"Free for a good reason"

Back on Page Four we introduced a new feature called The WV Surf Report Short Story Album. It proved to be, by far, our most popular piece, so we're doing it again. This time we're doing Cheap Trick's Dream Police album. Side one is presented here and Side Two will be on Page Nine. Hope you like it. -Jeff

Dream Police 

Benny Jackson was obsessed with Maria Morgan. She was on his mind as he drifted off to sleep every night. And she was the first thing he thought of as his mind cleared in the morning. He often dreamt of her. The frustrating aspect of Benny Jackson's obsession was the fact that he had never spoken to Maria Morgan and he feared he never would.
Benny was shy and felt like a prisoner. He would set a date, circle it on his calendar and chart his plan of attack. But when the day to talk to Maria would finally arrive he'd fall out and abandon his plans. Then, with teeth all baking soda clean, he'd slink back to his room and listen to The Police.
The Police was his second obsession. He found they had a calming effect and helped to steel his confidence. He believed that after a healthy session with Zenyatta Mondatta or any one of their other works he was more clever and articulate. He felt The Police was his key to happiness. It was only a matter of time before they would lead him to the gates of Maria heaven. He was semi-sure of it.
He decided that the reason he didn't approach Maria on his last D-Day was because he wasn't fully prepared. He hadn't had enough concentrated Police action. Consequently he would set his next D-Day three weeks in advance instead of the usual two, thus allowing him more time to prepare. He set it for Friday, March l5th. The Ides of March. Or D-Day take twelve.
Maria Morgan was in eleventh grade, a year younger than Benny. She was a sweet girl, cute and wholesome. She wasn't overly popular but was liked by everybody who knew her. Through Benny's eyes he saw, in her, perfection. Oh, how he wanted to walk with her. To hold her hand. To hear his Mom yell up the steps, "Benny, Maria's on the phone." His ambitions were purely innocent. He wanted to know her, that was all. He wanted her to like him. 
For the next three weeks he would barricade himself in his bedroom after school and lose himself beneath the headphones.
The Police. They sharpened his wits, made him more interesting, built his confidence.
After only ten days in training, Benny could feel a change in himself. As he walked to school with his friend Bob, he could feel his conversational skills sharpening. His comebacks were becoming more natural, his choice of topics increasingly focused. One morning as Benny and Bob were walking to school Bob said "Hey man, why ya scratching your back like that? Ya got fleas?" To which Benny countered, "No but I once had crabs before puberty and they tried to sue me for inadequate housing." Benny knew that with comments like that he could have any girl. But he also knew Maria wasn't just any girl. And he wasn't about to give up on his training. He only in-
creased it.
Bob's comment about Benny's scratching hadn't been dismissed. It was true he was developing some sort of nagging itch on his back. And he knew that it would have to be dealt with so as not to come across as some sort of uncouth baboon on D-Day. No detail could be overlooked, no matter how small.
Each night he would apply an ointment to his back just before Ghost In The Machine or Synchronicity. Two days before D-Day lightning struck. He discovered his angle.  Maria would soon be walking with Benny, and all would be right with the world.
Benny knew Maria was planning to study nursing in college, which he saw as an inborn need to help people. He also knew that the sore on his back might bring but the mothering instincts in her. He was going to ask her to take a look at it.
To Benny's surprise, the sun rose on D-Day. Was it a dorky thing to do? Or would she be charmed? "What girl wouldn't be charmed by a pus-dripping sore?" asked Bob as they walked toward school -- and Benny's destiny.

Benny stopped Maria on the sidewalk behind the school and said everything as scripted and much to his surprise she was responding. Maria agreed to look at his back, and as he lifted his shirt he allowed himself an ad lib. "Ever seen any thing like that before?" She focused on his irritation and looked shocked at what she saw. He said, "Can you make it feel better for me?" She slugged him with her right wrist and ran off crying and holding her mouth.

Benny rushed into Bob's bedroom frantic and near tears. "Bob, please help me!" Bob looked at Benny's back and was also shocked at what he saw. On the small of Benny Jackson's back was what appeared to be a miniature plastic penis, only a half inch in size. "You've got a dick on your back Benny! You showed her a dick! Ha ha ha!!"

The next day Benny slinked to the doctor. The doctor told him that although it looked and acted like a penis it, of course it wasn't. He told Benny that he wasn't sure if it would ever go away but it was actually quite inconsequential and deserved little worry. He said it was the result of contact with a toxicity, probably a sting of some sort.

Way of the World

On March l2th an angel appeared before Cy. He was in his den reading an article on Bundt pan babies when it drifted down from the ceiling, cleared its throat and presented him with an interesting proposal.

Cy had seen angels in books and on TV and they always had one feature that told you they were, in fact, angels -- their wings. This one, however, didn't have wings. It had propellers. It drifted down silently from the spot just above the bookcase and descended until it was thigh deep in floor. Cy soon discovered that the voice of an angel is very similar to that of Chumley the Walrus. But before he spoke, the angel adjusted himself so that his feet were even with the floor.

He told Cy that a very "high profile" death was scheduled to take place in one week. Boston Celtics star Larry Bird was to be killed in a car wreck in New Jersey. Cy was given the opportunity to forfeit his life so that Bird could live.

Cy felt foolish for earlier cursing the boredom but managed to ask a few questions. First of all, "What are you talking about?!" The angel (named Bobby) explained that on Wednesdays in heaven the glee club sings and that one of the tenors left to pursue a solo career. A replacement was needed, and a quick check of the records showed that Larry Bird had the perfect voice for the job. An order to "pick that apple and bring it to me" was immediately given. However, it wasn't known that Bird's death would cause such a commotion. An alternative was being sought.

Second question asked by Cy: "Why me?" Bobby explained that Cy's voice was very similar to Bird's and his death wouldn't be felt by as many. "Oh great" Cy spouted, "you want me to give up my life so some guy I don't even know can continue to make millions of dollars playing a game?"

Bobby said, "You have one week to decide. I'll be back at that time for your answer. In the meantime I urge you to consider this scenario: you're driving down a steep hill and your brakes fail. You have two options -- run the car into a family reunion or an empty barn. You have a decision to make, Cy. Put some thought into it, babe." Bobby's propellers then lurched into action and he disappeared into the ceiling.

Cy was understandably distraught. "Why the gall of that angel! I should've decked him," he said as he dialed his brother across town. His brother, of course, thought Cy was dreaming or something. But Cy insisted that wasn't the case and they ended the conversation with exclamation marks.

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