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Mitchell Duran Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
           The figures stood still, a blank expression to fill. Their waxed complexion holding dust, soulless cages immune to rust. Light bulbs flash in rhythmic delirium, contrived joy running at a premium.
           Flocks of herds came to take notice of this brand new attraction, one designated worthy by an overriding faction. Social conscience had said its peace, and passed on its opinions in a shifty lease. Word had spread as fast as it could, regardless of whether it necessarily should.
           “T. Elsey Wax Museum” was the hottest ticket in the city. Vouched for by an annual subcommittee, composed of men of no esteem, and opposed to views deemed too extreme. Every vacant mind had jumped on board, its entrance fee was small enough to afford.
Prosperity renewed, discord unglued. The walls of Briar Field, seem to leave much concealed. It’s owner, a Mr. Holden Reeve, is a vain little creature beyond reprieve. He sees no value in an altruistic life, and seems to anguish in his everyday strife.
His facility has been thrashed in print, and regarded as no more than a publicity stint. Still, if true, his machine would be a marvel, something verging on plausibly being artful. Its said Mr. Reeve has tapped into the human soul, and made monetary gain his lonesome goal.
The patents of Mr. Reeve lay out the plan for an odd looking device, but it’s purpose isn’t made overly concise. According to speculation, the machine can resurrect an individual’s ideals, but I can’t tell you how worrisome that makes this reporter feel. Mr. Reeve is toying with the work of God, something he should know to be intrinsically unflawed.
Eliot Tern was standing in a ridiculously long line, it ran four blocks down to a street named Woodbine. Elliot had been there since midday, though he had begun contemplating whether or not he should stay. Looking back there was a hectic crowd, pushing and shoving in a manor quite loud.
Eliot had dragged his friend Henry along with him, though that boy thought their odds of getting in were pretty grim. Henry stood casually, kicking stones, outside the front of BMC Savings and Loans. A woman in front told him to knock it off, Henry called her a ****, but masked it with a cough.
It was two in the afternoon by the time the two boys were about halfway, a nearby baby cried as it spat up apple puree. Some of the sauce found its way onto a man’s face, he told the mother that her parenting skills were a complete disgrace. The woman slapped the man in vicious spite, though to speak truthfully she had every right.
The man screamed and pouted for a minute or two, then he calmed down, and began to clean up the child’s spew. He glanced around to see if anyone was glaring, and poor Henry was noticed hesitantly staring. The man pointed to Henry and began to call him a coward; he spoke with the type of veracity that made it quite apparent that he felt empowered.
Henry stood calm for only a moment, and then began to stare at the man like he was no more than an opponent. The boy picked up a large rock from a graveled path, and hurled it at the man with the feeling of contempt and wrath. The stone struck the man just bellow the eye, and for a moment it looked as though he would cry.
Then the man screamed with a furious hate, it became quite clear that he was now irate. Henry took off; leaving Eliot on his own, it wasn’t exactly a measure the boy could postpone. The man had begun pushing through the crowd trying to get to the boy; his face reflected no hint of joy.
Henry ran for about 10 minutes, he had pushed himself to no new limits. The man had given up the chase after leaving the line; he tried to reclaim his spot shouting, “*******! It’s mine!” The crowd booed the man as angry mobs do, and he had to walk his way to the back to calmly stew.
               Henry was only 12 when he walked in through the rusted doors of Briar Field, it’s hinges shrieked as though inadvertently sealed. A reception desk stood before a large, arched entrance, and there sat the owner’s, under-skilled, apprentice. The man spoke in a seemingly mocking tone, as though Henry was standing in a restricted zone.
         The boy, feeling mocked, turned towards the exit, the man ran up, in a manor quite hectic. He told Henry that he was only joking, just doing a bit of nonsensical provoking. He said to Henry that his name was Fredrick Barnes, grew up, quite happily, on several local farms.
           Fredrick, or Fred as he liked to be called, began explaining the nature of how he went bald. He told Henry that he had developed an addiction to charity, making his true nature no more than a parody. Lived for years with his ego at bay, and gave every dollar he earned away.
            It took its toll in rather short time; though to live vicariously makes it all seem fine. Fred ignored his dreams for far too long, believing God to be king making him just a pawn. Then one day, he told Henry, “I was caught in a storm”, he said, “The falling rain against the wind seemed so pleasantly warm.”
             Then a man came by, begging for some change. Fred had no issue giving up his entire measly, well-earned wage. His Christian nature told him he was no better, then this hungry man in a beat up old sweater.
            Fred handed over 1,200 dollars, a mere hours work for some uneducated scholars. The beggar began to smile, showing all of his teeth, there was a yellow glow from a plaque-ridden sheath. He then turned to Fred, with a more sinister grin, and Fred noticed then, that the man stunk of gin.
             He asked Fred if he had any money, timid, Fred responded, “This really isn’t funny.” The beggar pulled out a small caliber pistol, and said that, “one has a responsibility to be fiscal.” Skin peeled off of Fred’s wrist, as the beggar pulled at a watch through clenched fist.
              In the end, the beggar took all but Fred’s clothing, and left with a bang, as to not to seem imposing. He had only shot the man just bellow the knee, but blood loss had made it hard for Fred to see. He crawled and clawed his way towards a distant street lamp, but movements were elongated by the weight of his clothes, which, obviously, were quite damp.
              Fred laid hopelessly on the cold, wet cement, with the rain mocking him in its relentless dissent. The beacon he had crawled towards turned out to be a dead-end, the severity for which was hard for the man to comprehend. There in the stillness of the night, Fredrick Barnes became aware of the true nature of his plight.
              Holden Reeve had found Fred while the man was riddled with a complex terror, spouting off nonsense about living his life in error. Holden took the young man in through the doors of Briar Field, a museum, which, to the public, had yet to be revealed. It didn’t take long for Fred to fully recover; eventually he began to look at Holden as a brother.
             Fred turned to Henry and told the boy that was the end of his story, and now, it was time for the moment of glory. He opened the two doors hidden under the arched entrance, and Henry walked into the room, followed by Holden’s apprentice.
             When they entered the room Henry immediately asked, “Where’s Mr. Reeve? ...I’m sorry if he’s passed.” Fred laughed and told the boy Holden was most certainly not dead; in fact, the two of them were standing in the middle of his homestead. Then the boy noticed the nature of the room, and how cobwebs gave it the foreboding feeling of doom.
             There was another set of doors at the end of the room, but Fred turned and knocked on a bare wall with the backside of a broom. A panel slipped open and retracted into the wall, and out stepped a noble looking man, though, truthfully, quite small. There were no visible features on the man at first, so initially Henry was expecting the worst.
              Fred acknowledged him as Mr. Reeve, so Henry stood tall, and tried to make his back as flat as the wall. It wasn’t so much that the boy was often courteous, in fact, with regards to that sentiment, the boy was usually impervious. He just felt that in this particular situation, there was going to be no recapitulation.
              This was clearly a man who only spoke with the most precise of words, those capable of collecting and massacring mass herds. Though Holden Barnes would never speak to such a crowd, his absentmindedness for them would be hard to shroud. The man was indifferent to any collective thought, and his principles were to firm to ever be bought.
              Holden spoke to Fred in brief manor, those unheard of in the print of “The Banner”. He asked if Henry seemed like a reasonable boy, or if he was merely some shady companies plotted decoy. Fred vouched for Henry, who he didn’t know; playing a bluff, and hoping it wouldn’t show.
               Holden nodded and shook his friends hand, and spun to the boy, as though his motion had been a cautious ploy. “Who are you?”, and “Why should I care?”, Mr. Reeve asked Henry, the response for which seemed to be lost in the boys memory.

“If you can’t speak to me I don’t know if you should be here, I’m not the one in the room who you should naively fear. My greatest achievement lies just behind those doors over there, but if your this timid, you could get quite the scare. I’ve constructed a testament to the human soul, and it’s designed for any man to control.”

“Though to put it in such terms is hardly fair, it’s just not something that easy to compare. I’ve gotten to where I am, if you’ll dare me to say, through myself and am not one to decline the pay.  My invention just doesn’t seem to arouse much attention, in the press Fred says I haven’t even stirred up a mention.”

“I tell you this though, it’s been their mistake, for what I’ve created here is no preposterous fake. I’ve created a method of speaking with many various forms of reason, though to them it’s some form of religious treason. They seem to think I have resurrected the soul, ghostly figures ripped out of a black hole.”

“But that simply isn’t true, as you’ll come to see, now Fred tells me your name is Henry. You have to choose now before your walk through those doors, if your ready to dance on such hallowed floors. The mystery my seem quite vague to you, but understand this offer has been made to but a few.”

“I don’t understand, what should I say?”

“To ask such a question, here I thought you were a stray? An opinion, like ego is something to treasure, not cast off at someone else’s pleasure. This decision is yours and yours alone, you can use no alchemy from the philosopher’s stone.”

Henry was caught up in an odd predicament, one with no true equivalent. He had no real idea what he was choosing between, but he knew that he couldn’t let that fear be seen. So Henry said yes, without further discussion, and hoped along the way there would be no major repercussion.
At the end of the hall there stood an entrance, Fred stood by acting as apprentice. He told Henry to try and open the door, as Henry pushed his feet slid across the floor. Fred laughed and said that it was locked, and could only be opened one way, Holden kicked a loose rock imbedded in the wall, and soon, the door moved, quick to obey.
The room was not nearly as large as Henry had pictured, and distant light bulbs scornfully flickered. There was only one object in the center of the space, here Henry began walking with a quickened pace. It looked as though it was just a large computer monitor, but its framework seemed composed by an ancient astrologer.
Objects spun about with contact precision, and small fractures of light seemed to meet through collision. The spectacle was truly something to behold, though Henry still had no idea what was about to unfold. Mr. Reeve walked up to the machine and began to touch its screen, and all the lights stopped, and then seemed to reconvene.

“Alright Henry, I suppose it’s time I explained the true nature of this device, but somehow I only now realize you got in here free of price. No matter, it’s been a while since it’s seen someone new, I’m curious what some of these people are going to say to you.”

“What you are looking at now is a labor of scientific process, but believe me when I say there is no need to be cautious. There is no black magic at work here, though many have said so without coming near. This machine I’ve created does what some say to be impossible, like Nemo’s creation, just far less nautical.”

“This machine collects and records all forms of the written word, sweeps them in like collecting some massive herd. It organizes and sorts data of all different norms, and emits it in a conversational form.”

“You see this creation has given man a chance to talk to those of the past, allowing for a legacy only time can outlast.”

Henry stopped and stared at the man for quite a long period of time, and tried to figure out why Mr. Reeve looked so perfectly sublime. Henry now thought he understood the nature of the device, in fact Holden had made it all seem so concise. The machine would allow Henry to talk to anyone from the past, as long as there had been enough information amassed.

“Who do you want to talk to first? I’d suggest Ayn Rand, if you’re okay with being coerced.”

Henry had no idea concept of Mrs. Rand, so the concept to him didn’t seem overly grand. He lingered on the thought for a second or two, not wanting to pick an individual who could be considered taboo. Then, it came to Henry like a sudden case of dysentery, he saw this man as more than a visionary.

“Is it possible for me to speak to someone who didn’t actually exist?”

“I can see what I can do if that’s what you insist?”
Eliot was furious as he saw Henry; the boy had been gone so long it had slipped from his memory. He stood and waited for Henry to ask to step back into line, and then he would make it clear that everything was not fine. Eliot was now standing at the front, to just let Henry in would be a great affront.

“I’m going home.” Henry said as he let his eyes roam.

Eliot felt sick as Henry walked away, then he became curious how he had spent the last three hours of the day. “No matter” thought Eliot as he waited patiently, he’d have his victory soon enough, and he would take it graciously. Very suddenly a woman opened up the front doors of the institution, and thanked everybody for their “contribution”.

“It’s time to say goodnight. The museum will be open at 9 o’clock tomorrow, during daylight.”

The woman very casually walked away, as Eliot was in complete dismay. Then he had a calming thought, none of the creations were going to rot. All he would have to do is come back the next day, everything, he thought, will be okay.
Dorothy A May 2012
Trish had an uncanny ability to pick all the wrong ones. Like a friend once told her, “You always try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!”  If there were a hundred available guys in a room, she always managed to zone in on the worst one there, not the kindest one, not the one with the greatest character or honor. It's like she had a special gift for finding a man—a cursed one—yet she had only herself to blame—not  fate for it—like she tried to point her finger at for her troubles. In this regard, Trish was often her own worst enemy. And none of her bad experiences seemed to deter her from her defeating patterns, for it seemed that having a ****** choice of a man in her life was better than having no man at all.

A Friday night without any date was something she desperately wanted to avoid. At the age of fifty-six, trying to meet men was getting old, as old as she was feeling, lately.

At Pete’s Place, a local bar down at the end of her street, and two blocks over, Trish could at least feel like she was among friends. It was an old hangout that always felt like a safe haven to turn to, familiar territory that she could call her own turf, her home away from home. Often, Trish encountered regulars, down-to-earth faces who have been going to the family-like establishment as long as or longer than she has. Drinking really was not her thing, not more than one or two, at the most. But if anything, if worst came to worst, she could say she was not home alone and left out while the world seemed to go on its own merry way without her.  

Pete’s Place was far from a glamorous hangout, but it had a cozy charm to it that made it irresistible to Trish. In the back were a pool table and a dartboard that provided some harmless enjoyment. With a couple of flat screen TVs, there usually was some sports game to watch. And every other Saturday, there was a DJ conducting Karaoke that always attracted a regular crowd. Trish couldn’t sing a note, but she loved to watch and cheer everybody else on. She just felt so welcome here, so at home, that even if she felt depressed or lonely, the atmosphere eventually lifted her heaviness of heart.  

Entering the bar this time, Trish hardly saw a familiar face at all—that was except for the bartender, Henry, who worked this job since forever. For a Friday night, business seemed surprisingly slow. There was only an older couple watching a baseball game that was at Pete’s Place, a couple that she did not recognize.

“Where is everybody?” Trish asked Henry.

Henry smiled. “Hey, Trish! Good to see ya! Yeah, it is like a ghost town tonight, isn’t it? I guess there are too many good things goin’ on down in Buffalo. I think there are some big boat races goin’ on. And, for sure, there is the jazz festival”.

“Well, I’m here, Henry! Look out, everybody! Let the fun begin!” she said jokingly as she sat herself up at one of the barstools. She looked around. Even the wait staff wasn’t around, obviously gone home early and not needed.

“Would have been nice to go somewhere fun like that. I mean the jazz festival. I like jazz”, Trish said to Henry.

Henry was trying to stay busy by wiping down the bar, cleaning every nook and cranny behind the counter. “You should have called up one of your girlfriends to go over there. I am sure someone would have gone with ya”.

Trish rolled her eyes. “What girlfriends? They are often too busy with their own husbands or men in their life to care about what poor, old Trish Urbine wants to do!”

Henry felt bad for her.  The more she frequented Pete’s Place, the more he knew she was all alone, was in between having some man in her life. And, lately, she was coming quite often to the bar by herself.

“You are not old, Trish! Hell, I am older than you!” Henry exclaimed.

Trish just frowned, not convinced at all by what Henry said. “Not old?” she asked. She pulled a small mirror out of her purse and looked at herself, giving herself the inspection of a drill sergeant. “That is a joke! Look at those bags under my eyes. Look at those crow’s feet, for pity’s sake!  Look at that droopy skin in my neck! Horrible! I am trying to save up for a face lift. I really need it! Been needing it for a while now!”

Henry shook his head. “All you women are alike. My wife does the same, **** thing, the same putdowns to herself. Says she’s fat. Says she’s getting old and ugly. Says this and says that. But let me tell you Trish, after thirty-six years of marriage, I still see her as my sweetheart. I’d have it no other way than with my Bernadette. He patted his belly and added, "Hell, look at me. Believe it or not, with my job, I don’t even drink that much beer. But look at the gut I am getting”.  

Trish scoffed at what he said. Henry looked nearly as lean as he did the first time she met him. He was just being nice. .Under better circumstances, she would have found what Henry said as endearing and charming. To say he still loved his wife as his “sweetheart” was incredibly adorable and rare.

“Hey”, Henry said. “Enough of my jibber jabber. Pardon my manners. What can I get for ya, dear?”

“Just a Diet Coke for me, Henry. I have to watch the calories myself. You know me—don’t want to get frumpy, lumpy and dumpy. At least not more than I am!” Trish smiled. She thought that her self disparaging remarks were a cute way of getting her point across with humor, but Henry couldn’t see anything funny about it.

He filled her glass of pop from the tap and handed it over to her. “Hey, how’s that daughter of yours doing? Is she still living in Albany?”  

Trish cupped her hands up to her forehead and rested her head on them. “She is still in Albany, but she might as be on the moon for all we ever talk to each other”. She looked up at Henry and he could see the frustration written all over her face.

“I didn’t mean to upset you”, he said.

“Oh, you didn’t”, she returned. “I appreciate you asking, but you know the situation with Patti and I. It is either that we are at each other’s throat or we just don’t talk. Truth be told, we haven’t really got along since she was a girl. Once she hit those teenage years—oh, man they were a nightmare! I wouldn’t relive those years for anything!”

Henry rested his elbows up on the bar counter. “Oh, I know what you mean!. My second son, my boy, Steven, and I had a terrible time once he hit about fifteen. Man, him and I bucked heads all the time. Yes, indeed! It could get ugly, and it sure as heck did! But now I’m proud of him! In Afghanistan, fighting for his country—that is somethin’ that makes me glad! Now, I say that I couldn’t ask for better sons. I’m proud of him—of all four of my boys as good, strong men that they are!”  

Trish sipped on her coke, a hurtful look upon her face while reflecting on her daughter, a daughter that she named after herself.  Both were named Patricia, but the same name did not mean two peas in a pod, actually far from it. Trish definitely preferred her name, short and sophisticated—so she had liked to think—and the name, Patti, seemed cute and carefree. But Patti seemed anything but cute and carefree, not like she was when she was very little. But the name stuck with her, as she preferred to be called

“Yeah, but Patti still lives in the past” Trish said. “She still blames me for everything wrong in her life. Nothing has changed, and I am still the bad guy. Trish thought for a second. “Well, her dad, too. He’s bad, too, in her eyes. She always says she raised herself, that she never had real parents. That’s crap because I raised her and I was around—unlike her useless father!”

“Sounds bitter on her part”, Henry agreed. He thought to say that Trish sounded a bit like that, too, but he did not think it was his place to say it out loud.

“Bitter is right”, Trish said in disgust.  

Bartenders have always been seen as good listeners, like the working man’s counselor. People, like Trish, often came in for a drink to try to forget their troubles, and wanting to lean on a trusty soul in need. Henry has seen plenty of this in his twenty-four years on the job, and he has honed the skill quite well, the skill of providing a listening ear. Sometimes he had good advice, but he knew he was no psychiatrist.    

Frustrated, Trish went on. “I mean who else was there for her? When her dad and I divorced, she wanted to stay with him just to spite me! But would he have her? No, he only wanted to be with his under aged, ***** wife!

“And who else would do what I did? When my step dad died, and my mom couldn’t handle my little brother anymore, who was it that took him in? It was me! He was eleven and I was almost twenty-two and living with my boyfriend. I helped to finish raising him, kept him at my place right up to the day that he was grown—and more! And I did it because it needed doing, and nobody else was stepping in! When my sister moved to Colorado, and one of her kids, my nephew, Craig, wanted to stay here to graduate here from high school, I agreed to take him in for two years until he finished high school. And yet I am such a bad, selfish person in Patti’s opinion! It makes me sick to think of how she sees me as her mother!”

Henry poured her a refill of pop in her half empty glass. He knew that Trish was on bad terms with her daughter, that their relationship was shaky and strained. Patti was Trish’s only child, and it troubled him that they didn’t have much of a relationship. Yet Trish did not need pity. She needed to refocus and find a new direction. Henry knew that she has needed a new direction for quite a while now.    

“Well, you know I love my daughter”, he replied. “I know your heart must be achin’ bad—real bad. I couldn’t imagine my life without Jocelyn or me not talkin’ to her. She’s the apple of my eye, ya know!  And my boys know it and get that she’s special to me—Daddy’s little girl. With four older brothers, she has always been outnumbered. And myself and the Mrs. never expected her, neither. One—two—three—four, the boys all came right in a row! She came way after, Ben, the last one—a big surprise, I tell ya! But I was tickled pink and couldn’t have been happier to have my little girl”.  Henry smiled warmly, and added, “No matter how old she gets, she will always be my little girl.”

Trish’s mood wasn’t influenced by what Henry said, not for the good. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

Henry looked a bit embarrassed. “Oh, I ain’t tryin’ to rub it in to ya! No, no Trish!  I’m just sayin’ you should see Patti as someone special, no matter what it is like now. She still is your daughter. And ya lover her! You know ya do! Try to get through to her. Keep on tryin’ and don’t give up hope.”

Trish didn’t look convinced by his little pep talk, so he said, “One day she will have her own children, and realize she will make mistakes, too. You sure will want to see those grandkids. Trust me! I live to see all of mine! ”

Patti sniffed at that comment, putting forth a laugh that seemed so phony and snarky. This behavior was not like her at all, not the bubbly Trish that Henry used to see coming into the bar. “Grandchildren? Are you kidding me? Patti wants nothing to do with men! She avoids them like the plague! Says she doesn’t want to end up like me…married and divorced four times…she says there is no excuse for it. But she uses me all the time as an excuse! I think she is just scared to death of relationships with guys!”

“I thought you were married three times?” Henry asked. He had a surprised look on his face, but then he tried to think differently. “But I don’t want to **** in on your life. It’s your business, not mine to judge”.

“No, Henry, it’s ok. My last marriage lasted only seven weeks”. She turned red in the face now, but she wanted to set it straight. “Patti thinks it is disgusting that I married all those times. My last husband tried to clear out my bank account, and I left him. Patti says she will never marry. She won’t touch a man with a ten foot pole to save her life!”

She paused as Henry stared intently at her, listening. “She does not want to end up like me”, she added, her voice throaty. Tears welled up in her eyes.  

Patti was the product of Trish’s first marriage to a man named Earl Colbert. When Patti was six, her father divorced her mother. Since then, Patti had seen plenty of men come and go. In between her other three husbands, there were too many boyfriends to even keep track of. Trish was also engaged twice, but the engagements were eventually broken off.    

She sat in silence as Henry was still thinking of the right thing to say to comfort her. Soon, two young couples had entered through the door, dispersing the air of awkwardness, and stopping the conversation between Henry and Trish.  Henry continued to clean up around the bar as he waved to them and welcomed their presence. One of the guys came up and ordered a pitcher of beer before joining his friends at a table.

It was no more than a few minutes later that another customer approached inside Pete’s Place. It was Jake. Trish rolled her eyes at Henry. He was a regular here, too, like she was, and about the same age as her.

Jake immediately came up to Trish and put his arm around her. “Buy you a drink, darlin’?” he asked. His breath already smelled of alcohol.  

“Oh, Jake, get away!” Trish scolded him. “You know I don’t accept drinks from married men, so move on!” She waved her hand in the air to clear the bothersome odor of his ***** away from her.

Jack just laughed, and moved to the other end of the bar, his usual spot. Henry kept his calm although he did not like Jake acting like a fool to Trish, or to any of the women who came here. He had to do his duty and serve Jake, but if he had his way the guy would be just a step away from being told to leave. Henry always kept a close eye on how much Jake was drinking, and he often cut him off when it seemed he had his share.

“Whisky, Henry”, Jake ordered. They both knew the routine.

With his whisky in hand, Jake smirked at Trish and asked, “How come you ain’t at that big jazz festival downtown?”  

“How come you ain’t?” she echoed him, sarcastically

“Cuz I don’t have a sweet lady to go with me and keep my company”. He winked at her, and downed a gulp of whisky.

“Oh, you mean like your—wife!” Trish said.  Jake and Trish often bantered like this to each other. “You will never change, Jake. You are a rude and obnoxious flirt, and you ought to be ashamed!”

Jake just laughed her off.  “Sweetie, my wife knows I’m a big flirt. She’s OK with it! She says ‘as long as you are peeking and not seeking, who cares what you do!’”

The two young couples that came in a while ago overheard Jake’s conversation and started to crack up in laughter. It seemed that he was the entertainment for a lackluster evening at the bar, a court jester of sorts. Trish looked at the four, young faces that were laughing at her expense, glanced at Henry in silent agreement that Jake was an idiot, and quickly turned red in the face.

“Jake, shut your big mouth!” Henry intervened. “You lie as much as you belt them down!”  When Jake was more sober, he seemed pretty reasonable, but he was nauseating when he was on a drinking binge.

Henry exited into a room behind the bar for a moment. Jake whispered loudly to Trish, like an impish, little boy who knew he might get caught, but loved the thrill of it. “Psst. Hey, Trish! Look! My wife’s no fun at all! Won’t go out with me no more. The festival is going on all weekend. Just give me your number and I’ll call you tomorrow and pick you up to take you there”.

Trish pretended like she did not hear him, still rattled up a bit, but trying her best to hide it, and Jake soon devoted his mind to his drink.

She turned herself around in the barstool and pretended to watch the baseball game. The scene in the room was still practically the same way since she first arrived. Only now there was an edgier atmosphere with the four younger people in it. The older couple was still sitting together in the corner, intent on watching the ball game. The two younger couples were drinking down their pitcher of beer and talking away. One of the young man had his arm around his girlfriend, gently caressing her back, and the other young couple, that was sitting across from them was holding hands.  

In longing, Trish looked on at the young couples. How she m
Matthias Aug 2013
The leaky pipe in the basement needs to be checked periodically, so Henry ventures down with wrench in hand. Henry flips the light switch, coast is clear. He walks to the pipe and with a turn stops the watery drips. The newly found silence gives Henry’s senses clarity, which frightens him. As he stands, the figure emerges from the shadow in the corner. Henry is left frozen not knowing what to do. The voice echoes through the room and every vain in Henry’s body.
                                                                ­     DEATH is closer to you than you think,
                                                         ­                       and he can smell your fear.
                                                          ­         DEATH is watching closer than you know,
                                                          ­                          and he is always near.
                                                          ­             DEATH has made his acquaintance,
                                                  ­                               and escape is impossible.
                                                    ­                        DEATH will follow your steps,
                                                         ­                and you should run if you’re able.
Henry then runs as fast as he could out of the cellar. He found refuge in the throng of nurses coming back from lunch. Feeling he has put a full days in, he departed for the only place he remotely felt safe, his home.
Before he knew it, Henry was back on the train heading home. Thinking the only safe spot is away from that cellar, like the cellar could keep death at bay. Frantically Henry looks around for the evil spirit but saw nothing. No one was on the train, which was odd even for that time of day. Henry’s ears pick up a sound of footsteps coming from behind him, and he prays to G-d that it is only a delusion. Next to Henry sits a man who has placed a hat upon his lap, the same hat that has caused a shudder in his voice for the last few days. Before Henry could speak, the man says we are finally alone. Knowing full well that death has come to beckon him home, Henry sits for the end. The man sits silently, furthering the fear of Henry. “Why does he have to torture me? Just end it please,” thinks Henry. The man with the small-rimmed hat begins, “You are not safe my friend. As I have warned before, Death is preoccupied with you and your demise. Trust not a living soul.” Henry says, “Have you not come here to **** me for escaping your clutches?” The man bellows out a laugh and states, “I am not who you think I am. I’m here to keep you from him. That is the reason I have followed you at a distance.” Henry strains out, “You are not death coming to bid my end?” The man says, “No, but he has grown close to you.  Do not trust anyone you come into contact with. No one!” With that, the man departs off the train leaving only one more exit before Henry’s stop.
Henry exits the train peering into the faces of all around trying to see the devil behind their eyes. Henry talks to no one and makes it home safely. The incident on the train replayed in Henry’s mind until the vision was scratched like a vinyl under a needle. The only comfort Henry could think of was to sleep just one more night. Henry closes his eyes only to open them again to his nightmares. Like all the other nights, his mind dances with the idea of death but this time it was different. The pain was not just on the surface but sank deep within his being. He was strapped down and hot lava was being poured into his chest. Henry looks up to see teeth snarling at him and saliva dripping from the blackened abyss behind the teeth.  The creature was pinning him down and gave no relief. Henry now realizing it was only another nightmare he was attempting to wake himself, but he could not. As Henry’s eyes traveled up the face of the monster causing such pain, he sees the eyes. Eyes red as blood and that is when his mind pushes through the dreamland. Upon focusing in reality there was in fact some fiend residing on his chest. The dog that saved Henry was now tormenting him. The heat coming off the dog’s paws burned Henry’s skin. The dog then plunges for Henry’s heart. And that was the last thing Henry saw, his closest friend was indeed death.
Jude kyrie Jan 2017
Infidelity Is Fatal
A short story
With a twist
Jude Kyrie

Henry knew she was cheating on him.
No specific proof but he got that bitter feeling in his gut,
you know the kind that's always right.
Little things bothered him.
Like Meg not getting home until 6:45 when she finished work at 5 pm.
What was happening with the missing hour
that she should have been home.
Probably ******* some lover somewhere.
She always said oh I called in at the Mall
or ran into Betty her best friend
and stopped at Louie's Bar
for a glass of chablis.

The other thing was the phone calls.
She would put the phone down as soon as he came in the room.
Redial gave no answer at all but that was just a signal
he had read about lovers morse code
Let it ring three times to answer
or wait for the second and third call.
Yes for sure she was ******* someone.

No wonder Meg was stunning at thirty-five
her figure was great she spoke softly and was kind.
The first to offer her help to any worthy cause.
Decorated the church at Christmas and Easter.
She was a beautiful woman.
And some ***** was trying to take her away from him.

The final straw was the trip to LA she said she had to go there
for a meeting but LA was not in her territory.
Henry forbade her to go
but she got angry for the first time in twelve years of marriage
and told him to mind his own ******* business.
Jesus, she never swore.
For sure her lover would be with her
making a patsy of Henry with
Meg moaning ******* in the hotel bed

Then the doozy
he found the gold cufflinks with a small diamond in.|
He knew they were not for him
he never wore cufflinks in his life except on his wedding day.
He did not even own a shirt with a folded french cuff.
Yep, it was a gift for lover boy.

The phone rang it was seven o'clock it was Meg.
Hi Honey, I am going to be really late
I was at the mall and met the Bryants
we are going for a drink want to join us.

He had herNo I am meeting up with David
Evans for a poker game I will be late too he lied.
He knew for certain she was with lover boy at some ****** hotel
He probably had her down to her Bra and ******* right now.
The rage screamed in henry's chest.

The phone rang again
It was actually David Evans his best buddy.
He told him the full story about Meg
and her lover leaving out no detail
David felt he was losing it
Look, Henry.
Megs loves you she's as straight as an arrow,
You are just worrying about nothing.
Meg would never ever cheat on you buddy.
Then he told him about the cuff links
They were hidden in her ***** draw.
He had found them in his search for evidence.
He said silly they are probably a Christmas present for you.
No way, said Henry.
No way. I don't use Cufflinks.

David was worried Henry sounded like he had lost the plot
Look, Henry, I am coming over let's set up a game of pool
Get your good scotch out Buddy.

Henry put the receiver in its cradle|>
Then he went to the desk in his Den
in the locked drawer he pulled out a smith and wesson.45
And slid in in his belt.
It took him three hotels to find her
Her BMW that he bought her
was parked in the back of the carpark
Meg was in it as was a man was in the passenger seat.
He crept closer it Sam Bryant
Megs best friends husband

He was a homely fat **** with a big gut.
What the **** could she see in that loser?

He must have a **** like a ******* horse thought Henry.
But he tapped on the window with his gun
Meg saw him a shocked look on her face Henry what are you doing?.
Don't pretend you don't know you cheating ***** he yelled.
Put the gun down Henry for god's sake.
They ran away to the hotel bar and henry followed them in
He caught up to them and pulled his gun out pointing it a Sam's head
What the **** do you cheat on me with this fat ***** for?
I had a dog that was not as ugly as him
and I shaved its ***
and made it walk backward cried, Henry.
What do you mean said, Meg?
You think Sam and Me are having an affair, Henry?
She almost laughed.
But she was cool really cool.
It"s obvious, the ******* cufflinks.|
They are for you at Christmas.
you been in my drawers again Henry?

Well, Sam, you get ready to pay for your sins he said.
he lifted the gun into sam's face.
A woman screamed from the door
Henry, please don't hurt my husband, we got kids.
It was Betty sams wife.

I told you we were going for drinks henry said Meg
Put the gun down.
I even asked you to join us remember?

The door opened again two policemen with revolvers drawn
pointing at henry one shouted drop the weapon NOW!
Henry turned to face them
his gun pointed in their direction.
Then six shots from the police revolvers
blasted Henry into eternity.
He lay dead upon the floor.
mEg knelt by his body weeping.

The funeral went by quietly
only a few people attended.
Henry was regarded a bad news in this town.

It turned out the gun in Henry's hand
could not have fired anyway.
The firing pin was removed

A month later

The gossip column in the local rag had a story

Meg Williams and David Evans
Are pleased to announce their marriage
At the St Jude’s Church of Salvation.
Ms.Williams is an investment adviser
and widow of Henry Williams.
The wedding is on Saturday the 9th of February
The couple will be honeymooning in LA
Where the bride said they shared
their first romantic moments together

The only hole in Meg's story was fixed later.
She placed the shirt with french cuffs in her closet.
Wrapped in pretty Christmas paper with a note.
To Henry with all my love.

It was not needed
But God knows who Henry had blabbed
the cuff links story too.
Better to be safe than sorry
Smiled Meg
As she dropped the firing pin
of a Smith and Wesson .45 revolver
Into the drain twenty miles from her home.

The End
Just because you are not paranoid
does not mean there's no one
out there that wants to stick a knife in your back
Matthias Aug 2013
He arose from a stupor to find himself resting in a bed, much like the ones he maintained at Azrael. He realized that he was in fact at the very same hospital. The Doctor came and asked, “How are you doing?” Henry knew of this Doctor, but he has not ever carried on a conversation with him. Henry thought to himself, “What is his name? Dr. something with a ‘L’ or yeah Dr. Lance.” Henry replies, “Not well Dr. Lance.” The look of amazement on the Doctors face made Henry smile, and Dr. Lance explains, “Henry you were in an awful train accident, and you are the sole survivor.” Henry shook his head in agreement, and he asked how long he has to stay in the hospital. He hated it there because he always felt so enclosed and close to death. The Dr. answered, “Not long. Just until tomorrow.” The two said their good byes, and Henry was off to the first night of many where he would not get much sleep. The nightmares were too horrific for his mind to contain, and he often woke startled because he was screaming. The dreams were different each time, but all had the same underlying idea: his death. The first dream started with him on the train and he had to relive that event over and over. It played close to fifteen times before the sun rose. It was a bright morning with chirping birds and the smell of flowers, but all Henry could see was the death coming in and out of the hospital, which he never really noticed before. He arrived home and waiting on the porch was the dog that saved him the night before. Henry approached cautiously because those eyes looked deep within him. Henry reached the door and yelled for the dog to leave, but the dog sat quietly. Not in a peaceful kind of way but an almost waiting for something.
Later that night it began raining. He was about to dive into another sporadic sleep cycle when the dog outside began barking. Henry leaped to his feet because he knew someone was there, and that stupid dog was the reason for it. Henry walked to the door and belted out for him to leave because no way in hell was that dog going to get in. Eventually Henry felt remorseful because the dog did indeed save him, and if the dog were not a canine then Henry would have thanked him properly. Reluctantly Henry let in the dog, and he scampered over to the fireplace to take his resting spot. Henry went to sleep, but before making it to his room he passes the open window. Henry goes to close it and sees in the distance a shadowy figure standing in the downpour. There stood an outline of a man wearing all black with a small-rimmed hat to keep the rain out of his eyes. Henry shrieked and slammed the windows shut with violent force. “I knew it! I knew it! Someone is watching me but whom? Who would stand there in the rain like that?” Henry’s mind began to derail much like the train he was on less than 32 hours before. After a few hours of worry, Henry talked himself into believing that the figure was merely a shadow of a tree, a bush that needed mending, or perhaps a repercussion of the accident. Henry rested his heavy eyes and began to fall asleep, but deep down he knew something was watching his every move.
Matthias Aug 2013
The next morning he rose to find the dog still sleeping next to the fire. Henry began to pet him to show the gratitude for saving his life. The dog felt hot like the fire and smelt almost like sulfur. Henry decided to ditch work for the next couple of days figuring he needed a vacation. Thus, Henry and the dog went on a walk around the forest residing behind Henry’s house. As the two of them stepped into the dense sea of trees, Henry saw on the floor a set of footprints. Seeing those footprints made the night before even more real for him and he dropped to his knees and wept. The dog began to lick his face with an air of happiness. “You’re right dog. I mustn’t be so dramatic. I mean I am alive right?” The dog started off into the woods with Henry soon following after. After a long walk the two of them began back for the house. Right before exiting the forest, Henry noticed that there was something ascribed on to the tree:
                                                           ­  DEATH is closer to you than you think
Henry knew this was the work of the figure he saw outside the night before, but the question remains was it a prankster kid, someone with a grudge that Henry was the only survivor, or in some other extreme explanation this was death himself.
Henry cooked rabbit stew for dinner, just like the one his mother made. He gave some to the dog, which lasted a matter of minutes. Henry was starting to like the stupid dog and considered that canine his only friend. The only one he could talk to or feel his pain of life. In mid conversation Henry got the chills, and the dog started barking at seemingly nothing. However as Henry went to quiet the dog, he heard footsteps on the porch. Henry grabbed his rifle and headed for the front door. He flung the door open with barrel raised eye level and ready to fire on any moving creature. In the distance was that same figure walking away in a gliding fashion. On the door was a note hung by a oversized metal “X.” Henry tore the paper off the door and read aloud the words:
                                                          ­  DEATH is closer to you than you think
                                                          ­            and he can smell your fears
Instantaneously, the dog begins to bark and growl at the mere words read aloud. That’s why you’re here boy isn’t it? You’re here to keep me safe. Henry went back to the front door and grabbed hold of the object lunged into the wood, and he pulled it out to see that indeed is was not an “X” but a cross. The sharp edge on one side dug into Henry’s flesh tearing off just a small piece. The blood ran like a river on the floor. The dog started to gnaw at his leg, so henry tried to quiet him by reaching down. The dog licked his hand and it blistered and caused a shooting pain throughout his body, but the open wound was now sealed shut. Henry turned to see the dog lapping up the spilt blood, so Henry went to the couch and fell asleep.
Matthias Aug 2013
Henry awoke from another nightmare. He was paddling down stream when he struck a boulder, which caused the boat to topside. He was swirled around gasping for air, but only inhaled lungs full of water. The water however was not water at all, but a vast expanse of blood. He awoke to a sweaty forehead and shallow breathes. There it was again, that feeling of being watched. The feeling Henry said was an almost waiting for something to happen. Henry arose to see the dog over by the fire staring at him, most likely because of the screams. The dog laid his head down and closed his eyes. Henry now restless went to the kitchen to get a drink. He poured a glass of bourbon with two ice cubes and made his way back to the couch. Passing the closed window, Henry felt compelled to check the darkness. Henry opened the blinds to see that hat bouncing off in the darkness. Henry tried to keep quiet so the dog would not wake and start barking, alerting the figure outside. Henry snuck out and tiptoed on the freshly dewed grass. He was within twenty paces of the man with the small-rimmed hat. When suddenly, the man turned and looked into the eyes of Henry, much like the dog did on the night of the accident. His fear rose and that monster housed in the resemblance of man spoke a rhyme:
                                                          ­     DEATH is closer to you than you think,
                                                         ­                and he can smell your fear.
                                                          ­   DEATH is watching closer than you know,
                                                          ­                   and he is always near.
Henry was frozen from the chilling words. When he heard a noise to break him from his catatonic state. The dog was awake, barking, and heading straight for the source of Henry’s misery. Henry turned to see the dog sprinting right at him. Henry turned back to look at the man who spoke with such profound words, but alas the man was gone. The dog could not stop in time and toppled Henry over. The dog stood on Henry’s back declaring to the night’s darkness that Henry was his.
Henry awoke from another night of terror, but this time he died. The dream was black and white and lacked any other color, including grey. The scenery was a sharp contrast between dark and bright lines. He was being chased through the house but each room lead to another hallway to more rooms and so on and so on went the dream. Until this monster appeared out of the fireplace. It took two steps and then transformed into a train heading with full force to hit Henry. And it did. The train tore right through the skin, bones, and muscle of Henry’s body. He felt the full pain of it, and woke crying from sheer agony. Henry sat up in his bed and was motionless until he decided that work would take his mind off things.
Terry Collett Oct 2012
You don’t want to go
With that kind of woman,
Henry’s mother said.
What kind of woman

is that? Henry asked.
The kind that offer
themselves to men
who are not their

husbands, his mother
replied, sitting back
in the soft chair by
the fireplace, joining

her fingers, forming
what she used to call
her church. Henry watched
her church form of finger

forming, his eyes sliding
over his mother’s dyed
hair, the grey streaks,
the nose, the thin red

painted lips. But isn’t
that kind of women
providing a service?
Henry asked, walking

to the window, watching
his father mowing the
lawn, sweat on the brow,
the eyes dead looking.

Service? His mother said,
her tone icy, Service?
She repeated, that’s not
service, Henry that’s sin.

S.I.N. Henry raised his
eyebrows, there was in
the pocket of his pants,
a pack of fives, unused

as yet. Oh, Henry said,
Duncan Smold had this
woman in the back of
his car, he called it hard

smooching or some such
word. Henry’s mother
eyed him closely, her eyes
narrowing. Then he sinned,

Henry, he sinned, she said,
pushing a hand through
her hair, her features going
red. Oh, right, Henry said,

I’ll tell Duncan next time
he’s in his car with some
woman in the back, that
he’s sinning, Henry turned

away, he didn’t want his
mother to see him grinning.
Jack Dalton Nov 2013
I wish henry didnt do the thoughts that he thought
Was his suicide.
I wish henry could talk.
The point being henry is gone.
Feels like the empty pit of an ocean poem.
The empty walrus has a beard
In it grows the bankers heart
And the crooks on wall street.
My father wasnt what destroyed
The crazy heart of a thurough poet.
Im to normal to feel the big haul
Of the god of henry.
But never the stinking less.
The god that kills poets.
The god who always comes back for more.
If the posh bar in new york closed
Henry would of went next door.
Henry would of been around
A little more to know where he sits
In the book store.
The ****** way to be perfect
Was the nastiest game in
Snowy Michigan.
There ought to be fences on that bridge.
But he would of just climbed over.
Mr.  Bones what made henry do it.
Mr. Bones what made henry
Killed henry like the banker
And the revolver from
Empty is every ship returning home.
Henry isnt on the list of survivors stranded
In the aftermath.
Captain henry stayed on board.
Harriet Cleve Jul 2019
In a strange coincidence of fate, Lancaster Pilot Henry Cavendish was teamed with his former boss from the Semperit tyre factory.

It was Henry's job to train the rookies before flying into **** Germany for bombing raids. Now he and Slaughter were on a mission. Slaughter's first.

'Never thought we would go to war, Henry'

'You never told me you were an accomplished pilot'

On and on went his former boss rabbiting on about the good old days in Semperit.

Henry just grunted a few empty responses.

'Well you were a busy man Mr Slaughter'

Henry recalled his time with Slaughter. It was a terrible memory.
Gruelling hours to meet the demands of production.
That was fair enough but Slaughter was a malicious bully.
Many times he called Henry out on the workshop floor and humiliated him. The names he was called. The loss of his dignity.

'We met our records and filled our time sheets eh Henry'

'Now keep it quiet and take control of the plane while I look at the maps' Henry responded.

'I will watch the instruments so don't worry'

Just then heavy flak straffed the Lancaster

'Jesus Christ!' screamed Slaughter

'Keep calm! We are within target range!

The bombs were dropped and Henry glanced at Slaughter

'Look down below! The heart of Germany'

Suddenly Henry pulled the plane up and deliberately hit the override for Slaughter's ejector seat.He would settle his score the hard way without any remorse.

Slaughter didn't know what happened as he shot out of the aircraft and up into the sky.
His face was a picture of confusion and fear.

Henry looked at the skyline then and saw a Messerschmitt  looming in.

The plane was straffed and caught fire.

An explosion sent the Lancaster plummeting to the ground.

Henry hit his ejector seat and escaped the fireball.

Landing on the ground in a farmers field he looked around.

He knew instinctively despite his position he would survive the war.

He felt it in his gut.

Meanwhile Slaughter landed in a city heavily fortified with **** shock troopers.

'Hande Hoch! Hande Hoch! Schweinhund!

Slaughter looked in shock all around him.

Adolf Eichmann got out of his car.

'Take him to my quarters! Schnell!

Henry looked across the expanse of this beautiful country.

His compass was intact as he set out to plan an escape route.

Sitting in Eichmann's office Slaughter looked around him.

Two guards looked at him.

'Look at him! Eichmann will soon humiliate this English filth!
'No dignity will remain in him after his gruelling interrogation'.

The guards laughed and Slaughter struggled with his thoughts.
Matthias Aug 2013
This is a story of man who defied all odds, and his name was Henry Fredrick. Henry rides the train every morning on his daily commute to the city, which is where he works. He is a repairman for Azrael Medical Center, a local hospital. Henry is a single man who lives alone and does not like to keep company very often. As said before, he takes the train from his residence located in the outskirts of the town. He seldom makes friends, but the friends he does have keep in good rapport with him. T’was the first week of April in the year 1987, that he departed like any other day when suddenly the train derailed. He was tossed about from roof to floor, and this vicious cycle continued until he was left lying on top of someone else’s luggage. Henry laid there for quite some time fearing no one would know where to look, and he began to think what he could have done better in his life. The only thought he had was of his death. Trying to rid himself of this misery he began to ask why he did not simply buy a car and take that to work instead of the train. The train was so close and inviting to Henry because he could spend time alone to think before having to deal with the occupational world. A few hours were spent and he finally attempted to move his carcass so that he could perhaps be found. He struggled to crawl up to the door, the only escape route. That’s when the feeling hit him, like someone was watching him or planning his demise. Henry frantically looked around but saw no one. He began to yell for help when someone or something showed up. The two of their eyes met and instantaneously the two of them became preoccupied with the other. As Henry began to widen his gaze from those engulfing red eyes, he notices that indeed that thing that was watching him was a dog. The dog grabbed onto Henry’s shirt puling him from the wreckage. The dog seemed to have supernatural strength and Henry felt as if he was floating on air being carried on the shoulders of some strange beast, but was most likely due to the fact that he lost basically all of his blood. The dog dragged Henry’s broken body to the street, and that is where Henry blacked out.
Terry Collett Sep 2013
said Henry
that would kind
of bring out the worst in me

I mean seeing her there
in our bed
with that fat excuse
of a guy

with that flat nose
and gut like a hippo
sure I tried to see
her point of view

even sat down for a while
while she came out
with all the excuses
under the sun

while he
the fat guy
put his **** clothes back on
saying nothing

but sort of squeaky sounds
and she got out of bed
**** naked
her eyes on me

all the time
her **** hanging there
as she moved
off the bed

and began putting
her clothes back on
all the time yakking
about why this happened

and why that happened
and I sat there wondering
what I was doing
just sitting there watching

them dress
saying nothing
just thinking of her
and the fat guy doing it

on our bed
wondering what
they were thinking of
as they were at it

and what went through their minds
when I came into the apartment
and saw them there
in the bed

Henry sighed
his girl dressed quickly
and the fat guy
had problems

getting his pants
over his big ***
and so
Henry said

I saw it saw them at it
and they kind of broke apart
when I opened the door
he big eyes

mouth open
his hairy arms
wrapped about her
and she tried to cover

her **** with the bedsheets
so I just sat down
not knowing what to say
knowing it ought

to bring the worst
out of me
seeing all that
but it didn't

I just sat noticing
the fat guy's ***
how he was struggling there
I almost got to helping him

on with his pants
but no I didn't
I looked at my girl
the girl who

less than a week ago
was making out with me
making all the I love you sounds
and promises of forever

Henry took out a smoke
and lit up
his eyes focusing
on the girl

taking in her shaky hands
her mouth speaking
almost screaming at him
the fat guy managed

to get in his pants on
and then began
to put on his shirt
and Henry inhaled

and watched
and his girl finishing dressing
pushed her fingers
through her hair

and still Henry sat there
and like I said
Henry uttered
between inhalations

it should have made me wild
ought to have stirred me
into action
but all I could think of

was how comes
she was wearing those earrings
while ******* the guy
why those

she could have worn others
I mean there was those
blue ones her mother gave her
the ones like blue ***** hanging

from her ears
but no
she had to wear the ones
I bought her

and that began to get me angry
and I glared at her and him
and blew smoke at them
then I put the cigarette

in the saucer
by the lipsticked stained cup
got up and rammed
my fist into his fat gut

and he went down
moaning about his hernia
or something
and she stood there

open mouthed
hands behind her head
her body stiff
as she watched the fat guy

hit the floor
Henry rubbed his fist
gazing at his girl
as she sat down

on the edge of the bed
looking at him
her big eyes
like dark pools

where only the brave go
or **** fools.
Harriet Cleve Oct 2016
Henry Bigman was cornered. Five of the Stinkers Brigade had entered the school dormitory on a mission. Bigman was to receive an official welcome to Grey Towers Boarding School.Henry was as big a stinker as any of the third year boys now surrounding him and would gladly have joined their rotten club, if he had been asked. The Stinkers closed in and Henry threw a right hook and then a punishing jab and caught two of the welcome party off guard. 'The little swine has broke my nose! howled Hawkins. 'You'll pay for that! Suddenly Hawkins was flat on his back as Henry lunged at him and gave him a going over!

'Get out of my way!' I'll fix him! Standing in the doorway loomed Slim Hyland, all fourteen stone of him, with a nose like a rancid orange, six foot two in height, and every inch the bully.In his left hand, he held a jar of sticky rasperry jam while his right hand held a dead mans grip on a school leather strap.'You're going to learn your place Bigman! roared Slim and caught Henry square on the face with the leather.
Get him lads! screamed Slim, 'He'll be washing his hair for a month! as he spilled the jam on Henry's head.

Henry was an unlikely warrior,with the frame of a stick insect, and girlish good looks, which betrayed his true nature. Five foot nine in his school shoes, he had the strength of a Rhino and the mindset of the killer.The Killer instinct was available on tap and now he was in a rage! 'You beastly *******!, Henry roared, as he grabbed Slim by the windpipe.

No one could shake Henry from his grip and it was looking bad for Slim. His face showed the fear of imminent death, as his eyes bulged, although he couldn't scream. He was screaming on the inside though, and if Hawkins hadn't been such a coward, running from the grim scene, then Slim might just have leathered his last face.

On his cowardly flight, Hawkins had literally run into Brother Smith, a little man with a big cane. 'Smithy, the pint who thinks he's a quart!', the boys would jeer behind his back, and Hawkins blurted out his story.
'Sir! Sir! Bigman is murdering Hyland!
Smith raced to the scene and just as well, as Henry was holding his grip and refused to let go.
Don Bouchard Jan 2015
Ten O'Clock, day after tomorrow,
Henry Nilson's funeral's almost  here,
I hate to but I really have to go
Cause we've been friends for sixty years

Rode twelve years on the same old bus
Made memories by the dozens
Played sports, chased girls and learned to cuss,
Married sweethearts who were cousins....

Adjoining acres, ranched and farmed
Never had a fight or angry word,
Kept each other's backs from harm,
Old Henry's death just seems absurd.

Melva loved to worry on about the kids and weather
And when the television doctors said
"Go get a physical," she said, "We'd better!"
And then commenced the journey of the dead.

Old Henry'd never had a use for hospitals,
Said only sick people should go, and he'd
No time for such a waste of time at all...
Besides, he wasn't even sick, by gee.

But Melva kept the pressure up, and she
Though never tall, was never short with words
'Til poor ol' Henry finally gave in to her plea
And let her make a date with Dr. Wards.

He  grumbled to me afterwards, about the big to-do,
"They put me on a fast the day before, not even water!
Couldn't have a cup of joe, nor pinch of chew!
And when we got there, the nurse looked like our daughter!

Old Henry seldom saw the sun below his tee-shirt line,
So when she handed him a gown, he  struggled for a time
Before  he put the ****** thing on, "minus any clothes"
And wondered how to cinch it up...the fasteners  were  behind.

Old Dr. Ward gave cautious smile on entering the room,
"How long's it been, Mr. Nilson, since your last  physical?
I  don't have a record of your charts, so I assume
You've doctored elsewhere?" He looked up, quizzical.

Henry cleared his throat and said, "I ain't been anywhere!"
(At seventy, such a terse statement is something to be said.)
"Wal...that 'ent exactly true, I guess. There  was a couple times
I came for stitches or a broke arm"... his face was weathered red.

What happened  next, old Henry wouldn't speak a word...
Results were good, surprised the doc and Melva, too.
"You'll make a hundred at this rate," the doctor purred,
And  Henry saddled up and  left all in a stew.

A week or so went by, and Henry's medical triumph
Made the rounds of gossips in church and at the bar;
"A waste of time!" was all old Henry humphed.
And the next day, a heart attack took him in the car.

No moral now will end this sad old story,
No fancy shibboleths or speculation;
I notice though, the clinic's in less glory,
From physicals, I'm taking a vacation.
I have seen this happen a time or two. The doctors tell somebody he'll live to a hundred and he dies on the way home. Crazy.
Matthias Aug 2013
Henry bikes to the train station to face his fear and go into the city again. He makes it to the station and waits listening to the wind whistling quietly. He rests his eyes and is startled by the horn of the train. As he gathers his belongings and thoughts, he climbs upon the death trap. He is taken back as he places his foot on the step to the train; he hears a whisper say, “Death is closer than you think.” Knowing it was only his mind playing tricks, he steps in. The fear subsides as the train pulls out of port, and Henry quiets his cognitive dissonance saying to himself out loud, “it was only a freak accident.” As the spot for the last derailment approaches, his palms sweat and heart fills causing in to sink to his feet. Although, the crime scene passes, and so does his fear. Henry arrives to his destination and could not get off the train any faster. Thinking to himself, “That was a stupid idea, but now I’m here so no fretting.” Henry makes it to work and starts his daily routines, but eerie is his thoughts. Every sound causes the dreaded words to play back in his mind with enormous intensity.
                                                      ­        DEATH is closer to you than you think,
                                                         ­                and he can smell your fear.
                                                          ­ DEATH is watching closer than you know,
                                                          ­                  *and he is always near. *
Henry tries to shake off the feeling, but that just makes it worse. The traffic that comes with the hustle of a hospital is not helping at all, and causes Henry to constantly check over his shoulder. With each glance, he is expecting to see that black trench coat with the small-rimmed hat. Henry closes his eyes to keep from running, but that causes his nightmare to birth into a vivid picture. This makes Henry dart into to bathroom to throw up, and ultimately taking vacancy on the toilet seat. Through the crack he sees the man again. There stood the tall dark figure replacing his hat. Henry spoke no sound, not even a breath, to keep his location secret. Eventually the man leaves, and Henry believes his mind has gone crazy.
(A Virginia Legend.)

The Planting of the Hemp.

Captain Hawk scourged clean the seas
(Black is the gap below the plank)
From the Great North Bank to the Caribbees
(Down by the marsh the hemp grows rank).

His fear was on the seaport towns,
The weight of his hand held hard the downs.
And the merchants cursed him, bitter and black,
For a red flame in the sea-fog's wrack
Was all of their ships that might come back.

For all he had one word alone,
One clod of dirt in their faces thrown,
"The hemp that shall hang me is not grown!"

His name bestrode the seas like Death.
The waters trembled at his breath.

This is the tale of how he fell,
Of the long sweep and the heavy swell,
And the rope that dragged him down to hell.

The fight was done, and the gutted ship,
Stripped like a shark the sea-gulls strip,

Lurched blindly, eaten out with flame,
Back to the land from where she came,
A skimming horror, an eyeless shame.

And Hawk stood upon his quarter-deck,
And saw the sky and saw the wreck.

Below, a **** for sailors' jeers,
White as the sky when a white squall nears,
Huddled the crowd of the prisoners.

Over the bridge of the tottering plank,
Where the sea shook and the gulf yawned blank,
They shrieked and struggled and dropped and sank,

Pinioned arms and hands bound fast.
One girl alone was left at last.

Sir Henry Gaunt was a mighty lord.
He sat in state at the Council board;
The governors were as nought to him.
From one rim to the other rim

Of his great plantations, flung out wide
Like a purple cloak, was a full month's ride.

Life and death in his white hands lay,
And his only daughter stood at bay,
Trapped like a hare in the toils that day.

He sat at wine in his gold and his lace,
And far away, in a ****** place,
Hawk came near, and she covered her face.

He rode in the fields, and the hunt was brave,
And far away his daughter gave
A shriek that the seas cried out to hear,
And he could not see and he could not save.

Her white soul withered in the mire
As paper shrivels up in fire,
And Hawk laughed, and he kissed her mouth,
And her body he took for his desire.

The Growing of the Hemp.

Sir Henry stood in the manor room,
And his eyes were hard gems in the gloom.

And he said, "Go dig me furrows five
Where the green marsh creeps like a thing alive --
There at its edge, where the rushes thrive."

And where the furrows rent the ground,
He sowed the seed of hemp around.

And the blacks shrink back and are sore afraid
At the furrows five that rib the glade,
And the voodoo work of the master's *****.

For a cold wind blows from the marshland near,
And white things move, and the night grows drear,
And they chatter and crouch and are sick with fear.

But down by the marsh, where the gray slaves glean,
The hemp sprouts up, and the earth is seen
Veiled with a tenuous mist of green.

And Hawk still scourges the Caribbees,
And many men kneel at his knees.

Sir Henry sits in his house alone,
And his eyes are hard and dull like stone.

And the waves beat, and the winds roar,
And all things are as they were before.

And the days pass, and the weeks pass,
And nothing changes but the grass.

But down where the fireflies are like eyes,
And the damps shudder, and the mists rise,
The hemp-stalks stand up toward the skies.

And down from the **** of the pirate ship
A body falls, and the great sharks grip.

Innocent, lovely, go in grace!
At last there is peace upon your face.

And Hawk laughs loud as the corpse is thrown,
"The hemp that shall hang me is not grown!"

Sir Henry's face is iron to mark,
And he gazes ever in the dark.

And the days pass, and the weeks pass,
And the world is as it always was.

But down by the marsh the sickles beam,
Glitter on glitter, gleam on gleam,
And the hemp falls down by the stagnant stream.

And Hawk beats up from the Caribbees,
Swooping to pounce in the Northern seas.

Sir Henry sits sunk deep in his chair,
And white as his hand is grown his hair.

And the days pass, and the weeks pass,
And the sands roll from the hour-glass.

But down by the marsh in the blazing sun
The hemp is smoothed and twisted and spun,
The rope made, and the work done.

The Using of the Hemp.

Captain Hawk scourged clean the seas
(Black is the gap below the plank)
From the Great North Bank to the Caribbees
(Down by the marsh the hemp grows rank).

He sailed in the broad Atlantic track,
And the ships that saw him came not back.

And once again, where the wide tides ran,
He stooped to harry a merchantman.

He bade her stop. Ten guns spake true
From her hidden ports, and a hidden crew,
Lacking his great ship through and through.

Dazed and dumb with the sudden death,
He scarce had time to draw a breath

Before the grappling-irons bit deep,
And the boarders slew his crew like sheep.

Hawk stood up straight, his breast to the steel;
His cutlass made a ****** wheel.

His cutlass made a wheel of flame.
They shrank before him as he came.

And the bodies fell in a choking crowd,
And still he thundered out aloud,

"The hemp that shall hang me is not grown!"
They fled at last. He was left alone.

Before his foe Sir Henry stood.
"The hemp is grown, and my word made good!"

And the cutlass clanged with a hissing whir
On the lashing blade of the rapier.

Hawk roared and charged like a maddened buck.
As the cobra strikes, Sir Henry struck,

Pouring his life in a single ******,
And the cutlass shivered to sparks and dust.

Sir Henry stood on the blood-stained deck,
And set his foot on his foe's neck.

Then from the hatch, where the rent decks *****,
Where the dead roll and the wounded *****,
He dragged the serpent of the rope.

The sky was blue, and the sea was still,
The waves lapped softly, hill on hill,
And between one wave and another wave
The doomed man's cries were little and shrill.

The sea was blue, and the sky was calm;
The air dripped with a golden balm.
Like a wind-blown fruit between sea and sun,
A black thing writhed at a yard-arm.

Slowly then, and awesomely,
The ship sank, and the gallows-tree,
And there was nought between sea and sun --
Nought but the sun and the sky and the sea.

But down by the marsh where the fever breeds,
Only the water chuckles and pleads;
For the hemp clings fast to a dead man's throat,
And blind Fate gathers back her seeds.
Dr Sam Burton Oct 2014
What a shame
When someone loses fame
For doing nothing
Because of a shortcoming

For days, he was liked
Taken care of and prized
But once he had to be away
Got forgotten and castaway

He was called a liar
To be put on fire
He was blamed
Accused and defamed

For, frankly speaking, no reason
Yet he was charged with treason
Days ago was a family member
Now he's put at stake of timber

Indeed, very odd is man
When he is subject to ban
When jealousy driven
And heart-striken

Lucky is a freeman
Who refuses to live in a can
Lucky is the man
Who is not fried on a pan.

Sam Burton(C)

Today is Friday, Oct. 11, the 284 day of 2014 with 81 to follow.

The moon is waning. Morning stars are Jupiter and Venus. Evening stars are Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Uranus and Saturn.
In 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy was formally opened at Fort Severn, Annapolis, Md., with 50 midshipmen in the first class.

In 1886, Griswold Lorillard of Tuxedo Park, N.Y., fashioned the first tuxedo for men.

A thought for the day:

We all should rise above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness and selfishness. -- Booker T. Washington

Quotes for the day:

A good traveller is one who does not know where he is going to, and a perfect traveller does not know where he came from.


All women's dresses are merely variations on the eternal struggle between admitted desire to dress and the unadmitted desire to undress.

Lin Yutang

"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."

Oscar Wilde

"It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts."

Robert H. Schuller

My boyfriend and I broke up. He wanted to get married and I didn't want him to.

Rita Rudner

It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life, and if you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.

Katharine Butler Hathaway


What made Lucky Lindy so special?

Charles Lindbergh was not the first man to fly the Atlantic. He was the sixty-seventh. The first sixty-six made the crossing in dirigibles and twin-engine mail planes. Lindbergh was the first to make the dangerous flight alone.

Can your brain hurt?

Only figuratively -- Pain from any injury or illness is always registered by the brain. Yet, curiously, the brain tissue itself is immune to pain; it contains none of the specialized receptor cells that sense pain in other parts of the body. The pain associated with brain tumors does not arise from brain cells but from the pressure created by a growing tumor or tissues outside the brain.

Where can you see a lot of magnets?

More than 7,000 magnets are on display at the Guinness World of Records Museum and Gift Shop, located on the Las Vegas Strip. The exhibit is a portion of the more than 26,000-magnet collection of Louise J. Greenfarb, dubbed "The Magnet Lady," whose accumulation was designated by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's "Largest Refrigerator Magnet" collection.


Evening Star

Edgar Allan Poe

'Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.




: a pastry made from a thin sheet of dough rolled up with filling and baked


Strudels are usually made with high-gluten flour to increase the malleability of the dough.

"The Supremes belted out a song on the radio, their voices as smooth and flawless as the ribbon of cream Kirsten poured from the pitcher onto her father's strudel, and the whole house smelled cheerfully of pork and spiced apples, laced with a note of butter. — From Rebecca Coleman’s 2011 novel The Kingdom of Childhood

Health and Beauty Tip

Mineral Water for greasy hair

If you have oily hair, use a shampoo that contains zinc. It's okay to condition if you feel you need it -- just don't use it on your roots and scalp.


Funny News

From the Churchdown Parish Magazine:
"Would the Congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the Church, labelled 'For The Sick,' is for monetary donations only."


From The Guardian concerning a sign seen in a Police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand:
'Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case."


From The Times:

A young girl, who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth, was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast-guard spokesman commented: 'This sort of thing is all too common these days.'


From The Gloucester Citizen:

A *** line caller complained to Trading Standards. After dialling an 0891 number from an advertisement entitled 'Hear Me Moan' the caller was played a tape of a woman nagging her husband for failing to do jobs around the house! . Consumer Watchdogs in Dorset refused to look into the complaint, saying, 'He got what he deserved.'


From The Barnsley Chronicle:

Police arrived quickly, to find Mr Melchett hanging by his fingertips from the back wall. He had run out of the house when the owner, Paul Finch, returned home unexpectedly, and, spotting an intruder in the garden, had visiting Mrs Finch and, hearing the front door open, had climbed out of the rear window. But the back wall was 8 feet high and Mr Melchett had been unable to get his leg over.


From The Scottish Big Issue:

In Sydney, 120 men named Henry attacked each other during a 'My Name is Henry' convention. Henry ****** of Canberra accused Henry Pap of Sydney of not being a Henry at all, but in fact an Angus. 'It was a lie', explained Mr Pap, 'I'm a Henry and always will be,' whereupon Henry Pap attacked Henry ******, whilst two other Henrys - Jones and Dyer - attempted ! to pull them apart. Several more Henrys - Smith, Calderwood an! d Andrew s - became involved and soon the entire convention descended into a giant fist fight. The brawl was eventually broken up by riot police, led by a man named Shane.


From The Daily Telegraph:

In a piece headed "Brussels Pays 200,000 Pounds to Save Prostitutes": "[T]he money will not be going directly into the prostitutes' pocket, but will be used to encourage them to lead a better life. We will be training them for new positions in hotels."


From The Derby Abbey Community News:

We apologise for the error in the last edition, in which we stated that 'Mr Fred Nicolme is a defective in the police force.' This was a typographical error. We meant of course that Mr Nicolme is a detective in the police farce.

From The Guardian:

After being charged 20 pounds for a 10 pounds overdraft, 30 year old Michael Howard of Leeds changed his name by deed poll to 'Yorkshire Bank Plc are Fascist! *s.' The Bank has now asked him to close his account, and Mr *s has asked them to repay the 69p balance by cheque, made out in his new name.


From The Manchester Evening News:

Police called to arrest a naked man on the platform at Piccadilly Station released their suspect after he produced a valid rail ticket.


An Austrian circus dwarf died recently when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a hippopotamus. Seven thousand people watched as little Franz Dasch popped into the mouth of Hilda the Hippo and the animal's gag reflex forced it to swallow. The crowd applauded wildly before other circus people realized what had happened.


An elderly woman at a unit for sufferers of senile dementia passed round a box of mothballs thinking that they were mints. Eleven people were taken to hospital for treatment.

Confessional Etiquette

The new priest is nervous about hearing confessions, so he asks an older priest to sit in on his sessions. The new priest hears a couple confessions, then the old priest asks him to step out of the confessional for a few suggestions.
The old priest says, "Cross your arms over your chest and rub your chin with one hand."

The new priest tries this. The old priest suggests, "Try saying things like, 'I see,' 'yes,' 'go on,' 'I understand,' and 'how did you feel about that?'"

The new priest says those things, trying them out. The old priest says, "Now, don't you think that's a little better than saying, 'Whoa... What happened next?'"

So Funny

A guy purchased Willie Nelson's hair for $37,000. ***** removed his braids and the guy bought them for $37,000. This is the kind of decision you make after spending the day on Willie's tour bus.

David Litterman

Did you hear what happened to Willie Nelson's hair? They sold it. There was an auction this week and a pair of Willie Nelson's braids sold for $37,000. It's a good deal because each braid has a street value of $80,000.

Jimmy Kimmel

Quick Blonde Jokes

Q: Why did the blonde keep putting quarters in the soda vending machine?

A: Because she thought she was winning.

Q: Why did the blonde take 16 friends to the movies?

A: Under 17 not admitted!

Q: Why did the blonde bake a chicken for 3 and a half days?

A: It said cook it for half an hour per pound, and she weighed 125.

Have a very nice Saturday!
Bob B Oct 2016
Total shock, I say, what occurred
At our local aquarium in recent years.
Some call it the type of scandal
That violently shakes two hemispheres.

Henry and Roxy had been an item.
Much older than she, Henry was bound
To guard and protect his little lady.
A more loyal penguin was hard to be found.

How they loved to sing together!
He would belt out and she would intone.
The happy couple frolicked and preened--
Happy not to be alone.

Molting season came and Roxy
Experienced her catastrophic molt.
Henry stood by and guarded his sweetheart.
Of attentiveness he lacked not a jolt.

Roxy's feathers soon returned
And there she was in all her glory.
Then poor Henry started his molt.
That's when Floyd entered the story.

While Henry hid from penguin view,
Floyd caught Roxy's eyes.
His feathers were back in abundance.
What happened next? You can surmise.

When Henry's feathers finally returned,
Floyd had become Roxy's new mate.
They did what penguin couples do
While Henry sadly accepted his fate.

The new family soon multiplied,
And Henry eventually found a new friend.
What started out as an outrageous scandal
Wasn't so horrible in the end.

Scandals come and scandals go.
Some of them are hard to avoid.
Aren't you glad that you don't molt
Like our friends Henry and Roxy and Floyd?

- by Bob B
Terry Collett Jun 2012
Come on Henry she said
come up and see me some
time but Henry said sorry

dame but I can’t today it’s
just not possible the wife’s
coming back from the shops

and you know what wives are
like and she said oh come
on Henry that’s not stopped

you before climbing the stairs
and knocking my door oh that
was for sugar or was it coffee?

Henry said I cannot recall oh
heck Henry don’t be such a bore
you’ve been to my bed many

times before oh Honey don’t
be so with me now I got to be
careful the wife’s in a mood

the neighbours are talking they
twitch their curtains and peek
through blinds oh to hell with

them she said they’ve filthy old
minds oh listen baby maybe
tomorrow when the wife’s away

I‘ll come borrow some sugar or
coffee or whatever you like and
share your bed you’ll come now

Henry or not come at all the young
dame said oh come on sugar give
me a break let me come another

time and I will bring flowers and
chocolates and love and my body
hot ok she said if you promise me

such I’ll cut to a break not for you
or your body but my heart’s sake.
Terry Collett Jan 2017
Henry met
his friend Joe
and his wife

standing there
in shadow.

Joe yakked on
about things
how his boss

didn't like
his ideas
(Joe's ideas)

how the church
let him down
how his wife's

mother moaned
about him
and his wife

(behind him)
said jack ****
about her.

Henry liked
Joe's soft wife

she was scared
to offend
but hinted

by her eyes
looking back
that she'd be

willing to
if Henry
willing too.

Joe yakked on

in shadow
was mouthing

how about
you and me?
Henry mouthed

while Joe was
if you like

us tonight?
She nodded
her assent.

Henry smiled.
Joe talked on

Sorry Joe
(Henry said)
I must go.

Don't forget
what I said
Joe added.

Henry went.
Joe walked on.

in shadow
like a dark

followed him
waiting for
Henry's call

while Joe was
out at work.
She watched her

husband's back
as he walked
just ahead

musing on
cool Henry
and soft her

in Joe's bed.
Paul d'Aubin Nov 2015
Sonnets pour treize  amis Toulousains  

Sonnet pour l’ami Alain  

Il est malin et combatif,
Autant qu’un malin chat rétif,
C’est Alain le beau mécano,
Exilé par la poste au tri.

Avec Nicole, quel beau tapage,
Car il provoque non sans ravages
Quand il en a marre du trop plein
A naviguer il est enclin.

Alain, Alain, tu aimes le filin
Toi qui es un fier mécano,  
A la conscience écolo.

Alain, Alain, tu vas finir  
Par les faire devenir «cabourds [1]»,  
Aux petits chefs à l’esprit lourd.
Paul     Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Bernard
Cheveux cendrés, yeux noirs profonds
Bernard, surplombe de son balcon.
Son esprit vif est aiguisé
Comme silex entrechoqués.

Sous son sérieux luit un grand cœur
D’humaniste chassant le malheur.
Très attentif à ses amis,
Il rayonne par son l’esprit.

Bernard, Bernard, tu es si sérieux,
Mais c’est aussi ton talisman
Qui pour tes amis est précieux.

Bernard, Bernard, tu es généreux,
Avec ce zeste de passion,  
Qui réchauffe comme un brandon.
Paul     Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Christian  

Sous l’apparence de sérieux  
Par ses lunettes un peu masqué.
C’est un poète inspiré,
Et un conférencier prisé.

Dans Toulouse il se promène  
Aventurier en son domaine.
Comme perdu dans la pampa
Des lettres,   il a la maestria

Christian, Christian, tu es poète,
Et ta poésie tu la vis.
Cette qualité est si rare.

Christian, Christian, tu es lunaire.
Dans les planètes tu sais aller
En parcourant Toulouse à pied.
Paul d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami José
Le crâne un peu dégarni
Dans son regard, un incendie.
Vif, mobile et électrisé,
Il semble toujours aux aguets.

Des « hidalgos » des temps jadis
Il a le verbe et l’allure.
Il donne parfois le tournis,
Mais il possède un cœur pur.

José, José, tu as horreur,
De l’injustice et du mépris,
C’est aussi ce qui fait ton prix.

José, José, tu es un roc
Un mousquetaire en Languedoc
Un homme qui sait résister.
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami  Jean-Pierre  

Subtil et sage, jamais hautain,
C’est Jean-Pierre,  le Toulousain,
qui de son quartier, Roseraie
apparaît détenir les clefs.

Pensée précise d’analyste,  
Il  est savant et optimiste,
Épicurien en liberté,
magie d’  intellectualité.

Jean-Pierre, Jean-Pierre, tu es plus subtil,
Que l’écureuil au frais babil,  
Et pour cela tu nous fascines.

Jean-Pierre, Jean-Pierre, tu es trop sage,
C’est pour cela que tu es mon ami
A cavalcader mes folies.
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Henry  

Henry  est un fougueux audois  
de la variété qui combat.
Dans ses yeux flamboie l’âpre alcool,
du tempérament espagnol.

Henry est un fidèle  ami
Mais en «section» comme «Aramits».
dans tous  les  recoins,  il frétille,
comme dans les torrents l’anguille.

Henry,  Henry, tu es bouillant
Et  te moques  des cheveux gris,
Sans toi même être prémuni.

Henry,  Henry, tu t’ingénies  
A transformer  ce monde gris
dans notre   époque de clinquant.
Paul   d’  Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Olivier  

Olivier l’informaticien    
à   un viking me fait penser.
Il aime d’ailleurs les fest noz,
Et  boit la bière autant qu’on ose

Olivier, roux comme  un flamand  
arpente Toulouse, à grand pas
avec cet  air énigmatique
qui nous le rend si sympathique

Olivier, tu es bretteur
dans le monde informatique,  
Tu gardes  un côté sorcier.

Olivier, tu as un grand cœur,
Tu réponds toujours, je suis là,  
Pour nous tirer de l’embarras.
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami  Philippe  

Cheveux  de geai, les yeux luisants
Voici, Philippe le toulousain.
de l’ «Arsenal» à «Saint Sernin»
Il vous  salut de son allant.

Il est cordial et enjoué,
mais son esprit est aux aguets.
C’est en fait un vrai militant,
traçant sa   vie en se battant.

Philippe, Philippe, tu es partout,
Avec tes gestes du Midi
qui te valent  bien   des  amis.

Philippe, Philippe, tu es batailleur,
Et  ta voix chaude est ton atout,  
Dans notre  Toulouse frondeur.
Paul   d’  Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Pierre
Pierre est un juriste fin
Qui ne se prend pas au sérieux.
Et sait garder  la tête froide,
Face aux embûches et aux fâcheux.

Surtout, Pierre est humaniste
Et sait d’un sourire allumer.
le cœur  humains et rigoler,
Il doit être un peu artiste.

Pierre,  Pierre, tu es indulgent,
Mais tu as aussi un grand talent,
De convaincre et puis d’enseigner.

Pierre,  Pierre, tu manquerais
A l’ambiance du Tribunal
Quittant le «vaisseau amiral».
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Pierre-Yves    

Pierre-Yves est fin comme un lapin
mais c’est un si  gentil goupil,
à l’œil vif,  au regard malin;
en plus pense  européen.

Pierre-Yves est un fils d’historien,  
qui goûte  à la philosophe,
usant des plaisirs de la vie
en prisant le bon vin, aussi.

Pierre-Yves,   tu les connais bien,
tous nos notables toulousains,

Pierre-Yves,   tu nous as fait tant rire,
En parlant gaiement  des «pingouins»,
du Capitole,  avec ses  oies.
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami  Rémy    
De son haut front, il bat le vent,
Son bras pointé, comme l’espoir,
C’est notre, Rémy, l’occitan,
Vigoureux comme un « coup à boire ».

De sa chemise rouge vêtue,
Il harangue tel un  Jaurès,
dans les amphis et dans les rues,
pour la belle Clio, sa déesse.

Olivier, Olivier,  ami  
Dans un bagad tu as ta place,  
Mais à Toulouse, on ne connait pas.

Rémy, Rémy, ils ne t’ont pas
Car tout Président  qu’ils t’ont fait,  
Tu gardes en toi, ta liberté.
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Sylvain    

Sylvain est un perpignanais
mais plutôt secret qu’enjoué.
N’allez pas croire cependant,
qu’il  vous serait indifférent.

Sylvain,   a aussi le talent  
de savoir diriger les gens,
simple, précis et amical,
il pourrait être cardinal.

Sylvain,   Sylvain,    tu es très fin
et dans la «com..» est ton destin,
sans être en rien superficiel.

Sylvain,   Sylvain,    tu es en  recherche
d’une excellence  que tu as.
Il faut que tu la prennes en toi.
Paul  d’   Aubin

Sonnet pour l’ami Toinou    

Tonnerre et bruits, rires et paris,
«Toinou » est fils de l’Oranie,
Quand sur Toulouse, il mit le cap,
On le vit,   entre houle et ressacs.

Dans la cité «Deromedi»
Au Mirail ou à Jolimont,
Emporté par un hourvari
On le connaît tel le « loup gris ».  

Toinou, Toinou, à la rescousse !
Dans la ville, y’a de la secousse!
Chez les «archis», dans les «amphis.»

Toinou, Toinou, encore un verre   !
Tu as oublié de te taire,
Et tes amis viennent tantôt.
Paul d’   Aubin
Terry Collett Jan 2019
He's got a drinking problem,
Pete said, watching
the postie shuffle up
the row
between sorting desks.

Henry looked
as the postie
sat down
and threw letters
on his desk.

Has he?
Henry said.

Pete nodded:
Yes, two hands,
but only one mouth.

Don't management mind?
Henry said.

He looks sober
and does his job,
so they don't care,
Pete replied.

Henry sorted his mail
into streets and roads
and down to numbers
of houses or flats.

Beware of her
at number 8,
Pete said,
she'll ask you in
for a coffee and chat,
and half hour later
you'll be in her bed.

Henry tried to recall
the woman at number 8,
but couldn't recall
her being there
or opening the door.

Did she ask you?
Henry asked.

No, Pete replied,
not me;
but she wouldn't,
she's my wife,
you see.

He chuckled away;
but then,
Henry remembered
her the other day,
but didn't tell him,
didn't say.
Henry and Pete the postmen
Ben Jones Nov 2014
Shuffling sidewards
Off he walks
Heavy black trenchcoat
Eyes on stalks
Custom trousers
Eight legs wide  
Henry the Half-Crab
Woe betide

Awkward scrabbling
Can't hold keys
Narrow little doorway
Tangled knees
Toilet adjustments
Bean bag chairs
Henry the Half-Crab
No one cares

Can't be an astronaut
Never play guitar
Can't use a keyboard
Won't go far
Hiding from the fishermen
Far from shore  
Henry the Half-Crab
Somewhat raw
Abby Lucy Feb 2016
Cold wintry nights were not her favorite kind of eve,
especially when she was already warm by the fire with Henry - she didn’t want to leave.
They were two wrapped together hands that stay warm in December even without mittens.
Their eyes were through and through passion. With each other, they were so profoundly smitten
Henry’s love for Cora traveled deep as the sea
and Cora’s love for Henry, like a young sprouting tree.
For they had only known each other what some might call a short while
but they knew right when they met, their love would not be described as shallow or juvenile.
They shared and they reminisced about the day they first met.
They spoke of laughter and of joy, the kind that no enemy can ever threat.
She gazed into Henry’s dancing eyes, which were hallmarks of his heartened ****** features
And she asked with anticipation, “Henry, how are we such loving creatures?”
He answered, “Cora, as good as we are, were raised in shelters of hate
but the both of us became stronger after breaking through the metal barred gate.”
Cora remembered each stinging slap generously distributed by her brother
while her ears still rang with harsh words and empty threats yelled by her mother.
And Henry, such a young boy was he
when told by his father what a man really ought to be.
His body should able the strangling fingers’ grip
and wear the accessory of a bruised, ****** lip.
Cora recalled the screeches, her baby sister’s blue cry,
while Henry relived the visions of a couch covered with beer bottles where his careless father did lie.
But the past remains just that when your soul cries for that one
who stands and lays and walks beside you until the moon turns to sun.
Henry and Cora both drag a dark past
but never cease holding their gaze and each other’s hands because they know what they have will last.
This is a poetic story I had to write for my teaching of writing class this semester.

— The End —