Beware the Ides

Saturday Stories #8

A public square, people walking, vehicles buzzing past.

“Beware the Ides of September!” cried the old bearded man, boring his wild eyes deep into the stranger’s soul, and then, as the stranger stared at him confused, stepped forward and shouted this time: “Beware the Ides of September!”

“Don’t you mean March? Caesar’s death and all that?” asked the stranger, perhaps a bit condescending, perhaps a bit amused.

“Six months on. The assassins fall in among themselves,” said the crazy one. “Your sins shall find you out. Beware the Ides of September.”

‘Well, I haven’t killed any emperors lately,” said the stranger, smugly now. “I think I’m safe.”

“It’s the ones who think they’re safe who are in the most danger,” the mad prophet snapped. “Beware, I tell thee. Beware the Ides of September!”

“Poppycock,” said the stranger, and stepped in front of a dump truck bearing the name Ides & Sons Gravel and Excavating.

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I quit

i quit

I quit.

Stop saying that.

I quit.

You said that yesterday.

I meant it then, too.

Well, don’t.

Maybe I should quit every day, and reinvent myself.

Maybe you should not quit.

But I do quit.

Oh, I give up.

That’s the spirit!

72 hours earlier

Different - dreamstime_s_1045911

“Excuse me?” I said, somewhat incredulous.

“We’re going to have to commit you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You exhibited signs of mental deficiency and imbalance, so we’re taking you in for a voluntary 72-hour hold and examination.”

“Signs? What signs?”

“Signs of mental deficiency and imbalance.”

“Yes, you said that,” I said. “What did I do? What are the symptoms?”

“You said something inappropriate to a co-worker.”

“What did I say?”

“I’m embarrassed to repeat it.”

“Which co-worker?”

“That’s confidential.”

“OK,” I said, dubious. “What else?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said ‘signs,’ plural. What other evidence do you have of my mental deficiency and imbalance?”

“Well, for one thing, you’re raising your voice.”

“Wouldn’t you?”

The other paused a beat too long. “No.”

“You wouldn’t raise your voice if someone falsely accused you of being crazy?”

“Please; we don’t use that word.”

“Well, I do,” I said. “THIS is crazy. I’m not going.”

“You have to.”

“You said it’s a voluntary 72-hour hold and examination. If it’s voluntary, I’m not going.”

“We’re taking you in to protect yourself and the community. Under the court decision Sherman v. Peabody, we have the right to detain you voluntarily for 72 hours while we –”

“It’s not voluntary if I have to be detained!!”

“See? This is why you need help. You’ve lost an understanding and respect for authority.”

Disclaimer: This is fiction, as far as I can determine.

The place

the place

“Is this the place?” he asked, wary.

“What place is that?” asked the burly man who was a cliche of the burly bearded thug who loomed over every cornered person in every movie and taunted them with his power.

“The place where I figure our everything that’s been happening or –”

“– the place where you die?”

“Yes.”

“Could be both.”

“That’d be kind of sad, don’t you think? For me to figure out everything and then die before I could apply the knowledge?”

“Kind of sad, yeah,” the bearded man said. “But that’s life.”

There was this story …

there was this story

“Why did you tell me this story, old man?”

The young man seemed agitated, the old man calm.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Just answer the question,” the young man said. “Did you think I would learn something? Did you want to warn me about something? Did you wish to frighten me? inspire me? belittle me?”

“I had no such intentions,” the old man said, a little too strenuously. “I just wanted to tell you a story.”

“Why that story? Why tonight?”

“It seemed like this night was the right night for this story.”

“Why?”

“Well – I suppose I don’t know why, exactly,” the old man said. “I just felt the sinews of this evening and started to tell. Before I knew it, it all was told.”

But they both knew. The story loomed over them, surrounded them, convicted them, and ultimately changed them. And the most sobering thing was: The story could never be untold.

May 30 …

be silly - web

Him: “May 30 birds of paradise fly up your nose.”

Her: “What?! What did I do to deserve a congested sinus?”

Him: “Oh – nothing. I was just looking at the calendar and making a joke.”

Her: “Maybe try something more romantic – May 30 roses share their fragrance with you today.”

Him: “May 30 happy moments touch your life.”

Her: “May 30 friends tell you how much they love you.”

Him: “May 30 kisses tickle your neck.”

Her: “Ooooh! That’s much better.”

Story: The Wings

the wings.jpg

He looked out over the horizon and saw vast possibilities. He looked down and saw a vast drop.

“Go ahead,” said the man in the tousled white hair. “Jump, and build your wings on the way down.”

“Can’t,” he whispered.

“Come on, buddy,” said the man, pulling off his horn-rimmed glasses and wiping them carefully. “What did the little elf say – ‘Do or do not. There is no try’? You haven’t even been trying lately, have you?” Continue reading →

Story: The Room

the room.jpg

“Don’t think,” said the man with the white mane. “Just open the spigot and be surprised by what comes out.”

And then he walked away.

I wanted to cry out, “Don’t think? But I can’t stop thinking,” but I had no voice.

So I stopped thinking.

Suddenly a spot appeared on the wall, which grew and grew until there was a hole large enough to step through. I could see that the room beyond was not the same room I would have found had I cut through the wall, and so, curious, I stepped through the hole. Continue reading →