Memo To Self
by David Kelley
gadgets. Not antiques, because those had no
useful purpose except to sit somewhere and
collect dust. No, Donovan loved gadgets.
Items that had a use, a function, a value.
For instance, his latest find was one of those
Memo-to-Self doodads that people used about
twenty years ago. Donovan had gotten many a
good laugh out of self-absorbed folks who would
wander around a store or at work with the little
tape recorder saying things like, memo to
self: remember to go by grocery store,
memo to selfget cat litter. Almost
as bad as what non-attention payers did today
with smart phones, I Pads, and other annoyances. Yes,
Donovan loved gadgets and this one actually still
Becker, he yelled over to his neighbor.
Dig on this thing I got yesterday.
better but got involved anyway.
out, Becker. A memo-to-self recorder that
still works. Cost me all of five bucks.
thought Becker. All the man needs is more stuff
around the house. He already had plenty to keep
him busy for the next 17 years but Becker knew
that Donovan could get obsessed at times,
especially now that he was single. The
divorce had hit Donovan hard, Becker knew, so he
was willing to cut the guy some slack.
what are you doing to do with it? Becker
asked. He knew better but he did have some time
to kill before the NASCAR race came on.
do memos-to-self about all of those people and
things that drive me crazy. You know, like
Perkins over there who lets his dog go wherever
he wants and do what dogs do when they can go
wherever they want. Like lazy morons who cant
return shopping carts to corrals. Like
dimbulbs who dont understand how to use a
turn signal. Stuff like that. Gonna
record it when it happens and then try to think
up a way to let those asses know they are being
Becker, at least it was a project. Would give the
guy something to do between football games and
continued Donovan without even missing a beat,
gonna erase the tape and not let that ass
get to me anymore. Would leave more room on
tape for more memos-to-self bout other asses.
Memo to SelfPerkins dog is
making a mess in the azaleas across the street.
Remind myself to say something to Perkins and his
dog. Might even deposit what the dog
deposited on Perkins own front porch.
And so began
Donovans Annoyance Reminder Project.
A couple of days later Donovan was wandering
around his back yard when Becker came outside.
Becker, the call came over, have you
seen Perkins lately?
say that I have. Why, still irritated over the
dog and azaleas incident?
Just wondering where he was. I erased his
entry on the memo thing and havent thought
much about him since. Just havent seen
him for a few days.
It was a
little weird, thought Becker. It was like
Perkins had just disappeared. His dog, too. His
house looked like no one was at home which was
true since his wife and kids were visiting the
Donovan was happy as all get out, making entries,
plotting revenge and then erasing the tapes. He
claimed this prevented those asses from having
any control over him. One particular entry
he was especially proud of. It involved a car
that every single day came down the road, at
exactly the same time, and either couldnt
read the speed limit or assumed it didnt
pertain to him. Donovan was standing there,
recorder in hand when the ass zoomed by, not even
trying to slow down or use its turn signal,
reciting his venom and plotting his move.
Donovan, asked Becker a few days later,
plot your get even move on the speeder jerk?
going to. But went ahead and erased the tape. Cant
be worry about dumbasses who probably cant
learn. Anyway, I havent seen him for a
few days now. Maybe hes found a
different street to annoy.
to notice some things that at first he found
coincidental but seemed to be forming a pattern. Donovan
would make an entry into his recorder, ponder on
revenge or action, and eventually erase the tape. The
interesting thing was that the person or object
of Donovans annoyance would seemingly
disappear, or at least not be around anymore. Becker
noticed that more neighbors seemed to be gone a
lot more, house along the street showing no signs
of life. He also recalled that Donovan was
no longer talking about her, the ex
who had put him through a pretty good resemblance
of Hell during the divorce. Becker
remembered that he had heard Donovan blasting
away into his recorder about her numerous
negative attributes, and thought about asking if
he had erased the tape.
was the reply. Erased the tape and
that psycho is out of my mind now. Clarity
and focus, Becker, thats what I have now. Clarity
tell Donovan that she hadnt been at work
for several days now, and no one could get hold
of her. He knew this because his wife got her
nails done at the salon next door to where
Donovans ex had her shops. Like she
had just disappeared.
pissed you off this time? Becker was
beginning to have some curious thoughts but hadnt
said anything yet. After all, what could he say? But
he did notice that Donovan was still having a fun
time with his recorder, prowling around the yard
or up and down the street.
gotten your newspapers this week? Havent
seen mine for four days now.
cancelled the subscriptions. Whats the
tired of mine being chunked over into Vinces
yard. Made a memo to call circulation and let
them know about it. Hells Bells, no
sports page is a pisser way to start the day.
guess, Donovan. You thought about it,
pondered some more and then just erased the tape
without doing anything. Right?
yeah. Figured circulation folks wouldnt
do anything anyway. Wonder if Barnes if
getting his papers? Havent even seen the
carrier go by this week. Very punctual those
quite put his finger on it but something was
weird. Like Donovan making memos about what
he considered rude cashiers at the grocery store
and then Becker noticing a lot of staff vacancies
and positions being advertised.
paying a bit more attention to his neighbor,
especially when Donovan was roaming around with
his little memo recorder. Ever since Donovan
had found that thing, Becker mused, some fairly
bizarre things had been happening. Today,
though, it looked like Donovan was simply in a
grilling mood, as Becker watched his neighbor
uncover and get ready his big grill, the one
called Barnabas. Becker had to admit that Donovan
did know how to use a grill. After all, if a
man has ten of them he surely knows what to do
with them. For some reason, Becker felt it
very important for Donovan to stay in a good mood.
Donovan! Becker yelled over the fence,
anyone pissing you off today? Havent
seen you doing your memo recordings lately.
little bummed the past few days, was the
murmured reply. Thought some serious
grilling would help the mood.
focused, thought Becker. Keep him focused.
Becker did a
quick check of what all Donovan had on the patio
table and was relieved, why he wasnt sure,
not to see the Memonator, as he now called it.
some ribs and marinated thighs, Donovan
reported. I would tell you what all I
used for the rubs and marinades, but then I would
have to kill you.
he was just kidding about that last comment. Actually,
being killed might be preferable to being memoed,
considering some of the things Becker had been
noticing. For example, just last week
Donovan had gone off about the roofers who were
leaving nails, trash, and other junk laying
around while redoing the Landers home. Did
the memo-to-self about contacting their office
people, ranted some, eventually erased it.
However, the roof was still unfinished and
Landers hadnt been able to locate the crew
for five days. Calls to their company went
unanswered and Landers was sure he had been
scammed. Becker also recalled the satellite
truck that had been working at the Murphys
house and which now had gone and left the job
unfinished. Donovan had blasted them about
blocking the street and making a general nuisance
of themselves. Asking to use HIS bathroom!
Indeed! Yep, thought Becker, keep the focus
listened while Donovan gave his lecture on the
techniques involved with Barnabas. The wood
used, the time involved, all the nuances of
grilling to which Donovan was addicted, just went
right by Becker as he kept repeating to himselfKeep
him focused, keep him focused. But he had to ask.
just curious, where did you get that memo thing
anyway? I know they dont make them
anymore. Yard sale or where?
I got if off a guy at the bar. He was just
sitting there so we had a few beers and he told
me about this thing he really had no use for.
Five bucks, couple of beers later, and it was
mine. He sure seemed relieved for some
reason to let it go.
Becker had to
tread carefully here. How could he get Donovan to
either sell of give him the Memonator without
giving away what he was sure was its weird
abilities. Careful, he repeated to himself,
Becker! Almost made a memo about you the other
day. Forget what for now. Thought I would mention
it so you dont get on my bad side. Would
hate for anything to happen to you.
about as white as a person could, took a couple
of deep breaths, and tried to look anywhere else
but the little grin on Donovans face. Donovan
began nodding slightly and slowly, erasing all
doubt in Beckers mind about Donovan knowing
exactly what he held in his hand.
be careful, Becker, would hate to lose you as a