Wednesday, May 18, 2011
My dear and patient reader,
As you may remember from chapter one of Frank Cumby’s story, the now 52-year old Frank was 23 when he found out that the love of his life was pregnant with his son, whom they would name Matthew. Okay, I can almost see you rolling your eyes from here, so let’s just get one thing out of the way right now. If you’ve followed this story so far you already know that Frank is a terribly bitter, ugly shell of man now, working a job he hates and leading a soulless existence. And here we are, talking about the love of his life, his soon to be son, and how great of a guy Frank was back then. I know what you are thinking. We’re about to (predictably) find out that Frank’s son was born with a terminal illness or that his wife died during pregnancy. And, of course, that caused Frank to turn bitter. No, my intelligent but misinformed reader, none of that is the case at all. You see, Frank’s wife and child were not taken from him. He was taken from them.
The defining moment, the transformation of Frank, happened while Frank’s beautiful wife was very healthy and still very pregnant. Frank was working as a young editor for Life and Music Today magazine, and he had taken off work a few hours early on this particular Tuesday to be with his wife. It was only a ten minute drive home, but Frank would never make it there, and the following events would change his life forever. Before I get to those events, maybe I should mention that it could be more appropriate to say that Frank’s choice to ignore the following events is what would change his life forever. But that seems awfully hard on poor old Frank.
It all started when Frank was walking through the parking deck behind his office. He reached into his pocket to grab his car keys but came up empty. Frank was a very careful young man, and he was absolutely certain that he had his keys in his pocket all day. It was enough to send chills down Frank’s spine when he saw his keys, with their distinctive Matthew 22:37-39 engraved cross key chain still attached, lying directly in the middle of his car seat.
Frank eventually got tired of beating on all four of his locked doors, swallowed his pride, and called security for help. After what felt like an hour long ordeal in carefully constructed humiliation, Frank was in his car and on the way home to his wife. He was no more than a mile into his trip when he thought he heard a faint voice say: “No, Frank.” It was enough to make him swing his head around to the back seat to see who was there. No one was. “I must be losing my mind,” he nervously chuckled aloud. Further down the road, Frank heard the voice again, this time much clearer and louder: “NO, Frank.” He could no longer ignore it. “God? I don’t know what is going on, but I need to get home to my wife. I know you wouldn’t say no to that. Please don’t.” Frank was a very spiritual man, but the only thing he could focus on at this moment was his wife and his soon to be family. They were everything to him.
When Frank got on Highway 63, the sign was flashing “Exit 139 closed.” 139 was Frank’s exit. When Frank got to the exit, however, he realized that it was not closed at all. Perhaps a glitch with the sign? (Hey reader, are you picking up on the not-so-subtle clues yet? Turn back Frank! Idiot! What are you doing?!) Turning off his exit, stopped at the traffic light, Frank was startled by a tall slender man in a sharp black suit.
The man started knocking on Frank’s window. He was standing in the middle of the street, wearing dark sunglasses and a sheepish grin. The man looked something like an anorexic FBI agent. He flashed some sort of badge on the window and motioned for Frank to roll down his window. As Frank lowered his window, he realized just how sickly this man looked. The man did not say a word, but Frank nervously fumbled through his wallet for his license. As Frank was looking down into his wallet, the man reached through the window and grabbed both of Frank’s shoulders and began to shake him violently. Frank could see that the man in the black suit was smiling, his teeth rotten and brown. His breath smelled of decay and dirt. Frank tried fighting back, knocking the man’s sunglasses off. He had yellow, glassed over eyes. Clearly the man was blind, yet each of his eyes stared directly at Frank. In the midst of the struggle, the man knocked Frank’s head against the side of the car door. Everything went black.
Frank woke up in the same clothes he was in before his struggle with the man in the black suit, without a scratch anywhere on him. The man was gone, and nothing seemed to be missing. Even the keys were left in the car, sans key chain. The cross key chain...it was the only item missing. Frank was still in the center of Carmichael street off of exit 139, but everything seemed a little different. There was an odd yellowish haze to the sky, the ground, the buildings... to everything. Frank pulled out his cell phone. First he called his wife. The operator said the number did not exist. Next, he tried his best friend Jack Scone. The call went through to the Moralez family, a name Frank did not recognize. Going through the list, none of Frank’s contact numbers went through to the people he knew. “What is happening? Am I dead? Is this Hell?”
Frank went through his clothes, seeing if he could find anything. There was one crumpled sheet of paper in his pants pocket. Frank unraveled the paper. "It's my McDonald’s receipt from lunch." Frank threw the scrap to the ground, but quickly noticed some writing on the back. These words were scribbled: Remember your real name. “What? My name is Frank Cumby….Frank…Cumby…that doesn’t seem right…my parents wouldn’t have named me Frank…who names their kid “Frank” these days? My parents…would they have named me Frank? I just need to get home. Where…is home?” Young Frank Cumby collapsed to the ground. He could not decide whether to weep or scream, so he lay there silently.
So, dear reader, the Frank you had been previously introduced to is a man who does not remember his past, not even his wife or his unborn son. He is a man who has no chance of living the life he was meant for. He does not even remember the Voice in his ear saying, “No, Frank.” Frank is a man who was pulled to Hell without even knowing it. Frank is a man who has become so complacent with his miserable life that he does not even remember the foul creature in a black suit who took everything from him and sent him here. These events, hastily explained to you, and the 29 following years spent here, created the Frank Cumby of this story so far. But let us not dwell on the past, when it is the current Frank Cumby you want to know about.
Surely, kind reader, there is not a chance in Hell for such a miserable, unfortunate soul to find even a scrap of hope to hold onto.
By the way, my inquisitive (and did I mention rather handsome) reader, those verses on Frank’s long lost cross key chain: Matthew 22:37-39
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Frank’s alarm goes off. Time for another miserable day at work. “Blagh! Stupid neighborhood kids kept me up all night with their dang Nintendo games. I could hear that mental clown Mario jumping all the way from my house!” On the way out, Frank notices something shiny in the grass. It looks...familiar.
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 4:39 PM
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Recently, General Motors announced their new "city cars" (see picture above). Or as I like to call them, motorized scooters for two people at once. As I was admiring this new way to avoid walking, I started thinking of other ideas that could save precious calories. By burning fewer calories doing mundane tasks, we free up more energy for doing the things we love, such as: watching TV, eating, and writing dumb blogs. So, without further delay, I present my TOP FIVE INVENTIONS FOR LAZY PEOPLE (SORRY I HIT CAPS LOCK).
5. The Mobile Weenie
Do you love eating delicious hot dogs from the comfort of your couch, but hate getting up, walking to the fridge, boiling the hot dog, and putting mustard on the bun? You are not alone! My invention is a small three-wheeled vehicle which can store up to 11 hot dogs, pre-heated and already on the bun. By using any standard TV remote, you can guide the Mobile Weenie to your couch. A press of the button, and a fresh hot dog is launched at your face. The deluxe Ultra Weenie Package includes a high speed fan which chops your delicious hot dog meal into bite size pieces, then hurls the pieces toward your mouth area. I expect this one will also be a big hit at ball parks, where the annoyance of walking to the concession can stand can burn up to 15 calories. What a wasted effort!
4. Best Buy TV Regeneration
I hope to complete negotiations with Best Buy on this idea soon. The plan is to have Best Buy automatically deliver a new TV to your house whenever new technology arrives every month. Tired of your ho-hum high definition plasma LED TV? Me too! With this service, Best Buy will deliver a hot new 3-D TV to your house, and throw your old one away for you. You don't even have to get off your couch! And the best part is, when they take your old TV away, you will get a coupon for 10% off installation of the new TV! And if you are tired of shopping for movies, the delivery guy will even pick out your movie collection for you....No more tiring decisions. Amazing!
3. The Relationship Accelerator
This handy device is actually a cell phone app that you will be able to download from my website. In order to save all of the energy it takes going on needless dates and having tiring conversations, this program can predict the relationship's chances of success before it even begins! The Relationship Accelerator senses vibes from both people involved, then generates a number. Anything in the 7-10 range indicates that a second date is worth the energy involved. A 4-6 range indicates that you should only pursue a second date if American Idol has ended for the season and you have nothing better to do. But beware that friendship is the likely result. Anything under a 4 isn't worth your energy, even if both people involved feel strongly for each other. You could have dozens of pointless conversations with the other party before you discover what the Relationship Accelerator has already told you! Remember, even small tasks like talking burn unnecessary calories.
Rollo is one of my most controversial inventions. You know all those moments in between the fun parts of life? Such as: getting out of bed, walking to your car, walking to your couch, walking the dog, etc... I have good news! Rollo is a specially designed modern marvel which looks like a large metal belt around your waste. But, if you say the magic word, "Roll!", little wheels pop out of the belt, a mild electric shock knocks you to the ground, and Rollo takes care of the rest! Now, you can literally roll out of bed...and keep on rolling all the way to your car! Imagine, you are standing in Walmart and you see the last box of double-filled cream cheese pastries all the way on aisle 15. While all the losers around you are walking, you will collapse onto your face and start rolling all the way to that delicious confectionery treat! Watch as shoppers around you stare in envy and laugh in delight at the awesomeness that is you!
1. Internet ShoppingI am ordering some books off Amazon.com to research if this kind of thing has been attempted before.
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 6:23 PM
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sometimes, it’s the small things in life that cause us the most pain. Maybe it’s because those things are so small that we find it easy to ignore them, not realizing those little things will pile up and one day change who we are.
For example, one day Frank was running late for work. This was years before he landed his crappy job at Happy Place Toys. Before that, he had worked at the local paper, writing trite articles about local politicians and award winning squash plants. But Frank took his job seriously, ensuring that his readers got the very best articles on freakishly giant squash and disturbingly short politicians. After a few years, Frank’s dream came true and he was offered a job as an editor for Life and Music Today, a classy magazine based in Frank’s hometown of Manchester, Tennessee. Frank never had any musical talent, but he had an oddly strong connection to music. It made him feel alive. So Frank was one of those rare guys who could actually tell you that he loved his job, and you knew he meant it. But on one particular Wednesday, Frank was distracted and hurried. Perhaps due to his distractedness, Frank ran over a cat. It was probably a stray, but Frank felt terrible. What if the cat belonged to some kid? After all, Frank was about to be a dad, and he was always extra sensitive about these kinds of things. He felt so bad that he decided to call his wife, Angela. Normally, Angela would have comforted Frank, telling him it wasn’t his fault and that he was a good man. This time, possibly thanks to the pregnancy playing cruel games with her emotions, Angela started crying and accused Frank of being careless. After that, Frank often thought twice before admitting anything he felt guilty about to his wife. It’s the little things that change us.
Or a better example might be that one Sunday after church, when Frank overheard sweet Mrs. Betty Dupree talking about how he must have a tight rope on his wife, because “you just never see poor Angela smiling”. Frank was hurt by this, and he wondered if everyone thought he wasn't good to his wife. In reality, Angela always felt blessed with Frank by her side. He treated her like the queen of a small country and never once really lost his cool with her, not the way most men do after spending a few years with the same woman. Angela was just more of a thinker than most the other young women at church, and thinkers don't smile as much, not on the outside anyways. Still, after Betty Dupree’s comments, Frank always felt awkward when people asked about his wife. He forgot why he felt awkward and eventually forgot about Betty's careless comments, but that little thing changed Frank.
However, dear reader, it was no little thing that created the Frank you have come to know. Heavens no, that took a very big thing indeed.
To be continued in chapter 3...
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 6:22 PM
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Forget the Oscars…This is the:
"Year in Trevor’s Life" Awards!
2009 has come and gone, and now the time has come to award the people, events, and stuff in Trevor’s life from this past year. What is the purpose of these awards? Come on, it’s awards! Everyone loves awards.
*Please note, these awards may not actually cover the most important parts of Trevor's life from 2009. Think of it more as a grab bag filled with mostly inconsequential randomness.
Biggest surprise: Getting my own place before the end of the year….in Claremont?!
Biggest Letdown: Ramen noodles are not as nutritious as home cooked meals.
Best Television show from a past year: Arrested Development
Best Television show (current): Lost
Best source of random knowledge: Derek
Best partner in comedy, and crime: Johnny
Lead the flock (best pastor): Chuck
The one that ran away (best runner): Amy
Best author of actual books and not just stupid blogs like this one: Joyce
Most awkward in a social setting but getting good at it: Trevor
Best at eliciting a reaction of shock in a social setting: Johnny
Best excuse for being late for work: "It was snowing!"
Most disturbing comment: "I could eat a person before I could eat a rat."
Most prominent feeling of the year: Lethargy
Runner up for most prominent feeling of the year: Hope
Biggest source of disappointment: Good people using God as a weapon against those with a “smaller faith.”
Story least likely to be completed: Frank Cumby
Most likely to marry my brother: Casey
Best proof that my brother has always been the lucky one: Casey
Most likely to run a Marathon: Amy
Most likely to beat world 8 in Super Mario Brothers: Johnny and Trevor
Thank you to everyone who participated in life this year. May 2010 be a year to remember. It better be, because the world ends in 2012 anyways.
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 8:16 AM
Monday, February 8, 2010
While you, the patient readers, wait for the assuredly miserable chapter 2 of Frank Cumby's story, I (your sluggish author) thought you might want to know what Frank was up to last week. So here it is:
Monday: Frank went in to work (at 8:03 of course) and grumbled aloud at what a real dump the building was, and how most the machinery wouldn't pass code in Mexico, much less here in the U.S. of A.
Tuesday: Frank went in to work and complained about his turkey sandwich. If the grocery stores weren't owned by the terrorists he could have afforded roast beef.
Wednesday: Wednesday was so insignificant that no one remembers what Frank did that day.
Thursday: Frank went in to work and lost his concentration when thinking about how much he hated being there, thereby sewing the heads of 346 Care Bear dolls onto the bodies of 346 "Super Military Action" G.I. Joe dolls,complete with assault rifles and bayonets. Many children will be paralyzed with fear as a result.
Friday: Frank went in to work and thanked God it was Friday, then remembered he didn't believe in God. He promptly remembered that he didn't believe in anything else either.
Saturday-Sunday: Frank stayed inside.
Chapter 2 coming soon.
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 6:45 PM
Monday, February 1, 2010
Dear Reader, the following is the first chapter of a short story about a man named Frank Cumby. If there is any demand for a continuation, Frank's story will be completed. If not, he will fade into obscurity, which is probably what Frank would want anyways. He's not a likeable guy, so we both understand if you want him to go away and never come back. Just know that Frank doesn't like you either. Not one little bit.
Frank Cumby hated his life. He hated every awful second of it. Frank was fifty-two years old but felt twice that, just based on the number of crappy years he could remember. He was always disappointed when he went to bed at night but was way more disappointed when he woke up. Frank had no friends and no family, at least none he ever wanted to see again. His wife had left him years ago. He treated his neighbors like crap, and he treated his coworkers like crap. Frank even found little ways to make sure his pets weren't all that happy. He fed his cat dog food and fed his dog cat food. He fed his goldfish Goldfish snack crackers just for the sick irony. Frank worked in a factory where they had lots of extra packaging material, so every day when he got home from work, he tossed out those little white foam peanuts in his lawn just to watch the birds peck at it and fly away disappointed.
Frank's most despicable habit was throwing empty beer cans at the neighborhood kids who were dumb enough to get within throwing range, and Frank didn’t even drink beer. He just preferred empty beer cans for throwing because they made the stickiest mess when they popped a kid right in back of the head. He knew the little yard apes would go home crying with sticky beer in their hair. He liked to think that the children's parents would say something like: “You smell like a common street drunk! Go to bed without supper and you're grounded for a year and your father will always be disappointed in you.” This was the one hobby that gave Frank a feeling of something close to inner joy. And yes, it was very much a hobby. Frank would pilfer through his drunk neighbor's recyclables several times a week just to get all the Busch and Budweiser ammunition he could find. He only took the cans that still had a little smelly beer left in the bottom. Frank was a mean old bastard.
Frank woke up at 7:21 every morning, which was the last possible minute he could wake up and still make it to his crappy job at “Happy Place Toys” by 8:03. Frank had learned many years ago that the punch-in clock only counted you late if you came in at 8:04 or later. Frank despised his job. He hated it more each of the twenty-one years he had been there. The only thing on this earth he disliked more than his job was children, and he made stupid children’s toys for a living. Well, he didn’t so much make them as just screw the head onto the “Super Turd Action Man” doll that was all the rage at the moment. Or maybe it was Tickle Me Elmo, who knows. It's not as if Frank cared.
But Frank had a secret. And it was a true secret because no person living within five hundred miles of Frank knew his secret. You see, Frank's life was not always a cesspool of filthy habits and bitterness and anger. Twenty-seven years ago, after four years of wonderful marriage to the woman he’d loved since he was old enough to go to the bathroom by himself, Frank found out he was going to be a daddy. He hoped it was a boy. Frank was always fond of the name Matthew. His son's name would be Matthew.
To be continued in Chapter 2…
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 4:33 PM
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Up the elevator he goes,
Stands still and nervous,
Stares out glass windows,
Might jump off on purpose.
Up up up,
Still going up,
Up.. up.. up..
God it’s a long way up.
Past bank office employees,
Past the secret lovers,
With a marriage destroyed,
While pigeons find cover.
Twenty-six stories tall,
People below are crumbs,
He can’t see them at all,
When he holds up his thumb.
Near the rooftop,
Lump building in back of his throat,
On the rooftop,
Wonder if I can float?
Down, down, down,
God it’s a long way down.
Posted by Trevor Franklin at 6:20 AM