Catchy (Sitting 59) Come See a Man Who Told Me All Things I Ever Did…. July 29th, 2018

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Awake.

Lying flat on his back, Carlin stared up at the ceiling. He tried to remember. Where was he? How did he get here? What was the last thing he remembered?

Being in an airplane.

This was not an airplane, so he obviously had been drugged.

Looking down, he discovered he was wearing a blue cotton robe, which fell just below his knees. Glancing to his right, a wall–painted pure white. To his left, another, colored the same. He gradually eased up onto his elbows to observe his surroundings.

A small room, about the size of a one-car garage. There were no doors, no windows, and upon careful inspection, the walls were made of steel.

He was lying on a twin bed–fairly comfortable–with a pillow. Pulling up to a seated position, he discovered that behind him was a night stand with a Bible and a porn magazine lying side-by-side, with a not-so-subtle bottle of lotion perched nearby.

He got to his feet, surprised that he wasn’t woozy. Actually he felt pretty strong.

There was a toilet in the room and a small basin. Also one of those apartment-sized refrigerators and an ice machine. He opened it up to discover it was filled with food. There were cookies, candy, power bars, bottles of beer, soft drinks and even some vodka.

The ceiling was about twenty feet high–obviously to discourage any attempt to climb up and escape.

He looked for a telephone or any means of communicating with the outside. None.

About nine feet up, running along the steel walls, was a series of air vents. He counted. Eight in all.

He sat back down on his bed, and before he knew it, he was sound asleep.

The next time he woke up, he was very hungry. Carlin discerned that there must be some sort of gas flowing into the room. Part of the time it provided rejuvenating pure oxygen, and other times, some gas inducing sleep.

Clever. Otherwise the terror might cause insomnia, which could soon drive any prisoner insane.

Days passed–at least Carlin thought so.

It was difficult to determine. The only thing that made him fairly certain that a new day had come was when he realized that his robe had been removed and replaced with a clean one.

So there was obviously a way to get in and out of the solid, steel walls. But though he carefully examined each rivet and bolt, he was unable to discover an opening.

On one awakening, Carlin found that the refrigerator had been removed. The food was gone, as was the ice machine. In its place was a water cooler.

Upon the next awakening, he lost his bed. Just a blanket and pillow remaining. Also, the porn magazine and lotion disappeared.

On yet another rising, all the cookies, power bars and anything resembling food was removed.

He found himself in this room with a Bible, a toilet, water and a sink.

Days passed.

Carlin tried to figure out what had brought him to this place, and what possible interest anyone would have–for them to go to such trouble to care for his every need, and then restrict him.

And then, one day he awoke in a chair in another room which was also painted white. But it was larger.

He was wearing a bright red pair of pants with white tennis shoes and a red Nehru jacket–nothing he would ever purchase for himself. He was fastened to the chair by a set of hand-cuffs. Once again, he felt refreshed, fully alive, but bewildered.

Suddenly, a door in the back of the room opened and a portly fellow appeared. He was dressed in black pants, and like him, wore a Nehru coat–black.

The man was short, round, and more rolled his way to a chair placed about fifteen feet from Carlin’s. He sat. The Nehru jacket was a poor fit, and so stuck out like he had candy bars stuffed in the pockets.

Carlin smiled. But even more bizarre was the fact that this rolly-polly visitor was wearing a mask. Carlin squinted at the mask.

“Do you like my mask?” The stranger spoke up. Carlin observed that he had a bit of an Eastern European accent. He chose not to answer.

“I thought you would like it,” the visitor continued. “Wasn’t it your favorite as a boy? ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost.’ Remember? When you were just seven years old, and your daddy would not let you have the costume of Casper because he said that Halloween was of the devil?”

Carlin took a deep breath. He did not know this man. He did not recognize his voice. The surroundings were completely alien to him, yet the visitor seemed to know details of his life.

Carlin decided to use his usual weapon–his wit.

“Yeah, I had to trick the old man. I told him it was Casper the Holy Ghost.”

The fat man laughed. “Joshua Mensterhall was his name, am I right? That was your father.”

Carlin did not respond.

The intruder continued. “He was a preacher of sorts–very poor. I mean, money-wise. Always upset your mother, Myrtle, didn’t it?”

Carlin was unnerved, but had learned long ago that keeping your cool was the best way to stay out of hot situations.

“And then there was trouble,” continued the stranger. “Your mother divorced your father, your father fell into some dementia, if I’m correct. And you ended up being the ward of a family named Canaby. Missionaries. They decided to take you in as their new son.”

Carlin interrupted, perturbed. “Actually, they had three daughters and they needed a boy to work with them. You know–to lift things, run errands and all the other things the girls refused to do. I was a well-fed slave. Similar to today, sir. Except you won’t let me eat.”

“My name–for purposes of this day–is Frank,” said the man. “We shall call me Frank because that’s what I plan to do with you. Be frank. I wanted you to know that I was aware of your life. I am fully up-to-date on the fact that you still maintain a personal belief in God though you find all the systems of the world devoid of value. That’s why you started your company, Liary–trying to find a better way to lie, which hurt fewer people.”

“Listen, Frank,” inserted Carlin, “I wouldn’t phrase it that way. And if you’re so concerned, why do you have me handcuffed to this chair?”

Frank slowly stood up and headed over to Carlin. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize it was so uncomfortable. I did buy the velvet cuffs to ease any pressure on your skin.”

Frank took a key and unlocked the cuffs on the one end which held them to the chair.

Carlin quipped, “Why don’t we just take off the whole damn thing?”

“Never abandon what you might need later,” said Frank, waddling his way back to his chair.

Staring at the very vulnerable back end of his adversary, Carlin challenged, “How do you know I won’t jump up here and attack you to make my escape?”

Turning around to sit, Frank laughed. “Oh, my dear friend. There are at least a dozen ways you would be killed before you got within a foot of me.”

Carlin quickly looked around the room, horrified. “Good response,” he said. “Let me ask you this. What would keep me from jumping to my feet and running out the back door, getting away?”

Frank chuckled. “I suppose the best answer to that would be months and months of not exercising.”

Carlin had to laugh. “Well, there must be a reason you have me here. So sensing that I’m not going to hurry you, let me sit back in my ridiculous outfit and become as pliable as I possibly can.”

Frank nodded his head. “That’s what I liked about you. I mean, when I studied you. You aren’t afraid of dealing with reality and taking it as it comes.”

Carlin stood to his feet. “Is it alright if I stand?”

“Surely,” said Frank. “Just don’t move. My snipers are a bit peckish.”

Once again, Carlin looked around the room, baffled, in terror.

“Is there any way I could get you to take off the mask?” inquired Carlin.

“Not on our first date,” said Frank. “Maybe someday. But now, onto matters that concern you. Soon you will be back to your home, and because of the particular chemicals we have mixed together, this entire event will seem like a dream rather than an actual occurrence. That’s good. You will discover that while this is happening to you, other members of your team are also being welcomed and taken care of in like manner. Five of you in all.”

This startled Carlin more than anything else that had happened over the duration. Who? What? Why?

He decided to pursue the who. “What members of our team?” he challenged.

Frank scooted back into his chair. “There’s no harm in you knowing. Like I said, it will seem like a dream to all of you–except when you construct all the pieces together, a concrete message will appear.”

Frank paused. “I see I am merely confusing you. Well, to answer your question: Jubal, Jasper, Soos and Jo-Jay. They, like you, are part of this master plan.”

“Master plan?” asked Carlin.

“Well,” said Frank. “Perhaps that’s a bad name for it. Let us just say that matters have reached a point where it is necessary for–shall we call them, outside forces?–to intervene. To make sure that what you folks have begun has a fulfilling ending.”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” Carlin was suddenly furious. “What gives you the goddamn right to interrupt the lives of five adult people?”

“I have no right,” said Frank. “But for this season it’s better to interrupt the lives of five souls, with the possibility of salvaging millions.”

Carlin shook his head. “I’ve heard this bullshit all my life. The end justifies the means. The greater good. Honor the traditions. This is the best way we can handle it. Frank, let me be frank with you. Every time I’ve heard those words, human beings have gotten hurt.”

“A very astute observation,” said Frank. “And you are correct. It is a potential danger. So let me not keep you any longer with this aimless discussion. Each one of you will be given a single piece to remember. Only when you join together–the five of you–will you form the complete message that will give you direction.”

“God damn it, I’m not James Bond, you son-of-a-bitch.” Carlin stood up, walking forward. As he did a bullet whizzed by his head. He leaped back, desperately grabbing onto his chair.

Frank shook his head. “I told you my snipers were a bit overly caffeinated…”

Gasping, Carlin said, “Peckish was the word you used. I’d call them goddamn peckers.”

“Now,” continued Frank calmly, “to your piece in the puzzle.”

“Hold on, hold on,” said Carlin. “What about Matthew? He’s the one that got all of this started. Why isn’t he in this mix?”

Frank held up his hand, demanding silence. “Everyone has their place. Just learn yours.”

Carlin shook his head, wanting to be rebellious, but realizing the price he might pay for his assertive nature. “I’m listening,” he said.

“Your piece of the puzzle, Mr. Canaby, is a name. I want you to remember it. I want you to retain it for the moment you will need it. The name is Terrence Eldridge.”

Carlin interrupted. “Shouldn’t I write that down?”

Frank laughed. “Oh, no, no, no. You’ll remember it. We made sure. We’ve studied your brain for a long time.”

Carlin was about ready to object when everything went black. It remained so for some time.

At least, it must have been some time.

Because the next thing he knew, he was waking up in Washington, D.C. in his own bed, wearing his own black satin pajamas, with the sun streaming through the windows.

Once again, he was refreshed and energized. He had no idea how much time had passed.

He sat and tried to remember what had transpired, but it was like bits of the story were running out of his brain, like water from a falls. With each passing minute, he retained less and less.

Finally, there was just one thing left. A name, with shadows.

Terrence Eldridge.

Carlin was convinced he’d had a nightmare which affected his emotions greatly, but he couldn’t come up with any details.

It seemed like a bad dream.

Until he rolled over and saw the velvet handcuff dangling from his wrist.

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Jesonian … December 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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To the classic question, “Were you born in a barn?” I can truthfully answer, “Matter of fact, I was.”

Although my good friends, Matthew and Luke, did a charming job relating the circumstances of my coming into this world, many layers and textures of the actual tale were left out in favor of a concise sharing, a Hollywood ending with all the participants–shepherds, wise men, angels and Holy Family–lined up in a row for a photo op.

Certainly beautiful and even miraculous, the actual unfoldings were different. I did not learn all the factors of my birth in Bethlehem until I was twelve years old. Mary and Joseph wisely chose to withhold some of the more frightening aspects of the experience from my ears until I was of an age when I could at least attempt comprehension.

But following a trip to Jerusalem, where I was particularly disobedient to them by chasing my curiosity instead of using my common sense, they sat down one night along the trail and spilled.

First, let’s understand that a young girl getting pregnant without a husband was always met with shunning or stoning. Mary’s simplicity and piety did not spare her from the wicked tongues of the gossips.

Joseph felt pressure. We’re told that an angel spoke to him, but Joseph never confirmed that with me. He said he was tortured in his dreams and finally realized that he loved my mother more than he wanted the approval of the town elders.
He did not need to make the journey to Bethlehem with Mary–he could have represented on his own to give the information about the taxes. He brought her because he was afraid to leave her alone.

So they made a fifteen day journey to a little town outside Jerusalem, which had no significance in their lives other than the fact that some “Great-Great Somebody” was born there and Joseph happened to be part of that clan.

When Mother and Father were unable to access lodging in the houses surrounding the town square, they quietly slipped into the stable, hoping not to be discovered. The innkeeper found them huddled in a corner among the animals, and when he saw that Mary was hopelessly pregnant, he chose to leave them alone rather than interfering.

They were stowaways in an animal shelter.

The birth was difficult because Mary was so small, weary from the journey–and both of them completely inexperienced with the process.

No shepherds arrived that first night. No angels sang. Nothing but grunting animals, relieved parents because the baby actually came out whole, and a chill in the air disguised by the heated odor of the stable’s occupants.

The next morning Joseph went to try to find food, and both of them realized there was no place for them to go. They would need to stay where they were for eight days to fulfill the Jewish law on circumcising the baby, so they remained as quiet as possible, hoping the innkeeper would leave them alone.

Three days passed with them scrounging for food, tucking themselves away in the farthest corner of the manger. It was on the fourth night that some shepherds did arrive. They looked perplexed, abashed and completely out of their element. They explained that they had been spoken to from the skies and told to come to find a baby in a stable.

It made no sense. Matter of fact, there was a sniff of alcohol on all three of them which hinted that the visit from heaven might have come from a flask. But Mary and Joseph listened politely, and it made for great conversation over the next few days while they waited for the circumcision.

Arriving at the temple on the eighth day, they were accosted by two very old, wild-eyed individuals–one man and one woman–who claimed the gift of prophecy. They told Mary and Joseph that the baby was going to be great and amazing. Even though Mary and Joseph wanted to believe the words, they feared the utterings were coming from dementia rather than another dimension.

Then things became really difficult. There was no need to go back to Nazareth. The presence of the baby would only increase the gossip.

So Joseph talked to the local carpenter and secured a single room in his home in exchange for work. The job included repair work, masonry and even some garbage collection.

They found contentment, until Joseph was awakened by an angel. (This time he really believed it was an angel.) He was told to leave Bethlehem to protect me from danger. When Joseph told me the story, he said it was the hardest decision he had ever made. It seemed illogical, for they had been in the carpenter’s home for a year-and-a-half and had found some peace of mind. Leaving seemed futile, if not insane.

Before departure could be executed, there was a visit from foreigners–those wise men mentioned in the Gospel story. They brought gifts. They inserted finance into a family that was about to be on the lam from the law. It was certainly timely.

The visitors explained about a star in the sky, but Mary and Joseph never really understood the significance, nor the tie-in.

During the journey to Egypt and the next six years of exile, I developed a separation anxiety. I just never felt part of anything. When Mary and Joseph started having other children, I didn’t feel like a brother. It was more like I was an intrusive uncle or a foster child.

This haunted me my whole life. I never felt quite secure with my surroundings. There were times I left the fellowship with my disciples to slip away and get my head straight, so I wouldn’t come off like a crazy man, nervous and frustrated.

Even though Egypt saved me from King Herod, the rejection hung in my mind throughout my life. I had to be careful not to get offended by the treatment I received. I learned mercy because I had no sense of mercy being given to me.

It became especially strong, and nearly violent in my soul, when Nazareth rejected my ministry, and then my mother and family thought I was crazy. I had to walk away from them.

You see, Christmas is a different tale to me.

It’s a story like many stories in the sense that God’s hand is not completely obvious in the moment, and is only unveiled through the endurance of his followers.

God picked the right pair. For if Mary had been prissy, Joseph would not have been able to manage without her. And if Joseph had been too conventional, Mary would never have been able to muster a companion. They needed each other.

Christmas is a miracle story–about God allowing people of faith to use their faith to do faithful things, to see their faith make things whole.

So Merry Christmas.

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Cracked 5 … September 12th, 2017


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Signs That You May Have Stayed Too Long At Your Adult Son’s House With His Family Waiting For The Electricity To Turn On In Your Home After The Hurricane

A. You’re beginning to repeat your stories with no other obvious symptoms of dementia

 

B. Your granddaughter caught a brief glimpse of you in your “holey” inappropriate boxer briefs

 

C. His family stares at you, perplexed, when you inquire about the fiber content in the breakfast waffles

 

D. You accidentally discover that your son has been browsing Google on the topic, “Evicting a Relative”

 

E. Your son’s children are crying because you woke up this morning

 

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