#AtoZChallenge, April 28, 2018 Your I.D. Card, Please
26 posts. 26 days. And 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter, in April.
Follow me as we visit the not-quite-normal retirement village of Twilight, Arizona, where reality clashes with the unexplained.
Your I.D. Card, Please
Clutching her ticket, Ava Young stood in line for the Twilight Community Players production of Nunsense. She chivvied up behind her friend, Janice, in the hope the ushers would see them as one person instead of two.
“I don’t know about this,” she muttered as the line grew shorter.
Janice turned her head. “What are you worried about?”
“If they ask for my I.D. card, I’m screwed.” Ava took a deep breath and shuffled forward.
Nunsense was the last of this year’s theatrical productions. She’d attended It’s a Wonderful Life in December and Elvis Has Left The Building in October. For as long as she’d live in the retirement village of Twilight, Arizona, the players produced three plays a year. A comedy, a drama, and a musical, in that order. God forbid they should rearrange the order or add a fourth production.
“Hey, how are you doing today?” Janice asked the usher as she waved her ticket under his nose. “Kind of windy, isn’t it?”
Ava poked her in the back as she handed her ticket to a man who looked like he’d had a heart attack that morning and had risen from his hospital bed.
Once inside the Twilight Recreation Center’s auditorium, Ava turned on her friend. “Why did you talk to him? The plan was to slip in unnoticed.”
“I was distracting him.” Janice marched to their seats, set in one of the badly marked rows of folding chairs.
“You’d think our dues could pay for a proper auditorium,” Ava grumbled as she sat. The association required a hefty upfront fee to every new buyer in the community and an annual fee to maintain the three community centers and five golf courses.
“Can you imagine this crowd negotiating stairs?”
“No, probably not.” Most of the attendees looked like they had voted for Eisenhower.
Is this how I’ll look in thirty years? At fifty-six, she’d noticed more than one gray hair.
“At least the usher didn’t ask for my I.D. card,” she said as the lights flickered to alert the crowd the curtain was about to rise.
“You should go get another one. They’re only six dollars.”
“It’s the principle of the thing. I live here. Why do I have to show my I.D. card every time I want to swim or attend a class?”
“Because then anyone could do it. Look at all the trouble they had at Twilight Lake with outsiders taking all the trout.”
With disastrous results, a Twilight resident had objected to a non-resident fishing in the lake. “I guess you’re right, but I don’t like it.”
After the play, she’d go to guest services and order a new card. It’s not like she hadn’t done it before. Since the previous fall, she’d replaced her card three times. They seemed to jump out of her wallet.
“Shh. The play’s about to start,” Janice said as the lights flickered again.
Three weeks later, Ava fumbled in her purse for her card. She’d walked to the Sundown Rec Center to use a treadmill. Too many donuts from the bakery at The Mart had added more pounds to her frame than she could justify.
The volunteer in charge, Dotti with an “i”, frowned at her.
“You have to have a photo I.D. to use the equipment.” Her lacquered hair rose at least eight inches above her forehead. Nary a strand moved as she turned and pointed to a sign on the wall. “New regulations, hon.”
Don’t hon me. Ava pulled out her driver’s license. “Here’s my address. It’s right around the corner.” Where had she put her other card? She could have sworn she’d added it to her wallet.
“Sorry, hon, but I can’t let you in without it.” Dotti didn’t look one bit sorry. Was she smiling?
“Oh, good grief.” Ava spun on her heel. At least she’d could count walking to and from the Center as exercise. What was the world coming to?
Six times during the next two weeks, someone asked her for her card. What a bother. Ava considered hanging it from her neck except it would make an old-person fashion statement.
Was impersonating the elderly such a crime the Association had to crack down and make everyone prove who they were? Had grandmothers and grandfathers across Phoenix discovered a loophole, driving north to take advantage of free exercise equipment and PCs-for-beginners classes? Were three dollar class fees such an attraction?
Ava wondered about the elderly crime statistics as she once again entered the Sundown Rec Center.
“Your I.D. card, please,” intoned a blue-haired octogenarian whose dentures clacked. The “Hello, my name is-” sticker on her shoulder identified her as Esther.
Ava smiled and dug in the pocket of her shorts for her card.
It was empty.
“Wait a minute,” she said, holding out her hand. “I had it right here.”
She checked her other pocket, then both cups of her bra in case she’d shoved the card there.
“Your I.D. card, please,” Esther warbled, steel in her eyes.
“This is ridiculous,” Ava said. “I can’t find it, and I’ve had enough of your silly rules. Pretty soon we’ll all need a card to breathe.”
“Pretty soon?” Esther said, a painted eyebrow rising. She pointed to a new sign on the wall. “Your card, please.”
Ava backed away. “I. . .I don’t have it.” Her lungs hurt. Her head buzzed. Why couldn’t she get enough air?
Esther made a tsk sound as Ava clutched her throat and fell to the floor. “Sorry to hear that, hon.”
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Twilight, Arizona, all the stories now available on Amazon
Visit Amazon to buy the complete Twilight volume.
Don’t want to wait until April 30th to read all twenty-six Twilight stories. For a limited time, they are available on Amazon for 99¢. From Arizona Heat to One-Zero-Zero, read and enjoy twenty-six stories set in the strange retirement community of Twilight, Arizona.
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The next #AtoZChallenge April 30, 2018, One-Zero-Zero
A Twilight resident’s one-hundred-year birthday celebration comes to a crashing halt.
Until then, blessings,
The fish story appeared in No Trespassers Allowed.by