I Think I’d Opt For Hell

I watched that movie “Heaven is for Real” last night and it got me thinking.

If you believe in Heaven, you are probably looking forward to everlasting life in paradise.  We are promised no illnesses, no bad memories and no hunger. Everything is supposed to be just peachy.

I have entertained the idea of going to Heaven since I was a just a little sprout.  I had visions of wearing a long, white flowing robe, walking down streets paved with gold and having all the milk I could possibly want.

The idea of going to Hell terrified me.  Hot, glowing fires everywhere and the devil sitting on a throne with snakes for a staff and razor-sharp teeth sinking into my charred flesh, scared me to death.  My granny told me that I would never die in Hell.  I would just wish I had.

The idea of cremation always seemed so barbaric and it terrified me, too.  It was like going to Hell.  I heard once that if you were cremated, you could never “come back.”  Not that I would particularly want to perpetuate the vicious, cyclic torture chamber that has always been my life.

Now?  I really don’t give a shit.  I figure cremation is the way to go.  My daddy was cremated.  So was my mama and she still has her place of honor in the trunk of my car.  Does that mean they can’t come back?
I don’t know about my daddy.  I kind of liked him but I’m not sure I’d want to run into my mama again.

So, here’s the question.  Would I want to go to Heaven or would I just go ahead and opt for Hell?

The way I see it, you can abuse and all but destroy somebody but if you drop the magical phrase “God forgive me,” presto!  You’re standing at the pearly gates.  No penalty.  No retribution.  No penance.  Just a hearty welcome from the big man Himself.  All you have to do is ask for forgiveness and all acts will be washed away like loose dirt on a tilted piece of glass.”

I’m re-thinking this Heaven thing.  There are people I would never want to meet there.  Here are six of them and they are in no particular order as far as importance.

1.  My ex-FIL.  A spineless, yellow-bellied, lily-livered coward who sat silently while the matriarch of the family ruled the roost and spewed out her vile crap like Regan spewed out green vomit on the Exorcist.  I imagine telling me that he loved me while on his deathbed, gave him absolution and a quick assent up the ladder.

2.  My ex-MIL.  An abusive, drunken, snuff-dipping, tramp-endorsing, trailer-trash acting “thing” who bought me dildos as presents and being entitled, thought it entirely acceptable to wipe her ass with my facecloths after she used the bathroom.  A real class act.  I’m sure she’ll be up there.  Having once said “I don’t have any bad memories” will insure her a spot.  Given that she spent her entire life being drunk and pleading amnesia, how could she be denied?

3.  My Preacher Uncle.  A hell-fire and brimstone preaching man who wanted me to go to Florida with him so he could “take care of me.”  The man who screwed other women, got them pregnant, divorced my aunt and then married her again after his offspring were born.  Didn’t God say “be fruitful and multiply?”  I imagine he’ll be up there, having thumped his Bible and uttered the appropriate words just before he died.

4.  My Other Uncle.  The youngest son of my grandparents.  The man who “fought for me in the war” and thought that the world owed him something when he came back.  The man who destroyed one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen.  The man who used and abused alcohol and drugs and still lived at home until my grandparents died.  The man who sold the house and its contents they left him for booze.  The man who called me a prostitute when I told my grandparents he kept coming into my room at night.  He was, as my grandma said, “pitiful.”  That’ll do it.  Let all the pitiful ones in because they’re…..pitiful.

5.  Loser and his WTC.  Like father, like son.  A chip off the old block.  Another spineless, yellow-bellied, lily-livered coward, Jr.  He says he prayed for me every night.  I wondered if he prayed for me before or after he fucked whatever tramp was in his bed, but…God likes prayers.  The one thing he wanted from me was my forgiveness.  When it wasn’t given, he probably decided Gods’ forgiveness held far more esteem and settled for that, as well as His understanding.  After all, he is the man who once called himself “God” and said God “understood.”  Entrance would never be denied to the Deity himself, so it’s a given that he will be holding court up there, letting everybody know that he’s the smartest person in the gilded room.

That WTC who tearfully told Loser that she thought I hated her and really wished I didn’t.  That WTC who warned Loser that I had better not come to “her territory.”  I imagine she prays as well.  “Please God.  Let Laurel not hate me.  Please God.  Let her youngest daughter not hate me.  Please God. Let all of her children be on my side.  Since I have found my meal ticket, I promise I will never commit adultery again and I will be good to Loser (as long as he keeps paying for everything, that is.”)  Deal.  As long as you’re good to the Loser “God,” you will be welcome right along with him.

6.  My Mama.  The woman who asked me what in this round world I had ever done to make anybody love me.  The woman who said the only reason she didn’t kill me was because she didn’t want to go to jail.  The woman who gave me my first black eye when I was six years old.  Unlike my ex-MIL, who said “I don’t have any bad memories,” mama said “I don’t want to have any bad memories.”  That’ll do it!  Decide that you don’t want to remember anything you said or did and God will call you home, give you a pat on the back and say “good to see you, sister.”

This just doesn’t sit right with me.  I guess it’s a good thing I’m not an angel.  I would never win my fucking wings.  I have no illusions of ever making it into Heaven because I don’t hide my hatred and resentment.  I don’t pretend to be a good person.  I don’t go to church, try to look like the sweetest person to ever sashay my ass down the middle of the big road and then go home, get drunk and abuse people.

If I still chatted with God, I would ask Him about this shit but I don’t chat with Him anymore.  I also know the Bible teaches us that we are not to question Him or His motives.  Even if I did still have a talk with Him, it would be the same result that has tortured me all of my life.  No answers.

So, all I can say is if those people make it in….I think I’d opt for Hell.

Is Today The Day?

It was a cold, raw day.  One of those days that chills you to the bone.  The drizzle from the night before hung from the trees like frozen tears.  The cloudless sky was dark and lonesome, much like she had always described the ocean.
The mountains looked dull and lifeless and seemed to have a foreboding air wafting through them, like a thick fog.

She wondered.  Is today the day?

She knew that she was eventually going to come face to face with somebody she believed had been following her for what seemed like half of her adult life.

She first noticed him at her childrens’ soccer games.  A shadowy silhouette at first but through the years, he started taking shape and she always knew when he was around because an ominous feeling would overtake her.  He seemed to be lurking in the distance, getting ever closer and closer.

She tried to ignore him, like one of those annoying headaches that hasn’t yet formed but is ready to turn into a full-fledged migraine any minute.

Several times, she thought he had gone away.  She didn’t notice him as much but then suddenly, she would see him weaving through the crowd, eyes fixed on her like a hunter stalking his prey.

She had never been afraid in the classic sense of the word, so she had never told anybody about this mysterious stranger.  As long as he kept his distance, she saw no imminent threat.

When she finally moved away, she thought she had left him behind, along with everything else in her past but it didn’t take long to realize that he had followed her.  She was seeing him everywhere and was becoming increasingly afraid.

Within the confines of her new house, she felt safe but often worried that he would show up at her front door.  If he knocked, she knew she wouldn’t answer.  If he tried to force his way in, she would have her gun, loaded with hollow-point bullets at the ready.  She would never give up and would fight him with her last ounce of strength.  He would not win.

As the sun set, she breathed a sigh of relief as she whispered “today was not the day.”

The next morning, the sun was shining.  The ground looked as if it had been sprinkled with a million diamonds.  The clouds in the sky took the form of cherubs floating on huge, white feather pillows, while a flock of birds flew by in perfect formation.

She wondered.  Is today the day?

She ventured outside, being vigilant while looking for him.  She knew he was there somewhere, watching and waiting for his chance to make himself known.  Not being armed, would she succumb to his attack?   Would she scream?  Would she fight?  With a quick about-face, she was safely back inside, hiding and hoping he would go away.  He would not win.

When evening came, she once again whispered “today was not the day.”

Days and evenings came and went and one day, she realized that she was no longer afraid.  She had accepted that he seemed to be omnipresent and he was becoming almost like a welcomed friend.

She knew that he would eventually come for her and she no longer had the desire to fight.

He would win.






For Gary

Many of us follow Terry, over at spearfruit and have joined him in his journey with cancer, surgery, estranged family members, the sale of his house and subsequent move to Pensacola, Florida.

He walks us through his treatments, his plans and his future goals. Sometimes, he isn’t feeling well and lets us know with an apologetic demeanor.  His battle has oftentimes been an uphill struggle and he writes about it with such grace and dignity.

Behind the scenes, is his partner and husband, Gary.  He is always there, supporting Terry, albeit mostly in the background.  I try not to forget Gary when I comment on Terrys’ posts.

Terry posts about Gary and sometimes, there are pictures of him.  The love they have for each other doesn’t need to be defined by me or anybody else. It is there in writing.  

Even when the back window of their truck was “mysteriously” broken, the “culprit” was revealed in a loving, tongue-in-cheek, humorous manner.

I’m not sure many of us think enough about the caregivers, the family members, the spouses and the partners of the people we are sending our wishes and prayers to.  But they are there, suffering right along with that person.  Often, they are the forgotten ones, being overshadowed by the events that are taking precedence in somebody elses’ life.

They give their time, their support, their love and sometimes, I’d be willing to bet, they cry alone.

Being a caregiver, in whatever capacity, requires a strength that often goes unnoticed.  These caregivers can’t fall apart.  They have to be strong for their loved one, while at the same time, holding themselves up.

They make unselfish sacrifices every day.  It is incredibly difficult to watch another person suffer and when that person “belongs to you” the suffering is immeasurable.

Gary and other people in the same role are “unsung heroes.”  That’s a phrase that most of the time represents a person who doesn’t get recognition or notoriety but plays an important, supportive role…”behind the scenes.”

They should be remembered.


The Night Before Christmas

The little girl had been allowed to stay at home.  It was the night before Christmas and she could hardly contain her excitement.  It was only going to be a few hours before Santa Clause arrived and left wonderful gifts for her.

She carefully hung her stocking over the fireplace in hopes of the next morning, finding it filled with candy canes and goodies.  On the outside, she pinned a note saying, “Dear Santa.  I have been a good little girl.”

After she went to her room, she stood on a chair at the window, straining her eyes to see if she could catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer.  She truly believed and listened intently for the sound of sleigh bells.

Suddenly, she remembered that Santa didn’t come to houses if the children were still awake, so she crawled into her bed and quickly fell asleep.

The next morning when she awoke, she ran into the living room.  Santa had been there!  There were presents under the tree and the stockings were full!  When she took down her stocking, she was overjoyed when she saw a note from Santa!

As she read the note, tears filled her eyes.  The note said, “Santa doesn’t come to see bad little girls.”  When she looked in her stocking, she saw that it was filled with pieces of coal.

She watched her sisters and brother squeal with delight as they opened their presents.  The little girl was sad but she didn’t get angry.  She just made herself a silent promise that next year, she would try to be a better little girl.

The next Christmas Eve came and once again, she was allowed to go home. She was filled with the same excitement as before.  When she hung her stocking over the fireplace, she pinned a note on it saying, “Dear Santa.  I have tried to be a better little girl.”

The next morning, she could see that Santa had been there.  There were presents and the stockings had been filled.  As she took hers down, she saw another note.  It said, “Santa doesn’t visit bad little girls.”  Again, she watched her sisters and brother open their presents with unabashed joy.  Again, she made to herself the same silent promise.

When she went to school, her friends asked what she got for Christmas.  She said “I got glorious presents!”  When Suzy asked her to tell her what she got, she said “I got the most beautiful porcelain doll.  She has long blonde curls and she’s dressed in silk and velvet!”  Suzy asked her to bring it to school so that she could see it.  The little girl said “oh, no.  I mustn’t.  I might drop her and break her.”

Lilly asked if she got any new clothes.  The little girl said “oh, yes.  I got five dresses and a new coat!”  When Lilly asked her to wear the dresses, she said “oh, no.  I mustn’t.  I might get them dirty!”

Lilly said “but you should wear your new coat because the one you have on is full of holes.”  The little girl said “oh, no.  I mustn’t.  I might tear it and then it too, would be full of holes.”

The other children showed off their new dolls and clothes and toys but she just smiled and again, made the same silent promise.  “Next year, I’m going to try to be an even better little girl.”

Throughout the years, her phantom presents became more and more grand and the excuses for their invisibility became more and more elaborate.  As she grew older, she never failed to pin a note to her stocking saying, “Dear Santa.  I’ve tried to be a good person.”

She still believed that this magical night was the one time when reindeer could fly.  She still believed that this was the one night when miracles could happen.  Even though one had never happened for her, she never lost hope.  Every year, she continued to hang her stocking and every year, she continued to make the same silent promise.

She’s an old woman now and on Christmas Eve, she hangs her stocking over the fireplace.  When she awakes the next morning, it’s empty and she carefully removes the note she pinned to it the night before.  She isn’t sad as she puts it away for the next year.

She just makes the same silent promise.  “Next year, I’ll try to be an even better person.”


O Fim.

Mr. Crumpton

Mr. Crumpton owned a manufacturing company that made scrubs for doctors and nurses.  In his employ were about a hundred workers, including cutters, seamstresses, shaders, ticket-makers and quality control experts.

He ran a tight ship and was a strict employer but he was a fair one.  He paid a decent wage and expected a decent days’ work.  Jobs in his company were hard to come by as his employees tended to stay.  Some of them had been with him since the first day the doors opened.

He was feared by a few, as he was an imposing character.  Six foot, four inches tall and still built like a Marine at sixty-five years old.

A few of the older women had secret crushes on him, for no other reason than he was so mysterious.  Being long before the age of computers where everybodys’ life was clearly available, only his secretary knew anything about him.  If he had a family, only she knew and she didn’t talk.

The only thing that was known, was that he had started the company forty years earlier, armed only with a shoestring budget and sheer grit and determination.

Every year around this time, he was faced with having to deal with the holiday season.  There were requests for parties and celebrations.  It wasn’t that he could be labeled a “Scrooge,” he just had it in mind that taking time out for something as frivolous as a Christmas party had the potential for missing deadlines and slower production, both of which translated into lost revenue.

The girls who worked in the office, gave up their lunch hour to put up a tree in the lobby.  Mr. Crumpton didn’t complain but would have never suggested any sort of holiday decorations.

Two weeks before Christmas, the new hospital that Mr. Crumpton had been contracted to provide the uniforms for was going to open ahead of schedule, which had been a possibility stated in the contract.  In order to avoid a penalty, it meant that production would have to increase in order to meet the promised deadline for delivery.  That also meant overtime for workers and no time for parties.

No apologies were extended.  His workers were disappointed but they had always been loyal and dependable and were prepared to meet the challenge.  Mr. Crumpton had always valued their loyalty and after he thanked them, he quietly slipped into his office.

His secretary went in and cautiously suggested that maybe this once, he could give his employees a bonus for their efforts, as he had never given bonuses before.  His response was “I pay them for a days’ work and I pay them for an extra days’ work.  I don’t pay them for sentimentality.”

The deadline was met and the employees celebrated with cheers as soon as the last bundle of scrubs was packed into a box for delivery on Christmas Eve.  The expected visit on the floor from Mr. Crumpton didn’t come.

The day after Christmas, production once again back in full swing, was interrupted when his secretary asked for everybodys’ attention.

“First, I want to thank all of you for a job well done and I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas.”  After the cheers and applause settled down, she said “I’m afraid I have some sad news.  Mr. Crumpton died suddenly early this morning.”

All the employees stood silently stunned after hearing the news.  She went on to say that there was going to be a meeting that afternoon at two o’clock but she would like for them to continue working until then, if they were able.

That afternoon, again the employees stood silently stunned when an attorney informed them that Mr. Crumpton had left his entire fortune of 4.1 million dollars…to them.


Stupid Fucking Dreams

Last night, I dreamed about Ryan Gosling.  I have only seen him in The Notebook and I always thought that was such a good movie.  I can’t watch that dribble now.

I imagine I dreamed about him because I was watching “Good Behavior,” and the girl in it, is writing a phantom book about him.

In my dream, even though I knew it was him, his head was horribly disfigured and he was unrecognizable.  I just stood there looking at this mangled representation of what used to be his face and then I heard somebody say “it doesn’t matter what you look like, if you can write.”

I turned around and Stephen King was sitting in one of those directors’ chairs.  His head was horribly disfigured and unrecognizable, too.

I looked down and said “I can’t write.”  When I looked back up, he had turned into Loser and said “that’s because you’re worthless.”

The next dream I had, was about winning a huge award.  When I went to get it, I had to walk across a stage, sort of like at the Oscars.  When I got to the podium, they asked me to spell my name so they could engrave it onto a plaque.

In the dream, I wasn’t divorced yet but I told them I wanted my maiden name on it.  They said they were sorry but they had to use my legal name.

I was being given an award for something I had done and his fucking name was going to be on it.

I told them I was sorry and turned down the award.  As I was walking away, I glanced toward the audience and saw Loser giving me a thumbs up.

A Letter To Santa – First, The Sappy One. Now, The Snarky One

Dear Santa,

I don’t have a Christmas tree.
Actually, I have 15 Christmas trees.  I just chose not to put them up.
Would you leave some Boost for me?
I have four cases so I’m set.
You could leave it at my door.
There is a box at my door right now.
I promise I’ve been good and I won’t ask for more.
Don’t know about being good and I’ve learned not to ask for anything.

You don’t have to fill my stocking.
You’re off the hook (and so is the stocking.)
Or read a pleading note.
I don’t write pleading notes, asshole.
I don’t want a car, a fur or something that will float.
Got a car, a couple of furs and a rubber duck.  I’m good.

The cards fell wrong for me and I’m alone.
Hell yeah, and I’d rather be alone than live with a lying, cheating, disease-giving pig.
It’s now my way of life.
Yep.  And like I said.  It’s better than living with a lying, cheating, disease-giving pig.
But, once I was a mother.
Yes, I was and I’m afraid I was not a very good one.
Once I was a wife.
Biggest mistake I ever made.  I’d have been better off being just another tramp.  

I won’t ask for company.
I didn’t bother to decorate so I don’t think anybody would want to come over anyway.
For there’s nobody left.
Oh, they’re there.  They just choose to visit somebody else.
I will be okay, though.
Yes I will, and I have been for the last several Christmases.
I will not be bereft.
I probably will be but that’s nothing new.

I will not ask for calls or texts.
I would prefer not to get obligatory or drunken calls or texts, so that’s why I won’t ask.
I know they will not come.
Nope.  They won’t.
They will go to someone else.
Yep.  They will go to all the important people.  The people who matter.
So, I’ll pretend I’m numb.
No pretense.  I already am.

A case of Boost is all I want.
Well, we all know I want Wentworth Miller but I’m trying to be realistic here.  
It’s full of nutrients.
It is probably some of the worst crap you can drink but it beats having to turn on the stove and open a can of beans.
Please don’t deny my only wish.
You’ve denied so many of my wishes in the past, it wouldn’t be anything new.
Or show insouciance.
I had forty-one years of that.  Don’t need any more.

If you would only bring some Boost.
That would be great, especially if it was free.
I’ll have a happy day.
I’m lying.  What the fuck is a happy day?
I’ll drink it while I reminisce.
I do quite a bit of reminiscing this time of year.  Gotta cut that shit out.
And pass the time away.
I learned how to pass the time away the first week I was married, so I’m a bit of an expert.

You don’t need to wrap it.
Well, if you had any newspaper handy, you could wrap it in that.  That would certainly bring back memories.
Or add a big red bow.
No bows.  They tend to get squished.
When I awake on Christmas morn.
I would actually like to sleep all day so I didn’t know it was Christmas.
From who it is, I’ll know.
I’ll know who it’s from.  Merry Christmas, Laurel.  From Laurel.

I’ve never stopped believing.
Are you fucking kidding me?  I stopped believing in just about everything a long time ago and that includes you.  I don’t even like you.
And I will be right here.
Where the hell else am I going to be?  At a family gathering? Don’t be ridiculous.
So, while you’re loading up your sleigh,
Throw in some Boost.  While you’re at it, kidnap Wentworth Miller but understand.  He’s MINE.  Don’t deliver him to anybody else!
Would you remember me this year?
You haven’t remembered me for the last four years but if you don’t remember me this year, I’m going to tell all the little kiddies that you aren’t fucking real.  Okay?  How about that?