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