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Re: Messiah Remix


The night was warm and quiet, and my walk uneventful. I stepped into Cackles and was pleased to see Zay Zay mid-set.

“Y’all think I joking, but I’m not. Y’all laughing, but that is just because you suck. I’m telling you the freakin’ end is near. And you are wasting your time listening to a blind man telling you how bad !@#$ is, and believe me, IT IS, and all you can do is sip your booze and smoke your cigarettes, and say, ‘ah, now, cmon man, it ain’t that bad.'”

The crowd laughed.

“But it IS. THAT. BAD,” he said with emphasis. “Look, I’ll prove it.”

He turned to his left, leaned over a little bit and said, “Now, what’s your name?”

Someone near the front said, “Tanya.”

“Tanya. Tell me something, Tanya. How’d you know I was talking to you. I’m blind, for Christ’s sake.”

Tanya laughed, and said, “Well you looked right at me!”

“Looked right at you. Mm-hmm. The blind man looked right at you. And so you just assume since my nose was pointed in your direction, I was talking to you. What kind of ego is it that made you jump up and say” (here he imitated the girl’s voice) “TAN-YAAAA!!!!

The crowd laughed, and Tanya waved to the crowd.

“Now, the man at the table right behind you, what’s your name?”

“Tony J!” a man said.

“Tony J! Nice to meet you, brother. Again, can’t see ya.” He chuckled. “But tell me, Tony JAY, is Tanya pretty?”

Tony J paused for an awkward moment, and the crowd roared at his hesitation.

“That’s what I thought. Tanya, Tony JAY thinks you’re ugly. You know why?”

Tanya laughed, and said “Yeah, why? I’m pretty. Tell him I’m pretty.” She was being a great sport.

“No, I’ll tell you why. Because he sucks. Ain’t that right, Tony JAY. He sucks so bad he don’t even have a last name. Just a letter!”

Tony J nodded, a little embarrassed, but everyone was having fun.

“You got a girlfriend, Tony J?”

Tony J was caught off guard, and sputtered, and Zay Zay leaped at the opportunity, “See? He waited again, so he does have a girlfriend, and he thinks she’s ugly too! Man, do you ever suck!”

The crowd ate it up.

“Tony J, who are you with tonight? Who is that sitting with you.”

Before Tony J could answer, he said, “Oh, !@#$, you’re not alone, are you brother?”

Tony J was laughing so hard he could hardly speak, but eventually blurted out, “My girlfriend.”

“OHHHH, !@#$!” Zay Zay shouted, shaking his head.

“You’re here with your girlfriend, and you couldn’t even tell me you had a girlfriend?”

The crowd loved it all.

“Tanya, tell me, is Tony J’s girlfriend pretty?”

“She’s not as pretty as me, but she’s gorgeous!”

The crowd applauded and laughed.

“Now, see Tony JAY, that’s how you do it. Tanya? You suck, but not nearly as bad as Tony J.”

The crowd laughed again. He was on a roll. It was amazing to see a blind man work a crowd. A real pro, Zay Zay.

“But let me tell you folks something. And I mean it. You all suck. I suck. We all do. Life sucks. Work sucks. The Mets suck.” At this the crowd roared again.

“But—“ he paused for what seemed like forever. I swear, the whole crowd leaned in to hear what he should say next. He had them right where he wanted them.

“But—“ he said more softly, changing the tone and tempo of the moment. “But I have good news. It’s not going to suck forever. I believe it. !@#$’s about to get good.” He paused, nodding, pretending to look over the crowd.

“Because, well, we live in darkness. We all do, not just me. We are all bind. Not. Just. Me. Mm-hmmm.”

He lowered his voice even further, and drew the crowd in even more.

“You see, I believe in our darkness, we are going to see a great light. A man. No, a hero. He’s coming. Like a king. Oh, he will be wonderful. He’ll be smart. Strong and mighty! Mm-hmm. The Mets will want to sign him, but they can’t. You will want to vote for him to be mayor, but he won’t do it. Tanya? You will want to jump his bones, and Tony J’s girlfriend will want to dump Tony’s sorry ass to be with him. But you won’t get him.”

Tanya let out an “awww” and the crowd laughed.

“None of you can have him, and you know why?”

The crowd was silent and the room was tense with anticipation. And then I swear, I don’t know how, but I swear he looked right at me, standing in the back of the room at the bar.

“Because the government’s gonna !@#$ him up. Hell, they !@#$ everything up. Because the government sucks. Just like you people. So enjoy your drinks. Have a few laughs. And just keep on sucking the way you all suck. I’m outta time, people. Good night. You all suck!”

The crowd cheered him off the stage. Tanya gave Tony J and his girlfriend a “high five” and the announcer said “Zay. Zay. Taylor!” and the crowd continued their applause until they returned to their drinks.

I left and continued heading home, wondering what that was all about.

“There he is!” a lady shouted. And with great excitement, three nuns in full-nun gear rushed over to me, showering me with hugs and thanks, and telling me how much I had done for them. Incredible.

Thank you, Father. Today was a very good day.

---
I thought growing old would take longer.
5/17/2018, 11:49 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Mom greeted me as soon as I came in. "Another letter!" she exclaimed. "This time it's from your union!" She seemed to think I was being honored by getting a letter from my new union.

It turned out to be an announcement of a meeting of the Paraprofessionals Chapter of the United Federation of Teachers. It was scheduled for August 20 at 1:00 PM at Community United Methodist Church in Jackson Heights. Union leadership promised the membership an update on collective bargaining between the school administration and the union. We were all urged strongly to attend. Something about the wording sounded a bit ominous. I hoped it was just my unfamiliarity with how union leadership talked to its membership. I looked at the calendar: the meeting would be a week from today.

"You'll go?" Mom asked.

I pretended to check my phone's calendar. "I think I can squeeze it in," I said, tongue in cheek. "No hot dates next Monday." Mom rolled her eyes.

The phone rang. I wandered into the kitchen and pulled the pitcher of iced tea out. I found a glass and started to pour when Mom's voice followed me.

"Phone's for you," she called.

Odd, I thought. Who would be calling? And who'd be calling on the house's land line? I went back into the living room and took the phone from her outstretched hand. Much to my amazement, it was Larry.

"I know this is short notice," he said, "but would you be available to have dinner with me Wednesday evening?" There would be no point in pretending to check my phone's calendar, given that he couldn't see me.

I was unable to manage coyness. "I'd love to," I said, a little more enthusiasm creeping into my voice than I might have wanted.

"Did you like The Well? Or would you rather try someplace else?"

I felt embarrassed. What did I know about eating out? "I liked The Well fine," I finally said. "But you probably know far more places than I do. What do you recommend?"

"There's a place right in Ozone Park called Heat Caribbean Kitchen & Lounge," he said.

"Food shouldn't hurt," I said.

He chuckled. "They have a wide-ranging menu. It doesn't all hurt."

We agreed to meet there at 6:30 on Wednesday the 15th. He assured me he would take care of the reservations.

Once again, he was there waiting for me. We were shown to our table and given menus. I was pleased to find several selections that seemed friendly. Larry, however, chose one of the spicy offerings. "Burn me," he almost sang. "Nail me to a tree."

"'Jesus Christ Superstar'?" I asked, sure I had recognized a part of a lyric.

"Or real life," he replied, seemingly as a joke.

"So," he began, as if he were a professor about to check on the student's mastery of the material, "do you remember Descartes's dream argument?"

Again, I was embarrassed. "Not really," I admitted.

"Well, it boils down to this: Any experience I can have while I'm awake I can also have while I'm asleep and dreaming. So how do I know I'm not asleep and dreaming right now?"

Geeze. Where do you go with that? "What time is it on the sun?" I countered. "Where does my headache go when it goes away?"

"Cute," he said, nodding. "But not responsive."

Caught. Damn.

"Descartes's answer wasn't particularly helpful," Larry admitted. "This argument was one of his seven proofs of God, all of them fallacious. But they're interesting, none-the-less. Descartes's answer was that God wouldn't let that happen, that we'd always know."

"We'd know when we're awake," I agreed. "But we wouldn't know when we're asleep and dreaming."

"Yep," he said. "As I mentioned, all seven are fallacious. There are better proofs of God available."

"Tulips," I said. "God made tulips just to amaze and delight me." I grinned. "OK, maybe God made them for some other reason, too, but they still do amaze and delight me and I can't imagine how they're an accident."

Larry took a long sip of his wine and seemed to be giving great thought to the wine, or what I had said, or to something else entirely.

"You know why I wanted to see you tonight, in particular?" he finally asked.

"Why is this night different from all other nights?" I said, my smartass side showing.

"It's my birthday," he said, ignoring my Passover one-liner.

"Seriously?" I asked, incredulous at this news. "I'm sure you have family and closer friends than I am!"

He just smiled.

I was suddenly struck by his announcement. "I didn't know! I didn't get you anything! Not even a card!"

He smiled. "No sweat," he said, the smile growing wider. "I got gold, frankincense, and myrrh this morning."

I blinked, then took the joke. "Much earlier, I should think. At birth, maybe."

"Yeah, but my agent seems to have stolen them. This was a replacement set today."

I laughed. He didn't.

---
Robbie
5/18/2018, 1:19 am Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Pete saw the young woman come into the lobby of Queens Towers and thought she looked familiar. She went to the wall with the apartment buzzers and squinted at the names next to the buzzers. She didn’t appear to find the name she was looking for. He walked over.

“Can I help you?” he said.

She was dressed all in white – white shirtwaist dress of some filmy fabric, with a full skirt just covering her knees, puff sleeves, and white low-heeled shoes. Around her neck was a thin gold chain with a tiny gold Cross.

She looked up at him.

“Mary?” he said. “Mary Lazarus?”

She blinked at him.

“It’s Pete,” he said. “Pete Pope. Remember me from high school? How are you doing?”

“Hi, Pete,” she said. Her voice was very low. “I’m looking for Lucy, Lucy Ferrell.”

“Whoa, there!” Pete said. “This is beginning to look like old home week! You know, just the other day I found out Lucy was living here. And Saul is here too. Saul Taurus. And you’ll never guess who else turned up. Larry Kettleman.”

“Larry lives here?” Mary said. Her white face was turning all red.

“Not lives,” Pete said. “He was here to fix Lucy’s hot water. Larry is a plumber. Who knew? All of a sudden our whole senior class is showing up here. Maybe we’ll have a second reunion. I didn’t get to go to the one the other night. Did you go?”

Mary blinked again. “Well, I—“

“Lucy’s in 306B,” Pete said. “It’s this one right here. Do you want me to buzz her for you?” Pete pushed the buzzer.

“Yes?” a voice purred through the speaker.

“Lucy? Pete here. Mary Lazarus is here to see you. Do you want me to bring her up?”

In a whirlwind, Mary was swept into the elevator, then rushed down a hallway to Lucy’s door. Just as quickly, she was sitting on Lucy’s sofa, and Lucy had got rid of Pete. “He’ll talk your ear off if you let him,” Lucy said. “Let me look at you.” She studied Mary’s face.

“You’re not putting me on?” Lucy said. “If you are, you’re really good.”

“What?” Mary said. She looked around at the warm walls and the wide windows cloaked by layers of diaphanous curtains of many soft colors. Breeze from the air conditioning caused the curtains to sway and float. The effect was mesmerizing. “What?” she said again.

“I wanted to see you,” Lucy said. “Judith was at the reunion, but she said you were not feeling well enough to come. How are you doing?”

“It’s been a while since I’ve been out,” Mary said. “It was good of you to send a car for me.”

“Traffic has been so bad,” Lucy said. “I wanted to make sure you wouldn’t have any trouble getting here. Let’s have lunch. I’ll show you where to wash up.”

In the bathroom, Lucy said, “Could I see your Cross? It’s so delicate.”

“I never take it off,” Mary said.

You little liar! Lucy thought. Judith wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a Cross.

“It must have been so hot getting here,” Lucy said. “Here, let me help you take it off just long enough to wash your neck.” She was undoing the clasp, and Mary didn’t have the words to stop her.

“Oh, dear. I’ve dropped it in the toilet. Oops! It’s flushed away. Not to worry. I’ll call the plumber and tell them it’s an emergency. We’ll have lunch, and before you know it, someone will be here to retrieve your Cross.”


Last edited by Bellelettres, 5/19/2018, 9:00 am
5/19/2018, 8:58 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Worry, why do I let myself worry?

Patsy Kline woke me up, singing gently over my alarm clock.

Wondering what in the world did I do?

I reached over and turned off the alarm. I didn’t want to hear the next part anyway. I took a hot shower, mesmerized by the miracle of water. The steam formed droplets on the shower’s glass door. The droplets gathered, then eventually had enough mass to make a trail down the glass to the shower floor below. There it gathered with other drops and swirled out of the shower and into the career my Father chose for me.

In the air, the steam gathered and swirled. Like the galactic dust my father summoned forth after he created an infinite explosion of matter from quantum nothing. In the steam, I could see images. Visions. Gardens and snakes. Shepherds and stars. Doves aflame. Criminals in paradise. A tomb. A stone. A song.

Hey, I have a great shower. I am a plumber, after all.

I stepped out, dried off, brushed my teeth. Decided not to shave. Combed my hair. And walked naked out of the bathroom, back to the bedroom, and into the presence of the Creator of the Universe.

“Jesus!” I shouted in surprise. “Why do you do that?”

“Only part of me is Jesus, Larry. Same with you.”

“Ugh. Don’t get cryptic on me now. Or ironic.”

God laughed. The shock was wearing off now, and I could take a better look at him. As usual, he was in costume. “Ready for a fight, Father?” I asked.

“You like it?” he asked. He looked like a scene from the geriatric production of Rocky, as played by the Old Folks Home Theater group. Big red boxing gloves, a satin fighter’s robe, laced up boots. He shadowed-boxed, pathetically.

“Who are we fighting today? Satan?”

“Well, that battle is eternal. Of course you know we have already won that war. But some people like to re-enact the battles. Pity that. You paid that price long ago.”

“Will I have to pay it again?” I asked. It wasn’t a barrel of laughs the first time around.

“Just remember, I am in your corner. Listen for me.”

“Who am I fighting, Dad? I’m serious.”

And he was gone. Of course. Perfect.

I got dressed, and sat in the chair next to my bed. I reached over to the nightstand, and picked up my Bible. Strange experience reading the Bible, when it is the story of your previous life. Hard to explain. But for now, I did not want to read it. I just wanted to hold it. To look at its worn leather cover. To run my fingers over the gold-embossed page edges. To pull the frayed ribbon bookmarks that saved the places of the last times I read it. I held it in both hands, and closed my eyes. I put it against my face, and the metal felt cool to the touch. The grip felt good in my hand. I could smell the fire and brimstone in it. I opened it up. It was loaded. But I decided to leave my Bible safely in my apartment, and I opened the drawer of my nightstand, and placed the handgun inside and closed the drawer.

I checked my phone. Another couple of Queens Towers assignments today. And off I went.

Last edited by bigbarry2u, 5/21/2018, 10:54 pm


---
I thought growing old would take longer.
5/21/2018, 10:42 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


I got to the Community United Methodist Church in Jackson Heights for the 1:00 meeting of the Paraprofessionals Chapter of the United Federation of Teachers. Gads, was everybody united? Anyway, the church had an enormous meeting hall adjacent to the sanctuary, and that's where we were gathering.

The line ahead of me moved reasonably well as everyone was checked at the door by people with laptops. When I got to the door I found my name was not on their computer list. That puzzled me, and I pulled the letter out of my backpack. "Oh," said one of the women, "I'll bet you're new this year, right?"

"I was a sub last year," I said, trying to make that sound important. "But I was hired for a full-time position for this year."

"Right," she said again. "Let me check the new hire list." That was on paper, and she pulled it out of a file folder. "Yes, here you are," she confirmed, pointing to my name. She gave me a packet of papers and waved me in to the meeting hall. There were large risers on either side of the room, as if we were about to watch a basketball game, together with chairs set up on the main floor. In the front there was a podium with four chairs and a lectern sitting on it. I walked alongside the risers on the right of the room and took a seat on the second tier; it looked like a good vantage point to see and hear.

I sat next to a mid-thirties-ish woman who turned to greet me as I sat down. "Leah," she said, extending her hand. "Roberta," I responded, extending mine in return. "Robbie, for short," I added. It turned out she worked at P.S. 65, The Raymond York Elementary School, the one to which I'd been assigned, and had worked there for ten years. I confessed to being a newbie and said I looked forward to having her show me the ropes. She said she'd be glad to do so, which relieved some of my anxieties about being unfamiliar with the place. We exchanged a little about our backgrounds before returning our attention to the purpose of the meeting.

"So what's up with contract negotiations?" I asked.

"Yeah, that's what we're here to learn about," she answered. "I'm really interested in finding out if they're doing something about the contract's grievance procedure. The way it is now really sucks." I was about to ask for details, but a woman was calling the meeting to order.

"I'm Kendra Brice, and I'm serving as chief negotiator for our chapter's collective bargaining with the Board of Education. As you may know, this is the first time in many years that the entire contract has been open for renegotiation, so it has been a very heavy-duty bargaining season. The contract expires November 30, and we've been in negotiations since April. We're making some headway, but the Board never does bargain in good faith, preferring to jam us down until the very end." She paused and shook her head, as if in disbelief. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised," she said, raising her head. "It's always like this."

Disgruntled murmurs could be heard through the crowd.

"Anyway, we've hit impasse and requested the help of a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. That will delay things a bit more as we wait for the arrival of the mediator, and then again as we get him or her up to speed. But once that happens things should start moving along." She paused, then looked at her notes. "We've done a decent job with wage increases over the years, but we still don't have family wage jobs. A large number of us are either heads of households or vital wage-earners in two-earner households. I know it won't surprise you to learn that it's not cheap to live in New York."

Appreciative chuckles rippled through the audience.

"And it's especially difficult for us at the entry level positions."

Another sound, much like a groan, was evident. Mine joined the chorus.

She walked us through many of the outstanding issues and explained what progress had, and had not, been made. She was upbeat regarding our chances of making improvements, but realistic in noting that we wouldn't get everything we wanted.

"And that brings me to the next part," she said. "As you know, both our chapter and the teachers' chapter are represented by the United Federation of Teachers. We're in separate bargaining units, of course, but we're still brothers and sisters under the same umbrella. Things aren't going all that well with the teachers' bargaining, either, and there are some rumblings of a strike. Like us, they've also called for mediation. We'll watch each other closely to see what progress is being made in each group, but we'll either both settle or both... well... not." Her expression became grim and her lips tightened into a thin line.

"We've worked many long hours on this," she continued, "and we're lucky to have a dedicated bargaining team. The only thing missing is someone relatively new to the ranks who can speak to what recently hired folks need. If anyone is willing to serve, please let me know after the meeting. The hours are long and hard," she said, kind of a rueful smile on her face, "and you don't get paid. At least, not in money. You will, however, be compensated in knowing you've helped your co-workers: the retired ones, the current ones, and the future ones." She paused. "Parapros past, parapros present, and parapros yet unborn!" she said as a rallying cry, and the members cheered.

Leah turned to me. "You should volunteer," she said.

"Me? Good heavens, why me?" I was utterly flabbergasted at her suggestion.

"Because you're a new hire, because you're bright, because you don't have another job right now that would make you unavailable..." she trailed off.

"School starts in two weeks," shouted Kendra over the noise of people beginning to rise and depart. "Have a wonderful opening of the year!"

I started to get down, but Leah grabbed my wrist.

"What are you doing?" I said, slightly alarmed.

"I'm taking you over to meet Kendra," she said, determination in her voice.

"But..." I began.

"No buts," she interjected. "Come." And almost immediately Leah and I were stepping up onto the podium, heading straight for Kendra. It turned out they knew each other.

"Kendra," said Leah, "this is Roberta. Robbie, for short," she added, sounding almost like me when I had introduced myself to her. Kendra extended her hand, as did I. "Robbie is a new hire this year, having done a year of subbing last year. She'll be a Title I Reading Specialist at Raymond York."

Kendra and Leah nodded at each other. Kendra broke into a warm smile.

"Are you willing to join the bargaining team?" she asked, her eyes doing something that pulled me in.

"I -- I guess so," I stammered. "I'm not sure what I can contribute, though."

"Plenty," she said confidently. "Stick around, we're going to have a quick gathering of the bargaining team. I'll introduce you."

We went into a small conference room behind the main meeting hall. Kendra introduced me to the half-dozen other members, all of whose names went right out of my head.

"The mediator is coming Wednesday, two days from now," she told them. "I just got the word a couple of hours ago. Now, listen. Mediation is helpful, but the mediator's job is to get a settlement. It's not the mediator's job to favor one side or the other, nor to approve of one bargaining proposal over another. The mediator will tell you he can get a hot deal on your grandmother if you're willing to sell her. He'll point out that granny brings in no money and just sits around watching TV and eating your food. But, he'll claim, you'll need to act fast in order to get something good for selling her." She paused and gave each of us a hard stare. "If we care about granny, it's our job to keep her."

"Who's the mediator going to be?" asked one bargaining team member.

"I don't know," replied Kendra. "But most of them are pretty good. There's only one I wouldn't want to get, and it's not likely we'll get him." She paused. "OK, nine o'clock Wednesday morning. Be there or..." ...she grinned... "...lose granny."

---
Robbie
5/22/2018, 4:46 pm Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Mary didn’t see much that she could eat on Lucy’s table. Oysters. Gray and slippery things.

“Open your mouth and take a deep breath and let me slip it in, and swallow,” Lucy said, holding one up. “It will slide right down your throat.”

Lucy’s burning eyes were a command that Mary reflexively obeyed. And swallowed and choked and spluttered.

“Here, drink some orange juice,” Lucy said. She handed Mary a glass. “A big swallow, now.”

Mary obeyed. It was good. There was an interesting undertaste. She drank some more.

“Now, have some escargot,” Lucy said. She gave Mary a lump of something fleshy. Mary chewed. It was good.

“What is it?” Mary said.

“A snail,” Lucy said.

Mary choked again. Her face was red.

“No, no,” Lucy said. “It’s a French dish. It’s a delicacy. It’s not as if you’ve eaten a slug. Here, have some more orange juice.” Lucy topped off Mary’s glass from a pitcher.

Mary drank. It was good. It was good to get the thought of a snail and a slug out of her mind. She felt a little dizzy, but it was a good dizzy. Like floating.

“So what have you been doing for the last five years?” Lucy said, taking Mary’s hand and looking into her eyes.

Mary removed her hand to pick up her glass. “Meditating,” she said. “Thinking.”

“You don’t work?”

“I’m not allowed,” Mary said. She drank some more orange juice. “I’m not allowed to leave the house.”

“How did you get away today?”

“Your driver was at the door. I went with him.”

“What do you think about?”

“Christ and him crucified,” Mary said. “I think about Christ and him crucified.”

“Isn’t that morbid? Don’t you ever want to have any fun?”

“It’s glorious,” Mary said. “He died like a god. He gave himself up to it. The meek shall inherit the earth.” She drank some more. “I was there when they rolled away the stone.” In her dreaming eyes, Mary saw the stone rolling away, and the man coming up out of the tomb. His face shone brighter than the sun.

Lucy moved the pitcher away and took the glass out of Mary’s hand. How long would it take Larry to get here? She may have outfoxed herself, letting Mary drink so much so fast.

“Have some salad,” Lucy said. “It’s Caesar salad with chicken. Nothing you haven’t eaten before.”

Mary frowned. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” she said.

Lucy suppressed a hoot. “Caesar will let you have some of this,” she said. “You’re a good citizen. And we’ll have some coffee.” She reached for the coffeepot that sat on a hotplate at the end of the table.

“She locks me in,” Mary said. She was eating the salad. “I pray and beat on the door of her mind, but I can’t get out until she falls asleep. And then I can’t get out of the house because my door is locked.”

“You got out today,” Lucy said.

“She forgot to lock it today. I knew if I prayed, eventually… She was gone when I came out of my room. And then your driver knocked on the door.”

There was a knock on the door. It was about time!

Lucy opened the door. “Here he is,” Pete said. “And you better not be kidding this time. Hi, Mary! Look, Larry! Mary is here.”
5/23/2018, 9:46 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


To say I was surprised to see Mary would be an understatement. She had definitely changed since high school. Publicly kissing me at the reunion a while back, and now she was having an episode. She screamed like a little girl at a Taylor Swift concert when she first saw me, then she threw herself at my feet and started crying.

“I’m so sorry, please forgive me,” she said. She was crying. Her tears actually fell on my work boots.

What the hell was going on???

I looked up to see Lucy, smiling an evil grin.

“Do come in, Larry. Would you like some juice?”

Mary’s head popped up. “I’ll have some more. Yes, some more please.” The she looked at me, her eyes wild and bewildered. And then I saw it. Mary was drunk. Oh my dad.

Lucy said, “We had an incident in the bathroom, and I’m afraid Mary’s necklace fell into the potty.” She said “potty” like she was 4 years old. !@#$.

“Ok, well sometimes I can get that out, but most times its gone. I’ll take a look.”

“Do you need anything, Larry?” Lucy asked. “You have all your tools? Do you need a screwdriver.” She laughed.

Mary, still at my feet started rocking back and forth. “Come on, Mary. Let’s go sit down on Lucy’s sofa.”

“I- I don’t feel so good,” she whimpered.

“I know, that is why I want you on her sofa right away.”

Lucy saw what was happening, and said “No—“ but she was too late. Pete and I helped Mary get to the sofa just in time for her to throw up on it an enormous amount of orange juice and, hell, what was that? I thought I might get sick also. And I’m a plumber!

“NOoooo…” Lucy cried. “Dammit, Mary!”

“I’m so sorry, Lucy.”

“Sit here for a minute, and let me see if I can get your necklace out of the toilet.” Most toilets have a little bend that traps and holds water for the next flush. Sometimes a small heavy object can get caught there. I used a tool called a snake, and was pleased to see that I did, in fact, pull back a necklace. I was stunned to see it was a crucifix.

I hate those things. It reminded me of the worst day of my life. Well, my previous life. Besides, I didn’t really look like that. They never get my nose right.

“Lucy, is this what you are missing?”

She started to cry again, this time in relief. “Thank you, Larry. Whatever can I do to repay you?”

“Yeah, Larry. She owes you big-time,” an annoyed Lucy said. “She owes me big-time, too.”

“I’m so sorry about your sofa, Lucy,” Mary said softly. “Can your driver take me home now?”

Lucy looked at me, and said, “No, but I bet Larry could take you home. Would you do that, Larry? Take her home, and maybe help her get into some new clothes?” The look on her face. I had seen it before. Where?

Mary started to cry. I had no idea what was going on, but I was pretty sure Lucy was behind Mary’s drinking, and probably the kiss at the reunion. It probably was for the best to remove her from Lucy’s grip.

“Sure, I’ll take care of it.” I even winked at Lucy, who was grinning devilishly. A bolt of energy went through me as I had a thought. “Want to come with me, Mary?”

“Uhm, yes. I think I’d like that very much,” she said. “Is that okay with you, Lucy?”

“I insist on it, Mary.” Lucy gave me another smile, and raised her eyebrows as if she was saying, “Have fun”.

Pete helped me get Mary down to my truck. Once there, I called a friend. “Robbie, it’s Larry. How ya doin’? Great, say listen, I need a favor. Are you free, like right now?”

---
I thought growing old would take longer.
5/26/2018, 9:22 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


I went to bed the night before feeling some excitement. Today I would be joining the bargaining team as the administration and the union headed into mediation. Kendra had explained a bit about mediation, but I was eager to learn more. Promptly at 6:30 AM the clock radio went off. It was just in time to hear the end of Charlie Puth's song from a couple of years back:

I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one, I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away


Somehow I seem to have misplaced Superman's number.

Mom's job as a checker at Express Deli and Grocery had odd hours. Today was her half-day, in which she started at 9:30 and got out at 2:00, with a half-hour unpaid lunch. After I had showered, put on a little makeup, dressed, and arrived in the kitchen I found her at the little nook table, sipping her V-8. She smiled as I came in. "How long will you be today?" she asked.

"No idea," I said, opening the door to the refrigerator. "Do I need to call you at some point?"

"Only if you won't be home for dinner," she said.

I found a hard-boiled egg and some cinnamon swirl bread in the refrigerator. I cracked open the former and put the latter in the toaster. I chewed and she sipped. We smiled at each other as I grabbed my backpack, pulled the straps over my shoulders, and headed for the bus stop.

"Have a good day!" Mom called as I headed for the door.

"You, too!" I called back.

We were meeting that day at Flushing High School, and the bus let me off right in front. Kendra had said our team would have the use of one classroom, the management team would have another, and if we met together it would be in the cafeteria. The custodian let me in the building and showed me to room 123 where our team was gathering. We pulled the desks into a circle and awaited the arrival of the mediator. Once again Kendra explained the mediation process and reminded us to hang on to granny. We smiled. She told us once more that she didn't know who our mediator would be, but it would probably be someone good. "After all," she said, "we're talking about New York City schools. They're not going to send us some idiot." We all joined her in smiling. "As I mentioned, there's only one I wouldn't want. His name is..."

The door flew open. A belly entered, followed by the rest of the man. He was bursting the buttons of a light blue shirt tucked in to dark blue trousers. He was sixty-something, I guessed, and had gray hair and ruddy cheeks.

"...Rex Royal," concluded Kendra.

"Hello, Love!" said the man, closing the door behind him. "I see you've already told everyone who I am."

Kendra gulped. She forced a smile to her lips. "Hello, Rex," she said, far less enthusiastically than his greeting to her had been.

"So tell me who everyone here is." He tried to fit into a classroom desk, found he was unable to do so, and sat behind the teacher's desk. He spread the contents of a large file folder in front of him and pulled out a lined tablet. He looked up as Kendra began the introductions.

"Well, let's starts with the Jays," she began. "Jason, Jordan, and Joshua."

He looked at each of them in turn, nodding at them. "Hello, Jason, Jordan, and Joshua." He paused. "Joshua. That's Yeshua in Hebrew, of course, which is what Jesus's name really was." He shook his head, as if in disbelief. "We can thank the German scribes for changing a Y into a J, to fit their pronunciation and mess up ours."

Joshua looked perplexed.

"You know your name is Jesus, right?" Rex bored into him.

"Well, sir, I do now," Joshua managed.

Kendra pointed at the rest of the team. "Naomi, Abigail, Claudia, and Robbie."

"Hello, Love," Rex greeted each woman in turn.

We were all a bit uncomfortable with that, and I noticed the others smiled rather wanly. I suspected mine matched theirs.

"OK, let's get started, here," Rex said in a rather stern voice. "First, I'll tell you a bit about me." He cleared his throat. "I'm the most married man you know. Don't you ladies bother flirting with me. It won't take." He looked around at us. "I played baseball in high school and was drafted by the Yankees. I rotated through some of their minor league teams, showing my stuff, when I had a career-ending injury. I could have made it to the majors, but for that." He looked like that still haunted him. "Instead, you lucky people get me." He smiled, showing us how lucky we were.

"Here's what we're going to do today. I'll finish up with you folks, then go meet with the management team. While I'm gone, you folks put together the last bargaining proposals you gave them. And get me a copy of the expiring contract. And maybe make me a notebook with all that stuff arranged in it. I'll get their last proposals to you when I meet with them, and we'll put it in that same notebook. If there's time today, I'll bring both teams together and you can explain to me what your proposals are and how they differ. Then we'll go back to the separate caucus rooms and I'll do the Kissinger Shuttle between them." He looked at some blank expressions on our team.

"You don't know what the Kissinger Shuttle is, do you," he demanded, and not as a question. He looked at Kendra. "You explain it to them, Love, while I'm gone." He pushed the teacher's chair back, gathered up his papers, and rose with some difficulty. As he reached the door he looked back. "We're gonna get this done and you're gonna do your part." He left.

The team seemed to exhale in unison.

"Rex, Rex, the Wonder Mediator," sighed Kendra. We began assembling the documents he had requested.

We never did get both teams together that afternoon. I got home just after 5:30 and found Mom eating 23 almonds. "It's an allowed snack," she said, pointing to the booklet outlining the diet. I nodded.

She looked up. "Oh," she said. "While you were gone, Larry Kettleman called. He thought I was you, at first. I guess our voices do sound alike, as others have told us. Anyway, he seemed very disappointed that you weren't here. He left his number and asked me to ask you to call him back. 'I'm only one call away,' he said. Weird."


Last edited by Miz Robbie, 5/27/2018, 11:21 am


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5/27/2018, 1:40 am Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Mary washed our face in Lucy’s bathroom. I looked in the mirror through Mary’s eyes. Lucy was babbling to Larry about taking Mary home and getting her out of her clothes. I wanted to throw up again, but not because of the screwdrivers. I would get Lucy for this. I would get her good.

I lurched a little drying my face, but I was coming into my powers. Getting rid of so much of the vodka helped. I smiled thinking of the mess on Lucy’s sofa. I hoped the sofa was ruined. It would serve her right, but it by no means made us even. Not by any means.

Mary was sinking, but not without a feeble fight. Please! Please! You would think she would want to sink out of sight forever after screwing up her chance to persuade Larry to love her after all these years. God! She almost threw up on him. How could Lucy do that to her?

I would do what I could to at least restore her dignity with Larry, and then I would take care of Lucy. Did she really think she could get away with using me like that? She had no idea who she was dealing with.

I let Larry and Pete hustle me into Larry’s truck like a meek little Mary-lamb, and I was thinking of where to go from there when Larry picked up his phone. “Robbie?”

ROBBIE?

“I need a favor. Like right now.”

WHAT? He was going to fob Mary off on Robbie? Son-of-a-!@#$!

But it didn’t seem to be happening. He was giving someone his phone number to give to Robbie. Right in front of Mary. Without the least respect for her feelings. Who exactly did he think he was dissing?

He put the phone down with a look of resignation on his face, and took out his keys.

“Who exactly do you think you’re dissing?” I said.

“Huh?” He jumped and looked around and blinked. He would have seen Mary’s white dress, Mary’s hair, Mary’s gold Cross, that Lucy had ironically replaced around her neck. But whose eyes were those burning into him out of Mary’s face?

“She has feelings, you know,” I said. “How could you call Robbie, right in front of her?”

“Mary?” he said.

“My name is Judith,” I said. “I won’t offer to shake hands. Not with you.”

“[Something, something] hallucination,” he mumbled, and shook his head as if to shake off the apparition that was glaring at him across the seat of his truck.

“You wish it was a hallucination,” I said. “You and Lucy are real pieces of work, you know that? She got Mary drunk; and you, after watching her crawl around on the floor at your feet, YOU try to get rid of her.”

“What are you talking about?” Larry said. “I’m just… What is…? Where is…? Who are…?”

“I’m Mary’s twin,” I said. “Lucy cooked this up to get back at you for dumping her.”

Enlightenment dawned in his face, and shock faded, gradually replaced by self-possession. “But you went along with it,” he said at last. “And you’re blaming ME?”

“YOU,” I said, “didn’t even see Mary. You didn’t care about her. You just saw somebody you wanted to get away from as fast as you could, the way you did all through high school.”

He looked abashed for a second, but just for a second. A second was nowhere near long enough.

“Look,” he said, “I didn’t mean to disrespect Mary. I was trying to get her a ride home with somebody she knows.”

“Instead of putting her out on the street to make her own way home?” I sneered.

“I wouldn’t do that,” he said, “but I’ve got other jobs I need to be getting to.”

“Of course,” I said. “You’re going about your father’s business.”

He flinched, and flushed blood red. His hand shook as he put the keys in the ignition. “I’ll take you home,” he said, and started the truck.

When he took his fingers off the keys, I grabbed them, twisted them to stop the motor, jerked them out of the ignition, and threw them out the window.

“You can kiss my glorious ass!” I said. “I’ll find my own way home.” I permitted myself one glimpse of his astonished face as I jerked the door open. I dropped to the curb, and slammed the door shut. I was opening the door of Queens Towers when I heard the truck start up again.


Last edited by Bellelettres, 5/27/2018, 11:58 am
5/27/2018, 11:56 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Well, as Ron Burgundy would say, ‘That escalated quickly.’

So Mary has a twin sister. And, I must say, a hell of an actress. I mean, wow. How did we get through high school without me knowing she had a twin sister? We dated! I wonder, did she ever—? I mean, really. Ugh.

Lucy.

Dammit. She had put me in an impossible situation, and I guess she did the same to Judith. There was no way I was going to take Mary home, drunk, emotionally wounded and be alone with her in her apartment. I had hoped Robbie would either meet me here, or at Mary’s place. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lucy knew Robbie was unavailable.

Lucy. Lucy Ferrell.

A dark thought started to well up within me. A thought that was hard to fathom, but the more I let it wander around my brain, the more I had to admit that it was possible. Could it be?

Dad? Is this the fight you anticipated? If so, this was real good vs. evil kind of stuff. And I was not prepared for this. Hell, I was not prepared for anything.

I finished the rest of my calls quickly, and called the office and to tell them I was done for the day. They disagreed, and gave me one more assignment, an emergency. A few minutes later I pulled up to Saint Sebastian, a Catholic church on Roosevelt Avenue. There, the vicar, an African American man greeted me in the parking lot, shaking my hand and literally dragging me toward the church with him. He was in a hurry, and something was clearly going on that troubled him.

He spoke with a slight Caribbean accent, maybe from Haiti or Jamaica. “Tanks God you are here, mon. I am Father LeDornay. Please come quickly,” he said.

“What seems to be the problem, Father?”

“I cannot explain, so let me just show you. Quickly, please!”

He led me inside, into the sanctuary. It was small, but beautiful. Not the magnificent cathedral like so many are, but still beautiful. Peaceful. He led me down the center aisle to the altar, which stood in front of a beautiful mosaic scene, and of course, a crucifix depicting my former self, again with the nose not quite right.

“Father?”

“Do you see it?” he asked.

“See what, Father?”

“There, on de crucifix! It looks like blood, dripping from de hands and feet, and water seeping from his side.”

I blinked. I did not see blood. Or water. Only a snake that was wrapped around the head of the crucifix. And it spoke to me.

“You s-s-s-shhhould not have come here. You are not welcome here,” it hissed.

I was frozen, unable to move. My blood ran cold inside me.

“Do you see it, mon?” pleaded Father LeDornay.

Uhm. “I see… uh.” Honestly, I did not know what I saw. “What do you see, Father?”

“You mussssssst leave at onccccce” said the snake.

“The blood, the water. It is also coming down de mosaic mural like tears. De saints are crying, mon. Is… Is there a leak?”

It was clear that only I saw the snake. And only I heard the snake. What the hell?

I blinked again, and the snake was gone. And then I saw the water. It was dripping from the wall, onto the crucifix. It literally seemed as if the characters on the mosaic were shedding tears, and the water was starting to pool on the floor.

And yes, some of the water was a reddish brown color, and yes, it looked like blood. Blood mixed with water.

“What is behind this wall, Father?”

He took me around a hallway, and opened a mechanical closet. There sat part of the main chiller for the HVAC system, rumbling noisly as it struggled to cool the building on a warm summer afternoon. It was large, old, and probably on its last leg. Bad news for a struggling church to incur the cost to replace it. Every few seconds it would let out a hissing sound as water sprayed from one if its fittings. At the first hiss I damn near wet myself.

“There’s your problem, Father. It’s not a leak. Your AC is old, and condensation is forming around it, and the chilled water pipe fitting is leaking. It’s bleeding— er, seeping, into the walls.”

“And the blood?”

“Not blood. Rust. Just rust from an old pipe, mixing into the water.”

“Ah, can you fix it?”

“No, Father. You need an AC guy. Different skill. Different union. I can give you a card with the number of a few guys I work with frequently. They can help you out.”

“Oh, mon,” he said sadly. “How much will dis cost?”

“Probably a lot. In the meantime, I think I should turn it off before it adds any more water to the mess you already have.”

“Dat would be most kind,” he said. Probably Jamaican. Whatever.

I reached my hand behind the main panel, found the breaker switch to the main power supply of the system, and pulled it down. The machined rumbled to a violent, mechanical stop. And all was silent.

As I pulled my hand back, I saw the snake wrapped around the leaking pipe. And it struck!

“Dammit!!!” I said, pulling my hand back. It bit me! Sonofabitch.

“What? What is it???” the vicar cried.

I looked again. The snake was gone. There was no bite on my finger. There was nothing. I stood there shaking, looking to see if the snake had moved. Or if it was even there at all.

No. Nothing.

“I- uh, I am just sad to see such a fine church incur such a mess and expense. Really sorry to bring bad news, Father.”

He sighed. I stepped back as he closed the closet door.

“Tanks you for coming. How much do I owe you, mon.”

“We’ll send you a bill.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him it would not be cheap. I looked my hand over. It was unblemished. For now.

I reached into my wallet, and pulled out a $20 and gave it to him. “Not much, but let me be the first to contribute to your new AC fund.”

“Bless you my child. You are a gift from God.”

Damn straight. I walked around the corner, heading back to the sanctuary, where I promptly ran into Sister Mary Clara, once again knocking her on her nunly ass.

“Oh my!” she said. “Hey, it’s you!”

“Sister, we have to stop meeting like this,” I said, helping her to her feet.

“You know Sister Mary Clara, from de homeless shelter?” Father LeDornay asked.

“We seem to keep running into each other,” she laughed. “Usually I get the worst of it.”

She was fine. She told the vicar about the lottery ticket, and I could not tell if he disapproved, or was just jealous. Maybe I’ll buy one for him later. You know, for the AC.

We said our goodbyes, and I exited the front of the sanctuary.

I walked about 20 paces toward my truck, then felt the cold again. I turned around and saw the snake, giant this time, coiled around the steeple.

Oh God. It had blue eyes.

And it spoke to me.

“Sssstay away from here, Jessusssss.”

!@#$ right.


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I thought growing old would take longer.
5/29/2018, 7:43 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


I called the number back that Larry had left with Mom, but there was no answer. Late plumbing assignment? Playing baseball? Out to see Zay Zay? I had no idea. I left a message.

"Larry? Sorry I missed you. Mom thought you wanted my help with something. If you still do, I'm around tonight and will be again tomorrow evening. During the day I'm working with my union on contract negotiations. We're in mediation. It's crazy. I'd love to share stories with you."

I didn't hear from him that night, and the next morning I hurried back to Flushing High School. The team was gathering and we all greeted each other warmly, as if we'd been through some kind of bonding experience. I thought about that a little more. I guess we had, and weren't through it, yet.

Rex arrived and we took our seats. Well, all of us except for Josh, who was assembling the notebook for Rex that he had requested the previous day. Rex took the teacher's chair again, and spread his file folder over her desktop. He looked up.

"Hey! Jesus!" he said, loudly.

Nobody knew what he was upset about. "Jesus!" he said again, this time more loudly. We didn't know why he was cursing.

"Jesus! Yeshua!" he paused a beat. "Joshua!" Josh looked up wearing a confused expression.

"I explained the name thing yesterday," Rex said loudly. "Don't you know your own name yet?"

Annoyance passed quickly over Josh's face, then he brought it back to normal. "Sorry, sir," Josh managed to get out. "What can I do for you?"

"Bring me the damned notebook!" Rex yelled.

"Yes, sir," said Josh, hastily putting in the final papers and closing the three ring binder.

"That's better," Rex said, a little less loudly. He thumbed through the notebook desultorily, not really looking at the pages.

"OK, that's a start. Now, what are you union goons prepared to give up?"

Everybody gulped.

Kendra sat up straight and looked him in the eye. "We'll give up our entire package for $100,000 a year starting salary at the low end of the schedule and $500,000 at the top end. Fully funded medical. Thirty days a year of paid vacation. Seniority governs everything having to do with hiring, layoff, recall from layoff, promotion, and selection of open positions. Nobody gets fired for any reason. Employer contributions to employee vacation trust funds." She paused, then looked around the room. "Let's see... what else?"

Rex scowled. "You don't really think you're going to get any of that, let alone all of it."

Kendra smiled. "You don't really think we're going to start unloading our proposals and get nothing in return."

Rex snorted, then rose. "I'm going to see the employer's team. While I'm gone, think about what you're willing to trade."

Kendra watched him move toward the door. "Maybe the employer's team could think about what they're willing to trade, too."

When the door closed after him, Josh let out a soft whistle. "I see why you were hoping to get someone else," he said.

As the day wore on, Rex went back and forth between the two teams, calling it the Kissinger Shuttle every time he arrived and departed. He told us more about his glory days playing shortstop, sure that the day was coming that he'd be moved up to the Yankees' major league team. He described a bases-loaded homer he'd hit against some other farm team's best pitcher. I didn't know the name of that farm team, nor the name of the pitcher. My mind wandered. I wondered what Larry wanted my help to accomplish. It was rather flattering he'd though of me, I finally decided. Maybe he'd call back that night.

Eventually, having accomplished exactly nothing, Rex sent us home. Our next meeting wasn't to take place until the following Monday, so we would have several days off. It was hard to imagine how anything would get done at this pace.

I'd been home only a few minutes when the phone rang. Larry was through work and wondered if I'd like to join him for dinner. "How about the Crescent Grill?" Larry suggested. "Close by. Opens at six. Meet me there then?"

As had been the case before, Larry was there waiting for me when I arrived. "I like that you're punctual," I said.

"I like that you are, too," he replied. "My father insists on people being where they said they'd be when they said they'd be."

"I like your father already," I said, smiling.

"Lots of people do," he confirmed, nodding.

We were seated and ordered our dinner.

"I'm bursting to tell you about today!" I said, trying not to knock over my wine glass.

"So tell!" he said. "I have interesting stuff to tell, too."

I described Rex, how high-handed he'd been, what a bore he was with his days of lost baseball glory, and his insistence on explaining Josh's name to him.

"Today he was calling Josh 'Jesus'," I continued.

A storm cloud seemed to cross Larry's face. "He can't do that!"

"Well, he did," I replied, a smile that died on its way to my lips as I saw the effect this had on Larry. "And why can't he?"

"Because that's a blasphemy, of course!" Larry skipped a beat, then winked.

I was confused. "A lot of people, usually of Hispanic origin, are named Jesus. Hell, every other baseball player is named Jesus." I pronounced it "Haysoos."

"Only the winning ones," Larry responded, smiling.

"My turn?" he asked pleasantly. "Let me tell you about Mary. She has a twin."

My jaw dropped. "What?"

Last edited by Miz Robbie, 5/30/2018, 1:39 am


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5/29/2018, 11:18 pm Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


The doors of the Queens Towers shut behind me.

“Did you forget something?”

I looked up at the man I had almost stumbled over. Pete Pope.

I suppressed the urge to say, “Bugger off!” just in time.

He took my arm to steady me, and I shrank away from him, trying hard to transform my rage into Marylike confusion.

“Hey, it’s OK,” he said. “What did he do to you?”

“Can you take me up to Lucy?” My voice was shaking, and I was walking unsteadily. But at the elevator, I wouldn’t let him touch me to guide me in.

“Back so soon? How did it go?” Lucy said when she opened the door. She saw Pete behind me and stopped talking.

“Mary came back in, disoriented,” Pete said. “She won’t talk to me. Maybe she’ll tell you what happened.”

I looked straight at Lucy, and she knew for sure who I was. She took my arm and drew me into the room. “I’ll take care of her,” she said.

“If you need me…” Pete said.

“I’ll give you a call,” Lucy said.

With a glance of concern, Pete left, and when Lucy closed the door, I turned on her.

“How could you do that to Mary?”

“Look. Sit down.”

I glared at her but sat down on a chair. I noticed with some satisfaction that she had draped a throw rug over the sofa.

“I just wanted to give her a little buzz,” she said, “to give her confidence when Larry came, so she wouldn’t be struck dumb by the sight of him. That would have screwed up the whole plan. How could I know she would gulp it down the way she did?”

“It was a terrible idea in the first place. I can’t believe I let you talk me into letting her out. I can’t believe I let you use her and hurt her like that.”

“Hey, lighten up,” Lucy said. “You felt guilty. You owed me one, and you’ve always paid your debts.”

“For what? I owed you one for what?” I was almost screaming.

“For tarting me up the night Larry dumped me,” she said.

“Are you seriously telling me you regret losing your chance to be Mrs. Larry Plumbing Kettleman?” I said. “You ought to thank me and whatever gods there be for tarting you up that night.”

“Have you ever been dumped?” Lucy said. “You haven’t, or you wouldn’t even ask the question. You have no idea what my life has been like.” She looked grim. “And it all started with that deep humiliation. Do you remember what I was like before that night?”

“Of course I remember. You thought the world was yours for the asking,” I said. “You thought you were God’s darling.”

“And Larry’s. I WAS Larry’s darling.”

“Let me tell you about Larry Kettleman,” I said. “He is not worth one ounce of the vodka you poured into Mary. Let me tell you what he did to Mary.”

“He obviously didn’t take her home.”

“He had no intention of taking her home. He called Robbie to take her home.”

Lucy sat up at that. “He called ROBBIE?”

“But Robbie was not there, so he left a message. Right in front of Mary. Can you begin to imagine what that would have done to Mary if she had been sitting there instead of me?”

"I can imagine it exactly," Lucy said. "What did you do?”

“I told him who I was and what he was,” I said.

“You told him who you are?”

“I told him I was Mary’s twin, and I threw his keys out of the car.”

“You threw his keys out of the car?” Lucy started laughing.

“It’s not funny…” but I started laughing too.

“So you stormed back in here…” she said.

“And ran over Pete. Guess what Pete thought?”

“I can’t. What did Pete think?”

“That Larry tried to rape Mary.”

“In the truck?” Lucy was laughing so hard she could barely speak.

“In the truck.” We were both laughing hard.

Then we suddenly sobered up simultaneously, and looked at each other.
5/31/2018, 11:38 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


It had been a quiet couple of days. No giant snakes. No early morning visits from my Father. A nice dinner with Robbie. And no plumbing issues requiring my attention at the Queens Towers. I was walking the neighborhood, admiring my Father’s creation, and the creation his people built on top of it. Some parts were better than other parts. And some people he created were better than others, also. Even if I loved them all the same. Yeah.

I had told Robbie about Mary’s twin sister, Judith. She simply did not believe me. I did not believe me either, but I can’t imagine Mary pulling off a stunning lie about an imaginary twin like that. So, of my options, I guess believing Mary had a twin was the least concerning thing to believe.

I was getting closer to home, and walked by Cackles. Zay Zay was not out front, so I thought maybe he was inside, on stage. I poked my head in to see, but it was Alfie Tyler, another comic that appeared once or twice a week. He was a prop comic. He used tons of big, outrageous, wildly diverse props. Swim noodles, matching rubber chickens, fuzzy dice, a stick horse. You name it he probably had it.

Freak.

“Help ya?” the bartender asked me.

“No thanks. Hey, is Zay Zay on tonight?”

“No. He’s gone.”

What? “What do you mean, gone? Like he went home?”

“All I know is he left. Seemed upset. Something about a boy. I don’t know. I think he got some bad news.”

“Got a phone number for him? I’d like to check on him.”

“You can ask the manager. Doubt he’ll give it to you.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Mostly because he’s an ass. But also, he doesn’t want the customers stalking the talent.”

“I’m not much of a stalker,” I said.

“Well, Zay Zay’s not much of a talent,” he laughed. “Still some people like him. Who can account for taste in New York?”

Right. At that point, the manager walked into the back, and I decided to let it go. Zay Zay was a big boy. Even blind he got around better than most.

Alfie was hamming it up now with a giant, red clown shoe. And he was wielding shoe-related puns, much to the disdain of the audience. He was holding it up to his ear like it was a phone. “Yes? I TOE you that. I feel like such a HEEL.” Ugh, he was dying. Bless his SOLE.

I handed the bartender a business card from Right-Way plumbing. “This has my cell on it. If Zay Zay comes back would you tell him I am looking for him, and ask him to give me a call.”

The bartender looked at me awkwardly. “I know, I know,” I said. “You will have to read it to him.”

I headed toward the exit, planning to stop again at the nearby Quik-Mart. Maybe I would run into Sister Mary Clara. I saw her last night, and bought a Quik-Pick 5 for Father LeDornay’s AC fund. Only cost a dollar. But my Dad works in mysterious ways, so you never know.

I walked out of Cackles, and turned right.

“Dare he is!” A man shouted, with a hint of accent.

Oh hell, I’m about to be mugged!

And suddenly a small mob of people rush toward me. They grabbed my hand to shake it, and hugged me, and pretty much mauled me with laughter and affection. Someone pinched by butt! I turned, and found Sister Mary Clara smiling impishly ear-to-ear. And there was Father LeDornay!

“You did it again! It’s a miracle!” Everyone was talking at the same time, but they were all saying a variation of the sort.

“What’s going on?” I shouted.

Father LeDornay told me about another miracle. The $1 lottery ticket I purchased and gave to Sister Mary Clara had won $5,000. And everyone was freaking out.

Ok, Dad. I have their attention. And you have mine. What do I do now?

“Tanks, you. You really are a gift from God, my son,” Father LeDornay said. He was genuinely happy, and tears welled in his eyes. I guess he does not experience so many miracles that they become monotonous to him.

I was happy for them. Really, I was. I have bought dozens of lottery tickets for myself before, but never won a dime. Not for myself. But I was two-for-two when buying for others. Still, felt pretty good. And who could deny the miracles now?

The clamoring was starting to die down. “Oh thank you, Jesus!” said one of the parishioners accompanying Father LeDornay. “You are very welcome. Happy it worked out. Yes. Very happy.”

“Praise God” another said, to which I responded “Yeah, well, we’ll see. I haven’t felt this good since Palm Sunday, and we all know how that turned out,” I said with a laugh. "Amiright?"

They were nodding and laughing and patting me on the back. Not sure they understood what I was saying. Oh well.

The crowd slowly dispersed. One by one, shaking my hand or giving me a hug before they left. I knew it would not last. It never does.

Then a cold chill came over me. I turned my head so fast looking for a snake or other evil sign that it twinged a muscle in my neck.

And then I saw her.

Oh, hell.

“Larry,” she said. “Larry Kettleman. Again, the savior of the world it seems.”

“Hi, Lucy. What are you doing slumming around so late in Queens?”

She walked closer to me, her blue eyes gleaming in the night, the neon lights of Cackles dancing inside them.

“I wanted to warn you.”

“Warn me? About what?” I asked.

“Mary’s twin sister, Judith?”

“Yeah, I had no—“ I started.

“She has an evil plan for you, Larry.”

I was shaken. What did she say? I looked into her blue eyes, and felt myself being pulled toward her. God, was I going to kiss her??? What was happening?

She touched my face, and stopped it where it was. “Watch yourself, Larry,” she said, then added, “And oh, by the way, I know who you are.”

She patted me on the face. And walked off, disappearing into the night.

I stood there. Shaking.

Last edited by bigbarry2u, 6/7/2018, 12:29 am


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I thought growing old would take longer.
6/6/2018, 11:58 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


It was Saturday, and my parents and I had the rare event of all of us being off work on the same day. It was a lovely morning and the forecast was unusual for August: the high was to be only 75 degrees and not terribly humid. Mom decided we should cook up a picnic lunch and take it on the short bus ride to Tudor Park. Dad agreed.

Mom was frying chicken and I was assembling a potato salad on one section of the counter and a fruit salad on another. I kept hoping I wouldn't put the wrong ingredients in either salad.

Dad wandered into the kitchen and took a long, appreciative inhale.

"I'm so glad I kept the Faith," he said, making his old, tiresome play on Mom's name. He put his arms around her from behind, holding her to him by her waist. A spit of hot grease jumped out of the pan and hit his hand. "Hey!" he called out, pulling back.

"If you weren't such a Randy rascal," she said, making her old, tiresome play on Dad's name, "the chicken frying gods wouldn't have to get you for it."

Dad grinned, kissed her on the nape of her neck, and left the kitchen.

I pretended not to hear any of it.

We fell silent, going to our own thoughts. I reflected on Larry's bombshell news that Mary had a twin, Judith. That was really hard to imagine. Where had Judith gone to school, then? Larry either hadn't been told, or wasn't going to share that with me. In fact, he either hadn't been told much of anything at all, or wasn't going to share it with me. I wondered which it was.

I hadn't heard from Larry for a few days. Closer to a week, now that I thought about it. I wondered whether I'd said something off-putting of if he was just busy. In fact, the more I thought about him the more I realized I didn't really have a good sense of his life. He want to Cackles sometimes. He liked listening to Zay Zay, a taste I hadn't acquired. He played baseball sometimes. He had given up a full-ride scholarship to MIT after two years because his father wanted him to be a plumber, and he didn't seem to resent that. Say wha...?

I thought back to the last mediation session we'd had. The mediator, Rex, had decided at one point to grill Jordan.

"So, what's your job?" he'd asked in rather bored tones.

"I'm a Special Ed assistant," Jordan had responded. "I work with a cerebral palsy kid. The school district keeps me with him, so as the kid gets promoted a year, I get promoted a year with him. I've been with him since second grade and this year he's entering sixth grade."

"What is it you do with him?" Rex had asked, still in bored tones.

"I work with him on gross motor skills. At some point we'll work on fine motor skills, but we're not there yet. In decent weather I take him outside to the playground, lift him out of his wheelchair, and put him on other equipment to let him experience that."

"God, how depressing," Rex had opined.

"Not really," Jordan had replied. "I think he's a pretty bright kid, actually. It's just that his brain won't let him show that in the usual ways."

"And you're with him all day? Feed him lunch, and all that?" Rex had asked, looking up from his papers.

"Yes, all that," Jordan had parroted. "Toileting too, obviously."

Rex had snapped back. "Toileting?"

"Yes," Jordan had affirmed. "He needs a male assistant for that reason."

Rex had gotten a strange smile on his face. "Toileting. 'Here, hold this'," he'd said, in an imitation of a child-like voice. He had laughed uproariously.

We hadn't found it funny.

We'd all looked at our shoes.

Mom finished the chicken about the time I'd finished the salads.

"Are we ready to go?" Dad called from the living room.

"Get the cooler," Mom called back. "And what do you want to drink?"

Last edited by Miz Robbie, 6/7/2018, 10:14 am


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6/7/2018, 1:20 am Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


“This is the way we’ll do it,” Lucy said. “We’ll have Pete call the police. He saw Mary when she came in. He saw how stunned and disoriented she was.”

“You’re not serious.” But there was no fun in her face, just a lupine eagerness. I had never before noticed how Lucy’s face could change from Little Red Riding Hood’s to the wolf’s.

“You can do it,” she said. “They will believe you. Think about your father. Think about his big hands, and his stone-cold face.”

“Stop it!” I said. “Don’t say things like that to me!”

“Woah, Kitty! Draw in your claws. I was just trying to get you in the mood. You’ve never acted Mary like this before.”

“And I won’t act Mary like this now. What are you talking about?”

“But this is the way to get Larry,” she said. “Don’t you want to get Larry? Not just for what he did in the truck, but for all those years he treated Mary like a gnat he needed to swat away. He used to talk about her to me, about how annoying it was that she was following him around. He would say--”

“Shut up!” I wanted to slap her. I was shaking.

“That’s good!” she said. “Keep thinking about that. You don’t have to say anything. Just shudder a few times. I’ll tell them what Mary told me, and Pete will back me up.”

“You are crazy,” I said. “Crazy and vicious. Do you really think I would accuse Larry of rape so you can get back at him?”

“I’m crazy?” she said. “Look who’s talking. The things I know about you…”

I slapped her, hard. “Don’t threaten me,” I said. “Don’t you ever threaten me.”

Her lip was bleeding, and there was blood on her teeth when she smiled. ”I’m crazy?” she said softly.


Last edited by Bellelettres, 6/8/2018, 9:35 am
6/8/2018, 9:33 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


How did it get to be Monday already?

It had been fun having a picnic in the park with my folks. We used to do that fairly often when I was a kid, but that was a while ago. Dad had spotted a little garter snake wiggling through the lawn and tried to make a lame joke about a snake in the grass, but it wasn't happening. He had then claimed the snake was telling me where to find an apple tree, but that one didn't work out much better. We had finally packed up our cooler and picnic blanket and had made our way back home. It had been a nice, relaxing day, but now it was over.

The bargaining team assembled again Monday morning at Flushing High School and awaited Rex. He entered the room seeming to be out of breath, probably due to his girth. He took his usual place at the teacher's desk.

"Every school district contract in the world expires at the end of August, except yours," he began. "What's that all about?"

Kendra sighed. "It's to keep us from striking," she said, looking unhappy about it.

"How's that work?" Rex prompted.

"We used to strike. We used to do it fairly often, in fact. Then one year the administration got tired of it, so they offered us -- well, teachers, mostly -- enormous raises in exchange for moving the contract year so it would run December 1 through November 30." Kendra shook her head. "The administration's theory was that if we go back to work at the start of a new school year we'll get bonded with our kids, we'll get into the curriculum and the kids' progress, and we'll be far less likely to strike."

Rex looked up. "Yeah? How's that working so far?"

Kendra shook her head again. "Brilliantly, if you're the administration. There hasn't been a strike since we went to the new contract year." She paused, as if reflecting on being on the administration side. "And they're pretty sure there won't be one this year, either."

"So," said Rex, "you probably don't need a mediator."

Kendra looked up, wearing a puzzled expression. "Why's that?"

"Either you settle or you don't. But either way you keep coming to work, with or without a new contract."

A flash of anger crossed Kendra's face. "They probably shouldn't get too comfortable with that idea. Teachers are angry, and we're angrier. They haven't had much of a raise since the big one that got them to change the contract year. And we didn't get all that much of a raise at the time. We need family wage jobs, and we don't have many of them within our bargaining unit."

Rex shuffled his papers together, then stood. "I'll go see what the employer's team is up to. Work on modifying some of your proposals. You know, the stuff you won't get, anyway."

The mood after he left was unhappy. Kendra tried to pull herself, and the rest of us, together. "All right," she said, "let's go over our proposals and see if there are any modifications we're willing to make at this point. Let's review them together. I'll read them aloud so we're all on the same page, literally, at the same time."

She cleared her throat and shifted in her chair. "Ready? OK, here we go. 'All employees shall eat their lunch...'"

"Wait!" I said, surprising myself. "Do all employees eat the same lunch? Shouldn't that be 'lunches'?"

"Oh, right," Kendra said. She made a note in the margin.

"And as for 'shall,'" I continued, "shouldn't that be 'will'?"

"Contract language," Kendra said. "Legal language. 'Shall' is more mandatory than 'will.'"

"No it's not," I said, laughing. "It's simply bad grammar." I went to the blackboard.

I shall
You (sing) will
He/she/it will
We shall
You (pl) will
They will


Kendra sighed. "It's how we write contract language," she said, without comment on my blackboard exercise.

"Then we write badly," I said, disgust in my voice. I looked around the rest of the team to see who was with me.

Nobody.

"Look, aren't we educators? Shouldn't we use the language correctly?" I couldn't believe this.

"Look yourself," Kendra shot back. "I've been writing contract proposals and final language for years. I've represented this group in arbitration, and I know what lawyers and arbitrators think about 'shall' versus 'will.' You can either believe me or take a hike." I gulped as she pointed to the door. The rest of the bargaining team members were looking studiously at their papers.

I tried a softer tone. "I have a BA in English from Columbia," I began.

"Take a hike!" Kendra shouted.

I was stunned. Tears sprang to my eyes. I started to pick up my papers when Kendra said, "Leave those. They're for bargaining team members only."

I stumbled through my watery-eyed haze and went out the door.


Last edited by Miz Robbie, 6/13/2018, 4:18 pm


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6/10/2018, 4:25 pm Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


It was Friday, heading in to Labor Day weekend. Mom not only didn't get any time off, she had extra hours piled on over the weekend as nobody in Queens seemed to be able to figure out their holiday menus until the weekend was upon them. Dad's job at a local home and office indoor flooring company would keep its regular hours on Saturday, but be closed Sunday and Monday. Our picnic last weekend had to be our holiday.

I headed for Raymond York Elementary School mid-morning, not knowing if anyone would be there. To my surprise the place was crawling with people. The office staff had been there for a couple of weeks, registering new kids, but the classroom teachers and paraprofessional staff weren't due to start until Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, with kids arriving Wednesday. I went into the office and asked where, and with whom, I was to work. I was welcomed enthusiastically by one of the secretaries, who shuffled through a pile of papers to find my assignment. "You'll be working with Mark Tudor," she said, looking up. "Fourth grade. Room 23."

I found my way down the hall to Room 23. The door was open and inside I could see the back of a man who was putting up a large WELCOME sign. I gave the door a slight rat-a-tat knock and he turned around. I caught my breath. The man was late-20s-ish, about six feet tall, and quite possibly the handsomest man I'd ever seen in person. I felt a flush creeping up my neck.

"Hi," he said, smiling. "Can I help you?"

"I-I'm Roberta," I managed to get out. "Robbie for short..."

He smiled again. "You're not really all that short," he said in a teasing tone. "Are you my Title I Reading Specialist? I've been expecting you."

"Y-Yes," I stammered. I extended my hand, hoping it hadn't become clammy. "Nice to meet you."

"Have you done this before?" he asked.

"Done what? Oh, Title I reading? Yes, last year, but only as a sub. This is my first year with a regular assignment."

"Let me show you how this will work, then." He led me to an area in the back of the room, set up with a half-dozen chairs in a circle. "You'll bring small groups of kids back here to work on reading. Sometimes only one, maybe two. Other times as many as six."

I nodded. The set-up was like most classrooms in which I had worked last year.

"You and I will work together over the year to see which kids need the extra help in reading and which kids are ready to move back into the main group." He gestured toward the front of the room with his left hand and I sneaked a peek. No wedding ring. I smiled.

"Right now we're scheduled to have twenty-three kids in class. That might be where it ends up, or we might have a couple more or a couple less."

"More or fewer," I said without thinking.

He turned toward me and blinked. "What?"

"We use 'less' when it's an uncountable amount and 'fewer' when it can be counted. Less money, but fewer dollars, for example." I couldn't seem to stop myself. "We can count how many kids. Therefore we use 'fewer.'"

He blinked again. "Hoo boy," he said.

"I have a BA in English from Columbia," I volunteered.

"Indeed you have," he agreed.

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6/13/2018, 5:26 pm Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Mark Tudor and I spent the rest of the day doing separate tasks, for the most part. He referred to my area as my island, and suggested I pin up island-themed clip art.

"An island sounds peaceful, restful," he had said. "Some of these kids have a lot of anxiety related to reading. You'll want to do what you can to make them less anxious."

That made sense to me, so I followed his advice and tried to make the area as calm as I could. Around 3:00 we were both reaching a conclusion. I looked up in time to see Leah, whom I'd met at the union meeting, standing in the doorway.

"Hey!" I greeted her.

"Hey!" she called back. "Want to go get a TGIF drink?"

I was embarrassed. "Um..." I mumbled, "I don't have any money with me." The truth was I didn't have any money at all.

"No sweat," she said, still smiling. "I'll get this one and you can get the next one."

I looked up. "So long as the next one's after payday, you've got a deal."

"We're off," she said, jauntily, with a wave at Mark Tudor. "See you Tuesday," she said to him as we headed out the door.

We went to Dave's Place, a little hole-in-the-wall with a full bar and bowls of mixed nuts at the few tables the place held. I ordered a chardonnay; Leah ordered Merlot.

"I can't believe you're in Mark Tudor's room," she began in excited tones. "Mark Tudor! Holy chalkboard, Robbie, every single woman in the school is in love with him!" She paused. "And most of the married ones!"

Our drinks arrived. "Ten bucks each," said the waitress in bored tones. "Plus tip." Leah handed her a credit card. "Don't forget the tip," said the waitress as she made off with the card. Leah grinned. "I love New York."

We chatted amiably for a while, sipping our wine far too slowly for our waitress, who wanted us to order another. Plus tip.

"You still working with the union's bargaining team?" Leah asked.

"Not right now," I responded, not sure what to say. "I think I've contributed what I can for now. Maybe they'll call me back later."

She nodded. "Kendra's good. She'll read the bargaining situation correctly."

I looked up just as two women approached. I was shocked to see Lucy, over-painted in loud makeup, and Mary, looking mousy as always. I introduced everyone all around.

"Join us?" I asked, just to be hospitable.

"Probably not," said Lucy as Mary examined the floor.

"Too bad," I said. "I hear Mary has a twin."

Mary's head shot up in alarm.

"Judith," I continued.

Mary looked at Lucy in distress.

"Where the hell did Judith go to high school, if not with us?" I stared at Mary.

"Elsewhere," said Lucy, and pulled Mary to a table as far away as possible, in that small bar.

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6/14/2018, 1:12 am Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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I didn’t have time for this.

August is not the busiest month at A.S. Arora, but my private clients needed help laundering their money year round, well in advance of tax time.

Lucy’s threat was ludicrous. Who would she tell? Who would believe such a cockamamie story? What difference would it make to anyone? It might titillate the people we went to school with, but I had no intention of ever seeing any of them again.

It had been a mistake to go to the reunion. What had possessed me? I had to face the shameful fact that I had gone because I wanted all those kids who had looked down on her all those years to see a self-confident Mary. Especially Larry Kettleman. Why Larry Kettleman? The indifference. No, indifference from Larry would have been too active. Obliviousness. He was oblivious of her. She was no more to him than a name and a white face. A white face that faded away the minute he looked away. And after a quick glance to see if the breath on his back was someone who mattered, he always looked away.

“I thought I made it clear to you,” I said to Lucy on the phone, “that you should get permanently lost. Didn’t I make that clear to you?”

“There’s something you need to know,” she said.

“I don’t think so.”

“Larry Kettleman has been talking about you.”

“WHAT?!” Maybe I did need to know about this. If it was true. Which coming from Lucy, it very well might not be.

“I got it from Pete Pope,” she said.

“You got what from Pete?”

“Pete confronted Larry. About Mary in the truck.”

“I didn’t see Pete when I left your place,” I said. “I didn’t say anything to him about Larry in the truck.”

“But you knew what he thought, and you let him think it. -- No, don’t hang up!”

I looked at my watch and took a deep breath. “I don’t have time for this,” I said.

“Larry told Pete that you were Mary’s twin and that when we were in high school, you were at reform school. – It’s not funny!”

“You -- ,” I gasped, “you’re – reform school?” I was trying not to howl. I was not accustomed to laughing. It took me hard. I always seemed to be laughing when Lucy was around. Maybe I should rethink dropping her.

“If you want the gorey details, meet me at Dave’s Place in half an hour. Do you know where that is?”

“Yes, but --.” But she had hung up.

I thought about it. To go or not to go? “Gorey details?” Lucy hyperbole. Had to be. What possible harm could any of these people do me, spreading a silly story like that among themselves? But I couldn’t help wanting, just a little bit, to know the whole silly story. Was my life so unexciting that something so trivial would spark my curiosity? Was I so starved for personal human contact that any gossip about me, no matter how outlandish, would be worth my attention?

***

“Have you taken up soliciting,” I said, “or are you practicing to audition for 'Tobacco Road'?”

Lucy’s face was heavily made up. She slouched against the wall just down the street from Dave’s.

“Shut up and walk,” she said.

When we went through the door to the bar, Lucy took my arm to stop me.

“Be Mary!” she hissed.

“What?” But then I saw Ro-BER-ta, and Lucy was guiding me over to her table.


Last edited by Bellelettres, 6/14/2018, 3:47 pm
6/14/2018, 10:41 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


My eyes were not opened, but I knew He was there. It had been a while.

“Dad?” I said.

“Hello, Larry.”

Why did he call me by that name? He knew who I was. He created me. He called me. He charged me.

“Son, I understand this is not easy for you,” he said.

I rolled over on my side, away from Him. “You need another son,” I said. “This is not working. The only people who see any potential in me only do so because I give them money. Well, I win them money. And I know you are behind that anyway.”

“Ah, now you know how I feel,” God said.

“What?”

“You think it is easy to hear all these prayers? Bless me, O Lord. Grant me fortunes. Grant me strength. Heal me. Heal my friend. They send thoughts and prayers to people they know, and don’t know. What I am supposed to do with that?”

I listened, marveling to hear the Creator of the Universe complain about the very creatures He created.

“They are just doing what you had me tell them to do last time.”

“You know better, Son.”

“I don’t know anything, Dad. I am, as you say, just Larry. Just a guy from Queens.”

“You are my beloved Son. With whom I am well pleased,” He said, then paused. “Larry, look at me.”

No. I did not want to see Him. He was in costume again. Another game, another parable. I could not do it.

“God?” I asked.

“God?” He said. “Not Dad?”

Undaunted, I continued. “Tell me about Lucy. Is she my enemy? Is she the Evil One?”

“Larry, when I created Good, I also created Evil. Without one, you cannot have the other. You know Lucy very well. You know who she is exactly. And you love her as you love all. And I love her, also, as I love all my creations.”

I had nothing to add. Why did He choose me? I am not special. I am not a leader. And why a plumber?

“You were a carpenter before. A necessary job, but not glamourous. I could have made you a king, the President. I could have made you anything that would immediately garner respect. But that is not the way to reach my people,” He said. “Larry, look at me.”

I sighed. “You forsake me again, God.”

“Never.”

Against my instincts, my best judgement, even my own will, I rolled over in my bed to look at Him.

Damn.

I laid in my bed, stunned. Unable to take it all in. There in the corner of my room was the entire universe. A million, no a billion points of light. They collected to form galaxies, stars being birthed, stars dying before my very eyes. The lights swirled to form galaxies. Magnificent shapes, dazzling, brilliant light. Swirls, fractals, energy. And between it all, the darkest of the dark, the inky void.

“In the beginning was me alone. In the end will be me alone. But you were always with me. And you will always be with me. I am in you. And you are in me. You are my hands and feet.”

What?

“You are the hands and feet and mouth and face of the universe,” he said. “Now, go act like it.”

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I thought growing old would take longer.
6/14/2018, 10:20 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 


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