When the gentle coo of a songbird sounded off at dawn from his Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock, Schlemmer didn’t hear it.
Nor did he smell the percolating Arabica roasted coffee scent of Morning Café generating from the clock’s aromatherapy beads. He was already out of bed for more than an hour. Still dressed in his double-napped Irish flannel pajamas made in County Cork, Ireland, beneath his classic western nubuck cow leather duster (evoking the rough riding, adventurous spirit of America’s Old West), and space shuttle leather-soled slipper socks – standard issue to U.S. Space Shuttle astronauts since 1982 – Schlemmer stood outside on his deck. Without much concentration, in fact with a mindless habit’s pull of his finger on the trigger, he was shooting donut-holed 20” circles of haze from his hand held fog ring launcher, systematically enveloping the big dull ball of sun as it rose from the frosted ground into the cold December morning. When the orb of winter light ceased to move quickly enough for sport, Schlemmer shuffled back inside his house. He glanced around his kitchen, reached for The Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillet hanging above and sat it atop of the stove. After wrapping a pair of magnifying spectacles around his ears, he cracked three eggs into the skillet and hovered, vaguely listening to his nose whistle at every inhale while observing the eggs’ translucent albumin uniformly heat to opaque at 2¾X magnification.
Upstairs, Mrs. Schlemmer reached over to the more gentle than traditional jarring alarm clock on her husband’s side of the bed, next to his book of original Civil War articles of the , and switched the emitting scent to Energy. She slipped her feet into her temperature regulating slippers, made with a patented fabric developed for NASA, and sat bedside in front of her optimal intensity light therapy system for a ten-minute dose of buzz and flicker-free daylight. Whenever Schlemmer was up before her, before the soft simulated call of the songbird he loved so well, she knew she would benefit from preventing the release of life-force zapping melatonin in her blood prior to going downstairs. She wouldn’t have the favorable circumstance of a cup of rich, flavorful coffee from The Best Single Serving Coffee Maker ahead of dissecting her husband’s ailing mood.
Mrs. Schlemmer entered the kitchen. The perfectly fried eggs remained in the skillet, covered, and off the burner. “Where are you, Schlemmer?” his wife called out. Silence. “Come on. I know you’re up.”
A faint squeak of steel lured Mrs. Schlemmer into their den. There she found her husband hanging upside down in The Gentle Return Inversion Machine. He lay in defiance of gravity with lessened spinal compression and eyes glazed like polished river stones. “What is it Schlemmer? What’s wrong?” his wife demanded to know, though she had her suspicions. He was much like the Titanium Atomic Solar Watch resting on his desk valet across the room. A precise timekeeping instrument. This was the same recognizable tick she witnessed every year at this time. His own personal seasonal deficiency disorder. America’s longest running.
Schlemmer waited a few more weightless minutes then grasped the foam-padded half-circle handlebars that allowed a smooth return to an upright position. Red-faced, with hair on end, he looked at his wife and traversed across the hand-sanded Anji Mountain Non Slip Bamboo Rug to the collapsed Thomas Kinkade Pop-Up 6 Foot Christmas Tree in the corner. He released its springs with a push of his hand, setting free the pre-decorated, red and gold globe-ornamented, velvet-like poinsettia and ribbon embellished plastic tree to its full 76-inch Americana winter holiday-inspired glory. Mrs. Schlemmer looked on, unmoved.
“Aaahh, what can I say. It’s always the same story,” Schlemmer said and dropped into an authentic . He pulled his wrist up to his face then extended it out to his wife. She looked at seatThe World’s Thinnest Calendar Watch (in gold) on his arm. Here it comes, she thought. “Two days before Christmas. It’s already two days before Christmas,” he continued.
“And….?” She prodded. He sulked. “Out with it before I need another light therapy session.”
“And, well, I don’t know what to get him.” There, he admitted it. He should feel relieved, yet, he only wondered where he had left the wearable electric blanket – he wanted to hibernate.
“Get who?” She insisted on bringing him along with her, out of his safe place. His wife was the embodiment of the clarity enhancing sunglasses she always sported, whether on their transparent canoe kayak in Barbados or on their Zipfel bobsled in the Bavarian Alps.
“Hammacher. I don’t know what to get Hammacher,” Schlemmer confessed.
Mrs. Schlemmer nodded, then sat down next to her husband in the adjoining authentic Yankee Stadium chair. “What can I tell you?” she said, throwing her arm around her husband’s shoulders. “The guy has everything.”
(Editor’s Note: While I haven’t linked them all (so as not to bombard), every item mentioned in this slice of holiday Lemon Cake fiction is featured in the famous Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue, America’s Longest Running….)
© Jennifer Dowd