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Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #2157719
It would take an army to stop the odd riot at Shady Hills Nursing Home.
Updated 1625 word winning entry for the "Adaptive Writers Contest . Prompt: comedy genre using fantasy prompt 2 ‘You’re the general of an army tasked with stopping an odd rebellion, but what makes the rebellion so odd?

The flag over the Shady Hills nursing home lay limp in the hot summer sun. The inmates and staff had been on lockdown from outside visitors for weeks. Residents cared for each other as often as not. Meds were in short supply with most being sold out the back door by the main office. Things were spiraling out of control.

One case of mild dementia met another. “Corporal Librinksy, line up the troops.” General Mayhem puffed out his chest. Medals tinkled and glinted together. His favorite was the one he’d made from a 1950’s bus coin saved since he was a kid with delusions of grandeur. Now in his second childhood, he was free to live the dream.

“Yes, SIR!” Corporal Librinksy clicked his heels and stood at attention. His piercing black eyes turned right, straw pea shooter ready for action. He’d been ace spitwad hurler during second grade when the two had met much to the dismay of Mrs. Hatch their evil teacher. The tales of glory were numerous and often told as they got reacquainted in old age.

“Men? You have been selected for a secret mission. I will let Corporal Librinksy explain.”

The one man’s army stared heavenward looking only slightly cross-eyed with totally focused attention. “SIR! Shall I read the secret orders?”

The ‘Shady Hills’ nursing home coded message would be inscrutable to the brutal administrative staff holding out in their fortified office. They unlocked its door when coming to work at nine A.M., remaining inside until relocking it upon leaving at 2 P.M. Something shady was going on in there for sure. It was up to this man’s army to find out what.

Librinksy checked off the main points. “Operation Kidney is scheduled for 2100. Mabel has agreed to give up her sleeping pill to dope the midnight attendant’s coffee an hour before. Henry Becker melted his Christmas candle from his grandson, made a mold of the office emergency key left in the secretary’s desk, and fashioned a key out of his soup spoon. SIR!”

“Alright then. You can cut the SIR crap until after the mission is accomplished, David.”

Alvin Smith, AKA General Mayhem, had some well-oiled connections among the residents of Shady Hill. One of them had gotten him a can of WD40 from the gardener’s tool shed so he could oil his squeaky wheelchair. Alvin had to give up a week’s worth of jello pudding in trade but nothing must stop tonight’s mission.


“What’s that awful noise?” General Mayhem was in pajama fatigues.

“I left Mabel’s door open. Her snoring will provide white noise cover during the operation.” Corporal Librinksy turned up his hearing aid to better monitor any enemy surprise.

Marvin Harmer, the night attendant lay slumped in his chair as they wheeled by. “Looks like we didn’t need the sleeping pill. Look at the half empty bottle of ‘Blue Lightning’ booze spilling over his pants.” The good general counted his blessings.

“Your ticker doing O.K. General? Don’t need no casualties before we get started.”

“Took a nitro just in case. We’re there. Open ‘er up.” The long hallway floor behind them gleamed with polished wax. The administrators spent nothing without a reason. How many attempts to knock on this door asking for help with some innocent request had been met by an accidental fall instead.

“Got it.” Librinksy’s fingers typed in the name of the head honcho’s wife to deactivate the security alarm. They were in. Both wore throwaway gloves the nurses had tossed in the garbage so fingerprints wouldn’t be a problem.

It didn’t take long to find what they were looking for. “What an odd rebellion.” General Mayhem felt his heart hammer his chest.

“I know. And right under our eyes. We’ve got to stop it. They’ll ruin everything we’ve been building up to.” Corporal Librinksy bit his lip.

“I wonder who the Admin’s spy is that found this out? All the staff going on strike tomorrow at noon. Instead of that making the news the temps will be coming in at eleven and everyone in the rebellion will be handed walking papers.”

The two in their own private army stared at each other. Now that they knew what was up, what could they do about it? There wasn’t much time. A slow grin erupted over General Mayhem’s toothless mouth.

“What?” Corporal Librinksy knew something special was going to happen.

“You still got that picture of the director and his secretary making whoopie?” The general’s eyes flashed with the old fire.

“Got it right here. Been saving it for a special occasion.” The light dawned. “Oh. This is the special occasion. What’s the setup, SIR?” A snappy salute brought the general’s men to attention.

“You got it printed in an 8X10 format, right?”

“Yep.” The enlisted man handed it over.

It took only a minute to place it in front of the photo of the director’s wife. “He never looks at her from what I hear. Just keeps it handy for her visits when she wants a donation for something.”

Librinksy nodded. “And?”

“We’re going to donate in a big way. All she has to do is come and show up unannounced at 10:30 A.M. sharp. The surprise will be waiting.”

“The battle won without firing a shot.” The corporal clicked his heels with glee. “It’s all coming together isn’t it? With the head honcho out of action, the staff will be in disarray. You and I can do the hostile takeover we’ve been planning for months without knowing how to make it a fait accompli.”

The next morning rumors were floating around thicker than last night’s bean soup. Every old fart in the place was riled up. Harriet had caught Emilio, one of the newer staff, making a protest sign for higher wages. “Not one of the administration people know Spanish. They wouldn’t even know what he was protesting for.”

No-one had their act together. The General had to spin a few rumors of his own to counter what was going on. “Harry Reid wandered into Susan Timothy’s room last night after lights out. Almost got himself killed by that battle-ax. She thought he was there to steal her bottle of saved up pennies. About broke it over his darn head. Made her madder when she found out he was hunting for Julie Stern’s room for some friendly midnight conversation.”

“Two timer? I’ll show him.” Susan Timothy's voice could be heard echoing down the hallway.

That soap opera got the resident gossips going trying to sort out the wheres and why fors. The denials only made matters more compelling. Soon the staff going to protest had their hands full with the verbal pie-throwing contests hurled around Shady Hills.

“Here she comes.” Librinksy wore his dad’s WWII army helmet to be prepared for the worst. Both he and the General saluted as the director’s wife simpered into view.

“How exciting. Yes, oh, dear. Thank you, no. I don’t have time to sign any autographs. Stop waving that paper in front of my face. I’m here to accept the donation. Where is my husband?” She’d painted on her face like only the best Indian warrior could have done. Aroused and in full glory her pancake mixed with her sweat putting a new face on things as she marched into the director’s office.

“Did you? Yes, you did. Good work disabling the lock on the office door, soldier.” General Mayhem watched the battle unfold.

An enraged scream shattered the sound barrier. Every action of staff and resident alike became frozen statues looking much like the biblical tale of Lot’s wife.

“Taking diction my holy mother. On your lap? Was her battle cry.

“Writing a poem to you, my dear. So much feeling looking at your picture she needed to console me.” The director sprang to his feet dumping his secretary on the floor. He grabbed the picture of his wife he kept for just such emergency proof of his undying love to place over his heart.

The fates chose that moment to put the secretary’s mug facing towards Mrs. Director. A seething gasp erupted from her flaming tongue. “You scoundrel. I own this facility. You are out. Mister. I’ll find someone else to mind my business.”

The staff lined up to cheer as the director led his retinue out the door to face the incoming riot of temps wanting in. Resident heads were turning faster than childhood remembered spinning toy tops. “They’re gone?”

All eyes settled on the open office door where the matriarch led the General and Corporal trailing out with satisfied looks on their faces.

“Why didn’t I think of that? I like the name change to my maiden name. You have my promise to turn this facility into a retirement owned co-op with each staff and resident holding one share. You two will be on the director’s board once my lawyer finalizes details.” And she was gone.

“Looks like we'll get the masks and gloves for the residents we've needed since the start of the Coronavirus plague started after all and none too soon. That was easy, General.”

Librinksy had his eye on Harry Reid wandering towards Julie Stern’s room. "We may have a problem enforcing social distancing. Shall I call out the guard, SIR!”

General Mayhem studied his troops. “At ease. Susan Timothy has already volunteered and is marching back and forth in front of the room in question armed with her sharp tongue and eagle eye. ”
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