Two More Shots

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Linda Merriweather began walking her dog, Brutus, at precisely the same time David Wrinkle began drinking in a bar four blocks away. She was still not used to walking alone. She fumed as she thought about her husband, or, soon-to-be ex-husband, Steve. They used to walk Brutus together, he had insisted on it. She thought it was because he worried about her, because he wanted to make sure she was safe. But, if that were true, why would he leave her for some cheap skank he met on a business trip to St. Louis?

David took another shot and asked the bartender for still another. He pulled a small notebook from his back pocket and a pen from his shirt and laid them on the bar top. He closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath before downing more whiskey. “Keep ’em coming, please.” He told the man behind the bar. Then, he began writing.

Linda passed the buildings without noticing them. She was still thinking of Steve. How could he have done this to her? After twenty-two years of marriage? How could he just throw it all away like it was nothing? But the fact was, he did just throw it away; which is exactly why Linda’s sadness turned to anger.

David wrote for several minutes without stopping. He was getting drunk and he knew it; and so did the bartender. “I think you’ve had enough, pal.” The bartender said.
“Just two more shots.”
“No sir. I’m cuttin’ you off. Pay up, and go home.”
David shrugged as he tore the page he had been writing on from the notebook and put it in his shirt pocket. He paid his bill as he stood up, noticing for the first time exactly how drunk he had become. Then, he staggered across the room and out the door.

Linda was just thinking about turning around and heading home when Brutus began barking toward a dark, back alleyway. “What is it, boy?” She wasn’t used to him behaving like this. He was normally a calm, friendly dog; and normally she wouldn’t have gone down a dark alley for any reason; but on this day, she did.

Linda found David lying face up about halfway down the paved corridor. She tried to rouse him, but it didn’t work. She could see he was breathing, which gave her some relief. Then, she noticed the paper sticking out of his shirt pocket. “Maybe this will tell me who you are.” She mumbled to herself. She opened the paper and began reading.

Dear Susan,
I don’t know how to tell you this. I feel terrible so I’m just going to come out and say it. I had an affair. I don’t know how it happened and it didn’t mean anything. The truth is I love you and I can’t live with myself for this. My intention tonight was to end it all and take my own life because I can’t face the grief that this will cause. But I’ve decided to ask forgiveness first. To see if we can work through this. If you don’t want to, I understand and you will never hear from me again.

The note stopped there. Linda looked down at David once again. That’s when she noticed the handle of a .22 caliber pistol sticking out of his front pants pocket. She looked around. It appeared the alley was deserted. She reached in her purse and pulled out a handkerchief. She slowly removed the gun from his pocket.

Brutus jumped and whimpered as the sound of the shot echoed off the buildings. “That one was for Susan.” She said, “…and this one is for Steve!”

Dreaming Reality

One night a man had a dream. In his dream he was transported to a different place than what he had ever known.

The first thing he saw was his father; who had passed away a few years ago. Followed by his mother, who had also recently passed. They were young and very happy. “This is the way I always wanted to remember them”, he thought instead of the way he remembered them now. Old, frail, and bitter. He noticed several close family members were nearby. Old friends that he hadn’t seen in years smiled as they passed by, then going on about their business. Then he saw his wife. She was in her wedding dress. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on. He kissed her gently on the lips. An excitement filled his soul, he had missed that feeling. Seconds later, two children poked their heads out from behind her. They were their kids. Their eyes were full of love and excitement as they ran to hug him, laughing; the sound filled the air with love. The hug felt so wonderful; the most comforting thing he could imagine. All the people he cared about were there. Everybody was in the happiest stages of their lives. It was all surreal. Everyone was happy, content, and doing the things they loved to do.

He looked around him. He was outside. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and happy people were milling around doing various activities. It appeared to be early fall, by the look of the trees and the cool air. This was his favorite time of year. He breathed in deeply and smiled. “I’ve never been in a more perfect place.” He hadn’t felt peace like this in a very long time.

He spent the next several minutes just looking around. Noticing all of the sights, sounds, and other wonders that touched his senses. Everything was perfect and new. If he wanted to eat, he simply let someone know and a delicious meal would appear. In fact, if he needed anything, it was there, always surrounded by the love and comfort of those dear to him.

Later, he felt like exploring this new world. He wondered around in euphoria. Everything seemed new and exciting. He covered a long distance in a short amount of time. He investigated how things worked in his new surroundings and made interesting discoveries. He shared his excitement with those close to him. He had an unquenchable thirst for the knowledge and understanding of everything around him. Each new endeavor brought him immeasurable joy. He discovered fascinating places and wonderful people. Some of these people he knew, some he didn’t, all became friends.

After a while of this, he wanted his family. He cherished their company. He talked to his wife and listened to her. He treasured every moment. He took her to the places he had discovered and she showed him new ones. He explained the world as he saw it and she showed him different points of view. They took long walks together and sat by each others side. He gazed into her eyes and he made love to her. He played with their children and taught them the things he knew. They showed him unconditional love and he could feel it, deep inside himself. He spent a long time in their company; loving, laughing, and enjoying every minute.

Then, when everything seemed to be at the peak of enjoyment, a thought crept into his mind. That thought changed everything for him.
“Why am I here?” He asked himself.
The thought crowded his mind and he quickly became obsessed. He couldn’t quit thinking about it. He began searching for an answer. He went to his wife. He looked her in the eyes and asked her the question. She shrugged and a worried look crossed her face.
“What does it matter?”, she asked.
He wasn’t satisfied. He went to a friend and asked, “How do you think we got here?”
The friend replied with a smile, “God put us here.”
“But why?”, he asked.
“To serve him.”
“WHY?”, his frustration grew. He went to a neighbor. “Why do YOU think we are here?”, he asked.
The neighbor smiled, “To search for answers within ourselves. To become one with everything.”
The man still was not satisfied and became increasingly more anxious and frustrated. He began to annoy his friends and family and they became worried about him. His kids looked at him like a stranger and shied away. His wife tried to talk to him, but he only obsessed about the question and scared her. She too began to stay away from him. Time went on and he began to panic. He became bitter and ill. Everyone stayed away and thought he had become insane. They went on living their lives without him and this made him angry.

One day, a very old and wise man approached him. He began to barrage the old man with question after question about the purpose of their existence. The old man lifted his hand to silence him. “Look around you.” The wise, old man said. “This is a perfect place. Everyone and everything you care about is here in front of you. They are growing more and more concerned, and you do not care. You choose to waste time chasing a question that cannot be answered. And you do not know how long you will be here.”
The man paused. He began thinking about his behavior and the behavior of those he cared about. He felt silly. He was going to apologize. He was going to love the company of his friends and family again and show them how much he loved them. He thanked the man and decided he would start now and go find his wife and talk to her and listen and do all of the things they used to do.

But before he could, the bells of the alarm clock tolled and the dream was over.