Action Men with Duct Tape, Part 5 (Mystery Comedy Serial)

User:Lar, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

Early, the next morning, after loading Lars, Jack’s Volvo, with boxes of product and display banners, I woke the kids. Bronwyn had taken up temporary residence on an air mattress in Jack’s home office.

I knocked and opened the door. “Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey,” I said.

For what seemed like several minutes, she stared at me through the slits of her eyelids without saying anything. Finally, she said, “Is there eggs and bakey?”

This is part of a series. You can just jump in and try to follow as with a movie in progress or you can go to the links for previous episodes. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.

“Uh … no,” I said. Jack and I do not cook. “We have cereal and toast … or, rather, we have bread with the potential of becoming toast. I’m not sure I’d risk it though. Sometimes, the toaster spits out bread that has failed to become toast and, sometimes, it spits out charcoal.”

Photo by Leti Kugler on Unsplash

Bronwyn fell backwards onto the air mattress like a toppling domino and did not move.

“No!” I said. “Clothes on body.” Somehow, I spontaneously adopted a kind of cave man language, as if this was easier for the half-asleep mind to understand. “Outside go.” I pointed out the window. “In car drive.” I pantomimed this also, with my hands on an imaginary steering wheel. Somehow, I had created a language that was halfway between a now politically incorrect Tonto talk and Yoda speak.

The domino righted itself again. “Food in stomach.”

“Fine. Hurry. Get dressed.” I looked at my watch. “We have time to take you and Dec out to the place that keeps Uncle Jack and I alive, before heading into the city. You can get eggs and bakey and … other things Jack and I are incapable of making for you.” I then realized I had to remove myself if I wanted my instructions followed. I walked out and closed the door, trusting that some action other than sleeping would take place.

Dec, thankfully, was already up and dressed, sitting on the couch, reading. Jack was standing nearby, in a squinty-eyed state similar to Bronwyn, a mug of coffee in his hand. He had dressed in clothes … of some sort.

“This is your ensemble?” I asked Jack, looking him up and down.

“Sure. Why not?”

“You know, I’m not even going to argue with it,” I said, “because if there’s anyplace in which this outfit would be appropriate, it’s the New York Toy Fair.”

It is an understatement to say that Jack’s fashion sense is different than mine. He dressed nearly every day like a signboard — a loud, neon signboard — for the toy industry, but, perhaps at the fair, it would be tolerated and possibly appreciated. At the moment, he was sporting a straw trilby hat with a Twister spot hatband, a cobalt blue dress shirt, black and white checkerboard suspenders, a black tie with a design of colorful, floating Tetris shapes and customized Converse shoes printed with Steamboat Willie puffing around the perimeter. A pocket watch dangling from a belt loop featured the faces of Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

I found this on Etsy. This is not an affiliate link. I just thought you might like some visuals of the idea. 🙂

“I can’t decide if you look like you are about to go perform at a children’s party or at a ska festival,” I told him.

“Thanks, Andy,” said Jack.

He would go and take that as a compliment.

“I have an idea for the kids too,” said Jack. “Since Bronwyn was so concerned about being recognized at the event. You were actually onto something yesterday when you mentioned something about a costume for a disguise.” Jack wagged a finger at me.

“I mentioned a hot dog costume … as a joke,” I said. “I think if you are serious about that one, Bronwyn’s eye rolls are going to escalate into actual violence. I believe she knows how to use her powers for good, but keep in mind this is one kid who is wickedly skillful with a pair of nunchuks.”

“Andy,” said Jack. “I’ve been meaning to tell you that you’re a little too prone to hyperbole.”

“Say what?”

“Exaggeration.”

“Right.”

Instead of addressing my question, Jack sat down on the couch beside Dec and pulled out a cell phone. After dialing, he muttered some unknown sounds into the phone. “Hej. Har du et par kostumer, vi kan bruge?”

I’m not an expert linguist, but I can usually at least identify the sounds of Italian, French, Spanish or German. These were sounds I could not even place.

After a few more seconds, Jack said, “Mange tak.”

“What were you just saying?” I asked him. “Please, tell me that you weren’t just talking in Klingon or Elvish to one of your geek friends.”

“No,” said Jack. “If I were talking in Klingon, it would be, ‘nuqneH. vaj, chomaw’chugh, vaj tugh ‘e’ DaHar’a’?’ and then, ‘qatlho’qu’. tugh qalegh.’”

I did a face palm. “I should have known. Does your geekdom know no limits?”

Jack looked up and into the upper right corner for just a second. “No, I don’t think so, Andy.” Then, he gave just a hint of a smile.

“So, it wasn’t Klingon, though you are, apparently, fairly proficient in it. Can you enlighten the rest of us on what that was all about?”

“I was just talking to Johan Nielsen* of the Lego company, and he is going to loan us a couple of costumes for the kids to wear at the fair.”

Photo by Ryan Wallace on Unsplash

I still had more questions than answers at this point, but I couldn’t resist teasing and jabbing at him some more. “So, you were talking Danish, I suppose?” Again, I’m no linguist, but I am a toy man, and I know where Lego is headquartered. “You know an impressive smattering of languages, but I am still willing to bet even money that Niels Jorgensen …”

“Johan Nielsen.”

“Whatever … knows English better than you know Danish.”

Jack just shrugged a shoulder. “It’s always good to keep in practice.”

It might be evil of me, but it somehow made me feel better to remember that Mr. Know-it-all was not, in fact, actually omniscient.

Just then, Bronwyn made her entrance into the living room, wearing the new cupcake design T-shirt she had just picked up at the mall.

“So,” I prodded Jack. “You were saying … costumes? Just exactly what and how …?”

“I’ll explain everything over breakfast.” He pointed to the front door. “To the Salvador Deli.”

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

To be continued …

*Although the Lego company is, of course, very real, Johan Nielsen is purely fictional.

I am pinging Danish blogger friend, Le Drake Noir, (check out his wonderful travel photography,) because I used Google Translate for the Danish phrases in this post, and I thought it would be helpful to have a native speaker check it. Google Translate is not always perfect.

Lastly, if you are enjoying this or other posts in this series, I would love feedback or a comment. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Action Men with Duct Tape, Part 5 (Mystery Comedy Serial)

    1. Ah, thank you so much. That is helpful. Sometimes, you don’t know if you can trust a program to do the work of a human. 🙂

  1. Hopped over here via Drake’s blog to check out the dansk phrasing. Knowing how difficult it has been for me to learn Danish as a second language, I had a chuckle at Jack speaking it over the phone. I tried that over the phone with a native speaker, early on in my language learning and got a confused silence in reply, so had to revert to English! And Google Translate can throw you a dud at times too.

    1. Hi. I’m glad you hopped over. I like to give this character odd little bits of relatively obscure knowledge. Then again, it could have added to the humor if there was some miscommunication over the phone. 😛 I’m sure Danish is probably not the easiest language to learn. I like languages but haven’t tried Danish. I am trying to learn German now on Duolingo. Once, I got curious about Swedish and took a few very basic lessons on the app. Anyway, I’m so glad you stopped by. 🙂

      1. I also use Duolingo – but not for Danish – for Norwegian as it is easier for me to hear the sounds enunciated in Norwegian. The three Scandi languages are all very similar in the written form, but in the spoken form quite different.

  2. Hi. I’m glad you hopped over. I like to give this character odd little bits of relatively obscure knowledge. Then again, it could have added to the humor if there was some miscommunication over the phone. 😛 I’m sure Danish is probably not the easiest language to learn. I like languages but haven’t tried Danish. I am trying to learn German now on Duolingo. Once, I got curious about Swedish and took a few very basic lessons on the app. Anyway, I’m so glad you stopped by. 🙂

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