the eyes have it
(originally posted 4/28/2018)
“No good deed goes unpunished” thought Dixon as he unloaded his DJ gear in the small ballroom. It was Friday night and he was to be the entertainment at the retirement community’s mixer.
A friend of a friend had offered his services and Dixon had accepted without looking at a calendar. He had no idea it was a weekend night when he said he’d do it.
As they slowly wheeled in the attendees and deposited them throughout the room he made the decision to leave the fog machine in the van. Everyone seemed to be foggy enough without his help. They collectively seemed one strobe light from a heart attack. He had imagined the crowd a little differently. These folks seemed to be a lot closer to their funerals than their retirement parties.
Nobody was dancing.
An hour later nobody had entered or left or danced and he started to feel a little dumb standing behind his turntables. Eventually he sat down next to a lady that appeared to be in her hundred and twenties. Like everyone in the room her mental capabilities sat somewhere between out of it and batshit crazy. This allowed him some flexibility in the music he played as it appeared nobody had their hearings aids in anyway.
Things would have been winding down if at any point they would have ever wound up but they hadn’t and only the clock indicated that it was time to wind things up. There had been two caretakers wandering around taking care of the residents but at the moment one of them had stepped out for a smoke and the other had gone to the bathroom.
Dixon again plopped down next to the same female relic of days gone by and smiled at her. “What’s the point?” he asked her and shook his head. She just stared back at him. Her gaze unflinching, like she was searching for something in his eyes. Slowly she smiled.
She had found something.
She lifted her right hand to the side of her head and her index finger straightened. As if scratching an itch she ran it on the outside of her ear and then on the inside. Then she pushed it in a little further. Dixon’s face screwed up a little as the woman pushed her finger deeper until her the first knuckle was buried in the side of her head. He didn’t know it was possible and he was about to reach over and extract the finger when the woman smiled a little wider and sunk the finger up to her second knuckle.
A small noise escaped from Dixon. “You… you shouldn’t… you have to stop…” were the words his mouth was forming but no noise was coming out.
“Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as you think” the woman said. It was the first thing she’d said all night. It was the coherent first thing Dixon had heard all night. “When you get to our age you get to do this” she said and with that she pushed her finger the rest of the way in.
Feeling like he was coming out of a trance Dixon suddenly broke free and looked around hoping to locate one of the helpers. It was only then he realized that everyone else in the room was staring at him. Smiling.
Each with a hand up and a finger inside their head.
When he realized that his gelatinous legs were not going to be of any help in leaving the room his gaze returned to the woman in front of him. She was somehow pushing her right eyeball in and out from the inside in time with the music.
“Play some Missing Persons!” someone near the back called out. This request was greeted by what definitely constituted an enthusiastic burst of applause, given the crowd, and the next thing Dixon knew he was back behind the turntable and Destination Unknown was pumping out of the speakers and he was looking out at about twenty seniors in wheel chairs pushing their eyes in perfect rhythm with the beat.
Dixon bobbed his head and smiled. It was Friday night and things were unexpectedly off the hook.