Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Haphazard Conversation with a Merciless God

I grabbed my omnipresent comfort items for Dialysis and was about to slam the door to my truck when He appeared out of nowhere.

At first I thought he was a homeless guy just milling about under a tree. It was giving way to the eventuality of Autumn.

I decided to close my door softly so as not to startle him. I was about to turn away and scuffle into treatment, but our eyes managed to catch.

There was an amazing energy to his eyes, so I couldn't turn away. I placed my blanket and DVD case in the bed of the truck and timidly walked closer.

He just continued to lean against the base of the tree, grinning as if He didn't have a care in the world.

"So here we are again."

As the leaves were losing their grasp on the branches, they would somehow land, one by one, into his outstretched hand.

"No, here I am again. I've never seen you here before."

He just smiled a huge grin from underneath a tattered beard and chuckled to himself.

"I'm always here. The problem is, you never look."

The leaves started to pile up, one atop another, defying gravity in his open palm.

"I don't usually hang with middle aged bums." I wanted to head back to my truck and get the entire affair over with, but the leaf trick was interesting. The entire time this fellow is chuckling.

"I always loved that about you Stacy. No politically correct bullshit censor built in."

My mind searched wildly trying to explain how this guy knew my effeminate name.

"Are you a cop? Or a lawyer? Am I going to receive some paperwork telling me I'm being sued? Because whatever it is, I was probably too tired and weak to do it."

The red and gold leaves started from the top of the pile and started swirling like a tornado, faster and faster until the final leaf was swept up in this minor weather anomaly.

"You know who I am. You've just forgotten how to speak with me. It's pretty easy actually."

The hyperactive leaves suddenly left his vicinity and began to spin around me. It was hard to decipher whether I was entertained by this or just hallucinating. I had skipped treatment the previous day.

"This whole 'Dancing With the Leaves' deal is highly impressive, but I don't see the point."

I grabbed one of the leaves and immediately the remaining ones fell to the ground. I glanced down to witness them scamper away like ants. I opened my palm and felt an extreme cluster of burning pain.

"What the hell? Was that really necessary?"

He stopped leaning and stood upright, looking concerned.

"What did you just feel? Just now?"

He started to approach me and I took a few steps back. Even though his flannel shirt was stained and his jeans were torn, a smell of lilac filled the air.

"That's a ridiculously annoying question. It felt just like my needles do most nights."

He stopped moving forward, but His look of concern didn't waver.

"I ask you again Stacy, what did you just feel, once the pain subsided?"

My eyes moved downward as I searched for an answer. The leaves from earlier were dancing slowly with one another.


"And what else?"


"Anything else?"

"Bitterness. Oh crap. God damnit. I'm going to be late. You made me late. They're going to dock my treatment time now."

The self assured smile from earlier slowly came to His face. He placed both hands on my shoulders and held me with an extremely firm grip.

"I know you're suffering. And I know you're in pain. Once you let go of it all, only then will you begin to heal."

I paused for a moment and allowed my eyes to wander. Eventually, they came back to His.

"You realize you sound like a fortune cookie, right?"

He let go of my shoulders and began to turn around.

"Divine wisdom comes from the strangest of places."

"Like an old guy loitering around at tree?"

As he shuffled back to his original spot, I could hear the leaves shuffle around still. They eventually came to a rest in the shape of an arrow, pointing to the clinic.

"Now you're just showing off."

My head darted around to find that He was gone. I began to grab my stuff as a realization entered my mind.

"That's a really ABC Afternoon Special kinda move, you know that right."

His voice came from above.

"Yeah, I know."

From the top branch of the tree I could see Him, playing with the leaves again.

"One thing I do know." I stopped walking to the clinic doors to turn back to the tree.

"You're not going to follow me inside. Admit it, you've never been in a Dialysis clinic in your life."

This time, He was gone. I turned back to the clinic to face my fate when I heard more scuffling on the ground.

The same dancing leaves from earlier had formed a smiley face, with the right eye appearing to be winking.

I just shook my head and laughed out loud. I stopped short as I realized I hadn't done that in a long, long time.

The Old Man just might have something left for me after all.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mindless Stacy Trivia

I was forwarded this by a friend and instead of forwarding it on (which I despise doing) I instead felt it was my duty as an e-mailing American to answer the following dopey questions:

1. Where is your cell phone?

In my pocket next to my twigs and berries. Because of the minute amount of radiation it emits, I'm probably sterile.

Most of the female population just breathed a collective sigh of relief.

2. Your significant other?

My scooter Rita. She likes to be ridden.

3. Your hair?

Nappy and dry, listless and rye. Originally dark brown but giving way to shades of gray. Receding in front and on top due to endless Dialysis treatments. I will one day gather numerous squirrels together and create a rather freakish wig that will smell of nutmeg and pine.

4. Your mother?

Lovely and silly, prone to flights of wackiness.

5. Your father?

In much more pain than I would ever wish on my worst enemy. My only salvation is that I can still make him laugh.

6. Your favorite thing?

Being in the presence of beautiful women who don't find me repulsive.

7. Your dream last night?

I was part of this submarine crew and we were exploring the depths of the Baltic Sea. There were two other men who were rather abusive to one another and a neckish blonde. She went on an expedition and came back to a meal of hard boiled eggs. Once the meal was over, she started having extreme abdominal pain. She regurgitated the eggs whole and then two more eggs that were bloody and veined.

Before we could stop it, there was a creature on board and the ship's oxygen and life support was dwindling and we were trapped. I woke up sweaty with a massive heart rate.

This is what four years of Dialysis treatments will do to your psyche.

8. Your favorite drink?

Odwalla Orange Juice when I feel like living large.

9. Your dream?

It's simple yet cliche but very all-American. Neckish raven haired temptress with a wacky sense of humor who can't keep her hands off of me. Two beautiful kids, a boy and a girl, who possess no health ailments whatsover.

Everything else is negotiable.

10. The room you're in?

Toiling away in my office because we have a hugely time consuming consultant meeting tomorrow and I don't want to get behind.

11. Your fear?

To never be deserving of someone's love.

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?

A published novelist whose health does not prohibit him from visiting family and friends on a regular basis.

13. Where were you last night?

Watching the Steelers fight back from a deficit to take down the Jaguars. I love stories like this that display incredible character and strength.

14. What you're not?

Civil and politically correct.

15. Muffins?

Never. Give me a wonderfully plain donut with nothing added and I'm happy.

16. One of your wish list items?

A cadaver kidney that doesn't turn me into a complete serial killer.

17. Where you grew up?

In the armpit of California, otherwise known as the San Joaquin Valley. It's flooded with gang members and meth labs now.

18. The last thing you did?

Bled all over the floor of the Dialysis clinic and vomited in the hallway bathroom. Par for the course of the thirteenth hole of my life.

19. What are you wearing?

New Skinny Men's Levi's, Converse low-tops, Old Navy boxers and my classic Steeler jacket. I wear it after every win.

20. Your TV?

I haven't turned my TV on in over a year. I watch "Heroes" and "The Office" on my computer now. NetFlix & rule.

21. Your computer?

Is my bestest friend ever sometimes.

23. Your life?

Half past dead.

24. Your mood?

Surly and uncensored.

25. Missing someone?

My parents dog T.J. He passed away about six weeks ago due to cancer. They were going to let him die naturally, but in his final hours he glanced up at them with those big brown eyes and they just knew he was suffering too much.

They had him put down and buried him on their ranch with his favorite blanket, favorite chew toy and his peanut butter ball.

I'm getting tears in my eyes knowing I'll never get to see him again.

26. Your car?

My faithful 2000 Chevy S-10 pickup. It's so much like me: not a lot of power, not a lot of strength, but it will never be stopped.

27. Something you're not wearing?

A hat. Makes my head look ginormous.

28. Favorite Store?

Target. You can get anything and everything there and it's a great place to meet women.

29. Your summer?

Spent mostly in bed. And not the good kind of "in bed." The nauseous kind.

30. Your favorite color?

Midnight blue. It's a really dark blue one shade short of black.

31. When is the last time you laughed?

Earlier today with my co-worker Michelle. Everyone is always wondering what we're laughing about in my office.

32. Last time you cried?

It was at Dialysis, but not for the reasons you think. I was watching a really tender scene in a movie and I couldn't help myself.

33. Three of my favorite foods:

This is an interesting question because I've noticed it's morphed over the last four years of treatment.

A homemade Bacon Cheeseburger smothered in mayonnaise and mustard.

A veggie burrito with extra sour cream.

A BLT on sourdough bread.

That'll do. I'm a pretty simple guy when it comes to food.

34. Four places I'd rather be right now:

a) Any beach where the sunshine is as plentiful as the bikini clad women.
b) In a spaceship heading toward my home planet of Slurb.
c) Under the covers of my bed with a short-haired brunette who's just getting started.
d) Playing with my nephew and niece and making them laugh.

Thank you and good night.