January Fourth: Part 15 of 32

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Greyhound BusThe milk was warm but still very tasty. John had splurged and purchased whole chocolate milk with real sugar. It was almost as good as a milkshake.

Loki took a swig. “Thanks! That’s delicious. I usually get the no fat kind. Better for me.”

“Maybe,” John replied, “but not nearly as tasty.

“You’re probably right about Joni and me; I guess I’ll really have to have a heart to heart with her so we can figure out where to go from here,” he conceded. “As you said, time to fish or cut bait.”

“Seems like. Want some more Combos?”

“Please. And thank you very much.”

“No problem, you’re the one who brought ‘em.”

“Yeah, but that’s not what I meant.”

“Ohhh. Okay. I get it,” she said with a nod. “Hey, how come you like reading so much? I mean, other than it’s free.”

“Probably because I learned late in life,” he answered. “Ever hear of dyslexia?”

“Dys-what-e-uh?”

“Dyslexia. Where people have a hard time deciphering the written word?”

“Is that where folks read words backwards?”

“No, I think that’s on Led Zeppelin albums.”

“Huh?”

“Bad joke, don’t worry about it. A sign of dyslexia is writing some letters or numbers backwards like b for d or turning a 4 around but really we have trouble taking graphemes and making them into phonemes or words. We didn’t know I was dyslexic until I was ten.”

“Graph a foam me what?”

“Just written symbols, sounds and meanings; teacher talk. I was a slow reader until I got help, an IEP, and started working with MS Zweig. She helped me so much that I became a very proficient reader and then I was hooked.”

“Are you making these words up? What’s a IEP?”

“Individual Education Program. For me it just meant seeing a reading specialist but it made all the difference in the world. Once I figured out how great books are I fell in love with them.”

“Hey! I know a book about that! Getting laughed at and then learning how to read? I had like two or three teachers read it to me when I was little. About a little girl named Trisha who can’t read and her grandma dies and they have to move to California and she has this really snappy dresser teacher who helps her. You know that one?”

John studied her for a moment before asking, “Thank You, Mr. Falker? That’s Patricia Polacco, she was dyslexic too.”

“Huh. So we read the same books sometimes. Now I feel fancy.”

John smiled. “You should, you are. Uhmm, do you want to take turns reading the O. Henry book to each other? I’d be happy to help with any of the words you’re not familiar with.”

“Hmmm,” Loki replied uncertainly. “I guess we could try it. You sure you don’t just want to read to me?”

“I think we should take turns. We’ve got about an hour and a half before we get to Jackson; I don’t think my voice can hold out if I try to read straight through.”

“That’s fair. Hey, John? I really think Joni would rather have you around then be all by herself. I think you really need to consider that and come up with a plan before you get to Chicago.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right. Do you want to read first or shall I?”

Absolute Certainty

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Surrounded by a pack of Golding’s naked little flies
Is how odd-man-out child must have felt from outraged cries.
Around a dozen children in the late nineteen-sixties;
No one wearing a stitch of clothing was not the oddity.

All we privileged white kids that belonged to the middle class
Were attending ISU’s summer school at Thomas Metcalf.
Weren’t there for remediation, our parents all had pull
And part of the curriculum was swimming in a pool.

Our weekly aquatic frolic in pool of Olympic size
Had led to unclothed gathering where small difference was spied.
We children all stripped naked as we pulled on swimming trunks
When one boy cried out in horror after spying other’s “junk.”

“Holy cow!” Jack declared, “Hey, guys, take a look at his dick!”
We all obliged dutifully and stared hard at boy’s stick.
“What’s wrong with you?” Jack rang out in a loud demanding voice;
Child who Jack did torment answered with dignity and poise.

“There’s not a thing that’s wrong with me, it’s you that has been cut.
All your foreskins have been removed but mine remains untouched.”
Confusion swirled all around, this boy’s words did not make sense,
How dare boy with deformity such lies try to dispense?

Uncircumcised and unrepentant boy gave us great details
That he declared most forcefully though his lies could not prevail.
We twelve normal children laughed at his deformity
And shook our heads in wonder over his tall-tale lying spree.

Teacher’s voice cried out to us and urged we flies to move along
Slipped into our swimsuits and filed out knowing boy was wrong.
I was secure in my little boy brain that kid’d been talking smack.
Child we called out ever after when changing turned his back.

I know not how many years passed before I understood
That tale the ostracized boy had spun was truth about our wood.
The odd man out had known the truth and declared it simply
We knew that he was in the wrong; proved by our majority.

The sun revolves around the Earth, it says so in the Bible:
If you write something that contradicts then you’re committing libel.
Facts we know to be basic and feel all others should accept
Can be unacknowledged burdens, great albatross around our necks.

“Everybody know it’s so,” makes a thing neither false nor true;
Acquiescence to majority’s not always best way to rule.
Some things that seem simple, things that every child knows,
Turns out to be further from the truth than any can suppose.

 

January Fourth: Part 14 of 32

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Greyhound BusJohn twisted his upper lip to the right side of his face. “I’ve got a little,” he said, reaching for his tattered bag, the Combos and milk. “They kind of have to last me until we get to Jackson.”

“You getting off at Jackson too?” Loki asked.

“What? No. That’s a stopover. Is that where you head out to Oklahoma?”

“Yeah. So, what, the bus keeps going to Chicago?”

“Memphis. I’ve got to change buses in Memphis,” he said opening the Combos and offering her the bag.

“I have to get off in Jackson. I can buy you some more food there if you’d like.”

“I don’t mean to be stingy, it’s just that I’m pretty strapped for cash,” he conceded.

“Yeah, yeah. I get it. Don’t worry, I don’t eat much. Here, how much did these cost you?” she asked, looking at the bag’s price tag. “One-ninety-five? Here, here’s two dollars,” she added, reaching into her right front pants pocket and pulling out a few bills. “That make us square?”

“You don’t have to do-” John started.

“Oh, just stop!” she interrupted. “I’m hungry, you’re broke, you’ve got food, I’ve got money. Well, sort of,” she added raising and then lowering her eyebrows. “I got more money’n you.”

“That’s not very hard,” he replied, taking the bills and slipping them in his pants pocket.

“Yeah, I figured. I think you really need to see about having that wife of yours take you in. You aren’t doing so good on your own, are you?” she asked, popping two Combos into her mouth. “Want some?” she offered.

“Thanks,” John answered, taking a handful. “I just don’t want to be a burden.”

“So, what are you now? A husband who’s never around? Fish or cut bait as Daddy would say. In or out. Poop or get off the pot. Think about it from her point of view. That’s why I divorced my husband.”

“Why? Because he was never home?”

“No, because I wasn’t really home. I married him because he was hunky and I loved him. Turns out I love women more so I dropped him for his sake. That way he could move on instead of us playing let’s pretend like we’re a happy couple.”

“You didn’t love him?”

“I just said I did. I still do. We just weren’t right for each other. I didn’t know until I met Rae-Rae, then I knew that even though men are great women are even greater. I moved on so he could too.”

“How’d that work out for him? Your husband?”

“Josh? Well he didn’t get it at first, then he was alright and then he was upset because I got a decent divorce settlement. Point is he’s moved on because I let him. What are you doing to your wife?”

John raised his eyebrows and let them fall. “Excellent question,” he answered. “You like chocolate milk?”

Phlebotomist

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Phlebotomist who poked me was vain but not an ass
Giggled in great pleasure sharing joke from long dead past
It wasn’t very funny and it was quite juvenile
But I produced a polite laugh at tampon tea joke I revile

What you gonna do when someone’s about to suck your blood?
You’re messing with my life force? I’ll show you lots of love
Because I’m here to tell you that when folks got me by short hairs
I’ll go along to get along and then get out of there

With this particular blood letter, I knew I would soon be done
But what about other blood suckers from whom we cannot run?
The monsters all around us who wish to shackle us with chains
Or carrion bone pickers who dine on our remains?

Our brothers and our sisters who preach deceitful lies
That the answer to our problems is to hate and despise?
The vociferous hate mongers on radio or to church pews
Who in the name of greatness fear and intolerance they spew

Strategy of divide and conquer is familiar to us all
Does greatness come from building bridges or hiding behind walls?
Why is there so vast an audience for those who proselytize
With fear and anger as they extol us to despise?

People we’re being told to hate are our brethren, that is simple fact
We need to insist on tolerance not go off on berserker attack
In world of eye for an eye we all soon shall be blind
Rather than hating reflexively let’s open up our minds

Open them to dialogue, and learning of far away kin
If we all practice basic tolerance perhaps peace can win
I’m not some Pollyanna who dreams there’s nothing wrong
Or supposes Age of Aquarius is ushered in by Kumbaya song

But blood that I am seeing running through gutters of our streets
Is only flowing deeper with each furious war drum beat
The problem’s all around us and the solution’s in our hands
All I’m suggesting is we stop demonizing our fellow man

If preachers of your deity are commanding you
To smite those that are different whether Christian, Hindu or Jew
Or that Islam is the problem and that atheists are a blight
If violence of sword or oppression drives you, how can that be right?

Or secular leaders who wish to drive a wedge
Between us and our brothers and insist “They” want you dead?
The leaches and blood letters with their call to endless war
Are barrier to solution and it’s intolerance we should abhor

Vampires and werewolves, leaches of every kind
Will point to other side’s atrocities and insist that I am blind
It may be true that I’m a dreamer and my head’s up in the clouds
Still time to change world to dream from nightmare of which we can be proud

January Fourth: Part 13 of 32

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Greyhound Bus“So how did that work? Breakfast at a bank?” John asked with a smirk.

“Well, maybe ‘breakfast’ isn’t the right word,” Loki replied with a shrug. “Dad may be a ‘tard but he’s crafty. I was amazed at how much money he has in the bank. For somebody who didn’t graduate high school he’s done pretty good for himself.

“Anyway,” she continued, “he has this routine. Gets up in the morning, hops on his bike and rides to the bank where they have popcorn. He says good morning, grabs a bag, munches it either outside or in the entryway depending on the weather and then he pedals over to Mildred’s nursing home. He’d stay there through lunch and they’d feed him. They weren’t supposed to but what are you going to do when it’s lunch time and you have a retard who’s being a good husband and it’s time for lunch? They started feeding him and then he came to just expect it I guess. What are they gonna do now; throw him out? So that’s got two meals taken care of.

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “There was one thing the home had a problem with: The staff refrigerator. Seems that Daddy was going in and taking food out of the lunches employees had brought. They tried reasoning with him but he’s kind of like a big five-year-old so good luck with that. They finally jut put a padlock on their break-room fridge.”

“You’re kidding me?”

“Swear to God,” she answered, holding her pinky with her thumb and raising the other three fingers in the air. “That’s what Uncle Bob said, that’s Daddy’s brother.

“Anyway,” she continued with a wry smile, “the home sure as hell wasn’t going to feed him dinner too but he’d already figured out a scam for that. Grocery store samples. He makes the rounds of half-a-dozen stores: Walmart, Aldi, Big Giant, Cash Saver, Buy for Less. He mixes it up and knows where to go on what days. He don’t eat much, skinny little thing. I kinda take after him that way.”

“Yeah, I bet,” John snorted.

“I’m little but I’m mighty,” Loki answered.

“I thought you said you were half retard?”

“Can’t I be both?”

“Point taken,” John conceded. “So he doesn’t pay much for food?”

“Lord no! And Christmas dinner? First time I was married me and my brothers would go to Dad’s? It was a can of spaghetti and can of corn; and not really big ones either. We learned early on not to expect much.”

“And your mom? What happened to her?”

“She left,” Loki said, nodding.

“Oh, wow. Sorry. Did you see her much?”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Well, you said she left? Did you see her much after that?”

“Oh! I get it! No, no. She left him, not us. She took us with her. You sure you’re not part retard too?” she asked with a wink.

“Maybe.”

“Lord, that’s a scary thought. Living in a house with Daddy. I’m afraid he’s gonna want to come live with us in Crime Hills. Ain’t gonna happen.”

“Uhmm, indelicate question but why did your mom marry him? I mean, well, did she have to?”

“What do ya’ mean?”

“Well, you know; was she pregnant?”

“Oh! I get it! No. She just had to get out of her house. Grandad used to beat her and such. Daddy was a way out and she took it. They were married for over eight years.”

“So you lived with your mom? Where was that?”

“Place called Edmond just north of the city. Mom was a cleaning lady at a college. We saw Daddy a few times a year. How about you? You see your folks much?”

“I used to until I moved away. Wish I could but visiting is expensive.”

“And how about your wife? Joni; right? You said you don’t see her very often?”

“No. I mean, right,” he replied, eyes downcast. “Not very often at all.”

“Sometimes life really sucks, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, you can say that again.”

“’Sometimes life really sucks.’ Hey, you got any food? I’m a little hungry.”

State of My Bones

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For quite some time been a father
In fact been blessed by grandson
State of my bones are all aching
Still my wife insists that I run

She forces me to stay active
Swears that it’s good for my health
I have no doubt she is correct
But no way nostrum she’s pushing’s top shelf

Each morning in pain my joints protest
And ask, “What the hell did you do?”
I can’t blame it all on the running
For my runs are infrequent and few

This year on Dad’s Day did a five-K
Which translates to three-point-one miles
As we drove to the race’s location
Wife admonished me to smile

Plastered a smile on my face
That was neither sincere nor real
My darling’s eyes looked to heaven
As she whispered the word, “Schlemiel”

At start line we racers queued up
In center pack we did wait
Before the start gun was fired
Closer to the front my wife did migrate

Had a haphazard countdown
there at John Chestnut Park
Blast from an air gun released us
As on our footrace did embark

We racers were quite motley
Represented entire Bell Curve
There were a few ferocious warriors
But most were a bit more reserved

From my place in race’s middle
I proceeded to bounce along
I eschew wearing headphones
But was serenaded by birdsong

For first mile, I just sat in
And enjoyed the scenery
Nature is full of great beauty
Including babes who dress skimpily

Arrived at the first mile marker
And at my watch I did glance
Chagrined to see my slow time there
So I increased my rate of advance

There were quite a few racers
Doing the run walk alternate
Women a generation my junior
My motivation they did stimulate

One mom ran along with her stroller
And we two went back and forth
She paused at the water station
And from her I slowly slid north

With less than a mile remaining
I spotted a man ’bout my age
I noted that he was walking
And felt certain him I soon would upstage

Seems he was a tricky old rascal
A race walking practitioner
Though my heart was pounding mightily
It seemed his lead was secured

For ten minutes I followed
Digging down both hard and deep
As a reward for my intense effort
Closer to walker I managed to creep

It was with supreme effort
That I showed race walker my back
For the last hundred meters
Feared I might have a heart attack

My darling at finish awaited
She had a cold drink in her hand
I walked away with my water
Because I could barely stand

Each morning in pain my joints protest
And ask, “What the hell did you do?”
I can’t blame it all on the running
For my runs are infrequent and few

For quite some time been a father
In fact been blessed by grandson
State of my bones are all aching
Still my wife insists that I run

She forces me to stay active
Swears that it’s good for my health
I have no doubt she is correct
But no way nostrum she’s pushing’s top shelf

January Fourth: Part 12 of 32

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Greyhound Bus“So after the funeral are you going to stay in Chicago or go back to New Orleans?” Louise Trainer, aka Loki, asked John.

John nodded reflectively a few times before answering. “Great question. I’d like to stay with my wife but I’m not sure how things will pan out. I mean, I don’t even know if Joni can stay in her parents’ house or not, now that they’re both dead. As I said, she’s got brothers and a sister and I don’t know who’ll inherit what and all that. Maybe she’ll come back with me?”

“You have much of a life in NOLA, John?” Loki scrunched her nose and asked.

John looked at her and formed a half smile. “Almost none at all. I’d love to stay with her but I’m not sure of finding a job.”

Loki nodded, looked out the bus window and then back at John. “Well if you can get a job in New Orleans you ought to be able to get one in Chicago; shouldn’t you?”

“That makes sense but it isn’t true,” he sighed. “I was involved in a, well, unfortunate accident back quite a few years ago and my name got associated with something bad. I headed south after that to find work where nobody’d know me.”

“’Bad accident,’ huh? How long ago?”

“September of 2001.”

“Two thousand one!” Loki blew up her cheeks and snorted. “That was fifteen years ago. Did you kill someone?”

“No, but somebody died and I was kind of involved and my name was in the papers.”

“Oh, come on! That was a long time ago. When’s the last time you tried?”

“Up north? Maybe 2004. But with the internet nothing is really that long ago.“

Loki looked at John with a smile on her face and quickly bobbed her eyebrows up and down three times. “Did you go to prison?”

“I wasn’t even put on trial,” he replied, indignant with her attitude, not the question. “It’s hard to explain. People heard my name and recognized me and knew the story; it made national news. With a name like Knopick it’s kind of hard to hide.”

“Yeah, I guess,” she said light heartedly. “But you didn’t commit a crime? I think you’re being kind of ridiculous. Over sensitive. You should at least try while you’re in Chicago; I mean, what have you got to lose?”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Maybe I will, depending on what Joni wants. Can we change the subject? So, you said before that your dad has some crazy routine? What did you mean by that?”

“Oh my Lord! Well he did, it must have changed some now that Mildred’s passed, that was his wife’s name. He used to do the same thing most every day, starting with going to the bank to get his breakfast.”

“His bank serves breakfast?”

“Well, for Daddy it did.”

Do Ya Believe?

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Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Are ya buying all the things that you have been sold?
Did ya open up your widest and just swallow whole?
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh

There are lies we’re all feed like Pablum to a babe
About some rigid rules dictating how we should behave
We’re all imperfect creatures yet in God’s image made
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh

Are we a bunch of monkeys that climbed down from the trees?
Or loving God’s creations descendants of Adam and Eve?
Did we just kinda happen or was there a divine plan?
No matter how we got here we all family of Man
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
There are some among us who preach anger and hate
That every man is burdened by a sin he can’t dissipate
I think we all wind up sowing seeds that we did plant
And love is first thing misplaced when we go on a rant

Holy books are out there telling all how to behave
But is the message that they’re preaching a way to get us saved?
We all know flesh is fleeting so some focus on the afterlife
Gotta shake your head in dismay at anguish oh so rife
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
As tabula rasa is how we all enter the world
And many hands write upon our slates as our lives unfurl
Some say what’s good for the gander’s also dandy for a girl
Others that boys must all be macho; steer clear of ribbons or curls

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Everything we’re taught and everything we think we know
Can’t all be correct because that’s just the way it goes
Not always necessary to agree to get along
Seems we’re awfully fast in condemning others for doing wrong

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
That each and every one of us has to make his own way?
What works perfectly for you in me may cause dismay
That the greatest of commandments is to live and let live
And loving brothers need to let water flow under the bridge

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
That everything you thinks correct? ‘Cause if so you are deceived
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh
Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya believe? Duh-duh-duh

January Fourth: Part 11 of 32

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Greyhound BusLow Key looked at John for a few seconds before answering. “Okay, I’ll play. Hi, John, my name’s Louise Trainer but folks call me Loki,” she said, offering him her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Low Key,” he replied, taking her hand in his. “Do people call you that because it’s hard to rile you up?”

“What?” she asked, releasing the handshake.

“’Low Key’? Your nickname? Is that because you’re ‘low key’, you know, don’t get easily excited?”

“Low Key?” she asked. “My name is Loki, L, O, K, I; you know, the god of mischief? Thor’s brother? Don’t you ever go to the movies?”

“Oh! Loki! Ha! Now I get it. I heard you say that you were low key. I don’t go to very many movies but they have graphic novels at the library and I used to read comic books when I was younger. By the way,” he added in a conspiratorial volume, “Loki is Thor’s adopted brother, they’re not related.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I thought they were half-brothers?”

“Nope. Pretty sure. You can check it on your phone once your battery’s charged.”

“You’re probably right; I never paid that much attention. You really like to read, don’t you?”

“Well I do, plus it’s free. All I have to do is go to the library.”

“Library has movies too you know.”

“I don’t have a DVD or video player. So, your stepmother passed away?”

“Yeah. She had M.S. and was in a home. Couldn’t hardly move; only her right hand. They were moving her out of bed and they dropped her,” she said quietly. “Bam!” she exclaimed with a punctuating clap. “Now she’s dead.”

“Wow. That’s terrible. How’s your father?”

“He’s a retard. I’m half retard, by the way.”

John’s mouth opened but he didn’t say anything. After a pause he asked, “I beg your pardon?”

“My dad’s a retard and I’m half retarded.”

“Soooo,” he paired her verbal riposte, “was he was born mentally challenged or did he have an accident?”

“No, no. He was born that way, that’s why he’s a retard. If he wasn’t born like that then he’d have brain damage; don’t you know that? I figured you for somebody who knows just about everything.”

“Uhm, I did know the difference between brain damage and mental retardation, I’m just not used to people saying that word.”

“What? Retard? He is and I’m his kid so I’m half retard; right?”

“Well, no. It doesn’t work that way. Do you really have a low IQ?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I get by okay.” She leaned in and whispered, “It’s okay for me to say retard because I am one. Just like Aziz and his brother and mama can use the N-word without getting in trouble,” adding air quotes to N-Word.

John screwed up his right eye and cheek. “I’m not sure that it is, but I get what you’re saying. You’re a MOTT.”

“A mott? What’s that? I told you, I’m half retard, not some mott.”

“MOTT? Member of the tribe? That’s the rule you were using when you said Tamika can use the N-word and you can use the R one. Haven’t you ever heard MOTT before?”

“I don’t think so, but I like it. M, O, T, T; MOTT. I’ll have to remember that. So what happened to your mother in law?”

“Massive coronary. My wife said she was fine when she last saw and then was dead the next. Crazy.”

“Was she shoveling snow?”

“Nope, nothing as far as they could tell, just had a huge heart attack. Poor Joni came home from work and found her dead in the kitchen. Can you imagine?”

“No. That sounds awful. Were you close?”

“Sort of. We got along, we loved each other, but I didn’t see them much. I had a hard time finding work in Iowa so Joni went to live with her parents and I headed south to find a job. Her dad died, I guess three years ago come next month, it’s been just the two of them for a while.”

“How’s she taking it? Is there anybody up there to help her?”

“She has two brothers who live about two hundred miles away and a sister who lives close by and she’s got lots of friends to support her. I just wish I had a car or that I could have flown up there but there’s no way I could afford a ticket.”

“Yeah, I feel you. When did this happen?”

“Saturday. Earliest bus I could catch was today and I won’t get there until tomorrow. I just feel helpless; you know?”

“I do. We have a car back in Orlando but my wife needs it and I wouldn’t trust it to get me to Oklahoma anyway. You think you’ve got it bad? I’m only half way.”

“First world problems,” John said to himself. “So how’s your dad doing? Is somebody looking out for him or is he really not challenged like you said?”

“Oh, no. He’s a real retard. He’s got a brother who helps him and a crazy routine he follows most every day. Rides his bike all around. Lives a couple miles west of the airport.”

“Do you see him much?”

“No. Not since I got divorced and moved to Crime Hills.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Crime Hills? It’s really called Pine Hills but it’s not a very nice neighborhood so the locals call it Crime Hills.”

“And that’s in Orlando?”

“Oh yeah. Right close to 400 and I-4?”

“Never been.”

“You’ve never been to Orlando?”

“Never been to Florida. New Orleans is as far south as I’ve ever been. I’d like to go to Disney Land someday but we’ll see. Right now I’m heading north.”

“Disney World,” Loki corrected. “Disney Land is in California. Yeah, January is not the best time to head to Oklahoma, let alone Chicago.”

“That’s for sure,” he said. But then again, he thought, when is it a good time to bury either your mother in law or your stepmom?

The Veil

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The Veil that shrouds my eyes and distorts what I see
Is mostly translucent but opaque’s taking hold of me.
My binocular vision allows me to gauge depth
But no matter how I view some things I know my sight’s inept.

A pretty face atop a body that simply won’t quit
Has overbearing influence to scramble my wits.
I understand my response is but biology,
Momentarily mistake attraction as reality.

And the eyes that are connected to my frontal lobes?
Have lifetime of experience to which they’ve been exposed.
Though my vision may be faulty real problem’s with my brain;
Our minds can’t make heads or tails until we view a scene again.

Initial encounters of things beyond our ken
Taxes our brains to analyze till we make sense of them.
Lack of sophistication concerning what’s right before our eyes
Can sometimes ignite fight or flee, make us love or despise.

Being open-minded and exploring differing points of view
Is a trait I hold essential, not a weakness to eschew.
To understand perspective we must tamp down natural urge
To reject foreign postulates and let others be heard.

Those that fear civil discourse and reject out of sorts
Ideas they find abhorrent and in tyranny rejoice?
When we mistake listening and comprehending
For capitulation? We get ignorance that’s never ending.

No other way save violence to move our fellow man
If we refuse to listen and each other understand.
Rather than in tirade need to listen respectfully
May find common ground where we can live peacefully.

Tell myself these words as someone presses my buttons
And my calm demeanor takes a terrible stuffing.
Cloth wraps around my face suffocating and blinding me
Know that from this knee-jerk response I somehow must break free.

But though I see better part of me circling down the drain
And feel that limbic cortex taking over my brain,
I’m just a beast of flesh and blood struggling to do my part;
Mighty hard to be better man when rationality departs.