Always Be Prepared

“Hey, look here,” Jim said, looking through a box in the attic. His cousin Charlie glanced inside. Row upon row of 8mm film canisters lay neatly stacked on the bottom.

“Sweet,” Charlie commented. “I wonder what they are?”

Jim opened and unspooled part of a reel. “Maybe they’re from all those Cub Scout camping trips Grandpa took us on when we were young. Hard to tell since we don’t have a projector. But my friend Bill can convert these to DVD.”

“I wonder why it was buried under all these scarves,” Charlie said, as he let some of the sheer material slip through his fingers.

Jim shrugged. “Beats me, but I’ll get these to Bill right away.”

* * *

Three weeks later, Charlie answered the door. Jim stood there, a crooked smile on his face.

“Have I got a surprise for you.” He held up a DVD.

“Is that Cannibal Vixens from Mars?”

“No, you dingleberry. It’s those movies we found in the attic.”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Oh, it’s probably Grandpa belching the Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Oh, just you wait,” Jim replied.

They proceeded to put the disk in the player.  After the inevitable 4-3-2-1 countdown, they were greeted by a soundless and grainy black and white image of a stage in a clubhouse, with a pole in the center.  Men with drinks in their hands sat at tables surrounding the stage. A smoky haze rose from the cigarettes in ashtrays.

“What is this?  An Elk’s Club meeting?” Charlie muttered with disdain.

A man came out and announced something.  Charlie snorted, then spoke derisively, “And now for tonight’s entertainment, Joe the taxidermist will stuff a possum.”

Instead, a woman covered in scarves stepped onto the stage and started moving provocatively, gliding over to the pole.  Periodically a hand would pull off one of the pieces of fabric and let it fall to the ground.

Charlie guffawed.  “Ha, a stag film. Who knew Gramps lived dangerously?”

“Someone did,” Jim replied.

Charlie looked at him sidelong.  The routine continued, and scarves piled up at the woman’s feet.  “You know that woman is kind of a hotty.”

Jim burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

Jim looked at him.  “Look at her face,” he replied.

Charlie stared.  The face was familiar.  He’d seen it somewhere.  The film must have been made in the 50’s, or over 60 years ago.  The math clicked into place as a wave of nausea passed through Charlie.  “Oh sweet Jesus,” he choked out.  “That couldn’t be–”

“It is,” Jim interjected.

“Oh, God no,” Charlie stammered. “Grandma?!”

“Yup, sure is.”

The woman wrapped a leg around the pole, reached up and took hold of the post with her hands.  Then in one long, slow movement, she raised her other leg above her head.

Jim nodded. “She was pretty flexible back in the day.”  The last of the scarves dropped off.  “And who knew they had Brazilian’s back then?”

Charlie shook his head in horror, rubbing his eyes with his fists.  “Oh, I wish I had a memory sponge.  What should we do with this?”

“Guess what I’m putting in Grandpa’s stocking for Christmas,” Jim said popping the DVD out of the player.

“Don’t forget the digitalis,” Charlie said.

“I’ve got a better idea,” Jim answered holding up two boxes.

Charlie squinted. Jim held a sample of Cialis and a box of condoms. “You are a sick man.”

Jim wagged a finger at him. “Now, now, remember what he taught us in Scouts.”

They spoke in unison, “Always be prepared.”

3 thoughts on “Always Be Prepared

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