It is morning

It is 8:08 am. The calm before the storm. My shoulders begin to tense. I double check everything. Are my papers where they need to be? Do I have anything in my teeth? Is my fly undone? What am I forgetting? The unnumbered list of questions runs through my mind like the credits at the end of a movie that I have seen one hundred times.

I am never completely satisfied with my list of answers to those question. My eyes dart back and forth at what I see before me.  I sink. Wholly unprepared, that’s what I am. The feelings of inadequacy are the strongest right now. But the day moves forward, with or without me.

Before I can make a mental list of all my failings, the quiet is interrupted. Doors slamming, feet stomping, so many voices pitched in revelry are the siren song. I rise from my chair, stride to my door, and wait. A smile both plastered and lacquered it is so fake. The first voices and feet will reach me soon.

“HEEEY, Mrs. More-KEE!” the pitched voice hits my ear.

The frozen smile melts into something more genuine and warm. I can’t even help myself.

“Good morning!” I exclaim as more voices chime in all around. Lockers slam, new teenagers laugh, and faces half-awake parade through the hall.

This is my zoo and I love it.

Back to LJ
The swan song of the LJ idol drew me back to LJ. So I am about to begin again.

"Those people" with their righteous glances in my direction. I know they think that they are better than me.

I am old and decrepit and falling apart. But I, too, was new and shiny once. I was also admired from afar and thought of as desirable. I would walk down the street and people would take notice!

I see "their" looks; I cannot mistake them for anything else. Their silent laughter taunts me daily.

Maybe I should just retire. Many others retire far earlier than I do. But dammit I think I still have a purpose in this world. I am pretty sure I am still wanted, otherwise I would be let go.

But I am sure "they" would love to see me gone and replace me.

"They" think they are better suited for today's modern world. I am just more... utilitarian... and rough around the edges.

I was the favourite. Shit, I will be again. What is really stopping me? Fear? Age? Fabric?
[Spoiler (click to open)]
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the bell
I wish that life would give me a good solid chime when something is over. When dinner is completed we get a bell so we know it is time to eat and playing is now done. When classes are finished, the bell echoes throughout the hallways.

Where is my fucking bell? Where is my notice?

I have taken long looks in the mirror lately. Is what I see authentic? Are those crevasses getting larger?

The once-taut skin now drags my eyelids lower and transforms my formerly twinkling eyes to a whisper of their earlier glory.

I never take a step back when I am looking in the mirror, for as much as I detest the changes in my face, my body has fallen into even more disrepair.

Sure, I have had periods of fine eating and a flurry of activity. But when my body cannot come close to its former self, I inevitably give up. I relax in the deep comfort of freshly baked bread and melted butter.

I have kept all my former pictures. The proof of my wild youth and zest for life. Perhaps I should just burn them. Maybe if I wasn’t ever that girl then I would be okay now.

Old age hits when you no longer look forward. I vowed to never be that way. I would travel and be active and be somebody. Old age would never hit me; I would stab it in the back before it got too near.

But the pain came.

Everything changed.

My bell should have rang long ago.

Note: This idea was born by putting the prompt through bad translator 35 times.
Here is the progression:

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Grey Sedan
I see a slightly rusted grey sedan parked on the corner as I drive by. It sat there in front of that nondescript bungalow every morning. It was never there at any other time. Not at noon, supper, or late evening, but always in the early morning. It was there when I left for work every morning and that was it.

I don’t know when I noticed it.

I am not sure when the coffee-lacking mind wondered about who owned the car and why they didn’t park in the large driveway next to the house.

I truly tried to ignore it. But the more I tried, the more I couldn’t help but wonder.

At first, I assumed it was the owner’s vehicle and that they simply didn’t spend much time at home.

Maybe they worked evenings and that’s why the car was never there from the afternoon into the evening. Probably worked at some restaurant or bar or some other place open late.

Or maybe it was a younger person who owned that sedan and that they have a partner that they spent all their time with. They are ‘in love’. That would explain not parking in the driveway. Some parents have rules about things such as that.

If they were older, they had to be the owner of that bar or at least the manager. The car was there 7 days a week. No one else really works that often. Do they?

If so, then they had a reason for parking on the street, a commuting reason. They could get to work on time each afternoon and could maximise on their sleep. Their car is parked ideally so it is ready to go to any of the local businesses.

I made peace with my clever theories.

My peace was disrupted.

Fifteen minutes: my morning commute changes. I now leave fifteen minutes later and my stories fell apart.

The man in the sedan is now there most mornings; he is in front of his house. His face is weathered. He is around 30 years old, looks strong, and is always wearing slightly dirty jeans and a t-shirt. But none of that catches my attention at first because he has the most unusual accessory.

On the mornings that I see him, he has a wheelbarrow.

Sometimes, I see him wheeling it around his house, as if from some storage area around the corner. And other mornings, he is taking his wheelbarrow and placing it in his trunk. And on the even rarer occasion, I see the man in the sedan drive off –trunk (partially open) holding a large wheelbarrow- and heading to wherever the man goes.

At what type of job does a man need a wheelbarrow?  What seven-day-a-week career means you have to move the earth so often? And why wouldn’t he leave it as his job?

I hated my questions. But the old theories needed to be discarded. And my compulsion wanted –no needed- to replace them.
Landscaper! That had to be it. He is a self-employed landscaper. He does have a fairly nice looking lawn, I thought to myself.
Something else was nagging me.

A couple times I had seen him with his wheelbarrow already hoisted into his car and he was sitting in his car on his phone or reading his paper.

I couldn’t let it go.

I looked for more clues, but found nothing.

Months later, my routine changed again.

Couch-to-5k happened. I huffed and I puffed and I ran early each morning. I think when I run. I am not sure how well but I felt it was an avenue for clarity.

Clarity came around the 4 km route mark.

Hitting my stride around three-quarters of the way through and proud of my accomplishments so far, I see in the distance someone on my path.

As the image gets clearer, I see my man -the man with the sedan- and his wheelbarrow, full of newspapers.

I smile and my shoes are lighter. Change is good.

Here I Sit


You don't know me. I hide behind this name 'improper_me" like a shield and a guard.

I entered ljidol to write and to put words out into the world in anonymity. I created a new Lj name and shared splatterings of what I thought you wanted to see and hear. I shared the face of someone you may want to get to know.

But I am more than the words I write here.

I am an avid churchgoer. This calls to mind many things but when you hear those words, what you picture in your mind is most likely incorrect.

I am the one that the evangelical faith may claim as 'not a real Christian' or a 'head Christian rather than a heart Christian.'

I am the one that the mainline liberal denominations would cry out as one who has not 'moved with the times.'

I am the one that those of the catholic faith would say was 'misguided.'

I belong to a smaller church that does worship with an organ, chanting, and little fanfare. I think the 'seeker-driven' contemporary songs are vapid, and as-a-whole terrible theologically.

I belong to a smaller church that believes in infant baptism. I have yet to hear a good argument for anything else.

I belong to a small church body that will never perform gay marriage. But I am for marriage as a right for everyone.

I belong to a small church body that will never ordain women. But I believe in equality.

I believe in a huge separation of church and state. That the church can govern itself in the way it chooses but that it should never legislate the morality of anyone else.

I am one of the Christians that manages to piss off all Christians and non-Christians by being me. My beliefs make me unlikable to all. And so I put my best foot forward.

As a youth, I was wild and unruly.

I am the one that has needed forgiveness and knows it.

As an adult, I am a wild and unruly.

I am the one that still needs forgiveness and knows it.

Forgiveness from my God, my friends, my family, and you for the deception.


What would Brian Marshall do?
8 months pregnant. (yes)

Thursday at the cabin. (yes)

Beautiful weather. (yes)

Good company. (yes)

Supposed to be relaxing. (not a chance)

At 11:30 pm came 'the incident'.

I went outside for my last pee break before bed. Pregnancy is a killer on the bladder. (These are the times I appreciate indoor plumbing!)

Now, I have grown up in this cabin for my entire youth so I didn’t need a flashlight to make my way there. I knew every patio block, stinging nettle plant, and bump between the cabin and the old outhouse.

As I approached the blue and white run-down building, I heard a strange sound. The sound of 'some animal' swimming around in our outhouse! And it sounded big... my first thought was: I hope that is not someone's favourite puppy!

So I yelled to Quinn to 'Get out here! And bring the flashlight!'
Quinn came running out and lifted up the lid and peered in the hole...
At first he could not see anything except the water stuff swirling around like a toilet.

Then he saw it as it poked its head out of the muck!
He threw the lid down and backed out of that outhouse so quickly that he nearly knocked me over!

We decided to call on my family in this time of emergency.
At 11:30 pm... they were no help... NO ONE wanted to come near our outhouse...
What if he sprayed?
What were they supposed to do about it?
How was I to know?

(Above: a picture of a road with a mess of bushes and a blue and white cabin in behind. Just behind that clump of trees was where the outhouse stood)

So we made an arrangement to use someone else's outhouse for the night and try to call the village office in the morning and pray that the skunk didn't get too panicked and decide to mess up the already terrible outhouse smell!

The Morning After:

So we decided to check on our neighbour  friend in the outhouse the next morning.

There is no sign of him so we figured he must have drowned (what a way to go!). To be sure we take a walk around the outhouse to find 'tracks' because they won't be too hard to spot!

So my Aunt Linda makes about 9 phone calls to find out what we do about this 'skunk in the outhouse' as nothing like this has ever happened before! After years of 5 brothers having cabins together... not once has there been an outhouse/animal issue!

She spoke to 3 people in the community and about 6 from other places that really had no clue about what was going on.

We find out we are responsible for getting the dead fella out of there... (oh joy... I remind myself this is not MY cabin... therefore not MY responsibility.)

But the first person in the community says, 'Well I don't know what to do... but there is this guy...Brian Marshall.... He shoots crows.....' (Like the 2 things are virtually IDENTICAL shooting crows = getting skunk out of an outhouse.) I thought that was pretty weird and strange...

Then the next person in the community, who is running for mayor, she says,
'Well I don't know what to do... but there is this guy...Brian Marshall.... He shoots crows.....AND he has a license to shoot them!'

I was like 'what the f@#*?!?!' how will this help us! Is he going to SHOOT the dead skunk in the outhouse? I mean really?

We try to get in touch with Brian Marshall. At this point I am baffled about why but I am going with this odd story. I AM INVESTED. He is not home, so we leave a message.

We finally reach the lady at the town office and she says, 'Well, we have not ever had this problem before BUT....there is this guy...Brian Marshall.... He shoots crows.....He is licensed you know!'

My aunt explains that we tried to call him already and the lady says, 'Yeah, he's not at home... he is cutting trees right now.'

People KNOW where Brian Marshall is... AT 9 AM on a Friday morning.

WHAT the hell is with this Brian Marshall?

He is a damn local celebrity and ALL these people are insistent that since he shoots crows... AND has a license...  THEREFORE he should be able to help us with a DEAD SKUNK IN THE OUTHOUSE!

So the jokes start rolling in about good old Brian Marshall:

When is the next Brian Marshall Day Parade?
How many crows do you have to shoot in order to get 'known' so well for shooting them?
Does he have "I SHOOT CROWS" on the back of his pick-up?
Should I ask Brian Marshall about whether I should buy a home?
Brian Marshall: Licensed to Kill

TEARS stream down our faces.

My aunt did not understand the Brian Marshall jokes, "After all he is the closest thing we have to pest control."

We do talk to two other people in the community who recommend, you guessed it, a certain famous man in the village.

After I shower, we eventually do find out that we can pour lye down the hole and it will eat up the skunk and then we can just pump it out (a MUCH BETTER plan than fishin' it out of there!)

We never do get to speak to Brian Marshall (a damned shame); he probably was confused about our message on his machine.

After my vacation, I came back to my office job in another province and my boss used to have a cabin at the same lake.

As I AM TELLING HIM ABOUT MY STORY... he interrupts to educate me about Brian Marshall... who shoots crows, has a gun and a license from the village to shoot them. He also has his own gun since he is a retired RCMP officer. AND HOW WE SHOULD HAVE CALLED HIM TO HELP US OUT.


Brian Marshall is so famous, that my boss IN ANOTHER PROVINCE WHO HAS NOT HAD A CABIN THERE IN 3 YEARS recommended him for fishing skunks out of outhouses.

Brian Marshall: the man, the myth, the legend

More fun?
More fun than a barrel of monkeys?

Can you even imagine what the real life picture of this looks like? Monkeys are jerks. You can tell this because when you type in "Monkeys are" into google, their FIRST suggestion is Monkeys are evil.

THEN YOU ARE GOING TO CRAM THESE EVIL MONKEYS INTO A BARREL? How friggin many can you fit? And how do you think you are going to trap the theiving, clever mammals in there?

More fun, indeed.

THEY WOULD DESTROY YOU. Barrel of monkeys > you

They have the numbers, they have the opposable thumbs, they have strong arms to pummel you with, they have the survival instincts to know that a barrel is not the place to be, and they will win.

You will be in a world of pain.

By this I can assume that EVERYTHING is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

The common cold, the awkward teenage years, LACTOSE-INTOLERANCE, bad boyfriends, bad girlfriends, getting into the pool after being in the hot tub..... ALL MORE FUN than a barrel of monkeys.

I rest my case.

What is it?

Oh, that's a game?

Shit, nevermind.

Recency Bias
I allowed myself to read every entry my fellow idolers wrote. I allowed myself 1-4 lines from every entry that touched me (aka all of them) and I used those words to create this piece. And unfortunately my computer is not being nice or I would have all the links to quote them.(Alas, I will have to change that after the deadline.) Your quotes are now attributed.  Thank you to my muses, I truly could not have done this one without you.

“This was not part of my plan. I didn't think it was possible, but I actually feel set free,” I said.

Rebecca urged the story on, “Tell me the entire story leading up to the hug. There has to be something else.”

“Well, I was born on a hot day…”

“You ass, you know what I mean!” Rebecca wasn't looking for the jokes. Even if the jokes are poor.

“Blah...if I'm being totally honest. I wasn't in a good place. Nothing much had changed; I was flirty and fun and completely deluding myself. High school is awkward for a lot of people. I went over to Mary’s place. And things were strained.” I took a deep breath; this was the hardest part to relate. This was the part that I could not forgive myself for.

“I am not going to make you talk. But I do want to understand.”

“I should have had a written code of conduct or code of ethics, but I didn't. Mary’s brother was there in the basement, as always. I heard the grotesque sound of porn on the TV as we stomped down the stairs. He turned it off but not before we caught a glimpse of some T&A.”

“Weren't you dating him?” Rebecca prodded.

“I HAD dated him. We weren't dating then. So, Mary plopped down on the chair opposite the couch where her brother was. As I took the available spot on the couch next to Rob, I could smell the weed. It had been a normal day for Rob, porn and weed and more porn and more weed. Luckily or more accurately unluckily, my superpower is politeness. So I sat there even though I couldn't stand it.” I took a breath and blew it out slowly. I still feel unsure about whether I should share this part. It casts doubt, I am sure of it.

“So it just happened there? Suddenly?”

"So, why did you want to know about my experience?” I said, deflecting.

Rebecca was silent for a bit. Maybe she was struggling for words just like I was.

“I am just here to be an ear. I am sorry if I am pushing you.”

That answer satisfied me. I did need to get it out. “I don’t remember when it started or who started it, but Mary went out of the room for an extended period of time and I think he pulled my hand towards his dick. I wasn't sure how to react, and gaped a bit. And then he started to push my face down that way. I thought to myself…do I even want to go through this? And I don’t know why I did it but I did start right then and there… giving it to him. I was hitting bottom.”

I glanced over to see if there was judgment in Rebecca’s eyes but so far there was nothing but compassion. I wish I could look at myself that way.

I continued, “When Mary came back into the room and caught us, she flipped out. And she got so angry at us both.  COMPLETELY lost it. There was vulgarity.  There was lots of it. She left out of the house and I was just sitting there feeling like the most worthless creature ever visited upon this earth.” The thought that maybe you made a mistake is a terrifying one, and you keep it hidden in the darkest corners of your mind.

Time passed. It had been years since I explained this to someone else. Especially to someone who didn’t know me as a youth. But I felt like I was just letting it out into the ether, and it was good.

“And then in the midst of how upset I was that I let my friend down, things got worse. That is when he smiled at me. It was a smile I knew well and that I hated. He turned the porn back on. I think I asked him what he thought he was doing. I said something like, ‘it's over you know.’ But that didn’t stop him. He crept nearer to me and put his hands on me. I was angry. Why, now? What was wrong with him?”

When did my voice get so quiet? I couldn’t look at Rebecca anymore.

I started to sob. “I said stop it and I said no. I don't want you to do that, I whispered. I pushed him away and tried to get out of it. I declined in so many ways. But it didn't change anything. We have the right to say no. Even when we dated, I said no… but then I always said yes… near the end. Where do you draw the line? Before, I could delude myself and say that it had never happened… But this time was different. I was a stone. I never said it was okay. I said, ’I could get pregnant or something,’ and he said, ‘I know.’”

Rebecca handed me a tissue.

As the tears started to roll gently down, my voice was soft, “And then, I just laid there. I was blank after that answer. I was as still as a deer with eyes as wide. I flee from conflict when I can but I couldn’t move so my mind fled while my body could not. I was just a bystander. Who is that helpless woman there on the beige carpet? Couldn’t he see how unnaturally calm she was, how poised she was? I don't think he even noticed.”

“I remember the fake sounding orgasms and the smell of weed. Both make me sick to my stomach even now.”

Some days I cannot remember all that was happening at that time. How did the time pass? I don’t even know.

I began again, “He finished and he got dressed and sat back on the couch, watching the tv. I laid there. As I gathered my clothes back on and started grabbing all my stuff. He looked at me and said that I could always stay. I stared at him. And all I could get out was, ‘I have to go. I have to go.’ I am too in over my head to be able to think my way out. I couldn’t look him in the face and I just took off into the night. No car and no plan and it was a cold winter night. I went out the front door. I just started walking.”

I start to relive the cold night and the thoughts going through my head. Rebecca grabs my hand. My eyes are dry again.

I don't know anything else but walking. I wasn’t even at the point of bargaining through it yet. I noticed that night was falling all around me. Didn’t hit the point of thinking it could be something you said or did. I thought about heading into the bushes and lying down in a snow bank. Frankly now looking back, I am proud to be alive.”

“The aftermath was horrific. So many words and falsehoods and advice from friends and ‘friends’, they whirled around my head. It set me on quite the self-destructive path for the next 6-7 months of my life. I become incredibly reluctant to say no. If I don’t ever say no, it can’t happen again.”

“Did you ever talk to your parents?

“No, many parents aren't involved in their child's lives. Mine were part of that group.”

I was lost in thought.

They said she is fun and free, wild and unrestrained;

They are just doing it to be nice

Did it really matter?

No light that I could see;

I am not always fine;

Run away and it’s still there;

We both knew something was wrong… couldn’t figure out what;

She has to cry herself out soon;

That's what we do against the darkness;

Not crashing and burning today;

A million light years from anyone's concern;

Didn't make this up;

Regret coming to this place;

You are hopelessly unprepared;

You’re overwhelmed;

With all the... memories;

No emotional help, no solace;

Worlds where you don’t have to choose;

Power to abuse it;

How quickly it could happen;

Joy and sadness co-exist in the same person;

Some of them fell;

Dots you said you connected;

Just a waste of time;

He's ill;

Wondered if it would hurt;

It wasn't meant to be this way.

Words written somewhere, on an unknown scrap of paper, they are never meant for another’s eyes.

Rebecca leaned in, “So, when did it all change?”

“Well, happily ever after is different for every one of us. My life, it was a book. And this was a horrible middle section. All we can do is hope, until even the hope dies.”

I took a breath.

“Mary and I eventually rebuilt our friendship. And when Mary and Rob’s father died with a heart attack, well Mary needed me. I went back to that same house and helped with the arrangements.

Did you stop or turn away?“

“Many times. This was anything but normal. The work began immediately, though. With helping write eulogies, to planning hymns, and meeting with the Pastor, I was there for all of it. I learned to work around the issues. It tore my heart out. I was even asked to read Rob’s part of the eulogy to his father and I accepted - after an understandable befuddled silence on my part.

“So when did it finally happen though?”

“Before those days, I knew I needed it for myself. I couldn’t fix anyone else. I couldn't have saved him ya know. You see, not everyone can be "healthy." I was married, pregnant, and was determined to not let anyone RUIN MY LIFE COMPLETELY anymore. It boggled my mind that I could even consider the act. Have you never heard a dragon roar?”

“Pardon me, what are you talking about?” Rebecca was so confused.

“I found my voice. I knew I couldn’t apologize though.”

“Yes, please save your sorrys for things that are your responsibility,” Rebecca reminded me.

“For all the contempt that I often feel or rather felt at the time, I needed to be free and roar like a dragon. I spent hours pondering what to do at that funeral. How to live in that house for so many hours. I had a conversation over and over again in my head. "There's nothing I can do," I say, "yes there fucking is." My heart was renewing and revamping itself, one heart being torn down while another one, just like the older one, was being built. Maybe being brave is the right thing. My anger and my hurt, I thought, “Well, I know what I’m doing with it.””

Perhaps he felt guilty?”

“I am not sure. And I don't even care. But after the funeral and after I delivered his eulogy to his father, I saw him walking in the church. I saw him and I had an urge to hug him. As if all my forgiveness was wrapped up in that hug. It was. I hugged that asshole and I forgave him. Because that is my action to take.”

“I'm a dragon."

*** Sorry to the people that I never got their quotes worked into the story. I just ran out of time and had NO end to my computer issues this week. 

How can you help?
Trigger Warning: Talk of suicide

I was having a wonderful time. We were celebrating. Not quite sure what we were celebrating but wasn’t every weekend a cause for celebration? The wife, Sue, wasn’t one to imbibe too much but I had brought her along anyway. At least, she could drive me home.

It was still early when she dragged me back and Sue thought maybe that I should just head to bed. But I was awake and having fun. Wasn’t she willing to laugh a little? Killjoy.

I know! I will call my sister Margaret. She will be up. She will laugh about old times and tell me what’s what. I grabbed the phone in the kitchen and had to steady myself on the wall. As I dialed the number from heart, the buttons seemed to be shifting. Success, the phone is ringing! I twirled the cord around my thumb and my forefinger as I waited.

“Hello,” said the timid voice on the other line.

“Can I speak to Marrgret?” I slurred. Maybe I had too much after all.

“…I think you have the wrong number.”

I heard a few sniffles. She must have a cold and can’t hear me. “Hey, Margaret, I just wanna speak to you.”

“This isn’t Margaret,” the voice was a bit firmer this time. “Sorry I –“

I interrupted, “What number is this? Just trying to call my sister, Margaret.” I was confused. Who was at my sister’s house?

“Umm, this isn’t the right number.”

“Where are you?!” I demanded. Sue shushed me from the living room, gesturing for me to be quiet.


“Is that in Washington? My sister is in Washington. I’m in California. And I am a private investigator.” The sentences tumbled on top of each other.

“No, it is in Saskatchewan.” She was still sniffling and her voice seemed to be fading.

“SAK-CHI-WAN? Where is that?”

“In Canada,” she sighed. “I have to---“ I thought she didn’t sound that good right now.

“Wait! Are you going to call me back?”

“No!” she answered incredulously.

“Why not?”

“…I am not calling long distance to California,” she finally spat out.

“Take down my number. My name is Michael. Call me collect. Do you have a pen?” When she finally answered, I rattled off my number.

“Okay, bye.”

“Call me back!” I insisted. The phone went dead.

I put the phone on the receiver and waited. I fixed another drink.

Miraculously the phone started ringing a few minutes later. I picked it up, the recorded voice said, “This is Sasktel. You have a collect call from… someone (the timid voice said)… will you accept the charges? If yes, press 1. If n-“ I quickly pressed the 1 button.

“Hello?” her voice said.

“Thanks for calling.”

“Why did you ask me to call you?” She questioned.

My voice got softer. “Well, you were talking... and you sounded sad… and I was worried about you.”

The voice on the other line began to sob.

Her words seemed to fall out. She started to tell me about her week. Thoughts of dying on purpose and reasons why she thought it must happen.

Sue had come back into the kitchen when the phone rang. “Who are you talking to? She demanded.

I clumsily covered the receiver. “A young girl from Sak-it-won that needs my help.”

“What a fucking, piece of shit liar you are! What the hell is wrong with you?” Sue blurted out. But she wandered back to the bedroom and slammed the door.

“Sorry,” I muttered. “Tell me more.”

And she told me how her week was just a continuation of her month and her month a continuation of her year. And she told me how she hasn’t been good for years. She talked of a rape a year before and seeing the asshole again today, her best friend’s abortion, her father’s suicide years ago, and how she was alone in the house with her grandmother’s heart medication.

So many thoughts and feelings and jumbled confusion came out of this young girl. She cried and whimpered and sobbed. I spoke softly in-between to let her know I was listening.

When all was finally quiet and she had said her piece, I said, “Well, you sound like a very smart girl. I think you are worth it. I care if you are here.”

There was silence on the line for what seemed like a solid minute.

“Thank you.”

I told her to keep the number and to call again collect if she ever needed me or if she ever thought that way again. The line went dead.

The next morning, I woke up and my head was pounding. My wife was already up; I could hear her banging pans together making too much noise for a Sunday morning. Wow, did I ever have too much last night.

I never did hear from that girl again.


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