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Re: Messiah Remix


Images of broken light, which
Dance before me like a million eyes,
They call me on and on across the universe.
Thoughts meander like a
Restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.


What kind of radio station was my radio set to? How is it that I was awakened to a Beatles' song from the late 1960s? I'd need to find a better station.

I stumbled out of bed and headed for the shower. Reflecting on the previous day, I was happy with my room assignment, although I had a little trepidation about my supervising teacher. Leah was right, though: he was the handsomest man I'd seen in a long time.

I made my way downstairs to find Mom in her nook, sipping V-8 juice and watching the news on the little TV. "There was a random shooting overnight," she said. "Four cars were shot at from an overpass. Nobody was hurt, but the cars were all damaged." She shook her head. "The cops don't think anyone in particular was targeted. It was just..." she didn't know what the reason was, actually.

Neither did I, as I made myself a cup of coffee. Instant coffee in the microwave. Shouldn't that be a joke on some late night TV show?

"Whatever happened to Larry?" she asked, out of the blue. "You were seeing him regularly, then suddenly there's nothing. Did you have a falling out?"

I pondered. "No, not really. But I'm not sure we ever had a falling in." I tried to find a word or phrase to describe my meetings with him. "He's comfortable," I finally said, "but not compelling."

Mom looked perplexed at that. "Hmmmm..." she mused. "I thought maybe we were going to have a gentleman caller."

I found that a bit offensive. "I'm not living 'The Glass Menagerie,'" I protested.

---
Robbie
6/15/2018, 12:48 am Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


“See what I mean?” Lucy said. “He’s spreading the story.”

“What story?” the waitress said, over Lucy’s shoulder.

Lucy glared up at her. “Don’t sneak up on people,” she snapped. “Bring us two Heinekens.”

“Not for me,” I said. “I’ll have a Passive Aggressive turkey sandwich and coffee.” Robbie and her friend stood up from their table and pushed their chairs in.

“No booze and no horseradish?” Lucy said. “Abstemious, aren’t we? I’ll have an Aggressive. And I’ll drink both beers.” The door closed behind Robbie and her friend. Lucy gave the waitress a credit card, and the waitress went away.

“Robbie didn’t say anything about reform school,” I said.

“Would she need to? You heard her tone: ‘Where the hell….?’ And she was skewering Mary with that stare.”

“Look, Robbie is a !@#$. Larry is a bastard. You stir up !@#$ for your own amusement. I am not amused. I don’t know what I’m doing here.”

“You have a big dose of libido sciendi,” Lucy purred. “I’ve always liked that about you.”

“Because when it was Mary at school instead of me, you could always supply the sciendi. I remember that about you. But at that time, I believed what you told me.”

“What Larry told Pete,” Lucy said, “is that those bruises we used to see on Mary were made by you.”

I flinched. Lucy smiled.

“Remember that time Mary came to school with a broken arm?”

“Stop!” I said, but it was a whisper.

“Anything else?” the waitress said. She put the beers in front of Lucy, and poured coffee into a cup she whisked off another table.

“Sandwiches?” Lucy said.

“I was thinking more along the lines of oxygen,” the waitress said, flicking her eyes toward me.

Lucy just looked at her. She shrugged and went away.

“I won’t say that Larry groped Mary in the truck,” I said. I stood up. “Stay away from us.”

I went the wrong way at first, but turned around when I saw a blank wall in front of me, and finally found the door.


Last edited by Bellelettres, 6/15/2018, 10:32 am
6/15/2018, 10:05 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


“Right-way Plumbing, this is Amber.”

“Hi Amber, it’s Larry.”

“Oh hi, Larry. What’s up? You need your rundown for the day?”

“No, I just wanted you to know I won’t be coming in today.”

“Oh,” Amber said, “are you okay?”

Well, that was a better question than she knew. “Yeah, I think so. I just need a personal day. Sorry for the short notice.”

“Ok, I’ll notify dispatch. Anything I can do for you?”

“No thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Sure thing, Larry,” she said as I disconnected the line.

I showered, brushed my teeth, and decided not to shave. Maybe I will grow my beard back. Whatever. I got dressed, and grabbed my wallet and phone. There is not much a man can’t do if he has his wallet and his phone. But today, I decided to also take my Bible with me. I opened the drawer in the nightstand next to my bed, and pulled out my Bible, and tucked it into the holster around my ankle, and pulled my jeans over it. Hey, you never know when someone will need to be filled with the Word.

I wasn’t sure what to do first, but I knew it was time. I was done pretending and hiding. My Father told me it was time, and I was faced with the choice of trusting Him, or not trusting Him. I decided to trust Him. I figured my life would never be normal as long as I did not. But worse, I believed that it would never be normal again.

Dad? I am going to trust that you will help me do what you want, even if I don’t have a clue what that is. I trust you will place people before me that need you, that you love them and want to help them, and I trust that you will give me the words or wisdom or perform miracles that will help them.

Dammit. Did I just pray to my Father? Crap. I mean, Amen. Whatever.

At that moment, my cell phone rang. It was a local number, and one I did not recognize.

“Hello, this is….”, I paused. I sighed. “This is Larry.”

“Larry?” said a weak, feeble, but recognizable voice.

“Zay Zay? Is that you?”

He was silent. I could feel his pain radiating through the phone.

“Zay Zay, can you hear me?”

“I—“ he paused, his voice slightly breaking. “I need—“

“Where are you, Zay?”

He disconnected the line. I was pretty sure he was at Cackles, because how else would he have my number? I left my apartment, hurried down the stairs, and out of the building. The moment I was outside, I heard “There he is!!!” from several voices, and found myself the center of attention of several people that had apparently been waiting for me.

“I have been waiting all night for you. Please. Please help me.”

What was going on? “What? What are you talking about?”

“They say you can win the lottery,” said a young guy, probably a little older than me. He looked like he had seen a lot of life.

“Please, I need your help,” said an older lady. She was nicely dressed in very used clothing. Her eyes were red as if she had been crying. “I am going to be evicted soon. Please.” Her face was filled with pain.

“Oh thank God you are here” said another. “Father LaDornay told me about you. He is my priest! Are you for real?”

They clamored around me, the crowd pressing in on me, touching me, pulling me. “Please, I really need to win,” said a girl that I could not help but find attractive.

“Wait. Stop!” I said. “It doesn’t work like that. It was just coincidence.” I mean, it was, right? Dad?

“We know what you have done, and it is wonderful. Please tell us your secrets.”

Another in the group called out, “What are your favorite numbers for today?” He seemed a little more skeptical, and had as many tattoos on his arms as he did piercings on his face. And it was a lot.

Well, okay. Here goes.

“My children,” I said, and gauged their reaction. None of them blinked. They were happy to be called this. “My children, I know you all have needs. Everyone does. And I am sure money would help.”

They nodded, and listened. With great enthusiasm they listened.

“I can not promise you a winning lottery ticket. I can only tell you that God has a plan for each of you. And I am happy to talk to you all about it. In time, but now I have a dear friend who needs me.

“Wait!” the older woman cried. “You won’t help us?”

“Look, you may not believe this. But I am sent from God. You can’t tell ANYONE about this. OK? But it’s true. God sent me. It is real. And I will be back later and we can talk about it. And I will do all I can to help you.”

At the mention of God, I could tell I lost a couple of them, including the pierced and tattooed guy, and sadly the cute girl. Eyes rolling, and backing away slowly as if I might try to sell them something, they moved on with mumbled words of “icehole” and “ballshot”, or something to that effect.

But the rest? Well, again, they did not flinch. I thought that might have dispersed all of them. Desperate times, I guess.

“Do you understand, me?” I asked them. “God sent me. And I think He wants me to help you. And I want to help you. But it will be later. And it may not be lottery tickets!”

“We know God sent you,” said Father LaDornay’s parishioner. “We have no doubt.”

They believed me more than I believed myself. I had no idea how I would help them later. I could not imagine it would have anything to do with lottery tickets. Money doesn’t solve spiritual problems; it causes them.

“My Father has need of me elsewhere. But I will be back.”

They looked at each and nodded. The older lady said, “We will wait for you.”

I turned to leave.

“Wait said the young man. What is your name? What shall we call you?”

“Father LaDornay said his name is Larry. Is that right? Your name is Larry?”

“Just call me Larry, for now, ok? And don’t tell anyone.”

And off I went to find Zay Zay.

---
I thought growing old would take longer.
6/17/2018, 3:43 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


Mom's job at Express Deli and Grocery was good for us, not only because she got a paycheck but also because she got a three-percent discount on the grocery items in the store. The problem, though, was that the store's produce was limited and not of great quality. Mom didn't want to be seen shopping elsewhere for better produce, so she often sent me. Today she sent me to Farmers Market Jamaica with a list of fruits and vegetables she wanted. I'd been there before, and it was a terrific place. It had fresh produce at very reasonable prices, and the growers themselves usually staffed the booths. They always seemed happy to see those of us who came to buy their farmed goods.

So off I went to Jamaica to get the stuff on Mom's list. As I got off the bus and started to walk toward the market, I found a knot of people on the sidewalk, chattering loudly and with great animation. "These things aren't just coincidence," a woman proclaimed. "I shouldn't think so," agreed a man near her. "Once is a coincidence," said an older woman. "Twice is a plan." They all nodded. "And whose plan is it?" asked a man who didn't really seem to be asking. "God's plan!" came the response. The man who had asked nodded vigorously.

I approached, wanting to pass them and get on to the market.

"Sister!" called a man wearing a priest's collar. "Sister, have you been touched by the spirit?"

Oh boy. Every other street corner in New York.

"I ask you," he continued, "because we have been, and it's a beautiful thing."

"I'm sure it is," I responded, figuring I could use my elbows to get through the group.

"Sister," a woman who probably was a sister called to me, "did you see the story on the TV news about a man giving me a lottery ticket and it turned out to be worth a thousand dollars? We fed the mission that night."

"Oh, yeah," I said, without meaning to respond. "Yeah, I watched that with my mother."

"He did it again!" said the man wearing a priest's collar. "This time it was five thousand bucks!"

I shook my head. "You don't believe in random events, I assume," I said, wondering how people believed in supernatural stuff.

"Once, maybe," he replied. "Twice?"

"Random events can't happen twice?" I challenged.

"Not likely. Not like this, when we had prayed and found our prayers answered," said the sister who looked like a sister.

"And how many times had you prayed and didn't have your prayers answered?" I shot back. "Isn't 'No' an answer?" Geeze, these people would believe anything that confirmed their deeply held beliefs.

"Doesn't matter," the sister who looked like a sister responded. "One's faith gets tested sometimes."

"Right," I said. "So does one's logic."

They tried to give me a beneficent look, but it was clearly masking disapproval.

"And what was this guy's name?" I snarked. "Jesus?" I pronounced it Haysoos.

"No," said the guy wearing the priest's collar. "It was Larry. Larry Kettleman."

Last edited by Miz Robbie, 6/18/2018, 12:21 am


---
Robbie
6/18/2018, 12:11 am Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


“You were there,” Saul Tarsus said into Robbie’s left ear. “You saw.”

Robbie whirled around and gaped at Saul. The priest took her arm to steady her, and she glared up at him. But he was looking at Saul. “What did this young woman see, my child?” he asked Saul.

“Larry raised Luis from the dead,” Saul said, “before our eyes. Hers and mine.”

The crowd pressed close and looked at Robbie. Hope and belief were rising in them all.

“Tell us!” a woman cried, and there were murmurs of “Please!”

This had gone far enough. “It was CPR,” Robbie said. “Luis was not dead. Larry revived him with CPR.” She tried to walk away, but a man stood in her way. Over his shoulder she saw Lucy walking toward them. Saul saw Lucy too, and threw his arm in her direction.

“And that woman,” he said, “was there when Larry restored my sight. I was blind! Larry put mud and spittle on my eyes, and I opened them, and I could see again!”

The crowd gasped, and looked at Lucy. “Hallelujah!” someone cried.

“That’s not true!” Lucy said. Her voice carried over the hubbub. “This man Saul fainted and hit his head on the floor. His blindness was temporary, and Larry’s ‘mud-in-your-eye’ trick was blasphemy. Wouldn’t you call it blasphemy, Father?”

“Saul?” the priest said.

“Saul Tarsus,” Lucy said. The priest looked amazed. “That’s his real name,” she said.

The priest crossed himself and looked at Saul.

“Let’s get out of here before they tar and feather us.” Lucy took Robbie’s arm, and the crowd parted before them, shrinking away from Lucy.

“Is everybody in New York crazy?” Robbie said, breathless, when they were a safe distance away. “Larry Kettleman is the Second Coming? LARRY KETTLEMAN?”

“Not a good choice,” Lucy said. “Do you have time for coffee? I’ve been meaning to call you.”

Robbie hesitated. She didn’t really want to hear what Lucy had to say about Larry.

But Lucy said, “I wanted to explain about Judith and Mary. Let’s go in here.” They were coming upon a small coffee shop.

“OK,” Robbie decided, “I have a few minutes.” She was mildly curious about where Judith could have been while Mary was in school.

“The short version,” Lucy said, when the waitress had poured their coffee and brought pastries, “is that Judith was in reform school.”

“Good lord!" Robbie said. "What for?"

“Do you remember much about Mary?” Lucy said. “Do you remember that she sometimes came to school with a black eye or big bruises on her arms?”

Robbie tried to remember. “No, I don’t think so. Mary and I didn’t have many classes together.”

“One time she came to school with a broken arm.”

“Are you saying that Judith…?”

“Judith was sent away the summer before our freshman year,” Robbie said. “She fractured Mary’s skull. It was so serious that Mary missed the first three weeks of school that year.”

“But if Judith was away at reform school all those years, how could she…?”

“Home visits,” Lucy said. “They would let her come home for visits, and the same thing always happened. It was so bad my folks wanted to go to court to get the visits stopped. We lived next door to them, you know. But they couldn’t do anything since Mary’s folks wouldn’t cooperate.”

Robbie didn’t know what to say. Gossip was not her thing. She scolded herself for her curiosity and tried to think of a graceful exit line. “Mary seemed OK when I saw her at Dave’s,” she said. “She seems to have come out of it OK.”

“She made a lot of progress over the years,” Lucy said. “She was doing really well until the day she came over to my place.” She looked pained. “I can’t forgive myself for asking Larry to give her a ride home. Even when I tell myself there’s no way I could have known that he would try to rape her.”


Last edited by Bellelettres, 6/18/2018, 1:00 pm
6/18/2018, 12:55 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


I was suddenly fed up with everyone I had encountered that day.

"There's a gang of loud believers outside who claim Larry is the Second Coming," I began, glaring at Lucy. "You bring me inside and claim Larry is a rapist."

"It's not my claim," said Lucy in calm tones. "It's Mary's. That's what she told me after she came rushing back into my place to escape Larry."

I reflected on what I knew about that event.

"Mary wanted a ride home with Larry," I began. I thought back over what Mom had told me, and what Larry had later filled in. "Actually, as I got it from Larry, it was you who wanted Larry to take Mary home. When they got out to Larry's truck he tried to call me to come get her, but I wasn't home and he had a short conversation with my mother." The pieces were coming back together. "Pete was still at the door when Larry tried to call me. After he couldn't reach me, Mary went back to your place. Pete let her back in."

Lucy had some kind of I-know-a-secret look on her face, but I couldn't read it. The more I looked at it, though, the angrier I became.

"I don't know what nastiness you're plotting," I said, rising, "but leave me out of it." I pushed the chair back in. "Those folks outside are nuts, but they're not evil. You are."

Fortunately, all the produce on Mom's shopping list was available at the farmers' market, and it looked great. It was nice to be able to smile over something.

---
Robbie
6/18/2018, 6:42 pm Link to this post PM Miz Robbie
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


He was angry. And drunk. And shouting.

Again.

And I had finally had enough. I left my room, went through the living room, and into the kitchen. My mother was crying. Pretty sure my drunk father had hit her.

Again.

“Stop it, Dad! That’s enough. Touch her again, and I swear I’ll put your lights out! We don’t need you anymore. I can take care of Mom. I will be the man of the house now. So get out. NOW!”

That is what I wish I had said.

Instead, I stood there crying, crying like the 7-year-old little boy that I was.

“Please, Al. Please stop,” my mother cried. He raised the back of his hand. He was going to do it.

I must have whimpered out loud enough that he heard me. His head snapped in my direction, and I swear he had fangs, a snout, and gleaming yellow eyes. He growled at me, but I very clearly understood his words, “Get. Out.”

But I was frozen. My face a mess, fluids running from my eyes and nose.

“Al…” my mom said weakly.

“Bah” he said, releasing his grip on her, storming my way, knocking me into the cabinets as he brushed by me. I banged my head, hard, and crumpled into a pile of tears, pain, heartbreak and confusion. The back door slammed as he left the house.

“Larry, honey, are you okay?” my mom said sweetly, holding me, comforting me. I looked at her. Her tear-stained face was smiling, and that just made me more confused.

“It’s okay, Larry. Your father just gets angry sometimes. He has a lot of stress at work. And sometimes he has troubles that we just don’t understand.” She looked me in the eyes and said, “Larry, your father loves you very much. And he loves me, too.”

That was my first memory of my father being drunk. It was not my last. And every time, of course, he was remorseful. Even if he didn’t say anything the next day, he was always gentle and kind with Mom, my little brother, and me.


************

Not sure why all that was on my mind as I walked up to Cackles. Outside, there was Zay Zay’s stool that he sat on as he shlepped drink coupons and show discount cards. But no Zay Zay. I went inside.

The club looked so much smaller in the daytime. And dirtier. Clearly they had not yet begun to clean the place from last night’s crowds. There was some movement over by the bar.

“Ah, there he is” Zay Zay said. As usual, he sensed I was there even though he could not see me. But his voice had that same frailty I had heard over the phone.

“Hey, Zay,” I said. “Can I join you?”

“Free country ain’t it? Come on over and I’ll buy you a drink,” he said, lightly tapping the bar next to him. “Barkeep? Bring this man a scotch, on the rocks.”

I sat down next to him. “Service here sucks. The bartender sucks.”

“Probably because he is not here, and won’t be on duty for a few more hours.”

Zay Zay laughed. “You might be right about that.”

We sat there in silence. I figured he would talk when he was ready. After a while he sighed, loudly and slowly, and I took that as my invitation into the conversation.

“What’s going on, Zay?”

“Family is always hard.”



“That’s what they say,” I agreed. “Your son?”

“Yeah. It’s Jacob,” he said. “My boy.” I could feel his pain, dwelling deep, simmering. “He’s dying.”

“What?” I gasped. “What happened?”

“Cancer. The little bastard has cancer. Stage IV. Pancreas. Didn’t even tell me until it was too late,” he said. “Not that I could have done a damn thing about it.”

“Oh, Zay, I am so sorry. Where is he?”

“Buffalo,” he said. “Can you imagine? He’s gonna die in gawd-damned Buffalo.”

“Did you go see him?” I asked.

“No, asshole. I’m blind.” He chuckled. Couldn’t help himself, I guess.

“You know what I meant.”

“No. I did not go. He invited me up. Instead I have spent the past few days drinking. Hell, I think it has been a few days. Ya lose track o’ time, ya know?”

“Why didn’t you go to him?”

“Look, when he got sick, he quit calling. And that was a long time ago. Now that he’s dying, he wants to get right with me.”

“Then go to him,” I said.

“I can’t. Look, I was never a good father to him. I left him and his Mom when he was 16. That was so many years ago. But he never forgave me for it, and I don’t blame him. He would never understand anyway. Punk-assed kid. He sucks. As I might have mentioned.”

His words were tough, but his heart was weak. Remorse is what really sucks, especially at the end of a difficult life.

“Zay Zay,” I said, “I’m sorry. I hope you change your mind. If you do, I’ll take you to Buffalo. We can go in my truck.”

“Ok, I’ll let you know if I change my mind, but I won’t” he said. “But… if I do, then I’m driving.”

“Deal,” I said. “Of course, you’re still blind, so….”

“Oh, but out of the deep darkness the eyes of the blind will see,” he said.

“What?”

“Nevermind. Now get the hell out of here.”

So I did.

Last edited by bigbarry2u, 6/22/2018, 10:49 am


---
I thought growing old would take longer.
6/21/2018, 9:53 pm Link to this post PM bigbarry2u
 
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Re: Messiah Remix


“Hey, brother! When did you get into town?” Pete threw his arm around Andy’s shoulders and dragged him through the door of his apartment.

“A few minutes ago.” Andy said. “We got into LAX last night just in time to get the red-eye to New York.” He threw his duffle bag on a chair and looked around. “Nice place you have here. Promotion?”

“They put me In charge of maintenance. Didn’t I tell you about that? You want some breakfast?” He plugged in the coffeepot in the small kitchen on the other side of the counter from the small living area.

“They fed us on the plane, but I could use some coffee and a shower and a shave.”

“You do look kind of scruffy. But if you trimmed that beard some, you might look kind of distinguished. How are things in Jerusalem?”

“The Jews hate the Palestinians and the Palestinians hate the Jews and everybody hates the Muslims. Same ole, same ole.” Andy sat on the sofa, leaned back against the cushions, and stretched his arms out. “God, this feels good!”

Pete set a sugar bowl and a small pitcher of half-and-half on the coffee table, and went back for the coffee. “You going to be back here long?”

“Depends,” Andy said. “What’s been happening? I read about Larry Kettleman.”

“The news got as far as Jerusalem?”

“I picked up a New York Times at the airport. Small story in the local section. What’s that all about? The story said it happened around here.”

“Larry gave away a couple of winning lottery tickets to some charities, and now he has people in the streets begging him to give THEM winning lottery tickets. There’s one born every minute. Saul Tarsus – did I tell you Saul works here? He’s my assistant manager -- Saul thinks Larry gave him his sight back, and raised somebody from the dead.”

“Saul lost his sight?”

“He hit his head and blanked out for a few minutes, and Larry said ‘Abracadabra,’ and Saul could see again. So now he’s a true believer.”

“You saw all this?”

“Lucy told me about it. Lucy Ferrill. You remember her? Cute redhead Larry used to date in high school. She lives here in the Towers. It was at her place that it happened.”

“So this person Larry raised from the dead?”

“CPR,” Pete said. “You ask me, Saul needs mental help.”

“I’d like to talk to Saul and Lucy,” Andy said.

“Oh, for God’s sake! You’re not going to –“

“Just curious. You have to admit, though, it would make a terrific story.”

“Well, there’s one other thing you need to know about Larry before you drink the – uh -- sacramental wine.”

“I’m glad you didn’t say ‘Kool-Aid.’”

“Do you remember Mary Lazarus? Silly question. You spent the last three years of high school mooning over her.”

Andy sighed. “How could I forget that little face? But she only had eyes for Larry.”

“Saint Larry tried to rape her in front of this building.”

“Oh, come on, Pete. You don’t smell drunk.”

“He had her in his truck out there, but she got away. I saw her when she came running in here. The girl was terrified of him. And later Lucy told me Mary told her what happened.”

“So why is Larry preaching in the streets instead of from a jail cell?”

“Mary wouldn’t go to the police. She still has a crush on him. She’s probably convinced herself by now that he didn’t do it.”

“Mary Lazarus,” Andy said wistfully. “Tell me it wasn’t her brother that Larry raised from the dead.”
6/24/2018, 10:27 am Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 


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