Monthly Archives: January 2013

Who Can It Be Now?


Who could that be at this hour?

I jumped when the phone rang and managed to knock the cork board off of the wall. I am not a fan of late night or early morning telephone calls because they rarely offer good news.

“I am in trouble and I need your help. They’re back.”

It took a moment for me to realize I wasn’t dreaming and a moment longer to grunt in reply.

There was an awkward silence followed by a plea for my help and reminders of promises I made. I said I would do what I could and hung up the phone.

Lay down in the dark and stared at the ceiling and made a mental note about what supplies to pick up and where to get them. I figured I had about two days to get it together before they found me.

Public transportation was out. There wouldn’t be any planes or trains on this trip and I probably wasn’t going to be able to get any help from any of the old crew.

We had all gone our separate ways years before and intentionally not shared the details of where we were going. We did it for safety reasons. No one was invisible but we figured if things went to hell it might give the others time to prepare.

I didn’t have time to worry about the others. If I found a way I would send word to them and if not, well they were all capable people.

Right now I had two days worth of work and a three day drive to prepare for.

The clock on the desk read 2:49 AM.

Might as well close my eyes again and try to get another two hours of sleep because once I start moving sleep is going to be scarce.

Closed my eyes and tried to sleep and then the other memories hit me like a torrent of water and I remember why I had to walk away from the woman I planned to marry.

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Moments In Time


“The magic was all in the finishing touches.”

Someone told me there is a website somewhere that documents the many different ways English is misused throughout the world, but I am too tired to look it up.  Besides I am not certain I want to share the story about what took place in room #1435 with anyone else.

Sure, I could make up some funny line about about a condom wrapper that talked about finishing touches and the magic it claimed to have, but it wouldn’t work for me.

You could blame it on my fragile male ego and how embarrassed I was when we had to throw that condom out because my flag wouldn’t rise for the occasion. I know you said I shouldn’t feel badly about it and that you thought it was cute to see my red face.

We have both been around long enough to know that these things happen and that there ways to deal with them that make it work for everyone. Hell, you proved to both of us it wasn’t a big deal and that all systems were go.

I can’t remember the last time any of those things happened.  I can’t remember the last time I was so nervous that things didn’t respond the way I expected them to and I can’t thank you enough for making me comfortable enough to stop wondering if  age had caught up to me.

Nor can I thank you enough for showing me I am not old, not old at all.  Damn, you did things that no one else has done and made me remember the 18 year-old kid who dreamed about this sort of experience.

But the difference between then and now is the decades have taught me that some memories are special because they aren’t shared with others.


Two hours ago we stood on the balcony overlooking Kowloon Bay and I asked you to marry me. You laughed and said you would think about it, but then you noticed I wasn’t laughing.

I was smiling, but not laughing because I am serious.

You said we live in different worlds and asked me for a plan. I asked for six months to wrap up my affairs in Hong Kong and said I would move back to the states.

“Ten years ago you said you would move and you never did so we both moved on, what is the difference now. Back then we lived hours apart, now it is worlds.”

Your words are still ringing in my ears. I heard the anger and the pain but I saw hope in your eyes. It is why I told you that was then and this is now. We aren’t who we were but that doesn’t mean things can never be.

It just means the timing wasn’t right and that all we need is a chance. If you open your eyes you might be surprised to see the opportunity is there because the miles have melted away.

And maybe one day we’ll wake up in our bedroom and smile because we’ll know from experience that “The magic was all in the finishing touches.”

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Pink Sports Cars


“Blowing bubbles in milk always feels good.”

When she paused to ask him what he was thinking about he lied and said it felt too good to think about anything.  She smile and started again and he smiled back at her, never telling her that he was thinking about a time many years before.

She was the girl down the street whose mom would sometimes watch him while his own mom did whatever grownups do when they aren’t with kids.

He hadn’t wanted to be stuck with a girl for a playmate, especially one who was a little bit older and bossy. Mom hadn’t listened to his protests and told him that girls could be just as fun to play with as boys.

She was right, but back then he didn’t think it was fun to listen to her talking about blowing bubbles in milk or anything else she had to share.  Eight year-old boys wanted to play army, to wrestle and climb things but they help no interest to nine-year-old girls.

He told her he thought that pink sports cars were stupid and that was the end of any friendship that might have developed.  She yelled at him once and then refused to talk to him.


Time passed and even though they went to the same schools they still didn’t talk.

Somewhere around the summer before his junior year of high school things changed for him. He saw her walking with a group of friends and noticed her long well defined legs.

But what he didn’t notice was how hard he was staring or that her friends had picked up on things and alerted her to his presence.

“What is your problem!”

He looked up and saw dark eyes staring back at his and tried to come up with a cool response.  Instead of spitting out something that would have made them all smile and swoon he said something that they thought was stupid and was met with five minutes of laughter.

Red faced and frustrated he turned and stormed away, completely unaware of how she watched him walk and admired the changes that puberty and exercise had bestowed upon him.

It took three more months of passing each other in the hall and a series of more awkward exchanges for him to realize that she was flirting and not trying to be mean.


He was going to ask her to go the Winter formal but a senior boy beat him to it and so he was left to watch her from his window walk to the limo on the arm of some other guy.

She didn’t tell him that she only did it to make him jealous or that she had wanted to go to the dance with him.  She was willing to do many thing but asking a guy out wasn’t one of them, that was his job.

So when the other boy tried to kiss her at the dance she had let him, not because she wanted to but because she felt like she had to. He had purchased the tickets for the dance, paid for dinner and the limo. It was only fair.

It was also the reason why she went on two more dates with him. In the years to come she would learn how to say no and not feel guilty about it but back then she was still young.


He didn’t tell any of his friends or family about the crush on his neighbor but he promised himself that he would ask her out before she graduated in May and went to college.

And he did, but not until March of that year which meant that she couldn’t go on their first date until after her family came back from their annual Spring break vacation.

So by the time they really started dating they were both hyper aware of how little time was truly left.

She had been accepted to a school out of state and within a couple of months would be moving away to start her freshman year of college.

It was an exciting time for her made bittersweet by the realization that she had real feelings for the boy. He treated her well and was always a gentleman but she knew he wanted to take things farther than they had.

It wasn’t a secret that guys were interested in that thing nor a secret that girls had to be careful about it.

So she wrestled with herself about what to do and what was right.

Eventually she figured out what she could do for him that would be special and would not compromise her values. The question of when and where was solved by her aunt’s request for her to house sit while she took a short vacation.


She intentionally didn’t tell him about her plan. It was better to surprise him. He looked shy when she unbuttoned his pants and she thought it made him look extra cute.

Just before she started she thought about her friend’s advice and tried to do things exactly as she had been told to which is why midway through she stopped and asked him how he was feeling.


He stared at the ceiling and wondered why his mind would wander at a time like this but it was the first time for both of them so he had no clue what he was supposed to think about.

And unlike his girlfriend he hadn’t consulted with anyone who had done this before because that would have meant having to confess he hadn’t done it many times in the past.

So he stared at the ceiling and smiled at dreams of milk bubbles and pink sports cars. Maybe his mom was right, girls can be fun to play with.

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Saturday Night Music

Might use a piece or two to extend Footsteps:


The principal had told him that respectable boys didn’t listen to AC/DC and that they would never sing such a dirty song.  She finished her lecture by forcing him to lean against the wall while she used her paddle to emphasize why he had been a bad boy.

She never could have imagined that years later he would recreate that scene, except he wasn’t the guest of honor this time.

Mrs. Thompson had recognized him immediately but instead of being shocked to find him insider her home she had been angry and had focused her icy blue eyes upon his in the same manner as she had done during his school days.

But there was a big difference because he wasn’t a school boy any longer and she was no longer his principal. This time the roles were reversed and he had all the power.

Oh sure, she tried to pretend otherwise and did her best to use that glare to intimidate him but it didn’t work.  It took her a while to recognize that the only way to get through the evening was to cooperate with what she thought was a sick fantasy.

The little whisper in the back of her mind began to take control and she started to realize that cooperating was the only reason she hadn’t experienced any real physical pain. But the mind is ever so good at playing tricks upon itself so when he demanded she read the lyrics while he tied up her up she did so without question.

And when he told her they were going to act out the lines in the song she said no because she thought that showing any fear would give him the wrong sort of encouragement.

She was wrong.

Well I’m ever upper-class high society
God’s gift to ballroom notoriety
And I always fill my ballroom
The event is never small
The social pages say I’ve got
The biggest balls of all

I’ve got big balls
I’ve got big balls
They’re such big balls
And they’re dirty big balls
And he’s got big balls
And she’s got big balls
But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all

And my balls are always bouncing
And my ballroom always full
And everybody cums and cums again
If your name is on the guest list
No one can take you higher
Everybody says I’ve got
Great balls of fire

I’ve got big balls
Oh, I’ve got big balls
And they’re such big balls
Dirty big balls
And he’s got big balls
And she’s got big balls
But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all

Some balls are held for charity
And some for fancy dress
But when they’re held for pleasure
They’re the balls that I like best
My balls are always bouncing
To the left and to the right
It’s my belief that my big balls
Should be held every night

Oh, we’ve got big balls
We’ve got big balls
We’ve got big balls
Dirty big balls
He’s got big balls
She’s got big balls
But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all

Oh, we’ve got big balls
We’ve got big balls
We’ve got big balls/And I’m just itching to tell you about them
Dirty big balls/Oh we had such wonderful fun
He’s got big balls/Seafood cocktail
She’s got big balls/Crabs
But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all/Crayfish

Oh, bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Bollocks, knackers
Big Balls AC/DC

The memory of that night way back when always made him smile.  Mrs. Thompson had apologized for her poor treatment and she had done it every way he had asked and then when she realized it didn’t matter she had screamed and that had been the signal that the show was over.

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The footsteps paused briefly at her doorway.  She listened for a knock at the door and when that didn’t come she figured it was just another salesman and went back to getting dressed for her run.

Autumn was among her favorite seasons and the best time to run alongside of the lake.  The crisp air was invigorating and the bone chilling cold of winter was still to come. An early morning run followed by a shower and the perfect cup of coffee were a ritual she had started in college and maintained through her marriage and divorce.

Running was where she did her best thinking and the time when she almost always figured out the answers to things that troubled her.

It took less than ten minutes to get dressed, throw her hair in a ponytail and head out the door.

Five more minutes took her around the corner and down the street towards the lake. Somewhere during the moments when she waved at the ducks resting from their southern journey the footsteps that had paused at her doorway returned.


He had been watching her for three months now, studying her routine and habits. He knew that she would be out for no less than 40 minutes and no longer than 63.

The cameras he had installed inside her home had helped him figure out that her post run routine took approximately 37 minutes and that at least 13 of those were spent in the bathroom.

That was twenty minutes less than her evening routine which included a long stint of brushing her hair and various other female grooming habits.

His notebooks contained many more details about what she did, how she did it and who she did it with. Those books and his methodical nature were a big part of the reason he had never been caught, that and twenty years of experience.

Twenty years of experience had taught him much and helped him refine his approach, manner as well as develop a certain style.

He had only killed his prey a handful of times.


The first time had been a huge mistake.

She had tried to fool him. She had welcomed him, encouraged him to do what he had to do, not to her, but with her and he had believed her.

Of course he had tried to make her prove it, demanded she show him she could be trusted. She had smiled at him, kissed him and begged to have a chance to show him what she could do if her hands were free.

Youth, arrogance and ego had made him think it would work and he had freed her hands.

She climbed onto his lap, straddled him and pushed his head into her cleavage.

He remembered inhaling deeply, intoxicated by her scent and the amazing feeling of her legs wrapped around him.

And then came the pain of the scissors she jammed into his shoulder blade, the scream of rage and the surprise he felt when she didn’t let go.

He stood up, and she stayed with him, legs still wrapped around his body, her fists pounding his head and back.

That was her mistake and what saved him.

She hadn’t hit anything vital and he was still much bigger, stronger than she was.

He was angry so he punished her by being rough and when he was spent she was no more.


Lesser men would have taken that experience and learned to never let their prey use their hands, no matter how they begged or what they promised. He wasn’t one of them.

He knew he had a larger destiny and that there were many ways to control people. It was part of why he studied them.

Some were shown pictures of family members and told a lack of cooperation would be bad.  When they didn’t believe him he would show them pictures of body parts and a chain saw.

The thought made him laugh because the pictures weren’t his work, but they were effective. They always did as he asked and played whatever part he wanted, but variety is the spice of life which is why he had learned how to make a certain cocktail that removed inhibitions.

It also removed basic muscle function.

They were aware of what was happening but unable to do anything about it. Sometimes it was fun to make a puppet to play with.

The cocktail had created a few issues for him. It wasn’t the sort of thing you could ask a doctor or pharmacist to teach you to make, so he had been forced to experiment. That had been rough, a couple of his guinea pigs never did wake up again, but that wasn’t the worst part.

Every time he was with one of his playmates he wanted to see their eyes and those early times had made them sleep through it.


Time was wasting away and it wouldn’t be long before she would return.  It was time to start the preparations.

He began by going to the nightstand and pulled out the gun that lay inside. He was feeling saucy so this time around he thought he we would leave it there, disabled of course.

The thought of the look on her face when she realized it wasn’t working made him dance with glee.

He took out the tape, the rope and a couple of toys and waited where he knew she wouldn’t look. He would give her time to get in the shower and he if she fought she would have time to get her gun.

But there were other preparations to make, things to do so she couldn’t call for her help or run outside.

The chimes from the clock in the hallway made him look up– five more minutes and play time would begin.

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My Stairway To Heaven

There is a reason why you shouldn’t try to send email while walking down a flight of stairs. It is the same reason why your mother told you not to run with the scissors in your hand or a lollipop in your mouth.

But sometimes safety and circumstances coincide as the oddest of bedfellows and you don’t do as your mother taught you. Sometimes you find yourself wandering through a house wondering if the owner paid a designer for the monstrosities you are looking at or if it is their own bad taste.

You can’t help but wonder if the real reason that dead Italian masters are dead is because their concept of cool was so awful they were hung by an angry mob or if they were graced with the kiss of death as a result of old age.

Had it not been so awful you would have been watching your step. Instead your smartphone made you fumble and you walked right into her. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that you almost knocked her down a flight of stairs. You can’t forget how wide her eyes got when she almost fell or how thankful you were that she didn’t.

The people down below told her that you threw your phone so that you could catch her. They said that you wrapped her up in your right arm and that it almost looked like something you would see in a ballet.

That made you laugh. You aren’t suave, debonair or graceful. Later on she told you that the first thing she noticed was that your arms were really solid, but you never would have guessed she had noticed. Not after that look or the way she yelled at you for being careless.

When you let her go she walked the stairs past you and never looked back. You know because you stared at her the entire time. At first it was because you felt foolish and tongue tied. A mumbled apology was ignored, but her legs weren’t…at least not by you.

You remembered thinking that you would have to be blind, dead or gay not to imagine what it would be like to have them wrapped around you. She walked away while your mind raced for the kind of snappy line that would get her attention.

You needed something that wouldn’t make you seem like a stalker, sound like a fool or make her feel threatened in any way.

Later on you sat on the bench outside and wondered if this was real life or a dream. It was all too easy to picture a flash mob materializing out of the thin air and dancing around that bench you were sitting on. Upon second thought you had this image of being the bad guy in a Aretha Franklin video. It was all too easy to see her and her backup singers pointing their fingers at you.

Reality sets in and you remember that you aren’t a hero nor are you a villain. You are just a regular guy and maybe that is enough. Maybe you are over thinking it all, spending too much time trying to be someone else when what you really need to do is just be you.

So you wander back over to the house that wants to be a museum and rejoin the fundraiser. She is standing in the hallway talking to another woman but when you make eye contact she doesn’t look away.

“My name is Jack and I am really sorry about what happened. I would really like to buy you a cup of coffee and I promise not to spill it on you or trip you.”

Editor’s Note:  This is a piece that I wrote that originally ran here. I have an original unpublished piece that I will probably share next week. I want to do some work on it first.

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Made a quick pass over the “About” page and made a few edits to it so that it would be reflective of what is going on here. It still needs some work but every page is a work in progress and I am ok with that.

One of the goals this year is to put together some more stories and pitch Amazon so that I can get a few up on the Kindle Singles section.

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We Do What We Have To Do

James Gordon Jr.: Why’s he running, Dad?
Lt. James Gordon: Because we have to chase him.
James Gordon Jr.: He didn’t do anything wrong.
Lt. James Gordon: Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
The Dark Knight

We do what we have to do because sometimes in life the choices we make are black and white. There may be a million shades of grey but there are moments where you have to choose between right and left or up or down.

You can’t move diagonally or position yourself three rungs up or below because it is impossible to do so.  Maybe in the movies or a book you can come up with a way to defeat the laws of physics but in real life you can’t do it so you make your choices and move upon the best decision made with the best information you have on hand.

When you have done all you can do you do your best to roll with comes and move because action is required and it is the only way to find out whether you have made a good choice or bad. You can’t find out what lies beyond door number one unless you open the door and walk through it.

The really cool thing about it is that many times you discover that Monty Hall is waiting for you on the other side. He is standing there microphone in hand ready to hand you a big check and a dozen prizes.

If you don’t like the “Let’s Make a Deal” analogy you can always point the remote at the screen and find yourself face-to-face with Bob Barker and “The Price is Right.” You can visualize yourself in the “Showcase Showdown” competing with someone else for the wonderful prizes that you can see just across the hall.

All you need to do is bear down, focus and take a shot and those things can be all yours.

It is not a random shot at winning. It is a combination of hard work, knowledge and a dash of luck.

But the only people who win are those who play and that is precisely why sometimes we do what we have to do because you can’t win unless you play.

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I Know Things

Author’s note: Technically this ran over at the main blog but I wanted to participate in the Speakeasy at Yeah Write. I wrote a different post for it but decided not to use it for the Speakeasy. It is called I Am Dead Now and you are welcome to read it if you want. This one isn’t quite so dark.
Hope you enjoy it.


We’re standing on the balcony staring out at the sunset. You’re barefoot wearing nothing but that sun dress I like. I am in my usual shorts and a t-shirt. Our drinks rest on the table next to us while dolphins play in the sea below us. Great splotches of orange, red, blue and magenta are painted against the sky. Your hand fits perfectly inside of mine and I wonder if I have ever been so content with holding hands. A silent smirk creeps across my face and I catch you staring at me. I know you. I know that look. You want to know what I am thinking but I remain silent.

You look at me again and I raise my eyebrows and smile. In return you give me that look that says that you are somewhere in between content and exasperation. I try not to smirk. I tamed you when no one else could. You know it and I know it. I am trying not to laugh and so are you. Finally you look at me and tell me to “just say it already.” You try to give me a stern look but the light in your eyes and the smile in your voice tell me all that I need to know. I shake my head silently and pull you into my arms. For a moment we stare at each other and then our lips brush against each other.

This….this moment has been a long time coming. This thing that we share has been the most difficult, infuriating and best thing that we have ever known. Against the backdrop of the sinking sun we hold each other in silence and smile. We aren’t teenagers. Those days are long ago and far away. A lifetime has been lived by each of us both together and alone and then together.  I look at you and look back towards the room while you give me a knowing smile. Our fingers still intertwined we walk back inside. You sit on the bed and I turn on a mix I made for you long ago.

Bob Dylan is singing Lay, Lady Lay

“Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Whatever colors you have in your mind
I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine”

My voice is a soft rumble, “what should we do for dinner?” You tell me that you have a few ideas and I smile. I have the Peaceful Easy Feeling that The Eagles sing about. I stare at you and smile again.

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Until the break of day, let me see you make him smile
His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean
And you’re the best thing that he’s ever seen

For a moment you look away, the look in my eyes too intense. I walk over to the bed and gently lift your head so that our eyes can connect again. I tell you that I never stopped singing that song. Some people come into your life for but a moment, others for a lifetime and some for longer still. You laugh and tell me that I don’t need to use cheap lines to get you. I shake my head and whisper “no.”

Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can have your cake and eat it too
Why wait any longer for the one you love
When he’s standing in front of you

I tell you that I am sorry. I don’t know how or why some things play out the way that they do. I have enough trouble remembering my own name. But I know things and this much is certain, whatever has happened is done. Now we have the future we once talked about except now it is real. Now we have countless hours to do and to be. It is good that we aren’t teenagers anymore because now we know what is real and what isn’t.

Moonlight fills the room and the lights dance in your eyes. We started a story whose end doesn’t have to wait any longer because our future is now. Take a leap of faith and believe.

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead
I long to see you in the morning light
I long to reach for you in the night
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead

Some things can’t be stopped, they can only be delayed.

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I Am Dead Now

Midnight came and went and I heard the ghosts of the past rattle their chains at me. Closed my eyes and went to sleep while they shrieked, howled, groaned and moaned my direction, but didn’t give them the satisfaction of answering.

My silence was more powerful than anything I could have said and had more force than the best “go fuck yourself” a man can muster.

The next day they found me in the car, engine running, windows rolled up and a big grin on my face.

Peace at last.


I looked down at my body and watched friends and family stare at what remained. It was nothing more than a hollow shell that had once contained what they call a soul or a spirit.

The eyes were wide open but the light that had lit them was extinguished and the energy that once radiated from it was gone, but to where no one could say. Or at least that is what they had always told me.

Now I was going to find out if the nuns were right about my going directly to Hell.

I suppose if I ended up walking down some street in cleveland I would have to call Sister Madeline and tell her that her “great fear for my immortal soul” had come true. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

Or maybe things would go a different direction and I would find out the yogis and there claim that all beings were nothing more than balls of cosmic energy was right. Maybe I would feel myself being torn into a million different pieces and particles of light to be scattered every which way around the world.

Hell, that might send me right back into all the places I had just tried to leave so maybe the joke was on me.


I didn’t leave a note or give a reason for doing what I did because I didn’t want to make it quick, clean and easy. Wasn’t trying to add any more pain to anyone else’s platter but I wanted to make it clear that people are complicated and there are multiple layers that no one can just peel away.

You can’t just look at a person and declare them to be happy, sad, angry or mad and expect that label to describe them in total. There is more. We are more.

But there wasn’t anyway to do so without being the selfish prick they already knew me to be so I acted as they expected by doing the unexpected.

Yeah, I am a real peach aren’t I.


The strange thing about looking down at myself and the people is that I still have this sense of time but I can’t figure out why. I shouldn’t be floating around here knowing that 17 hours 33 minutes have passed since I passed

At least I don’t think that is how it should be, but I haven’t been gone all that long. Or maybe this is part of being in Hell. Maybe Hell really is like being stuck at the Department of Motor Vehicles waiting for your number to be called.

Sort of makes sense to me in an odd sort of way. Sort of fits, but I don’t really know if that is the case or not. Haven’t been dead long enough to figure out what sort of rules there are or if I am still supposed to retain any sort of consciousness about me.

Tried to get the attention of the people down below but they can’t see or hear me which isn’t all that different from real life. Sure, they could hear and see me then but no one reacted or paid attention to me then so this isn’t much different.

There is a female M.E. checking out my body now. Damn, it figures that she has me naked during the one time I can’t respond or react.

So the ghost version of me is trying really hard to get the old body to show her the sort of life that once flowed through all of me but the damn flag pole won’t raise and I don’t have the spook version of Viagra.

Can’t seem to get my voice to shout “Your hands are cold” or do much of anything.

Correction, it seems my body is capable of making some noises because Mr. Cool just released something from the wrong end. That is just wrong. I was told that after death your body releases whatever it was holding onto but I had thought it would have been done already.

Damn, I might as well stay dead now because resurrection at this point probably wouldn’t get me a date with her. Or maybe it would.

Someone who works with stiffs for a living might have an open mind.

“Hey baby, you brought me back to life. Why not see if you can bring the rest of me back?”

Might make a good story, or maybe not.

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