Short Stories Archives

Dreams, A True Love Story [Part 2]

[Click here for part one]

Have you ever noticed how easily your entire world can be turned completely upside down?  How it kind of sneaks up on you quietly and then wham, you get hit with something that changes everything.

For most things the details about most things in life tend to fade over the years until most of what you remember is just the fact that they happened.  Well this day is something that I’ll remember the details of if I live to be ten thousand years old.

The day started out like any other.  It was a Thursday and I was up at six to get ready for work.  By seven thirty I was ready to leave and Amanda wasn’t up yet.  She’d been really tired for the last week or so and had been sleeping later because of it.  I went in to let her know I was leaving and found her sitting up in bed looking like she was about to lose her lunch.

“Hey, you ok?” I asked.  “I don’t think so.” she answered.  “I’ve felt awful for days now.  Yesterday I traded shifts with Casey so I can go to the clinic today.”

This got my full attention.  Mandy didn’t like doctors and avoided them like the plague.  The fact that she had decided to go see one meant that she was feeling a lot worse than she’d let me believe.

“It’s that serious?  Maybe I should go with you.” I said.  She shook her head (and quickly regretted it) “No. I’ll be ok.”  I didn’t like this.  I had an uneasy feeling that left me tempted to call in sick and go with her anyway.  The only reason I didn’t was because I knew she wouldn’t let me get away with it.

“Alright but I want you to promise to call me as soon as you find out what’s going on.”

“I will, I promise.  You’d better go or you’ll be late.”  As if I cared about that when she felt bad enough to see a doctor.  “They’ll get over it.” I said.  “Really, it’s ok.  I’ll be fine” she insisted.

I kissed her goodbye and told her “ok, but I’m expecting a call from you today.”  “I promise” she said “now go.”  I reluctantly left, still feeling uneasy about the whole thing.

The one good thing about walking to work is that you don’t have to talk to anyone along the way, it gives you time to think.  Of course that can also be a bad thing and today it was.  I couldn’t get the image of her sitting there, looking like she was about to hurl, out of my mind.  When somebody who really hates going to the doctor decides on their own to do just that . . . Well, it’s cause for worry to say the least.

Work wasn’t any help either.  Factory jobs aren’t exactly what you’d call mentally demanding.  Most of the jobs are the kind of thing that you could train a Chimp to do.  They just use humans because they don’t cost as much to train as Chimps do.  My job was operating a punch press.  I put a piece of aluminum plate in it, actvated the press, then took out the part and put it in a bin.  Not only could a Chimp do it, they could easily have automated it entirely.

This left me with eight hours of time to think.  Normally this is good.  It let me work out problems and ideas.  Today all I could think about was all the things that could be the problem.  It could have been anything from something she ate to a bad case of the flu to who knows what.

What bothered me even more than thinking of all the possibilities was that she didn’t call.  The problem was that I couldn’t call her.  We didn’t have a phone, nor did any of our neighbors, we used pay phones instead.  Remember, this is back long before everybody had cell phones, they hadn’t been invented yet.  Oh, there were “car phones”, really expensive big clunky things that you could pay a fortune to have mounted in your car but that was it.

The saying goes “Time flies when you’re having fun”.  However when you’re worried about the love of your life, it drags like molasses flowing uphill in a New England January.  Eight hours seemed more like eight days.  When quitting time finally came I did a quick half ass job of cleaning up my area, clocked out and got out of there as fast as I could.

Even walking as quickly as I could without breaking into a run the trip home was interminable as well but finally I was there.  The door was locked and suddenly I wondered if she was even home yet and why she wouldn’t be.  I unlocked it and went inside.

A wave of relief flooded me as I saw her sitting on the couch staring at the tv.  “Mandy? You ok?” I asked.  Then I noticed it wasn’t turned on.  Things were definitely not ok.  That wave subsided quickly.

When I sat down beside her I saw the tears running down her cheek.  This was serious indeed.  She didn’t cry easily and the fact that she was meant she was really upset.  “Hey, what’s wrong?” I asked.  “Nothing’s wrong” she said quietly.

If there is one thing that I have learned about women it is that when they say “nothing’s wrong”, you can bet your last dollar that it’s not even close to “nothing”.

“When you didn’t call I was worried.” I said.  She looked up at me with an apologetic look and some fresh tears. “oh, I’m so sorry.  I forgot.”

Another red flag.  Amanda never forgets anything, she’s got an eidetic memory, computers forget more than she does.

“Don’t worry about it, it’s ok.  What’d the doc say?”

I could see her holding back the tears as she looked at me.  “I’m pregnant” she said and then all but collapsed in my arms as she started crying again.  “I’m not ready to be a mother.” she said haltingly through the tears.  “and how are we going to take care of a baby when we’re always broke?  Even worse, I’ll have to quit my job.”

I held her, trying to offer whatever comfort I could.  “We’ll manage somehow.” I told her “We always do.  You should be able to keep your job for a while anyway. and Mandy, I can’t imagine a better mother than you.”

She looked up at me “You really mean that?” she asked.  “Absolutely.  That’s one lucky kid you’re going to have.” I assured her.

Slowly the tears subsided as we spent the rest of the night talking.  Before we realized it, the sun’s first rays were shining through the window and we heard the sound of the alarm clock in the next room.

“Oh no!”  she exclaimed.  “I’ve kept you up all night!”  “That’s ok” I replied “Just knowing that you’re not only not sick but that you’re the mother of my kid is worth it.  I’m tired but I’ll make it.  Tonight however we sleep.  We have all weekend to talk.”

As I walked to work that Friday morning I was thankful for the time to think and that my job gave me all the thinking time I needed.  Suddenly it wasn’t so bad having a boring job a Chimp could do.

[To be continued . . .]
Click here for part three

Dreams, A True Love Story

Do you dream in episode format?  I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that.

I have had episodic dreams since I was ten.  They’ve been continuing over the years.  Each episode picks up where the previous one left off.  Even if it’s months since the last one the next episode covers the time since then.  In a very real way, I have two lives.  One in the waking world and another that I’ve been living in dreams.  Guess which one I prefer.

Over time various things about them change just as in “reality” I have changed over the years.  However there is one constant.  One person that is always in them.

Her name is Amanda, sometimes I call her Mandy. she is one class act from the word go.  She could show up one day penniless wearing some cheap perfume and dressed in rags and still be pure class.

When I’m “awake” I find myself missing her terribly.  Especially when there’s a month or three between the “dreams”.  I have *NEVER* known anyone even remotely like her in “real life”. Nobody has ever understood me the way she does. Talking about this is literally like telling a whole life’s story and there’s times when the events of the so-called “real life” and those of the “dream life” can blur together. 

Part of the reason that can happen is that we talk about what happens in “real life”.  You see, when I’m with her, THIS is the dream (usually a nightmare to be blunt).  Anyway, we talk about the stuff that happens on this side of the dream.  She’s fantastic about that, she’s never doubted how real it seemed to me.  Probably beause she also sometimes has very real-seeming dreams about another life, which we also talk about.

As I said, we met when I was around ten years old.  She was a lot like me, a loner, kind of apart from most people, never quite fitting in with so-called “normal” people.  Like me, kids gave her a lot of crap in school.  We understood each other a lot.  We laughed at each other’s jokes, like me she loved science fiction books and movies.  While we shared interest in a lot of things, in spite of what you may think, we did have our differences.

She liked Top-40 music and I couldn’t stand most of it.  She loves to dance and I always had two left feet and so on.  I think our differences were just enough in just the right ways to bring us closer together over time.

We went though the rough times of our teenage years together and when we were 19, we got married.  Yeah, I know, In “real life” when I was 19 I was a LONG way from even being close to almost ready to even think about marriage (I also didn’t have a girlfriend, let alone the ultimate girlfriend from heaven Amanda was).  However in the dream things were different.  We’d been in love for years and we had just kind of always known we’d be together that way.

Anyway, we’d gotten married.  In 1979 when we were 19 we decided to pack up our things and start our new life together fresh in a new city.  We were in love but we were also too clueless for words.  We had no idea how difficult things could get (though we found out really fast).  Our first apartment was a dingy little two room third floor walk up in East St. Louis.  We both agreed that the only really cool part of it was that we could see the Gateway Arch from our bedroom window.

We ran out of money not long after paying the first month’s rent on that hole we lived in.  We both got jobs in local food places.  I slaved away in a McDonald’s making burgers while she waited tables in a small mom & pop restaurant.  Niether of us made much money but the two of us together, along with her tips, managed to get by.

We didn’t live fancy at all. We never had much more than just enough to pay the bills and keep ourselves fed and clothed.  For us, a weekly “night out on the town” consisted of going to someplace cheap (that neither of us worked at), having a meal that cost maybe five or six bucks tops for the both of us, and then just walking around for a few hours talking.

In a way in spite of our poverty it was perfect.  We had what we needed which for the most part was each other.  We could talk about anything.  We found humor in all kinds of things.  Many of which had people looking at us like we were lunatics from Mars.

We lived there for almost a year.  Then I was looking in the paper for better jobs (we both did that pretty often.) when I saw a listing for a factory job.  It paid almost twice what I was getting at Micky D’s but the thing is it was quite a ways away on the other side of the river on the west side of St. Louis.  We talked about it and agreed I should go for it.  Just in case I got the job we started looking for a place in that area.  It wasn’t easy because the rent was higher there.  Then I got a call, the job was mine and I started the next Monday.

That gave us like four days.  We scrambled like crazy, selling everything we didn’t absolutely need and borrowing from friends to get the money to take the first apartment we could afford.  Times got really lean for a couple of months there.  I had the new job that paid better but she had to find a new one.  Then we had to pay back a bit over three hundred bucks to people that’d helped us move.

Then about six months later when I came home from work one day, she told me something that changed our lives forever.

She was pregnant.

[To be continued . . .]
Click here for part two

Shhh

It was late, the last rays of the setting sun flaring red in the sky.  We breached the door and rushed inside the warehouse.  I went directly for the stairway along the wall on the left.  I took the stairs three at a time, hoping to get there in time.  As I reached the top I knew that we were too late, they had escaped again.

As we searched the area, I spotted a dime on the landing at the top of the stairs sitting face up on top of a note.  I opened the note and confirmed what I already knew.  Unfolding the single page within revealed a single word handwritten in precise cursive script.  “Shhh”.

Looking around further I spotted a golden glint on another walkway.  I jumped over the railing and across the four foot gap to the other platform and found a single golden ring.  It was a plain, simple design with no markings inside or out other than one that meant it was made from 24 karat gold.  As I looked up, my partner signaled that he had found something and tossed me another ring.

This one appeared at first glance to be a simple high school class ring except for the fact that it too was made from 24 karat gold.  The only thing I knew for sure about what this all meant was that “the silent ones” had struck again.  A further search showed that while no equipment was missing, everybody working here was gone.

I heard the sound of the Stargate beginning to turn.  As we raced back down the stairs to the control room the sounds of the first two chevrons locking in could be heard.  The third chevron locked in just as I arrived in the control room.

That’s when everything was suddenly back at the beginning and happened all over again just as it just had.  This time, as the third chevron locked in place, I woke up.

Technorati Tags: short story, silence, mystery, story, dream, stargate

What Are We Made Of?

That question isn’t about our physical makeup but rather our personalities.  What makes us who we are?  If you think about it, you’ll probably agree that there’s a LOT of different aspects to who we are.  Some of them are decent enough, others are downright cool, many are sorta in between because it depends on the situation that they’re facing as to how they’ll deal with it (if they do at all).

Then there’s the darker side of us.  One aspect of which I call “The Troll”.  He’s everything we don’t like about ourselves (and many other people too).  Selfish, hateful, angry, and determined to take over and crush what or who he doesn’t like and take whatever he wants.  He’s the guy that would light up a Dutch Master in an elevator simply because it was against the rules, daring somebody to do something about it.  He farts in public, preferably in close quarters where there’s lots of people or where there’s good acoustics that will make for a cool echo.  And he absolutely HATES diets, exercise and anything that resembles self control or self improvement.

Given that, I’ve started making a series of videos that explore these bits of who we are in the context of “what if you could talk to them face to face”

[Edit: 6/23/12 I’ve updated these videos to the remastered versions which are MUCH better quality than the originals]

There’s six videos in the series so far but I have to say that I’m having a lot of fun with The Troll.  Here’s the first video he appeared in:

I had so much fun with the first troll video that I just had to do another one. 

Technorati Tags: comedy, greed, emperor, lust, multiple, menace, empire, lightsaber, funny, star trek, phaser, troll, gluttony, personality, humor, star wars

Joe Public’s Jersey Vacation

Joe Public had a problem.  He’d been working what seemed like non-stop for months.  That big project at the office had taken over his life, even to the point where he was spending most of his time at home working.  Nights and weekends blurred into workdays as he dealt with one problem after another.  Finally the project was finished and Joe wasted no time in putting in for that two week vacation he didn’t take the year before.

Jane Public was thrilled to find out that not only had Joe finally gotten some vacation time but that he’d suggested getting away from home for a while “just in case the boss calls with an emergency”.  They started tossing a few ideas around and checking out vacation listings online.  After a while they ran across a search result offering a family beach vacation.  They nearly tripped over each other trying to click on New Jersey amusement parks.

They soon found themselves looking at the Morey’s Piers website.  Looking around, they found that this site offered just about everything needed for a New Jersey Vacation.  The website even has a page listing Wildwood, New Jersey Hotels and Motels

They knew that the kids would love the place because and the 100 plus rides and attractions.  Surely there would be something for everybody to enjoy.  When they looked over the pricing they found a page that gave details about Morey’s Piers weekly specials.  The specials included things like “Magical Mondays”, where they would be celebrating their fortieth year by picking a guest at random and giving them randomly prizes which could be anything from wristband upgrades, free food and games to special amenities and party packages.

It wasn’t long before the Public’s had booked their vacation and begun to make their travel plans.  They knew they were in for a great time with no office business to take it over on them.

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