by Brian G
A story about a kite flier obsessed with finding the perfect kite tail.
As a kite enthusiast, I am always looking for some way to dress up one of my kites. I change the tail as often as a lady changes her shoes. The tail of a kite can really add to the overall beauty of a flying kite. There are as many types of tails as there are kites, and there will be one combination of kite and tail that maximizes the beauty of both.
I built a special kite five years ago, a dream kite. I haven’t flown it yet because I haven’t found the perfect tail for it. I want the kite’s debut to enthrall everyone and to possibly make headlines. Today, I am in Craviac, Washington, 1500 miles from my home in Missouri. I am chasing a rumor that a store with an unbelievable selection of kite tails is somewhere in this city. A fellow named Jorge, whom I met at a baseball game, was telling me about it. He is not a kite flier but is well read and is like a walking encyclopedia.
I have a vision of my special kite rising majestically in a blue sky surrounded by scattered white clouds that proudly escort it to a height for all to view. Trailing the kite is a magnificent tail, one like no one has ever seen. It is breathtakingly beautiful with its array of vibrant colors; the consummate tail for my dream kite.
So, here I am in Craviac, looking for an unnamed store. Jorge couldn’t remember the name of the store, but said several sources had told him about a store featuring an uncanny selection of kite tails. I have been saving money for the full five years just for this purpose, and it isn’t easy on a handyman’s salary. This quest has led to the estrangement of my wife and children.
My first attempt to fly a kite, at age ten, was unsuccessful. I had purchased a kite at the W.J. O’Conner store in my home town, but couldn’t get it into the air. My father had never flown a kite himself, so was of no help. We lived on a farm several miles from town, so I had no playmates to help me learn the sport. It would be several years before I read a book on kite flying and was able to make a successful flight. The most important advice in the book was to always add a tail to the kite. Since that first successful flight, at age thirteen, I was hooked on kite flying.
While all my friends in high school were playing sports or participating in other school activities I was building and flying kites. I used anything I could find to build them and was pretty good at making “trash” fly. My dream was to someday build a kite that would enrapture everyone and inspire them to take up the sport.
Fast-forward twenty years. I have sacrificed my college education and have alienated my family, but I have built the kite of a lifetime using my own innovative design and the very best materials. Yet, unless I can come up with an exotic tail that compliments it, my dream will fizzle. The trip to Carviac was difficult, riding a bicycle across the country and doing handyman jobs to earn my meals. I have a stash of money, but it is not to be spent frivolously. It has been reserved for the dream tail of my dream kite. I am looking for that special store, in Craviac, with a miraculous selection of kite tails. It is not a big city and I have walked the business district several times looking for it. I have had no luck, and get odd stares from citizens when I ask them where it might be. Finally, I decide that I had better call Jorge, back in Missouri, and see if he can dig up more information. Luckily, I have his phone number.
Three days after my inquiry Jorge called with the name of the store, “Cover to Cover.” I was thrilled to know that I was now close to fulfilling my dream. I thanked Jorge and quickly left to find the store. It was easy to find; I realized that I had walked past it several times. Once there, I walked inside wearing a big smile. Books were everywhere. I asked a clerk where they kept their selection of kite tails and she said, “We have an overwhelming selection of kite tales on aisle seven.”
P.S. This was a Shaggy Dog Story and the Shaggy Dog has bitten you. From Wikipedia, "Shaggy dog stories play upon the audience's preconceptions of the art of joke telling. The audience listens to the story with certain expectations, which are either simply not met or met in some entirely unexpected manner." Sorry!