Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Okay, I'll give it a title!
It has been a while since I have posted anything to this blog. Indeed, it took me a while to discover my log in profile! So, anyway, I see Blogger has gone and made some changes, some of which I actually like. I have been able to remove some old blogs that have not been active for over 5 years. So, anyway, I hope someday to once again post a story or poem here. Or maybe not, as is my usual pattern.
Monday, July 09, 2012
Karaoke, Chapter 1
If it wasn't for karaoke, none of us would've survived the end of the world.
I know that sounds a bit ludicrous -- and it is -- but I don't mean it in any kind of supernatural way or anything like that. It wasn't "the magic power of karaoke saved us." What I mean is that the friendships we formed while singing and the bonds that we made that first year carried us past the worst possible things that have ever happened to anyone who isn't dead. Songs. Singing. Friendship. Love. Life.
And I know that probably sounds really, really cheezy to anyone alive enough to read this, but it's true. Most people didn't survive the event. Even most of those that did survive the event didn't make it. They're long gone. I've heard lots and lots of stories -- many of which I'll tell you. I know the lives of many who didn't make it through and with my gang of karaoke buddies, we decided to save what we could of the old world. In the end, there were six of us and we decided that we would capture the knowledge left behind of the old world. We would become the historians, the choniclers of where we came from and what happened after everything changed. Without us, almost all would've been lost from before. No one else cared. No one else understood. Well, until we made them care. Until we made them understand. Until we made them remember.
And if it weren't for karaoke, we never would've met and we never would've built the bonds that made sure that our world didn't die, even after it ended.
* * *
At the beginning of the end, there were a lot more than six of us. And we all kind of knew each other from before the event. None of use were scientists, not in the traditional, hard-core sense, and we never met any scientists in the days after. So none of us had any idea what the event was or what happened to everyone else. We had no idea why the world still worked a lot like it did before. It wasn't like all the fully-scientific sci fi said it would be, where things deteriorated and everything fell apart. The power plants still worked. The lights still came on. The toilets still flushed. The seasons still changed. Food spoiled, but it still grew and there was a lot of it left. It wasn't like the zombie movies where everybody was still around to scavenge everything. Almost everything was left behind. Everything but the people.
And there were new things. Dangerous new things. But that's for later. For now, I'm talking about the people. I don't have time to talk about all of the people, of course, but I do want to talk about the six of us, how we met, how we got to know each other and how we survived. It's a good story. Grab your favorite beverage and sit back and relax, it's going to be worth it. And we're going to be here a while.
* * *
Karaoke (New Ongoing Novel)
This post will serve as the index for the new novel I'm starting. It's called Karaoke and it takes place in the post-apocalyptic world that many of my other stories take place in. It's both a sci-fi/horror novel and a very personal memoir and tribute to the people who have meant the most to me in my life, in terms of by best friends. This is a long-term project, but I have the basic plot sketched out and know a lot of what's going into it. So as I add each chapter, I'll post them links here so the story can be read all at once, in order...
Friday, December 23, 2011
I'm a mediocre person with aspirations towards
greatness. I'm above average, but
average isn't that great. I could
accomplish great things, but I won't. I
could do great things, but I don't. I do
good enough that people always tell me I do great things. But they've always been wrong.
Yesterday is when I saved the world.
I've always been a smart guy. A clever guy.
The problem is that nobody likes clever guys. Most people hate us. They think we're arrogant and smarmy and
other words that are less friendly. And
they've got a bit of a point. I was
always arrogant. Not in an aggressive
way, but in the way where I always knew the answer to the question. I always took charge when someone needed to
take charge. I rarely made the big
mistakes and when I did, I always knew exactly what to do to fix them and make
People hate you for that kind of thing.
Part of it is jealousy. Part of it is feelings of inadequacy. Part of it is fear. Whatever it is, they always seem to be rubbed
the wrong way by me. I never really
developed too many close friends. And I
was almost always a better friend to them than they were to me. Everyone else always had this casual ease
with which they made friends and had fun and interacted with each other. I never had that.
I soon figured out that people didn't like me because
I was too clever. That stung. But I wasn't going to give anyone the
satisfaction of knowing it and I wasn't going to dumb myself down. So I just didn't make too many friends.
And sooner or later, every friend I had abandoned
me. It was always something that they
found surprisingly easy to do. I can't
say as I didn't make it easy for them, since I was never the type to try to
force someone to hang out with me who didn't want to. If they wanted to go, let them go. Good riddance.
So then it becomes easier not to make new
friends. If they all abandon you in the
end, anyway, why try. If they all become
so easily offended, why offend them.
It's easy to offend people when you are clever. You make a comment they don't
understand. You make a cultural
reference they don't know. You point out
that they have some basic fact wrong.
You remember things a little better than they do. You know things they never knew.
And dating wasn't much easier. The same problem that existed with friends
existed with lovers. Finding lovers was
never too hard. Keeping lovers was never
too hard. When you are clever out of
bed, you are clever in bed. But
connecting to those same lovers on a level out of bed that keeps them around
once the sex loses its newness is much harder.
It's where that cleverness loses its handiness.
And to be honest, who wants a lover or a friend who
isn't clever, who doesn't have a thirst for knowledge and experience, who
doesn't want to actually live life and not just survive it.
Certainly not me.
But all that time alone can give you the freedom to
learn about all kinds of things.
Including how to save the world.
Oh yeah, I was telling you about how I saved the world
That's a funny story.
Not funny like a joke, but funny like something that isn't funny at all.
But who gets to save the world? I mean, unless you wear tights and work for
Stan Lee, it's not something that comes up a whole lot. Or ever.
And I only was able to save the world because I'm
But, boy do I have a story for you. It'll be something you can write home about.
And nobody ever tells you a story you can write home
So how does one go about saving the world? It's not something you really have much
coursework in. It's not something that
there's an instruction manual for. Oh,
sure, you can read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies, play a bunch of video
games. But despite what the average geek
will tell you, saving the real world is not something you can prepare for by
leveling up and finding another health pack.
No, this is something you kinda have to figure out on
But I sense that you are wondering now what exactly it
was I saved the world from. Good
question, astute reader.
Well, what could one save the world from? Let's take a look at the options...
Maybe there was a giant asteroid that was going to hit
the earth and I was the first to spot it with my little backyard
telescope. I told someone about it and
they sent up Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck and they blew it up and saved the
Nope, that wasn't it.
More realistically, maybe it was some new virus, that
if it made the leap over from the monkey world to the human world, it would
become a supervirus and it would wipe out the entire human population. And I discovered it and came up with a cure.
Only problem was that I never went to med school and
have no idea how to spot a virus.
I've read enough "Science of Star Wars" books to know how
unlikely that is.
What am I, some kind of diplomat?
The machines becoming sentient and taking over? I failed auto shop.
Vampires figuring out how to somehow, all of a sudden,
survive in the daylight? What is this,
some kind of Twilight bullcrap?
Nope, Al Gore hasn't taken us all out yet.
No, the reality of it all is that I stopped every
fanboy's dream apocalypse -- I stopped the zombies from taking over.
Now before you get into all that crap about how
zombies aren't real and there's no way they scientifically could come to life
and exist, I already told you, I don't know anything about medical
science. Just because I'm clever doesn't
mean that I know everything. I always
thought what you thought. I thought
zombies were sci fi. I thought they were
unrealistic. I thought we had more
chance of being taken out by sharks with laser beams strapped to their heads
than being taken out by the walking dead.
But I was wrong.
And so were you.
I can't explain it, so don't ask. I'm sure when I go on Oprah, she'll ask. I won't know.
And I doubt the government will let anybody tell me or you or
Oprah. But I'm already telling you my
story, so they won't be able to stop it from getting out. It's already out. It's not like they started the whole thing,
you know, so I don't know why they would want to stop it from getting out, but
they always try to stop it from getting out, right? I mean, I guess we could go with the whole
"they don't want the public to panic nonsense," right? But are you buying that? I'm not.
They thrive off the public panicking.
That's how they get elected and stay in power, right?
The reality, of course, is that the "invisible
hand" of the free market is what led to zombies and what led to all of us
almost being taken out by them. If it
weren't for me, that is.
Again, you're welcome.
It was the least I could do.
I can tell you this much, the zombie "ground
zero" was at a lab in rural Kansas that was testing some corn-related
stuff for a certain mega-corporation whose name I can't say for
"legal" reasons, but we'll just say it rhymes with
"Blonsanto." I think their
goal was that by 2050, everything in America would be made from
genetically-modified corn. Corn-based
sugar. Corn-based plastic. Corn-based gas. Corn-based alcohol. Corn-based cell phones. Corn-based wheat. You name it, they were working on a corn
version. Or Corn Version 2.0.
So, I don't know how they did it, but they somehow
came up with ethanol zombies. At least
that's what we called them.
How do I know?
Well, I worked for "Blonsanto," of course. I managed the network for their labs and
plants and offices in Kansas. Good
money, too. Particularly since I didn't
have a degree. But it's still early
enough in the game that if you can do the work, you don't need a degree. Give it ten years or so and you'll need a
degree to change passwords for dorks who work in the secretarial pool.
Anyway, I work mainly out of their Lawrence office,
but I have to drive around to various offices and labs and factories and such
around the state when there are networking problems or the lab geeks can't
figure out how to back up their data on the mainframe. Seriously, in 2011? Still?
So I was on a call to this little lab in some rural
area. I'd tell you where it was, but
then I'd have to kill you. And let me
say, I've had a lot of practice killing people of late, so don't test me on
I arrived at the place to do my service call. It's a small lab, so usually less than ten
people worked there. I knew the
secretary at the front desk. She's
hot. Beautiful blonde hair. Way out of my league. I like to flirt with her, and, to her credit,
she always flirted back. But I knew it
doesn't mean anything. She's not the
type that's into nerdy guys. Very
glamorous type. Lots of make-up. The kind of girl you'd see in a night club
and never ask to dance. Her name is
Shelly was there when I got there. She's always there. Never misses a day. I probably didn't have to make the service
call since I think I could've walked the staff through the fix over the phone,
but, you know, Shelly's there, so I told my boss it's a road trip I have to
make. He doesn't question it. He could care less. I.T. is not his thing.
I did the usually chit chat with Shelly. I asked her about some local bar that I once
went to. She said she goes there all the
time. I said I do, too. She said she never sees me there. I said I see her there all the time. Then I realized how creepy that sounded and
quickly asked her about the problem with the mainframe.
If she noticed my creepiness, she didn't say
anything. That was very nice of
her. She could very easily have reported
me for sexual harassment or something and I would have had no defense. I was relieved that she was either very, very
nice or she was a complete moron and didn't understand in the first place. Either way, I was okay with it at the moment,
as I envisioned trying to comply with the state's extensive unemployment
Funny thing was that she had absolutely no idea what
was going on behind her in the restricted areas behind her desk. It was early enough in the day that I'm
guessing she hadn't even gone back behind the protected doors at that
point. Right next to her desk was one
door, with a glass window in the middle, which could only be accessed if you
had a key card. I didn't have one, but
she did. Next to the door was the
"break glass in case of emergency" box with the fire axe in it. Beyond that and her desk, there was nothing
in the front room except a couple of uncomfortable chairs. The first time I flirted with Shelly was
because I remembered those chairs from the previous visit and had no interest
in sitting on them.
Shelly buzzed me back.
I kind of wish she hadn't, but if I think about it, if she hadn't, we'd
all probably be dead right now. I'm sure
that Dr. Dole or Dr. Wyden would've come up to the glass window in the door at
some point -- completely infected -- and she would've let them out. Then she would've gotten infected. And then they would've gone out into the cool
Kansas afternoon and started an apocalypse.
Luckily for the world, Shelly buzzed me back.
Luckily for Shelly, I remembered there was an axe in
the fire safety box next to the door she sat beside.
Luckily for the employees of "Blonsanto's"
secret lab in "If I Tell You I Have to Kill You," Kansas, only three
scientists were working that day. The
aforementioned doctors Dole and Wyden were there. Also on hand was some kind of technician
whose name was Woodring or something like that.
In addition to Shelly, those were the only employees on hand that day at
I guess you'd probably have to count their test
subjects in the count of people on hand.
There were a man and a woman whose names I'll probably never know that
were also in the lab that day. Sort of.
It's hard to say whether or not you should count people who were dead
when they came to the lab as being part of the body count or not. This was my first time staving off a zombie
apocalypse, so I'm a little sketchy on the statistical analysis of such things.
Now I knew that this particular lab was designated
solely as a lab for testing corn-based fuel for cars and such. Most of the labs they had in the state were
single-subject. Or so I thought at that
point. It turns out that this lab
certainly had a bit more going on that what was revealed to the average employee,
much less to the public.
Later, I looked up the doctors who worked there online
and it turned out that Dr. Wyden was a medical doctor and he apparently was
from some strange unaccredited school that no one I've ever met has ever heard
of. He certainly wasn't qualified to
work on ethanol or any kind of fuel, which makes sense considering the other
project it turned out this lab was working on.
I should've known something was wrong when I walked
through the doors and nobody was there to greet me. One of the doctors was always there to greet
me before then. They usually quickly escorted
me directly to the workstation and watched over me like a hawk. They never let me wander around or use the
restroom or anything. It's get in, get
the job done and get out. They were
never rude, but you could tell I was an unwelcome intrusion.
But no one showed up to escort me.
That should've been enough. But it wasn't.
I'd been there enough times that I knew where the
workstation was. I knew what they wanted
me to do and I knew they didn't like me to wander or to stay very long. So I made my way down the hall to the only
room I had been in except for the one where Shelly sits. Or sat.
She doesn't work there anymore.
As I walked back, I realized that I was going to have
some trouble if someone didn't show up soon.
The room I worked in was always locked.
All of the rooms in this place were always locked. And without a key card, I wasn't going to get
in. I was just thinking about that when
I saw that the door was open. Something
was propping it open. As I looked, I
realized it was a shoe. A black and
white Chuck Taylor. And it was attached
to a foot. A human foot. That was still on a body.
Times like that are when you really find out who a
person is. A less clever person would've
panicked and probably would've caused the destruction of the world. I didn't know I was saving the world at that
moment, but that's what I was doing.
Rather than running out of the place, I went to check on the Chuck
Taylor. And the foot.
I worked my way around the body and through the door
so I could get near the head. And it was
clear that this guy was dead. Blood was
everywhere. His blood. It was all coming from a wound on his
neck. A fresh wound. The blood was still wet and hadn't even begun
to congeal. I was able to figure out
pretty quick that it was Dr. Wyden. Or
it had been Dr. Wyden.
I looked around the room. I saw the workstation that I wasn't meant to
get to that day. I saw a bookshelf
loaded with books that only a few people on the planet have ever read. I saw a few extra chairs gathered around the
workstation, as if people were gathered around to look at something on the
screen. I saw coffee cups with steam
still coming out of them. I saw a fire extinguisher against the back wall. I saw a poster with a "hang in
there" kitten on it.
Then I heard the gurgling sound. The gurgling sound that still wakes me up in
the middle of the night from time to time.
At first I couldn't tell what it was.
After Dr. Wyden stood up, I realized it was the sound of blood coming up
through his esophagus. Blood that was
dripping down his face and onto the floor.
As he looked at me.
This is the part where the clever guy with lots of
free time realizes that he's facing a zombie.
I had to quickly figure out what kind of zombie it
was. The different kinds of zombies all
have different tactics with which one has to use on them. I did a quick hop, skip and a leap to the
opposite side of the room, testing his reflexes and speed. He couldn't keep up with how fast I
moved. His head slowly turned as I went,
arriving at my new location long after I did.
Okay, so that meant he wasn't a Danny Boyle-type
zombie. That was good. I'm not that fast.
The next determination I had to make was if he was a
Night of the Living Dead-style zombie or a Return of the Living Dead-style
zombie. If he was a Return zombie, there
was little I'd be able to do about it in such a confined space. I'd be trapped in the room with no way to get
past him. And judging by the bite on his
neck, he had friends. There was a good
chance they'd be here soon, once the commotion began.
I had previously planned my hop, skip and jump to
deposit me right next to the fire extinguisher, the only item in the room that
could be wielded as a weapon. I grabbed
it as Dr. Wyden began slowly coming my direction.
This was the first moment of truth. Could I kill someone? Well, not someone, but something. Could I kill a zombie?
And I don't mean that in a "do I have the guts to
do it" or a "will my normal pacifism stop me from hurting
someone" type of manner, I meant it in an "am I strong enough"
kind of way. I raised the extinguisher
over my head and brought it down with all my strength on his head. Has to be a head shot, right?
The first thing I noticed was that it hurt like
hell. Not him. Me.
The jarring of the extinguisher hitting his hard skull shook me all the
way to the elbow. It hurt horribly and I
almost dropped the extinguisher.
The second thing I noticed was his skull giving in
under the blow.
The third thing I noticed was the squishy sound all
his parts made after they initially crunched together.
The fourth thing I noticed was him falling to the
floor, apparently dead once again.
I hit him in the head again. Double tap.
Time to go.
After he stood up, the door had closed behind him and locked
itself. No problem, I grabbed his key
card, swiped it and pulled the door towards me.
And that's when Dr. Dole grabbed my shoulder. Well, what was left of Dr. Dole's hand
grabbed my shoulder. It appeared, when I
looked at the hand later that his zombification was based on a bite to the
hand. A bite that took off two fingers
and about half his palm.
Of course when Dr. Dole grabbed me, I dropped the fire
extinguisher and it skidded down the hall past Dr. Dole and the technician,
Woodring, who had also joined the festivities.
So I was unarmed and alone in the hallway with two
zombies, one of whom was holding on to my shirt at the shoulder.
Best. Advice. Ever.
I figured pretty quickly that I was strong enough to
break the grasp of old-Three Finger Brown there, so I did and ran back towards
the entrance. Luckily for me, I now had
a key card.
A key card I had also dropped when Dr. Dole grabbed
I scanned around for it and saw that it was now beyond
him down the hall. No way I was getting
it now. He was coming in my direction,
slowly followed by Woodring.
I was starting to panic a little bit at that point,
but I did the only thing I could. I ran
to the end of the hall and started banging on the glass window in the door like
my life depended on it. Which it did.
Unluckily, Shelly wasn't at her desk. Also unluckily, the hall was a pretty short
I banged harder and started yelling. I looked back and realized that if Shelly
wasn't back in less than a minute, I would be engaged in fisticuffs with the
undead. Great band name; horrible
situation to be in.
Luckily, although barely, Shelly had been outside
having a smoke and she was done. She
came back through the door and saw my panicked face and heard me banging and
screaming. It actually worked and she
actually quickly came over and swiped her card to let me out.
It didn't work.
She looked at the card and then facepalmed
herself. She had the card backwards in
the excitement. I banged on the glass
harder and yelled for her to hurry. She
complied, but she was asking me what was happening. It was a good thing they hadn't informed her
about what kinds of things that were going on in the back of the lab and an
even better thing that this lab didn't have higher security measures than it
did. If it did, I'd be dead. And so would you.
The door opened just in time.
Dr. Dole was about to grab me as I pushed the door back hard enough that
Shelly was knocked down.
I turned to shut the door behind me, but I wasn't quick enough. I slammed it hard towards the door frame, but
it didn't shut the way it was supposed to.
It hit Dr. Dole's head hard enough to make a loud thunk. It didn't hit him hard enough to kill him,
though, and it didn't hit him hard enough to knock him back.
I tried pushing the door harder, but it was no use. There was no way I was getting that door shut
with Dr. Dole still coming after me. I
just wasn't strong enough. I called for
Shelly to help me, but her slight frame didn't bring much to the door-pushing,
Dr. Dole-crushing party.
That's when I had to make a decision. That's when I had to be really clever.
So I was.
Like I said, I'd been to this place a number of times
and I remembered the one tool left in this office that would help me save the
world. The fire emergency box with the
axe in it. What better weapon to take
out zombies than an axe? If I had let go
of the door, though, then Dr. Dole would've gotten through and taken me out. And Woodring was almost to the door as well
and I doubt I could've held them both off.
So I needed Shelly's help.
I told her this definitely was an emergency and that I
needed her to break the glass and get me the axe. Luckily for the rest of the state of Kansas,
Shelly was way smarter and more together than I ever gave her credit for. She quickly and calmly went to the emergency
box, busted the glass with that little metal thing on the chain and carefully
took the axe out and brought it to me. I
told her to get out of the building and lock the door behind her. She started to head in that direction.
I told her she needed run and get away if things
didn't go well. My plan, which I hatched
in mere moments, was to let go of the door and take out Dr. Dole the second I
did, that way Woodring would be blocked long enough, I hoped, for me to pull
the axe out of Dr. Dole and be ready to take Woodring out before he could get
to me. I had to be quick or they'd take
me out. I had to be strong or it wouldn't
be enough. I had to be perfect.
And that's exactly how that shit went down.
I let go of the door, drew the axe above my head and
split Dr. Dole's skull like a Ginsu knife cuts a soda can. The fact that I split it so wide made it easy
to pull the axe back out. I hit his head
hard enough that if I were at the carnival using that hammer to hit the strong
man game, I would've rung the bell and won a stuffed animal. That meant that I had enough time to be ready
for Woodring, who moved towards me mindlessly.
I lined the axe up like Alex Rodriguez and swung for the fences. Woodring's head rolled down the hallway like
a bowling ball about to pick up a 7-10 split.
I quickly pulled the bodies out of the doorway and
shut the door. I took a few moments and relieved Dr. Dole of his head as
well. I've always been a "better
safe than sorry" kind of guy.
Next I went over to Shelly and asked her if anyone
else was in the building and she said that Dr. Wyden was the only other person
that came in today. I told her that was
good news and that we were in the clear because Dr. Wyden was already taken
Then I remembered the bite marks. Dr. Dole and his missing fingers and Dr.
Wyden and his missing esophagus. Someone
or something had bitten them. That's how
they became zombies. They didn't bite
each other and although I never saw a bite on Woodring, I guessed -- correctly
it turned out -- that he wasn't patient zero, either.
I asked Shelly to unlock the door and give me her
swipe card. She did. I told her to lock me in again and go call
the cops. She didn't understand so I
told her I thought there was at least one more zombie in the back and I was
going to take care of it before it escaped and did any more damage. She looked skeptical and then walked off
dialing a number on her cell phone.
wanted to see what I was dealing with, so after I swiped the card and opened
the door, I yelled out down the hallway to see if anybody was home. I yelled out three times, each time louder
than the previous. After the second yell, I thought I heard something and after
the third it was obvious I had. At the
end of the hall, past the room where I first found Dr. Wyden, a really crusty
zombie in a hospital gown slowly came out of a doorway and headed my
direction. This guy was pretty intact
and had no visible bite marks, so I was guessing he was patient Zero. I decided then and there this guy's name was
Zed and I proceeded to use my axe to make sure that Zed was dead.
After decapitating my third zombie of the day, I
called out again to make sure Zed was the last.
I heard a moaning coming from the same room Zed exited. I got the axe ready and waited for the next
And nothing happened.
I heard the moaning again, but no other sounds came
from the room. At a minimum, I expected
to hear a foot dragging or the sounds that zombies make when they exit lab
rooms in rural corporate zombietoriums.
So I walked on down the hall. And I came to the door. I went inside and saw what turned out to be
the last zombie. Or at least half of the
Whatever this thing used to be, I couldn't really tell
anymore, although it appeared to have once been female. It was laying on a metal table and it had no
legs or lower body. What was left of its
upper body was made of what appeared to be rotting meat. I don't know to this day if she was something
they found in the wild -- she certainly looked like she could be -- or if Dr.
Wyden and Dr. Dole had been doing some Dr. Herbert West-style experimentation
on this poor sucker.
Either way I didn't want to hear any more of the
moaning, so I engaged in the next-to-last decapitation I ever hope to
participate in. I quickly went back and
made sure that Dr. Wyden would sneak up on me in the final scene by removing
his dead, crushed zombie face from his dead uncrushed zombie body.
I went around the building and checked every room I
could for anything else, but there was nothing.
The bastards must have kept all their ethanol zombie experiments
confined to the one room. They were all
gone and I was ready to get the heck out of Dodge. And that's what I did.
The police came and the media came and I asked Shelly
out and we went out and got married and had three babies and lived happily ever
after. Well, the police and the media
came, but I haven't really seen Shelly since.
So, that's the story of how I saved the world. By being clever.
So now I'm still clever, but I'm famous as that guy
who saved the world.
I guess this clever thing is working out for me
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Reality - You won't see this on TV.
My friend M married a guy she was crazy about. Then he left her. She took it very hard. She ended up taking too much time off from work. On a Thursday, they called to get her to come back to work the next day, Friday. She was still depressed and spending a lot of time sleeping, so she told them she needed off Friday and the weekend. She would come back Monday. They kept calling her, while she was trying to sleep. She ended up telling them she felt like killing herself. They called the police. Police took her to the mental hospital where she had to stay for a week. Meanwhile, the job fired her. M managed to get unemployment, but couldn't keep up the rent on her apartment. She and her husband, R, got back together, but he didn't have a job, either. They were getting traffic tickets, like crazy, because the license on the car was expired, her license was suspended, and he didn't have one.
One early evening, driving toward my house, M got picked up and taken to jail. R called me and asked me to help him bail her out. He had the money, but he didn't know how to get a bondsman. I arrived at the jail, and he picked out a bondsman from the list the jail had given him. I called the bondsperson, and she came and bailed M out. I followed M&R home.
M could not get hold of the friend that used to work on her car, so I asked a friend to fix the brakes. I paid him to do it, too. It took several days. Meanwhile, they didn't have a way to town, so I took her to donate plasma. I didn't realize how long that took! In the middle of the summer, hot as all get out, I waited for her in my car. I finally went to the park and walked around. When I finished, I went back to the center, and waited some more. I was able to get a good spot, but had to keep putting money in the meter. I watched a car get a ticket, so when the next people parked there and didn't put any money in, I told them they needed to.
Finally, the brakes were fixed. She took the car to get inspected. The people inspecting told her she had a bunch of things wrong, and it would cost quite a bit more to fix. I told her we would take it to where I get my car worked on. My mechanics looked it over and told me it would cost about $100, to fix. I told them to do it. It took a couple days because there was a part that needed to be ordered. Meanwhile, she was trying to get her license unsuspended. When the car was finally fixed, I picked M &R up and took them to get it. From there, we went to DMV and got the plates.
While I was on vacation, M was driving the car when it broke down. She called her friend who had worked on it in the past, and told him that he could have the car, it was sitting on the side of the road. The friend picked it up. After looking it over, he told her that it wasn't worth fixing, the motor was bad.
M&R needed to move, so another friend told her that his brother could let them stay at his place, a trailer, if they paid $65. a week. The trailer owners moved all the stuff to their trailer, and gave M&R a small room without a door. M&R had six cats. There were three adults, five children, a dog, and a cat already living in the trailer.
The first week, M paid $65. for the week, plus $30. for gas, to get a ride to places she needed to go. She got to go to the bank, and one store. Then, she was told the car had a flat tire. When M needed to go to court, she asked if I could take her. I decided to work through lunch, so I could do that. She and R weren't often allowed to take showers. They weren't allowed to wash their clothes (the washer and dryer were theirs). They had to leave the trailer several times for several hours. Their cats were also supposed to stay in that doorless room. One of the cats was put outside. Also, apparently, the trailer owners (they rent, but it's easier to call them owners) wanted R to put the gas in his name, because they couldn't get gas unless they paid a large bill - which they must not been able to pay. Finally, on a Friday night, R took a handful of sleeping pills. M walked him to the end of the lane and called 911.
R was taken to the hospital. M called me, the next morning, stating she could use a ride, if I could do it. I told her I would get back with her in the afternoon, because I had to be somewhere that morning. When I found out about the living situation, I couldn't take it. My house is very cluttered, and I have five cats, but I told her they could take the spare room for a week or so, while they figured things out. We went to the trailer where she picked up five cats, some clothes, and her makeup. I dropped her off at the hospital, because she thought they were going to keep R overnight. She called a bit later, and said they were releasing him, so they could use a ride home, or did I want her to try to get a taxi pass. Since I was working with my niece and her son, I told her to get the taxi pass.
So, M&R came to live at my house. Only two of my cats felt comfortable with strangers in the house; the others hid in my bedroom. One of the cats developed a nasty wound on his neck. I don't know how it happened, but I put salve on it and it seemed to be healing. M&R are both good young people. They have a habit of drinking a sugary soda pop, that if spilled, causes a lot of stickiness. Soon, the mouse for the computer was sticky, and I noticed the chair arm was also sticky. They used both my cell phone and landline to try and make contact with friends and relatives (their phones had no minutes left). They needed to put stuff in the refrigerator, so my stuff got moved around. They don't sleep during the night, so sometimes, they would be out wandering around at night, or sitting on my small deck. As I said, they are good kids, but I am not used to having people at my house, underfoot. The washer was put to use before I could tell them how to use it. It turned out that M didn't let it go the whole cycle, so it hadn't gotten a chance to do the final spin. Her clothes took several dryer cycles. My dryer is not real hot, so it normally takes two cycles, already.
I think it was Sunday that M said her father talked to his sister, and they could go live there. We decided we would go on the coming Friday. Monday, C from the trailer sent a text to M asking if she could take the inflatable mattress, M&R had picked up at Walmart, back because an emergency had come up. M explained that Walmart wouldn't give them money, they would only be able to get a replacement. The next day, I thought about it, and asked if they would be able to go on Wednesday. I was worried about their stuff being over at that trailer, and what they would come back to. It was decided. Tuesday, I called and made a reservation for a van. There were no trucks available, unless I wanted to get a U-haul and pay $.99 a mile. Tuesday, R had to go to court, and they were going to do some wrapping up of business before they left. It turned out that they weren't able to get to all the places they needed to be. The bus they needed was going to be two hours, and they didn't feel like waiting. They started walking home. Luckily, they got a ride after a mile or two of walking.
The evening before, I drank too much coffee. I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep until around 3:00AM. I was also upset that the kids didn't seem to realize the need to find all their belongings and get them together. M did realize she needed to wash some clothes. The load of laundry dried, and when I mentioned that it needed to be folded, they did other things. Finally, I folded the clothes. When it was time to go to bed, they decided to go to the end of the lane and wait for her best friend who might be able to come to town, so they could see each other before the big move. I didn't hear them come in because I was busy tossing and turning. When I got up again, I saw their shoes in the living room, and realized they must have gone to bed.
The next morning, I took care of my cats, took my shower, and got ready for the day. At 7:00AM, I knocked on their door and told them time was wasting; we needed to go pick up the van at 8:00. We actually got to Avis around 8:30. I went in, and they drove to Walgreens, to see if there were any sales. I got the van and drove to Walgreens. Because I used Hotwire to order the van, I also took the insurance option $18. At Avis, the guy told me that his paperwork didn't show insurance. Since my car doesn't carry full coverage, and I had no idea how to contact the Hotwire insurance, I took the Avis insurance, too. $27.95. All totalled, that was going to be a hefty bill - it was around 125.00 total for van and insurance - besides the original $18.
Once at Walgreens, they found that there were no sales, and I found a pair of sunglasses to fit my glasses. I was going to wear them on the trip. Of course, to get out of Walgreens is a trial. I finally pulled out and made a right turn, then backtracked through side streets, to get back to the road I needed. We dropped my car off at my home, and piled into the van, taking the rest of their dirty clothes, and enough quarters to use the Laundromat. We arrived at the trailer court where their stuff was. There were people milling all over. As we drove to the lane we needed, there was a fire truck, blocking the road, at the one trailer we needed to get to. The kids jumped out and ran to the trailer. One of the firemen yelled, "hey, you can't go in there, there's a gas leak!"
Not knowing what to do, except wait, we decided to go back to my place, get my car, and do the rest of the errands. As we were leaving the trailer park, one of the trailer owners, M needed to talk to, came driving by. M ran to her car and got her attention. She told her that they were leaving and needed to get their stuff. C told M that she owed her $65. and until she got that, M wasn't getting her stuff. She could get the police, and get a warrant. M said C was wearing M's coat, which M had dry-cleaned and hadn't yet worn. It should've been hanging in the closet of that small room.
We drove back home where M called the police and explained the situation. She wanted to know what her options were. The person taking the call told her that an officer would have to call her back, because they were all currently unavailable. M gave the home phone number.
Meanwhile, the following texting went on.
M: "we will give u 65 but i have to have the stuff as soon as the gas leak is fixed."
C: "its not 65 its 100 and i got three witnesses to a verbal agreement. possetion is 9/10 the law. im not stupid. u fucked me. you or the police cant come in my house without a warrant. Its a domestic and ull have to take it to court. also will be a no trespasing on my house. This is ur warning U will b arrested if u come on my property. Im sorry it had to come to this but u both know I went out of my way to help you."
We jumped into the car to take care of the rest of the errands and wait for the police to call. M called back and gave them the cell phone number. We went to DFS where M had to make further application to her unemployment and then reapply for food stamps, and R needed to get the paperwork to get his permit. R came back quickly, and we went to the DMV to get the permit. After a wait, he came back stating they gave him the wrong paper. We started back to DFS building. M was walking toward us, so we pulled over and she jumped in - she got the unemployment problem fixed, but the line for food stamps was so long, she decided to wait until she was relocated. R ran in to DFS building. After a while, he came back with the proper paperwork. We drove back over to DMV. He ran in and got his permit. A police officer called M and she again explained the situation. After asking several questions, he told her to not do anything until he called back.
Once those things were finished, we headed for the food bank, so they could pick up some food for their new home. They came back with enough food for a week or so. After they jumped in, a car pulled up so close to mine that it was a very slow and careful process to back up without hitting it. The passenger stayed in the car to make sure I didn't, I guess. Once I was safely out of the space, he got out and went inside (or perhaps, he was afraid of hitting my car with the door?)
Meanwhile, the police called M back, and explained that he had gotten hold of C, and M could now go over and pick up their stuff. If there were any more problems, she could call him back. After the police called C, the following text came through: "U can have it but u need to give me the 65...m I helped u wen no one else would. Im working on getting ur stuff out now."
M called C and assured her she would pay the $65. and would 30 mins be okay? C told her she could get her stuff in 45 minutes, as she and her boyfriend were moving the stuff outside. As we drove back to my place, C sent a text saying they could come over now. We got back to my place, and moved the food inside. We jumped in the van and headed over.
When we got there, we had to figure out where to put the stuff, because there were many large items. Finally, M and R had to make choices on what could go, and what would have to stay. They originally had 114 videos. All that was left was about 20. She told C that there were a bunch of videos missing. C said all the neighbors had been milling about and poking through the stuff, asking if they were moving. The neighbors must have taken the videos. Yeah, right! M asked about one of her cats, the one that had been put out and had come back, but after feeding, C put it back out, and now it was gone. It was still gone.
Anyway, after filling the van as full as possible, M&R decided they would search for the missing cat. I drove the van as they walked, searched and called. We never found the cat. We went to the Laundromat where we realized we had no detergent. M decided we could go to Walmart and get it. I drove the back way, took an alley, and found there was all sorts of construction in my way to get to Walmart. M realized she could go to HyVee, instead. She ran inside, got the detergent, then ran back inside to get the necessary things. R and I drove back to the Laundromat. We threw the stuff into a washer, and then waited. M came back with stuff in a cart. They emptied it at the van, and started moving things around, to make the back window available for my view. When the wash cycle finished, I moved the clothes to two dryers, and put quarters in. I walked over to the book store, and found it was no longer there. I walked back to the van. R took the shopping cart and moved it to a side area. I saw that it was close to HyVee, so took it to one of the corrals, then went inside. I was hungry. I bought 3 slices of pizza and a drink. I took the pizza back to the van. I took my slice and went back into the Laundromat.
Soon, M&R came in, too. They ate their pizza. Once we were finished, R and I started folding clothes. When we finished, we took the load out to the van, and headed back to my house. M&R gathered up their stuff, and put it outside by the van, then they started catching cats, and putting them into carriers. There were five total, but they only caught three. After moving stuff around, and looking in the places they thought the cat might be, we were very frustrated. M finally said, "if you find them, take them to the pound". I looked around, and decided there was one more place to look. Sure enough, they were both there...so far back that M had to crawl under to get them. Finally, we had everything ready to go. Once the cats were packed, we jumped in. It was now 3:30PM. I had planned to be out of town before noon.
After about 12 miles, M said, "what about your cat? He gets his shot at 6:00PM. Do you want to go back and wait until after you give his shot?"
"No," I yelled. "Let's just get this done!"
M called her friend, the brother of the guy in the trailer, and told him he would need to go over and get the items she left behind. He could sell them and send half the money to her. During the trip, there were several conversations and texts about it - all on my cell phone. Apparently, C told him that he couldn't have any of that stuff. M sent a text to her and itemized, with amounts, the things that needed to be picked up by her friend, otherwise she was taking C to court.
We drove and drove. By the way, the sunglasses were sitting at home on the computer keyboard. One of the cats made potty, and the smell wafted through the van. When I could no longer take it, we pulled into a carwash, where M and R transferred the cat to another carrier. M wanted to hold the cat and have R spray his feet, then spray the nasty carrier, but I told them we didn't have time. M put the carrier into the trash. She was smoking a menthol cigarette that caused her to cough profusely. She puked a bit on her hand. When we got back into the van, the smell was now of kitty pee, and human puke. M asked if I had any wet wipes or tissue. When I went in to HyVee, I had used the wet wipes, they provide, to clean my hands. I had two in my purse. They were almost dry, but I handed them to her. It made the smell a little less, but it was still very odoriferous in the van. M found a can of air freshener (which really wasn't the best of smells) and gave it to R to spray when the other smells overwhelmed him (he was in the back seat where the cats were). I told him not to spray the cats! He agreed that he wouldn't.
Mind you, I could have stopped at a gas station, and let M clean her hands. I realize that, so I really shouldn't complain. It seemed that all the stations were on the other side of the road, and I didn't want to have to make a left turn, then try to get back to the road I was on, plus, when we picked up the cats, the back window was covered again, and I couldn't see through it. I wasn't used to the van, and I wanted to get there before dark. I also wanted to drive home at an early as possible time, as Mango still needed his shot.
We drove south for a very long time, winding up and down curvy Missouri roads, finally getting to a little country store, near where M's aunt lived. Now, M had been trying to get hold of the aunt for a couple days, since the last time they talked when the phone cut out. M had to get the address and directions from the Internet, the night before. Luckily, she was able to find them. At the country store, they tried to call M's aunt and couldn't get hold of her. Finally, they gave M&R directions. We followed the directions down a country road, then another long rutty gravel road, and made it there. M's aunt was on the deck, and so were several other family members. M hadn't seen her aunt in many years, and was just now meeting the rest of the people there. M's aunt directed us to the small RV that was hooked up, ready for M&R to move into.
We took the cats to the RV, and unloaded all the rest of the stuff to the ground. Once that was finished, I headed for home. Ten miles from home, I called my neighbor and explained that I needed to gas the van, give my cat his shot, and could she follow me to Avis where I would drop off the van, and she could give me a ride home? She agreed that she could. I passed a gas station that had $3.09 a gallon, because I thought a closer station would have the same price. Nope, it was $3.15. I decided to get it there, anyway, I needed to get home. Almost $40. to refill the van. Behind me, there was a car filling up, and a woman came out of the store yelling about that black bitch inside. The store clerk came out, and a yelling match ensued. I needed no more drama. Apparently, the woman had thrown her money at the store clerk, and it hadn't been the right amount, anyway. The clerk said the woman needed to show courtesy, instead of being such a bitch. I heard "bitch" several times from both mouths. The woman walked toward the car, then turned back and started running at the clerk. The boyfriend (who had been quietly trying to get her to go to the car) grabbed her, and more yelling went on. There were several other bystanders standing around, so I figured I didn't need to be there. I went home.
The cat got his shot, my phone got wiped down, and I went to the neighbor's, using some wet wipes on the passenger side armrests and other things M might have touched with her pukey hands, on the way. My neighbor followed me to Avis, where I locked the van and dropped the keys in the drop box. We headed for home, while I told her about the wild day.
My cats are all out and about, now, and my stress level has lowered drastically. I'm not sorry that I helped M&R, but I'm not letting anyone else stay here for a very long time.
Labels: reality, writing exercise
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Spot lay on a nice round rock and enjoyed the nice sunny day. The lake around him shimmered from a soft spring wind. The grass moved in slow motion, and made slight hushing noises. As the rays of sun baked him, Spot felt at peace with the world. All the stresses and worries left his body, the soft grass music started to lull him to sleep.
"QUACK, Quack, quack,” sounded several ducks as they flapped their wings, and fought in the water near Spot. The noise wakened and frightened him. When the ducks moved closer, Spot quickly slid into the water.
Spot was a painted slider turtle. He was a medium sized turtle, about five inches long, and four inches across. The stripes on his yellow bottom shell had a large amount of orange. His face had pretty reddish orange and black stripes. He looked like most of the turtles in the lake, except that some were smaller, and some were larger.
Cat and her two sons, Chuey and Tony, drove into the lake parking lot and parked. They were going to meet Cat's Aunt Sara (you can call me Sa, you can call me Ra, you can call me Sara, just don't call me late for dinner, ha ha) to walk the trails around the lake. They looked around the parking lot, but didn't see Auntie. Cat pulled out her cell phone and called her Aunt.
"I'm at the big parking lot," said Aunt Sara.
"Oh, we're at the smaller parking lot." replied Cat.
"I'll meet you at the lake," Aunt Sara responded.
Cat, Chuey, and Tony started walking west. Aunt Sara started walking east. When they met on the trail, they turned and walked east, together. Soon, they turned to the path that led to the larger trail around the lake. It was a beautiful day, and they passed people walking their dogs, joggers, and people pushing babies in strollers. Everyone was taking advantage of the nice weather.
Spot decided to try sunning again. He got up on his rock, and lay there. The sunshine warmed his hard shell. He started snoozing. Soon, he was dreaming that he met a girl turtle, and they were swimming in the lake together.
"QUACK, Quack, quack.” The ducks started fighting, again. Spot slid into the water.
About a half mile into the walk, the boys started lagging behind. They were cool enough, as both were wearing t-shirts, shorts, and sneakers. They both would have preferred to do something else. Chuey was the older boy. He was eleven years old, and he wished he was riding his bike. He picked up an old weed trunk, and started hitting it against the other weeds. Tony, the nine year old, thought about a movie he wanted to watch again, as he walked slowly in front of his brother.
"Come on, catch up," Cat called to the boys.
Tony started moving faster. Cat and Aunt Sara stopped to wait. They were wearing t-shirts and sweatpants. Their brisk pace was making them sweat. While they stood there, a soft breeze dried the small beads of sweat that had formed on their foreheads.
Chuey walked slowly toward them. Tony caught up to the women. The three started walking again. Soon, Chuey increased his speed, and caught up with them. The weed he was carrying had roots and a clump of dirt at the end. He swung it to one side, then the other.
"Stop swinging that dirt around," his mom said to him, when a clump hit her leg. He threw the weed into some brush, and began to skip.
As they continued following the trail, the boys passed up the women.
"Aunt Sara, we'll show you something really cool!"
The boys ran ahead. When the women caught up, the boys walked off the trail and onto a rock bridge end. The bridge was gone, but the huge rocks that originally held it up were still there. They stood at the end and looked at the swirling creek below. Aunt Sara hiked down the rocks and looked down at the quickly moving water, too.
Every time Spot tried to sleep on the rocks, the ducks made such a noise he woke up. He was missing out on a lot of sleep, and that made him mad. He decided to go to the small pond on the other side of the lake. He swam the length of the lake, and crawled out onto land. Slowly, he levered himself along, dodging dog poo and high grass. He managed to get several yards up the bank of the lake, when he had to take a break and rest. He pulled his head and legs into his shell. He didn't close all the way, because he wanted to see what was going on around him.
As they walked along the trail, Cat, her Aunt, and the two boys looked at the redbud trees that were in full bloom. They spied small purple and white flowers in the grass. They stopped to watch hungry squirrels digging in the grass and running up trees. They watched small birds flying from tree to tree.
Finally, they made it back to the beginning of the trail. Since they hadn't walked the smaller trail in full, they decided to walk it, as well.
There, at the beginning of the smaller trail, the boys spied a turtle. It was laying in the grass, and looking out at them. Chuey picked up Spot.
He said, "we need to get this turtle back in the water."
"Hey, let's take it along, and when we get to those rocks that the turtles like to sun themselves on, we can put him there," said Tony.
And that's what they did.
Spot was livid! He cursed all the bad words he knew. Finally, he calmed down. As he slid into the water to start his trek again, he said, "all that work, and here I am, back where those stupid ducks insist on making noise. Stupid people!"
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
The Cable Guy
To tell you the truth, I forgot about it. And anyway, I was busy moving furniture. I was also cleaning dustbunnies and cat hair from their hiding places.
It started about six months, to a year, ago. Frustrated that I was overweight by about sixty pounds, I removed my clothes, stood in front of the bathroom mirror, and took a picture.
In paintbrush, I put a black rectangle over my lower face, my breasts, and my crotch. I then opened another paintbrush window. I pasted the picture on one half, and a picture of when I was eighty pounds lighter, on the other half. After I saved it, I pulled it in to use as my desktop, with hopes that this would encourage me to lose weight. So far it hasn't.
At the time, I had broadband that worked well. The company started upgrading to 4G, and I had trouble logging in to a very important site, for several months. Finally, I cancelled the broadband, and hooked up to DSL with a different company. The DSL company would call from time to time, wanting to upgrade my services. Finally, one day, they made an offer I couldn't refuse.
They told me that for eight dollars more, a month, they could upgrade my DSL and give me cable TV. The DSL would work better because the line would be upgraded to fiber optics, and I would no longer have trouble bringing in television shows. It sounded so good, I set up the appointment for the cable guy to come over and hook it all up.
When the day of the appointment came, I rushed into action. I moved furniture away from the phone line so the guy could get to it. There were so many dustbunnies, and cat hair, that it took quite a while to clean the area. Finally, I decided I had done enough. I sat down to wait.
The guy arrived in a timely manner. I said, "I hope you're not allergic to cats!"
He said, "Well, I am, but I take the allergy shots."
I was so glad I had cleaned up all that cat hair.
The cable guy worked on the phone line for quite some time. He hooked up the TV to the receiver. He added wire from the phone line to the TV. He came over to the computer (which had a black screen at the time) and started to mess with the mouse. I grabbed it and opened an Internet browser so he could go to his company's site.
The cable guy completed the passwords, and chose the options needed. He moved to the TV and showed me how to record and how to change channels with the remote. He checked to make sure everything worked properly.
After he gathered up his tools, he stepped back to the computer, and closed the browser window.
With an abrupt head turn he stepped back from the computer screen. I looked at the screen and saw what he saw.
Yes, there was the picture of me in all my glory! Without mentioning what he saw, the cable guy handed me the paperwork, and told me to give him a call if I had any trouble with the service, as he headed for the door.
Once the cable guy departed, I started laughing. That poor guy. He had to be embarrassed. Actually, in the picture, my body is covered as much as a bikini would cover, but still, you can tell I had been nude when I took the picture.
I called my mother, and told her about it. We laughed and laughed. I called my sister, and told her about it. We laughed and laughed. Finally, she said, "Oh, that poor guy, imagine having that seared onto his retinas!"
Saturday, January 22, 2011
ONLY PRAYER CAN SAVE THE WORLD! DiDi read the billboard as she drove to work. She was a religious woman. She began to pray, "Lord, please save the world, Lord, please save the world." She continued to pray, once she arrived at work. While she typed, she prayed. When she went to the bathroom, she prayed. When she went to break and lunch, she prayed. On her way home, she prayed. During the evening, while watching television, she prayed. Her routine was unchanged, except for praying every minute she was awake.
That Sunday, at church, as the tithing plates were passed around, Minister Blay admonished the congregation to get more involved with the needy. He announced that he was holding a prayer meeting, the upcoming Tuesday evening, for the needy. Didi figured this was a sign from God. After the service, she made a point to talk to Minister Blay. He was such a handsome man, with his brown curly hair, and soft brown eyes, she was a little intimidated to approach him. He was so caring, when she asked what she could do to help, that when he told her that the prayer meeting was going to be held in the poor section of town, she decided to attend.
Tuesday evening, Didi took care to dress as neatly as possible. She decided to wear her best skirt and jacket outfit. Her part time job only allowed for a little bit of finery, but she did what she could. She pinned her fake diamond brooch to the lapel of the jacket. Flicking her short permed gray hair back, she stuffed her feet into her comfortable sensible shoes. She was ready to go. She picked up her purse, walked out to her older model car, and drove to the prayer meeting.
Minister Blay gave such a caring service, DiDi was moved to tears. She was glad she decided to tape the sessions. She could listen to them at home, and get the full benefit of his teachings. When Minister said that if he had a house, he would take every one of the needy people in the room to his house, DiDi wiped her tears and thanked God that she had remembered to bring tissues along. She was teary eyed, again, by the time he finished the thought, saying he would let them live with him, if he had a house. It was the most thoughtful and wonderful thing she ever heard.
When the tithing plate came around, she noticed the people around her didn't donate much. After looking at them closely, she understood why. They were down on their luck. She counted about forty people. They were different ages, different ethnic makeup, and genders. They all had one thing in common. They were scruffy. Some looked like they engaged in drugs, others looked like they engaged in illegal pursuits of a different sort. They were people, too, though, and they needed prayer and God in their lives.
As DiDi left the prayer session, Minister Blay asked her why she only put a dollar in the plate. She was surprised he knew what she tithed, but didn’t say anything. He told her that all these people needed help from others in better situations. She was embarrassed. She scrounged in her purse to find some errant coins, and gave them to him. Minister Blay looked at her brooch and said, "perhaps, you don't care as much as you pretend. Good faithful people would help out more."
DiDi saw that he was eyeing the pin, so took it off and gave it to him.
"Thank you so much, good lady. I hope you will come next week, too."
During the week, DiDi prayed for an answer to help all those needy people. She wanted to help Minister, too, so he could have a house to share with the needy. God came through again. DiDi canvassed the neighborhood, asking for donations of anything. She explained her mission and many of the good neighbors remembered items they were holding back for garage sales. She asked some of her strong neighbor men to help carry all the wonderful items. Her next door neighbor, Ray, agreed to get a moving van, because his pickup couldn’t carry it all.
Once all the donations were packed into the van and truck, Ray stopped by the church and asked to see the minister. Minister Blay was in consultation with a very wealthy parishioner, but Ray couldn't wait. The moving van had to be returned by tomorrow, or else they would be charged another day. Minister Blay quickly pulled him into the hallway, and pulled the door shut. Ray told him he had the van full of stuff for the needy. Minister Blay was in a quandary. He wanted to look through the stuff, before doling it out to the poor. Finally, he pulled his key ring out. He pointed to the garage key and told Ray to put the stuff in the garage. He wrote out his address and asked Ray to bring the keys back as soon as he was done.
DiDi was riding along with the guys, and when they arrived at the huge ostentatious house, she was moved to tears. It was so large, it could house all those needy people. The brick exterior was bright and inviting. The huge windows, even though the heavy burgandy curtains were closed, would allow the sun to shine through and brighten the interior. The large lawn would allow games, picnics, or fine gatherings to occur with ease.
Obviously, Minister was so busy he hadn't gotten keys made for the needy. She was going to help him. After Ray unlocked the garage, DiDi took the key ring. She quickly located the key that opened the front door. While the unloading was going on, she realized they were close to a key shop. Crying with happiness, she walked over and had forty copies made for the front door. She was so happy she would be able to help!
That Tuesday, after everyone left, Minister Blay locked the service room so he could finish his notes and count tithes. DiDi had been first out the door, so she could make sure that all the people were given their own key and a ride to the Minister's house.
What a wonderful surprise it would be for Minister Blay, when he saw all his people there! He would be so pleased!
They all piled into Ray's pickup truck bed, DiDi’s car, and a few other cars, and drove to the house. Once there, so they wouldn’t feel out of place, DiDi played the recorded service where the minister told them he would house them. The homeless and poor made themselves at home. Tubs were utilized, refrigerators were unloaded, TVs turned on. Praise be! Praise God! What a wonderful day for all!
Labels: fiction, prayer