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Shell Shocked: The brother and sister act

By Staff | Aug 1, 2018

Art Stevens

And then it dawned on me. He was sparing his sister from the consequences of his acts. He loved his sister and wanted her to hate him for what he did and was.

No, this won’t work. I write a humor column not a whodunit. I’d need to come up with specific characters, their background, the demons they carry around with them and their motives. Too much work. I’d rather hit a funny bone than land a punch to the jaw.

Let’s try this instead. A funny thing happened on the way to the Sanibel City Council meeting the other day. There was a protest going on. Hundreds of alligators carried signs that said “make love not shoes.” They didn’t think they were getting fair treatment in Sanibel. And they were tired of being second-class citizens. In point of fact, they weren’t citizens at all. The founders of our country didn’t give women the right to vote. And they also discouraged any mass congregation by alligators.

Alligators were relegated to swamps and were denied entry to Sanibel’s restaurants. The protest was peaceful. The alligators kept their jaws shut out of respect for democratic values. They could intimidate humans another day.

One alligator in particular was sparing his sister from the consequences of his acts. He loved his sister and wanted her to hate him for what he did and was.

Wait. I’m repeating myself. Now I’m not clear who was sparing his sister – the guy next door or the swamp alligator. Both have sisters. Why do I keep coming back to a love-hate relationship between a brother and a sister?

Let’s go in another direction. The checkout clerk at Bailey’s noticed something strange. A woman wearing a white dress was wheeling her cart through one of the aisles and took items off the shelves and placed them in her cart. But a closer look revealed that she was pretending to take items off the shelves because her cart was empty.

She would wheel her cart a few feet, pause, and review the food items in front of her. Then she would nod gently as though she had made an important decision and put her hands around a jar of apple sauce. She then went through the motion of placing the jar in her cart but she didn’t have anything in her hands. It was pure pantomime.

The checkout clerk motioned to the manager and suggested that he do something about this situation. The manager placed himself behind the woman and she once again placed her hands around another food item – a package of spaghetti. But again she put nothing but air into her cart. He played along. “I hate to interrupt your shopping. But there’s a great sale here today. You get two packages of spaghetti for the price of one.”

The woman smiled at him and reached for another package of spaghetti. Again she wrapped her hands around the package but left it on the shelf as she pantomimed placing it in her cart. Her cart remained totally empty.

She saw the puzzled look on the store manager’s face and said quietly, “I’m sparing my brother from the consequences of my acts. I love my brother and want him to hate me for what I did and was.”

I’ve now repeated that paragraph three times. What is compelling me to write this way? I know why. Infectious psychoses rule the air in Sanibel. All Sanibel brothers and sisters want to spare their siblings from the consequences of their acts. It’s clear to me now. Invisible forces are at work inside my brain. Hate, love. Love, hate. Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of siblings? The Shadow does.