Recasting

It was widely accepted within their group that she was too much for him. Too much mouth. Too much drama. Too much to-the-point-with-no-backing-off bluntly honest for him to handle. It wasn’t that he was necessarily inept, or weak, or even unintelligent. It was just that he’d never been schooled in the art of manipulation. She was too good, and while he might miss that fact…not see it because of pride blocking his way, it was clear to everyone else. He could not handle her. It was therefore with a look of complete shock on his face that she called him out in the bar.

“You hate me, don’t you?”

Looking around him to be sure she was talking to him before answering, he said, “Are you talking to me?”

“Yes, I’m talking to you. Do you see anyone else sitting at this bar?”

“No.”

“Answer the question!” she demanded, much too loudly for him to feel comfortable with her demeanor or the environment in which he now found himself.”

“I wouldn’t say I hate you,” he replied. “I would say that I don’t like how you’re behaving right now.”

“Oh, no?” she said, “and why is that?”

Oh, how he wanted her to go away. He wanted, himself, to melt into the woodwork. He wanted to be left alone. He wanted to drink his drink, and more than anything he wanted to tell her what he thought of women who acted like she was acting, but this was not the place for emotional outbursts. He believed civility mattered and that people who let their crazy out in public places were defective. He would have no part of it.

He turned to walk away, but not before she caught the corner of his lapel and pulled his jacket from his shoulder. He jerked right quickly and she fell from the stool, twisting her ankle. All this he’d repeated ad infinitum to the security staff and administrators of the wax museum. The bill for her recasting totaled $3,215.86.

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Unexpected

Pre-op appointment day.
Knee replacement surgery meant to alleviate her pain.
No mystery there.

Had she been tired lately?
Yes.
Had she felt “off” somehow?
Yes.
Any shortness of breath?
Yes.

How long had this been going on?
“A couple weeks.”
“You look pale.”

Leukemia.
Acute.
Shock!

One month of in-patient.
Now home.
My friend has changed.

Threes!

What we think.
What we know.
What is yet to be known.

God, her Sustainer.
Prayer, her discipline.
Pastor Husband, her constant companion.

What a strange life we live.

Give It a Rest!

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“Options are important,” she said. “Without them we’d all feel like caged animals looking for a way out, but never finding one.”

Nan shrugged. “I guess so. I mean, I can see what you’re saying, but I’m not sure it’s relevant to my situation.”

“Not relevant?” she answered. “How so? He’s putting up fences, locking you in, with no choices at all. How is that not relevant?”

“I don’t see what Lloyd is doing as restrictive,” Nan countered. “I see it as loving. He knows that I have a problem with decision-making and that given enough time, I can make any mole hill into a mountain of complications. He’s being loving by narrowing my scope.”

“You see that as loving?” Vivian said. “I see that as being controlling and not helping you work your way through the maze that is your indecision. Why can’t he explore some options with you, look at all the alternative, and then help you figure out which of them is the right one for you? Why can’t he do that?”

“It’s pizza and wine, Viv,” she answered. “Pizza and wine, nothing more. Sheesh, can you please give it a rest!”

 

“Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candour.”                                                                       -Tom Hanks

Uncertainty

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She walked into the room, and silence swept over the place. Waiters stopped waiting. Politicians stopped lying. Gentlemen stopped puffing on their cigars, and ladies stopped thinking about how every other woman in the room was thinner, prettier, wealthier and healthier than they. She was a force, and all those who saw her were reckoned to admit that the winds of fortune had changed and soon they would be forced to change with them.

“May I offer you a seat?” he said, as she moved into the center of the room.

“Thank you,” she replied.

A buzz from the back began low and slow, traveling to the place where she sat as the room assessed her with glowering eyes. Waiters began waiting tables once more. Politicians once more begat lies. Gentlemen and ladies throughout the room resumed what they had been doing prior to her entrance, but always, always with an eye to her and what she might do next.

She chose a table two-thirds the way back from the entrance and settled herself where everyone in the room could see her next move. She reached into her purse and drew out a revolver. She sat it gingerly on the table. No one moved.

If she’d come there that day looking to kill someone, her plan had been foiled. Whoever it was she was looking for she did not find. Still, she sat. She ordered a drink. She removed her gloves and lay them gently to one side of her plate as she scanned the room further; slowly at first and then with increased fervor. She lit a cigarette and took a long draught of tar into what must have been beautiful lungs. The hope of the crowd was that she had an intended. Everyone knew that kind of beauty could never be content short of possessing everything she wanted.

 

A Hot Dog Death

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They found him lying on the kitchen floor, blue all over, as if he were the victim of blow back caused by some perturbed painter caught in an azure phase of development. Roger knew right away that this wasn’t your ordinary death. It wasn’t a suicide either. It was a hot dog death!

Hot dog death is what crime scene investigators call death by strangulation brought on by a lodging of food in the windpipe, which subsequently causes all air to quit it’s travel down the esophagus to the lungs. Roger’ d seen a few hot dog deaths in his day, but nothing as gruesome as this.

“What’d ya think we’ll find down there?” he said to Elwood.

“Beats me. Does it matter? Isn’t it enough to know this poor schlub chocked to death? Man, what a rotten way to go!”

“Not rotten,” Roger replied. “If it’d been rotten, we probably wouldn’t be here. If it’d been rotten, it probably would have shredded when the gagging began and he would have been able to push it out.”

“Yeah, right,” Elwood replied. He hated to egg Roger on when he was thinking and processing like this. Better to let him exhaust himself in the details of the hot dog death, and move on to brighter happenings in this dingy world.

“Rotten food tends to smell, too, ya know,” Roger said to no one in particular. “Real bad. Gross, even. But his mouth cavity doesn’t smell all that bad. It’s more like, Kool-Aid. Yeah, green Kool-Aid. That’s it.”

“Kool-Aid?” Elwood replied. “Really? Green Kool-Aid? How can you tell green Kool-Aid from any other color?” Elwood thought this line of questioning was ludicrous, but he couldn’t help himself.

“Green, Red, Orange, Blue, it doesn’t really matter what color the Kool-Aid is,” Roger replied. “It’s more about the scent than the color. Quit being so literal!”

“Me, being literal! You’re the one who said the guy drank green Kool-Aid, not me. If anyone needs to back off and rethink their position, it’s you. Me, literal?! Really?!!”

About that time the lead investigator happened upon the two of them. Roger looked down. Elwood began to whistle, faintly. They both knew, had been caught bickering on a case before. They knew it was time to vamoose.

“What we got here, guys?” the Sargent said with a hard tone in his voice.

“A hot dog death,” they replied, simultaneous, before hanging their heads in silence once more and taking copious notes about things other than green Kool-Aid.