Three Word Wednesday, 9/14/2011

Backward, Ease, Omission

Testing, testing… That sound you hear in the background is rain. If anyone actually finds this recording, you probably didn’t need to be told that. Chances are good that you know it backward and forward, along with thunder and the sizzle of dissolving – . Strike that.

Right now, I can still ease against the window and relax. Sort of. There’s a drip outside the window that’s really annoying, but it’s not like I can do anything about it. So far, window glass seems to be proof against the corrosive effects of the weather – more than you can say for living tissue and things like wood and shingles and even the grass. Mowing the lawn is a thing of the past, as you also probably know. I’m looking out at what used to be finest Kentucky bluegrass. Now it’s a barren pitted mess, mostly down to bedrock. Of course, I won’t be raking the leaves, listening to birdcall in the morning or being awakened by the dogs who had lived in my neighbor’s back yard any time soon, either. I’m just glad I live in a stone house with a slate roof. At least I think I am.

Of course, I have other problems. I’m down to the last 12 of the five-gallon bottles of water I’d managed to bring into the house when we – I — … sorry. [silence] Didn’t mean to break down. When my late spouse and I realized what was happening, we did what we could to try to get past what we were sure was a temporary situation. Our local water guy brought these out, when it was still possible to be outside. First, we tried a charcoal filter, but whatever it was in the water couldn’t be filtered out. So if you haven’t tried that, don’t bother. I spilled some of the water on my hand and – oh, well. I didn’t really need my left little finger anyway. (Did I mention how much that drip outside is really bugging me?)

Pat’s not here anymore. I think maybe the almost-constant rain caused a breakdown. All I know was I awoke to the mutter of “why are we bothering?” and the sound of footsteps, a closing door – and screams. I still hear the screams. By the time my brain responded, it was too late. I felt so guilty; I still do. I think that maybe I didn’t do enough or should have done more. I don’t know. I didn’t push my beloved out the door, but maybe I was guilty of a sin of omission. Maybe it was that drip outside. Maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Hey. Had to stop there for a moment.

And another moment. Or two. There. So I’ve had lots of time to do all kinds of things I wanted to, even if there’s not much use in it. Believe it or not, the Internet still works, although the electricity is almost ready to quit, but most of the people I knew online are gone, and the ones who aren’t gone physically are pretty gone mentally. You can only watch so many people and animals die, you know. You do know, don’ t you?

Which makes writing pointless, kind of. When the aliens finally show up, or whoever, they’re not going to be reading flash fiction. And it’s not like I have anyone else to write for – Pat never really was interested in reading my stuff anyway. Back in a minute.

Ok. Back. Made dinner. Didn’t eat it. Opened the window real quick and tossed the plate into the backyard. All the food dissolved right away. Just like yesterday and the day before. And the day before that. I’m going to run out of plates before long, but if anything of civilization survives this mess, we need to save some of the water. Beats all the fancy detergents, and I’ll bet those plates are squeaky clean. Hang on.

Well, that was more than a minute. I needed to sleep. Guess I did for a while, but I got woken up by thunder and a crash. The Lemons’ flagpole just fell on their car. Too bad. And the rain, that woke me up, too. I wish it would stop. It’s not relaxing any more. Wish it would stop. Wish it would stop. Wonder what silence sounds like. I remember that. Kind of.

And there’s that damn drip again. You know what? I think I’m going to go fix it. Right now.

Don’t wait for me. I won’t be back.

Best of Friends (9/2/2011)

My Journal, 3/1/2011

Today the weight loss contest started here at work.  I know what I weigh (and I don’t like it), but I’m going to lose.  Absolutely.  I decided I need some motivation, so I’ve hung up a picture of Jim from Facebook on my cubicle wall, along with a picture of myself as I am now.  It’s a reminder that I hope I’ll get to St. Louis by the end of the year and meet Jim face to face, but not looking like that. I expect it’ll help.  I hope so, anyway …

My Journal, 4/10/2011

Having trouble getting my eating under control. No surprise. But I’ve been working out so I know that will help. Still, every time I feel like eating something that’s really wrong, I look at the picture of Jim.  Since he owns a Gold’s Gym franchise, I know he understands the process of getting in shape and I can imagine him encouraging me not to give in to temptation. He even “liked” the status I posted the other day about having lost weight. What a great friend …

My Journal, 6/1/2011

Today was the weigh-in for the first half of the contest.  I was really disappointed to only have lost about 7 pounds.  In three months, I should have done better.  When I came back from the locker room where the weigh-in was, I was too ashamed to meet Jim’s eyes. How am I ever going to get to meet him, looking like this? He hasn’t been posting on FB either, lately.  I’ll bet he’d be so disgusted if he could see me right now …

My Journal, 7/14/2011

Here I am at the midpoint of the second half. I’ve hardly lost a thing. I can just see the sneer on Jim’s face, the contempt. “I see people all the time who are getting fit.  Why aren’t you?” I can just hear him now. Probably that blonde he friended the other day was one of them. I just know that’s his type, not someone like me. Not a frumpy, fat person like me …

My Journal, 8/31/2011

Final weigh-in. I lost a whole 15 pounds this summer.  Nothing I did was right. When I got back to my desk, I tore down the picture of him and threw it away.  I could hear him laughing at me, probably the way he laughs at me when he’s with all his hotshot gym buddies. I really thought he liked me, but he fooled me.  Well, no more.  I’ve had all I’m going to take …

St. Louis Dispatch
September 5, 2011


In what is surely a cautionary tale about befriending strangers on the Internet, James Sawyer, 37, the owner of a local gym, was shot down at his place of business by Berta Ingles, 42, of Harton, Ohio, a small town outside of Youngstown.  Sawyer had previously friended Ms. Ingles on Facebook.  “I think he did it out of kindness,” said Al Forman, Sawyer’s grieving business and life partner. “He wasn’t that into Facebook anyway — he used it mostly for business purposes. She apparently saw things differently, because she came in shouting that she wasn’t going to put up with him laughing at her any more. I have no idea what she was talking about. Jim wasn’t the kind of guy who laughed at anyone.” Ms. Ingles is presently being held in MPC for psychiatric evaluation…


She watched him greet his guest at the airport. Some business thing or other, she supposed. This wasn’t the time or the place, after all. Her hand caressed the gun in her pocket and she waited for them to go by, the woman by his side pulling a wheeled carry-on with a portfolio carefully balanced atop it.

She followed them all day. He took the woman back to her hotel and waited briefly in the lobby for her to return. Then they went across the street to the team shop in the Arena where his guest bought a jersey.

She stayed carefully back as they visited what was left of the old Forum and looked at team memorabilia. Hmm. Someone who loves the sport as much as he does. I wonder …

In late afternoon, they found a restaurant not far from the arena. Must have flown in for the game. But to come all that way? How does she know him?

Finally, she stood in the doorway of an office building nearby and watched and waited as they went to the game, glancing at her watch. The last couple of years had taught her patience, where he was concerned. This is worth waiting for. I can wait forever.

Gradually, the city’s lights rose. She huddled in the shadows, and was finally rewarded as people exited the arena, rejoicing in a hometown win. He’ll be so happy. A pity. I’d rather he’d been disappointed. Like me.

There! The two of them crossed the street together, holding hands like children, laughing, talking of the game they had just seen. Did you see that? That was a play to remember! He smiled at her. The watcher was furious. He SMILED! At HER! Goaded into action, she darted from her hiding place, pulling the gun out and pointing it at him.

They gaped at her, frozen in bewilderment. “What?” was all he had the time to say before she fired. But the woman with him pulled him aside and spun in front of where he’d been. She staggered and fell, and he caught her in shock. “Allie? Allie? My God, what?”

For a moment, she was furious. All that planning. All this time. And that bitch ruined it — then she really saw him, saw the pain on his face as his friend died in his arms. And she began to laugh.

“This is so fitting. I wanted to kill you, but this will hurt more. Hurt that someone else died for you.”

“Who ARE you? I don’t even know you!” He rocked the dead woman back and forth as if he could revive her, comfort her.

An ugly snarl disfigured her face. “You don’t know me? Every day for two years you walked by and I said hello and YOU NEVER SAW? YOU NEVER SAW!” She raised the gun and put it to her head. “Now there’ll be two people who died because of you.”

As people came running, including two police officers, she pulled the trigger and the gun clicked on an empty cylinder. Puzzled, at a loss to understand, she looked back and forth between the empty gun and the approaching officers. What? What? What did I do wrong?

The police wrestled her to the ground. What did I do wrong? One of the cops took the gun and looked at it.

“She was trying to kill herself, she said.” He came up behind them, face hard and set.

“Well, I guess she didn’t know she had a gun with a hair-trigger. She emptied it all at once.”

“Into Allie.”

“Yes.” The officer had the grace to look abashed. “But she’ll stand trial for it. She won’t get to choose her own way out.”

“Good.” He spun away, angry, and wiped the tears from his face. “To use her own word, that’s fitting.”