Friday, December 30, 2011

Here’s where it began

2011: go f**k yourself. Not to say that 2011 was a bad year. I was feeling fully on my feet ready to take charge of my life and really stop pissing myself off this past year.

I did most of that. I managed to send out a few more things I wrote than I have in the past ten years, so that was good. I accepted the fact that I am who I am and there’s no need to change any of that. I’ve grown into a person of respect and intelligence tempered with school boy giddiness at times. I know that I’m capable of love and that I deserve love. (I deserve adoration, but we’ll save that for 2012.)

It’s funny to try and think about an entire year and cram all those memories into one day. I don’t think I have the literary skill to convey the complexities and trivialities of the past 365 days. The tribulations were many but all were overcome. I’ve stared at myself in the mirror with a drunken smile often this year and counted the growing numbers of gray hairs on my head. Veni, vidi, vici.

Popular Mechanics said there’d be jet packs and pill food, moon bases and space shoes by now. I thought there’d at least be a wife or kids, a house or a dog, a picket fence and a yard to mow. Neither of those things happened, but I’m possessed with a calmness I didn’t know I was capable of.

I’m not worried about those things. My wants for 2012 are pretty simple. Spend more time in the arms of a beautiful woman that wants me for me and who wants to hold me. I should stop smoking. I should exercise. I should pay more attention to the needs of the many sometimes and stop being such a jerk to some of the few.  I want to be regarded as a serious writer and get something published. Did I mention being held by a beautiful woman? I think I did.

2012 had better not be a frigging jerk. There’s a lot of pressure on it already, what with the world ending and all. I’d hate to be the year the world went all kla-blooie in. Then everyone would be like, “Ugh, you remember that ass 2012? Good gravy what a jerk”.

As this New Year exits the birth canal of Mrs. Time (Father Time’s wife of course) and starts screaming bloody murder, raise a glass of your favorite beverage, alcoholic or not, and pray to the God’s of our ancestors that we are not destroyed or cursed or mashed up into meatballs for intergalactic douche bags.

Cheers! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Carl was an aging rocker. His long flowing rock and roll hair was getting grayer with every passing day. His leather jacket was frayed around the cuffs and the zipper didn’t work but he’d never stop wearing it. It still smelled like all the pot and rock and roll of the 25 years he’d been wearing it. He’d be buried in it.

He got off the train and started working his way through the crowd. He was adept at working his way through crowds thanks to all his years as a concert go-er. He had developed a kind of sixth sense for the way certain groups of people would drift or sway and he could anticipate where the openings in the throngs would be. He could move through a crowd like a cop car through traffic. It was something he was proud of.

He’d yet to fully embrace the new technology though and thought he was a little behind in that regard. He had seen all the kids with their iPhones and MP3 players listening to music on the train and he was a little jealous of their immediate ability to hear their music. Carl remembered waiting to buy an album at a store and hurrying home to play it. That bus ride from the music store to home was agonizing, especially if you really wanted to rock. Now these kids just downloaded the song and could hear it immediately.

Carl wondered if he was becoming an old man. He was certainly starting to act the part, what with being jealous of the younger generation. That was something his parents did and what Carl swore he’d never do. He didn’t want to lose touch with the rock, but it seemed that sometimes, rock was losing touch with him.

Carl went to his regular corner coffee shop and picked up a double/double and Danish. Scotty Patel was at the register as usual, standing straight as an arrow. He never relaxed at the counter. He was always vigilant and attentive, like a gazelle on the plains. Carl stopped and picked up a copy of Guitar Rock Monthly from the magazine rack and tossed it on the counter.

“It is a great issue this month my friend”, said Scotty.
“That’s cool, seemed a little thin though.”
 “Yes. There is very much competition with the internet. Magazine are likely not to be around much longer”, said Scotty.
“That sucks”, said Carl.
“Yes my friend. Times are changing”, said Scotty as he put the magazine in a bag and opened the register.

Carl nodded, said his usual, “Keep on rockin’ ”, and headed back onto the street. A car was stopped at the corner with its windows down.  Some new rock song blasted from the speakers and the kids in the car were drumming and playing air guitar, getting really into the song. The car pulled away when the light went green with the kids inside belting their young souls out to their new anthem.

“Rock is rock and it will always be”, thought Carl and he smiled.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It does happen

“Sometimes the bad guy wins”, said Walter's Grandfather.

It was something that stuck with Walter. It was true, this wasn’t the make believe world of Hollywood where the bad guys always get their comeuppance. In the real world, bad guys did win, and more often than just sometimes. Walter had seen it in the news and so often just on the city streets. The person being bad usually gets away with it while those they try to make the world better go unnoticed.

Walter adjusted his tie. He’d been in the waiting room for his doctor for over 35 minutes and was getting very uncomfortable. He was starting to think that his doctor was a bad guy, abusing his power to heal us by making us wait for him like a prima donna opera star. He cleared his throat and the disinterested receptionist barely looked up from her InStyle magazine. She was a cute girl but sort of lumpy in all the wrong places. Plus she chewed gum incessantly.

The room had about six uncomfortable brown chairs placed in a long row along a beige and white wallpapered wall. There was a withering fern in the corner near an end table covered in two year old magazines. Walter had flipped through them all, including the old Highlights kid’s magazine. The light overhead flickered ever so slightly with usual electrical pulse of an aging fluorescent bulb.

Walter realized his doctor was truly evil and had a sadist streak in him 20 miles long. Why else would he have told Walter about the cancer but then make him wait for forty minutes? Clearly it was because he was a dick and got off on the misery of his, “patients”.    

Walter cleared his throat more aggressively and got the lumpy receptionist’s attention.

“Any idea when Dr. Death will be ready to see me”, asked Walter.
“No. He’s got a lot of early appointments that are running long”, she snapped with her gum.

Walter had arrived ten minutes early for his appointment and the waiting room was empty. No one’s mother was sitting anxiously in the corner, no child was sneezing, no old man with an oxygen tank was wheezing after the long walk from the elevator. Walter had a hard time believing the doctor was busy.

Walter slumped back in his chair. Sometimes, the bad guys do win, he thought. He picked up a four month old Time magazine and tried to fight back the tears that were welling in his eyes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

That collective sigh was a mighty wind

I hope that my faithful readers were able to cope with my short hiatus over this Christmas holiday. I’m back now ready to continue my mouthy march against everything that I think is stupid, annoying or downright vomit inducing.  Well, maybe it’s less of a march and more of a drunken mosey.

I’d hoped to build up a treasure trove of new and exciting stories from this short break of mine but alas, all I have are the same old stories. I did however pick up a few new interesting things while watching hours and hours of educational TV. I think the History Channel and The Discovery Channel know something about the impending End of the World and are trying to gently nudge us toward being prepared.

Every other show was about Nostradamus or how 2011 was the weirdest and most severe weather year in recorded history. There were shows about humans escaping the Earth in the final days and the meaning of the Mayan calendar when cross referenced with the Bible. I mean, if you weren’t worried about this stuff before then I’m sure you are now.

What I gathered from all these doomsday shows was just that, we’re doomed. There’s really no escape for human kind. Of course one show, hosted by the impeccable Sam Neil, did note that Earths final days will probably occur sometime in the next seven billion years when our sun dies. So I’m not too worried about packing my bags just yet.

I do worry about the political predictions of some of those ancient scribes of yore. It is human destiny to try and destroy each other. (Unless Bill and Ted save us as foretold by prophecy) We’ve been trying to kill each other for thousands of years and that is likely to be our un-doing. I worry that with the worsening economy and political unrest, Europe will once again serve as the lynchpin in another global conflict.

I worry about the potential for joblessness, leading to political unrest, leading to armed conflict, leading to complete and utter war. I think this is a real possibility and based on our current path, a very likely one. I’m not saying I know the future, but I think I can reasonably guess at one possible outcome of the current world struggles for mankind.

But I’m off topic, I think, and being a little depressive. Perhaps, with 2011 nearing a close I’m feeling a bit nervous about the future. The future is always unknown and the unknown is a scary thing. I think on a personal level I’d like to meet the right girl, settle down, try and raise some super intelligent children with dreams of world domination for the betterment of all mankind, and retire to Hawaii to wait for the impending end.  

In the meantime I suppose I’ll keep plugging these articles into your brain.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas, stupid

As this Holiday season nears its apex I am often filled with the Christian generosity and good cheer the season is so often about. It’s a very tough feeling to hold onto for any length when confronted with stupidity. Well, it’s not even stupidity; it’s when people assume that I’m stupid instead of giving me the benefit of intelligence.

Case in point, the other day (as Chicagoans say, which can mean yesterday or sometime in the last two weeks) I came home from work on a very cold, windy day and saw one of my neighbors talking outside the apartment building with another person. I have seen this young lady neighbor several times in the building. She lives on the opposite side of the building and our windows face each other. We’ve even had a conversation or two while getting our mail in the lobby. So as I walked passed them to the front door of the apartment building I gave a friendly nod and unlocked the door. It occurred to me that it’s quite cold out and these two are standing outside, talking. I turned to them while holding the door open and said, “It’s pretty cold out. Wouldn’t you rather talk in the lobby?”

My young lady neighbor looked at me and said, “What?”
I repeated myself and continued to hold the door. She looked at me and said that she was fine and, “I live here”.  

“No effing Sh*t you live here, I know you live here”, I thought to myself but I didn’t say it. I just nodded it off and walked into the building shaking my head. Clearly this girl knows me. She’s seen me before, but for some reason she assumed I was stupid. And it made me mad.

I usually try to give everyone the opportunity to be intelligent first; you have to show me you’re a moron by what you say or how you act. Most of the time, I’m going to assume people have the ability to act appropriately in the world without drooling on themselves like they’re whacked out on Thorazine. Unfortunately, people keep proving me wrong.

They walk too slowly on the sidewalks, blocking everyone’s path, as they try to get through their iPod of iPhone playlist so they have just the right bass line thudding in their ears when they walk through the doors at work. Or the geniuses that board the train first but then stand right in the doorway blocking the ingress of everyone behind them. Or the smartys that want to debate your political beliefs in the bar because all they know about politics is what they heard from someone else that day and don’t know anything about history or how the political machine actually works.   Let me catch my breath here. I’m a little worked up.

So in this Christmas season and my last article until next week, please try to act like you’ve a brain in your head and try very hard to believe other people do to. (even if they don’t, it’s the season for miracles).  

I hope everyone, smart or stupid, has a wonderful Holiday.

P.S. Santa is real and he’ll get you.        

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another Christmas thingy

Craig placed all the presents under the Christmas tree with Santa like care. He drank the milk left out by the kids and took a few bites of the cookies they made with his wife, Mona.  He felt a tickle in the back of his throat as he swallowed the last cookie. It was rough and sharp.  He tried to clear his throat as quietly as possible but something wouldn’t clear.

He realized his wind pipe was closing and he felt panic start to rise. His heart started beating frantically as his hands grasped at his throat. Nuts. Mona had put nuts in the cookies. She knew he was allergic to nuts. She knew he was going to eat the cookies. He now knew she was trying to kill him.

Things hadn’t been easy this holiday. Mona discovered Craig’s addiction to on-line pornography and that he’d spent over a thousand dollars on images of women in various states of coitus. Craig knew it was stupid but he was frustrated. After their last child Mona just wasn’t interested in sex of any kind. She just wanted to go to bed. So he looked at some porn, and maybe sent a few dirty messages to a woman in Miami. Nothing had come of it.

Craig fell to his knees in the living room as he struggled to inhale. A little air was rattling down his throat with each beleaguered breath and exiting with a wheeze. He tried to calm down and slow his racing heart. He knew that most people died from panic more than being unable to breath. He could hold his breath for a long time and he figured he could make it if he just relaxed.

On the roof there was a clatter, a noise Craig wasn’t familiar with, he’d never actually heard a genuine clatter before. It sounded like livestock on the roof. Craig lay on the living room carpet, feeling the room falling further away from him. He could make out the sounds of footsteps coming from above him but it was getting mixed with the sound of his own heartbeat in his ears. He sucked in another weak breath and exhaled in short shattered bursts.

Suddenly he was on his back and he felt air being forced into his lungs. He felt someone’s mouth over his and he thought Mona had changed her mind and had come to save him. He wished she had shaved her beard though. Craig realized Mona didn’t have a beard and he opened his eyes. Santa Claus was giving him mouth to mouth. Craig felt his heart leap in his chest. He’d never believed in Santa and certainly didn’t believe Santa was CPR certified.

“Calm down Craig. Calm down. Nice easy breaths. It’ll pass soon”, smiled Santa.

Craig did feel the tightness in his throat begin to relax and before long he could take a full deep breath. He sat up on the floor and Santa supported his back.

“Santa”, asked Craig.
“Call me Chris”, said Chris, “all my friends do”.
“Chris. Chris Cringle”, breathed Craig.
“Yes Craig. I do go by the name Santa occassionally, but Chris will do fine. You’re lucky I got here when I did”.

Chris helped Craig up and sat him on the couch. Craig’s mouth was hanging open. Standing before him was the man himself, clad in his red suit, lined with white fur, his white beard was full and his cheeks were rosy, his eyes danced like diamonds and his belly jiggled.  It was him. The real guy. The man.

“I don’t understand”, said Craig as he cleared his throat a bit.
“You’ve been a little naughty this year Craig and you were on my list. I was planning on leaving you some coal. But my list was updated in flight, I love this new iPhone by the way, and it turns out your wife is far naughtier. So I’ll be leaving her the coal this year. And you I will give a stern warning”.

Craig swallowed hard. He was being lectured by Chris Cringle, or the real Santa Claus and suddenly felt the need to change his pants.

“Stop screwing around”, said Chris.

Craig waited for more but nothing else came. Smoke rose from Chris’ pipe and formed a small wreath overhead.

“That’s it?”
“That’s it.”

He turned to his sack and pulled out some coal. He put it in Mona’s stocking and turned back to Craig.
“Forgive your wife and stop being so selfish. And on second thought, call me Santa”, said Chris as he slung his sack over his shoulder.

Craig nodded and watched as Chris, as Santa, wiggled his nose and shot up the chimney without a sound.  He sat for a moment in the silence and then passed out into the thick couch pillows.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas themed thing

Since we’re in the holly jolly-est time of the year I thought I should jump in on the ho-ho-holiday thing. I am a not a Christmas band Wagoner however, having been part of the Catholic faith since I was baptized. So I know a thing or two about Christmas. It’s about Myrrh or something, right?

Actually, I do know a lot about the whole Christmas tradition the majority of us now participate in. I also know about the lies. Yes, there are many Christmas conspiracies and a great many of them are completely legitimate. I’m sure most are familiar with the use of certain Christian dates to correspond with important pagan dates throughout history. It was done so the early Church could seem cool. Seriously, they were very California Surfer Dude about the whole thing.

“You’re solstice ritual is on December 25th”, asked the Church.
“Totally”, said the Pagan.
“Whoa, that’s so totally awesome ‘cause our savior was totally born that day too”, said the Church.
“No way!”
“Yes way! So you can like, totally celebrate your holiday on our holiday and we’ll like make it, like, one big awesome party”, said the Church.
“I don’t know about that, I mean we Pagan’s love to party, but I think that would upset our god”.
“You’ll party with us or we’ll totally crush you and your whole way of life”, said the Church.
“Cough… sounds like an awesome party, what should we bring”, said the slightly panicked Pagan.
“Virgins”, said the Church.

So that happened. I’m serious, that’s how it really happened. The next thing you know, Germans are cutting down fir trees and decorating them with candles and calling them Tannenbaum; creating years of fire hazards for generations. Merry Christmas, call your insurance guy.

In all seriousness, I do enjoy the intent of Christmas, regardless of denomination. I’m in favor of any holiday that is interested in peace and joy, in happiness and a hope for the betterment of all human kind. While its origins might be a little murky and I’m sure far too many people died in its defense or persecution, I’m happy to celebrate it with my family and friends.

Now that I got the mushiness out of the way, give me my presents and shut up.

Monday, December 19, 2011

(Hilarious title)

Ding Dong, The Jong is dead, ding dong, the wicked Jong is dead. (Insert Wicked Witch music from The Wizard of Oz.)

So yesterday I learned that North Korean Dictator and all around Batman want to be, Kim Jong Il joined the choir invisible. This is a good thing for the people of North Korea, even though they may not realize it right now. North and South Korea have been at war since the 1950’s, that’s right, the Korean War never officially ended. They are in a current state of cease fire, but there is no cessation of hostilities. So with the death of Kim Jong Il, perhaps some progress could be made.

However that might be a little difficult if his son, the mysterious Kim Jong Un, is indeed the successor. According to CNN, Kim Jong Un is in his mid-twenties and it’s not clear if he will be the, “big baller, shot caller”. He’s only been the next in line for the last four years and doesn’t really have the experience his late father had in State Party politics. So we’ll have to see how his appointment goes.

Kim Jong Il was himself a strange little man. He was obsessed with movies and in 1978 he kidnapped South Korean actress Choi En-hui and her husband Shin Sang-ok and forced them to work in the North Korean film industry. He spent millions on the movies while the country suffered in debt. His son appears to be equally fascinated with basketball.

The people of North Korea, being so secluded from the rest of the world by the State, may not consider the, “dear leader”, as a dictator. They have some sort of reverence for him. Any dissenters were quickly quieted and the State spent a great deal of time promoting his positive image. So it’s easy to see why the people might believe he was a great leader. I guess we’ll just have to see how the world spins without him, hopefully, for the better.

In other news, it seems a cat is inheriting thirteen million dollars. A cat named Tommaso is now the world’s richest pet. This cat will live in the lap of luxury for the rest of its life, while the rest of us have to pretend we didn’t hear anything about it and hide the normal emotional response of cat murder. I don’t care what anybody says, cats are jerks. They’d eat you if they had the chance. If they had thumbs and access to fire arms, I’m quite sure they would use them on us.

You know where this kind of crap isn’t tolerated, North Korea.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Can I not?

I’m not going
to play

I’m not going
I’m not going
in the cold.

I’m not going
to type,
I’m not going
to read.

I’m not going
to pretend

I’m not going
to wonder
what you’re

I’m not going
to see
from your

I’m not going
to smoke,
or feel
in my chest.

I’m not going
to say
I told
you so.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Look at me in that tone

I saw a lot of strange faces on the train and street this morning. I saw a lot of cringes and frowns, some deep thinking faces and some that were completely disinterested in everything around them. I’m not sure what my face was doing, considering it’s my face and I can’t always see what it’s doing.

These strange and curious faces passed by and I hope I didn’t embarrass them by my squinty-eyed looks at them. I’m pretty near-sighted so pardon my awkward stare. The thing I noticed about myself however is I only seem to look at the faces of women. Men pass by me without much notice, in fact, I can’t recall looking at a single male face on my trip into work.

Clearly my heterosexuality is intact.  It did get me wondering though about faces and the female faces of my past. How many have looked at me with tears in their eyes or with hilarious amazement or complete and total love? How much of that have I reciprocated? I know lots of women whom I don’t look at in the eyes because I know they know that I’m full of shit. They’re the ones that can make me look down at my shoes as my cheeks flush.  They’re the ones dearest to me I suppose.

The faces of men don’t really have any effect on me. They could be crying or in pain or laughing hysterically and I really don’t notice. I wonder if that’s a human failing or if it’s just being a dude. Or that most of my good friends are women. It’s probably something I should blame my father for, but it’s Christmas time and there’s no need to hand our presents of blame.

Of all these faces though there is one that I sincerely miss and it’s the face of a woman in love with me. There’s something pure and highly romanticized about it, but I love it. There have been a few moments in my life where I have actually seen the love for me on her face and it makes me melt like a Swede in a sauna. I miss it terribly.  I’m trying to find that again but it’s been pretty rough.

So I’ll keep staring at the pretty faces on the street, hoping our eyes will meet, our hearts will fill and the music will come up, we’ll blush and smile until one of has the courage to say, “Hi”. Let the melting begin.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Did you know anything about this, “Christmas”?

Jonesy stood in the unemployment line waiting to see if there was anything available for him. He was about 25 people back from the front and the line didn’t seem to be moving. He’d been in the office three times a week for the last six weeks hoping to meet with one of the, “Vocational Engineers”, but had yet to speak to one.

Things were getting a little desperate for Jonesy. He had missed his last car payment and was now hiding his car in a friend’s garage, hoping the repo men wouldn’t find it. He had to buy groceries instead of making his car payment. His son also needed some new school supplies and that was more important that the stupid old car. His son, Joshua, was eight and awesome.  Jonesy didn’t remember being so responsible or smart when he was eight years old so it must have come from his mother. Mary has passed several years ago and Jonesy didn’t want to think about it.

The unemployment line inched forward at a steady, mercilessly slow pace until after three hours Jonesy was finally at the front of the line. The young man at the counter called him forward and Jonesy gave him all his pertinent information. The young clerk wrote it all into a file and paused while reading the other documents enclosed therein. Jonesy tried to quiet the hungry monster gurgling in his stomach. All he’d had for breakfast was a piece of dry white toast and some orange rind. He had given the actual orange to his son for lunch.

“Mr. Jonesmith Kerrigan”, said the unemployment clerk.
“Yes sir.”
“It says here you were employed as a cabinet maker for 15 years and since last summer you’ve been unemployed.”
“Yes sir”.
“I see, it’s pretty tough out there for tradesmen such as yourself”, said the young man.

Jonesy nodded. He’d heard it all before, almost every time he made it to the window. Some young clerk with a government job commented on how tough the job market was for all the trade folks. Jonesy smiled and tried to keep a positive attitude.

“So you’re good with wood working and working with your hands”, asked the clerk.
“I am.”
“It also says here you had some management experience in your shop too.”
“Yes, I ran the employees and the shop for six years.”
“I think I might have something for you. Have you ever heard of this thing called, “Christmas”, said the clerk.
“Christmas, no, I can’t say that I’m all that familiar”, said Jonesy.
“Follow me”, motioned the clerk.

Jonesy followed the clerk around the counter and toward a back room in the farthest edge of the unemployment office. Jonesy never even noticed before how big the whole office really was. He’d only been to the counter and through the door for the most part.

The clerk stopped at the door and knocked twice. A voice from inside the room gave an affirmative and the clerk opened the door and motioned Jonesy inside. Once he stepped over the threshold the clerk closed the door behind him.  In the room was a simple wooden table and chair. Jonesy sat at down and held his hat in his hand. He was suddenly very nervous. He’d heard stories about unemployed guys disappearing in back rooms because they ended up working for the mob or something. It was all rumors though and Jonesy didn’t really care too much for rumors, but he was still nervous.

A door at the other end of the room opened and shut but Jonesy didn’t see anyone come in. He was about to stand up when he heard a small voice. Jonesy looked about the room and at the opposite side of the table was the smallest man he had ever seen.

“Mr. Kerrigan, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christian Cheer and I’m interviewing people for a new position with my toy making company. Do you think you’d be qualified for that?”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hive Five

Coughing and sneezing and hacking and sniffling, it surrounds me in my office. It seems the whole world around me has come down with some various cold or another. I can hear each disgruntled ill noise from the cubicles around me and it makes me think of life in a bee-hive.  I’m sure the constant buzzing would drive my little bee brain insane. Much like the office noise has clearly driven me mad.

It’s the constant sounds of typing and talking and phones ringing and the coughing and breathing and coffee sipping and desk radios playing that makes me so crazy. If a giant came along and tore the roof off the building I bet it would look very much like the insides of a bee-hive to him. I can imagine a giant hand dropping in and scooping up a bunch of the soda machines in search of that elusive nectar we produce. We’d run at that giant hand with our office furniture, trying to sting him to death.

Although, knowing what I know about myself I’m sure I’d go equally as mad if it was completely dead silent. I’m too citified for the peaceful tranquility of nature. If I don’t hear an ambulance at least once every half hour I get nervous. Plus all those movies with those long desolate country roads, sweltering in the summer heat, cicadas buzzing like military trumpeters overhead makes me a little afraid. As if some horrible beast of mythology will erupt from the ground and swallow me up and drag me, screaming, to hell.

Hell is, of course, the office I already work in. So you can see the cyclical horror I’m currently embroiled. And, being hell, there is a requirement that I work, making honey to feed the larval stage bees, so they can grow and continue to work for the collective.

I need a honey and a drink. (To get buzzed) Perhaps things will get more interesting then.

Monday, December 12, 2011

After all

Steven moved in to his new apartment on Wednesday and was completely in love by Friday. He saw her in the hallway by his apartment door. He only saw her for a second, but she had a lingering perfume and a cute look.  It wasn’t something he wasn’t expecting and certainly not something he was used to. Her name was Carrie and she was dead.

It started soon after Steven got the last of his kitchen items put away. He left the room to break the moving box down and when he came back into the kitchen every drawer and cabinet was wide open. He was startled but simply chalked it up to being a little fried from all the moving stuff. Moving usually leaves most people feeling a bit frazzled. He’d left his old apartment in a real trendy part of town because he felt he had outgrown it. It was time for a more adult and respectable place. A place his mother could come to without having to hold her nose.

He closed all the drawers and cabinets and grabbed a beer out of his new fridge. He’d bought a lot of beer because he thought he’d have more friends helping him move but it turned out no one came to help him except his older brother Terry. Terry had a family of his own and could only help move the big items for about an hour and a half before having to pick up his daughter from Ballet.  So Steven moved most of the other boxes by himself and cursed his jerk friends for not showing up to help.

He went to his living room and sat on his couch. It was pretty old and a little smelly and he was pretty sure his old roommate Cam had slept with Katie Morris on it, but it would do for now. He planned on replacing it as soon as he got a little more settled. The TV wasn’t connected to the cable service yet so he had no reception. He had his radio on, but commercial radio was so bad now. It was just commercial after commercial. He shut it off and relaxed on his couch. It was only mid afternoon and he had no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his Wednesday.

He heard a noise from the kitchen. Steven didn’t mind it so much because there were always going to be new noises in new places. Then he heard it again, it was a solid thud, not mechanical or the apartment groaning with its new tenant. Steven got up and went into the kitchen and again, the drawers and cabinets were all open. Now Steven was scared. He immediately thought that he’d rented a haunted apartment. No wonder the rent was only $650 a month.

He almost ran screaming from the place like a maniac until he noticed it. The perfume he’d smelled earlier as he was carrying up his stereo; when he saw that cute girl. He calmed immediately, maybe she was hazing him. Maybe she thought he was cute too and was sneaking in through a door he didn’t know about.

“Hello”, asked Steven.

He stepped further into the kitchen and could smell her perfume again, even stronger. It smelled like flowers you see in those big bouquets at funerals. It was robust and Steven liked it.

“Hello”, he asked again.

He was met with silence again. He took a sip from his beer and swallowed hard. He was getting nervous.

“C’mon now, no more fooling around. Where are you”, he asked the empty kitchen.

He turned around the room straining for an answer but heard nothing. He started closing the cabinets and drawers again.

“Don’t”, said a soft female voice.

Steven dropped his beer to the kitchen linoleum and fell back against the counter with a shout.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you”, the voice.
“Where the hell are you?”
“I’m here. Sorry, wait…”

A young blonde woman entered the kitchen from nothing, she just appeared as she stepped in from the dining room, as if from a mist and Steven felt himself starting to faint.

“Sorry, I’ve been a ghost before”, she said.
“A G-g-g-g-g-ghost”, stuttered Steven.

She laughed at him. It was a sweet laugh, there was something innocent and childlike about it and Steven felt himself more at ease as this ghost woman giggled.

“Are you Scooby-Doo or something”, she asked.
“Hm? No, I… I… more of a Shaggy I guess”, said Steven.
“I’m sorry about your beer. Shame to waste alcohol”, she said looking at the beer can on the floor.

Steven bent over to pick it up quickly and turned to get some paper towels.

“What are you doing in here? I mean, c’mon, you’re not really a ghost right. There’s a door or secret passage from your apartment to mine right”, asked Steven as he bent to wipe the spill.
“Did you see the way I came in here? I’m pretty sure I’m a ghost.”

Steven looked up at her and from his crouched position on the floor he realized that her lower body was somewhat transparent. He stumbled back and fell to his butt.

“Are you okay? I’m sorry. I’m a little nervous too. You’re the first one to see me”, she said, “My name is Carrie”.

She smiled at Steven and he stood up. He tossed the wet paper towels in to the trash and wiped his hand on his pants.

“Carrie. Um… It’s nice to meet you”, said Steven as he reached out to shake her hand.

Carrie smiled and didn’t reach out to take his hand. She looked at Steven with a raised eyebrow and a smirk on her face. Steven blushed. He really got a good look at her face and she was beautiful. Her eyes were light blue, her hair was blonde and wistfully pulled into a ponytail. She seemed petite, maybe about 5’, 4” in height, although without being able to actually see her legs Steven really couldn’t tell.

He lowered his hand.

“Sorry. Habit. So, really, what are you doing here”, he asked.
“I don’t know. You’re the first one to see me and actually talk with me, so I’m not exactly sure”.
“What’s with the opening of all the drawers and stuff?”
“Oh, I saw that in The Sixth Sense and it creeped me out so I figured it’d creep out anyone that moved in here”.
“It does”, smiled Steven.

She smiled back at him. Steven’s heart started wildly beating in his chest. He hadn’t felt that since eighth grade when Sally Nickels kissed him after the graduation dance. He adjusted his stance and tried to look a little cooler. He sort of chuckled at himself for trying to be cool in front of the cute ghost.

“So, like, how did you, you know, die”, he asked.
“I’m not too sure about that either. I lived in this apartment, I think”, she said.
“You think?”
“Yes. I’m not sure about a lot of things to be honest. Do you think you can help me?”

Steven rubbed his chin and felt the day off stubble. Carrie stood with her hands meekly together in front of her. She was the spitting image of the woman Steven had been dreaming about since he was nine.

“I’d love to help”.

She smiled.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pin-Ups and Passers-by

Lately I’ve been on a real Pin-Up girl kick and I owe it all to a very lovely friend of mine. She gave me a birthday card with an illustrated, a well illustrated, pin-up girl and I put it on my refrigerator. Every time I walk into my kitchen I can’t help but see this dark hair beauty, sitting on a big heart pillow, clad in red 1940’s lingerie, teasing me with her eyes. (Her eyes, right. Her eyes) I’m tempted to take it down because something about a 1940’s pin-up girl turning me on seems so strange, considering what’s available on the internet.  

It did however bring me to the realization that all that stuff on the internet, all the instant access to pornography and various other things they call pornography isn’t all that interesting compared with the sultry sophistication of this pin-up girl on my fridge. I wonder what she’s thinking and I wonder if she thinks I’m cute. I’d like to make up a back story for her, something like how she sent that card to me after she got off work at the diner to cheer me up while I’m slogging it out in the Battle of the Bulge. I think her name would be Madge or Lilly.

She knows what I like.

For my second article topic today I need to point something out to the slow walkers of the world; get the hell out of the way. Just because you like to mosey your way into work on snowy mornings doesn’t mean everyone behind you likes to. After I got off the train this morning I was literally trapped behind one of these slow walkers. He was just bumbling along the side walk, taking his own sweet time, and every instance I tried to get around him he would seemingly and magically step back in front of me. I actually blurted out, “unbelievable”, as I tried unsuccessfully to navigate around this roadblock of a man.

He finally stepped out of the way and I was able to rush past, along with all the other fast walkers trapped behind him. We moved ahead cursing the slow walker, only to be blocked again by more hordes of slow walkers. I think that TV show, “The Walking Dead”, should totally change its plot and instead of succumbing to a Zombie apocalypse they should just be trying to get to work and are trapped behind the slow walkers. (Show would probably move at about the same pace)

I just can’t figure these slow walkers out; don’t they have someplace to be? If they do, why are they taking such a long time to get there? Are they worried about getting there early? I’d rather stand in a warm lobby for ten minutes than walk slowly around in the cold. It just baffles me.

I think there should be express lanes on the sidewalks for those of us that walk with purpose and speed. I can’t express how very annoying the slow walkers are.



thiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssss………… sssssss.

Maybe they need a pin-up girl to get home to and impress with groceries to speed them up.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Time does a jig

I went to bed before ten o’clock last night. I was feeling pretty exhausted and needed a full night of uninterrupted sleep. I was fast asleep in no time thinking about how young Gohan would be able to escape the clutches of Cell on Dragonball Z and that one of my friends is very attractive and she just needs a little more confidence, like Gohan. So you can only imagine the crazy dreams I had.

I woke up at some point and felt as if I had been sleeping for hours and I was sure that I would have to get up and get ready for work. I lifted my head to check my alarm clock and was shocked to see it was only 11:36 p.m. I had only been sleeping for a little more than an hour but it felt like the whole night. I put my head back down and went back to sleep.

I woke again at 3:11 a.m., only to again think I had to wake up and go to work. At that point I was quite happy I could go back to sleep for a few more hours. I did consider getting up through and going to work. I fell back to sleep imagining the faces of my co-workers as they saw me sitting at my desk at five o’clock in the morning. I stayed in bed however.

When my alarm clocks did finally go off I was up and ready to go. Well, maybe not ready to go but able to wrestle myself from my dreams and blankets and head to the shower without too much aggravation. It was then that time pulled its third trick on me and seemed to rapidly advance. I could have sworn I was only in the shower for eight minutes but it seemed I was in there for 12; which put me a few minutes behind schedule, which meant it would be a no-shave Thursday.

I had to hurry to get ready, yet again, and I made it to the train with two minutes to spare. The whole while I marveled at how time plays these little tricks on us. It was then that I realized time was Irish. Think about it, O’clock. I think its full name is probably something like Seamus Riley Daniel O’clock.

S. R. D. O’clock is a wily trickster and he’s no time for you and your problems. I would think his philosophy is, “Either get drinkin’ or get dying, just get outta my way”.
He’s got a gruff exterior but inside, he’s all fluff.

He just need some love, like all the Irish men do.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


“Hawaii is quite possibly one of the most peaceful places God ever crapped out when he squatted over the world. When God finished his business he used the Holy Toilet Paper to wipe his Holier Than Art Thou ass and tossed it to the side. It landed in the water and eventually became Japan”, said Sergeant Ross.

Three months had passed since the sneak attack on Pearl when Lionel Lark arrived at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

“The Germans are the dingle berries that hung onto God’s ass until they just fell off on Europe”, continued Sergeant Ross.  

Lionel was now part of the 30th Infantry Division, 117th Regiment. He’d enlisted as soon as he could and was itching for a fight.

“And we’re going to knock all of their ugly teeth in”, finished Sergeant Ross.

Some of the other men cheered when the Sergeant completed his speech. Lionel did too.  He was 19 years old and was fiercely proud of his country and would do anything he could to help win the war. It was a typical story as far as he could tell. Most of the other guys around were all about the same age and seemed just as determined to knock some Kraut or Jap dick in the dirt.

Sergeant Ross walked up and down the line of the eager young men. He looked at each dead in the eyes as he passed, as if trying to gauge which might make it through boot and which would come home draped in a flag.

“I hope you men like running. I love running. So we will be doing a lot of it”, barked the Sergeant. “I don’t want you boys thinking you’re going overseas for a sewing circle. I want you fast and I want you lean”.

The Sergeant gave the order to start running and Lionel and the others took off at a mild clip. This run was the first of Lionel’s Army career and he was he wanted to make a good impression on the Sergeant. It was the first mistake Lionel made in the Army and one that taught him the best lesson. By the time they would finish boot and the rest of their long training he’d know better than to try and lead a charge or try to stand out from the other men. He’d learn that boys he was with now would become the men he’d need to lean on for the rest of his life.

But that first day, running in the sun, he didn’t know what hell was like and still imagined himself standing over a defeated Hitler, saying something like, “Take that Herr Asshole”, while smoking a victory cigar with Betty Hutton on his arm.

They ran for what seemed like days and when finally dismissed, Lionel promptly got back to barracks and threw up. This was going to be harder than he thought.       

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Sickness

Gerald searched his house from top to bottom but couldn’t find his gloves or winter hat anywhere. He had put them somewhere in the spring he was sure he’d remember when winter returned. Now he had gone through every drawer and closet shelf without locating them. The clock was ticking and he had to leave to make his train, so it was either be late and warm or on time and cold.

He had no choice but to throw on his coat and hat, sans gloves and ear goggles. He called them ear goggles because they sort of were. He felt weird about calling them ear muffs because they just weren’t, they were ear goggles.  He hurried down his front steps and hustled to the corner. The cold fall winds had given way to the early winter chills and his head was cold instantly.

Gerald stopped to look for the morning paper but it wasn’t there. It seemed the paperboy decided it was too cold to deliver papers. Although in the city it seemed they tossed the papers onto the porch from a moving car. He could hear it every so often rumbling down the street at four o’clock in the morning. He imagined it was a later model car, all rusted and Bondo covered, belching out exhaust into the early morning quiet. It probably didn’t start on this frosty morning and that’s why there was no paper.

The light at the corner went red right as Gerald reached the curb forcing him to stop his rapid pace. He had about seven minutes to make his train, which was plenty of time to make the four minute walk, but he still hated having to stop at the light. It was a very long light and waiting for it to change in the cold was just miserable. Gerald’s nose was all ready feeling runny and his eyes were tearing from the cold breeze.

Gerald started walking across the street in his classic double time pace; hoping to make up the time the red light had cost him. He got to the newspaper box on the opposite corner and hoped to get a paper from it, but it was also empty. He cursed.  Now he would just have to sit there on the train, staring out the window instead of reading.

The ramp to the train platform was already salted by the diligent train staff. They were usually on top of their game when it came to the cold weather. Gerald realized that this ramp would be quite a challenge once ice did actually form on it. He would probably need new and better winter shoes.

On the platform, Gerald did the usual commuter thing and looked down the tracks for the light of the oncoming train. He jammed his hands in his pockets and realized he’d be doing this every day, for the rest of his life. The thought hit him like a cartoon anvil from the sky and his shoulders sagged. He no longer felt chilly. He no longer felt rushed. He no longer felt human. The train approached and stopped. The doors opened and the other commuters rushed onboard. Gerald just stood, staring down at the tracks, trapped in his shoes, unable to move. The train doors closed and the train pulled away. Gerald couldn’t escape the rest of his days. His heart, broken by the news, pulsed once and stopped. Gerald heard birds chirping and he dropped to the platform. The cold wouldn’t bother him anymore.

Monday, December 5, 2011


The entirety of human evolution and history has led up to this single moment. Our conquest of fire and then of the Earth, the wars, the scientific discoveries, all culminating in this moment of you sitting there reading this article. We have come so very far in a relatively short amount of time and what is the apex of our achievements? This. This is the penultimate in human progress.

I’m not the first to point it out I’m sure. The first person to use a typewriter probably thought, “Heck, can it get any better than this? I’m totally more awesome than the Romans”. In a way, that guy was better than the Romans, merely by being alive. For him, that was the best technology could offer and civilization reached a new high point.  Then some pervert got a hold of the technology and figured how to put ladies naked ankles on it and everything went downhill for a while. It was the Victorian age after all. (God I could go for some hot ankle right now)

I must express some usual dissention however as I just can’t believe the amazing human progress made in the last 100 years has resulted in my cubicle sitting. We can micro size the totality of a personal computer that has more computing power than all the Apollo space missions to something that fits in our pocket and yet, here I am, sitting in a cardboard and carpet cubicle answering questions about why I’m not more compassionate about your drunken driving accident.

I understand that not everyone is destined for greatness; some of us aren’t even destined for mediocrity. Human progress has determined that for great advances in our society, there has to be a worker class grinding out the day to day stuff. So in essence, history deemed my eventual role the very moment a caveman held the first flaming branch up to the sky to illuminate the dark of night. From that moment, history was set on a course to put me in this spot, right here, right now. (Not to quote Jesus Jones)  

I have the capacity to change my place in history but surely not the means as history has also decided that I am to be poor. Well, not poor. I’m not poverty stricken, but I could get there far faster than I could become financially sound. I make what is expected a cubicle worker would make less a few thousand than what you imagined, minus the few hundred you added on in your imagination to be generous. But again, the whole of human history decided what I would make the day the Americas were discovered. I’m not 100% on the math but I’m sure it has something to do with sailor’s wages.

So enjoy your place, millions came before you, striving to carve their own niche in the place carved out by the millions before them. On second thought, screw that. Perhaps we should strive for a little better than that. I’m not satisfied and neither should you be. Unless you are very happy with what you are doing. In that case then I salute you, but please sit down, you’re blocking our view of the future.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The ease of the word

I was reading in bed last night and was impressed with an author’s smooth writing style. She had a great ease in her words that made the story flow. I noticed it rather by accident after I had read quite a bit in a very short amount of time. It made me think of my own style and my tendency to be a bit hurky jerky in my story telling.

I was jealous. I want to write that smoothly and stylishly, but then, I sort of like my style. I think most of my readers like my style. Otherwise, why would they read it? Probably guilt.

It’s something I’ll have to work on I suppose.

In other news, the rest of this week I will be taking a little time off from my hurky jerky writing style to celebrate my birthday. So from Wednesday through Sunday I will not be writing my blog. Unless something awesome happens and I am compelled to write about it, like I meet the girl of my dreams or I get the greatest birthday present ever. (Which could be one in the same I suppose). But I’ll settle for that vacuuming robot.

So try to get though the next few days without me. I know it’ll be tough but I’m sure you can comb through the archives to tide you over for a few short days. But just in case, here’s a wee poem to hold you over till then.

Wind or wind?

The winding wind wound
rapidly, brushing leaves
off trees in a final act of fall.

We wavered and wallowed in
winds while waiting for trains
to whisk us to where watches
wind away our hours.

It’s the wind whining about the
wind we woefully screwed
into with breezy reluctance.

Have a good few days dear readers and I’ll return reinvigorated and ready to tackle the next few aggravating months of winter.    

Monday, November 28, 2011

So much

Dorothy was not happy to be back at work after such a long break. Of course, she knew that no one was happy to be back after the four day weekend, but it did little to comfort her as she trudged along with all the other worker cattle. She could see her own sad face reflecting in the mournful cow eyes of her equally disenchanted fellow commuters. She fixed an errant hair that had blown into her face as the chilly wind curled up around her as made her way toward her office building.

College had failed her completely. She had a degree in nutrition sciences but there were no jobs for anyone in that field. So now she worked in an office that managed the medical benefits for older Americans. And those older Americans were mean. There were more than a few times Dorothy had to leave her desk in tears after some curmudgeon had given her a stern talking to about how awful her company was. They always had a terrible story about how they lost a son in Nam or a daughter to a bad marriage. They always thought they were right because they beat Hitler and no 28 year old office girl was going to tell them different.

Dorothy got to her coffee place with the other cows and waited in line. Each cow got their mocho-choco-latte-espresso-mucho-grande with four shots of super espresso or half-caff-decaff- green tea with a scone. Dorothy got to the counter and obediently mooed her regular coffee order; just a medium coffee with one cream and one Splenda. That was all she needed to start her day. She stepped from the coffee shop and looked at her tall office building standing monolithic like in the morning chill. She felt a pain in her stomach and her heart freeze in her chest. The cows around her continued their busy, shoving path, completely ignoring her.

She felt a tear welling in her right eye and she wiped at it with her gloved hand. She should have run off and joined the circus or maybe joined up with some outlaw bikers, anything would be better than entering that cold office world. Dorothy looked away from the building and saw an old black woman holding a small sign, begging for what little change people could spare. The woman was ragged and dirty and Dorothy could smell her molding clothes.  She was sitting against the coffee shop wall in a mess of old blankets and refuse.

“Please Jesus, help me Jesus”, the old woman repeated as people passed her by without any acknowledgement. Dorothy thought about giving the woman some of the change she got from the coffee shop but she doubted thirty eight cents would provide much comfort. Dorothy felt the sadness creeping in again and wondered what it was all about. What was the point of it all?

“Here you go”, said a man as he passed the old begging woman. He had given her a breakfast sandwich and something to drink and just kept walking by. Dorothy only just heard him and didn’t really catch a glance since she was so mired in her own thoughts.

“Bless you sir, bless you, thank you Jesus, thank you”, cried the woman after the unknown man.

Dorothy looked back at her office building and took a deep breath. She crossed the street and entered.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Half Day

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. That means today is supposed to be a half day at work. Which means you have to do a full days work in less time. Which means I don't have time to write much more than this today.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and enjoys the holiday weekend. We'll return on Monday with more awesomeness. Probably.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

48 years

I wasn’t born when J. F. K. was assassinated. I was born 13 years later. I have been fascinated by Jack Kennedy throughout my life though; from his being second to Joe Kennedy Jr. in their father’s eyes, to his slightly inflated war record, to his ability to step up into a time and place that needed him.  I wonder what the world would have been like if Jack had lived.

Historical theorists have a lot of opinions regarding Jack’s possible political wrangling if he had lived. He would have likely hastened the Civil Rights Act through Congress and likely would have scaled down America’s involvement in Vietnam. While he was responsible for some troop increases, it’s likely he wouldn’t have “Americanized” the war the way Johnson and later Nixon did. After the Bay of Pigs, he had serious distrust of the military and likely would not have followed their plans for escalation in Vietnam.

Jack was anti-poverty and would have worked to ensure that all Americans had a chance at success, but would have stayed away from the idea of government supported welfare. He would have stuck to his inaugural message of, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” As a Democrat he did believe in public welfare, but he thought of it more as communities taking care of each other and not having to be nursed on the government’s teat. That Americans can take care of Americans and it was right to do so, but it was a job for the people and not any political party. Much like the plans to go to the moon, he believed in the boldness of America and its people to accomplish great things.

It’s quite likely that had he lived he would have had a second term through 1968 and Richard Nixon never would have made it on the ballot. In fact, if the policies and programs under consideration at the time of Jack’s assassination had been able to come to fruition, it is unlikely Ronald Regan or even George H. W. Bush would have been elected President.  

I’m not saying America would be perfect now or that we wouldn’t have any social or economic problems. I’m sure there would have been a lot more rocky seas ahead, but I can’t help but speculate on what the world would have been like had Lee Harvey Oswald stayed home on November 22, 1963.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I want to be a writer. I want to wake up at ten a.m.,
crank out a few thousand words or more,
go back to bed, get some lunch,
crank out a few more thousand words, go to the bar, smoke,
 meet a girl who makes me forget I want to be a writer.

I want my Sundays not to be filled
with dread and worry as Monday
approaches. Each passing Sunday
hour feels like listening to the
band on the Titanic before it’s
sucked into the cold heartless

I want to be prideful about
what I do with my head held
high and not merely
doggie paddling just to stay

But I have to keep it short
I have to keep it brief
I have to stop,
and work on the work
that keeps me from my work.

It is dreaded Monday
after all and it’s blood lust
is limitless,
and there is no relief for us

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jelly beans and sex

Now that I have your attention I’d like to discuss the quantum mechanics of reality. Just kidding, let’s talk about candy and sex. I don’t really eat candy and I haven’t had much sex lately. I’m on what single people call, “A Dry Spell”. I’d like to refer to it more as a ghost town next door to a dry riverbed, near a Denny’s. Not the good Denny’s either.

I really only mention it because of the brutal ride I had on the train this morning as I made my way to work. It seems I got on the beautiful people’s train car on accident. As I was searching for a seat on this very crowded train car I caught the faces of some of the best looking regular people I have seen in a while. It was wild. Even the guys seemed to be above average in the handsomeness department. I quickly found my seat and tried to cover my own hideousness with a rag newspaper.

This of course was only interrupted by the young gay couple behind me having a minor morning disagreement. I was waiting for one of them to tell the other how beautiful each other looked in their wrath. I’m not a homosexual but I was jealous of their argument. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a minor morning argument with someone I care deeply about. I’m sure tonight Kyle and Jason will be in each other’s arms, consoling each other and feeling just silly about that stupid train argument. While I will be thinking about how many more ways I can make bologna appetizing for dinner. Basil perhaps?

It’s not really just about sex though. I need real intimacy in my life. Like, “Honey, I got you a Mountain Dew because I know how much you like them”, sort of thing. I want to be sweet as candy to some young woman. I want to represent all the good things in her life and I want it now. I’m tired of sitting on my couch, watching the beautiful women in the Macy’s commercials having fun in knit sweaters. I sit there and think, “Hm…nice sweater”.

So this train ride this morning had my head spinning and I felt filled with desire for a lot of the very beautiful women riding along with me. It was really something else and you should have been there. And now, as I write this I feel like Norman Bates in the beginning of Psycho as he eats candy from the brown paper bag while he’s being grilled by that detective looking for Janet Leigh.

I need to stop going out on Thursday nights. The Friday product is just confusing. But I did get you with the whole, “sex”, in the title thing didn’t I?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The doctor came into Angie’s room just as she was waking up from a strange dream about her mother. Angie was still trying to figure out why her mother looked like she was made of flowers when the doctor started speaking to her.

“Angie? Angie, it’s Dr. Rob, can you hear me”, he asked.

Angie found that she couldn’t speak and tried to lick her lips but she couldn’t find the spit. She nodded at Dr. Rob.

“I wanted to let you know that everything with your surgery went great. It looks like we got all of it and you’ll make a full recovery.”

Dr. Rob lightly patted Angie on her shoulder in his usual slightly cold bedside manner. He was a great doctor but just didn’t seem to like to touch people which seemed very strange to Angie.  She nodded and tried to smile but her lips were cracked and dry and it actually hurt a little bit. Dr. Rob smiled at her and started out of the room just as a nurse came in with some water and a straw and held it out for Angie to sip from.

Angie sipped the water and felt the coolness fill her mouth and soothe her parched throat. She nodded at the nurse in thanks. The nurse left the cup on her bed table and left Angie alone. Angie still felt a little groggy and sleepy but she wanted to stay awake. She wanted to get back to enjoying her life instead of being sick and tired all the time.

“You made it”, said a voice from the corner of the room.

Angie lifted her head up and tried to look around to see where the voice came from. She couldn’t see anyone. She actually had the room to herself. The patient she had shared the room with at the beginning of the week was gone.

“We didn’t think you were going to make it, but here you are. Just amazing”, said the voice.

She heard a chair slide across the floor and saw a tall man in a black suit sit down next to her bed.  Angie tried to ask who he was but her throat was still so raw from the tubes and such she couldn’t make a sound.

“Don’t get worried Angie. I’m just here to see the contract is fulfilled”.
“With…hospital”, asked Angie in a hoarse whisper.
“No Angie. I’m not with the hospital. Not directly I guess.”

Angie shrugged. She actually thought she was still dreaming.

“You’re not dreaming anymore Angie. This is your new life. The life you begged and prayed for. The promises you made for your life. I’m here to make sure you will follow through with those promises”, said the man.

His voice was serious and gravely. Angie turned her head to get a better look at him but his face seemed just out of focus. She could make out eyes and a nose and a mouth, but nothing specific, no freckles or moles or out of place hair.

“Promises”, asked Angie.
“Yes, promises. You promised that if he got you through this you’d dedicate your restored life to spreading his gospel. I’m here to make sure you do just what you said you’d do. But I see you’ll probably need a little time to recover and that’s okay. I’m sure we can make another deal.”
“I wasn’t serious”, said Angie, “I would have said anything. I didn’t want to be sick anymore. I don’t even believe in the devil”.

The man sat back in his chair and adjusted his suit coat and tie.
“Who said anything about a deal with the devil”, he asked, “Your deal is with God, remember?”

Angie didn’t actually remember. She’d been sick for so long and made so many pleading promises to all sorts of deities. She remembered asking Buddha to make her into a silk worm when she was reincarnated, but a deal with God, she didn’t really remember.

“I don’t remember signing anything”, said Angie.

The tall man smirked and leaned forward.

“You didn’t. You don’t have to. He knows. You’ve been called upon to fulfill your promise, just as others in the past have been called upon to fulfill theirs. You are to be a prophet”.

Angie felt hot and her throat was drying out again. The man picked up the cup the nurse left and held it up so Angie could get a drink.

“I’ll call upon you again soon. In the meantime, rest and build your strength. You will need it.”

The lights flickered overhead and Angie blinked. She looked to the chair and it was empty.

“So”, she thought, “a prophet”.