Consequential Trivia

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

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Drama Sad

“How much longer do we have to do this?”


“You know I need to practice as much as possible. I don’t want to make a fool of myself on national television!”


“Fine. I said I’d help you, but I didn’t think you’d be this relentless – this focused. We’ve spent at least eight hours a day, every day for the last two weeks on it.”


“Please Danny. This is my only chance to win a lot of money. It could change our lives. I need you to keep helping me. I’m on the show in less than a month.”


“Noreen . . .”


“Just another hour today. Think about it. We could move out of this trailer. Leave here for good. Start fresh – wherever we want. But I have to win first.”


“You’re lucky you’re cute or I would have traded you in years ago.”


“You say that all the time.”


“Because it’s true.”


“Back at it then?”


“Do I really have a choice?”


“No.”


“Where did we leave off?”


“I think we’ve exhausted e’s on this trip through the alphabet. Let’s start with f’s.”


“I never thought 26 letters seemed like a lot – until now. How many times have we gone through the alphabet in the last 14 days?"


“Danny … please.”


“Fine . . . give me a minute. Hmm – okay, how about ‘the name of the game’?”


“How is that related to f? Oh, don’t look at me like that. Good, great . . . fine – ‘the name of the game’ it is. Abba song . . . book title – but who was the author? Let me think – uh, maybe . . . Sandra Brown. No, Nora Roberts? Yes – Nora Roberts. I love her books. Something else, I’m forgetting something else . . . no, I can’t remember. What did I miss?”


“Television series with three rotating lead actors including Robert Stack. Ran from 1968 to 1971 – had the biggest budget of any TV show at the time. Everything else you said is right. It’s also the title of a Bryan Ferry song. There’s more, but I think those are the main points.”


“Bryan Ferry? He’s an f. New York Dolls?”


“Nope. Roxy Music. Rock & Roll Hall of Famers – um, class of 2019.”


“I know nothing about him.”


“Want to?”


“No – let’s move on. Wait! It would be just my luck that he’d come up.”


“You decide.”


“Argh! Give me an overview.”


“Roxy Music – the band is known as an influencer of punk, glam and new wave music and bands . . . some say nearly as influential as David Bowie. Brian Eno was in the band in the early seventies. Songs – “Dance Away”, “More Than This”, “Avalon”, “Slave To Love” and “Virginia Plain” - which they played on “Top Of The Pops” in 1972.”


“Okay – okay. I’ll never remember all that. Roxy Music – Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno. Let’s move on. Bring on more f’s."


“How about just f? What does it mean?”


“You’re really testing my patience . . . you might just get me to quit after all.”


“Come on Noreen – focus!”


“Okay, okay, okay . . . f. It’s the sixth letter of the English alphabet. It’s a failing grade in school and represents forte in music. It stands for Fahrenheit. Is that what you were looking for?”


“Yep. There’s more, but you’ve got the gist of it.”


“Good. Next.”


“Flamingo.”


“Bird.”


“Noreen – you’re the one who wanted to do this for another hour.”


“Fine – uh . . . pink, long legs, likes to stand on one leg with the other tucked up. Damn it Danny! I don’t know anything about flamingos!”


“If you’re going to act like this, I think we should stop.”


“No! No. Please fill me in on all things flamingo.”


“All right. Mostly found in the Americas, Africa and Asia. They’re omnivores with a lifespan between 20 and 30 years. They can fly well over 300 miles per day. And – let’s see . . . they’re pink due to the beta-carotene in food they eat. It says – crustaceans and plankton.”


“Got it.”


“How about falsetto?”


“A voice or sound that’s unusually high. Singing above one’s normal vocal range.”


“Good work Ms. Dictionary. Ford.”


“Car company based in Michigan. Founded by Henry Ford. When?”


“You want me to tell you?”


“Yes.”


“Incorporated on June 16, 1903. Tell me more.”


“Well – early mass producer of cars. Used assembly lines. I can’t think of anything else.”


“You’re doing great. How about Frankenstein?”


“Book written by Mary Shelley. Victor Frankenstein is the scientist who creates the creature, although most people call the monster Frankenstein.”


“Anything else?”


“No. Danny?”


“What is it darlin'?”


“When we were talking about Brian Ferry, did you say his band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019?”


“Caught that did you?”


“How is that possible? It’s 1978 and I’ve never heard of a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”


“Don’t worry about it. I must have read it wrong – we’ve been at this a long time.”


“Danny? What’s that thing you’re looking at?”


“Nothing to worry about. It’s like an encyclopedia. Ready for another one?”


“But – that thing you’re looking at . . . it looks like something from the TV show Star Trek. And – well, I’m not exactly sure what we’re doing.”


We’re practicing for you to go on the game show in a month.”


“We are?”


“Yes. You’re going to win lots of money and change our lives forever.”


“I am?”


“You bet you are. Do you think we’re spending all this time practicing for nothing?”


“Of course not. Do you remember when my dad said going on the show would be a waste of time because no one cares about trivia?”


“I do. And I’m glad you do too.”


“ . . . "


“Noreen?” Do you want to keep going? We’re working on things that start with the letter f right now.”


“Yes . . . no . . . I don’t know. I’m really confused – and I’m getting tired.”


“Noreen? Look at me.”


“Oh my God! Who are you? You’re not my Danny! You’re an old man.”


“Honey. It’s me. Your Danny. We’re both old now. Do you remember?”


“No! No! We’re in our early forties. Practicing so I can win the money that will get us out of this stinking trailer in nowhereville.”


“Noreen. Sweetheart – look around you.”


“But . . . this isn’t our trailer. Where are we? Why are you so old? Am I drunk? Is this a joke?”


“Calm down darlin’. Just calm down.”


“Danny – are you really my Danny?”


“Yes, darlin' and you’re my Noreen.”


“What’s going on? Where are we?”


“You have Alzheimer’s sweetheart. We’re in our assisted living apartment.”


“Alzheimer’s?”


“It’s a brain disorder that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. There’s no cure for it.”


“That’s not funny Danny. Stop this right now!”


“I wish I could. Take my hand Noreen. Come with me to the mirror.”


“Oh my God! I’m an ugly, wrinkly old woman with gray hair! This – this can’t be real. How is this possible? I need a tissue.”


“Here you go darlin’. Dry your eyes and blow your nose. There now. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”


“No! No! Get away from me. This can’t be real. I’m Noreen Evelyn Patterson and I’m 42 years old. It’s 1978 and you’re not Danny. You can’t be. You just can’t be. I need – I need to get out of here. This must be a trick.”


“Let me just press that button on the wall.”


“Why? What’s it for?”


“Just calling the nurses so we can all take good care of you.”


“No. Please. Take me home. Take me back to my real life. Call my Danny – he’ll come get me.”


“I am your Danny and that’s forever.”


“That’s exactly what my Danny would say.”


“Because I am your Danny.”


“No – I don’t know. Why is this happening to me?”


“I wish I could answer that sweetheart. We just take it one day at a time. Together.”


“Danny?”


“What is it darlin’?”


“Do I . . . do I always remember you?”


“No – not always, but the trivia questions seem to help bring you back to me. You were so proud of being on that TV show and winning all that money. You made our dreams come true.”


“How long ago was that?”


“More than 40 years.”


“40 years – but that’s impossible. What year is . . . what’s that noise?”


“Just the nurse knocking on the door. She’ll be here in a minute.”


“Don’t let her take me away!”


“No one is taking you anywhere sweetheart. You’re staying right here with me. With your Danny.”


“Promise? Even if I don’t remember you?”


“I promise. You’re my wife. You’re the love of my life. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll ask you trivia questions all day, every day, if it helps you to remember yourself – to remember us.”


“Danny?”


“What darlin’?”


“I love you. Always have, always will . . . even when I don’t remember it.”

January 15, 2021 20:59

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