a better place to be

In a hospital ward somewhere lies a woman nobody knows. ‘Jane Doe’ is written on her charts. There’s never been a visitor in her room except for the old man who found her lying in the street, fighting for what little life she had left. When he found her, her clothes were tattered and she was malnourished, and barely breathing. It appeared as if she had been beaten, often.

He visits her quite often, and prays for her. In the past ten years, she has not communicated with anybody. She lies there motionless,  except for the small smile her lips try to make.

In her head, a different story plays out. She is ‘living’ a life she simply refuses to leave.

 

 

 

 

too good to be true I

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Frank Coolridge. Frank lives with his wife and their three kids, in a little town called Kelvinville. Frank  lucked into a job in the town’s only bank, no doubt due to his wife’s family connections; and he makes quite a tidy sum.

Coming home from work today, Frank was greeted by his beautiful wife. Sharon, a girl in her mid thirties, was always quite the looker. Frank often asks himself how he could be so lucky.

Sharon has supper on the table. She made his favourite dish again. She always knows what he wants, and is eager to please him.

His beautiful wife works from home, a stockbroker by trade, she earns a good paycheck. The thing that surprises Frank the most is the fact that she never appears stressed, and always has this great smile, which is accented by her long blonde locks. She is truly a beauty to behold.

Their children are excelling in school, as always. On weekends, Sharon’s mother comes over to sit the kids, so that the young couple has plenty of time to enjoy themselves. All this is truly too good to be true. Everything is perfect….except for the dreams.

Each night, Frank dreams of bright lights. Lights so bright they almost blind him. Often he goes to sleep with his head under a pillow, to no avail. He seen a doctor about it, but thus far, nobody can tell him what is going on. He also suffers massive headaches.

While driving to work this morning, Frank suffered the biggest headache. He pulled his Mercedes to the shoulder of the road and just sat, holding his head. It was then the flashbacks began. Images of flashing lights and people in white clothing filled his head, and the sounds of sirens roared loudly.

He continued on to work, vowing to cut down on coffee. While at work, he couldn’t concentrate. he began hearing voices. Was he going insane? No, it was too real.

The voices are so familiar. Some of the voices are male, some female, there are even kids voices, urging him to wake up, but he isn’t sleeping…

To be continued…

 

 

My Opinion, For What it is Worth…

I admit it, I buy lots of stuff online. I have to; I live on an island where the stuff I want just isn’t in the stores, and if it is, the price is often outrageous.

I have been using eBay for several years, but thanks to the Canadian Government and their application of duty for anything over $20, and our worthless dollar, I am actually paying too much for the items I order, which are mainly technology items. The duty is another thing: A ‘hidden’ cost that is impossible to foresee.

As of late, I have been making several purchases on Canadian websites. Although the prices are not as good as the American sites (Thanks again to our dollar), I can still find quite a few good deals.

I ordered several Bluetooth speakers. I find those little things so handy around the house and in the shed. Instead of my old Realistic transistor radio, whose sound and reception were beginning to fail, I can enjoy music right from my iPhone, through the Bluetooth speakers. No wires, but unbelievable sound.

Anyway, getting back to my rant. After ordering and receiving an item, the seller (and Amazon) asks if you could rate your transaction, and maybe write something about your experience. Seeing how I am a blogger, and for my love of the written word, you could imagine the review I wrote. Several days after I sent in the review, I received an email from the seller.

Apparently they were pretty impressed with my review. I was asked if I wanted to review other items. I was even offered an 80% discount if I wished them to send me items to review. Of course I would have to purchase the item, but at a great savings. So I agreed.

My first thing to review was a food thermometer. I received the item very fast. When I tried the item, I was disappointed with a few of its features. When I wrote the review, I was immediately contacted by the seller.

“Thanks for the review of our fine product, but could you please edit it before publishing it? Better still, could you please send us your rough copy for our approval before you post it?”

What the hell? Do you want an honest review or do you want me to lie? If you want me to lie, you can go to hell. I agreed to give my honest opinion of your product, so others will know what they are getting. I will not lie.

“Sir, we do not want you to lie. We just want you to write about your positive experience. Please write about the pros, and leave out the cons.”

I wrote back, this time less enthusiastic as I was in the past. I told the seller how leaving out the truth and lying is the same thing. I also let them know how dissatisfied I was with their treatment of me, and how I am not for sale. Apparently most people accept their 80% discount and write what they are told, but I for one, cannot be bought. Furthermore, I explained how I will never purchase anything from this seller again. I will also tell my friends of this fiasco.

I have not been asked to write another review.

‘The more things change…the more they r̶e̶m̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶a̶m̶e̶ change…

My kid just celebrated his 14th birthday. We gave him our ‘Old’ iPhone. The thing cost over $700 two years ago, and when we upgraded to a newer phone, we were stuck with our old one. He doesn’t have to know it is used.

When he opened the box, his other 14 year old friends exclaimed “Wow, you finally got an iPhone!”

Finally?? He is FOURTEEN for crying out loud. I was 50 when I got my first one….and I PAID for it with my OWN money.

We aren’t stupid though. We got him a ‘Pay as you go’ package where we put $25 cards on the phone once a month…if all his monthly chores are completed on time.

I tried this earlier in the summer and it backfired.

“Empty the dishwasher at least twice a week and keep your room clean” I promised, “And every week I will fill your ATV with gasoline.” (yes, you read that right, he has his own ATV. His grandparents purchased a $5000 ‘Side-by-side’ for him when he was (get this…TEN YEARS OLD!)…against our wishes of course.

“I have to do the dishes TWICE a week??? No Way, not worth it!” He says. The ATV sits in the garage, rotting into the ground.

We made the same deal with the phone card. I imagine next month, the phone he finally got will be collecting dust on the dresser. No card means no texting. He might actually do something this time, but I doubt it.

That’s another thing. Kids don’t understand the real use of a phone. No, it wasn’t developed for taking ‘selfies’, it was originally made to make calls. Kids these days text rather than actually speaking. They have their own language consisting of words that may or may not ‘sound’ correct, but are definitely not spelled correct. “Hey kid, did you know that if you turn the phone the other way, you can actually take pictures of things other than yourself? I thought not. Alexander Graham Bell must be rolling in his grave.


 

 

 

 

Amos

On the way to work today I noticed an old man walking along the side of the road. He walked feebly, with the help of a cane, then I noticed who it was.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When I was 17, I had a best friend named Jerome. He was a poor kid from the poor side of town. We used to work together at the local Canadian Tire store. We were flunkies. The manager had several kids he used to do all the store’s dirty work, such as cleaning up spills, tearing up boxes, clearing snow, and emptying trash…things the regular workers didn’t want to do. He called us ‘flunkies’.

Me and Jerome often cruised around town together. I had my first car back then, and it was fun to ride around town in the search of girls. Remember, we were only kids back then, and this was great fun. Often we would have a car full of girls, and we would drive around like we were the kings of the world.

One evening, Jerome called and said he wouldn’t be going ‘girl hunting’ for awhile. He met somebody. “Wow!” I thought to myself, “Jerome is settlin’ down.” He was quite smitten with the girl, even though I found he mistreated her when they were out together.

One evening, we all went to the movie. Jerome was especially cruel to the girl, and I didn’t like what I saw. She stormed out of the theater, crying. He basically told her to ‘F**K off!, which I guess she did. On my way home, I seen her walking by herself. I stopped to ask if she wanted a ride, which she agreed.

When we drove up to her house, I did something I never did before, I asked if she would like to go out sometime. I know, my best friend’s girl, but he didn’t treat her good, and she was so pretty….long black hair that almost touched her waist, and the prettiest face ever. I couldn’t resist. And she said yes.

That was the start of it; me and Pauline. We dated for a few nights, to get to know each other a bit better, and then she introduced me to her family. I must say, her dad and I got along so good. Her mom was a bit of a flake, popping ‘nerve pills’ and complaining all the time, but her dad, he was a very nice person. In the two years Pauline and I dated, Amos became a second father to me.

He said I was like the son he never had. We went fishing together, and basically had long talks, mostly about life. He was a simple man who worked at anything he could find. He worked in the construction industry, mostly building houses. He never had his carpenter papers, because he couldn’t read. Amos was ashamed of this.

Pauline had a sister named Anne who was as wild as the wind. She had a boyfriend who took her places, but treated her cruel. In fact, I know of several occasions where he actually cheated on her, sometimes while she was with him. I knew that relationship wouldn’t last. It didn’t. Neither did me and Pauline.

Pauline had told me about her job. She said she used to clean up doctors’ offices for money ‘under the table’. A few dollars here and there, but enough to get by. This wasn’t true. She didn’t work at all. It was all lies. When we weren’t together, she would sit in her room alone, popping pills her mother would provide. “It’s her nerves, that’s why she is the way she is” her mother would say. I don’t think it was her nerves, I think it was the pills. Either way, I was beginning to see that maybe Pauline wasn’t for me.

Pauline didn’t have an education, I think she dropped out in grade 9 or so. I believe I only stayed with her so long out of pity, and that is no way to build a relationship. When we were together, I would often find myself embarrassed to have her around. People would talk to her, and instead of responding, she would giggle as if they said something funny. At first this was cute, but it began to get on my nerves.

It was Amos who helped me make the right decision. “She isn’t right for you Teddy” he said, to my surprise. “You are a nice guy, and a smart person. Pauline has ‘issues’ like her mother.” He said. “You can’t believe anything they say, and I bet if you really listened to what she was saying, you would understand.” he added.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A father warning his daughter’s boyfriend about his daughter. Either he really didn’t like me, or he respected me enough to be honest with me.

“Don’t do like I did, Ted. When I fell in love with Pauline’s mother, my head was in the clouds. My friends warned me that there was something not right with her, but I wouldn’t listen. 25 years later, I see what they were talking about, but now I have two girls, I just can’t leave. Don’t let my regret be your regret.”

Me and Amos stayed friends even after I split up with his daughter. I never seen Pauline again, but I hear stories of how she got mixed up with bad people, had a couple of abortions, and is now living with a much older man who treats her like a slave. I talk to Anne all the time, she agrees with her father, saying  I made the right decision to leave her sister when I did.

I hear Amos’ wife passed away a few years back. It was then that Amos began to ‘live’ again. Someone said he had gotten himself a girlfriend. I remember seeing him and some woman at the mall. For once in his life, Amos looked happy.

…………………………………………

I pulled my truck over and got out. I went over to greet the old guy. He returned my greeting with a big hug. “Teddy, you look great!”

He didn’t look so great. His face was weathered and craggy, and he shook while he stood in front of me. “Are you doing okay?” I asked. “Doing okay, just old, that’s all.” he said.

We spoke for awhile, mostly about family. He extended his congratulations to me on my recent marriage. He said he seen my wife and I in church and commented on how perfect we were for each other. He talked about his wife, how she spent years in mental hospitals, and how Pauline did as well. He said he was glad my life turned out good, and he was glad I had listened to him way back then. He said the conversation we had back then was one of the most difficult things he ever had to do, but he was glad I took his advice. I am glad as well.

“Gotta keep in shape now!” he said, “that’s why I am out here walking. You know what women are like…”

I shook his hand, laughing. “Take care Amos” I said.

“You too, Son” he said.

 

 

 

no place like home

untitled.png

Bill loved his little house. He built it with his own hands when he and Minnie first wed. The house saw the growth of their two daughters, and served as a quiet refuge after their kids moved on.

The Potters lived in the home for over 30 years, the place serving as a reminder of their  wonderful life together.

The couple doesn’t live there anymore, not after the flood of ’05. Bill and Minnie, as well as their neighbours, were relocated to new housing, in a crowded subdivision on the other side of town.

“It just isn’t the same” said Bill, sadly.

This sad tale of love and loss is my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Click on the little froggy for more stories based on this week’s photo prompt.

 

our flight home

My brother in law got married last weekend, to a gal from Old’s Alberta. Naturally, we were invited. My wife was asked to stand in the bridal party. At first, I was reluctant to go, partially due to my lack of travel experience, and due to the cost. We went.

At 52 years old, I hate to admit, but I have never left the island. Nor have I ever flown. At first, I was a bit afraid of the flight, but my worries were soon put to rest. I loved it. My wife, not so much.

Upon our arrival, we were treated like royalty. The bride’s family, a long standing family of German-Russian heritage, were kind and gracious. The bride’s father, Gerry, works as an Oil consultant to some of the biggest oil companies in Canada, and in his spare time, runs a ‘hobby farm’ consisting of over 180 acres, over 30 head of cattle, a few pigs, and horses. I joked that if one bragged he had 180 acres in Newfoundland, he would be talking about Newfoundland itself.

We traveled to all the local sights and even hit some of the bigger stores, such as Costco, before heading home to Newfoundland. I was actually anxious to fly home.

This was until we began our flight. We got up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, and headed to the airport in Calgary, where we just made it to the gate. Our seats sucked, my wife some three seats ahead of me, and my seat between two strangers. That being said, I lucked out with my seat companions. One was a lady from Prince Edward Island, her husband sitting across the aisle across from her. We both waited for the window seat person to arrive, and he did, just in time for the plane to take flight.

The guy was a smallish person, who was quite silent at first, but I am not a silent person. I am a Newfie. “Hows she going” I asked him. Startled, he answered “you talking to me? You do know I am Pakistani, don’t you?”

I said “I don’t care if you are from Mars, if you are nice you are nice. now how ‘she going?”

With that, he began to tell me about his four daughters, how he and his wife tried for a boy, got a girl, tried for a boy again, another girl, and then tried once more and got twin girls. He showed me pictures of his family, which he displayed proudly. I cannot understand how people can be racist and judge people just from where they come from or by the colour of their skin.

Our conversation was nice, our flight was not. We hit about twenty minutes of solid turbulence and received an announcement that we would be at least 45 minutes late for our connecting flight at the Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Apparently the plane needed some repairs, and this is what delayed us. When we arrived, our flight from Toronto to Deer Lake, Newfoundland had already left…without us.

We were told to visit customer service. After an hour in a lineup, we spoke to the Representative from Air Canada, and he (after first suggesting we wait until 1:00 a.m. and fly from Toronto to Halifax and then to Deer Lake) found us a flight to Deer Lake (some two hours from Stephenville) which was leaving at 7:00. This wasn’t too bad, and we accepted. He guaranteed (ha!) our luggage would be on the same flight as we were.

We had from 12:30 until 7:00 to kill, stuck in an airport. What a great way to spend a day. The airport graciously (HA!) provided us a meal voucher (After we demanded it) of $10 each…you can really eat well for ten dollars…HA! two slices of stale pizza which we threw out.

While we were there, we watched as two Air Canada pilots were arrested by RCMP, after it was discovered that both of them flew over 250 people in from Scotland while the pilots were drunk to the gills.

The 7:00 flight was then delayed until 9, and although our tickets read Gate D43, they were really supposed to read D26, which was on the other side of the airport. An elderly gentleman, who chatted to us for awhile, informed us that our tickets were incorrect. After running the length of the airport to catch our seven o’clock flight, we were greeted by an Air Canada employee, correcting himself and apologizing. The gate was indeed D26. Oh, and the flight was delayed again, this time until 9:00.

We sat in the airport until 10:30, (two more delays), and arrived in Deer Lake at 2 a.m. in the morning. Our luggage wasn’t on the carousel and if it wasn’t for an airport employee, we would never have discovered that our luggage had arrived on time, with our original 1:30 flight, and were put in an office for safe keeping.

When we arrived in the parking lot (we left our car in the lot where it was ‘safe’ (HA!)) we found that we had a flat tire. The air must have been left out as a prank, because I filled the tire that night and this is Saturday and it is still filled with air. We were charged $40 dollars for our use of the parking lot, and attempted to head home.

Our back brakes were seized and the car wouldn’t move. Ever watch the Twilight Zone and see an episode where two travellers are not permitted to leave an airport, and even time works against them to ensure they never make it home? Me either, but they certainly could make this an episode!

Another few hours picking at the car and we are heading home. We walked into the house at 5:30, daylight. Our dogs were anxious to eat breakfast and play ball in the backyard. This was four nights ago and I am still tired. …I just set up a travel account with the bank. We are planning a trip for next summer….with hopefully another airline. not impressed with Air Canada!

 

 

deep thoughts….while in an MRI

“This one will take a while”, they told me, as the technician injected me with dye. “This one will put a brassy taste in your mouth, feel real warm going down your chest, oh, and it will make you think you want to pee” he added.

With that, I asked if I could pee first. God knows I didn’t want to wet myself on the table, bad embarrassing I would imagine.

They hesitated with the injection until I returned. They weren’t lying, the taste hit me almost immediately. Yuck!

“Now, this will take at least an hour, maybe two. You have to keep completely still.” one of them said. I had my eyes closed so not to see the needle. Did I mention I hate needles?

An hour? I have to keep still for an hour? My wife says I am the human squirmer. I can’t keep still for a minute, let alone an hour…or more. I warned them that this might prove impossible.

“Are you claustrophobic?” one of them asked,  as he put a cage over my head and stuffed foam against my neck. “You got the earplugs in tight? The noise will deafen you!” So much for my fear of small places. I am already panicking, but I can’t move, remember?

“I will be talking to you throughout the experience, and squeeze the bulb if you need anything.” he reassured me. I squeezed the thing just to see if it worked. “Just checking” I told him.

“Close your eyes, and don’t look anywhere except straight ahead” he said. “We are taking pictures of your eyes, and your brain. We want to do this right, and do it once.” Now I cannot move, cannot open my eyes, and have to look straight ahead; this is getting better all the time.

I tell myself that an hour isn’t really that long. I lie to myself. I am in the thing for what seems like forever, and the guys say “Okay, that’s the first two minutes…”

KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK!

Damn that thing is noisy! Good thing for the earplugs. Wait a minute, one of them fell out. I squeeze my squeezy thing and the clanging stops. “What is wrong?” one of them asks. “My ear plug fell out. The the noise is deafening me, and I am half deaf to start with.”

I feel myself being hauled out of the MRI, two pieces of tape are pulled across my ears to hold the plugs in, and its back in the MRI. The thing is freezing. I tell them I am freezing before they begin again. One of them throws a warm blanket on me, and I am in heaven…except for the fact that I have an IV tube sticking out of my arm. Did I mention I put the hospital gown on backwards? I couldn’t figure out how I was going to do up the laces if it was in the back of me.

KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK!KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK!KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK!

More noise! “Okay, this one is going to be a bit longer, five or ten minutes of steady noise. Keep still, don’t look around, keep your eyes shut”

KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK!K LACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK! KLACKETY CLACK! KLACKETY KLACK! PHEWABBER PHEWABBER! KLACKET CLACK!

Three more times and then I feel myself being hauled out again. Finally I am done! That wasn’t so bad, didn’t even seem like an hour.

“We are going to inject the dye now, Mr White. The taste will intensify, and its only another half hour or more and you are finished.Remember to keep still. Put yourself into a happy place while we do this.”

Half an hour more? And the dye wasn’t injected? What was that warm feeling and that bad taste? My mind playing tricks on me, that’s what.

This half an hour turned into an hour due to my squirming. I think I opened my eyes once too.

And then I did what they asked. I put myself into a happy place. I stopped thinking of the machine and instead I imagined myself with my wife.

The day before the test, my beautiful wife and I took our ATV and headed for the country. We stopped along a river, and ran and played in the water like kids, splashing each other with the cool water, and laughing our heads off. We wanted a carefree day in which we didn’t have to think about work or other stressors.

I was relaxed, and enjoying myself. The water was cool on my toes and the river made a babbling noise as it ran across the rocks. The air was fresh and I could taste the cool water on my tongue. It tasted like DYE! Soon the rushing water sounds turned to Klackety Clacks. I need to pee…..

Just when I was going to squeeze the bulb, a voice came on and said only two more tests, each one less than a minute. A few more Klackety Clacks and I was done.

“Thank you Mr. White. You did great. You should drink lots of fluids so that you wash that dye from your body, we used quite a bit of it. Your doctor should have the results in a few weeks.”

I was done. What an experience. When I checked the time, I was in the thing for over an hour and a half. I was starving. A trip to a restaurant for lunch and together with the bad taste from the dye and the greasy food, I got sick. I think it was probably a combination of my claustrophobia, my diabetes, and my fear of needles, together with bad food.

In an hour or two I was on my way home. Glad to be finished with the test. Now to wait for the results, which is often worst than the test itself. I will keep you posted.

 

 

 

I see….

Of all our senses, I would imagine Sight is the most used; at least in my job it is. I sit in front of a computer 90% of the day, staring at the screen ahead of me. I read documents and tests printed on bright white paper, and it hurts. Brightness hurts. I am sitting here at work today, wearing sunglasses.

My eyes have been hurting quite a bit lately. Especially my left eye. It is as if there is something there, but it can’t be seen. I tried to explain what I saw to the eye doctor at the clinic, and she wasn’t sure what I was talking about. As a precaution, she referred me to a specialist.

A week ago I visited an eye specialist. He put me through a ton of tests, everything from staring into a machine and pushing a button when a light blinked, to staring at a light brighter than the sun.

He even took a picture of the back of my eye, after he applied drops that burned like hell, and dilated my pupils.

I remember the look on his face. He didn’t have to say anything for me to know he found something.

He showed me the picture he took. He pointed to my left eye and explained how my Optical Nerve is inflamed and bleeding. He also noted the right eye was swollen.

What caused this? He has no idea, only guesses. ” MS could do it, but you don’t have that. Your vision is still moderately good. Good  colour vision too. A tumor I expect.” he said, calmly. He noticed on my paperwork that I had a Neurofibromatosis tumor a few years back.

I had a CT Scan on Wednesday, and I have an MRI scheduled for Monday. Hopefully he is wrong with the tumor guess. I went through the tumor thing back in ’03, and I really don’t want to repeat that again.

The day after returning home from the test, I remembered what I believe could have caused my problem. While doing yard work, I cut quite a few alders. One of the trees was especially long, and in an attempt to flick the thing in the woods, it bounced back and struck me in the head. I must have been at least twenty minutes trying to regain myself. worst whack in the head ever. I hope this did the damage to my eye. At least I hope if for now. God only knows what other damage it did.

I should get my MRI results at least a week from Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed it’s nothing. Anything but a tumor or MS.

Freezing rain warning

“Don’t go out tonight, the forecast is calling for freezing rain!” his mother warned. Jacob had a new girlfriend who didn’t like to be kept waiting, so he ignored his mother’s warnings.

Jacob learned a hard lesson that night. The temperatures dropped quickly that December night, and the light rain soon began to freeze. In minutes his windshield was covered with the stuff, and even worse, so was the road.

Steering on the icy road wasn’t  as easy as he thought, as his car began to slide towards the ditch. Jacob learned a valuable lesson that night, off the roadside.

This lesson in driving in the ever changing temperatures of Newfoundland and Labrador is my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Pay heed to warnings, and click on the little froggy for more stories related to this week’s photo prompt.

ice-on-the-window
Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields