The Last Churn

Much as I have loved doing the ‘Churns’ I am going to phase them out with this final piece. Ah, but it’s a piece with a happy ending.

An Apple in disarray offers all sorts of dramatic possibilities. And Steve certainly gave us plenty of drama throughout the past year. But an Apple, fallen on happy times, is harder and harder to churn. A good Churn requires passion and pathos. A certain fire and frenzy, seasoned with a dollop of despair.

Microsoft, of course, is always with us, but how many ways can you write that same old refrain: ‘One for All and All for Bill’

So, now we will live happily ever after? Not likely. And if the Apple Saga heats up once more, don’t be surprised to see a Churn bubbling away in the pot.


My Bondi-Blue Beauty Awake Unto Me

“Smile for Papa,” urged the King. “Smile at all the nice people,.” But the toddler clung to the Queen’s skirts, peeking through folds of silk at the throngs who had come for her christening.

The King looked at the Queen. The Queen looked at the King. The Good Fairies rolled their eyes and looked at the ceiling.

Just then, young Prince Steven, cousin of the Queen, slipped onto the stage. And giving the child a wink, he raised her high above his head, perching her atop his shoulder.

The King and the Queen held their respective breath. The audience held their respective ears. There is nothing more earsplitting than a howling princess at her Grand Debut.

The Prince tickled a royal toe and whispered something to the Princess. And with a charming smile, Little Beauty grinned at the crowds below and babbled her very first word.


With that, the Five Fairy Godmothers swooped down to welcome the young Princess and offer their gifts.

The First Fairy kissed the child on either side of her sweet smile and said, “May she always remain as charming as she is today. I offer the gift of User Friendliness.”

The Second Fairy kissed both rosy cheeks and said, “She’s a born beauty, no help needed there. May these apples always bloom in her cheek. I offer the gift of Good Health.”

The Third Fairy, noting a gleam of mischief in those royal blue eyes, kissed Beauty on the forehead and smiled. “May she always bring pleasure to those around her. I offer the gift of a Joyful Heart.”

The Fourth Fairy, the artistic one, took the small dimpled hands in her own and said, “May she find delight in all that she sees and does. And inspire the same in others. I offer the gift of Creative Endeavor.”

The Fifth Fairy stepped forward intending to offer a gift of Memory, something in short supply on the King’s side, when a sudden hush fell over the Great Hall.

“So! What have we here!” Demanded an apparition so black that power supplies were drained and disks instantly demagnetized.

“Did you think I would have no gift for the young Princess?” Cried the Black Fairy. “Why, I have more than enough gifts for all!

“Where shall we start? Such a sweet little flower. Perhaps we will allow her a brief period of bloom. Minstrels and poets will sing her praises.

“But, just as she comes of age, she will fall into disfavor. Those same troubadours and snake-charmers will cry her doom.

“Their very words will so dishearten the girl, she will slip into a swoon and die.” And with that, the Black Fairy tapped the child with the tip of her wand and was gone.

The last Fairy picked up the small princess and sighed. “My Little Beauty,” she said to the wide-eyed child, “I can do nothing to erase the Black Fairy’s curse. But, I can soften the pain. You will, I’m afraid, fall into a swoon.

“But you will not die, my dear. You will simply sleep forever. Or until someone brave and daring, and yes, charming as well, hacks his way through the brambles to awaken you.”

Minstrels, poets, storytellers, soothsayers and even itinerant scribes were banned, forthwith, from the kingdom. And the young princess grew in good health, filled with joy, creativity and, above all, user friendliness.

But on the day of her coming of age, she slipped away to the top of the castle and there, in a musty corner, found an old, old woman, dressed in black and plucking a lute.

Never had Beauty seen such a thing, Never had she heard such sweetness as poured from the ancient strings. Blessed as she had been, her young life had never tasted the joys of story or song.

“My good grandmother,” she said shyly. “What is this thing you hold? This strange and wonderful thing you have that I’ve never seen nor heard before.”

“Only your life in my hands, my dear,” smiled the old woman. “Come a little closer. I shall sing your days.”

Beauty crept closer to the old woman, fearful yet drawn by the haunting sound of the lute. “Perhaps an apple for your health,” said the crone, placing a ripe, red fruit in Beauty’s lap. And she began to play.

The first notes were gay and Beauty’s heart soared with the melody. But slowly, subtly, the key became a minor one, filled with sadness and doom. And death. Over and over, the songs sang of death.

The rosy glow vanished from Beauty’s cheeks. The apple shriveled in her hands. Her smile flickered and died. And she fell to the floor in a cold and dreamless sleep.

The best minds and the wisest magicians were summoned to the castle. But not one could rouse the Princess. Dr. Peter, in constant attendance at her bedside, looked grave. “There is nothing more I can do,” he said.

The King and Queen, devastated that nothing could be done to waken Dear Beauty from the coma in which she lay, retired to their bedchamber and would see no one. The palace fell into disrepair and a hedge of thorns encircled the castle wall.

Time passed. In a distant land, Prince Steven, no longer in his first youth, but still as charming as before, heard tales of an enchanted Princess locked in an endless sleep.

Now, due to some awkwardness in the past (our young Prince had once tried to usurp Uncle’s throne), it had been many years since he had set foot in the Kingdom.

“But,” he reminded himself, “memory was never the old King’s strength. Probably forgotten all about feeding me to the lions should I return.” And off he went, on a great white horse, to rescue his Sleeping Beauty.

It wasn’t easy. The brambles about the castle were fiercely entrenched. Songs and Stories, once unleashed, took on a life of their own, escalating with every telling. And the old King’s memory was not quite as bad as the Prince had hoped.

But the Prince, hatchet in one hand, charm in the other, persevered. At last he stood in the Great Hall where once he had hoisted the young Beauty to his shoulder.

There, surrounded by candles, growing shorter and shorter until they were little more than stubs, she lay on a slab of white marble. Death no more than a breath or two away.

He bent low, brushing aside some bits of withered apple still clinging to her gown. He took her hand in his and planted the requisite kiss upon her brow. “Awake!” he commanded, “your Prince has come.”

Her face held only a blinking question mark. Though her hard drive still spun, her ROM was clouded and her desktop in urgent need of rebuilding. And anyway, memory had never been her strong suit.*

There was some doubt in her mind as to whether she was a princess, a toaster or a washing machine. In a small, troubled voice she murmured, “Where am I? Who am I?”

The Prince leaned forward and whispered in her ear. “Think, Beauty! Remember what I said when you were but a babe.” Her eyes opened slightly and her monitor began to glow.

Suddenly, her lips parted. “I remember, now,” she whispered back.

“I think, therefore I Mac. I Mac, therefore I am !”

A smile lit her face and twin apples reddened her cheeks. She gleamed up at Prince Charming. And said with a twinkle in one bondi-blue eye:

“Hello Again!”

*The original Mac was a marvelous thing, but a bit short on RAM.


“Trojan Horse? Or Cavalry Come to Save Us?”
Desktop Dilettante / MacTimes Network

Susan Howerter

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