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The End Of Life - Short Story

 

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Introduction

Hey readers,

Here is a short poem, a new coffee shop to check out and a short story.

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Writer's Favorite Drink


Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Ace Hotel

20 W 29th St., between Broadway and 5th Ave

Surround yourself with the remarkable cast of real-life characters who regularly visit Stumptown in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. It's great cause I always need a few characters for my next book, so I like to take from an interesting person that I meet, since that can easily get me a few more chapters for my work-in-progress. Oh, I mean, I like talking to the characters there, too. Add abundant seating, and USB-equipped tables to that mixture and you’ll be powered up both electronically and creatively all day long. Abundant seating is something that I can't have enough of, yes, I am the type of guy who likes to put his feet up when I am typing up my blog. It's relaxing and rude, but I love it. Having USB-equipped tables change everything because what I am going to do if my laptop dies? Write my words in a notebook by pen? That's madness. Oh, wait. I probably shouldn't be the guy who says that.


 
 

Short Poem


This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox


and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast


Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

 
 

The End Of Life - Short Story


Before I begin this short piece, this tale of a family, this digression of life, I would first like to ask the reader a question, if they don’t mind, what is one more question that we all have as we slope the avalanches of our days unsure if we are climbing or merely falling? What is a miracle? How do you identify such an event? Can you identify the miraculous with words, like the ones you read before you, and if you were a gifted oracle, how would you respond to its appearance in your life? A miracle is not like postage arriving in the mail that you unpack and never think of again. The momentous occasion stays with you long afterward, almost performing a second miracle in staying in your memory for so long. Would you convert your repetitive bland ways and become a new person? Or ignore the fateful message as mere coincidence and go back on scientific data to prove that a very episode in your life was false. Or perhaps you see miracles in a different light, as not a moment of resurrection or of spiritual awakening, but of life itself. The air that you breathe gives you the love you feel that you can then communicate in words you know. The miracle of life is that there is any life at all, and you are here to be a part of that strange, elusive experience. Although this is a very popular belief among non-theists, it fails to recognize the person who does not see life this way, who sees miracles as single events, not as an outlook. What of the man who claimed to see heaven when he was pronounced dead? What of the woman who says she saw the Lord in a vision? What about the soldier who got shot straight in the chest yet lived to talk about it? All logic tells us that the man who saw heaven should have been dead. Once the machine goes off and your heart stops pumping, you should no longer come back into this world and enter the darkness of life because your body is expired. Yet, he did breathe a second time and claimed to see a place that many only know of in word. The woman does not even know who Christ is, so she shouldn’t be talking to him. She is no Christian. She has little faith. So why is she convinced that on one lonesome night, the Lord, who I am sure the reader is aware of, came to her and spoke, in the same way, I speak to you. The soldier should be buried in the ground, as his comrades commemorate the heroism he displayed for his country. The human body cannot stand certain acts, like a bullet to the chest, where the heart lies, yet the soldier took the bullet wound as if the shot was not fatal. Against all the numbers, all the equations, all the reasoning, the miracle prevails, overcoming not only the odds but our very belief in them.

We enter the scene of a husband and wife arguing as they prepare dinner. The wife, Anne, is making the meal of chicken and rice for the family of three because they all want to eat edible food. She has been the family's cook ever since they formed since her husband Wilson knows nothing about dinner. This is not the first time that Anne has made this meal for the family, so no one, not her, Wilson, or Paul, their child of 8 years, complains. Speaking as an eater, for a second, I can say that although chicken and rice is quite a simple meal, I do find it quite satisfying for my taste buds. But I digress; Wilson contributes to the meal how he can with his limited knowledge of preparing food by setting up the small table with utensils and plates.


Recently the two adults have had an event that they themselves deem to be a miracle. This event was experienced by the two of them, and we come into the conversation as they change topics, playing that one to death, since the miracle that was (or wasn’t) is all that has been on their mind the past week. What does it mean? What should they do about it? Was it even real? As for the details of the miracle, which I am sure you would let to know more about, I will let your imagination decide that.

“So what you are saying is that it doesn’t matter if he is spiritual?” The husband asked of the wife’s intent.

“No. But he should choose for himself. The soul knows what it wants.”

“Choose? Choose? This isn’t a game show with a few trivia questions. He can’t take a few seconds to pick a category he knows.” He imitated a game show contestant. “Hmm… Let me see Alex; I will take Things I Know for 1000.”

“So you want us to push this on him? What message does that send him that he must be dictated his faith rather than receive it from within and above? Is it true spirituality if the person doesn’t get it naturally?”

“What if he chooses wrong?” Wilson asked as he got the plates down on the table first. “What if he sides with The Devil and his trickery? What if he rejects the miracles he sees? What if he doesn’t listen to his heart, or worse, it lies to him?”

“He won’t. He is our son, so he has our blood in him. He talks like us. He thinks like us. He is one of us. We are full of hope, and so is he.” She continued to cook the rice.

“I just worry for him, is all. Mind getting me some cups?” He asked as his wife reached over to the cabinet with cups and handed him three stacked together. “Thanks.”

“So do I, but he will be alright. You must have faith that he will be. That is why they call it faith; you must abandon your reasoning and trust that a higher power will lead the way.”

“Yeah, it’s just, you know when Adam and Eve were given the option of choice, they made the wrong decision right away.”

“Good thing we don’t have any snakes then.”

The skeptical husband had finished setting up the table as the wife was done with the rice. Next up was grilled chicken.

“I’ll go check on the little rugrat.” The husband exited the kitchen and walked into the living room to find his son staring at the TV.

“What are you watching?” He asked his youthful kid, Paul.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know what is keeping your mind occupied? And that doesn’t bother you?”

“It’s a show,” Paul answered, eyes fixated on the screen.

“Do you not know what you read when you open a book? Are the words foreign to you as your eyes scan the page? Do you not know what you listen to when you hear a song? Are you tuning out the words of the singer for a few minutes as you tune into the radio? How do you now know what can take up so much of your time? Are you not going to know where you are going when you step into the car? How about not knowing your food as you eat it? Don’t be so mindless, son. The world is more than happy to waste your mind, so don’t go wasting it for them.”


Paul looked towards the kitchen. “Mom! Dad’s talking weird again!” The kid called out to his mom in the other room, who didn’t answer.

“Talking weird? Is that what you kids call it when people form more than a few sentences together? You spend all day watching garbage, developing no original thoughts of your own or meaningful data for your future, and yet I am the weird one. Perhaps, I am. Not many think in this world. To have an original idea is quite strange in this world of phonies, copycats, and frauds. The original thinker stands out more than a horse among zebras, seeking comfort in their company but never truly knowing it, for who they are cannot be taken away. If to talk weird is to think, then I… ” He noticed his son staring back at the TV, not listening to him. “We’ll be eating in a little bit.”

The dad left the room, leaving his son left to watch what was on the screen.

An old man in shades sat on a lawn chair in the middle of nowhere, finishing up his lunch of a hamburger with a soda. He slowly ate away at the burger and drank his soda. What is time to this man? What is time to any man? Why worry about it all? Time will pass, regardless of what you, or me, or anyone does about it. Once it is his time, he’ll know, and then he’ll leave this place, no questions asked. What is time? That’s just a way for you to know how much you got left.


And this man knows he is almost done.

Yes, through all of his experience, from the beginning, where he worked too hard, from the betrayal, where his good friend hurt him, to his many friends that filled his life with personality and joy, to his son that he loved so much, this guy has been through a lot, and it is safe to say that this will be his last meal.

He took a bite of his hamburger.


Remember the beginning? Man, that was something else. He worked all week for the start of things, so much that he decided to take a break on the last day of the week. Now, normally he doesn’t mind working hard and putting in some OT hours to get what needs to get done, but that week was something different. There was nothing there. He had to start from scratch, and boy, did it take more out of him than he ever expected. If you work too hard, you become stale and uninspired, and exhausted and apathetic, and you lack the originality and creativity that so many jobs need in order for them to be done effectively. Taking that last day off to relax and get his stuff together was the best thing he ever did. Sometimes this old man knows how to help himself, and creating something from nothing, while still giving himself an off day was one of those moments.

He took another bite out of his burger.

Do you remember the fall? Man, that was some sad stuff right there. His greatest ally, who he loved so much, turned on him and then became his enemy. The crazy guy thought he could do the old man’s job. And he was wrong. Now that guy, if he even is one that, at this point, is still mad and bummed about how it all went down. He asked for a fight, got one, and lost big time, and he is still mad about losing. Talk about being a sore loser. After the fight where he had to kick out his greatest ally, the ally is still pissed at him, even though the two haven’t spoken in years. Damn, after a while, you’d figure that the crazy guy would let the whole thing go. Move on. You lost. You aren’t as great as you thought you were. But does he? No. Some people man; you just can’t get through to them. Hardball is the only game they want to play, and then they get mad when you beam them with a fastball for staying too close to the plate.

He took a sip out of his soda.

Remember all his friends? That’s quite a list, right there. All those who he knew over the years who really made his life the great journey that he looks back on now. I mean, did he need these people? Eh…. Not really, but they do put a smile on his face when he thinks of them. There was that guy on the boat. The guy with the bow and arrow. The really rich guy who thought too much of himself. The really strong guy. There was that guy who left his home with all his people. That isn’t even half of it all. He misses those friends. Good times, man, good times. All of his friends had a purpose; all tried to help him out along the way.

He took another sip out of his soda.


Remember his son? That boy prodigy turned out alright. He is damn proud of what that boy has done for so many people. It makes it all worthwhile knowing that his greatest achievement was the best person many saw. He is still surprised that the boy was so great. I mean, he knew he would be great, but he was even better than he expected. The old man is always happy to think of the guy that he gave this world. No one is quite like him, or ever will be. Not to brag, but he is quite the dad. Probably the best.

The old man finished up his meal as he recalled memories of his time, of all time.

For a moment, he relaxed by the nothingness around him. Sometimes you need to hear the sound of silence to understand the noise. Nothing can say so much to your mind and soul if you are willing to listen. More than the many sounds of life that we all listen to intently. The meal eater could never understand why people didn’t like being alone in all silence. Many who are afraid of truth run from the very notion, as if the silence makes them a weirdo or a strange individual. But it doesn’t. They are only worried about the truths that the silence says to them. Silence has no bias. It feels nothing of your good or bad. It is not impressed by your victories or upset over your setbacks. It simply speaks whispers of truth to your ears, informing you of the world as it is, not the world you wish to see. Many people, from the young and naïve to the old and stupid, should try to find that quiet room and enjoy the silence it gives them, rather than looking for parties and friends who disturb it.

He leaned back on the lawn chair and then dozed off, dreaming of his life, of the many good times that he had.

When he woke up from the nap, he got up from his chair, refreshed from the little shut-eye he got.


The senior stretched out a little bit to loosen up his fragile body. The bones aren’t as strong as they used to be. His skin isn’t as smooth as when he started everything. But does he allow that to stop him? No. for the physical body is just that, physical and limited to the restraints of time. He knows that his spirituality and mental state will always be with him, for time cannot hold them back.

He stretched his back first, hearing a few cracks. Then he shook his hands and then his feet until he felt like he was ready to get up one last time.

After stretching, he sat back down in his chair, thinking of his next move, of his last move, of the move that he planned on doing when he began everything. Before the beginning, the fall of his ally, his help from his friends, his one son making him proud, he planned his move, the end. Before there was even a beginning, there was an end.

“It’s about time.” He said.

On the table next to him was a box marked “SOUNDS.” He flipped through the papers in the box and picked up a folder marked “MUSIC.”

He opened up the record player on the table and put the record inside. He folded the lawn chair and leaned it up against the tiny table of the record player and the plate that once held his food.

He turned as if talking to the camera that isn’t there. “That’s it, folks. The show is over. “

“I’m out. “ He called out to the nothingness.

The old man walked away from the music recorder. He picked up his now folded lawn chair and headed off into the setting sunset.


He took one last look at the audience that isn’t there. “Thanks for watching, everyone.”

Then he snapped his fingers, and the song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles played as the credits roll.

Life

Produced by God

With Special Help from Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Also, special thanks to all the angels in heaven.

Then a list of every person who ever lived appeared, in the order that they first appeared.

The dad walked in as the show was ending. “It’s time for dinner. So how was your show? Did you get the name of it? Maybe even some plot?”


The child looked at his father, “No. I didn’t get it. He just left the stuff there.”


The dad shook his head as his son entered the kitchen. “Kids...”

 
 

Ending

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About The Blogger

Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

 

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