Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: Breakdown on the "A" Line
By Gerald Shuler
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“Josh, you seem to be a million miles away.” Julie touched his hand softly, sending chills up and down his arm. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, sure. I’m okay. I just had something I wanted to ask you but…” He lowered his head, embarrassed at what he was about to say. “You are so beautiful… I… I can’t remember what I was going to ask.”
Red lights flashed urgently and sirens blared out the warning that could not be ignored.
“Oh, no… how could there be a memory breakdown now?” The supervisor of ‘A’ line quickly checked his panel of gauges. “Okay boys, the boss just said he can’t remember what he was going to ask. All gauges read normal. I see no reason for a memory loss… all memories seem to be flowing without interruption. What’s gone wrong with his memory? I need some answers… STAT.”
“You can’t remember?” Julie smiled politely. “It must not have been that important if you can’t remember.”
“Oh, I’m sure it was important. It was about you.”
“Come on, boys. This ain’t lunch break. What made him forget? He doesn’t drink alcohol or take drugs so there are no dead memory cells blocking the line. I’m stuck, boys. Get me some info about what he’s trying to remember. We’ve got to get this line moving again… NOW.
Josh shyly put his arm around Julie’s shoulders. He could smell the mingling scent of hair shampoo and delicate perfume. He knew he would remember that aroma for the rest of his life.
“Okay, that’s not good. We have a case of Selective Memory Seclusion. Someone check with Health & Vitality to see if the memory loss could be some developing health problem. Josh has relatives with Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m grabbing straws, boys. Even Alzheimer’s should show something on my gauges. These gauges still read like there is nothing wrong. We’re running out of time, boys. The boss needs to ask the question before the mood passes. Flood the corridor with recent memories.”
Josh thumped the side of his head lightly.
“I just remembered what I was going to ask you, Julie.” He slid off the park bench and slipped his hand under the seat. “I hid this here earlier. Maybe you can help me decide what to do with it.”
“Check the memory files. What did he hide earlier? We may be making some progress with his memory. At least he says he remembers… still no change in the gauges so I have no way of knowing for sure what’s going on.”
The size and shape of the box Josh pulled from under the park bench was unmistakable. Julie’s heart danced with anticipation.
“We just got word back from Health and Vitality. All systems are in top running condition. Boys, I’m beginning to think the boss is just putting on an act. Back off the emergency measures and let’s see what happens.”
The small box opened slowly and the moonlight caught every magnificent sparkle of the diamond set in a gold ring.
“Julie, I love you. I will always love you. Would you accept this ring and be my wife?”
“All gauges normal. Emergency memory measures are shut down. I think the boss just made us look like idiots. He hadn’t forgotten at all. Take a break, boys. You deserve it.”
A joyful tear made its way down Julie’s cheek. He took her left hand and slid the ring on her finger, thankful that it fit perfectly.
“Yes, Josh. A million times, yes.” She pulled him up from his kneeling position and threw her arms around him. “I will marry you but, Josh, promise me you will work on your memory. How could you have forgotten what you were going to ask?”
“You were so beautiful in the moonlight I couldn’t think of anything else. All I know for sure is that I love you with all my heart, Mary.”
“Get back in here, boys. STAT. The boss just called Julie by the wrong name. These gauges are really going wild this time. I’ve got a feeling we’re in for a really rough night. And he was doing so good. Oh, well, this one is definitely going to qualify as another unforgettable memory.”
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