Renewal of Spirit - A Mom's Tale
May 01, 2023
Renewal of Spirit - A Mom’s Tale
Part 1 - Becky the Pregnant Banana
A short time ago, in another dimension, in a galaxy quite nearby, on planet Fizzledorf, which was right about here, lived Becky the pregnant banana. Becky already had four children. There was Bobby Banana, Billy Banana, Brenda Banana, and Betty Banana. Becky Banana was a very happy, doting mother. She loved everything about being a mom. She loved officiating games of hide and seek, cooking meals, arranging play-dates with the neighbors’ children, reading bedtime stories, all of it. Her dream was to one day be named The Planet Fizzledorf Mother of the Year.
On the other side of town from Becky lived a sorcerer named Clive Rifkin. Clive Rifkin was known as the town's most mysterious magician. What they didn't know about Clive was that he developed all of his tricks as an inter-dimensional traveler. Among his many skills were bending space-time, moving objects telepathically, and controlling the actions of others through powers of persuasion.
In his lab, he had been working on his greatest creation to date. Clive Rifkin had learned to take thoughts and ideas, and trap them inside of a spherical membrane. When released, these thoughts and ideas would infect the minds of anyone within shouting distance. Clive was working on his first live experiment. He decided he was going to create a rumor that Becky Banana robbed the local bank. Why Becky Banana? Because if you simply told someone that Becky Banana robbed the bank, no one would believe it. And if this invention worked, everyone would believe it. Clive had recently been hired as a magician for the closing act of the stage show at the county fair. As his finale he was going to release the rumor to the public.
The county fair was wildly popular. And this year was no exception. Everyone went. It was the final day and everybody was at the fairgrounds. Towards the evening, the crowds gathered at the stage to watch musical acts, dance routines, and community and school group recitals. Everyone was within earshot of the stage except for Becky Banana and her family. Becky and her family were given a notice earlier in the afternoon that Becky was to receive the county’s highest award for motherhood. This was to be a surprise for the whole town, and Becky was asked to keep this a secret. She was to bring her whole family backstage during Clive Rifkin's routine. What Becky didn't know was the note was written by Clive Rifkin.
So Becky and her family were tricked into staying in a soundproof room backstage, so they would not be affected by the rumor’s release. Everything went according to plan for Clive Rifkin. His magic show was seen by every townsperson. He was cheered wildly. He stood on the stage after his second to last big trick and the announced to the crowd,
“For my finale, I'm gonna show you something that's never been done before!”
He pulled a bag off of his table, reached into it carefully, and pulled out an iridescent sphere. It wobbled and undulated like a translucent bubble filled with fat. With both hands he held the orb. He lowered it between his legs, and with all his might, he threw it up in the air. Then, with a quick snap of his fingers and a loud shout “Haaaaaaaah”, the orb exploded. But the orb wasn't filled with fat, or any liquid or solid. What felt like waves of air poured out of it, and swept across the crowd. But these were no ordinary waves of air, these were the microscopic particles containing the rumor that Becky Banana robbed the local bank.
And with that, the magic show at the county fair was over. The crowd left a little bit confused. They really enjoyed the magic show, but didn't understand the last part. And as everyone was leaving, the thing that was talked about most was that Becky Banana robbed the local bank.
As the crowds thinned at the fairgrounds, a member of the maintenance team at the fair walked into the soundproof room with Becky and her family. He asked what they were doing there. Becky showed them the note and explained to him how excited she was, but the magic shows seemed to be running extra long.
The maintenance man said “The fair is over. There’s no award ceremony. Someone must be playing a prank on you. By the way, are you Becky Banana?”
“Yes I am, have we met before?”
“No we haven't, but I’ve got to go. I don't want to get in any trouble. And you should go too. A lot of people are going to have some questions for you.”
The maintenance man quickly left. Becky and her family were very confused at such a cryptic remark, and even more confused about how they got in the situation. Why were they asked to stay all alone in a soundproof room waiting for an award that never happened? They would soon find out. They gathered their belongings and went home.
As soon as Becky returned home she realized something was terribly wrong. Her phone had been off for most of the time at the county fair. She turned it back on and it was filled with messages.
“Becky, how could you have done it?”
“Becky, if your family needed the money that bad, we would've helped you.”
“I thought you were a great mom, but a bank robber? Those things don't go together.”
The messages went on and on. They were hundreds of them.
“Becky!” her husband shouted from the other room, “I think you should see this!”
Becky walked into the living room and the TV was on. The news man at the desk was talking about a bank heist, and the picture on the screen behind him was herself, Becky Banana. But how could this be?!? She's never robbed a bank! She doesn't even own a gun! Why would somebody make something up like this? Becky broke down and cried. She was so distraught, she didn't know what to do. Her husband turned off the TV and gave her a hug.
“It’ll be OK, Becky. The truth will come out, and everybody will know that you didn't rob a bank.”
Things didn't get better for Becky Banana the next day. First thing in the morning there was a knock on the door. It was the police. The police were at the county fair and they “heard” the rumor too. While there were no reported bank robberies, they still had to investigate. Becky and each of her family members gave a statement. They each vouched for her whereabouts the whole previous week. Since the police had no evidence of an actual crime, they left Becky’s home without making an arrest. But they did tell her not to do any traveling outside of the county while they were conducting an investigation.
The police interviewed all of the bank employees. Every single employee at the bank believed Becky was a bank robber, but not a single one could say that they were a witness to any robbery. When the president of the bank was asked, he too was very certain that Becky had robbed the bank. But when they did an audit of the bank’s funds they found that not a single penny was missing. The investigation eventually ended and no charges were filed against Becky. But the damage was done. Everybody believed Becky was a bank robber, and even after it was determined that there was no evidence of a robbery, they still believed it. Becky was no longer known as Becky the mom or Becky the pregnant banana. She was known as Becky the bank robber.
Weeks went by and turn into months. Becky hardly left her home. Becky's soon gave birth to her fifth child, Barry Banana, and he was lovingly welcomed into their home. Within a short time Becky was pregnant again. As bad as she felt about her reputation in the community, she didn't want that to affect her job as a mom. But every time she left her home to go to the grocery store, or take the kids to the playground, people stared, whispered, and pointed. And no one ever came up to Becky to say hi. The other moms didn't let their children play with Becky's children. It was a difficult time. After much consideration, Becky and her husband decided that they should leave town and start life anew elsewhere.
They drove all the way across the state line and found themselves a new place to live. Becky’s husband got himself a job at the local factory. Becky gave birth to her sixth child Bailey Banana. Everything seem to be going OK. The other moms were nicer on the playground, yet they weren't super friendly. She hadn’t made any friends yet, but she was hopeful. And she was now pregnant with her seventh child. Then one evening after dinner they were watching TV and the news came on. It was a simple story about who's new in town. They showed a picture a Becky’s husband at the plant enjoying his morning coffee with coworkers. Then one of the news hosts asked, “Isn't that the husband of Becky Banana who robbed the bank?” The sports and weather guys giggled and the co-anchor said, "Oh that was a pretty wild story! Who knows?” They went back to the news, but Becky and her family decided it was time to turn off the TV. Becky started to cry. She couldn't believe the new life she started was ruined so quickly. She was so depressed, she didn't know what to do.
The next morning Becky decided she was going to search for some help. She couldn’t do this alone. She did a search on her phone for local mediums and started making phone calls. She was looking for someone who could help her change the past, or perhaps even cast a spell and change peoples' minds. This sounds a little desperate, but Becky really didn't know what else to do. She eventually spoke to a shaman named Salmon Meteorus. Salmon Meteorus was already aware of Becky’s situation. He had a vision of their encounter earlier that morning. Salmon could not solve Becky’s problem himself, but he knew who could.
A week earlier, Salmon Meteorus was visited by a mysterious man who claimed to have solutions for those affected by inter-dimentional villains. He left Salmon with a small box made out of what looked like wood, but was as heavy as iron. On the box was a scannable code. Salmon knew it would take somebody with knowledge of cross dimensional travel to handle Becky’s problem. Salmon handed her the box with the code and told her she could scan it with her phone. And if she like how it worked, she could purchase it. Salmon excused himself from the room. Becky pulled out her phone and scanned the code. Becky was instantly transported into a different dimension.
Part 2 - Buffy’s Inter-Dimensional Travel Plaza
The light was blinding. Becky squeezed her eyes closed tightly, but slowly opened them as she got used to the light. She looked around to see where she was. She was in a brightly lit room with several well marked doors. There was a large set of glass double doors with lettering on them that said “Buffy’s Vehicle Refueling.” It also had a printed cartoon animal head that she did not recognize. Through the doors she could see lots of very large interstellar vehicles with hoses connecting them to a large tank. At the next set of double doors, was lettering that said “Buffy’s Gift Shop” and underneath was the same cartoon image as the refueling center. On the other side of the room were doors for the lavatories. The next door further away was marked "Custodial Closet". And the the last door read “Conference Room.”
Becky heard a door knob turn and the conference room door opened. Out walked a tall man who introduced himself.
“Hi, I am Chris Webber, are you Becky?”
Becky shook her head yes.
“That's great, we've been waiting for you. We're so happy you finally made it. Please come on in.
“Where am I?” Becky asked as she walked in the room.
Chris Webber responded, “You're at the Buffy’s Grand Inter-Dimensional Travel Plaza. It's a place where people come through traveling from one dimension to another, to refuel and get some snacks and souvenirs. It's also where we have a conference room for our little group.”
“Our group?” she asked.
“Yes, this is a meeting room for a support group for the victims of inter-dimensional nuisance and mastermind Cleave Riftkind.”
“Oh, don't you mean Clive Rifkin?”
“Well that's his name where you come from, but wherever he is, he has a different, yet similar name. And everywhere he's been, he's ruined the reputations of the innocent.”
“I guess that would be me on planet Fizzledorf.”
“Yes,” Chris answered, “and it wasn't your fault. And all of us are here to support you. Let me introduce you to everybody.”
“Becky, I'd like you to meet Rufus Pinckney, Esquire. Where Rufus is from, he's the most famous cephalopod lawyer.”
Chris pointed across the table to a large translucent squid-like creature with a top hat and an overcoat.
“How do you doing Mr. Pinky?” asked Becky.
"I'm well thank you, but please call me Rufus, we’re all friends here. And how are you Becky?”
“So how did you end up here, Rufus?”
“Well, it started with a court case about 10 years ago. My client was Bubbly the Clown Fish. He was suing a sorcerer named Cleuve Ripienne for stealing the anemone he lived in. I had that sorcerer up on the witness stand. I was questioning him when he suddenly stood up. He pointed to the jury, and he said ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the jury’ and all eyes were on the jury. The members of the jury were looking at each other, and they all shook their heads up and down as if they were agreeing with the fact that they were jurors. Cleuve then pointed at Bubbly and said, ‘here we have the clown fish who's suing me.’ The whole courtroom turned their heads toward the fish. Then he pointed at the judge. ‘This is the judge who is who is presiding over the case.’ All heads turned once again. And then he pointed back at me and said, ‘this is Rufus Pinckney, Esquire cephalopod lawyer’, and everybody looked at me and gasped.”
“I looked around and I realized Bubbly was no longer in his chair. Then I looked down and saw he was inside of me. Everybody in the court room saw that poor clown fish inside of my body. His eyes were wide-open and a bubble came out of his mouth, as he hung suspended inside of me totally still. In front of everyone, his skin quickly dissolved. His fins and his tail were next. His eyes melted away, the flesh burned off his body, and he was just left as a skeleton inside of my semi-clear gelatinous body. And within seconds, the skeleton dissolve too. Everybody was still gasping. There were groans coming from the gallery. The judge banged his gavel and said, ‘This case is dismissed. Mr. Pinckney, it looks like the relationship between you and your client has been dissolved.’ And everyone in the court house stopped groaning and burst into laughter.”
“That's terrible!” said Becky.
“I know.” said Rufus. “But that's not the worst of it. The worst was that night on the evening news, when they covered the court proceedings. They showed a close-up of Bubbly dissolving inside my body, and the next clip was the judge saying ‘the relationship between you and your client has been dissolved.’ Everyone at the new station started laughing. They went to the next segment, and the weatherman couldn't give the weather report because he was laughing so hard.”
“I heard about it for months afterwards.”
“I’m so sorry.” said Becky.
“Thank you.” Rufus paused, “but I've made the best of it. I wasn't gonna let this moment define me. And this group was a fantastic help. When I finally decided it was time to define myself on my own terms, that's when everything got better. And the bit about dissolving relationships actually helped me. All of the creatures of my planet now come to me when they want a divorce. Because I'm the lawyer who gets partnerships dissolved! I am now the most successful lawyer on my planet.”
“Wow! That's amazing!” said Becky. "Well, I hope one day I could re-define myself just like you have."
"You will Becky. I know you will." said Rufus.
“You see Becky,” Chris said, “things do get better. Now Becky, I'd like you to meet Wally the Goat.”
A small gray goat across the table turned his head and said “Na-aah.”
“How do you do Wally?”
“Nah Na-aaah! I'm OK, how are you Becky?”
“Oh you speak! I thought for a moment…”
“Of course I speak, I'm a goat. Just like you speak Becky Banana.”
“Well, nice to meet you Wally, what is your story?”
Wally spoke, “It was only a few years ago that I was the called the greatest goat on the planet. They called me the G.O.A.T Goat. Greatest. Of. All. Time. Goat! I could climb the highest mountains. I was afraid of nothing! I ate like a king. I bathed in the sun on mountain tops. My family and friends adored me…” He paused.
“And the feeling was mutual. I was always surrounded by love. And then one day I came down the mountain. The largest mountain on the planet where I've been eating leaves and berries from the rarest of high elevation bushes. I was walking home on a valley path. I had just crossed a small creek. And who pops up in front of me? Clayve RePenne, the magical troll that lived under the bridge that went over the creek. He squatted down with his hands on his knees, and he stared at me. I squatted down too, and stared back at him. We sat there silently and motionless for at least 15 minutes. And then he pointed at me and said, ‘The mountains are high.’ He then turned around and walked away. I never saw him again. But something happened to my brain that day and I've never been able to change it. Something he said, the way he said it, those words had magical powers. I was now afraid of heights. I have trouble going up two or three stairs. I don't even like sitting on a couch. I often lay on mats on the floor rather than sleeping in a bed. It’s too high. It was so terrible. I could no longer eat the wonderful berries from the top to the mountains unless a family member brought them to me. And that made me feel like a bum.”
“But something happened to me shortly after I started coming to meetings here. I realized that there were other purposes in life and I could find my own life, for me, and do the things that I wanted to do regardless of what had happened in the past.”
“So what did you do?” Asked Becky.
“I’ve always been a morning person. And I always liked a really good cup of coffee. So I decided to open my own coffee shop and locate it at the bottom of the the highest mountain on the planet, where all the goats came to eat all those wonderful berries. I sold them my wonderful brew, and they loved it! And in exchange for the wonderful coffee they had every morning, they paid me with all of the berries and leaves I wanted from the mountaintop. No longer did anybody know me as a goat who was afraid of heights. I was the greatest coffee maker on the planet! And once again I became the G.O.A.T. Goat!”
“Do you see, Becky?” said Chris, “It doesn't matter who you are. You can always redefine yourself.”
“I’m starting to see that Chris. How wonderful!”
They took a couple steps towards the other side of the table and sitting there was an 8 foot tall naked baby sobbing uncontrollably.
“Becky, this is Jimmy, the forever baby. He's the last of his species. He’s looks like a baby, but he’s actually over 500 years old. No one knows how long he will live, but as the most evolved species at the final stage of his planet, he could live a million years.”
“Hi Jimmy, how are you doing?”
“Oh Jimmy doesn't talk, Becky. He only cries. He's a bit new here, so we're all trying to give him love and support. You see Jimmy used to laugh and cry but now he only cries since his lollipop was stolen. Jimmy lives on a planet made out of whole oats cereal and marshmallows. All he did all day was sit on the ground and eat cereal and marshmallows, and he was always so happy. He only had one possession, a bright red lollipop that, like Jimmy, seemed to last forever.”
“Then, one day Clover Rattlekin showed up. While he’s the world’s most infamous inter-dimensional villain, Jimmy had never heard of him. Clover went up to Jimmy, who was sitting in his usual spot, smiling and giggling, and holding his lollipop. Clover smiled at Jimmy, and held up his own hand in the same position that Jimmy held his lollipop. Clover giggled along with Jimmy. Then, with his other hand, Clover reached into a pocket and pulled out some magical dust. He sprinkled it over the hand that was holding the pretend lollipop. Slowly a stick formed and grew. And then the pixie dust formed a bright red lollipop at the top. Clover waved his fingers over it, then pointed at Jimmy's lollipop. Then pointed at his lollipop again and snapped his fingers. Clover laughed again and so did Jimmy. Clover blew on his lollipop. Then Jimmy blew and his. And Jimmy's lollipop turned to dust and disappeared from his hand. Clover had made a deceptive, magical switch. He put Jimmy's stolen lollipop in his mouth, snapped his fingers, and disappeared forever from Jimmy's planet. Jimmy has been crying ever since.”
“Oh Chris, that's such a sad story.”
“I know Becky, he literally took candy from a baby! But with the help of this group, Jimmy's gonna one day be a happy baby again.”
“Well you've introduced me to everyone. And now I know their stories, but I haven't heard your story yet, Chris.”
“Well, my story began in the Earth year 1993. I was a leader on a basketball team for the University of Michigan. We were playing in our second consecutive national championship game, and we were down by only two points. The other team missed their shot, and I got the rebound. I knew when I held the ball in my hand that we were going to win it. A player on the other team went to grab the ball but I was able to make a pass downcourt to an open player for a three point shot. But all of the sudden, I heard a large clap and time froze. I was standing there frozen on the court, breathing heavily, and staring at the first row of seats. There he was, court side, standing up with his hands clasped together. It was Cleave Riftkind. A local magician who often performed on campus. It was as if we were the only two people in the world who were awake, and everybody else was frozen solid. I was frozen too but I could see what was going on. All I could hear was my heart beating and my breathing. Cleave Riftkind was able to move though. He waved his arm around slowly in a big counterclockwise circle. I stood there watching the last several seconds of my life slowly moving backwards. As I stood there, now back in time to where I caught the rebound, Cleave stopped winding his arm. He held his palm out to motion time to stop. Cleave then spun his finger around in a circle slowly. And, as if I had no control over my body, I put my hands in the air and signaled that I wanted a time out. Cleave once again held his hand out to signal time to stop. He snapped his fingers and time went back to normal speed. The next thing I knew a whistle blew and I was charged with a technical foul for calling a time out when we had no timeouts left.”
“Oh no!” said Becky.
“Oh yeah,” continued Chris. “As you can imagine, we lost the game. I got blamed for it. I called my mom that night. I was so upset, and I told her the whole story. When she heard it, she told me to never again tell anybody on planet Earth that story. So I never did. I've only told it here with this group.”
“Well, what happened then?” asked Becky.
“Well I was a laughingstock. Everybody made fun of me. And to this day when ever any athlete calls a time out that he or she didn't have, everybody says ‘look, they just pulled a Chris Webber’.”
“Wow.” said Becky. “That must make you feel terrible.”
“It did.” said Chris. “But only for a while. I came here and got the support I needed. And then I went on to define my own life on my own terms. I went to the NBA and played for 15 seasons. I was a five time All-Star, five time all NBA, I was a rookie of the year in 1994, I was a 1999 NBA rebounding champion, and I was inducted into the Naismith basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. And today, I'm a successful NBA analyst on television. So when I hear someone say ‘look, he pulled a Chris Webber’, it doesn't bother me anymore, because I know who I am, and I'm bigger and better than who they defined me as on that day.”
“Oh my! exclaimed Becky. “You're so inspiring! I hope one day I can be just like you.”
“You can do it Becky! I know you can.”
Becky sat down with the rest of the group and she spent the next hour telling everybody who she was, and her story of how she got there. She got the love and support of everyone in the room.
It was getting late in the day, and Becky turned to Chris and said, “I’ve been here for a long time. I need to get back to my family.”
Chris said, “Sure. We’ll get you back right away, but don't worry, time moves differently here. You spent several hours here, but where you came from, only several minutes have passed.”
“Whew, I'm so glad! It was so nice being here. I can't wait to see you again. By the way, how do I see you again?”
"When you get back to your planet, purchase the code stone from Shaman Meteorus. Tell him ‘Chris said I should purchase this.’ He’ll know you’re the one it belongs to.”
“Thank you so much Chris.”
“You're welcome Becky. You go back and do you! Define yourself. You can do it!”
Part 3 - Redemption
Becky left the conference room and suddenly the lights got very bright. Becky closed her eyes and when she reopened them, she was back in Salmon Meteorus’ shop. She found Salmon and told him that Chris said to purchase the code stone. Between visits to Buffy’s Conference Room, Becky went about her life with a new sense of purpose. Whenever anyone asked her about being a bank robber, she just said, “Oh, that was just a rumor. I am Becky, the mom.” She became friends with the other moms at the playground. She joined the PTA where her children were going to school, she volunteered to read books to children at the library, and she brought her seventh, eighth, and ninth children into the world. Benny Banana, Betsy Banana, and Buddy Banana. Becky eventually became president of the PTA, she was voted the most popular storyteller at the library, and a short time later her town voted her mother of the year. The following year Becky got the biggest award of them all, The Planet Fizzledorf Mother of the Year. Becky had done it. She took control of the situation and she defined herself the way she wanted to. She was loved by everybody and she lived happily ever after.