My Mind

My Mind
This is my mind

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dust to dust

A chance to fill the space with words.
If only I could find the words, or the idea to put into words.
The ideas, they don't come.  The memories seem stale and rehashed.  The words to fill out those cobwebbed pictures of long ago are missing.
Sunday morning and I was at the church.  It was a brick building with a white steeple just a block from the College of Charleston.  We used to park behind The single building that was C of C and walk that block.  I would spin the iron stays that held the pale green shutters open during the week as we walked past.
The church had been there a while.  Sitting in the pew at a very early age receiving pinches from my mother to sit still I had to face front.  One particular Sunday the preacher, an old grey-haired bespeckled man in a dark robe walke up into the pulpit.
"Good morning brothers and sisters," he said moving out from behind the Bible stand.  His robe was covered in dirt and debris.  There was an inaudible gasp from the congregation.  To my little boy brain his clothes looked familiar, after all mine looked like that every day.
"I continue to tell you that we need to take better care of our church.  And week after week it seems to fall on deaf ears.  The collection plate continues to come back with coins instead of dollars as well as empty pledge envelopes.
"You see my robe?  It's covered in dirt, cobwebs and debris.  Are you interested enough to wonder why your preacher would show up in anything less that pristine garments? Mmm, I see a couple of faces in the pews who seem interested.  I also see those with closed eyes emitting snores."
That comment sparked several snorts from husbands whose wives elbowed them.  One of those was from my granddad.  I almost laughed out loud but another pinch changed it to an loud ouch which assured another pinch.  I looked at my mother frowning in silent plea.  Her stern look in return was rewarded by my sliding back in my seat bringing my feet to the edge of the hard wood seat, hands into my lap and face forward.
"I figured it is time to bring forward proof that we need to give if we want our church to remain standing.  It has become dire.  I pray every night that as a congregation we will show the Lord our appreciation for His loving kindness by providing our tithes and offerings so that we may show we are worthy of the responsibility of stewardship."
When money was mentioned everyone began to squirm, not just the children.
"The reason my robe is so filthy this morning is I have been under the church in the crawl space.  I reached up from my prone position and grabbed hold of one of the support beams.  I nearly fainted when it fell on top of me.  I thought my time had come.  The lumber used for support is some of the heaviest used because of its strength.  But I wasn't crushed.  No.  My hand dislodged this portion."  He brought forth from his back a large holy piece of wood.
"No.  I wasn't crushed because this particular piece of lumber was so full of termites you could hear them chewing.  Their tunnels are so numerous that it almost fell into crumbs in my hand as you see here."
He tightened his fingers and the object crumbled to the floor.  It became bits and pieces to be swept into a dust bin.
"If this doesn't frighten you into giving to your church I don't know what will.  Perhaps it is only this one beam that is riddled so deeply with termite tunnels but it won't be the last if something isn't done.  Our church will not be standing literally if something isn't done.  We need to have major work done on the foundation.  It has to be soon.  Please honor your pledges.  Please give your offerings.  We must act soon.  This is the Lord's House.  We must be good stewards of His house. Thus endeth the sermon this week.  Think on this," his hand destroyed the remainder of the beam, "and give."
The rustling began as everyone went into their pockets and purses.  The collection plate circulated.  When it passed me it was piled high with bills and envelopes.  I added my quarter.
I mouthed the words as the Doxology was sung and wiggled to get through the crowd as worship came to and end.  I had to see the crumbled wood.  It was flaky bits and there were termites wriggling on the floor.  As I walked to join my mother my foot touched a soft spot in the floor with a creak.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's time

I saw her again, briefly and by candle light. The cold night air played tricks maybe. The temperature dropped suddenly and the rain froze along the wires. They snapped early in the morning. The sound was like a thunder clap in the silence of the night. It woke me with a start.

I reached for the switch on my lamp. It clicked. The dark remained. Dogs around the neighborhood were howling. I remembered candles in the drawer in the kitchen. Slowly, I felt my way along the wall of the hallway. My fingers found the candles. I took one and a pack of matches that lay beside them in case of such an emergency. I noticed how cold it was. The heat shouldn't have dissipated so soon after a loss of power.

I scratched a match along the pack. It spurted to life and I held it to the wick. The candle took the flame and began to grow. That's when I saw her. It was just a flicker. A face tinted blue in an orange flame.  Startled, I nearly dropped the candle.  I looked more closely. I was alone in the flickering flame.  It was just my imagination.

I used to have a flashlight around somewhere but the batteries died long ago, so here I stood with a single flame to light the darkness. Flickering shadows played across the wall as I made my way back to the bedroom.

I checked the phone.  It was dead. I had a cell phone but it wasn't working either. I'd forgotten to place it in its stand. What a time to be isolated in a new house. A new house on a dirt road miles from anyone because I'd just grown tired of neighbors staring into my house from their windows only inches apart. I tried one day reaching across from my window. Sure enough, I was able to touch the side of their house with the palm of my hand. I'd have thought there would be some kind of building code, but, no, not in that neighborhood. So I moved out here to get away from such closeness. An hour and a half to work and back was the only price to pay.

I settled back and looked at my Baby Ben. Two thirty. I'd only been asleep an hour or so. Working the evening shift kept me wired and I never got to bed before one.

Those covers looked inviting. The bed was piled high with thermals and wool blankets. I pulled them up over me and sat up to blow out the candle when I noticed the same blue face haloed by a black flickering shadow. She was there. She was not.

"Who are you?" I yelled at the wall. I thought I heard a whispering chuckle. "What do you want?"

I waited for an answer. Only silence in the darkness answered me.

"I know I saw something," I said clutching the covers and shivering with the cold. I sat that way until my back felt like a block of ice. Gingerly I lay down. "Maybe I'll leave the candle burning." I said to the shadows playing across the walls.

I slipped the covers over my head and held them tightly. Just nerves, I thought and closed my eyes.

"Huh? What?" I shouted. I had managed to drift off but something startled me and I was sitting up without knowing why. The cold was more oppressive now. It just doesn't get that cold down here. This felt like the cold I'd experienced up north one winter on a visit. It happened to be the coldest winter in twenty years. I swore I'd never visit again after thawing out a month later.

The candle was still burning by it was only an inch high from the original 6 inch height.

"Is there someone there?" Cold and silence pressed in upon me. I sat dead still until the frigid air began to frost my lungs. I lay down and once again and pulled the cover over my head to conserve body heat. I closed my eyes and began to drift off again.

I was dreaming. Voices filtered through the blankets. I whipped them away from my face and looked around. There was no one, but the voices were there. They were faint but there. I got up to look outside. No. They were in here.

I opened the drawer of the night table and lifted the pistol quietly and slowly. I placed it under my pillow. Then I shouted, "Who's there?"

No one answered, but the voices drifted in. They increased in number. It seemed to be coming from the wall where I had last seen that face. Then she was there, fading in and out with the bouncing flame. Blue against black. Orange, yellow and red licked at her face. Her hair was black, blending into with the darkness of the shadow wavering behind her. Her eyes shown red against the chill of her skin. She was there. And, then, she was gone.

The chill of the air did not compare to the chill in my soul. Was this some kind of reaction to the food I ate at work? Fever? Delirium? The candle was beginning to gutter. I yanked the covers over my head and buried myself beneath them as tightly as a cocoon.

The voices were increasing in volume through the blankets.
"Go away!" I shouted. I couldn't discern real words amongst all the voices for there were many. I began to understand now these were cries of pain and agony. They grew louder and closer. Shrieks of terror shot through the buffer of blankets.   Cries for help sliced through the darkness penetrating the blankets. Screams bounced off the walls. Some words became clear amongst the howling.

"Please help me! Kill me! No more! A drop of water! Stop! Please stop!  Dear God Please!"

It was distinct, the answer, “God has no place here.” This pronouncement was followed by a chuckle progressing to hideous laughter. Then silence settled along with the cold and darkness.

"What a horrible dream," I said after a few moments of quiet. Tremulously I eased the cover down below my eyes. The room was dark.  The candle had died. I saw nothing in the darkness.

Deciding it was just a nightmare I once again pulled the covers over my head to block out the cold.

"You might as well come out of your hiding place." The covers were ripped from my grasp.

She stood a blue glow. She appeared to be standing before flames as the colors yellow, orange and red rippled across her countenance.

"What do you want? Why are you doing this?"

"It's your time and you're mine," her laughter crawled around me.

"What are you talking about? I don't know you."

"Ah, you are so wrong. You’ve known me a long time. I've been your constant companion. You've listened to every suggestion I ever gave you."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Yes, that IS what I'm talking about, Hell. It's your time. Come along peacefully now. I wouldn't want to have to hurt you.  Yet."  Her face broke into a grimace that ejected laughter creeping up my spine.

"This is crazy. I don't know you. I’ve never met you, much less listened to you..."

"It makes no difference, doll. You're mine. I've come for you."

"Is this a dream? I just need to wake up, right? You're just part of my subconscious playing havoc with me while I sleep."

"Yes, you sleep. It was your last night to sleep. It's over."

"It can't be over. I'm still alive. See?"

"That's what you all say. Take a look."

I was swept up and hurled out into the night. We were a mile from my house. There were police cars and an ambulance parked along the side of the road. A tree limb was wedged into the roof of my... my… car. The tree limb buckled the roof in. I was beneath the limb. Blood oozed from my ears. My skull had obviously been crushed.

"Remember the loud crack that sounded like thunder?"

"Yeah, it woke me up. It's when I first started to see you."

"Mm hmm. That's right. It wasn't ice on the electric lines. It was this limb cracking under the weight. You've been lying here for a while, but finally you gave up the ghost and, now, you're mine."

"That's it? I die and I'm yours? No trial? No chance to make amends?"

"Nope. You had your whole life for that. You lived just the way you wanted. So what if I helped you decide what you wanted. Such an easy one you were. Made you believe you were so much smarter because you didn't believe what all the simple minded folks believed. Oh, you were such fun to toy with, but all the fun is over now. Shall we?"

"But you're blue not red. You're a woman, not a man."

"You believe anything don't you?" Her laugh shriveled my heart. I dropped straight down into the howling shrieks below. My terror joined in the ranks and my screams lifted upward to no one.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

H. G.


Ah, tabula rasa.   I sit in wonder. What dark marks will flow upon it? Where will it end? How will they take shape? With caffeine entering the blood stream and sleep exiting my dull mind I'll begin. But where? The beginning? No, I've been there and there was nothing. Perhaps the middle? Middle of what? Earth? Nope that's been covered also. I can't go to the end since that is in the future and what idiot thinks he can go to the future.
"I can!" Why it's a voice behind me midst the sparks and lights and coughs and wheezes emanating from the elaborate chair upon which sits a wizened old man in Victorian attire and a flowing grey beard.
"Well you can just go back because I'm not prepared to see it just yet."
"Would you deny yourself the chance to see your future? The future of the world?"
"Heck yeah, buddy. So push off and go to some other person’s house. They might want to chronicle your futuristic sojourns. Anyway that shtick has been done too. I see you've patterned your "Time Machine" after Rod Taylor's cushioned chair. What's up? No real imagination of your own?"
"Those are fighting words, sir. Rod Taylor and that movie crew made an exact replica of this device. I ought to know. I showed it to him. The one thing I liked about the 50's was Hollywood. Those chicks liked Victorian manners. But I digress. Are you positive you don't want to take a quick jump into the future? It could be fun."
"No. How about a quick jaunt to the past? Time's Square V-J day?"
"Hop on. Of course you'll have to sit in my lap."
"Maybe I'll pass after all. Unless you can go sideways into another dimension. How about that?"
"Not satisfied with time travel, eh? I don't know if that is possible with this. Let's see now. If I push this and punch that and tie this off. OK. Hop on. We'll give this a try."
I hopped on as lights started flashing and snap, crackles and pops woke my dog who began to bark. Her barking began to fade just as she began to fade from sight. Then a heavy jolt which felt like my very atoms were torn asunder and as I began to wonder about asunder it happened again and we came to such a sudden stand still that with both vibrated like a cartoon arrow.
It was Time's Square.
"Hey, I thought you were going to dimension hop not time travel."
"Well, I thought we did."
"This is New York. What's the date?"
"I guess I still had it set for V-J Day, but where are the crowds if that's so?"
The city was deserted. There wasn't a soul out. Newspapers whipped along the streets. It was like a bad movie scene. I yelled hello. My voice ricocheted off the buildings.
"What's going on?"
Greybeard answered, "I don't know I've been here before and there were crowds of people dancing in the streets. Car horns and shouting. Streamers drifting through the air from open windows high above the streets."
"This is too eerie for me. Can we just go back:"
"There seems to be some malfunction here. I must have punched this button a little too hard. My machine has been back and forth through time so often that it has aged considerably. Why don't you walk around a bit while I have a look at it. Maybe you can find and answer."
I agreed, said I'd be right back and started walking to the nearest newspaper stand. I didn't have long to wonder. The headlines read. Germany's Secret Weapon Revealed.
As I began to read the news columns a scrap of paper blew into my face. I snatched it away and started to toss it but the large print caught my eye.


Surrender now or we shall drop a weapon
upon your city the likes of which you have
never seen. It will eliminate all traces of
life in a 100 mile area. You and all your
loved ones will cease to exist. You will be
vaporized leaving your land and your
accomplishments to us. You have 7 days
to surrender. If you do not then America
will be ours. This is your only warning.

I read the story in the paper after that.
"England refused to knuckle under to the threats of Germany. After the defeat of France, Great Britain declared her intention of seeing the struggle through to the bitter end. Leaflets were dropped over the country side by German planes. They warned England's people to surrender or be eliminated from the face of the earth. Those hardy people ignored the warning as Hun hype and went about the business of war.
In 7 days there were no people on the British Isles. Intercepted messages from German radio reported the weapon was successful. In a matter of 2 months the land will once again be habitable. The British Empire is no more. The Britons have been eradicated from the face of the earth.
Germany has been dropping leaflets across the country side and broadcasting over the radio that the same fate awaits us if we do not surrender within the 7 day grace period. It is in the best interests of the people of the United States if the government surrenders unconditionally now. We do not want to suffer the fate of the United Kingdom.
I folded the paper and tucked it under my arm. greybeard was still fussing with the control panel of his chair. I ran over to him and shouted, "Get it together and get us out of here now."
"What's wrong, laddie?"
"Germany won the war. There's no one in New York and the Germans have found their lebensraum. It's America. Get us out of here."
"All right. Calm down. I think I've got it. There. Get aboard and we'll give her a try."
As he began to fiddle with the controls there was a growing commotion coming from the canyons of concrete and steel. It sounded like music in a rough language growing more distinct as Greybeard continued to play with his controls. There I was beginning to make out the first strains of a song forcing its way into our ears--
"Deutschland ueber alles...." and at that moment the infernal machine bucked forward accompanied with coughs and wheezes.
Just as quickly as we left we returned. Greybeard stayed for a cup of tea and we talked about the other world we had visited.
"England and America gone forever? Obliterated in a matter of minutes? It's a cruel vision that." he said. "Hitler will have all the room he wants now to carry out his plans of world domination. Pity those not of Aryan blood. It will mean nothing to him to remove all living creatures not of his vision of the master race. It's a horrible place we have left behind. At least in our world their is no one left who would want to eradicate all but his vision of what the world should be."
"That's debatable," I said.
"All right, laddie, I'll be off then. Perhaps another time?"
"Perhaps." And he was gone in an ozone aftermath.

Oh, wow, I must have fallen asleep at the keyboard. What a weird dream. Well, it seems I've been writing while asleep. Almost word for word like my dream. That's odd there is a faint smell of ozone in this room. Hmm, where'd that copy of the New York Times come from?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ghost writer's got a gun

I had absolutely no desire to write tonight. Had already put out the light of my monitor. Then this guy walks in with a gun and says, "Write!"

Whatcha gonna do?

"What do you want me to write?" I ask.

"Whatever," he says. You're the one sitting at the keyboard.

"Think it's easy? Think you can do it?"

"Sure," he says. "Here, hold this." He gave me the gun. "Now, move."

"Excuse me while I move over to the rocker, here"

"Just push those things out of the way and have a seat," he says.

Look at him. What a dork. Just moves over and shoves stuff offa the rocker. Good grief, when he sat down the rocker passed the rocker board across Sasha's tail. Wow. Never saw a dog jump so high.

" Heck. Anybody can do this. What was so hard about it. Why didn't you wanna write? I mean all you do is sit here and tap away. The words just come with the flick of a finger. Man, the way you grouse you'd think it was hard work or something. Yeah, yeah. You just sit back and watch."

"And what are you going to write?" That's the question the shlup asks.

"Same thing you do. Words. Just gonna see how they line up."

Now it's my keyboard and I'll try a few things. Now he's snoring. Easily bored I guess. Let's see...

There was a young lady from Blass
Who had a magnificent ass
It was not round an pink
As you may think
But was grey, had long ears and ate grass.

Yeah, I was cheating. I heard that somewhere. Maybe I could write an uncle Club story. Hmmm.

Yeah, we were riding down the highway, we were always riding down the highway, mixing Calverts Extra and coke and upending the glasses with each pour. He was feeling no pain and neither was I when we decided to rob a bank.

"OK," said Club, "you're the brains of this outfit. You figure us out a way to get into the bank and out with a sack o' money without getting caught."

"Shouldn't be to hard," I said. "They make movies about it all the time. Only thing is Club your car is too new. Didn't you see Bonnie and Clyde."

"Yeah, I saw that one. Ole Clyde was a cool hombre, huh?"

"No, stupid. Hombre was about a cowboy who was a half breed. Paul Newman, I think."

"Nope, you're wrong. Paul Newman was the Sundance Kid. He robbed banks in South America with Butch somebody."

"You got it wrong again, doofus. Robert Redford was the Sundance Kid, not Paul Newman."

"No he wasn't. He was that guy, never can remember his name in... Oh, you know the movie. Lotta piano music. What was that movie?"

"Oh, gees, Club. You're thinking about that movie with Somebody Keitel. You hated that movie, remember? That Keitel guy peeled off all his clothes right there in front of the woman who just wanted to play the beat up piano they found on the beach. Gives me shivers. Always have that god-forsaken image every time I hear piano music now. And I did so love the classics. Used to get misty over Last Date. Now I just have this horrible image of full frontal Keitel"

"You are a real dumb ass, Rug. Only movie I remember with a piano is that one with that actress--what's her name? You remember. She wallowed all over the top of the piano while that Bridges guy played. She wore that red dress and sang her heart out."

"Uh huh. I remember her she was the one who turned into a hawk during the day and into that luscious singer at night. She'd come out of the hawk costume into that slinky red number. Boy, do I remember that one."

"Think you're mixing your movies there, nevue. She was the one Nevada Jones tried to drown in the bath tub. That waz a spooky one. Her tried to drown her in the Thimble of Dumb or sumfin. Member?"

"Stoopid. That was that Clooney guy. Rosemary's brother, I think. He picked her up and jumped in a big puddle. Splashin' an' stuff."

"Wrongo, dipstool. He was getting' saved with the other two chain gang boys after ridin' roun' with Purty boy Floyd. Now that was a funny one. Laffed my ass off...."

"Whoa, there. Nearly hit that pidest..pedest..that walker there. Worsen that you almos' spilled your drink. Maybe you should pull over for a spell."

"You know, 'sted a robbin' a bank, we oughta run liquor. I gotta friend inna mounteens yonder in North Carolina. He's got a skill an makes moon. Now, Rug, what you doin' in that winda like that. I didn't say moon so's you'd moon that fella. Yipes, he ain't just a fella neither. That's John. John Law. He saw that big ass flappin' out the winda and I think he might just be a little upset. See that blue light flashin?"

"Hi, ossifer. Yeah, that's my stoopid fool nevue. No, he didn't mean nothin' by it. Drink. Yeah, you want one? Oh, you mean are we drinking. Well, not a whole lot. Yeah, that's true. But, you know the light was green and she didn't have no right to be in the road. I beeped. Really. I didn't think it was that close. Bent the wheel, huh. You know if somebody's gonna cross the street in a wheel chair they should have someone pushing them a little faster than that."

"You know, Club, I'm not real fond of the accommodations you found us tonight. I mean, a bucket. It don't even flush. And all these other guys. It couldn't a cost much. And how long did you rent it for? Seems like we've been here more than three days now."


"There you go. I did as good a job as you and in less time. You just let me know when you want me to write and I'll come over. Would you give me back my gun. I really need to be running on. Well, I guess you can read it first. I never told you to go to sleep over there. ...........Well? What did you think? Good huh? Uh, could you stop waving the gun around like that? Stop shouting, too? Now Rick the gun....Don't pull that trig............................................