The Reluctant Angel-Part 3


As Angel continue to succumb to that aura of peace that overtook every particle of his being, he began to accept that the life he knew….was no more.

He didn’t know where he was, why he was here, or what would happen next.

All he knew was that he was dead.

And

All he could do was wait.

And hope that he didn’t have to converse with any others of the newly dead that congregated in the room for waiting.

His eyes forced themselves open after hearing an odd yet familiar sound.

It was an argument between a mother and her child.

It almost made him giggle, and probably would have, if not for the absurdity of the scene.

As Angel watched the confrontation, he concluded that they died when their house caught on fire, due to the child’s curiosity or maybe it was a fascination with matches.

The mother sat opposite him with the child standing in front of her.

Their hair had been completely burned off. Their scalps still smoldering. Their skin charred and drooping off parts of their arms and legs. What was left of their clothes had melted in with the skin that was supposed to protect them.

“How many times have I told you to leave them alone?” The woman scolded as she tore a piece of cloth from the bottom of the smoldering nightgown she was wearing.

“I know, momma.” The child pouted.

“If I have told you once…I have told you a thousand times. Now look at me and stand still. We have to look presentable for the transition.”

The Mother spat in the blackened cloth and proceeded to wipe what was left of the child’s face. Trying to remove the soot.

“That hurts, momma…and smells gross…did you brush your teeth today?” The child griped.

“Shut up, child and stand still. Do you have ants in your pants?”

“No..the fire is eating my pants…it burns!”

The mother paused, put her rag down, placed her burned hands on her hips and said,

“And who’s fault is that, little miss fire starter?….hmm…..WHO’S FAULT IS THAT??”

Angel shook his head and got out of his seat and headed up to the clearing at the front of the room.

As he passed the first row of chairs in the waiting of the dead room, he noticed what seemed to be a glass window on the wall he faced, about 15 feet ahead.

Behind the window, sat a woman who was seemed to be monitoring the occupants of the waiting room.

The woman behind the glass looked up as Angel approached and quickly stated,

“If your name has not been called, it will be based on the order of the deceased.”

Angel calmly replied,

“Well, could you at least tell me how many deceased are ahead of me?”

The woman quickly shot back-

“Why? Do you have an appointment elsewhere? Where on earth could you possibly have a appointment? Ohh…that’s right…you can’t…cuz you’re dead…..”

Angel just stared at her in stunned disbelief.

“No one ever gets my jokes anymore. Sarcasm was supposed to be my way to the top…instead it got me killed….and here. Name and cause of death….”

Angel shook his head and thought-

“What sort of afterlife job fair are they running here?”

He paused then spoke,

“Ohh…sorry. Murdered by gunshot. Davis…Angel Davis.”

She stopped looking at her list and back up at him and asked-

“Your name is Angel?……Angel Davis? Riiight….and I’m the Virgin Mary….I know Angel Davis….and you sir…..are no Angel Davis!”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” He replied.

She looked up at him and then glanced to the right. She lifted up her hand and pointed her index finger in the same direction and then spoke.

“Ask him.”

Angel turned his head to follow her point and was faced with the man in the grey suit. He glanced down at the floor to make sure he had the immaculately shined shoes on, then back up to the top of his head, where the fedora sat.

“Mr. Davis….it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I had planned to speak with you before your untimely demise….but your fate had it’s way with changing our destiny. Please follow me, so we may get properly acquainted.”

Angel looked at him, as he generously smiled, with a look of confusion.

The man in the grey suit slacked his smile and returned a similar look of confusion, cleared his throat and spoke.

“Pardon me for my rudeness. I am still taken aback by our greeters sarcasm and tone with the recently departed who have come here. My name is Angel…….Angel Davis and I am the transition coordinator. Please….follow me.”

The coordinating Angel began to walk down the hall.

The recently murdered Angel followed.

The greeter quickly flipped through her list, looking for the name, Angel Davis, on her list.

As she came to the end, with no luck, she flipped back to the front to start again.

And again.

And again.

As she was looking a forth time, she was shaken out of her one name seeking frenzy by a tap on the window.

She looked up to see a different coordinator staring at her. He also wore a grey suit.

He frustratingly looked at her and said,

“Well….who’s next?”

She shook herself out of her daze and replied,

“Ohh…sorry Angel….next is Donnie Kendle….cause of death…drowning. He’s the little boy with the robot.”

Angel shook his head and replied,

“Thank you.”

He then turned toward the waiting room and knelt down and called out to Donnie who was playing with the burned girl.

Donnie looked up, smiled at hearing his name being called and sloshed over to Angel, where he promptly coughed up murky water before asking a question.

“Do you want to play with me.”

Angel smiled and comfortingly replied,

“Yes….yes I do. Playtime is my favorite time.”

He gently took Donnie’s hand and winked at the greeter as he led him down the same hallway that Angel Davis was led down, just moments before.

She smiled and with that single wink from Angel, she completely forgot what she was doing before he arrived.

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The Reluctant Angel-Part 2


Something awakened in the distant echoes of Angel’s consciousness. He couldn’t put words to the collaboration of new sensations that he felt but his mind brought one to the forefront-

Peace.

For the better part of his life, Angel searched for this feeling….yet it wasn’t a feeling.

He couldn’t grasp or touch it.

He just…knew….that he had reached it.

He pleaded for the ability to keep his eyes closed and maintain the ability to experience this…..realm of peace.

But,

Like all things, good and bad, that occur with eyes wide shut, they come to an end.

Angel opened his eyes, expecting to see the flawed popcorn ceiling and lint covered fan that are representations of his apartment.

What he saw, caused him to fall out of the chair he was sitting upright in, and to re close he eyes tight.

Before opening his eyes…again. He convinced himself that he must still be sleeping and his mind shifted into nightmare mode.

“Just ride it out….” He told himself. “just ride it out.”

As he continued to repeat the phrase under his breathe, he felt a tap on his shoulder.

He did his best to ignore it but the tapping continued.

He reluctantly began to opened his eyes. The nightmare wanted to talk to him.

He repeated the phrase, one more time, then opened his eyes to face to constant tapper.

“Ride it out.”

Angel uprighted himself in the chair and looked at the boy who inflicted the tapping.

He couldn’t have been older than 8, but it was hard to be definite of his age because of the bloating of his lips and body and extreme blue coloration.

The boy tilted his head, pointed at the exit wounds in Angel’s chest and asked-

“You get shot?”

Angel replied-

“Huh?”

The boy asked again-

“Shot…pew pew pew.” With his enlarged blue fingers using a gun motion.

Angel slowly looked down at his chest and looked at the blood stained shirt he was wearing. He lifted it up to reveal 3 small exit holes. For the moment, he had no recollection of the events. He looked back up at the boy who was awaiting an answer.

“I don’t know….what happened to you?”

The boy shrugged his shoulders and simply answered after a coughing fit that brought up murky water-

“I go swimming to catch robot that fell in lake…..” He said as he held up a small toy robot and continued.

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“I catch robot….but I forgot I can’t swim….wanna play?”

He started coughing again, then reached into his mouth and pulled out a piece of seaweed.

“Tastes icky….here.” He says and hands it to Angel.

The seaweed feels real in his hand. Limp. Soggy. He flicks it and the remnants of lake water and saliva that covered his hand, and wipes his hand on his shirt to dry it.

His hand comes up blood red.

He looks at it, wondering when this nightmare will end.

The boy gets disinterested and sloshes away.

“Maybe if I pinch myself real hard it will jar me awake.” He thinks and proceeds to grab portions of his skin with his index finger and thumb.

He twists and tugs in his arm as hard as he can. He shuts his eyes tight, mutters “hmmph” and let’s go when he can’t handle it anymore.

Then opens his eyes.

And is startled by a large man covered in a dark oily substance, laughing at him.

He looks up to look at the man in the face, but he has nothing but a neck.

Angel scales his eyes back down his torso. The head is laughing from underneath the bulging right arm that holds it.

“I tried that too,” the head stated as it chuckled, “you’re really here. By the looks of it…you got murdered. That sucks.”

Angel replied,

“Yeah, I’m here until I wake up. What happened to you?”

The face on the head smirks.

“Wake up? You should wake up and realize you ain’t gonna ‘wake up’. Have you seen you.” He says as he reaches his dirty left index finger out and at Angel’s bloodied chest.

“This hole is right where your heart…was.”

He pokes his finger through the hole and into where his heart should be then pulls it out.

“No one wakes up from that. Me? Oil rig accident. Tension rod snapped. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time…took my head clean off. Now I am here…like you waiting for my name to be called.”

Angel tried to grasp what the headless man said and managed to utter one question.

“Called for what?”

The head replied with another chuckle-

“Transition…wow…you are totally clueless, aren’t you. No worries, got nothing to do but wait…you go ahead and keep trying to wake up, though.”

As the large man finished his statement, a voice came over the intercom,

“CONNELLY….BUBBA CONNELLY…PLEASE COME FORWARD.”

“Hey! That’s me. Gotta go, kid. Keep your head up.”

He said as he placed his head between both hands and raised it up and placed it onto his neck.

Angel watched in disbelief as “Headless Bubba Connelly” walked up to the front of the room and greeted the man who wore an oversized grey suit and immaculately shined shoes.

Before leading Bubba down a corridor, the man looked over at Angel, tipped his fedora and put up one hand and motioned for Angel to wait.

Angel began to get up to confront the man in the grey suit before he disappeared again.

Before he could, he legs went numb and he collapsed back into the chair. His eyes rolled back as the images of his death rolled into view, as if watching a movie.

A tear rolled down his cheek, as he watched his body fall and the life he once had end.

A thought slowly ran through his mind as he watched his eyes go blank-

“Wrong place….wrong time.”

As the thought finished it’s journey, the peace that had felt when was convinced he was dreaming….returned.

And he waited for the man in the grey suit and the immaculately shined shoes to call his name.

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Continued story from the mind of-

Good2begone.

The Reluctant Angel


Angel Davis had no known enemies and almost as many friends, but he couldn’t shake the eerie feeling that he was being watched and distantly followed by the man in the oversized grey suit and the immaculately shined shoes.

The first time he saw him, the man was getting his shoes shined by the wide eyed young boy who hung on his every phrase and looked up at him as if he were some sort of messiah.

Angel remembers watching them as he passed with a strange fascination.

The old man looked up at Angel, mid shine, pulled out a pocket watch, clicked it open to view the face, closed it, placed it back in his jacket pocket, and tipped his fedora to him with a knowing yet wry smile.

Then, set his attention back on the boy who was preparing his vehicles of chosen transportation for the days journey.

Angel had forgotten about the occurrence, until he saw him again on his transit ride to work.

He always felt like it would be a good day when he actually got to sit in a seat, instead of holding on for dear life by standing in the aisle gripping the loop with both hands. Angel was able to hold on to that joy for 2 stops when the inevitable happened.

An older woman with a cane got on. There were no seats for her to sit in. Angel shifted his eyes, side to side, waiting to see if someone was willing to give up their seat.

As the barrage of newspapers began to lift, Angel shook his head and thought,

“selfish bastards”

and promptly asked the woman to take his seat.

He then grabbed the loop as the bus pressed forward. He glanced around just as the newspapers were dropping, revealing triumphant grins of satisfaction.

That’s when he saw him again.

He was sitting in an aisle seat, 8 rows back. Angel probably wouldn’t have even noticed him, except for the glare of the sun that caught his shined shoes, just as Angel began his look around.

The old man, looked up at Angel, mid glare, pulled out a pocket watch, clicked it open to view the face, closed it, placed it back in his jacket pocket, and tipped his fedora to him with a knowing yet wry smile.

The bus stopped at the next stop. Angel had to move and assist the woman with cane to get up and off the bus. As he helped her to the door, he looked back, hoping to get his seat back, just in time to see the business man who stood behind him sit in that very seat, adjust his suit and glare at him. He looked beyond the “it’s my seat now stare” and noticed the man in the grey suit was gone.

The next time he saw him, he was just keeping to himself, like he always did, eating an ice cream cone on a park bench. The old man was walking through the park as well. He sat on the bench directly opposite of Angel.

Angel had had enough of the following, but as he got up to approach the man with the immaculately shined shoes, he was suddenly surrounded by a group of people carrying their Bibles like shields that needed to ask him a few questions.

“Do you know The Lord, young man?”

“Let us teach you the word of God and improve your life!”

“We can save you and prepare you for his coming!”

As they bludgeoned him with their questions, Angel got a glimpse of the man on the opposite bench.

He had crossed his arms and seemed to take great delight in watching what was transpiring.

Angel took in a deep breathe and did what he had always wanted to do….he calmly but confidently answered their questions…..his way.

“I don’t believe in God.” He said as they looked at him with mouths gaped open.

“My child, you are destined for a life in purgatory without believing!” One if them said.

Angel replied,

“If I don’t believe in God…it wouldn’t make much sense to believe in hell…now would it!”

“Through prayer and his words in the good book we can make you a believer.” Another said.

Angel looked through a gap in the semicircle of believers that surrounded him. The man still sat there….intently listening.

Angel calmly looked at the questioner in the eye and answered.

“I have read the book. If you want to prove to me that there is a God. I have the only way.”

Angel reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. He looked at both the heads side and the tails side, then spoke.

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“It says in the book, something like ask and you shall receive. Correct?”

They nodded yes.

“Ok. Then I will give you this quarter…..what I want you to do is pray long and hard…and ask that this quarter will turn up heads 50 times in a row after flipping it in the air. If it does…I will be a full and lifelong believer.”

The semicircle looked at the quarter and then each other and clamored for something to say.

“I come through this park around the same time, every Saturday. When you are as confident with your results as much as I am. Come find me.”

Angel then got up to leave. He looked over at the opposite bench.

It was empty, with no sign of the man in the grey suit anywhere.

He flipped the quarter up into air and watched it fall on to the ground in the center of the group. He glanced down at it and then back at them and said,

“There’s one…..only 49 more to go…”

He thought he heard the click of a pocket watch closing as he left the group to stare at the quarter, but chalked it up to wishful thinking.

As Angel walked the blocks that returned him to the solitude of his studio apartment, he got cornered by a group of teens, who apparently owned the stretch of sidewalk he was walking on.

“Hey homie…you can’t just walk on our turf” one yelled threateningly.

Angel replied,

“Look, I am just walking home, kid. I live 2 blocks down. It’s the shortest distance and I am taking it.”

The kid curled his brow, pulled out a revolver, pointed it at Angel’s chest and said,

“It’s the shortest distance to your death…you still wanna take it?”

Angel returned his stare, put his hands up and retreated,

“Nah…I’m good…I’ll just walk around.”

Not giving in that quickly the kid stated,

“Not until you pay me for trespassing, give me you…”

He was cut off by the sound of squealing tires. A dark 4 door car came down the street…fast.

As if in slow motion, the windows began to roll down. The barrels of a automatic rifle emerged, sighted on the group of teens.

Angel yelled,

“GET DOWN!” And pushed 2 of the teens off their balance and to the ground just as the sound of bullets began to fly.

Just as quickly as the 4 door came…it left with the same squeal of tires.

The teens began to get up and check themselves for injuries.

They each seemed to be unharmed.

Angel, remained motionless on the ground, paralysed and near death from 3 bullets in the center of his back.

The last thought that went through his mind before his last breathe exited his body was of the man in the immaculately shined shoes and the sound of his pocket watch closing.

CLICK

“Time’s up.”

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This is a new fictional story with an appearance by a character I created from another story.

That character’s story is called-

The Shine” which is one story but it has 6 pages. The page number tab is at the bottom of the post.

To get to know him….hit the link.

He will probably show up again in “The Reluctant Angel”.

To continue the story press “here“.

Chasing Home 4- Truth And Consequences


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After hearing the snap of the hammer and the voice of the dealer of my past addictive pleasures I stole a glimpse of Misty, who stood off to my left with a sad look in those auburn eyes.

She clasped her hands together and pleaded with me.

“I’m sorry, Mick….I had to…he heard you were back…it was either cooperate with him or he would kill me…”

Victor chimed in before she could finish,

“Come on..ese…even with a gun to our mans head…you still lie? Truth is Mick…she met me at the bar last night…once she came in, I saw in her eyes that something was up. As you can see by her face….it took a little persuading to get her to talk. Consequences, Mick. Keeping things from me has consequences. You have kept things from me for 10 years. You owe me truth. I deal the consequences.”

I tried to get up to speak my truth and face the consequences. As I began to turn around I was met with the butt of the gun, square at the base of my skull.

I saw a few stars and thudded to a heap on the cemetery ground right in front of Chase’s headstone.

My world went quiet and dark.

“Hey, homies…pick up this piece of crap, tie him up, blindfold him, tape up his mouth and put him in the trunk of my Impala….Chavo…you ride with pinche Misty in his truck back to his hotel and clear out his stuff. He’s checkin’ out.”

Chavo puts his gun into the waistband of his pressed Chinos and replies,

“No problem, Boss. You want me to bring her to you after that?”

Victor shoots a wry smile and her and replies to Chavo.

“Nah…you find a way to keep her occupied. I’ll call you when I need her.”

Chavo agrees and walks over to Misty, pushes her toward the truck by the shoulder and says to her,

“Only one way to keep a girl like you occupied, ese. You drive. Let’s go see how good that bed is in the hotel.”

Misty slashes a scared yet angry look over to Victor.

Victor answers her look with a sharp reply,

“Better do what he says, chica…..unless you wanna go another round with me.”

Victor’s other 2 associates slam the trunk of the Impala with Mick securely bound and gagged inside, turn towards their Boss and say,

“All set, SeƱor Valdez.”

Victor puts his gun back into his shoulder holster begins to walk to the Impala and says,

“Bueno. Let’s go show this gringo what it’s like to be back home.”

Victor gets behind the wheel, starts up his Impala, plays with the hydraulics to get a little bounce. After hearing the body slam around in the trunk, he smiles and puts the car into drive and follows Mick’s truck out of the cemetery.

Misty turns right and heads back to Holiday Inn, like she was ordered to.

Victor turns left and heads toward the abandoned house that Chase learned the meaning of truth and consequences in, when he crossed Victor Valdez so many years before.

To be continued….

“Where is she going – ooh, she looks like she’s lost
Won’t someone help her – somebody give her a hand
She’s got such sweet eyes – look like they’ve seen too much
Knew someone like here – nobody helped, but she’s

Home again….home again.”

Home Again– Oingo Boingo

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

To start at the beginning of the story, press
here

Chasing Home 3- Misty Eyed


Home is where the memories are. Moving to a new home in a new place to create new memories does not erase the old ones from the mind. They are there until they are dealt with and put to rest.

Mick Donnelly has memories. Although he has started a new life in a new place, he needs to go back to the place he called home for many years to amend some of those memories.

It has been 10 years since he has returned home.

This is the continuing story of Chasing Home.

Part 3 begins-

I was waiting in line, cover charge in hand, just plain giddy about going back into MY bar for the first time in 10 years, when I was jolted back to reality by my cell phone vibrating in my pocket.

I stepped away and back into the parking lot and took the phone out of my pocket to see who it was.

“Crap.” I said to myself. It was my boss from back home. I was supposed to call him to let him know I made it here.

I hit the answer button.

“Hey bossman, what’s up?” I said confidently.

“What’s up is I have been waiting for your call. I was getting worried….what’s all the noise in the background.” He asked.

“Well….I got into town and thought…no better time like the present to pay off that debt….”

The other end was silent for a moment before he retorted.

“So…what you meant to say was you got itchy to be at that bar. Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me…is there anyone home? You dimwit. You’ve been off that booze and crap for over 3 years and you decide it’s a good idea to go pay a bar debt at the peak hours of the evening? Bad…bad idea. You will be knee deep in shots and lines and trying to find that stripper within the hour. Please, go to the hotel and sleep off this dream of being able to go bar hopping. Start your debt reconciliation tomorrow.”

I let his scolding set in. Instead of defending my bad decision as a good choice I thought it would be better to listen to an actual voice of reason instead of the one running my brain.

“Yes sir. Thanks for the reality check. I’m leaving. Nothing good could possibly come out of this tonight.”I replied.

“No, there’s not. Focus, Mick. You are trying to do something good here…don’t fuck it up by getting fucked up. Call me if you need to.”

And he then abruptly ended the call.

I put the phone back in my pocket and reassessed my emotions.

Addiction is tricky. It wants to be my friend but is always ready to stab me in the back. I put my guard down for just a second and WHAM I was ready to head off to the races.

I came here sober. I plan to leave sober.

I quickly turn around and begin to head back to my truck.

Maybe I turned a bit too quickly…

“Oops. Sorry, I wasn’t watching where I aw going.” I said as I almost knocked someone down.

“No you weren’t you son of a….” She stood up and said as she looked me in the eyes. “…..Mick? Is..that..you?”

Those eyes. Unmistakeable. Of all the people to run into while trying to leave….why did it have to be her.

“Hey, Misty…yeah…it’s me…” I hesitantly replied.

“Well, what happened? You disappeared 10 years ago without a trace and then just show up again? You left a lot of people hanging in the balance. Some are more pissed off than me!” She frustratingly asked.

“Long story…I am only here for a couple of days then I am out. Tying up ends that don’t need to be loose anymore.”

“Well….can’t you come in a buy a girl a drink for old times sake and catch up a bit?” She asks with a tilt of the head, a smile and a bat of her lashes across those auburn eyes.

I continued to stare into those auburn eyes and thought about what was between us. We were always attracted to each other….but that was it.

Basically we gave good attraction.

She was attracted to the fact that I didn’t treat her like a stripper. I was attracted to the belief I could change her into something she wasn’t.

“Sorry, I can’t…..I don’t drink anymore and prefer to stay that way. I’m staying at the Holiday Inn down the street. If you wanna catch up, come there. But please come by yourself and no party favors.”

“Ok, party popper. I will see you soon.” She replied.

“Hey…before you go in…do you know where to find Chase?” I ask.

She paused and then answered.

“Jimmy….Chase?”

“Yes. Jimmy Chase….my ‘ol running buddy…”

“Yeah…I can take you to see him tomorrow if you want. We can’t get in to see him at night….”

That kind of perplexed me.

“Why?”

“….just can’t. I will see you later tonight, love. I gotta go, I’m meeting someone here.” She leaned in, gave me a big hug, kissed me on the cheek and sauntered into the bar.

I got in my truck and headed straight for the hotel. No more stops tonight. No more feeble attempts at making things right.

I am beginning to realize that coming back may not have been such a great idea. This town is like a magnet for past temptations…..and I am still drawn to them like junebugs to a bright light in the darkness.

The longer I am here, the more I am prone to stay and be suffocated by my past. I need to get a good nights sleep, go see Chase and get the hell out of dodge and return to my simple uncomplicated small town existence that I have come to cherish.

I check into the hotel and get into my room. I put my stuff down, layed on the bed and glanced at the clock.

11:36

The next thing I remember was the phone on the bedside table ringing.

The time on the clock read

4:06

I groggily answer the phone.

“Hullo…”

“Mr. Donnelly….this is Marco from the front desk. I’m sorry to bother you but there is a belligerent woman down here who says she’s your wife….she says she won’t leave until she talks to you…and….she’s in pretty bad shape…..Mr. Donnelly…are you there?”

“….yeah…I’m here…tell me this…does she have aubur…never mind…do I have to come get her or can you send her up to my room?”

“I can have her escorted there if you will allow it…”

“Send her up….sorry for the disturbance and inconvenience….”

The front desk guy said no problem and within a couple of minutes there was a knock on the door.

I figured by bad shape he meant drunk and high. She was. Maybe instead of bad shape, he should have said roughed up because that was the fact of the matter.

I asked the escort guy if he could get me some ice and handed him the bucket. Then, brought her in and sat her on the bed.

When he returned I took the ice in a washcloth and placed it on her eye and then on her lip. Trying my best to be gentle.

“What happened, Misty?”

She pulled the ice pack off her lip and said,

“Bad date….”

I shook my head back and forth with a grimace and asked,

“I would have believed that 10 years ago….not now.”

“Can’t I just stay with you tonight? I will take you to see Chase tomorrow….I just need a safe place to sleep….”

I ran my hand over my bald head and thought about it as I looked into those eyes.

“Ok…but after I get to talk to Chase. I’m headed back home.”

I got her to take a shower and gave her one of my t shirts to wear and had her get into bed, where she asked,

“Are gonna get in bed with me or do I have to sleep alone.”

I replied,

“I will be in bed in a minute. I just have to think some things out.”

Five minutes later, she was out cold, sleeping like a baby.

I pulled up a chair next to the bed and watched her sleep.

With each of her breathes going in and out I thought about what the past was for us and what the future might hold.

I could take her with me when I leave town……I changed….so can she. Maybe together is what we both need….

These thoughts and many plans of maybe helped me drift off to sleep while watching her.

I awoke at 9 with a bad crick in my neck. I cracked my neck and stared at the empty bed that was in front of me.

Figures. I should have known she would be gone. Hopefully she left a note to where I could find Chase.

As I gathered up clothes up go shower, the door opened and in walked Misty with a bounce and a smile.

Despite the black eye and fat lip she was still quite attractive.

“Did you know they have free breakfast? I haven’t had breakfast in a long time! I brought you a Danish and some coffee!”

I mulled over asking her to leave with me but decided to wait.

“Thanks. Are you gonna take me to see Chase? I really need to make peace with him.”

“Whenever you are ready…then so am I.”

I stopped at the desk to pay for one more night before we headed out.

As we got into the truck, Misty asked,

“We have about a 20 minute ride. You feel like telling me where you have been the last 10 years?”

If we were going to attempt to have a life together I figured she deserved to know.

“I didn’t leave voluntarily. I was leaching off the people on the only bridge that I hadn’t burnt to the ground. They were tired of watching me die and said I owed the wrong people money. One night, they came by that roach motel I was living at and said I needed to leave town and they had a ride for me. All I had to do was get in the car. I had no choice. I ended up in a different town doing the same things I was doing here. On a particularly long drug and booze binge, I got caught stealing, and happened to be carrying a large amount of bagged up and ready to sell coke. I served 7 years in prison. I got out and started over in a place where no one knew me and I didn’t know them. Been there ever since. It’s where I am going when I leave here. I wanted to know if….”

She interrupted with directions,

“Next left, through the entrance. Then drive 3 sections back, he will be 2nd row….3rd stone over….”

“He will be where?” I said as I looked up at the next left. I turned and stopped at the entrance of a cemetery.

“He’s…..dead?” I asked as tears welled up in my eyes.

“After you left….he had no one to keep him in check…he got bad quick. The cops found him in an abandoned house with a needle in his arm. It was already too late.”

I drove in and parked the truck where she said he was.

We got out.

I walked over to the headstone, knelt down and started to cry. The date on the headstone was 1 year after I left.

I tried to gather myself and say what I had to say…apologize for leaving…for abandoning him…for not knowing….I was so into my own emotions that I didn’t hear the ’64 Impala pull up. I didn’t hear the doors open and the 4 men get out.

The only thing I did hear was the hammer of the .357 Magnum being pulled back in my ear and the voice of my one time drug dealer, Victor Valdez, who plainly stated,

“Welcome back, homes….no need to cry….you’ll see him again soon enough….”
______________

“Suffocated – our simple life
No one listens – everyone dies
Never a chance – how could you see?
I’m home – leave it to me”-Home by Sevendust

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To be continued…

Chasing Home 2-Main Street


To start at the beginning press “here

Even at 10 o’ clock at night the city traffic swells like a volcano about to erupt. Drivers gripping their steering wheels like the butt of a gun just waiting for the one thing that will allow them to pull the trigger.

My city driving skills return to me quickly. Even though I haven’t been in a city setting in over 3 years it’s like riding a bike…you never forget.

The closer I get to the part of town I called home, the more anxious I become. My heart rate speeds up and my hands sweat.

It might be because of the opportunity of seeing old friends

Or

It could be my addictive mind is summoning up my old demons to make one more run at catching the dragon I chased for so many years.

I try not to dwell on either. I just want to check into the hotel and formulate a game plan for my return.

I remind myself that I am here to close old doors.

I am not here to tear them off the hinges.

From the downtown exit, I turn onto Main Street, which strikes me as odd that the Main Street for this side of town is actually called Main Street.

My anxiousness is settling.

I pass the car wash that was one of my meeting points for drug deals.

I think with a grin and think of my old running buddy, Chase, as I drive passed it-

“How did we ever NOT get caught meeting a car wash so often but NEVER washing the car….”

I drive on and start looking for other landmarks I would remember.

The late night taco joint is still there.

Most of the bars were still there, although, the neons were blazing different names.

It got me wondering if my favorite dive bar was still around.

Maybe the hotel can wait a while.

It was one of the major reasons I was back in town.

The owner treated my like a son when I used to live here.

In true son fashion, I screwed him out of a lot of money by running up a tab I could never pay….until now.

Initially I wanted to see him before the bar was open to avoid any riff raff that might occur.

Now I’m thinking, no better time like the present.

I turn down the street, hoping the place is still there.

To no surprise, it is. A wry smile comes across my face.

My eyes dart around the parking lot, looking for people or vehicles I might recognize.

I have to remember….it’s been 10 years….things change.

I park my truck, lock it and head towards the door.

The familiar sounds of a crappy live cover band blare out the door. Loud talking, laughter and breaking glass fill my senses.

I pull out my wallet to get out cash for the cover charge and think…

“I’m home.”
_________________

Hello,
Is there anybody in there
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home

Comfortably Numb-Pink Floyd

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Chasing Home


Although my physical debt to society was paid through time spent behind bars, the mental bills keep piling up.

I am parked on the shoulder of the highway, behind the wheel of my trusted yet aging GMC Sierra, looking at the sign that marks the county line for the city I used to call home, before incarceration and before I turned my life around.

The city lights hover on the distant horizon like a beacon….or a warning.

I am not sure which.

I pulled over to figure out if I should once again turn things around and head back to the place I now call home and leave this debt reconciliation idea in my rear view mirror

or

face my past and take the judgement of those who reside in it much like I did the judgement of my felonies…..with my fingers crossed and a half hearted prayer to the religion of “one more chance”.

I served almost 7 years for my felonies to earn one more chance.

Second chances don’t come often for people like me. When they do, the door does not open to a yellow bricked road lined with roses and mariachi bands.

My road was winding, dark and overgrown with thick vines of temptation, crap jobs and little in way of reward.

But,

I made it through the winding road and eventually came across the straight and narrow.

That turn around was not quick but anything worth working for often isn’t.

The future was bright but the clouds of my past deeds muddles it’s progression.

I turn off the engine and the lights of my truck and think back to the conversation I had with my boss which led me to take the 700 mile journey…..

“Look, I know you’ve had a rough going starting over in this town. You have given me bits and pieces about your time behind bars….over the past few months you have finally quit looking at those damn prison tats on your arms, which tells me your getting over it. You are the most reliable employee I have ever had. What you need to do is treat that past shit like my dog does and kick some grass over it and move on.”

With that he turns around and digs the toes of his workbooks into the ground and thrusts his heels back, one at a time, kicking up grass and dirt creating a small pile behind him. He then looks at me and smiles.

I shake my head and reply,

“The problem with that is, every time I go into the yard I still step in that shit. The past doesn’t go away and I can’t keep hosing it off my shoes. I paid my debt….for the crime I got caught for…..what about all the crap I got away with? Time doesn’t give my a do over for all that. I have to take time to amend for it.”

My boss scratches his head to think for a minute then answers.

“Ok. You know we were shutting down shop for 2 weeks so I could teach you to hunt and put some country into ya. I think you should take that 2 weeks and hunt down your past. You can’t be you here when part of you is still there. Go get him so all of you can be in one place……”

I am shaken back to the present when a semi truck blazes by my parked truck.

I become aware that I have been crossing and uncrossing my fingers during my flashback.

“It’s only a chance, if I take it.”

I clench and unclench my palms a few times to get the blood flowing through my hands and brush my left hand across the tattoos on my right forearm.

I raise my head up and look up at the city lights beckoning in the distance through the dirty glass of my cracked windshield.

I take in a deep breath.

Exhale.

I reach for the key in the ignition, start the truck and place the gearshift in drive.

I pull the truck back onto the highway and continue on the place I once called home.

To continue to the next installment, press “here

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Exile South


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I’m like the bird who didn’t fly south enough for the Winter. In my confusion, I cling to an object of familiarity, hoping that sooner or later I will realize my miscalculation and either continue my journey to the safety of warmer climates or return north to meet a bitter demise from the coming elements.

Until the clouds of confusion clear and make way for clearer, more concise thoughts, I am stuck in limbo…..

The birds object to cling to is a pier beam, holding onto memories of catching bread crumbs and swooping into warm waters for fish.

My object to cling to is this journal that holds memories love, togetherness and of breaking bread to pacify sins against the father and being held under cold water when I defied or questioned the one that was supposedly chosen.

Today, as I write, I am resentful toward the chosen one.

Other days…I miss the comfort of his teachings and the sense of love and belonging that the compound flourished with.

My mother was enamored with him. She joined his sect many years ago and was among the first to recruit members.

She believed his testimonies of being led to the promised land by one who was touched by heavenly hands.

She followed him and did whatever was asked to further his quest for omnipotence.

Including, offering up her only son to him for his desires.

By no means was she the only one who gave an offering.

To belong and earn an opportunity at eternal peace, it was common practice and encouraged among the believers.

She was the only one who tried to take back her offering, though.

And for that, she had to face punishment from the chosen one.

I was told, as a child, that she was banished from the sect, and was sent on a journey to purity, only to return when her thinking was cleansed.

I found out the week before I left, 12 years later, that she was silenced and dealt with permanently.

She was never returning.

In fear for my life and sanity, I fled south.

Alone.

But not truly alone.

You’re not really alone when you are constantly looking over your shoulder.

Just like the bird clinging to the pier, I always have one eye on the lookout.

I sit here on the beach, cold breeze flowing through my un brushed hair, a slight chill in the air, watching the bird huddle around the pier beam.

He looks content in his aloneness. Cautious but content. If it wasn’t for the occasional shift of its wings I wouldn’t have even noticed him.

As I watch, I am reminded of when I was content.

In the first few years after I was offered to him…I was content. I was the only one….I felt loved….needed.

As more and younger offerings came in, I became less important.

I rebelled.

At first, my rebellion was seen as a sign of devotion and the love returned.

Along with my comfort.

Before long, he needed fresh devotion. My rebellion turned into escapes from the compound, where I heard what surrounding communities thought of the sect.

I was always brought back.

Sometimes it was isolation training.

Other times it was purification submersion.

As I got older and more defiant, the outsider influence that I gained on my escapes influenced my need for permanent exile.

Exile south.

But….

Will I ever be south enough.

I try to spread my wings and embrace what I call the outside world, but there is great fear in embracing the unknown.

I enter buildings of faith and search and listen….

But there are so many buildings and so many searching…

Where am I to be found.

The farther south I fly, I find I am a mere shadow of who I was.

Changing.

Growing.

The shadow of who I was, stretches and pulls north toward the familiarity of childhood influence.

Beckoning.

Calling.

For now, I stay in limbo.

Just like the bird on the pier.

One eye on what could be for me

And one eye

On what could be coming for me.

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**************
I asked my wife (foreverpaused) to pick a photo and I would write a story around it.

What you just read is what I came up with from the photo she picked for me.

The Name Game


Playing catch in the front yard, working on the old classic cars, and him making me watch someone die just to prove who will always be in charge.

These are the memories of growing up with my Father.

I remember it like it was yesterday, although it was over 25 years ago.

He had just caught me smoking pot in the garage. I was 14 years old. I got it from the groundskeeper at the private prep school I was supposedly honored to be enrolled in.

We have always been a well to do family. Money, prestige and a last name that demands respect grants certain things in life.

What it doesn’t grant is mistakes that may put a scar on the legacy of that last name.

I thought he was still in Indonesia at a business meeting with the heads of one his holding companies.

He came home early after he caught wind that one of his accountants was cooking the books and stealing from him.

There I was, polishing off the remnants of prep school hydro, when the garage door opened.

I’m not sure what looked bigger. My father and his associates seeing my bulging eyes as they creeped in, or the headlights of my Father’s Bentley that stared me down.

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He got out from behind the steering wheel and looked at me with a stone face for a moment.

He turned back to his associates in the vehicle and told them to wait until he could speak to me.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in school?” He sternly asked.

“Aren’t you supposed to be out of the country.” I hazily replied.

He cracked his neck to the left and unbuttoned the jacket on his Italian suit, and then spoke.

“I thought you understood the importance of the education and the family name that you are afforded. I have tried to explain to you what might happen if anything is done to diminish the equity that has been funneled into both of them. I guess you have reached the age and mindset where it is better to SHOW you what happens when my requests are not granted.

He motions for his associates to exit the Bentley.

Two rather large men get out and are following my Father’s accountant to the middle of the garage.

“Son. You remember my accountant.” My father says and nods toward the trio.

I got up to properly greet him.

Before I was able to take 2 steps, he was knocked out cold by the butt of a revolver by one of the 2 large men.

I stop, cold in my tracks, and look back at my Father, who is bearing his signature grin.

“It has been discovered….” He began,

“that our accountant, who has been ‘part of the family’ since before you were born has been taking advantage of the hand that feeds him……feeding time is over. He has obviously concluded that stealing from me is more important than investing in me. You get the privilege, son, of witnessing what happens when my control of family situations is challenged. Take the accountant to the judgement chamber…..Son, follow me.”

I watched at the 2 large men took the knocked out accountant by under the arms and dragged him toward the back wall where the safe was.

One of the men, punched in a code, turned the lock and opened the door.

Beyond the door was a staircase that led downward.

The men began to drag the accountant down the stairwell.

I naturally paused, and fearfully looked up at my Father.

He, still brandishing his grin, plainly hand motioned me to follow his associates.

I followed.

I reached the bottom of the stairwell to find the associates tying the accountant to a chair, facing a video monitor.

My Father, who followed behind me, motioned for us to sit in the chairs that sat beside the video monitor.

“Wake him up. It’s time to show who is in control of the family destiny.”

One of the large men, got in front of the tied up accountant, and slapped him across the face with an open palm.

WHACK

The accountant groggily awoke to find himself facing me and my Father.

“WHAT’S GOING ON? I HAVEN’T DONE…”

My Father cut him off mid sentence.

“SILENCE!” He said as he clicked a remote to start the video.

The video showed the accountant talking with another man. He was explaining the elaborate system he created to funnel money out of certain accounts and into other accounts without anyone noticing.

After the video ended my Father looked at the accountant with a stone face and said,

“Your partner in this crime has met a swifter end than you will be facing. My son here is slowly creeping down the same path of defying my authority….he is here to witness what the consequences of that action is to become.”

He then nodded to the other large man, who slowly pulled a razor sharp blade out of his jacket pocket.

He walked up behind the accountant. Before he could even attempt to struggle, he pulled back his head and slowly sliced a clean cut across his jugular.

I stared in disbelief as the accountant tried to hang on to his life as the liquid that provided his life gushed from the wound.

I tried to get up and run upstairs. My Father was much stronger and quicker than I. He held me in my seat with my head facing forward, eyes opened until the accountant stopped gurgling and slumped forward.

My Father then turned my chair around to face him. He looked at me with his emotionally dead eyes and said,

“The fortune that lies within and because of our name must not be shamed….in any way.”

He continued to stare at me until he knew that statement saturated through my entire being……

Here I am, over 25 years later, having another stare down with my father’s cold eyes.

It’s been over 4 1/2 years since he was in charge of the family and it’s affairs.

Being his only son and confidant I have been in control of the estate, ever since.

I am now in control.

The cancer that invaded first took his strength then began to take hold of some of his senses.

As he lay on his eventual deathbed, only myself and his doctor are in his presence.

The doctor checks his vitals, takes a deep breath and exhales. He then goes over to a briefcase and pulls out a legal document that was signed and notarized by my Father years earlier.

The Doctor hands me the paper and leaves the room, closing the door behind him.

I look at the document and begin reading,

Son,

I have noticed already that since the demise of my health, you have done very well with the family name and businesses. Gone are the heavies and fear tactics that I and generations before had used to keep our name in the consciousness of the world. You have done well. But, even in my final days and hours you must be reminded of who we are and how we became who we are. You have one final task to prove your devotion to the family. Long ago, you watched as one who stole from me was dealt with. He had no choice but to comply. Now…you are left with a choice. The moment you began reading this, all of our accounts, holdings and company ventures have been frozen. Your choice will decide its fate. You will choose to cut off the oxygen supply that keeps me alive and watch me die to unfreeze it all…..or leave me be under doctor’s care and lose it all. You either grow some balls from the name you were afforded or lose it and everything that goes with it.
Dad
P.s. Remember who has ALWAYS been in charge.

I chuckled as I read the final line and looked at the old man lying in his grand bed.

I walked over to him and shook him awake.

He looked up at me.

I pulled the oxygen cord over in front of his face and let him watch as I crimped the tube and cut off the supply.

He almost smiled a devious smile before he started grasping for breath.

As he began to turn red from lack of air, I made sure he was looking at me when I released the tube and un crimped it allowing the air flow to rush into his body.

He watched in disbelief as I reached into my pocket and pulled out a joint.

I lit it right in front of him and blew the first exhaled smoke into his cancer ridden face and said,

“Keep it. The family name has been out of control for generations.”

Chasing The Disc


Weekly Writing Challenge- Object

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One over zealous flick of the wrist and a gust of wind at just the right time changed me to the core of my existence.

A single event. Maybe fate. Possibly destiny. Either way, if I would have the caught the disc that was thrown….instead of chasing it to where it ended up I wouldn’t be telling this story.

I was an awkward kid in the late ’70’s. Always last to be picked for any team, socially inadequate….just awkward.

It was around that time that a “toy” became quite popular.

The frisbee.

The joy of the frisbee was that it was so new that virtually everyone was awkward when trying to master it.

I was enamored with its simplicity.

A plastic disc.

That’s it.

The trick was to be able to master the correct throwing motion.

A perfect dance of bringing your arm back…just far enough, and then bringing it forward with your wrist cocked back….a flick of the wrist at just the right time with just the right angle and just the right velocity would send the disc airborne.

It was beautiful to watch it glide through the air….when it was thrown right, that is.

It would seem to glide forever.

The Boys and Girls Club was starting up a frisbee football team at the start of the school year which left me 3 months to not only learn to correctly throw the plastic disc but also to effortlessly steal it from it’s glide in mid air and catch it.

Both my parents worked, so I had to go there until they could pick me up. That has no bearing on the story just general information.

To achieve my goal, I enlisted my best and to be honest, only friend, Charles.

He was awkward like me,which was probably why we got along so well…and still do to this day.

Anyway, I bought a frisbee with my allowance and went to tell Charles my plan….

“Dude…you know we are no good at athletics….that’s why we are picked last to play but first to clean up after everyone…” Charles said.

“Yeah…but the beauty of this sport is NO ONE is good at it….so we stand a good a chance as anyone else if we try hard enough!” I replied.

“I guess,” he reluctantly answered, “How do you work this thing? It looks like a plate.”

“I’m really not sure….but that’s what the instructions are for! Let’s look at the basics and then try it out.”

“How about we go the the abandoned lot at the end of the block so no one will see us looking like idiots trying to work this frosbee thing…”

“Good idea..and it’s a FRISBEE not a frosbee, goober.”

As we walked toward the lot we read the instructions-

The Stance

Stand sideways to the direction that you want the frisbee to go. (Use your shoulder as a pointer.) Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent and most of your weight on the back foot.

The Grip

Hold the Frisbee along the edge that is facing the target. (That edge is called the leading edge.) Place your thumb on the top of the frisbee, your index finger along the edge and your other fingers underneath it. Your hold should be relaxed and the wrist should be loose.

The Flick

Stand with your elbow close to your body and your wrist bent inward so the side you are grasping is farthest away from you. It should almost touch your belly button and your hand and arm should be wrapped around the disk. The far edge that you are holding should be a couple of inches lower than the nearest edge so that the frisbee is tilted down and away from you. Practice a few times moving the wrist forward and backward keeping the frisbee on the same level. The forearm should move just a bit and the elbow should stay close to your body. With a smooth and speedy movement, flick your wrist forward and release the frisbee continuing to keep the outside edge tilted down.

The job of the flick is to create spin not cause the frisbee to travel far so at this point it will not travel far.

The Shift

Now that you’ve figured out the spin, you can add some distance. When you flick the wrist, transfer your weight onto the front foot and you can take a small step toward your target. Don’t make a big sweeping motion with your arm. The power is from the legs and the body, not the arm.

“Easy breezy Charlsey! You go stand over there and I will try first.”

I was as awkward as I always was. When I tried to throw it, it wouldn’t go straight, fly straight or even land straight. It looked like I was throwing an uncooked pizza.

After Charles got tired of chasing it to the left of him and to the right of him. He said it was his turn.

To our amazement, he was a natural.

His first throw glided gracefully over my head and into the fence at the back of the lot.

Charles shouted with glee,

“That was groovy! Why don’t you try to catch while I throw for a while!”

That was the beginning of our summer obsession. My throws improved but no where near as good as his. I worked on my catching skills while Charles perfected the throw.

Each morning he would come by my house and ask the same question,

“Feel like chasing the disc today?”

I was always just as excited as he.

We found something that we could do together that could quite possibly make us part of a team in a few months.

Then, unbeknownst to us, that day that the disc changed everything came.

Our day started out the same as always.

Time to chase the disc.

We went to the lot. It was a beautiful day. Sun was shining and a slight breeze was blowing.

We pretended we were on the football field. I started to run the routes that he called out and he would flick his wrist and let the disc fly. The chase was on.

Today was my day. Each route I ran was perfect. The throw was perfect. If was like the frisbee glided in slow motion every time he set it free. I caught each disc I chased.

Our spirits were gliding as effortlessly as the frisbee.

At some point during our game we heard voices calling out.

“MARCO!…..MARCO!”

At first, we ignored them.

Then one time, after his throw and during my chase, Charles yelled out,

“POLO”

I laughed so hard while I ran that I almost missed my catch…

Almost.

The voices began to get closer,

“MARCO!”

Each time, one of us would yell in reply,

“POLO!!”

The people shouting the name got nearer.

Charles looks at me and says,

“There’s a cute girl with that “Marco” group. Go long…let’s try to impress her!”

“You’re on!”

Charles yells hike and I take off. After a few seconds Charles releases the frisbee.

Man, it was beautiful to watch it in flight.

As the frisbee glided higher and I ran farther I noticed a man from the group stopped to ask Charles a question and showed him a piece of paper.

“MARCO!….”

I heard from the group.

I glanced back up towards the frisbee and started to extend my arm upward the disc and simultaneously yelled with a giggle,

“POLO!!”

Just then, a short burst of wind caught the underside and started to carry it upward.

I took a leap to try to catch it but my foot caught in a branch and I fell face first into the dirt and tumbled.

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I glanced out through my haze and saw the disc land in a bushy area at the back of the lot.

I embarrassingly got up and brushed myself off while heading to retrieve the frisbee.

Charles and the man were walking towards me.

I reached the area where I saw the frisbee land.

“Hey, this man is an off duty police officer and wants to ask you something…” Charles shouted at me.

I began sifting threw the branches and leaves wanting to reach in to retrieve my disc.

What I saw was the lifeless body of a child.

I stumbled back, pale and dizzy, and looked at the man and Charles, who were rapidly approaching, pointed toward the bush and questioningly said,

“M..M…Marco?”

I was never the same after that. Each time I saw a frisbee…I saw Marco. I couldn’t understand….why…..

“Hey, Detective….Snap out if it!…we got work to do…” Said a voice that burst into his office.

I shook myself out of my visit to the past to see my partner, Charles, standing next to our progress board of open cases.

I said,

“We have been in the Missing Children’s Division for over a decade, my friend….we always have work to do.”

He smiled and replied,

“Yes sir we have. A new case just got sent over to us. All the pertinent info is as we always like it. Right here.”

He held up a CD and pretended to flick his wrist and said,

“Time is of the essence. Feel Ike chasing the disc?”

Charles did not wait for an answer. He cocked his wrist back and released the disc from his palm and into the air.

It glided effortlessly across the airspace between us.

His throws were still perfect.

My catching of the disc…not so much.

But that’s ok….my life is not about being good at playing with toys anymore.

It’s about making sure that the kids that do, make it home.