Day 5: ☼ Carl Lewis the Cucumber ☼

GRAMMY MIAMI AND THE CASE OF A MYSTERIOUS, DISAPPEARING, INTER-DIMENSIONAL SPACE (NOT TIME) TRAVELER NAMED LUCU (A YOUNG, FEMALE, AFRICAN ELEPHANT)

CHAPTER 5

Day 5 Carl Lewis the Cucumber
This is a work of fiction.  Any similarities to any famous, amazing 4-times Gold Medal Olympic winners named Carl Lewis is purely an homage in appreciation for his lifetime achievements.

Day 5:  ☼ Carl Lewis the Cucumber ☼

Carl Lewis the Cucumber is (like all cucumbers) a runner.  Thus he was named for one of the greatest runners of all time, Carl Lewis.

Fredrick Carlton “Carl” Lewis (born July 1, 1961) is an American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996 when he last won an Olympic event and subsequently retired. He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same event in four consecutive Olympic Games.

Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper who topped the world rankings in the 100 meter, 200 meter and long jump events between 1981 and the early 1990’s. He set world records 100- and 200-meter relays, and his world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984.

His 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks. Over the course of his athletics career, Lewis broke ten seconds for the 100 meters 15 times and 20 seconds for the 200 meters 10 times. Lewis also long jumped over 28 feet 71 times.

His accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations and “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee, “Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Athlete of the Year” by Track & Field News in 1982, 1983, and 1984.

After retiring from his athletics career, Lewis became an actor and has appeared in a number of films.

-Carl Lewis, Wikipedia

“The sky is so blue today TC,” said Grammy Miami to her beloved cat companion, Tin City Kitty.

Tin City Kitty, known to his friends, family and in some insect circles simply as “TC” looked at the sky, then nodded.  “You would think, just once, it would change into a new color.  You know? Just to keep things interesting.  Like, every other Tuesday, it could be purple.  Then on Friday’s, it could be ‘TGIF Green,’ or…”

He stopped mid-sentence when Grammy began scratching his chin and ears.  “You’re silly,” she said.  “The only color for the sky is blue, except at sunrise and sunset, and then — so many colors! And different colors every single day.”

She stood up and dusted off her jeans.

“Hey don’t stop now,” said TC.  He was still purring so his words sounded slightly vibrato.

“We have to plant our newest addition to the garden.  He’s a cucumber.”  She picked up the cucumber and showed him to TC.

TC sniffed him then began cleaning his whiskers.  “He looks like a plant.”

“Did you know, cucumbers are runners, not climbers like tomatoes and pole beans.”

TC stopped and looked carefully at the cucumber.  “He doesn’t look that fast to me. I bet I could run circles around him.”  TC sprang up and began to run around Grammy and the cucumber in a circle, all the while keeping up a running commentary.

“Look! He’s just sitting there.  Come on cuke, get up and stretch those leaves!  Ha! Lapped you again! I’m the best runner.  Me! I am! Ha!”

“You know, TC, great runners don’t run all the time.  They need to rest 99.9 percent of the time in order to be able to explode into action 0.1 percent of the time.”

“Ha!  I’m faster than your runner.  Hey I even beat a Great Dane once, you know that loud one that pulls that lady by every day?  He got loose and chased…er, raced me all the way to the park but I beat him by at least half a block.  I stood up in the tree, casually taunting him for the rest of the day until his lady found him.  It was hilarious.”  TC kept running around and round Grammy and the cucumber while talking.

“TC stop!  You’re making me dizzy!” She looked down at the cucumber and said, with a firm nod, “I’m going to name you after the greatest runner I know, Carl Lewis.  I’ve followed  his career my whole life. We’re about the same age, you know TC.”  When he didn’t answer, Grammy looked up.  TC stood totally still and stared at a space to the right of Terrance the Tomato.

“TC, what is it?” asked Grammy.

“Company” whispered TC.  He stayed still but slowly extended his right front paw to point.

At first Grammy couldn’t see anything.  Then a small elephant form began to take shape.

“Lucu!” Grammy exclaimed.

“Shh!” said TC in a fierce whisper.  “She’s having trouble focusing.  Give her a minute to get her and don’t distract her.”

Grammy nodded and watched, fascinated, as Lucu “arrived.”  Slowly, colors began to fill in the space where she sat, like smoke filling a clear, glass, elephant-shaped jar.  Finally, after many moments of silence save for the Djinn Triplets buzzing and many birds calling from the nearby trees, they heard a soft, and slightly breathless voice.

“Oh! I made it!”

“You made it kid.  Good job,” said TC.

“Lucu!” said Grammy.  “It’s so good to see you, dear. Let me call Evie and Millie.  They’ve been wanting to see you too.”

Lucu smiled. “Hello TC.  Hello Grammy. ”  She looked around.  “Your garden has grown since I was here on Monday.”

“Yeah,” said TC.  “We have a few new residents.  Let me introduce you while Grammy makes the call.”

A few minutes later, Lucu was all caught up,  and Grammy held the Face Phone toward Lucu for Evie “Ouiji” Glenhawk, Millie “the Chilly” Glenhawk and Kelly Jean (Jelly Bean, Prettiest Girl I’ve Ever Seen) Glenhawk (Grammy’s granddaughters and daughter) to talk to Lucu.

“Llellyfant,” said Millie.

“Hello Lucu!” said Evie with polite excitement.

“Hello Evie, Millie and Kelly! It is very good to see you again. I am very happy we can talk again today.  How are you?”

“Millie is growing another tooth,” said Evie almost indignantly.  “She keeps doing it!  It makes her cranky and it’s hard to sleep.” Evie yawned.

Grammy turned the phone toward her.  “Oh sweetie! Those teeth are tough customers.  It hurts Millie, but I know how hard it is to lose sleep.  Naps help me a lot when I can get them which isn’t often enough!” Grammy smiled at her girls then turned the phone back to Lucu.

Evie yawned again.  Kelly said, “The girls were about to go up for a nap when you called Mom.”

“Not right now, Mummy!  Lucu is here!”

“Not now,” said Kelly.  “Soon though.”

“Yes,” said Lucu. “I have to go soon too, and I always need a long nap after I travel inter-dimensionally through space.  I’ll need even more sleep when I learn to travel through time.  You will too Evie, when you do it.”

“Me?” asked Evie, blinking in surprise.

“Oh yes!” said Lucu.  “My friend Henrietta said you — oh! Ooops! I wasn’t supposed to tell you anything.  Oh no.”  Lucu bowed her head and covered her trunk with her two front feet.   She sighed.

“It’s okay Lucu, you really didn’t say much,” said Grammy.  “We’re all just so happy to see you again.  Last time you said you needed help.  Can you tell us more about it?”

Lucu looked up then stood up quickly.  “Yes! I can’t forget hat.  We need your help.  All elephants all over the world.  We are dying.  We are dying because of our teeth.  Isn’t that the strangest thing?  It’s called eye-vor-ree i-v-o-r-y in your language.  It started a long time ago but now it’s really bad. ”

Lucu sighed.  “Grammy, please go to your computer when I leave and look up ways to help us.  Then you can write it down for your friends and family.  That will mean a lot.”

I will.  Of course I will Lucu,” Grammy promised.

Author’s Aside:  Here’s what she found:

Six Ways to Help Elephants

  1. (Obviously) don’t buy ivory.
  2. Buy elephant friendly coffee and wood.
  3. Support conservation efforts.
  4. Be aware of the plight of captive elephants.
  5. Adopt an elephant.
  6. Get involved with Roots and Shoots

*(World Wildlife FoundationWorld Animal FoundationBorn Free and Defenders of Wildlife all have adoption programs and are good places to start looking for that special pachyderm.)

from:  Mother Nature Network;  Six Ways to Help Elephants

“I’ll help too,” TC promised.

“We will too!” said Evie.

“Yes, of course,” said Kelly while Millie simply smiled and nodded.

“Thank you all so much. I have to go.’

Poof!

Lucu was gone.

Everyone was silent for a moment.  Then Evie said, “Grammy what do you think Lucu meant about me being a space and time traveler too?”

“Well,” said Grammy, “I’m not sure, but it does sound fun doesn’t it?”

“Yes! said Evie, her blue eyes dancing.

“Well Mom, time to get the girls down for a nap.  Evie, take your sister in and wash her face. I’ll be right in.”

“Okay Mummy.  Bye Grammy. Bye TC.  Millie,” she said to her sister, “say goodbye to everyone.”

“Bye to levvy won!” Millie smiled and waved.

Grammy blew kisses to her granddaughters then smiled at her daughter when they were gone.  “Before you go, one more thing Kel.  Remember those two stories I wrote a few years ago about time and space travel with Evie in the future?*

“Oh, right.  Weird.  You don’t think…I dunno…maybe Lucu didn’t know those were fiction and someone read them to her or to her friend Henerietta?”

“Maybe,” said Grammy.  “Or maybe Evie will be a traveler and I just tuned in to…”

“Sure Mom.  Well, nice to see you, bye.”

“See ya Kel,” said TC.

“Bye!”

The Face Phone went dark in Grammy’s hand.  She stared at it a moment then looked at TC.  “We better get Carl in the ground and give him lots of water. ”

“Sounds like a plan. You do that.”  TC snickered.  “Carl the Cucumber, a ‘runner’ — ha!”

“Oh really TC?” said Grammy.  “Look where Carl is now.  I was holding his box, and I’m still here. I haven’t moved. Right?”

TC narrowed his eyes. ” Right.  So?”

“Well Carl is now all the way down at the end of the yard. ”

“Wait, what?! How in the heck did he do that?”

‘I told you he’s fast,” said Grammy with a smile.

TC just scratched his head with his back paw, started at Carl a moment, then trotted over to his favorite seat in the sun and fell asleep.

Author’s Aside: *Trail Sketch and Snap Shot are two fictional stories and part of a 12-story compilation coming soon as a digital Amazon book called Twelve Tales which supports the work of my heart-song, under1000skies.

meanwhile

CUCUMBER-GROWING TIPS

from Burpee

All About Cucumbers

Two Important Tips

To improve overall cucumber production, consider using the following two techniques. Use black or brown plastic mulch. Because a warm, moist soil is essential for top production, use dark plastic mulch on the cucumber bed. This will speed up growth and increase yields by conserving soil moisture and maintaining a high soil temperature. The mulch will also keep weeds at bay.

Think vertical! When planning the garden, consider growing vining cucumber varieties like ‘Sweet Success’ and ‘Tasty Green’ vertically on a trellis, fence, or other support. This makes the best use of garden space by containing the vines and keeping them from sprawling throughout the garden, as well as keeping the fruits clean and straight as they develop above the ground. Researchers have proven that growing cucumbers vertically dramatically increases yields because the vines receive better air circulation and more sunlight than vines on the ground.

 

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