Fun With Lupita And Juan

For the past several weeks, I have been bombarded with calls from (que dunt dunt dunt tones when something sinister is afoot ) the IRS.

OKAY, LET’S PLAY.

Caller:  “You will be taken under custody by the local cops and put into handcuffs.  There are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment.  We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case, before taking legal action against you.  The number to reach is 206-317-1670,  I repeat, the number to reach is 206-317-1670.  Thank you.”

Me:  Dialing number.

Caller:  “Internal Revenue Service, this is Lupita.  How can I help you?”

Me:  You just called and left a message.

Lupita:  When did we call?”

Me:  Just a few seconds ago.

Lupita:  “Yes.  ********, there are several warrants out for your arrest for not paying your income taxes.”  (Knew my real name.)

Me:  You’re with the Internal Revenue Service?

Lupita:  “Yes, I am.”

Me:  Really?  That’s funny, because I work for the IRS, and this is not one of our numbers.

Lupita:  Click.

Me:  Dialing number again.

Caller:  “Internal Revenue Service, this is Lupita.  How can I help you?”

Me:  Hi, Lupita.  It’s me again. 

Lupita:  Click.

Me:  Dialing number again.

Caller:  “Internal Revenue Service, this is Lupita.  How can I help you?”

Me:  Now, Lupita.  How are you going to scam people if you keep hanging up on them?

Lupita:  “WILL YOU PLEASE STOP CALLING ME?”

Me:  But I want to chat.

Lupita:  Click.

Me:  Dialing number again.

Caller:  “Internal Revenue Service.  This is Juan.  How are you today *******?” (Knew my real name, too.)

Me:  Hi Juan.  What happened to Lupita?

Juan: “Tell me, ********.  When was the last time you had sex?”

Me:  Well, I’ll tell you if you’ll tell me.  When was the last time YOU had sex?

Juan:  “Oh, unfortunately, it’s been quite a while.”

Me:  Oh,  I’m sorry.  Tiny little dick?

Juan:  Click

 

How rude!  Hanging up on me like that!  And they stopped answering the phone!  Go figure.

Tombstones

I love to wander though old cemeteries and look at tombstones…or headstones…or markers.  Whatever you call them, they’re supposed to be a tactile testament to someone who was once here.

I know there are people who regularly visit these cold stone monoliths on the anniversary of the departed one’s birthday, or death day if they so choose, or if they’re close enough.

What if these people live in another state, hours away?  Will they make the yearly trek to stand in pensive silence while looking at a plot of land that holds the remains of a once living person?  Will they require their children to make that trek, and expect them to pretend to be sad about a person that they never even knew?

I’ve seen elaborate headstones, complete with the names, dates of birth and dates of death of the occupants laying in front of them.  There are angels carved into the shiny facade and more often than not, empty urns adorn each side.

Will these people be remembered and revered more than the people who rest at the bottom of the hill, called the cheap seats, which are now disintegrating from the ravages of time?

I have never made a secret of the fact that I find markers irrelevant.

There is a rather large tombstone bearing my family name.  It’s not what I would call elaborate, but it is the first thing you see when you travel up the winding, neglected dirt road leading into the cemetery that can’t even be found on most maps.

Another irony is that of those six burial plots, only one body actually occupies a space.  My youngest brother is resting there, although you would never know.  He had a simple marble plaque, bearing only his first name, the year of his birth and the year of his death.  Someone stole his little marker.

My mama is dead, but she is not buried there.  I’m still toting her around in the trunk of my car.

My middle brother is dead, but he is not buried there.

My daddy is dead, but he is not buried there.

There was once a bronze plaque given to my daddy by the government, in appreciation for his service in the armed forces.  Someone took it, I imagine to sell for scrap metal.  The Veterans Administration was gracious to send another one, this time in marble.  Maybe it’s still there.

Unless I decide to have a marker made for mama and both of my brothers, they will remain nameless to future generations.  All of them are already lost to my children’s generation.  My children knew about my younger brother, but they never knew my middle brother, and barely remember my mama and daddy.  They will never visit the cemetery.

Their children will know nothing about them, other than what their parents might remember, and choose to tell them.

I will be lost after my children’s generation.  My grandchildren may hear my name mentioned, but they will not know me or remember me.

There’s not much of a family history on my side.  All links come to an abrupt halt with both maternal and paternal great-grandfathers, after four short generations.

My mama never knew her daddy, and although she knew his name, I have never been able to find any record of him.  It’s almost as though he was just a figment of someone’s imagination, but of course, mama had to get here somehow.

My daddy’s mama never knew her father.  She had a picture of him hanging in her house, and once I heard her say to my grandfather, “I dreamed I saw my daddy last night.”

I remember the picture.  It was the usual style for that time.  Oval frame, bubble glass and a non-smiling photo of a man she nor I had ever known.

I never saw pictures of my grandparents when they were young.  I remember one picture of my grandfather when he looked to be maybe in his late forties.  He was holding a large stone over his head with one hand.  Someone, probably my grandmother, had written “50 lbs.” on it.

My children never knew them.  They will never know what wonderful, caring people they were.  They will never know how proud my grandmother was when I told her that one of my children was named after my daddy, who bore his daddy’s name.  My children will never visit their graves.

I have a picture of granny (mama’s mama) when she was young.  I have tried to see mama in it, but I’ve never really been able to.  I can see my aunt and uncles, but not mama.  Granny was pretty, with that dark hair and those dark eyes, but her eyes looked harsh like mama’s, even though mama’s eyes were ice blue.

Mama showed me a picture of granny when she was in her fifties.  She had perfectly straight, snow white teeth that looked like dentures, but they were her own.

Granny has a marker.  She rests not far from my little brother, and I know the Bible that she read religiously, every single day, is resting with her.  There are two angel figurines on her tombstone that I’m sure were put there by mama.  As far as I know, her grave is never visited, except by me.  My children will never visit her grave.

One of her sons, mama’s half-brother is there, but I have never been able to find his grave.  Nobody visits his grave, I’m sure.

My children do however, visit their paternal grandfather and great-grandparents’ graves.  Two of them have said that they want to be buried with their daddy, in the “family” cemetery.  I guess that makes sense.  After all, they are his children.

 

 

 

 

Ghost Dog

I’ve never been one to believe in apparitions, mystical beings, signs from the universe or Karma (unless she visits someone who is a veritable boil on the buttocks of the Earth.)  Then, I believe.

Today was just another ordinary day.  It began with the usual chores.  I mean chores like making the bed and actually getting dressed.

It was rainy and cold…the kind of cold that cuts through you like a knife, despite the thermometer lying that it was a balmy 54°.

After exhausting myself by putting on my socks and shoes, I sometimes indulge in grabbing my sustenance (Boost) and sitting out on the hard concrete steps on the side of my house.  I look at the sky that is exactly the color of my house and then affix my gaze to what’s left of a tree, directly in my sight.

That tree had to have been five hundred years old.  Most of the top is gone and I have often wondered why the trunk was left standing.  I mean…it’s only the size of a small country.

After my first sip of Boost and my first whimper about it being “cold outside,” a dog came through the bushes from the house next door.  My first reaction was to sternly say, “Go away!”

It hesitated for a second and then turned and did exactly as ordered.  A few seconds later, the dog returned.  I don’t really speak dog but in my kindest bark, I said, “go on back home.”

It paid about as much attention to me as my children did when they were young…and teenagers…and young adults…and older adults.  I suspected for a second that the dog might be one of them and my eyesight was really failing me.

I finally allowed the dog to get closer and discovered that it was a she, and was an “older she.”  I think she might be a pit-bull (Yikes) but I really don’t know enough about dogs to be certain.  She is obviously “with pups” and I mean she must be carrying five-hundred thousand of those little critters.

I gave her a bowl of water, but I think she wanted food.  She was so thin and frail and I could see her ribs.  She was trying to eat grass, or maybe she was looking for grub worms or the bones of a body that had been buried incognito, many moons ago.

Now…you all can imagine what my refrigerator looks like.  Yes, it has a mountainous amount of Boost, but I think I may have a bottle of mustard in the door.

I got an old towel and put it down for her to sit on but she only sat there for a minute.  I came back in and she tried to follow me into the house. Aw.

I opened my refrigerator door again, looking for a pot roast or chicken that maybe in my old age I had forgotten about, but alas, old mother Hubbard’s cupboard, uh, refrigerator was bare.

Suddenly, in the back of the top shelf, I spied a pack of bologna.  I remember getting it.  A few weeks back, I had a hankering for a fried bologna sandwich.

I never had one of course.  That would require me turning on the stove, getting out a frying pan and actually standing there until it had the much coveted black edges that I love.

I took out a few slices and gave them to her.  She scarfed them down like she hadn’t had anything to eat in weeks.  She almost took my hand with it.

I’m not a dog person, but I can look in their eyes and tell when they’re sad or lonesome.  This girl was one of the saddest dogs I have ever seen.  I don’t know how long it had been since she had felt the warmth of a human hand, but she rested her head on my knee while I petted her, and never moved.

I told her that I was sorry I couldn’t spend the rest of the day, sitting outside in the cold with her.  It was like she understood.  She got up and started walking down the little brick pathway leading to my driveway.

When she got to the other side, she turned around and looked at me.  I told her that it was okay.  I was sure her owners were looking for her.

She walked behind that huge tree and I waited to see where she would go. After a few minutes, I walked over.  I thought maybe she was laying down, resting, or Heaven forbid…giving birth.

When I got to the tree, she wasn’t there.

Where Do All The Untold Stories Go?

Where do all the untold stories go?

Maybe they drift aimlessly around the universe, being held captive while waiting to gently fall onto a blank piece of paper, or a not yet violated computer screen.

I have stories to tell.

Some stories may be fantasy, inspired when one looks at a rose and thinks, “I will throw it away, when the last petal falls’.”  Or it could be a story prompted by a caller, who always leaves a message saying, It’s me.”

Some untold stories may get a brief taste of freedom, only to become prisoners, locked away in a random file cabinet, or in an unnamed folder somewhere in cyberspace.

One of the cruelest fates of all…is an untold story.

Some stories can be of unspeakable torture.  Some stories can be of unbelievable kindness.

Some stories can be of one who has felt the warmth of another’s arms and the coldness of another’s shoulder.  Some stories can be of dying and death.  Some stories can be of birth and life.

Some stories can tell of humorous anecdotes.  Some stories can tell of early lives, when time was young and so were they.

Some stories can tell of fantastical, fire-breathing dragons.  Some stories can tell of horrible abuse from a terrorist alcoholic monster.

Some stories can tell of dreams that were never realized.  Some stories can tell of nightmares that became harsh reality.

Some stories can be of times when forgiveness was begged.  Some stories can be of one considering selling one’s soul to the devil, just for one small taste of sweet revenge.

Some stories can tell of laughter that ultimately turned into tears.  Some stories can tell of tears that turned into complete and utter surrender.

Some stories can tell of unimaginable loss.  Some stories can tell of indescribable happiness.  Some stories can tell of soul-killing grief.

There is no limit to the imaginings of an author, who has loved ones to hear their stories.

I have stories to tell.

I have stories to tell, but what good are they, when I have no one to tell them to?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Letter – Chapter Ten

Another month went by and Alice hadn’t received another letter from Jacob.  She was worried but knew that mail traveled slowly, and also knew that Jacob was working hard.

She found herself remembering that in his last letter, he said that he was a little bit in love with this lady.  She could understand the attraction of a wealthy, high-born, poised older woman, but he hadn’t said that she was an older woman.

What if she was a younger woman?  A younger woman who might confess that she was a little in love with Jacob?  A younger woman with aspirations to leave a bit of herself behind, just as Jacob wanted to leave his mark?

Alice quickly dismissed what she told herself were silly notions and patiently counted the days until she received another letter, and even more anticipated, the return of her beloved.

Still, she wondered why he hadn’t told her much about what he was doing.  It wasn’t so much that she thought he was keeping something from her; he just wasn’t being very forthcoming.

Thirty-eight days after the last letter, Alice was delighted when she received a letter.  As she opened the envelope, her hands shook slightly with nervousness.  With absolute joy, she began to read:

My dearest darling,

By the time you get this,
I will already be on my way back 
to you.  Please forgive my indolence
in writing but things were being hurried. 

I have been successful,
although there have been some 
disagreements with the builders.
I will be traveling with the lady, but I
want you to know that I have remained
and will forever remain true to you, 

my darling Lissy.
Upon my return, I have a marvelous

surprise for you my dearest.

P. S.  I have enclosed a picture of 
the lady I have been working for
and will be traveling with.
I think when you see her, you will

understand my infatuation.
Until me meet again, my dearest
darling, I remain,
Your loyal and faithful husband,
Jacob

Alice clutched the letter to her chest with her right hand and carefully rubbed her stomach with her left.  She had a marvelous surprise for him, too.  As she put the letter down, she opened the small envelope enclosed with the letter.  “Ah,” she said to herself.  “This must be a picture of the lady he has spent so much time with.”

She opened the envelope and took out the picture.  Across the top, in bold letters was written:

THE RMS TITANIC 

 

Die Einde.

 

 

The Letter – Chapter Nine

Alice’s heart sank.  She knew what he was going to say.  She swallowed hard and hid her disappointment as she asked, “are you going away again?”

Jacob said, “I am, but if all goes well, when I come back, we are going on a whirlwind trip.  We’re going to go places we’ve never been, we’re going to see sites we’ve never seen, we’re going to meet people we’ve never met, we’re going to stay in the finest hotels and we’re going to dine in the finest restaurants.”

He continued.  “While I was in San Francisco, I was approached by some gentlemen who admired my work.  They asked if I’d be interested in putting the finishing touches on a project for a woman they described as a ‘fine lady’.”

He smiled and said, “I imagine she’s some wealthy, bored heiress who is in the process of restoring some fancy new hotel or maybe an elaborate art gallery, which will bear her name.  The work would be quite the feather in my cap.”

Alice said, “it sounds intriguing, but where are you going and how long would you be gone?”

Jacob took her hand and said, “you must be understanding, my darling.  I would be traveling to Europe and I would be gone for at least two or possibly three months.  Most of the work is done but, as I said, I would be assisting in the completion.”

Alice said, “of course you must go, but I shall miss you terribly.  I feel as if I am not whole unless you are with me.”  She hesitated as if she didn’t really want an answer when she asked, “when will you be leaving?”

Almost agonizingly, Jacob said, “in three days, but my darling, although our parting will be ever so bittersweet, my return shall be glorious.”

Alice spent the next three days, trying to think only of Jacob’s promise of untold adventures, but she was desolate.  Before, her loneliness had been tempered by Georgia, but Georgia was gone.

The day arrived when Jacob boarded the train, which would take him to the port of call.  As before, Alice said a prayer as she stood and waved until her beloved was out of sight.

She tried to busy herself and not dwell on things like missing Jacob, and her Papa, and Grace and Georgia.  Occasionally, she would go to Tierney’s for hot chocolate and a Bonbon, and even shake things in town up a bit by arriving in trousers, but for some reason she felt empty as she sat there alone.

After almost three weeks, Alice received a letter in the mail.  She felt like a little girl on Christmas morning, opening a special present as she read:

My dearest darling,

I arrived safely, although I 
will admit that more than
once, I was stricken with 
motion sickness.  I am stricken
with even more sickness, from
missing you.
I have met the lady I will be
working for and I must confess
that I am quite taken with
her and perhaps even a little bit in

love with her, but don’t fret, my 
dearest.  It shall be a fleeting
affair.  There’s not much time
for writing but I will write as 
often as I can.
Your loyal and faithful husband,
Jacob

She held the letter to her chest and whispered, “thank you.”  Once again, her prayer had been answered.  He had arrived safely.

 

To be continued__________

 

 

 

 

The Letter – Chapter Eight

Two weeks and a day after Alice received the last letter from Jacob, he arrived at the train station.  She could hardly contain her excitement as she embraced him.  She smiled and said, “you must tell me all about your adventure, but not before we have some time together.”

The next morning, Alice told Jacob about Georgia.  “She reminds me so much of Grace,” she said, “but her father has plans for her.”  Jacob queried, “what do you mean?  What kind of plans?”

Alice said, “Georgia carries a torch for a young gentleman, whom her father thinks is not suitable.  He wants her to marry a wealthy man.  It’s just so sad, because I believe that she will bend to her father’s wishes.”

A month later, Alice and Jacob went to Tierney’s and saw Georgia sitting at a table with a middle-aged man.  In a low voice, Alice said, “that must be her father.  He’s a lawyer in town.  Do you recognize him?”  Jacob said he didn’t.  Alice said, “I’d like you to meet Georgia.”

They walked over to the table, the gentleman stood up and a surprised Georgia said, “hello Alice.  This handsome young man must be your Jacob.”

Jacob extended his hand and said how happy he was to make her acquaintance and followed it with, “I’ve heard such lovely things about you.”

Then Georgia said, “please allow me to introduce you to my fiancé, Mr. Horace Spellman.  He’s the president of the B & O railroad.”

Alice had to hide her disappointment as well as her anger as she allowed him to kiss her hand.

Horace looked at Jacob and said, “I understand you travel quite a bit on my train, young man.  We must see about getting you a discount.”

Georgia could see the displeasure on Alice’s face and said, “Alice.  I would like to extend an invitation to you and Jacob.  Mr. Spellman and I are getting married in two weeks and I would like very much for you to attend.”

Alice quickly said, “I need to powder my nose.  Georgia, would you like to accompany me?”  Georgia, as if in servitude, asked Horace if he minded, which angered Alice.  As soon as they got out of earshot, Alice said, “what are you thinking?  I know you don’t love that man, not to mention that he’s old enough to be your father!”

Georgia said, “my father arranged the wedding.  In return for a lavish life-style, plenty of money, financial help for his failing practice and the promise of a male heir, he gave Mr. Spellman my hand in marriage.”

Alice forcefully said, “I beg you.  Don’t throw your life away.  Wouldn’t you rather be with someone you love instead of being some old man’s drudge, catering to his wishes and being nothing more than a silent, pretty face and a brood mare?  And what if you don’t produce a male?”

Alice calmed down and said, “we only have one life, Georgia, and we mustn’t waste one minute of it doing the wrong thing.”

One week later, Alice and Jacob were at Tierney’s, and gossip was abundant.  Georgia had defied her father, left town and married William.

The server smiled and handed Alice a note when she brought their hot chocolate and Bonbons.  It was from Georgia.

Dear Alice,

Thank you so much for
opening my eyes and giving
me the courage to follow my
own path.
I will write when we get settled.
Your eternally grateful friend,
Georgia

Alice smiled and hoped to someday see her friend again.  Before the smile left her face, Jacob said, “darling, I have to tell you something”

 

To be continued_________