Until the end of the world

The Horizon Seems to Beckon me

Two hours earlier it was starting off to be an unusual evening.

I received a call from a friend in Burlington that there was an aurora borealis heading my way.  I had never seen one except on the Discovery Channel.  I had always thought that they are so fleeting that to even be able to capture it on film would be highly unusual.  Therefore, to actually be told one was coming my way, I was dubious.

I ran outside in spite of my skepticism.  If it was going to happen, I was not going to miss it on my watch. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I watched in the northwest sky as a well-defined sheet of red came in a spray over my head. Unusual. Red is not a common color in this phenomenon.

“Red, that is at the limit of what the human eye can see” Borealis FAQ.

They are usually green- blue and white. This one was red and purple. It came spreading from a small point in the distance to a well defined spray line until the sky was a complete wash in red, and as quickly as it came, it disappeared in a second. It looked as if it were being sucked into a tiny pinhole over my head.

I was so enamored; I continued to stare at the minute dot in the sky. And lucky I did. A burst of red, green, purple, and yellow came from that little hole in the heavens and covered the entire atmosphere.

And then the twilight faded into pastels and I could see, indiscernible to most, there were fine lines going north, south, east, and west. It looked like graph paper. No one else saw it….

Earlier that day.


Today is a holiday. No work and a strangely promising day if you lent yourself to mysticism.

I decided to hit the grocery store early before the New Year’s Eve crowd came enmass to prepare for football and friends, as opposed to Christmas with faith and family. I expected to see more than a few people, I was certain I wasn’t the only person who took advantage of this time frame to do my shopping, but the store was empty.

I took advantage of the situation, I can take my time. I grabbed a newspaper – a few and far between treat, made my way to the store’s coffee shop, sure to have at least a few of the early morning regulars.

This little built-in Starbucks always juiced a good crowd no matter the occasion or time. But the only patrons were the store’s staff. They sipped their choices hunched over the table, exchanging veiled banter. They stopped, as if in accord, turned their heads up, and most said hello, others smiled and flicked fingers from their cups of java in a wave.

It was bewildering. I made my order, the barista especially affable. Quickly, as Starbucks’ intention, my Vente’ Mocha Frappicino was ready. I made it to a table, customers engaging me as I tried to ignore them, but my upbringing forced me to engage.

“This is so very peculiar” I thought.

I opened the paper and found some of the journalism to be typical:

Gas prices at an all-time high, some stations forced to closed…

Hunting season reflects a diminished interest…

And the headlines “President Obama concerned over the ineffectiveness of Nuclear Regulation”.

The chances of a mistake by ignorance has been ….

I was immediately distracted by a story that almost seemed to speak to these headlines;

Record number of patients were detached home from hospitals. ..

Who would even notice such a thing? Patients requested doctors to discharge them early so they could be home with family. The story continued.  It seems more people believed in the far-fetched stories of psychics than originally thought! I laid the paper down, went to get a scone, came back to reclaim my seat, the paper was gone. I looked around the room, no paper, all eyes on me. The Twilight Zone…perhaps. I left, after grabbing a few items.

I forgot Milk, and I was not going back in there. At least not till I found a mirror. My rearview reflected no unusual facial missteps or snot hanging from my nose. I checked my pants, not unzipped, no toilet paper hanging from the back of my jeans or the bottom of my shoes.

I stopped at the convenience store instead. And IT WAS MOBBED.

What the hell?

People were buying things they would purchase at the grocery because of the ridiculous markup. Toilet paper, coffee, ice. I checked the date on the milk, it expires in two days. Unusual for a convenience store. Milk is a top selling item and they always had a generous expiration. And supply. I picked up the last carton and made my way to the end of the line.

The clerk was exceedingly pleasant, as were the customers waiting their turn, holding diapers and juice. It as after 6am, yet no one was purchasing alcohol. I requested a lotto ticket for the upcoming drawing.

“This is the first one I sold today” the clerk smiled, his eyes raised in curiosity.

I then noticed the sign:  We will be closing at noon today. We will stay until then because of the generous patronage you have afforded this establishment.

Odd. This must be their last day. For whatever reason, a lot of these businesses were closing.  I secretly hoped I would win so the merchant could realize the 1% pay-off from the claim.

The day went by uneventful. My family had no idea where I was, and I didn’t want to open those doors. I had a haunting feeling that I should. I let that go. I turned on HBO to watch Testament. And following that, the hit from last year’s Christmas, The Darkest Hour would follow. They both were going to run consecutively throughout the day, lucky, because I decided to nap in between. Until the phone rang.

“Dianne, go outside, there is a borealis on its way”.

I ran outside, really not expecting to see it, but there it was.

I sat on the front porch for another hour trying to absorb what I saw.

How many dreams I had about this very thing.  Am I dreaming now, or I am imagining it? But I saw those graph lines almost embossed in the night sky with the borealis fading into pastels. I had no witnesses so I was on my own.

And then the sky broke loose with this cold rain, the kind you feel in your bones.

The borealis had sung with electricity. My exacting brain was fearful of the rain mixed with that electricity and I made certain to sport my rubber-soled sneakers, keeping my hands and body clear of any kind of conductor.  I placed my hind end firmly in the wooden rocker, using my feet to scuff myself to the window and watch the events of the night sky.

I was distracted by the houses across the street with their big picture windows. No games on the TV’s, no TV’s. Their rooms were filled with older and younger folks and children. Not a bunch of men, or female sports fanatics. Family.

This day is just getting distractingly peculiar.

And then within the painted sky, small orbs appeared and a meteor shower ensued.  I was mesmerized, as the perfect squares of the graph image I saw at the beginning became ever so vivid and then larger pastel orbs refelecting planets.  My neighbors and their families slowly crept outside, arms folded, some with their hands on the small shoulders of offspring, their eyes fixed on the unfolding show. No one seemed to notice me, and as accustomed as I was to luring others into my concepts of the moment, I chose to let them be. They looked as if that was their choice as well.

The orbs continued, but they paled in comparison to the atmospheric exhibition. I dreamt this a thousand times and a thousand times it felt like a dream. This time it’s real. I recognized the clarity of words in human voices, I could smell the environment dampness, I could feel the electricity. And I finally knew.

The folks at Starbucks, the empty grocery, the packed convenience store, the general goodwill, the movie choices.

As I enter this into my journal, this New Years eve of 2012, the night sky is now as bright as a summer dawn and … ….. ……. …….. ………….. …………………… ——————-




Excerpts taken from a young woman’s diary

Diary June 1996

My birthday!.. Too old to celebrate, I am certain that is what you are thinking. It is a national past time. Age and what it means. Over the hill at 40. Definitely at 50. And then when you reach the milestone of 100, everyone starts to have parties. No matter, you cannot enjoy them because your adult diaper is on crooked and no-one has the responsibility an infant’s keeper has. And you sleep through most of it, also much like an infant.

No, I am going to enjoy this 43rd non descript birthday.

I got my first card today in bed! From my reason for celebrating. I had met someone new and now it looked like my life was going to turn around. Someone who cares as much for me as I do for her.

Maybe even more so.

I have been warned, but the warnings “no stick”.Even her family. But I can assure you, my inanimate friend, they do not know her.

She is a sweet kind person who has discovered me as I have her. She feels differently about me. And this is the person no one can see, because this is the person who has not found mutual love.

Until now.

August 1996

My sister and mother came from Kenosha to visit out of the blue. Why? My father told me when I called him that he instructed them NOT to show up on my doorstep.

However, they did. I should not put “however” because it is a given that the wicked witch of the North and her flying monkey will go anywhere and everywhere they are forbidden. And raise havoc. Which they did. Then they left.

December 1996

Christmas. It has been hectic, I know I should write more often, but I have been both busy, and a bit under the weather. Unusual for me. I have no time for being sick. And please do not tell anyone, (like you could) but I have no patience for the unwell.

 My sister went to Disneyworld for Christmas.  She doesn’t work, has no money, how the hell does she do this?  I have no doubt my mother helped, but from last I heard, my father said they were having a few financial problems.  My mother said he exaggerates.

I got over 100 Christmas cards. I write about that because one wasn’t signed. Very frustrating.

Next year I will go through all these cards to make my list. And will be frustrated all over again.

You will receive one from me this year. You will probably send me a card next year, signed, but won’t receive one from me, because I DIDN’T KNOW you sent me one. And then the following year you won’t send me one. It will take 4 years to fix this.

whew!!! This is exhausting just thinking about it. I will always double-check to make CERTAIN I will sign it.

June 21, 1997

Again, I received my first card in bed, and my second. Taylor gave me the first, my sweet daughter the second. And it’s Saturday!!!!

June 21 1997

Ok, same day. I never write same day. But now I am just plain pissed.

I got many birthday cards over the previous week, so, very few today. Two. And one not signed. Who is this fucking imbecile?

Maybe they will call.

Christmas 1997

What another splendid year. However, I was totally preoccupied with WHY SOMEONE SENT ME A CARD UNSIGNED.

And I am ill again. Worse than last year.

Sometimes I throw up every day. I hate doctors, but if this keeps up I will have no options.

January 1998

I went to the doctor. Of course I was no longer sick.

After explaining the last two xmas’s being sick, he concluded I need a shrink. I am allergic to Christmas. Something about my brother dying.

June 1998

I won’t go into great detail. It’s fathers day, the same day I was born, but my mother and sister asked me to not call.

“We all know you were born on fathers day. Why don’t you just let dad have his day instead of trying to get all the attention. He may not live very long”

Now, the average family, the normal family would expect such a call under the circumstances.

I got an unsigned card. I want to believe it’s from my sister not wanting people to know. But she sends out schmaltzy cards with poetry because she has no idea how to be sentimental, so why not hire someone else. For $2 it’s a deal. I hope it’s her.

December 1998

Ok. I feel like crap. Not as bad as last year.

I have been seeing a shrink and there is a lot to say about the subconscious and ritual.

And the ritual of an unsigned x-mas card once again. These cards don’t even have character so I can GUESS. They look like the cards my grandma would pick up at the dime store. For a dime.

June 1999

My daughter isn’t here.

She told her counselor she was being abused and was going to run away.

I asked the counselor what was it that was causing this abuse? Her room and the mess I allow her to keep it in? Is it her computers, personal phone? All her friends having keys to the house and having carte blanche to come and go? Was it my extreme blind love for her? Was it my working my ass off so she can go to every debate tournament, out of state debating, Europe?

I got ANOTHER of those cards. Maybe it’s from her. She is crafty enough to want to be part of my celebration and stubborn enough to not admit it.

Taylor decided we will send her to her dad’s and that is where she has been for almost 5 months.

December 1999

My psych doctor decided to send me to an internist.


June 2000

My daughter graduated and is going on to college. This will be my last birthday where she is absolutely required to be a part of it. She is finally back in the fold.

And I am not as sick these days. I still work unreal hours, sometimes over 60 a week up to 80. But I start each day sick. I think I’ll go on a fast.

December 2000

Merry Christmas.

I have lost 40 pounds. I decided to fast and it made me feel so good, I continued with a very limited healthy diet.

This is my first Christmas without feeling like a burden. At times, I was certain Taylor had it and would leave. But she thrives with the ill. She works in the hospital and even though, there have been times her frustration would show through, but her deep emotions would win. She seems pre-occupied this year.

My daughter came home from college. She has had mono and has had a most difficult year.

And again…the card.

We are moving. Let’s see if this ghost follows.

June 2001

I cannot believe we move and everything moves with us, even this constant teasing greeting card thing. I actually went to the police station. They laughed. What should I expect? But it has gone from irritation to anger, then curiosity, then anger again and now, it is fear.

I was called into Human Resources last week. They had been getting calls every year on my birthday and they refused to confirm or deny my employment because of the suspicious nature of the inquiry. I wish I had known. I could have told the police. But now as it stands, they think I am a loon and this additional information is only another confirmation that I am out of my mind.

The HR guy doesn’t think so, but it has sent red flags. Am I in trouble? Do I have an unsettled debt? The questions all being answered with a firm NO.

I had a pulmonary embolism last month. I don’t take time to write about it because of my preoccupation with my Birthday and will the card come? I actually hope it will because the alternative would be worse. I wouldn’t know why I didn’t get it. Perhaps this anonymous person no longer lived. Or cared.

December 2001

This has been a bad year for everyone. We were first hand witnesses to the death of thousands by terrorism.

And I got my personal terrorism. This year the card was a might better in that it had character, and it was funny. A Shoebox greeting about an old woman celebrating her’s and the Christ child’s mutual birthdates. But it just didn’t come off as funny as it could.

I had two operations in as many months and had a hysterectomy for Christmas that literally almost killed me. I am on far too much pain medicine. I know this, but refuse to stop. And Taylor advocates it,. She said I could not work without it. The fentanyl is the worst of the bunch. It is in patches and sometimes they don’t stick. They are costly, so she said I should just tear open the defective ones and take the whole mess.

I have since found out I have been taking enough to put 10 heart patients down.

After I got this last card, I opened a perfectly good patch and consumed it, sleeping for 2 days. But I woke up and the card was there on my end table untouched. Still there. I need to sleep, I am not feeling as well as I could.

June 2002

We moved to New Hampshire and I at once felt relieved. My health has started to improve. And my sister and mother have made amends with me, talking to me daily. Most days I ask Taylor to speak to them. I am too exhausted for anything. I really wish we had not made contact with them.

I got the card. This time it had a lot of flowers and trees. Very maudlin. I wonder if I would have gotten it if we had not talked to the family.

Happy Birthday to me. I am far too sick to enjoy it.

December 2002

My daughter needs additional funds to go to the another college. And even though she has a perfectly good scholarship to a more than amazing school -Drake, I want her to be happy.

I am going to cash in my insurance policy. Life insurance.

My mother sold Life Insurance for many years becoming one of the most successful in her field. So of course her children (me) are set.

I am going to give my little girl a fat healthy check for Christmas.

I got the card. I think I would be disappointed if I didn’t

January 2003

I have been far too ill, vomiting, stomach and head problems. I have gained 100 pounds in spite of the exhausting vomiting.

The doctors know nothing. They prescribe. Taylor insists. Insists I have all these tests, intrusive tests like heart catheterizations. Insists I see specialists who seem to find this an interesting puzzle.

I called my life insurance company located in Milwaukee since my mother closed her general agency after Roy died in Kenosha and something is not right. In 1996, they said, my policy was put in another name. What? How can they do that? It was a company name. My first notion was that perhaps my mother put it in another company to draw better retirement. But the insurance company said I would have had to agree to this.

How? How DO I AGREE? I had to sign papers, the woman told me, but she became mute and refused to discuss it. Did I sign anything in 1996? August to be exact. What did I do in 1996? Who can remember what they did last week much less almost 10 years ago?

I called my mom, but my sister is back to her old tricks refusing to let me speak to her “Upset her”.

How am I upsetting her? WhenEVER her policy holders die, she is the first one on the scene helping them through the mounds of paperwork, making certain to get the proper compensation, which is NEVER the amount they expect. But in a time where a loss has occurred arguing about money is vulgar.

June 2003

I have been far too ill to do anything but lay here and wait for a better day to come.

Taylor has been very upset by my maladies, but she takes care of me. I get around by wheelchair WHEN I get around. I am on an oxygen machine. First it was CPAP but now it’s pure oxygen.

She made me a beautiful cake, but I could barely eat it.

And I got a card. But it wasn’t a birthday card, it was a get well card. Taylor said she thinks it’s just a coincidence and that we probably actually know the sender who may have actually forgot to sign it. But I didn’t get an unsigned birthday card.

December 24, 2003

I am writing this from my hospital bed. It took many days for Taylor to find it, even though I knew exactly where it was. She finally found it.

I asked to see all the cards this year, and the card was not there. But I am certain, if it was – Taylor would not want to upset me.

December 26, 2003

Still no anonymous greeting. I guess that’s good. But I do not believe it.

I am not entering daily posts. I have very little to say. My illness has taken over every part of my life. I am going to give my book – my journal, to one of the nurses I met here. I asked him to send it to my daughter. If she is still speaking to me.

I could not give her that check, and I promised her. It is my fault.

January 2004

I cannot continue like this..

I am so

Please, remember child I love you. And I have a surprise for you.

Those were the last words she wrote. The nurse forwarded the Journal to California where her daughter lived.  Enclosed with the journal was a check to her daughter for $75,000.

Two months later

Taylor had lain Dianne to rest one month prior. She then took the money she had been saving all these years, packed up her things, bought that $5000 dog and was heading out to Belize to start a diving company. It took a bit longer than she had hoped, but now it happened.

She circled down the drive, took one last look and then pulled up to the mailbox.

She found the usual credit card offers, a few bills she would ignore

… and a card. A birthday card. To her.

It wasn’t signed.

Governor Perry, A Drug Dealer’s Best Friend

My Doctor, Dr. T_____s asked me to write this three months ago.  He is in this text, the doctor who had shingles.

There is so much out there about our candidates, but there is one issue, upsetting the patients and pain care MD’s here in Houston. It all stems back to the bassackwards way of governing that Perry inherited from his predecessor.

As we all know, George Bush decided that when your neighbor attacks you from their home across the street, the best way to handle it is to knock off the neighbor right next door. After all, he was a friend of the neighbor across the street.

For those who have no idea of whence I came, does Saddaam Hussein ring a bell?  

A questionable arrest peppered with allegations and subsequent “license review: has become the norm in our Houston Chronicle.

One arrested for being the number 1 hydrocodone prescriber.

Now, guess what? There is a NEW no.1 hydrocodone prescriber, because the OLD one, his or her predecessor is now out of business. What do you think he/she is going to do? What if you were his/her first patient the day after this arrest?

No doubt, you will be walking out the door with an 800 mg script for naproxen. And a hardy admonition, quite puzzling since the month before, you and he/she had been in agreement that the course of treatment was acceptable.

Pain doctors are running to other states because they all know how close they can come to having this crown of thorns pressed into their already overworked brows. This has reached the country as well, yet not at such a ridiculous rate as Texas

The one’s who stayed have strict by laws, the most ridiculous is you have to be a permanent resident and they will not see you until you have lived here a year.

Yet, if you are a chronic pain patient, or, just a person who has a bad headache and find out your doctor will not “write”, your next step is to find a doctor who will help you.

Thus, you acquire the moniker of  ‘Doctor Shopper”.  

If you happen to be at a new clinic, and the DEA is looking for some entertainment, you most likely will find yourself in the company of people who are somewhat less desirable, in the back of the hypothetical paddy wagon.

The following is a quote from the Texas Medical Licensing Law site:

With respect to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, the TSBP has been setting an average of at least two pharmacies, along with the employed pharmacists, every month for temporary suspension hearings. A temporary suspension hearing is an extraordinary remedy designed to immediately remove from operation a pharmacy or pharmacist whose continued practice represents an ongoing threat to the public welfare. A temporary suspension bypasses the normal disciplinary procedure by allowing the Pharmacy Board to immediately remove a licensee from practice pending a final resolution by the Board.

Such hearings can be held with little or no notice to the licensee and are decided by a three-member panel of the Board rather than an independent administrative law judge. For a number of reasons, these hearings are almost always difficult for the licensee. As the Board panel is generally comprised of lay persons without a legal background, the rules of evidence are usually only loosely followed if at all. The short notice given to the pharmacist or pharmacy, oftentimes less than two weeks, permits little preparation time especially given it typically takes the licensee a few days even to locate an attorney. Most importantly, as the panel is comprised of Board members, the hearing’s decision-makers are usually very sympathetic and receptive to the arguments and evidence presented by Board Staff.

 A licensee often, and not without good reason, has the impression that the deck has been stacked against them.

Uh…yah that.  Some may read that and say..well so what..others will get it.  They go after whomever and shut them down, sometimes long before trial causing problems for Doctors, their employees and patients alike.

The board keeps changing the rues to encompass the people they think they can encumber quickly

Remember the ads with the smiling pharmacist, acting like your best friend? Ready to take care of YOU, not wanting to inconvenience, but wanting to make certain your needs are fulfilled?

Forget it!

You might as well put on a clown outfit and walk into said pharmacy with your oversized converse shoes. Because that is how you are going to be treated. They look at your history, see the refill was due, but the doctor forgot to call it in.

God Forbid! It be a weekend. You are doubly fucked. The pharmacist can see a history, sometimes of years, knowing it is legitimate. You are a regular fixture, they know you by name, they maybe have know you for years, including your family. Yet, they are the new Pontius pilot, washing their hands with DEA encrusted soap.

I called my Dr. on Thursday, for a Friday refill. The Doctor’s officey called me and told me it was called in. I called Walgreens on Friday and they said they had it. I walked there, in the heat – a mile and got there at 5:15 pm.

There was a mixup, and the pharmacist said it was never called in. So there is it, I called the Doctor in a responsible fashion, they called the pharmacy, the pharmacy told me it was ok. I enter the pharmacy after hours, before a 3 day weekend, and a pharmacy that has been dealing with me for a year with no problems not only screwed up but were limited by these laws to do anything about it.

“I will lose my license”, ““Why” you ask, “you know  I get these every month, can’t you at least just give me enough to get through until he is back n his office?

 “Absolutely NOT, The DEA will have my neck”.

 And so it goes, the new mantra of physician and pharmacy alike.

As a matter of fact, don the same outfit if you are thinking of going to the ER for a solution. You can walk in holding your detached left arm in your right hand, and you will most certainly be ridiculed by the staff for begging for pain relief. The costume is just your way of having fun while they do it.

I was sitting in my doctor’s office having a consult, when his phone rang.

He begged my forgiveness, but he was waiting for HIS doctor to call so he could get a refill on HIS pain meds. He had shingles on his face. He was so frustrated after trying to get in touch with him for days.

You see, they cannot write for themselves. Which is ridiculous. It’s not as if they would have a habitual running problem with writing, this most certainly can be discovered easily enough. Why penalize the entire medical community because one or two do not have ethics. And I can PROMISE you, the Doctor’s that do so, will continue to do so. All they have to do is find someone to accept the script and have it filled. They are doing it today, as I write this. No solution there.

By now, you are wondering how and why. Welcome to Tort reform

About 3 years ago, after men and women were coming home from Afghanistan and the like, the rate of suicide suddenly rose. Then Michael Jackson decided to treat himself to home spun anesthesia.An investigation/study showed that drug trafficking in Texas as at an all time high. Our governor saw this as an “opportunity” to be the GREAT CRIME STOPPER  and ran with it. He dropped all kinds of stuff out of his already overflowing satchel of “how to be president of the United States when no one is looking” tricks to fit this new mess in there.

He needed to get numbers and results. It did not matter if one had nothing to do with the other. He was on his rode to the White House and all he needed were words, and statistics. He would get some of those magnetic number and letter kits,magnetic,

put them  up on the refrigerator and then spell out words given to him by his nanny,

Deputy Doodah   deputy dodah Dewherst.

He would first put up the words he liked, and then deputy Dew would give him numbers from the alleged statistics, starting with the biggest and on down. Then Perry matches the words he prefers with the numbers that work for him.  Finally taking out construction paper and his brand new box of crayons and voila Tort reform!

Captain Perry and Deputy Dewherst confuse the issues once again..homer Instead of going after the drug pushers, he is going after doctors and pharmacies.

Four years later, drug trafficking is at an all time high, as is overdosing, addiction and liver disease, valuable employee down time and finally, drug related arrests..

You see, now that doctors can not treat t their patients pain problems, patients are taking to the streets, pill mills. They are self medicating.

Since the doctor is not in charge of how these patients get their meds, they are no longer moderated and given only the required dose and NO MORE. ‘

Now they can get an unlimited supply. And anyone on pain meds knows, including those of you self righteous “Oh, I take pain medication, but I don’t abuse it and I am not addicted”.

If you are on pain meds, you are addicted. But guess what? That’s not a crime.

 Addiction sounds ugly but in reality, our addictions span a range without limitations. From food to movies. And some of these addictions are necessary.

If you are in pain, and on medication, you most likely ARE ADDICTED.

But if you have chronic pain, something you will have for the rest of your life, what does it matter? Just like diabetes, you will need to have medication, regulated to address the issue.

Pain is considered the fourth symptom

Patients who do NOT need this medication at a regular interval, i.e. 30 days, but intermittently, headaches etc. are finding doctors reluctant to treat. Some have even forfeited the “right to write” downsizing their prescription pads to omit controlled substances.

Shrugging their shoulders,

“Sorry, I cannot give you those” they say, “I would rather you be in pain than me be in jail” they don’t say, out loud.

Since when do doctor’s allow anyone to tell them how to doctor? I have tried to tell them and I have gotten reprimanded like a child.

So, in order for these poor people to be able to continue to work, or take care of their everyday life during these episodes of pain, they are buying from street dealers and finding they like what they are taking.

What the hell, they do not have to put up with their doctors questioning refills.

Why not buy more?

As a matter of fact, this is far easier than seeing a doctor. No appointment, no waiting, no explaining, no humiliation from Doctor or pharmacy. Now we have a completely new level of addiction. Addicts with additional insult of chronic health issues.

Without doctors to make certain a patient is not experiencing additional health problems due to excessive drug use, screening for liver and kidney problems, these patients end up with advanced health issues, some irreversible..

This is also, why the drug overdosing is at an all time high. No regulation.

And drug related suicides?

Does Perry really think he can stop suicides?

Thus was his soap box issue, suicides from drug overdosing. He was going to stop this by arresting doctors who issue such medications?!???

Do we all not know that if someone wants to kill themselves, nothing is going to stop them?

Drug trafficking in Texas is at another all time high. These people are making money hand over fist and will continue to pat Mr. Perry on the back, doing what they can to make certain his law stays law.

And they will continue to make more and more.

Money and Drugs.

Sometimes the drugs that are not regulated, contain substances that are dangerous. The pharmacies are losing money to these fiends. The pharmacies are there for just that reason, but without their supervision, the dealers can do as they please. They could care less about well being, they aren’t in it for the patient’s sake.

People are being arrested.

Nothing sadder than a 72 year old woman who can barely make it to her seat, having to plead guilty to buying medicine that can make her days a little easier.

And work.

SSDI has had a huge rise from workers no longer being able to do their job from chronic pain issues. More loss for these companies due to excessive sick days.

 I asked  Dr. B___K, an anesthesiologist from St. Luke’s, how he feels.

“It’s great, we are seeing a rise of patients electing for surgery for their pain instead of medication”

Oh, well, ok then, …WHAT!!!

For those who have chosen the legal route, thus, relinquishing their comfort, but attaining a level of respect from the medical community, getting off these pain meds is far easier. .


A marvelous drug. Acts like a placebo. It is not, it just eliminates the horrible drug withdrawal. But you cannot get high. It is very costly and prescription drug programs barely cover the cost. And they have no patient assistance programs.  They don’t need to.  And they are in the UK.  Another American insult.

Oh and a dose of Seroquel, the new Prozac.

Now everyone that has had drug issues, is choosing the Suboxone route, they are sub diagnosed with Bi-polar. And treated with Seroquel. Which is egregious when you know someone who actually is Bi-polar, having their affliction derailed by “posers” needing their meds.

And the pay back to the doctor and pharmacies is realistically, a wonderful pocket padder.

Doctors who sympathized with these legitimate maladies and helped, now ridicule their patients, passing the responsibility,  telling them they need to take these new meds.

The old medications, used for over 100 years, are no longer any good.

Yet new drugs… ok, lets talk Tort reform. How many law suits are out there for these new drugs,? Costing us millions during the prescription phase and then 100’s of millions during the lawsuit phase from new complications from these meds, including, dying?

Every time I turn around, a doctor is trying to prescribe something new brought in by a drug rep

 “It’s non addicting”.

 What he is not saying:

“You will likely have other issues, such as a kidney, liver or lung transplant. Alternatively, a brain tumor, loss of speech, hearing seeing and oh… A gambling addiction”

.Perry has taken a page from Bush’s “Solution for 911″. Find an easier target to pay for the crime” And that is doctors and pharmacies, and ultimately the average Texas citizen. Perry attacks the doctors and pharmacies for what the drug dealer is doing.  Thus enabling dealers, disabling the medical community.

Kill the neighbor next door, who is a pain in the butt, but NOT the problem. The real culprit, the guy across the street? He’ll get the message when he sees the guy next door laying dead on his lawn.

It sounds simplistic, because it is.

It is Rick Perry.

©   This material is the copyright of  Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author.    All rights reserved

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A Story About food

The prompt is OS Fiction “arguing around the dinner table”

I have never tried food blogging, and this is probably one of the very few attempts you will see.  But this year, I have all these OS family that, even though I cannot eat with you, I can share with you.

The calories are fiction, the recipes not, but the rest?The family?  You decide.

Holiday dinners were always an event in the Bobschuch family.   And the food was “Simply Irresistable”

As for Arguments, the second you walk into the door you can expect to be embroiled in an argument. And Holidays were no exception.  It was usually about food and who was the best, worst etc.  Surprisingly we all liked to walk on the “wild side” experimenting, and with good results – most times.

In spite of the fact that our mother did not have “exotic” taste, we all (except Gil) had a flair in any dish put forward.  Mother’s interpretation of exotic was mushrooms, spinach, Brussels sprouts…you get the idea?  Yet we thrived. Grandma had all the family recipes that we could draw from. And change as we delighted.

Oatmeal was garnished with ice cream, nothing was fodder, we found fun and delight in all we cooked.

Every holiday someone did something in spite of mother “Don’t you DARE ruin this meal Mark!” “Marlee, just this once…?”, “Dianne, let your brother and sister cook, they know better”  Mark would laugh at that since I am the one that introduced him and Marlee to cooking.

If you know my family, then humor yourself and read what people have to say on Facebook the day after. You will talk to your self OUT LOUD with laughter. Nothing can be THAT good! But, if you want to be invited back, you had better post SOMETHING, just to stay in good graces with the family. There is no “lukewarm” in this family, you either are or you aren’t part of the inner circle. God forbid anyone straddle the fence. That is a guarantee of accusations of betrayal.

Now, Marlee would undoubtedly agree with Mom. No matter what mother said or did, Marlee would advocate. Mother was her only refuge. Without her, Marlee would have needed to work, and that was not going to happen. And Marlee was a compulsive hoarder of duplicates, triplicates and a lot of stufflicates. If she liked it , mother would buy it in every color, fabric, if food, any flavor. So Marlee had an obvious bent and we all knew it and ignored it.

Marlee was queen of the kitchen, causing the rest of us to find ways to tempt her away from the kitchen so we could share our own tastes. And some of the fairre is definitely worth donning the “mask of delight” for four to sometimes ten hours.

Grandmother brought her specials to the table. The one we loved, but knew “the truth” about was cottage cheese. Grandmother would put her cottage cheese in a lead crystal hand carved bowl, on the table, slapping hands that tried to steal a spoonful before everyone sat down. We Loooovvvved her cottage cheese.

Grandma, that is so fattening” more than one of us would accuse.

“Ahhhhh, (in her best Mad TV Lorraine rasp) it is not. It’s cottage cheese”

Grandma’s cottage cheese recipe

  • One carton Cottage cheese, any brand as long as it is from Wisconsin
  • One package cream cheese (ok Philadelphia has Wisconsin on that one)
  • Chopped or dried onions…to taste
  • 1/8 cup chives
  • Grated garlic, to taste
  • 1/8 cup of whipping cream

Soften cream cheese, if necessary, put in the microwave for 30 seconds. Fold in onions with a mixer, chives and garlic (I usually use 1 head of Garlic, or appx. 8 cloves) into cream cheese, adding whipping cream slowly for consistency (remember, once chilled it will thicken, but be careful not to add too much.)

Once creamy, fold evenly into cottage cheese and there you have it, a low fat wonderful side.

So I lie, this is fiction …, at least some of it is.

Whomever was not in the kitchen fighting over what was to be part of the faire and what was not, was assigned to table duty.

And a pristine table it was. Fitz and Floyd china china (funny story there. Father had given mother the gift of new china one year for her birthday.  He had the clerk show her several patterns, but not the price.  Mother chose a beautiful pattern, and all was well with the world, until she saw the price. The clerk had left the label book on the counter while arrangement s for pay, and delivery were made. Mother noticed the china she chose was one of the least expensive. She changed her mind, she really wanted the Fitz and Floyd, the most expensive.)

Her special crystal, accrued through many visits to the Wisconsin Dells

wine , each goblet a different color.

 Individual salt and pepperssaltnpeppa and washbowls, linens and every other unnecessary item to acquire nourishment.

The turkey was Mark’s domain, when Mark was home. And mother wanted her special dressing, which was nice, savory, but folks you have not had dressing until you taste Marks

The very dressing Mother would scream fowl – literally.

Mark’s dressing:

  • Eckridge farm dry dressing crumbs, 2 large bags. Or as Mark would do it, buy two long loaves of French bread, break into small pieces and dry over night.)
  • Eckridge sausage, 16 ounces
  • Chestnuts nuts appx ½ pound (cross cut the top of each one, put on a baking tray and heat at 450 for about 15 minutes, watch so as not to burn. Peel each one, then chop) If you cannot find chestnuts, do without, but I promise, they add a wonderful flavor and texture.
  • Water chestnuts – 2 cans thinly sliced
  • I large red onion
  • One large yellow onion
  • One bunch green onions
  • Four stalks celery
  • ½ pound of butter
  • Turkey broth (boil the gizzard, liver, heart and neck until cooked, use the heart, gizzard and liver chopped up in the dressing), hopefully yielding 2 cups.
  • Parsley, sage rosemary and thyme to your personal taste

Melt butter in a large pot deep enough to add all the ingredients.  Chop all the items  to small pieces adding to the butter. Add the liver, heart and gizzard DO NOT USE THE NECK! Too many bones.  When all is browned, but not pulpy, add the breadcrumbs to the buttery mix. Toss with a large spoon. When all evenly coated, add the broth slowly until you get a nice consistency.

Keep in mind, the juices from the turkey will co mingle and make it sloppy, so stay just a tiny bit on the dry side, but not too dry.

Clean your bird. I will not give you poundage, because that is determined by the people you have invited.  Wash the cavity well, don’t use soap, I know, why would someone do that, but it has happened.  Stuff both the hind AND the neck cavity with stuffing.  Slap the skin over the neck, the legs should already have one of those metal hinges.  You can struggle with that, but it will work eventually.

Take the remainder and put in a casserole dish. As the Turkey bakes, cyphen off some of the gravy and add to the dressing. Bake the dressing during the time the bird is sitting out of the oven cooling.  Once the bird is done, immediately remove all the dressing, add it to the left over dressing, or put it in it’s own dish.

You will fall into euphoria when eating this dish. I promise, it is decadent.

Mother screams and waddles to the kitchen pulling out her cornbread mixture and while cussing puts together a last minute “save”. No need for the recipe, it’s on the package

Now, the bird. Don’t want it dry. If you are a family that does not want the dressing in the bird, the following is a sure way to make certain the bird is not dry.

But use this, whether you stuff it or not.

At the store, they have injectable mixes from Tony Cachere’s Marinade-Roasted-17oz-LG or Zatarin.. I like the butter and garlic. And that injector good for a long time.

On the stove I melt a half pound of butter and add the Tony Cachere’ (or Zatarin’s) mix. Some people like garlic A LOT. Me. I like Garlic a lot.  So I add extra to the melted simmered butter mix.

Before the bird goes in, inject the legs, breast, between the legs, any place that could be construed as an erotic zone, ok, just any place. Do this often during the baking process. An injected bird is the BEST bird.

I hope you saved some of that whipping cream for the gravy. 

Cyphen off as much of the clear drippings as possible,  Put in a saucepan and warm up adding about a tablespoon of flour.  If it is lumpy, or seperating, use your egg beater to smooth it out.  Use the egg beater anyhow, it makes a richer gravy.  Add whipping cream to thin.  If you run out, use milk.  You will want to drink that gravy out of a cup.

 Other non-fattening tips.

Take half your mash potatoes and add sour cream and a little garlic.  Ymmmmmnmmmmummmmm

Yams, add some granola cereal to the top before baking.

Everything is then set at the table, the proper bitching in direct correlation to the compliments.  But there is a certain silence when all agree silently, even long after the prayer, that this is by far a “to die for meal.”

And desert. Do you really think pumpkin pie does the trick? Take your favorite cheesecake recipe and add pumpkin pie filling.

I make a chocolate silk pie that is equal to none. And it is fat free!!! NOT!pie and it will look ten times better than this picture.

Make pudding according to directions, adding the Ovaltine after it has set.  Add powdered sugar to the whipping cream and whip just past topping consistency, but not quite butter consistency. Set half aside  Soften cream cheese and with an electric beater fold in set pudding, and whipping cream.

Pour into graham cracker pie pan, or make your own. I use macadamia nuts and Oreos, pulverizing them, adding just a scoche of butter to make it moldable. I then use a pie pan, pressing into the concoction into the sides and bottom with my fingers.

Use the remainder of the whipping cream on the top and garnish with slivered chocolate,

You can use any leftover filling in pudding cups

Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Now, you are going to look at the following recipe and say NO-WAY. I am not going to cook OR eat this. I felt the same the first time I watched them being prepared. My daughter was adamnent, she wanted nothing to do with them.

Well…the first time they were made in my kitchen, after the first batch was removed and set to cool in the kitchen, they disappeared, just that fast. My daughter had taken ALL of them, and ate ALL o them. She lay on her bed grossed out by her deed, but begged for more.

Christmas oatmeal cookies:

Use your favorite Oatmeal Cookie recipe, the Oatmeal package has it on the side.

(Now, I finally found out what that horrid gelled fruit for Fruitcakes is actually good for.)

Yes, add 1 package (about 12 ounces) of mixed dried candied fruit to the oatmeal mix.

When putting them on the pan, make sure to MASH them down, or you will have cookie balls, not cooked all the way thru. Bake them according to directions, but watch the first batch. Your oven will tell you the length of time they need to cook.

Please, make at least one batch, I promise, you will be sooooo happy you did.oatmeal cookies

As for the dinner table, everyone had a joke, an argument, a disagreement, a loved remembrance. All had a wonderful meal and left feeling happy all over again.

And I STRONGLY suggest you make the cookies. Or else someone else will and THEY will be the talk of the holidays.

And…after all, what you disgrace your body with calories, you will make up in fighting Cholesteral.


And now other OS fiction:

Phyllis45  A squabble at the table

Natsuki Kimura  A creepy steak dinner

Zanelle  A Special Dinner

Blind dream  The Gathering

Ash la science de gueule

Seth James The Proposal

Fingers Lakes Wanderer Argument at Dinner

And another story, not fiction, but I like it: 

James Emmerling The Alpha and Omega in the House of Shadows

©   These recipes are for sharing.  Reprinting is only available with the permission of the author Dianne Schuch Lindsey



The Executioner’s Masque

The Day of Reckoning

Slam.                Clink.                Jingle.


Step, step step.

Shadow.      Hand.            Arm.            Shoulder.            Face.

Her definitive custodian, her impudent concierge stood facing her with a bleak yet humorous gawp washing across his face.

Then the words she had heard at many funerals, in church, even in the day to day chores of her life…The Lord is my shepherd…I shall not want.

The pace quickened, the prison warden read the decree. She was handcuffed and pulled to the room that would be her last place of reckoning.

She could see the white tiles and still whiter floor of the adjacent room from her cell. She could not see it all, but she knew. There was more in that room.

And now here it was.

The appliance, with the 45-degree blade, as big as her cell door it seemed. Nothing else in this white room with men dressed in black garb. Soon it would have the accessory color of crimson. Even with these last moments, did she beckon back to her love of color and life.

The guard pulled her from the cuffs at her back, wrenching her shoulder.

“Please sir, that hurts!” she cried

“It won’t soon enough,” he growled back

No, expect nothing but scorn here. Even knowing she would not be here 5 minutes from now, why couldn’t she be allowed some form of benevolence?


She looked at the brown step made for that purpose. Not even a slice of felt, or perhaps a piece of burlap. And it was brown. Somehow creating converse in this black and white room only tainted by the pale skin of her enemies.

She knelt on the splintered kneeler as he pushed her head to the half ellipse carved to make her neck fit in a utilitarian fashion.

She thought of her family. Her husband, who finally found her, but denied her.  Her baby sister Mary, who sailed across the sea to help her live out the lonely days of being an officer’s wife during these war torn days of World War II.

When she left the apartment she shared with her husband and Mary, she could never have envisioned she would never see them again. She had heard of Mary’s pregnancy. She didn’t pay attention to the hearsay that the child was her husband’s. She didn’t believe it. Mary, 10 years her junior was her first love. Never would she betray her in such a fashion

Mary may very well be pregnant. She was quite smitten with a gentleman in the building.

Perhaps they are married now.

Oh to have seen it. Mary dressed in white, walking to her love. She would have guided Mary through the wedding night, keeping her from feeling fear, or shame.

She just wished she could be there to see her through the difficulty of childbirth, if she were, indeed, with child.

She prayed Mary never knew of this incarceration and it‘s inevitability, and she hoped she never would.

Then the slice, whip!

The blade came down with such speed; thank God, it would be over.

All she could see was red. A very slushy pinkish red. Then the tugging pulling.

Oh my GOD, I am not dead yet.

For God’s sake please!!!!!

But she could not here her own screams, so they certainly couldn’t. Her vocal chords were cut. Of course, nothing was going to come out. It was so painful. There was more red, she tried to close her eyes, yet they pulled and pulled on her head.

She tried to move her arms but they felt pinned to her side instead of cuffed behind her back.

She tried to cry, but the tears would not come.

She tried to open her mouth and give a silent scream, but it felt as if her mouth were being compressed against her nose.

Will this stop?

Please make this stop! Oh, death is such a tormentor.

She could hear talking, yet it was muffled, as one would hear behind a solid door, or when you put your head under a pillow.

She heard “pull pull….“

no, not pull, it was ”push“.


No, she was right the first time…

“I am pulling the head out. Just wait, please, just hold still.”

Finally, someone had compassion.

“I can see the eyes open” “Hand me the scissors”

What were they going to do now?  What could he use the scissors for, to poke her eyes out so he didn’t have them stare at him?  Cut the last of her neck off?

She opened her eyes and saw an unfamiliar face. A huge unfamiliar face.

She felt her head being carried.

“I am not dead”


She cried she could feel her tears, this made her stop.

Then she saw her husbands face. Her dear sweet love. He was smiling. She must be dead and this was the after thoughts spoken of so secretly among those that believed in a MORTAL afterlife.

She then saw her sister and she was clam. It’s over and this is my reward. The faces of those she so loved…

Then her husband’s voice.

“It’s a girl…your sister would be so happy for you, we have a baby girl.”

All comments / critique  welcome.

“On-Line novel”Playlist of “If It Seems Too Good To Be True” ©   The Executioner’s Mask is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author.    All rights reserved


Nanny’s Ghost

Even Nannies have Imaginary Friends

The babies lay in their crib, crying for sustenance.  And attention.

The mother came in and picked up the larger of the two, a girl she named Ramona. The slighter of the two, Melody, stopped crying, but just for a second as she watched the mother leave the room.

The Nanny/wet nurse shuffled past the mother and took the tiny infant into her breast, singing to her as she rocked her…

One Year Later (actually, 11 months and 1 week later)

The birthday cake was covered with roses and small toys all candied for the children to eat, yet they were really too small and hazardous, they could choke.

Ramona grasped for the candy as a child is want to do. Melody rested in Nanny’s arms. She was much more resilient from the past year, but her Nanny preferred to hold her.

Mother was quite taken with Ramona, but chose to let the Nanny tend to Melody.

You see, Melody was frail, they almost lost her. Mother was anxious. Terrified that she would cause damage, or maybe, become attached and lose her. Everyone knew, she was pretty much past the SIDS point. But …

Melody loved her Nanny, though she had a propensity to talk to empty space. And she did this with the fervor one would have when talking to a confidante‘, or relative. Melody never cared. She felt safe in her arms. She really felt she was treated far better than Ramona, though Ramona had the undivided attention of mother.

Melody and Ramona loved each other. They most certainly would not want the life of other children, born of one egg or one cell. At night when they were put down to sleep they would chatter their “twin talk” to near exhaustion.

Mother commented “I am so blessed that I can sleep at night rather than having to entertain my child until it finally closed it’s eyes.”

The mornings were much the same. Mother fed Ramona, Nanny fed Melody and then they were put in the playpen to continue their conversation encrypted for only their ears to understand.

The learned to sit up, roll over, and crawl together.

Ramona would sit in Nanny’s lap, at times yearning for her mother, but accepting the terms of her limitations. Nanny was far more fun anyhow.

Nanny had friends no-one could see. At least Melody couldn’t. But she acted as if she did. Ramona asked her, in their cryptic conversations if she did not find Nanny strange. Melody found EVERYTHING strange about her, but it didn’t matter.

Let her listen to the voices in the sky if she wanted.

Ramona ran the show, that was certain, but Melody loved being the younger and smaller of the two. Ramona protected her.

The year had gone by quickly and here it was ONE YEAR.

She sat and watched as Ramona pushed her little fat fingers into the “Strawberry Shortcake” birthday cake. Melody reached forward, but Nanny ran her usual intervention. “Cleanliness is Godliness” she would say. Nanny didn’t like sticky fingers or messy clothes. Neither did Nanny’s imaginary friends.

There were times Melody thought she actually saw these friends. Sometimes she could see the images of hands or perhaps a face. Nanny was very happy when Melody would show the recognition. Thank goodness Nanny did not understand the mysterious idiom of the twins. She may be hurt by some of it, startled by others.

Melody watched and waited for her turn to have some of the delectable desert, something Nanny would frown on, but today would be an exception. Everyone sang happy birthday.

Mother said “One year my dear twins, one year” she cried.

Nanny cried.

And suddenly everyone else did. It had been a rough go for mother and a year was a landmark for her as well.

The next year the girls progressed as they needed to. Mother was still cool to Melody and only Nanny took her to the doctor. Mother took Ramona when necessary, but Melody required the monthly visits because of her small size and the complications that could arise. Nanny would bundle her up and take her on the bus.

The girls were taken to the park, mother pushing Ramona, Nanny pushing Melody. This was years before the “twin” strollers, so they rode independent of each other, but it did not interfere with their ability to interact with each other, as a matter of fact, it was better.

Mother would push Ramona on the swing as Ramona would sometimes cry to her mother that she wanted Melody. All mother could understand was “Melody” as Ramona would bellow.

“Let Melody stay where she is. She can’t get on the swing like you do” mother would say.

The year went by in splendid fashion. They both grew into robust toddlers getting into everything, Ramona commandeering in most cases. They loved each other so.

Nanny, it seemed, was becoming more and more attached to Melody, and Melody to Nanny.

“I don’t know what I will do when you don’t need me any longer” Nanny would sigh.

Melody could not imagine that day. She would smile at Nanny, Nanny felt Melody actually understood. Melody did understand.

Before everyone knew it, they were two, and walking, and almost toilet trained.  Melody was gaining the momentum on that much faster than Ramona. Ramona was far too busy with her activities to be bothered.

“Such a good girl Nanny would say. Isn’t she a good girl?” Nanny would ask her imaginary friends. Trying to debase Ramona. The only thing Melody found distasteful about Nanny.

A peculiar thing happened right around that rite of passage, she actually started to see more of Nanny’s friends, and she wasn’t quite happy with the fact there were quite a few of these people.

Ramona acted as if she didn’t see them. Melody was afraid to admit it. At this tender age she already knew there could be repercussions. And mother seemed so concerned she didn’t speak to Nanny. Melody was afraid Nanny would have to leave if this kept up. Yet…Melody started to see the secret people as well, though she said nothing. She kept mute so mother would not think she was falling into some eccentric comportment because of Nanny’s proclivities .

Soon the third birthday, then the fourth. Then their fifth. The girls had learned to read a bit and they read to each other in the huge canopy bed mother had bought for them.

Finally the fifth birthday.

Melody was feeling especially independent. She had resolved to herself this year I will open the gifts. She was not going to allow Nanny to get in the way.

She talked to Nanny about this. “We’ll see, but you know how Ramona is, and you don’t want to upset mother by making a scene. You know how she feels about Ramona”

No she didn’t want to make a scene, and yes, she had grown used to the fact Mother had her favorite, but she was ready.

The cake was put before them and Melody geared up for the grab. They both stopped and stared at each other. They had just learned to read, and write their names. The cake had writing, printing as a matter of fact

“Happy Fifth Birthday Ramona”

Everyone was clapping and for the first time all the capricious folk Nanny had been confiding in, became as lucid to Ramona’s vision as to Nanny‘s.

“Mother, where is Melody’s name?” she asked with her sweet yet determined five year old voice.

“Who’s Melody” a few of the people asked, the others just clammed up solemnly.

“Melody is Ramona’s imaginary friend” Mother cried softly, looking away, “It is very peculiar, but Ramona actually named her imaginary playmate after her twin sister who died at birth.”

Ramona snapped her head around to look at everyone, then the cake, then her mother and finally Melody, who slowly faded as she was carried off into the light of the picture window by Nanny

…and Nanny’s not-so imaginary friends.

©   Nanny’s Ghost is the copyright of  Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author.    All rights reserved


The Game Controller

This weeks prompt: Discovery under the floor boards.

Was she meant to be here?


The room was awash with the early morning brightness peeking through the pine trees leaving shadows here and there across the “cheap chic” room Emily had created.

Decades before, in a time long past, she had shopped garage sales, junk shops, friend’s garages and basements, finding her treasures where others had made trash. Some of the pieces she sanded down to the bare rubbed wood. Others she left in state. She then “white washed” the pieces, paying attention to each groove, placard, scroll, and knob. The coverage was never complete. That was her intention. Stressed Martha Stewart would call it.

The room was carefully accessorized with the colors of beach sand on the east coast of the Carolinas. Soft colors of peach, sea foam, coral and waterdown blue.

She met the morning with her head pressed to her pillow, eyes scanning the forested back yard, birds calling for her to come and join them in the celebration of life. She thought of lying in bed.  Leaving the wild to the savages who want to plunder.  But the birds were having NONE of it.  Her favorite “Bob White” because it’s song sounded just like that; bobwhite! Bobwhite was calling for her join them.   If you read or understand music, it would be c cde.

She was initially awakened by the creaking becoming more and more apparent every morning. But more worrisome, she heard voices. They were most times muffled, at times distinct.  Excited, so much so, she was compelled to join in the excitement.

She was deaf in one ear, so she could never, really, pinpoint the exact location. She was certain it was the ceiling.  However, common sense said it was most likely the floor.  Never mind, not important.

The peach tree had finished blooming and was bearing fruit. The tree covered a huge spanse of the backyard. By the end of the season, she would have too many bushels to count, or to sell. She would spend many loving laborious hours making jams, canning and candying peaches. She made baby food, which she set out in front of the cabin for neighbor folks to pick up at their leisure free of charge.

She never met any of them. Not one. They were most likely hesitant to make her acquaintance. She was an odd sort. Eccentric, as the Game Controller called her. But she was meant to be, had always been,  here…from the beginning.  No one came here. Not even her family.  It had been so long since she had seen them she was starting to doubt their existence

The land surrounding her cottage was filled with wildlife. The woods were dense and dangerous. She could hear shots more often than not. There were times she could actually see the gunmen. Hunters they called themselves. However, to her they were murderers. Moreover, they did not like her much.

She had pellets in her window frames to prove it. And a those small inverted nipple shaped holes, you know, a tiny hole with gradient circles around showing layers in the glass. There were times when those pellets travled furthure, diggin deep into the little fat of her skin like a maggot burrowing into putrified meat. These were her only forays into public life. She dislikes the doctor, hospital and the nurses. They were always the same, always devoid of humor, or even personalities. Emily was far too colorful for them.

A couple of times she had been hurt almost fatally. She barely remembers those days. She would wake many days later, after healing…and sleeping. Then waking to the creak, click, creeeeaaak… ugh, it was unnerving. And the voices. Were they external, or just swimming in her head?  

The Game Controller would then bring her home where she would sleep until another sunrise.

She doesn’t remember when she met the Game Controller. She felt like she knew him forever. Maybe she did?

Emily swung her feet over the bed and into her slippers, pulling her robe over her slight frame, made her way to the kitchen to have some tea.

…creak, CREAK! It was getting louder. Laughing, yelling. She swore she heard someone walking on the roof.

She hated telling the Game Controller. He would tell her she was just hearing things, the cabin was settling, cliché lines.

After finishing her tea, she grabbed some jeans, shoes, and shirt. She then tidied up the room and strolled out the front door to the woods to feed the deer who had become her family. She could hear the guns and soon she saw the orange vests of the slayers hiding in the trees. Within minutes of this discovery she was tackled and thrown to the ground.

“You are going to get killed” The Game Controller whispered.

It seemed like he ALWAYS said the same thing. But, what else does one say. She pulled away, jumped to her feet, and then with her engaging smile, she reached for the Game Controller’s hand and helped him to his feet while thanking him.

“Is there an attic in the house?” she asked, knowing he probably knew less about her home than she did. At least she hoped so.

He looked at her perplexed. As if she was speaking in a foreign vane.

“No, I don’t know what you are talking about” He said this often, making her feel like she was out of her mind. And maybe she was. But she needed to know.

“Have you found the key yet”

He was speaking of a key, lost on the property before she came. She was never quite certain of the key’s purpose. She had, in fact, found the key a while ago. In the birdhouse attached to the maple tree of all places. She happened to see a woodpecker go in, but then was afraid to leave because of the squirrel pummeling him from the outside. Emily freed the bird and in doing so, found the old brass Skelton key. She didn’t tell the Game Controller. Instead she secreted the key in her top drawer until she could find it’s purpose. She wasn’t certain why. She just felt like the Game Controller was far too preoccupied with it and she really did not like change. Something deep inside told her the key was certain to bring change.

She went for a small walk with the Game Controller, until one of the assassins made himself known. The two got into a scramble, and the Game Controller got hurt. She tried to rush him to get help, but the days ended earlier and earlier and when darkness prevailed, she was somehow summoned to her cottage and the Game Controller was left to fend for himself.

It was odd, some days ended quite abruptly. Others seemed to be incessant.

She woke the following morning to the same series of creak, cracks, ticks and fluttering from “God knows where”. Instead of usual routine of slippers, robe, tea, dressing and finding her way to her beloved wildlife, she broke routine and slowly walked the floor with bare feet, each step feeling for inconsistencies. But the sound was not coming from the floor, she was certain. But if not the floor then where? Emily perused the room, settling on the bureau. She knew it wasn’t too heavy, she had stained t and carried it, cumbersome as it was, into the house.

She leveled her weight in order to push the dresser to the center of the room. She then pushed the bench from the end of the bed the few steps to the bureau. She pulled herself up to standing on the bench and then clambered up to the top of the bureau. The creaking had stopped, thankfully, only momentarily.

She slowly stood up, it was awkward. Only someone who has scoped such a situation can know that standing that high and craning your neck back can cause vertigo and probably get you killed. But Emily was not to be deterred. And she was RIGHT! The creaking started up again and it was closer, clearer. She ran her hand across the wood slat ceiling when she felt a peculiar shape. Not peculiar at all, it was a key hole.

On the ceiling. Suddenly the voices became clearer, she could almost understand what they were saying “Open it!!” and “Get the key, hurry or you will get shot”

She quickly jumped down,obeying the voices she sat on top of the bureau awkwardly pulling the drawer open from the uncomfortable position, rummaged through her “dainties” until she found the key.

The voices were glad, they were laughing, clapping. She felt almost proud of herself.

A shadow ran across the far wall.  She quickly glanced at the window seeing the Game Controller coming closer to the house.

She made haste to her position below the keyhole, took the key, and fit it in to the lock. The voices were almost out of control as she turned the key. Slowly she pushed up the slats, then grasped the edges, pulling herself up. She suddenly realized, she was not rising up, but was in fact hanging below the floor. She became faint, folding, falling.

“You won! You won! The larger of two boys exclaimed as he dropped the game controller.