Teaching an Old Dog

All I remember is going into the garage to get the snow shovel.

I am not even sure how much of the driveway I managed to shovel. Apparently, I was lying in the snow for several hours before one of the neighbors noticed me.

The next thing I remember is waking up from a deep sleep to the sounds of beeping machines with tubes and wires stuck into and on my body.

As I slowly regained consciousness and my eyes were able to focus, I was aware of a young, bald child looking down on me.

“Hi,” said the smiling, angelic face. Given the child’s age and complete baldness, I could not tell whether they were a boy or a girl. And, with the tube inserted in my throat and taped to my mouth, I was in no position to return their salutation.

I tried to remember who this child might be and why they were here with me. I guess my eyes displayed my confusion as the child said, “I’m Elizabeth. They let me walk around the hospital a little. Sometimes I sneak out of the oncology wing and look for people who have no visitors. I like to make sure someone is there when they wake up. I know I always like to see someone when I wake up from my operations.”

She just stood above me smiling. I then noticed she was holding my hand.

“Sometimes it is hard for family members or friends to come visit. Some people just really don’t like hospitals. And, I guess”, she said, “not everybody has someone that close to them. So, I like to become their visitor for them. I hope you don’t mind.”

I didn’t mind. Although it did make me embarrassed to realize that I fit in the latter category; I didn’t have anybody that close to me.

She just smiled at me and petted my hand as the medications worked their magic on me and I started to drift back off to sleep. I heard a nurse come into the room and say, “There you are, Honey. You need to get back to your room now and leave this nice man be.”

The next time I regained consciousness, I noticed a hand drawn picture of a house with a Christmas tree out front with a note that said, “I hope you get home before Christmas” and was signed by Elizabeth.

Each new day, I was welcomed by another drawing of Christmas scenes; smiling faces; reindeer; and, starry skies. All containing a happy note and all signed, ”Love, Elizabeth”.

After ten days of recovery and following the insertion of two stents into my heart, I was well enough to return to my empty home. On my way out of the hospital, I stopped by the Oncology Wing to say good-bye and thank you to Elizabeth. When I asked the nurse at the floor station where I could find Elizabeth, she replied, “Oh I’m sorry, Elizabeth is no longer with us.”

I then said, “Well can you tell me her home address or phone number, I would really like to thank her for visiting me in my hospital room this past week.”

The look on the nurse’s face indicated that I misunderstood what she had meant. Elizabeth was no longer with us.

Sadly, I started walking towards the exit.

Just before I got to the elevator, I noticed an open door with a man lying on his bed, with tubes in his nose and throat and nobody else in the room with him. I went into his room and sat in the empty chair.

When he opened his eyes two hours later, I said, “Hi, I’m Joe. I noticed there was nobody here when you were brought back from your operation and I know how nice it is to see a smiling face when you wake up, so I thought I would sit here with you for a while. I hope you don’t mind.”

He squeezed my hand; gave a slight smile; and, slowly drifted off back to sleep.

Painted on the Western Sky

Painted on the western sky
Above mountains stark and brown
Are whispers of the passing day
In pink shades of a sun gone down

The first howling from a coyote pack
Welcoming in the raising moon
Finds me wanting to have my brother back
Who left this earth too soon

Loneliness accompanies me
Making me feel so not alone
There really is no mystery
As to why I have no phone

The mountains grow taller
With each westward step I take
I know that if I called her
That would be a big mistake

Wandering through the desert
In a cloak of her darkness
Allows a moment to forget
That I’m lacking forgiveness

Painted on the western sky
Above mountains stark and brown
Are memories of why I cry
Ever since she has left town

Terrorist of Love

My heart has been hijacked by a terrorist of love
She undermines the goodness that your soul consists of
She separates you from your friends with promises of bliss
Then leaves before
You cross the bedroom door
Leaving a broken man like this

The brain in my head had lost full control
The ship was being piloted by parts further below
She got past my security with a flash of a little skin
I must confess
Thoughts of nakedness
Allowed the terrorist to come in

My paycheck was spent on her in less than a week
Every time she broke her promises I simply turned the other cheek
Financially ruined and still horny as hell
The terrorist fled
Leaving me for dead
With just this story to tell

My heart has been hijacked by a terrorist of love
She undermines the goodness that your soul consists of
She separates you from your friends with promises of bliss
Then leaves before
You cross the bedroom door
Leaving a broken man like this

What Future Lies Ahead

Curse the divide our differences cause
Anger and hatred not taking a pause
For original reasons no one can recall
Prejudices inherited by one and by all

The end of the world may not be at hand
But the beginning of the end may be here for man
Wars will accomplish what nature cannot
As lessons once learned now are forgot

Political and religious agendas bury the truth
We take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
The paradise we were given we turn into hell
For greed and intolerance our future we sell

Will our grandchildren’s grandchildren walk on this earth
Hand in hand with our enemies in a peaceful rebirth
Or will the decisions that we are making today
From our grandchildren’s grandchildren take the future away

The Found Phone

I was running some errands and stopped into the little waterfront restaurant for a late lunch.  It was kind of that in-between lunch and dinner time hour, so the place was completely empty.

I ordered a bread bowl clam chowder at the counter and took a seat next to the large bay-window looking out over the water in the empty seating area.  As I was lost in a daydream staring out the window, I noticed a cell phone sitting on the window ledge.  I looked around the empty room to see if I might have missed who it belonged to before picking it up and turning it on.

I slid the “Slide to Unlock” bar and got to the main menu with no password required.  Thinking I was smart, I decided to see who the most recent phone calls were received from and thought I would “call back” that number to see if they might know who the phone belonged to so I could get it back to the rightful owner.

By far, the most phone calls were from “Sally”.  I touched the “Call Back” button.

Ring sounds were followed by a quick, hurried and frantic, “I told you not to call me!  I can’t talk now, you need to stay away!”

Flabbergasted and embarrassed, I tried to stammer out that I was simply trying to discover who this phone might belong to, but I could not get the words out as I heard screaming in the nearby background.

“Who is that!?  Is that him!?”

“No.  No, it’s …”

“Give me that damn phone!”

I could hear sounds of rustling and crying; then, what sounded like a slap and …

“Hey you, << expletive >>, what the << expletive >> are you doing”, shouted a man’s voice into the phone.

This was immediately followed by more rustling and sounds of a struggle.  I could hear the original voice, Sally’s I assume, crying, “Give me my phone you << expletive >>!”

Another slap.  Rustling.  And then a loud: POP!  POP! POP!  And silence.

The phone was still on.  I could hear heavy breathing for what seemed like hours.

Then the man’s voice said, “And, now I am coming to get you”, and the phone went dead.

Sweat was pouring down my forehead.  Oh my God, what had I done?  And, now what do I do?

The waitress brought me my soup and I asked her if she knew who might have left that phone there.  She simply said, “No” and sauntered back to the kitchen area.

I called 9-1-1 and tried to explain what had happened.  They connected me to the police but I had no luck in convincing them that a crime had occurred.  For over 45 minutes I was transferred from department to department; put on hold; and, transferred again before someone finally took down Sally’s number, but I hung up convinced nothing was going to be done.

I looked for other numbers in the phone’s directory to see who I might call to try to identify the phone’s owner and tell them what had taken place.  The second most popular number belonged to a Tony so I pushed the “Call” button.

The phone was answered by a now familiar voice that yelled, “That’s right << expletive >> I am on my way to get you!”  And he hung up before I could explain.

Quickly, I went to the “Messages” icon on the phone, selected “Tony” and tried to type out an explanation of what was going on.  When I touched the “Send” button an error message came up indicating, “You have exceeded your text allotment for this month.  Please visit the App Store to purchase more options.”

Then I heard someone yelling from the kitchen, “Linda, have you seen my cell phone?  I can’t find the stupid thing.”

The waitress yelled back, “Oh hey, that guy out there found a phone on the window sill.  Is that yours?”

I saw the cook come out of the kitchen heading toward my table about the same time a large man burst into the front doors with a gun in his hand.

The cook turned; said, “Tony, what the hell”; and then took three shots into the face.

The waitress started screaming from the back of the restaurant.  Tony turned and stared at me; placed the pistol into his mouth; and, pulled the trigger one last time.

By now, the waitress had fainted.  The metallic smell of spent pistol cartridges hung in the air.

I called 9-1-1 one more time from the found phone and told them there was a shooting at the restaurant.  I wiped down the phone and dropped it by the cook’s lifeless body and walked out of the restaurant, glad that I bought my lunch with cash and not my debit card.

A Flame Once Burned

I saw an obituary in the paper today
From a page in my life I had turned
A tear down my cheek had slipped away
For a flame that had long ago burned

The flame shone bright for a year or two
From a chapter in my book of youth
For years I had wondered what happened to you
It was my fault, if you must know the truth

I thought perhaps other flames
Might burn for me brighter still
Thinking that love was just a game
A quest I would never fulfill

Tear drops spotted the paper
As I remembered this love I had spurned
The flickering never quite wavered
From the light of this flame once burned