The communal bathroom was a lot cleaner than she thought it would be. This was the first time that she’d been in. She reckoned dust would be more of a problem than shit as everyone must have used their en-suites.
You are here now and it is you who calls the shots.
If there is anything you want to talk about, you can.
I see you’re doing very well in English. Miss Patterson is impressed by your story telling. You express yourself very well.
But that’s writing, it’s not real is it?
And even if there is some of you in there, nothing is as powerful as hearing your own voice.
When you are ready…
…Talking is what you need to do
I sit up in bed when I see the headlights of a car arc at the end of the driveway, pause for a second over the mailbox, and then stop in front of my house. I reach across the bed to wake Susan before I remember she’s not there. Mine is the last house on a rural cul-de-sac in upstate New York. Sometimes in the summer, late at night, I get kids making out or drinking beer at the end of the road and if they make too much racket I walk up with a flashlight and ask them to move along. But it’s early morning, the week before Christmas, the kind of dry cold air that pinches your nose shut in the time it takes to check the mailbox. No one is drinking a 40-ouncer this morning. The newspaper guy used to drive by at this time of morning and slide a paper into the box, but I cut that off six months ago, when Dylan deployed. Some things you don’t want to know about. The headlights extinguish, and I can see the glint of the car chrome in the early morning moonlight. I slip my feet over the side of the bed, find my LL Bean moccasins, wrestle into a flannel robe, and turn on the light to go downstairs.
They call it the Fully Automatic Cathedral (FAC). It’s .45 caliber and can deliver the gospel at a rate of six-hundred rounds per minute. It takes wadded up pages of the Bible as ammunition and needs to be reloaded about once in a generation. The ex-Marines I sometimes go shooting with say it takes one kind of courage to shoot someone and a whole second kind of courage to get shot. The solemn promise of the FAC is that as long as you use it you’ll only ever need that first kind of courage. It’s so accurate it could send a bumble-bee to insect-Heaven from half a mile away. I currently have it set to Roman Catholic but there’s other settings. Lutheran, Pentecostal, Episcopalian, Mormon, even Mennonite. Hit someone with this they’ll probably die, but if they don’t you can bet that whatever’s left of them will be coming to church next Sunday. It looks like your average machine gun. That is, if your average machine gun were twice as big, made of solid marble, and had Aramaic verses inscribed across its barrel.
The new arrival, Tony, insisted on being the center of attention at all times. He was like an actor on stage playing to a rapt audience. Some of the residents found him to be a breath of fresh air. But I thought the air he brought into the place stunk.
Only the dead know how to live;
Only the poor know what to give
Only lovers pray for rain;
Only dreamers strive for pain.
Jean More committed suicide on 21 May 1977. She exited life via a dozen Quaaludes and a pint of hobo wine. Jean was thirty-seven; her final action made an orphan of her seventeen-year-old son, Holliday.
The App description said that the Umbrella Man’s “got what you need.” Brian Fuld downloaded the App and launched it while relaxing in bed and settling in for the night.
Brian scrolled through the typical legal jargon and tapped the “I accept” button. The grey silhouette of a man holding an umbrella appeared on the screen. Brian touched the image and the words “I have what you need” appeared. Nothing else happened. $1.99 down the drain. Brian put his phone down and gave in to sleep.