“I’d like to introduce you to my grandfather.” I cautiously said to my new fiancé. It was her first time being invited over to the big family Christmas get together, and despite all the hootenanny in the kitchen and living room, my grandfather sat isolated in the sitting room. It’s something we in the family just got used to in the last dozen or so years during his sometimes pretty funny decline into that hazy brain fuzz condition.
“Oh,” she squeaked, blushing nervously, “Okay”
I took her by her sweaty, clammy hands and dragged her a little too quickly away from the ruckus with half drunk plodding. Her too fancy heels clacked on the floor boards, echoing louder and obnoxiouser with every step further from the kitchen and rumpus room. That clatter, along with my stumble bumps, perked up old Grandfather’s ears and attention. He looked up at us with cautious suspicion.
We called him Wizzy behind his back because of his unbelievably wizened look. Nary a hairy grew upon his shar pei wrinkled skull, nor upon his bulldog jowls, nor nor upon his bloodhound neck. There was a pretty thick and wild tuft of grey shrubbery protruding from his chest and poking from his stained wife-beater shirt. According to Grandmother, that shirt never earned its name, but I didn’t feel the need to call out Grandfather for the poser that he was. It was the holidays!
My fiancé burped in that cute way other girls have been doing in the videos lately. Grandfather looked agitatedly flummoxed.
“Okay, here’s Grandfather. Umm, he has Alzheimer’s, so just have some patience with him” I gestured to the thing wrapped around his head, “He’s wearing a helmet that helps him remember things.”
I took a wobbly knee and pressed my forefinger into Grandfather’s thigh, pressing the corduroy clad leathery flesh a few times to really focus his mind. I had gotten used to digging between the muscle fibers to do it.
The thing on his head was almost like a visor, but without the long bill to fend off the sun rays. A cool blue glow emanated from large discs around the temples. Over his large, hair filled ears, thick black cords ran down into a belt mounted battery pack the size of a lunchbox. A pleasant hum resonated from that pack.
“Grandfather?” I swirled my fingertip in his unresponsive old man thigh flesh, “This is Rachel! Can you say ‘hi’ to Rachel?”
His grey eyes looked at me then slowly up to Rachel who stifled a champagne burp (not the cute kind), cheeks rosy and full. Then his pallid eyes rolled back over to me. He nervously furrowed his brow.
“Sure, uhh, umm, you’re…”
The blue lights at his temples turned red and a surge of electricity blasted into Grandfather’s brain.
Grandfather gritted his teeth and convulsed in the grey recliner he had settled into hours ago. The armrests of which were worn down to the pseudowood frame.
“Gaaahhh! Motherfuck fucker fuaah! Jesse! Yes! Ahh fuck, you’re Jesse!”
I smiled warmly, “Grandfather, yeah! I’m Jesse! Your grandson! You actually remembered!”
I turned back to Rachel with a goofy smile and shook my head at this marvelous achievement in science. I grabbed her butt on accident to bring her in closer and pointed my chicken finger fingering finger right at the beads of temple sweat surrounding the remembering device. “He remembered! This thing works wonders!”
Rachel nervously nodded in agreement, saying nothing and shifting her weight drunkenly. She waved at Grandfather with a timid little tittle of the fingers.
Grandfather, sweating and breathing heavily, looked over at Rachel and squinted. “Who is this?”
“FAAAUUHCK-KER! Motherfuckingfuck! Gaahaha!” Grandfather wailed as the light again went red and blasted his brain with however many volts it took to get his mind right. Technology really is something else, and I remember thinking, as Grandfather stiffened and flopped in his recliner like a stunned fish out of water, that we’ve really come a long way as a society. No longer does a man, or I guess a woman, too, need to struggle with embarrassing memory stutters. That miracle head visor thing was like a shuttlebus siren to alert you to your stop.
He started foaming at the mouth. His knuckles were bone white as his fingernails gripped and dug into the recliner trying to remember Rachel’s name. I grabbed onto his hot shoulders and yelled a bit, “Rachel! It’s Rachel! This is my fiancé, Rachel!”
Finally he stopped seizing and the light went back to blue.
“Okay, okay. I got it now.” He coughed and wiped the bloody spittle with the back of his liver spotted hand. “I’m going to make sure to remember that name.” He threw his head back and tried to catch his breath. His eyes were bloodshot and watering. That must have been the Alzheimer’s melting away.
Rachel shuffled forward and held out her limp, wet hand out for a handshake. Grandfather considered the flaccid greeting and furrowed his brow. Slowly, hesitantly, slightly trembling, he extended his own ancient hand to meet hers. His suspicious eyes darted back towards me.
“Ah, and who’s… Who’s this again?”
The crackling of thousands of volts ripped through the airwaves. Grandfather stood straight up and shrugged his shoulders as high as they could go. With his lips stretched as wide as possible, his yellow and grey teeth were fully exposed, grinding powerfully. He shook back and forth, kept upright but a force of nature I could not even comprehend. He was muttering, gasping through his teeth. Those old, pale eyes were bugging, bulging from his soft skull. So full of life! It was like I could see the memories returning to him! Renewed youth sizzled through his bag o’ bones body! Without even realizing it, I squeezed my fiancé’s butt hard enough to make her yelp, but in that cute way from those videos, kinda like the burps.
Still spasming, he managed to sling his arm forward again like the crack of a whip, clasping with my fiancé’s. In an instant, she was feeling the memory improving power of that anti-Alzheimer’s visor. It was amazing! I let go of her butt because my hand got tingly. She screamed and tippy tap danced on the hardwood until finally her ankles gave out simultaneously with a wet pop. She fell to the ground with all the grace of a burlap sack half-stuffed with unused dildos.
Her hair was a mess, frizzed and big. Her limbs were stiff, unnaturally defying gravity. She looked such a mess, and I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. The light went back to blue on Grandfather’s visor and he plopped back in his chair like a cooked noodle.
Sighing and working his sore jaw back and forth, he groaned, “Right, right. That’s Rachel. You told me that…” He grabbed his lukewarm eggnog from the side table and throated the full mug. “I remember, I remember.” Then he started laughing. It was a dry, exhausted laugh, nothing too hardy-ho, but it was genuine. He set the nog mug down, shattering it.
My fiancé coughed and sprung back up to a sitting position with a wheeze. She caught her breath, saw me and Grandfather sharing a chuckle, and then she broke out into the fun herself. Then the family chuckled in from the rumpus room trying to record everything so we could all watch this all unfold again in the following years.
The best part is, Grandfather remembered the whole thing! For all the Christmases to come, every time I brought a few fiancé around, he was able to remember that first time I introduced him to Rachel with minimal electric shock to the dome. We even got him the rubber teeth he kept talking about so that he can lean into the shocks a little better.
Each Christmas I’d tote around another drunk fiancé, wobbling hilariously dangerously from my extended family’s raucous rumpus room alcohol slingings, and bring her forth to meet my Grandfather. A red glow would be coming from his quiet recliner den, but that soft red light would be harshly juxtaposed with guttural grunting and blaring snaps of electricity. My fiancés were always scared to be brought into to meet but much too tipsy to do anything about it. I’d laugh, causing her to laugh in a reactionary way when we would turn the corner fully and see my consulting grandfather thrash around as if he were strapped in an old fashioned electric chair.
His eyes would lock with mine and the light on his anti-memory loss visor would flip to a cool, calm blue. Those spittle covered lips would curl deviously as his demeanor became more focused. That thing really did the trick.
“Ahh, and who might this fine, young, new woman be?” He’d question playfully, puffing his chest out to show off his aged brawn built by electric shock.
I loved this part. Grandfather was the best.
I’d introduce the lady, “Oh her? This is my fiancé, Meredith,” playing right into his little game. And I’d shove her forward and watch her eyes go wide as she barely balanced on her stumblefeets. Grandfather would just look at me with that devious old man smile.
“Fiancé? Oh that’s right. I’ve met her before. This young lady before me is… Rachel!”
Before the blue could change to red, he’d lunge forward and smother my fiancé with wiry strength that she surely could wriggle free from. To jog his memory, his visor would flip to red and waste no time shooting him full of shocks, and that voltage would travel almost unabated into the flummoxed body of my then fiancé. Grandfather would grip her shoulder and jaw tightly. His muscles would twitch and tense. My fiancé’s body would convulse wildy, and my family would be right there at the doorway having a good old fashioned chuckle fit while they film the whole thing.
My fiancés usually, and despite the nearly unbearable agony of being grandfather sizzled, would do their best to contort their electrified faces into a smile for the cameras. Those always got a lot of views and I started to wonder if ladies only goaded me into proposing so that they could get funny shocked into my next million dollar video.
Grandfather never felt better. He was as spry as he was when he was knee high to a grasshopper. All it took was for me to bring around a fiancé once a year for him to electrocute, and he remembered it all. He remembered every single fiancé and never once mentioned grandmother.
I tell ya, technology these days is truly astonishing.Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in