Month: May 2014

The Last One

I never slept very well last night, tossed and turned from the moment my head hit the pillow. It hasn’t been the same since she left; since everybody left.

I got up early, what was the use to stay in bed when I had so much to do today?

My every footstep echoed throughout the house, and the utter quietness was enough to drive a sane man mad in seconds.

The dog bowl in the corner is as empty as it was yesterday. What’s the use to fill it? He left with the others.

I go to the refrigerator and glance inside. The shelves are filled with everything I could imagine, but I have appetite for nothing. I only eat because my diabetes tells me that I should. Or I die. Maybe I should consider the second alternative, what with the loneliness I am feeling right now.

But I go on. I force a bowl of dry cereal down the hatch and set out for yet another day of searching….

As quiet as it was in the old house, outside is even more so. Not a breeze, not a bird chirp. Not even the sound of machinery or cars or factories or people. Dead quiet. I might as well be dead.

As I walk down the path that I have been walking since I could walk, the one that leads to the grocery store where I shopped with my sweet Charlene, and that my parents shopped when I was but a wee child, I am alerted with the sound of a loud crash. Hey, maybe someone is here. Its been such a long time since I spoke to someone other than myself.

Damn, it’s only the roof of an old building falling to the ground. The old buildings have been doing that lately. Nobody to keep them maintained I guess.

The grocery store. Step one of my daily routine. I grab a shopping cart and push it into the first aisle. The wheels of the cart are getting rusty and the effort to push the thing gets worse every day. The other carts are the same. If I had some oil I could fix them, but that won’t happen here.

Most dry goods are still good here, cereals, canned goods, grain, etc. I haven’t had milk is so long now that I know my bones are screaming for it. I don’t have time to worry about pain though, I have to keep alert.

Usually I pack my groceries in bags and carry them home, but nobody is here, who would miss this beat up old cart anyway? When I have filled my daily shopping list, I head home. Not having to wait in the checkout line is the only pleasure I have these days.

Got everything packed and locked in the shelves of the cabinets in the pantry. As I climb the stairs and head outside, I wonder what I will find today. Every day my routine is the same. Sleep, eat, gather food, and then search. Today I will head southwest. I haven’t gone that route in almost a month.

My trusty old bicycle is the only means of travel that’s left for me. Cars became useless when there was nobody to fix them. Gasoline being so difficult to find these days, how else could I use a car anyway? Too bad though, I could have my pick of any car I wanted. A hunk of rusting metal. Big deal!

As I pedal down the empty street, I think back to the days when the sidewalks were crowded with people hustling back and forth, some actually bumping into others without a care. Those days are gone now. Perhaps the only good thing about this life I am left to lead. I look on either side of the street, hoping to find some sort of life. Hell, a rodent or another pest would actually be a welcome sight right now. I probably wouldn’t mind even seeing a mosquito or an ant. But there is nothing here but me. Hell! Why me?

I pedal until my legs get too tired to move. Another colossal waste of time. At least I satisfied my curiosity for one more day. Nothing on the southwest side. Next week I will move to the next step. I have been gathering food for quite some time. Think I will alter one of the shopping carts into a makeshift bicycle trailer and venture to the next city. Maybe there is someone  there, someone like me, wondering why they have been abandoned by not only the people they love, but by every living thing in the world.

Right now the sun begins to set. I have to get back inside. God knows that night brings the terror, the terror that took every living thing on this planet away from me. Why not me? Why torture me with the knowledge that I am the Last Man on the planet?

 

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The proposal

As some of you may know, Snb’s single life will be coming to an end very soon. On July , 2014, I will be tying the knot with a very beautiful woman who I love very much.

I am lucky for a number of reasons, the best being the fact that she is doing most of the wedding planning on her own. My role is (my words, not hers) simply showing up on time. I can live with that. We already have our ceremony music chosen, the church and bar booked, and our bridal parties asked and accepted.  Being a wedding DJ, I am simply putting a playlist together and letting the music play. Think after over 25 years of entertaining couples on their special night, I can manage to play my own wedding without too much grief.

Tonight she asked me to write a short paragraph describing my ‘Unique’ method of proposing. I remember it quite well.

While driving home from a nearby city where we were shopping, I noticed that my lady was enjoying her favorite candy. Those little ‘love hearts’ with the romantic writing on the side. I also noticed that she had just ate two particular candy with the words ‘will you’ and ‘marry me’ written on them.  I kept that thought at the back of my mind.

A few years later, on December 21, 2007 to be exact, I finally  got up the nerve to ask her to marry me.  I went out and bought these little love hearts candy. I had to buy over ten packs to find the words I needed. In one box I put all the extra candy, and in the other box, I put just two candy.  ‘Will you’ and ‘marry me’.  another box contained the engagement ring.

My lady had planned on spending Christmas with her family in a nearby town, so I had to think fast.  I mentioned that I had a surprise for her. I brought out all three boxes.

She opened the first box and commented on how she loved these little candies. Then she opened the second box (at first I thought that she was going to eat the candy and ruin my plan); but then she stopped and read the writing on the candy. She never said anything, but went to the next box, which contained her ring. She was speechless!

I think it was a year or two later that she finally said yes. I think I caught her off guard with the candy!

She still loves these little candies, and you know what? So do I!

Land of the free

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

Free? Are we really that free that we mention it in our National Anthem? I think not.

Prior to the last few months, I would have been the first to say that we live in a free country, but after subscribing to Netflix, and then comparing the American version to the one that I am watching, I beg to differ.

I mean, compare over 10,000 titles to a measly 4000, and most of them being Canadian crap, and your $7.99 doesn’t seem like such a great deal at the end of the day.

To Mom

They were poor folks back then, raising cattle and hens, their father finding work wherever he could, struggling to make ends meet.

The family was large, but not for the time. Eleven kids, six girls and five boys. Mom and dad made it thirteen.

A one room school served the entire community, and church law was law.  Nobody challenged the school master. She was a nun from a nearby village, and her scorn was cruel and pointless.

Kids grew up and stayed on as farmhands, they didn’t venture away from home to find themselves.

Her dad drank a lot back then, it was the way. Women stayed home to tend to the farm and take care of the kids, the men partied when times were hard and worked when they could.

She wanted something different for her kids, something better. Unlike most, she never dropped out of school and married young. Rather, she finished high school and left home to teach others.

This journey brought her to a bigger town than she ever imagined. From there she met a man who she loved from the start. She married him.

They built a small house in a small community and started a family. They both struggled financially as she gave up teaching and he worked odd jobs and drove cab.

The town began to prosper, and he got a job as a logger for a local sawmill. Times were getting a bit easier, but as times got better, the family grew. Money was short, but she managed what little they had and they were happy.

As the kids grew, there was hope for a brighter future. Some went off to college, some married and raised families.

Now they are in their senior years, and they are happy. Grand kids adorn their home on weekends, and they spend each day together, celebrating their love for one another.  Today we are gathering at their home, bringing cards and gifts and mostly love.

Happy Mothers Day Mom, we love you so much.

Puzzled

The walls of the old retirement home echoed in quietness. Not a sound in any of the fifty or so rooms on either side of the hallway. It was as if the old place had finally been abandoned. Except for one room that is. In this room, wicked laughter and evil lurked…

Surprisingly, most of the racket came from one room; a room that housed Marlene Jennings, an 85 year old retiree who simply sat and did a jigsaw puzzle. At first glance, this may have seemed so innocent, but if you knew Marlene, or Lena as she was known to her few friends, you would simply know better.

Her craggy old fingers pressed the tiny knobs together creating her own works of art. Some of the puzzles that she had finished adorned the walls of her tiny room, and upon further inspection of the subject matter, one would cringe in terror.

The puzzles, which were assembled and then glued to cardboard and then framed, depicted images of true terror, from men and women being tortured to soldiers being beheaded. Some even showed massive murder scenes of families and innocent children.

The picture she was putting together today was much worst than any of her previous puzzles. The image showed a set of shoulders and the back of someone’s head. In front of the person sat a laptop. On the laptop, the image of a wordpress blog page titled ‘Puzzled’. Oh, I forgot to mention….the person’s throat was cut by a piece of piano wire. It lay next to the victim, on the floor. You are wondering who the victim is? Think about it for a minute. Who else but the reader of this blog post….HAhahaha….

The laughter again filled the rooms of The Lost Souls Retirement Home.

Leather anyone?

So I made up my mind this morning that I needed a new jacket. Leather if possible. First I shopped at all the stores in the area (not many carry leather) and found nothing. Then I went online. Still not the one I was looking for. Maybe I am either too fussy or too cheap…

When I was a kid, my uncle dropped over with a gift. He had been working away and made enough money to buy me a gift. Wow, I was excited.

“Real leather” he said. “From Texas!”

Well everyone knows that if its made in Texas, it must be real leather. It fit perfect. And cool! Little leather strings hanging from each sleeve just like Davy Crockett. I don’t know if Davy Crockett actually wore a jacket with strings hanging from the sleeves, but my dad agreed that he did, so that was good enough for me.

The first day I wore it to school, I was so proud. I didn’t walk that day, I strutted in like I was a millionaire. That didn’t last long. The bullies had a field day ripping  the strings from the sleeves. By the end of the day,  I was completely ‘de-stringed’ and no longer did I feel like Davy Crockett.

Still, I wore that coat with pride. I wore it outside playing, riding my bike, even to church. Most of all, I wore it whenever we went to the beach. I know what you are saying, ‘who wears a jacket to the beach?’

I would proudly use my real leather jacket as a seat, allowing myself and hopefully some hot chick (I was twelve at the time) to sit next to me instead of her getting all sandy and dirty. It almost worked.

Betty Jean was a cute blonde who all the kids wanted to sit next to. She was an ‘older’ gal of fourteen, so naturally all us younger kids had our fantasies of her. ‘Hey Betty, how’s that sand treating you?’ I asked.

She came over and just before she sat down, she peered at my fine leather garment and asked “Hey Teddy, isn’t that a bubble in the leather? I didn’t know leather bubbled in the heat.”…

and then she laughed. She might has well burst both bubbles, the one in my fine leather jacket and the one with my fantasy of her sitting next to me. She grabbed the bubble, and pulled it until it peeled from the lining of the jacket.

“Hahahaa that ain’t leather, its plastic!” she said. My heart was broken. I grabbed the thing and ran home. I had to ask my uncle why my coat was peeling.

Uncle being the con man that he was, simply explained that in summer, Texas cows actually shed their skin, and that by fall the jacket would be perfect again. What was he taking me for? I knew that even if the cows shed in the summer, my jacket wouldn’t be fixed. That was the last Texas leather jacket I ever owned. As for Betty, I think she ran off with my uncle.

So you are a writer, are you?

Someone bought me a book once. I think it was my fifth grade teacher. She said “read it, you will enjoy it, I promise you.”

I did what she told me and she was right. I loved the book. I carried it with me where ever I went, even to the point that I donned the nickname ‘book worm’. I didn’t care, loved the book. From that particular book, I went on to read the rest of the very interesting books by the author, and was probably his biggest fan in all the Roman Catholic school system all through the 1970’s.

It was that one particular book, and perhaps the author himself, that enticed me to keep writing, and maybe even the reason why I write today.

I was asked once if I was a writer. When I agreed, I was asked if I had anything published. My reply was that a writer writes. Publishing is something else entirely. I was also asked why I write. My answer was that I wanted to become the next Farley Mowat. He laughed. Farley wrote that wonderful first novel that was given to me by the strict but very compassionate teacher in the fifth grade. The book was entitled ‘The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be’.

Farley passed away today. He was a Canadian writer who wrote books that appealed to almost everyone in many walks of life.  His books were enjoyed world wide and some, such as ‘Never Cry Wolf’ was even adapted into a movie.

If you find the time, look for any Mowat book you can find, and like my teacher said, you will enjoy the book.

 

The Gift

Me Missus asked what we should get her mother for her birthday this year. I said “Nothing”. She’s like “Nothing? She’s my mother, we need to buy her something nice!”

I am like “We bought her something nice last year and she didn’t use it”

She’s like “We bought her a cemetery plot!”

I say “Exactly!”

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A man, his wife and his mother-in-law went on vacation to the Holy Land. While they were there, the mother-in-law passed away.The undertaker told them, ‘You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150.’

The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.

The undertaker asked, ‘Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your mother-in-law home, when it would be wonderful to have her buried here and spend only $150?’

The man replied, ‘a man died here 2,000 years ago, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance.’

 

 

talents

some find their talents when they are very young. My sister used to love playing with crayons. She ate all mine when she was a wee child. Eventually her love for colour led her to begin drawing. She started out small, with the paint by number kits that our aunt bought for us. I had no use for such a thing…an allergy to paint and a hate for colouring meant that my gift was quickly regifted to my sister.

She progressed to water colour (no, not spelled wrong…I am Canadian. We use ‘U’s’ when you don’t) and then to oils and other paint terms that I  am not all too familiar with.  A marriage to an unloving man and two children soon overtook her desire to paint. I don’t think she paints anymore, but I imagine that she can still do magic with a paint brush if so inclined.

My brother had a musical talent when he was a kid. At six, he could pick most songs on the guitar and sing along with his music. Unfortunately his school teachers enjoyed his musical talent much more than they had a right to. The used to make him stay indoors during lunch and recess so that he could play for them. With that (and a streak of stubbornness that he still has), he put the guitar down and never played again. What a waste of talent.

My youngest sister used to watch my dad play guitar when she was still in diapers. My dad was quite the picker. I remember he and mom sitting in the living room bellowing out country songs together. Dad can’t play any longer. Arthritis and years of hard work has made his once nimble fingers stiff. We don’t mention guitar around him anymore. It upsets him. He does, however enjoy my sister’s tunes.

Back to the baby of the family. She learned all dad’s licks and since she was five, she has been picking and singing. She was in a band for awhile, seeing how she used to sing as well as she played. About three years ago she was rear ended by a careless driver. With soft tissue damage that has disabled her to the point that she can no longer hold a guitar for very long, she had no choice but to stop playing.  Now after countless injections and physiotherapy, she manages to pick up the guitar a bit. She spends her time teaching young kids her talent. God bless her.

That leaves me. As far as singing, I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Being tone deaf, I know lots of guitar chords but cannot distinguish between them. I did work for years as a DJ, but that only entailed playing CD’s of other people. I never considered myself particularly talented. Until WordPress.

WordPress has allowed me to discover a talent that I was not aware of. I am not tooting my own horn here. I am just grateful for all the people who stop by and give my work a second look. I appreciate the comments and suggestions that you offer. I even welcome criticism of my grammar (hey, I am a Newfie after all). My writing was completely self taught as I have never been able to afford an English degree or anything similar. Again, thanks for stopping by and I appreciate and welcome your comments.

The Secret Part IV

The noise of his footsteps still haven’t changed. All those years ago I used to be terrified of their sound, and now is no different. I shudder to think what will happen to me if he finds me here. I move further into the cage. Once my home for that horrid weekend, now my refuge.

Clop Clop Clop CLOP! The sound of his boots hitting the hardwood floor are now deafening to my ears. The entire room is filled by the echo of those boots. The same boots that kicked me in my groin when I tried to get away. Or at least they sound like the same boots. Some things you never forget.

“ANYONE IN HERE” he yells. That voice! It’s him again. He is within a few feet of me. As much as I pray that he doesn’t turn the light on, he does just that.

“What do we have here?” he says, as he peers into the cage. I feel like a trapped animal, ready to be slaughtered. He kicks the door shut, locking me in this prison.

“You stay there until I get back. What’s this? You have something. Hand it over!” he yells.

When I refuse to give it up, he stabs me with the end of the broom handle. The tape falls from my hands.

“This is why you broke into my home? For this? You risk prison for this? Do you know what you have here?”

I pray that he doesn’t show me. I don’t think I could witness my suffering again. He used to play the movie for me when I was young and when I was his captive.

He lay the video on the counter and left the room. In minutes he returns.

“The house is tightly secured now. Nobody to bother us. Its just you and me. Just like the old days. I could call a few friends over, but these days I have too much to lose than to trust just anybody. Besides, I paid them dearly for their promise. Many of my former friends wouldn’t want to be associated with this tape.”

With that, he dusts off an old VCR machine and inserts the tape. His television is old and I secretly pray that it doesn’t work, but since today is NOT my day, the thing springs to life. I close my eyes so that I don’t have to watch, but I have to know what I was stealing.

He turns the movie on and it is exactly the same as I remember. The horror of a young child being forced to do these things…I hold my breath so that I will pass out and I do…..as he watches.

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HOUSE FOR SALE. RECENTLY RENOVATED. PRICED TO SELL

The new family hurry to make an offer. The previous owner left suddenly, claimed to have a family emergency in another state.

Bob and Kathy Sterling, the newest owners of the house are excited to move into their dream home. Sure it needs some work, but for the most part, it is in amazing shape for such an old house.

With old houses come strange noises. The first few nights that Bob and Kathy stay in the house, they are awakened by a noise from the basement. Each night they go down and check it out, and of course they find nothing. Just the house moving or maybe a mouse. Eventually the noise goes away, followed by a dreary smell, like that of a rotting corpse. The Sterlings don’t keep the old place for very long. The house changes hands many times until one day, someone decides to tear down the basement wall.

With that, they find a large cage, probably meant for a dog or other pet. The cage’s contents are not anything dog related however. They contain the bones of a man, possibly in his late teens or early twenties.

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This little tale explains how not all stories end on a good note. My idea for the story came from an experience I had a few weeks ago. Like in Part II of the story, I explained how a small child approached a gas station attendant for the use of a phone.  This indeed did happen. I was the gas station attendant. Fortunately for this child, the old man who offered him a ride really did bring him home. But what if he didn’t?

Mom’s and Dads, try to explain to your kids the dangers of getting into cars of people that they don’t know. I recently had a conversation with my own child. I asked him if he was down town and it began to rain or snow heavily and he needed a ride, would he go with someone who claimed to be a kind person and who promised his safety. He thought for a minute and said that he would rather walk home in the rain or snow than risk being taken by that person. Maybe he gets it. I Hope you enjoyed this little tale and that it doesn’t keep you up late at night.