Waiting

It was the kind of dark that makes you stick your hands out to feel the air ahead of you, unfortunately all he could feel was the humidity.  He lifted his head to look at the sky to see if there would be a break in the clouds, allowing the moon to provide relief, but it was so black he couldn’t tell if there was a sky.  Out of instinct he raised his left wrist about 2 feet from his face to check the time, but realized he wouldn’t be able read the hands.

He didn’t know how long he had been waiting for her, but he knew she would be there.  She always showed up.  She provided him stability when life would shake the ground beneath him.  That feeling of confidence in her, he liked it.

He reached into his pocket and grabbed the box of cigarettes.  It was crushed, but still provided enough space for the few that remained.  He grabbed one and brought it to his mouth, not being able to see made him less ashamed of what he was about to do.  He slid the box back into his pocket and pulled out his lighter.  A couple thumb presses and a flame ignited on the top.  The glow was dim, but he was able to make out the clear blue plastic that held the juice powering the flame.  As he lit the cigarette, the dim light showed him a pole sticking out of the ground a few feet away from him.

He took 2 steps towards the pole and slid the lighter back into his pockets.  He needed to alleviate his legs from standing and slowly leaned against the pole.  He felt a cold tingle on his left shoulder as his body acclimated to the pole.  He took a decent puff, which showed water sprinkled up and down the metal surface.  The rain slipped his mind, but in this darkness would any thought have enough light to be remembered?  The wet feeling was pleasing to him, if he couldn’t see the world at least he could feel it.

He thought he heard her coming, so he pulled his watch up to his face.  The faint glow of burning tobacco provided enough shadow to tell him it was time.  He turned to face her as she slowly  became visible.

He always noticed her eyes first.  Bright.  When you locked them you almost had to shield yours.  Next was her smile.  It shined like a mirror catching a ray of the sun.  Then her nose.  Two circles that flared as she moved.  She stood there right in front of him, his rock in a field of quicksand.  Right on time.

“Hey buddy, you going to get on?” The bus driver said as the last passenger grabbed his bike off the front.  He smiled while waiving his ticket, and slowly let her take him into another dark night.

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Taco Bell

Growing up you always here adults say, “You’re too young to know what love is.” or “When you grow up you will understand how life works.”  I started to believe this rif raf at a young age.  Thinking everything I knew and loved was actually a lie. Knowing that love could not truly be known until the eldest of ages.

Now, about to tun 30 I reflect on a feeling that was true.  A feeling that was constant. A feeling that when everything in this world was against me, it was for me.  That feeling is a Cheesy Gordita Crunch crushing between my teeth.  The deteriorated food particles painting my taste buds with heaven on earth.  Softly messaging my throat as it makes it’s way to my digestive track.  The feeling of pure love. Taste. Love.

There have been multiple times in my life when I wasn’t sure where I was going.  I would think long and hard about what the life ahead of me.  Would it be good, would it be bad, or would it be like a fire sauce on top of a Doritos Locos Taco.  Having such deep thoughts makes you go crazy.  There really wasn’t a remedy. I could sit in the deepest of thoughts and try to get my life straight, or ring that bell to straighten it for me.

When you are standing in line there is a sense of urgency.  It must be what Alexander felt when he became great.  He must have known the feeling of conquering a great order, and feasting on spoils from your victory.  There have been more than a few times that the taco has made its way above my head in a victorious taco fist pump.  I don’t like to brag, but when you hold such gold in your hand, how can you not show off.

I love the Bell. I love the handheld delicious treat in front of me.  The melt of the cheese. The crunch of a hard corn tortilla.  The slight burn of one too many fire sauce packets.  And the tear rolling down my face of pure happiness. Only Nicholas Sparks could do just for the love story between my taste buds, the food from Taco bell, and the people that try to keep us apart.

To all you young people being told not to love or grow up.  I tell you. Find the Bell.  Find the love.  I know you have it in you to change the elders opinions.  Soon, I too will be an elder hopefully learning from the mistakes I’ve seen.  And when you ever have doubt, know that Elton John is on your side. The proof is in “Can you feel the love tonight”:

And can you feel the love tonight

How it’s laid to rest

It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds

Believe the very best

BELIEVE THE BELL. Show them elders love can be learned early, you just need to have your bell rung.  No concussions of course, just that delicious dinner bell!

 

To Alaska (Part 2)

Frank looked up at the mine, and then to the whistle that seemed to last an eternity. He took a second to admire his newly acquired pick axe. The handle was firm and needed to was in need of a good swing. The pick was too shiny and pointed, it needed some stains and dents. He gripped it hard and shook it a couple times. It was the shake of acceptance and excitement to use his new toy.
He saw a friend of his Tim a heading in the mine so he hurried to catch up to him. When he caught up to Tim he put his hand on Tim’s shoulder to let Tim know he was there. Tim was partially deaf, and Frank never wanted to scare or startle Tim. Tim turned his head and smiled, pulling Frank in with his arm. He didn’t speak much, but Tim’s actions always explained his emotions. He had dark black hair that was starting to gray, and barely stood 6 feet tall. Somehow he always came to work clean, with his hair slicked back in perfect form. He was a gentle man, and his frame fit his personality. Frank gave Tim a smile, patted his back and gently stepped away to get his equipment.
He went over and grabbed a hard hat from the rack. It was cold to his head, and he welcomed the idea that he wouldn’t have to be shocked by a cold helmet anymore. It started to sink-in that this is the last time he would be entering the dark and dreary world he called work for so long. There was a smile and a thought of sadness, was he sure he wanted the future he planned. There was still time for him to change his mind. There wasn’t much more he could think when the whistle blew again. He pushed the clasp together and hurried into the mine.
It was a long walk to his section, passing a couple of his soon to be ex-colleagues. Casual waves and short jokes seemed too common on his walk, but he knew he wouldn’t get it anymore so he took it in. He flickered his headlamp at each group to show joke back, trying to blind them for a second.
When he finally arrived Tim was adjusting his equipment to start the day, and his other colleague, Larry, was sitting on a rock. “You sure you want to leave this place? Black lungs and stained skin ain’t what you dreamed of the rest of your life?” Frank never was able to get a good read on Larry, he was friendly and distant. Standing nearly 6’7″ and full of muscles Larry was an intimidating man. His would laugh when others couldn’t compete with him, but also was pushing his body too hard for his age. He was still young, in his mid to late twenties and had the energy to match it. Larry would show a smile but then yell at a moments notice when something didn’t go the way he wanted. He was odd, but Frank tolerated his attitude because he spent so much time with Larry.
“Just trying to move on to something new and exciting. You’re too young to be thinking about that kiddo, but I’ll show how to enjoy a last day.” Frank replied.
“Yea, I hope so! You’ve been here way too long old man! I’m happy for you.” Larry laughed as he said it.
Frank couldn’t tell is Larry was serious or poking fun at him. Either way, he was excited to get his axe dirty. He walked into place, gripped his axe tight and let fly for the first collision with rock. It felt good. It felt strong. It felt right. This is what he knew and loved. Regret started to pour into his mind. Would life really be better? How would other people react to his personality? He shook his head, this was right. He was meant to retire and get out of this place.
Break time arrived faster than he thought. His new toy had plenty of dirt and dents on it, but it needed a rest. As he walked to Tim, the cave started to shake. He put his hand to the wall and put his index finger on his lips to keep Larry and Tim quiet. Another shake. As he felt the walls rumble, he looked at the lights that started to flicker. Larry grabbed the radio and pulled the communication button, “Guys, what is going on? What is the shaking?”
There was a 15 second pause as the 3 guys looked at each other. Tim was slightly out of the loop, but he could see from Frank and Larry’s face.
“GET OUT OF THERE” A voice no one recognized yelled back.
Larry dropped the radio, and without saying anything started to run towards the entrance. Frank grabbed Tim and shook him to get his attention. As he shook Tim, the cave shook again knocking both men to the ground. Tim got the point. He stood up quickly and reached for Frank. As Tim pulled him up, the cave shook again. This time a rock dislodged from the top of the cave and hit Frank in the head.

Electricity

Tonight. Darkness arrives and where have my senses gone. I stand up and aw crap, I ran into the coffee table. Stupid wood. My shins hurt, and I have no idea what is going on. I put my hand on the wall and slowly walk along the hallway. PRICK. Where in the hell did that cactus come from? Remind me never again to buy exotic plants off a street vendor. I finally grab a candle and matches. With a quick action I light the match and the candle and head down the hallway.

The bedroom has to be around here somewhere. I see the door and slowly open it. I blow out the candle to keep the light low for my wife. It has to be safe to enter. I was wrong as my face gets caught up in wet clothes. Laundry. Ugh, it takes so long to dry when you hang it up. As I pull the clothes off my face and place them on the string I realize I need to wake up early for an appointment.

The only way for me to do that is to set my rooster. I feel along the ground for it, and OUCH. It bit me. Oh well he is in my hands now. I twist the roosters legs and turn it’s head 90 degrees to set the alarm for 9 am, when I realize the twist of the rooster’s head actually killed him. Looks like I have no idea what time I’m waking up in the morning. I finally put my head to rest, and hope for the best.

I wake up to the sun shining into my room and look at my mechanical clock. Unfortunately, I haven’t wound it so it stopped working and I am just going to have to wing it. I walk out to the kitchen to get some fantastic food. I open up my cereal and pour myself a bowl. Cheerios, my favorite! I love the sound the little pieces make as they clank against the bowl. I reach for my milk when… yep curdled. It goes bad before I am ever able to finish my box of tasty breakfast treats.

I have to get going, judging by the shadows on the ground I am going to be late. I grab my trusty map and head to work. I pull open the map to see what route I should take this morning. Walking to work is never easy when you have no idea where you are going. Fully spread in front of me I see I should take Main Street to High Avenue. Then I need to.. NO COME BACK. I reach, holler and grab at the map, but the wind has taken it. I run after it bending to pick it up on multiple occasions only to have it pulled away from me like a dollar on a fishing string. No worries I can ask around to get to work.

After asking multiple people I am finally guided to my office. As I walk to the front door security stops me and asks for my ID Badge. Well, in my hustle and bustle I must have left it at home. This doesn’t go well with the person at the front desk so they call in an investigation team. Let’s just say, I will leave parts of this story out. When all is said and done, I make it to my desk and sit down. Time to do some engineering. I pull out my trusty pencil and slide rule and get to work.

Then I realize how my life would be different if I had electricity.

I would have had lights turned on so I didn’t hit my shin or run into a cactus.
The laundry would have been in a dryer instead of smacking me in my face.
I wouldn’t have killed my rooster because I would have set my alarm clock.
My milk wouldn’t have been spoiled because I would have used a fridge.
I wouldn’t have gotten lost on my way to work because I would have GPS.
I would have easily been able to ID myself at work with a fingerprint scanner.
I would be able to do awesomely complex and super detailed computations 5000x faster with the click of buttons and swipes of mousestrokes with a computer and Excel.

Yea, the typical day of a person without electricity was probably pretty meaningless. It just took so much longer to do anything I’m surprised they lived a fulfilling life. Electricity, the greatest thing since sliced bread, unless sliced bread was invented with an electric cutter then it’s the greatest invention since beer!

A Life Wasted Away

I’m comfortable.  I know what is coming, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  I am motionless. Waiting. He holds my life in his hands. He doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, and I can’t force him to do anything.  If I could I would fly away from here, fly away from this life I’ve lived. 

I feel another lost soul right next to me.  Was she doomed from the beginning like I was? Is she thinking the same things I am?  When life hands you a hot plate you can’t help but touch it.  What plate did she touch that has her here next to me?

It doesn’t matter, I can’t speak to her.  I can’t plead my case. I can’t beg for an extended chance.  He peels off my mask, to let me see my final moments.  Part of me wishes he didn’t.  I don’t want to know how it goes.  But I am horrified to see my fate is water.  A long drawn out process… I guess I deserved this.  I couldn’t get out of this life.

He is finally ready, and I’m tense.  I thought I could take this, but no one wants to go.  Not now at least.

I’m falling. Down. Down. Down.  The fall feels like it is eternity.  My body spinning, my eyes watching.  Nothing seems appropriate for my final view, until she comes into it.  Our eyes meet. Beautiful. I feel like our beings were connected or created together.  Only now do I get to see her.  I close my eyes, because I can end with that.

My back hits the water and I start sinking.  I can’t stop it now. It’s cold. Lonely.  I feel it coming slowly.  The end.  My mind growing weaker. My body feels like it is melting away.  I try to glimpse at her, but it’s too late.  She is gone. I close my eyes one last time. I wonder how many souls have been lost this way before me or how many will after me.  I can feel my ghost cloud the water as I slowly drift away into a warm welcoming.

“Mmm, nothing like Alka-Seltzer for my stomach, right honey?”