A Taste of Security

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Al Lumpblast collected bricks of fruitcake every year since he got married 50 years ago. Every Christmas, he got the same gift- bricks of fruitcake. To his friends and family what was strange was he never ate them. Nobody except his wife, Nanna knew what he did with them.

From the beginning when he began receiving a few consolidated loads of fruit, he started a tradition. He announced to his family, “Fruitcake is the future.” Then he assembled the tasty giant pieces and mysteriously absconded with them downstairs to the basement. Since that first Christmas, nobody could go downstairs to see what he did with them, because he opened several doors and placed the bricks in the last room. Then he locked that last door and closed the other two until he came up to join everybody. “What are you doing with those fruitcakes?” Everyone asked. All Lumpblast said was, “It’s the future.” That was it.

Many years ago, word got out to the community that there existed a man who mysteriously stored fruitcakes in his basement. It wasn’t long before news teams reporters came around the Lumpblast home and tried little tricks to get the “Fruitcakeaire” to reveal his secret in the basement. He did throw a bone at one reporter and said, “Fruitcakes are one of the most secure means of keeping yourself safe.” It was at this point that his wife chimed in, saying “He’s right the future is in the basement.” But, Al scolded her with such anger in his eyes, because she may have said too much.

Poor Nanna. She remembered a time when Al spent two weeks working in the basement, but Al wouldn’t let her accompany him. All she remembered Al bringing were several shovels into the room with fruitcakes. He came up to eat and sleep. Nanna only asked him several times, “How’s it coming?” “Wonderful! It will be ready soon,” he replied.

The final Christmas, the Lumpblast family rested from giving Al fruitcakes. They gave him a nice radio. All Al could do was sulk that he wasn’t getting fruitcake. But their son, Herb announced, “Let’s plug the radio in and turn it on so we can hear Christmas music.” Nanna clapped her hands, saying, “That’s a great idea. Turn it on!”

No sooner had they turned on the radio than they heard a news bulletin. A newscaster said, “This is an urgent warning! Attention! We are getting reports that a Russian war boat off the coast of New York City has released a strong nuclear threat that ‘America has ten minutes’.”

The family panicked except for Al who said, “OK, everybody downstairs. Right now.” “But you never want us to go downstairs,” replied Nanna hysterically. “I’m about to reveal my secret,” Al said.

As they proceeded downstairs, Al fumbled in his pockets for the keys for his secret room. When he got them out he unlocked the door and opened it. The only thing Nanna and their son saw was a 7 by 7-foot rectangular fortress made of old fruitcake bricks lying six feet underground with a fruitcake room. “Quick, get in!” They crawled through a three-foot cubby hole. “All these years of trusting in your idea, this is a time when I really want this to work,” Nanna said as she and her son smelled the fruitcake. “Yep. I didn’t want anyone to know because I wasn’t sure if the fruitcake would protect us. However, according to my calculations, we might be safe.”

In a matter of minutes, they heard a harsh roaring sound above. Everything shook as the winds from the nuclear blast had gone over their disintegrating house. Then, the basement floor flew out right above them, but their fruitcake fortress remained stable.

Everyone held each other tightly as more winds whipped loudly around their shelter. It was holding. After ten minutes, as the winds died down, they continued to stay huddled together in their shelter. Then, they heard nothing. Al warned, “OK, now we have to stay down here a few days. I assume if New York City was hit, we wouldn’t take the full force of the blast since we live in Nebraska.” His wife said, “You did it. The fruitcake held. You’re a genius!” “Wow. You really did do it, Dad,” his son added.

After five days inside their fruitcake house, they heard a helicopter flying near their area. Al said he thought it would probably be safe to leave. After they all got out, they spied the copter and waved their hands and yelled.

Two Marines spotted them and flew toward them. They landed a couple of hundred feet from the Lumpblasts. One of the Marines went over to examine them. The soldier looked surprised at how neat and clean they appeared. As soon as they were ready, the soldier told them to get in the copter and they flew away to the nearest Marine outpost.

When Al and his family were briefed about going to their fortress made of fruitcake, the sergeant scowled in confusion. “Fruitcake??” he asked as if he had heard everything, and he had. “Nobody’s going to believe your story.” “Go back and look at it yourself,” Al told him.

The colonel running the outpost heard the story and was convinced after flying back with Al to see their fruitcake shelter for himself. “Have you told anyone about this idea of yours?” “No, sir. I wasn’t exactly sure it would hold. So, I kept the idea to myself until the right time. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a fruitcake.”

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