“THE SURPRISE FACTOR”

The winter of 1938 was one of the crudest in New York. But especially the snowfall of November 27  was noteworthy. Snowflakes the size of golf balls fell that night. Just right before dawn it stopped snowing but the sky remained overcast the next day and in the early morning almost one foot of snow covered the streets. That day few people dared to leave their homes, and in the section of Fifth Avenue that goes from 44th Street (past St. Patrick’s Cathedral) to 79th Street, the accumulated snow was not the only reason. The police received hundreds of calls warning of the presence on that place of a kind of primate more than six feet high with a broad-shouldered frame working their way through the snow like it was nothing. On that area lived influential people, hence the mayor received the information firsthand. And what did the mayor do about it? Naturally, he called ENIGMA CONSULTANTS S.L. So, as other brave citizens had done to move that day through the city, Michael and Jacob put on their skis and moved to the place. Before leaving home, however, Michael made the appropriate calls to rule out that a gorilla had escaped from some Zoo. From the Bronx Zoo, he was informed that a gorilla did not, but that, taking advantage of the snowfall, one walrus had ran away with its keeper. But Michael said that sort of affairs was none of his business and hung up the phone.

When they reached St. Patrick’s Cathedral,  the avenue was deserted. Although it was noon, the sky was so cloudy that it looked like it was night. Word had spread that the two partners of ENIGMA CONSULTANTS had been required to solve the problem. So in almost every apartment there were people lurking on the avenue through the windows, avid for events. A fierce quarrel between a giant ape and two skinny enigma researchers was not a show that was seen every day. That news also attracted a large number of bookmakers who set the odds 100-to-1 against Michael Schlimazl and Jacob Schlemihl. But that only indicated that they didn’t know those brave men. 

The possibility of being killed by a giant ape was not currently part of Michael and Jacob’s plans. To face a monkey of any size was the last thing that was going through their heads in those circumstances. Their plan consisted basically in keeping up appearances and getting out at the first sign of danger. But you know?, in this life you always have to take into account the surprise factor. And they didn’t. And that’s why when they discovered that they had stopped gliding on the snow and that they were floating three feet above the snow because a giant ape had them both grabbed by the back end of their skis, they were forced to reconsider their plans. Of course, getting out was no longer an option. The confrontation seemed inevitable. But even apes have to take the surprise factor into account. Even gamblers and bookies. Because suddenly a powerful sunbeam of the width of a sequoia illuminated the beast, which as a result of the surprise released the two consultants, and then the Abominable Snowman of St. Patrick’s (which is the name by which it would be known later) ascended at full speed through the beam of light until disappearing inside a huge cigar-shaped ship that had just stopped several hundred feet above the avenue, shading it even more than it already was.

Spectators who had their noses stuck to the windows of Fifth Avenue could not believe that they were given to attend a much more exciting show than current Broadway productions at such a ridiculous price. Bets were going crazy. But you know? Not even extraterrestrial beings are free from the surprise factor. Suddenly the ship began to wobble and fighting noises were heard coming from it. After a few minutes, two dozen green, short, big-headed aliens shot out of the ship, landing luckily on the soft snow. 

The police switchboard and the mayor’s phone could not cope with the number of calls from St. Patrick’s Cathedral vicinity. Thinking that it was probably a surprise rehearsal of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the mayor (who did not like the surprise factor despite the fact that he did take it into account) felt logically outraged and went to the place. When he arrived, he saw that a score of children dressed in green (as befits the Irish festivity) were playing in the snow. But as he approached the children, he saw that they were extremely agitated and had a strange appearance. Then he discovered Michael and Jacob who had adopted a camouflage technique they learned in the navy: they had covered themselves completely with snow and were posing as snowmen.

“Rehearse St. Patrick’s Day Parade in November! And with this snowfall! Whose idea was this?”

“Who do you ask? Two snowmen? Are you mad?”

“Yes, that’s nonsense”, the other snowman confirmed.

“Who do you intend to cheat?” the mayor shouted as he shook them until all the snow that covered them fell away. At that moment they heard some strange laughter similar to the noise made by a colony of penguins in mating season. The three men turned and saw the two dozen aliens breaking into laughter at this scene they had just witnessed. However, the laughter was suddenly cut when they saw how the ship in the shape of a cigar shot vertically disappearing in a thousandth of a second. In view of this, the aliens began to act as if they were crying while emitting noises similar to those made by a herd of stampeding elephants. That was when five troop transport helicopters landed in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Immediately, a large group of soldiers jumped to the ground and began to pursue the aliens. When they were all trapped, they were introduced into the helicopters, which rose and left for an unknown destination.

Moral: Always keep in mind the surprise factor.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close