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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

There is no God save one, and Darwin is his name. The natural order of things takes care of each one of us until death… and that’s all there is, unless…

This is a short story I wrote for an on line writing competition. My assigned genre was Ghost Story and the primary scenario was to be a hotel room. The assigned object that had to be in the story was a tricycle. I found this a difficult task--to make it not sound like The Shining or any other like it... and the story came out ok... just ok. But here it is for you to judge. Thanks.


Ring-ring-ring. That damn ringing in my head is driving me crazy.

I live. I die. That’s all. And I can prove it.

Darwin—now there’s my god. He was first to show how evolution brought us all to today. To see otherwise is to believe in Penn & Teller, Houdini and David Copperfield. Now where did that skyscraper go? It’s a trick… and that, you can believe.

It makes life so simple. I live in this grand hotel that provides me with all I could want… a clean suite--just like magic, food and services whenever and whatever I desire, magnificent landscaping and artwork, location, location, location--and respect, especially if you tip as I do.

My belief is to lead a good and moral life because I have the means to do so—self-made, I tell you. And yes, I have loved and I have lost. I have lived a full life and when I am finally at peace of mind, I will have won.

Death is nature’s way of telling me to take it easy. Life is hard. When the body begins to show wear, when life becomes more difficult than pleasurable, when you reach your tipping point and when peace of mind eludes you, it’s time to go. Maybe that’s why naps are so welcome… they are very good practice.

I love naps because they are my respite from the pressures of the day and the weariness of the heart. The older one gets, the more weariness there seems to be. Naps are my escape from the dregs on my mind… especially that damn ring-ring-ringing in the background of my head most waking hours, most of my life. And the days get lonelier and harder to bear.

The best doctors tell me the ring-ring-ringing is tinnitus, but it is not. And that definitive conclusion has cost me thousands. Next best guess—I’m going crazy. But that’s not it either, though some will beg to differ. And let me tell you, psychiatrists cost more than audiologists. It all wears a body down so.

I take several naps a day, some days—especially when the ring-ring-ringing tells me to, like now! Mercifully, I usually wake with a clear head, until the day’s momentum catches up.

Good grief! I’ve overslept. I was supposed to be at the Waldorf to receive the Goodman Humanitarian of the Year award and that was an hour ago. I’ve never overslept before, or missed anything important, for that matter.

How come I didn’t get a phone call? How come it’s still light outside? Is my clock wrong? I’ve got to splash some water on my face to…

Ouch! Damn. What the hell? A tricycle. What is this doing in my apartment and how did it get here?

Now the concierge won’t answer. Someone is supposed to be on duty 24/7. ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE!

Look at this little trike… pink with a white seat, streamers sprouting from the rubber grips and a bell on the handlebar. I just can’t figure this out. I’ll bet Helen was on duty and she brought it up… but why?

That’s odd. The emergency light is blinking. What’s going on?

“Hold it. HOLD IT! What are you doing? What are all of you doing rushing into my apartment? What’s happening? ANSWER ME! Why is the Emergency Squad here? There is no emergency and you don’t need a gurney.

Oh my God! That’s me on the couch. I’m still sleeping. No, NO, THAT CAN’T BE. I’M HERE.

“Helen? HELEN! WHAT’S GOING ON? HELEN!” She can’t hear me.

There are three of them frantically working to revive me and Helen, wringing her hands, is looking on anxiously, with tears in her eyes. I try to shake them but they don’t feel my touch. I’M DEAD! I’m dead.

I shouldn’t be here then. What’s the deal? I… wait a minute. WAIT A MINUTE!

The bell on the bike…[ring-ring-ring!]  It’s my bell. IT’S MY BELL… all my life it has been with me… it’s my bell.

“That’s my bike Daddy… you bought it for me a long time ago. Remember? I ring my bell every time I  think of you. Mommy and I have been waiting a long time. Oh daddy, I have missed you so.”

Jenny… my little Jenny… AND MOLLY… oh my god! OH MY GOD! (I know now you can cry tears of joy when you are dead.)

“Hello my darling,” she beckons with an angelic smile and radiating warmth.  “Welcome home.”

But… but 63 years ago you and Jenny were killed by that drunk driver… my life ended. There was nothing else to live for. I had lost everything that ever mattered when you were taken from me. God I knew, was a myth. THERE IS NO GOD!

“Come, see for yourself, silly man. We are together again, forever, my love. Forever.

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