Catchy (Sitting 45) Preyor … April 22nd, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3650)

Matthew was pissed off, even more than his normal level of perpetual pissed.

He loved Las Vegas, but more the seedy side than the commercial side. So every once in a while, one of the large casinos would bring in some new pop star who was breaking records on the charts, out-doing the last new pop star who had outdone her predecessor.

The latest one was named “Loozeal.” She was all of seventeen years old, with more attitude than talent, but the young humans loved her–especially the girls.

Las Vegas was infested with females who had women’s bodies and child’s minds. It was annoying on so many fronts that Matthew tried to avoid the strip, hanging out in his room, drinking and experimenting with delicacies yet untried from the well-traveled room service menu.

But on Saturday night, he had a meeting at one of the casinos, so he was forced to drive into the middle of the melee known as the “Loozeal Appeal.”

Kids were everywhere.

Matthew hated children. Even though most grownups were childish, at least they occasionally made the effort to think about something other than their cell phone and own desires. He planned his meeting to get into town and out of town before the crazed hordes of little girls headed for the concert.

There was the smell of youth in the air. He despised it–a blending of cheap perfume, bubble-gum and just a hint of halitosis. Yuk. Gone was the true sniff of Las Vegas–fishy-smelling buffets with that whiff of urine and whiskey in the aroma.

He decided to take a short-cut. It was twilight, and he turned down an alley which was familiar to him–a way he escaped the strip without encountering so many tourists. He pressed on the gas pedal to zoom to safety.

About halfway down the narrow thoroughfare, he saw a huge garbage dumpster, and just as he was upon it–about to pass it–a young girl stepped out from behind it. He smacked her with his car, throwing her into the air. She landed on the hood, cracking his windshield.

Every kind of horror he’d ever experienced in his life descended on his soul as he realized what he had done. She lay bleeding, her face pressed onto his windshield.

For a brief second he thought about trying to escape. After all, that’s what he did best. When things became too difficult or uncomfortable, Matthew always became an emotional Houdini, disappearing at will.

His thoughts were brief, but long enough that he was ashamed of himself as he grabbed his phone and dialed 911. It took about four minutes for help to arrive, but it seemed like an hour. The girl was motionless. He was afraid to reach across the windshield to take her pulse, assist in any way, or even to move her. So he just stared at her face, which was gashed and bloody.

The EMT’s arrived and carefully removed her from the hood as the police began to take his statement. Matthew was so incoherent that they decided to take a breathalyzer, and even though he had taken one drink at his meeting, he was still well beneath the intoxicated number.

Matthew answered questions for what seemed like a solid hour as the girl was hurried away to the local hospital. His car was impounded as evidence, and Matthew was checked over by the EMT’s, to make sure he was sound.

The police reassured him that it seemed to be an accident, but told him to stay close in case they required additional input.

It was surreal.

All of a sudden he was standing alone in the alley, staring down at a tiny puddle of blood which had not yet congealed.

He walked back up to the strip, hailed a taxi and asked the driver what hospital was nearest to them. He asked him to take him there.

Arriving at the emergency parking lot, Matthew got out, paid the man and then stepped inside. He knew nothing at all about the girl, so he questioned the lady at the emergency room desk. She recalled the young lady coming through, but refused to give Matthew any information since he was not related to the patient.

Glancing down at her computer, Matthew saw that the young woman had been taken to surgery on the fourth floor. He made his way there–to the surgical waiting room, and charmed the nurse at the desk. He said he had witnessed the accident, and wanted to make sure the girl was going to be fine and would she keep him updated on the details?

Matthew sat for hours. Every once in a while he dozed off, then shook himself back to attention, ashamed that sleep would try to relieve his guilt.

What in the hell was she doing in that alley?

What in the hell was he doing in that alley?

Why was he driving so fast?

He realized he would never be able to say he was driving fast again, lest he be charged with reckless endangerment.

He looked at his watch and saw that three hours had elapsed. Simultaneously, a doctor came out of the operating room and whispered to the nurse. She motioned to Matthew to come over. The doctor apparently assumed that Matthew was a member of the family, and spoke to him.

“How are you related to Carrissa?”

Matthew paused for just a moment, then said, “I’m her uncle.”

The surgeon nodded his head. “So are you Mr. Jones?”

Matthew wasn’t sure if the surgeon was testing him or tricking him, but quickly responded, “Yes. Matthew Jones.”

The surgeon awkwardly shook his hand and said, “Well, Mr. Jones, here’s the situation. Carrissa has numerous broken bones, but that is secondary to the fact that being tossed in the air and landing on the windshield has given her severe brain trauma. We’ve drilled a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure, but she’s presently in a coma. And before you ask, I don’t know how long she’ll be in that state, or if she’ll ever recover. But I can tell you that the next 48 hours will speak volumes. If you have any other questions, my name is Dr. Zendquist.”

Matthew nodded his head and patted the surgeon on the shoulder. “Thank you for all you’ve done,” he said, his voice choking with tears.

Matthew got the room number for Carrissa, and headed down the hall, arriving at the door of 313. The room was still. Encircled by a curtain was a hospital bed. Matthew looked right and left, then pulled back the curtain. Lying on the bed was a damaged young girl, who looked even smaller than she had appeared sprawled on his windshield. She was covered in gauze and bandages, tubes coming out of her arms, legs and nose, and a ventilator nearby was noisily inhaling and exhaling her life. It was so ugly.

Realizing he was still alone, with no one anywhere in earshot, Matthew did something he had not done since he was a boy.

He prayed.

Not a polite prayer. Not a memorized one from a book of religious order. No.

One from his heart.

“God. The God of Jubal, Soos, Jo-Jay and Jesus. This is just screwed. I need your help. This girl needs your help. Please do something.”

Matthew left the room, stopping off at the nurses station to establish his “uncle” routine, and discovered that Carrissa Jones was from Iowa, and that her parents had been contacted, but wouldn’t be there until the next day.

Out of the clear blue sky, Matthew asked if he could stay in the room with Carrissa until they arrived.

“All night?” asked the nurse.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” Matthew replied.

She provided a small cot, blankets and a pillow. Matthew settled himself in for a vigil, waiting to see what his prayer would summon.

He stayed awake for a long time, taking the opportunity to examine life. What had brought him to this silent room, watching over a very damaged little girl?

He realized he wasn’t technically at fault. At the scene the police had surmised that Carrissa had come to the trash dumpster behind the casino where her pop idol had performed, hoping to find cups, discarded posters or anything that she could take as a souvenir of her time in Vegas, seeing Loozeal. It was a bizarre series of events ending in a tragedy.

About four o’clock in the morning, Matthew, having dozed off, was awakened by the arrival of nurses and a doctor. He was sent out of the room as these agents of mercy tried to revive Carrissa, who had gone into heart failure.

After ten or fifteen minutes, they came out of the room, a couple of them in tears. The doctor took Matthew’s hands and said, “She’s gone.”

He patted Matthew on the shoulder and said, “I know this is hard to understand, but maybe it’s better this way.”

As they walked away, he stared at the lifeless body of a little girl who just wanted a souvenir.

Maybe it’s better this way?

He turned and ran down the hallway, startling the staff, jumped into the open elevator, down to the main lobby and out the door, not stopping for a second to speak to anyone. He ran into the street and hailed a cab.

He took the cab back to his lodging, raced to his room, slammed the door, turned out the lights and whispered across the dark room, “Fucking shit. My prayer killed her.”

He turned on the light next to his bed, grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels he kept nearby, and guzzled until he passed out.

The next morning, he awoke to a knock at his door. He thought he was dreaming, still under the influence of his old friend, Jack. The knocking persisted, so he struggled to his feet, stumbled to the door and opened it.

Standing before him was a well-dressed man in his early forties, his face exuding neither joy nor displeasure. He reached out to stabilize Matthew, who was wobbling.

“You must be Matthew Ransley,” he said matter-of-factly.

Matthew suddenly was engulfed by the memories of the previous day’s horror.

“I would give anything not to be,” he replied.

The gentleman helped Matthew walk back into the room and find a seat on the bed.

“My name is Carlin Canaby,” he said. “And you are in trouble.”

“What do you mean?” asked Matthew.

Carlin sat down on the bed next to him, put his arm around his shoulder and said, “You killed a girl with your car. And even though it wasn’t your fault, your life is so screwed up that it wouldn’t take an attorney much effort at all to prove that you’re responsible.”

“I am responsible,” said Matthew.

“Hush,” said Carlin. “Don’t be talking that way. You do your confessing to God. But you and I need to work on your story.”

Matthew leaned back and took another look at the stranger, disconcerted. “Who are you again?”

“I’m Carlin Canaby. I’m head of an organization called ‘Liary.’”

Liary?” questioned Matthew.

“Yes,” said Carlin. “Let’s take it one step at a time.”

“Are you an attorney?” inquired Matthew.

“Hell, no,” said Carlin. “I’m a consultant.”

Matthew struggled to his feet and walked to the other side of the room. “A consultant? I don’t think I need a consultant. I need an attorney.”

Carlin stood up and came over to Matthew’s side. “You will require an attorney, but you need to consult with someone before you ever go to one.”

“Do I know you?” asked Matthew.

“No,” answered Carlin. “I was sent here by a friend. And before you ask, I’ll tell you about the friend later. What I want to know is what you think about the accident.”

Matthew sank to his knees and said, “I killed a young girl. Twice. Once with my car, and the second time, with my prayer.”

 

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Catchy (Sitting 39) And On the Third Day… March 11th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3608)

Cassidy Templeton was a lineman for the electric company in Logan County, Oklahoma, which served the little town of Guthrie, population 11,000. Overnight, Guthrie went from being a quiet village of contented Sooners to a disaster area, as a tornado passed through, leaving behind a swath of destruction one mile wide and four miles long.

Cassidy was called in the middle of the night, and by the time he arrived and gathered his gear, the sun was peeking through, beginning to show the aftermath of a Mother Nature temper tantrum.

He was driving his truck on a county thoroughfare when he noticed a car stopped in the middle of the road. What was more disconcerting was the huge tree that was uprooted, sprawled across the electrical lines, pulling them down, closer and closer to the car below, as a heavy branch continued its descent.

Cassidy didn’t understand why the person in the vehicle didn’t back up to get away. He leaped out of his truck and ran up to the car, discovering a woman in her thirties, frozen in her ten o’clock/ two o’clock position, hands on the wheel.

He screamed but she didn’t respond. He looked in the back seat and saw three children buckled into position. He could hear the tree crackling above him, putting more and more weight on the lines, which were looming nearer and nearer to the car.

He just reacted. Instinctively–and stupidly–he ran and grabbed the wires to keep them from touching the car. He was struck down in the middle of the road with the full impact–electrocuted.

The woman regained her senses, backed her car up, put it in park, got out and dialed 911. Within three minutes there were firefighters and EMTs at the scene. But it was fruitless. Cassidy Templeton was dead.

They took him to the hospital, where after an hour of noble effort, he was officially declared DOA. His body was rolled into the morgue, his clothes were removed and a toe tag was attached so he could be autopsied later by the coroner.

That normally would have been the end of the story–except six hours later, a very dazed and confused Cassidy sat straight up.

Before he could realize his vulnerable position of nakedness, he got down from the table and strolled into the hallway, to the horror of the nursing staff. Fortunately, one of them noticed that he had a toe tag, and had emerged from the morgue.

He was gingerly led to a treatment room, where doctors examined him for four hours, only to discover that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

Cassidy was alive.

His hair was completely burned off his body and his hands were toasted, but all the other systems of his human anatomy seemed to be functioning at a high level. When friends and family arrived, frantically and joyfully, to see their loved one, they were all astounded at how mentally alert he was.

Cassidy had never been ignorant, but had eschewed most of the attributes of learning in favor of hunting. Now he sat in a chair and spoke with the articulation of a politician, without the accompanying lies. He explained to his family that something had changed. It wasn’t that he felt smarter–just that everything he had ever experienced seemed like fresh visions in his mind. He even remembered algebra.

In the midst of a horrific toll from the tornado, Cassidy’s story line was immediately picked up as a “feel good” closer for the nightly news.

Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Jubal Carlos decided to fly the whole troop into Guthrie for a noontime rally on the third day after the tornado. Matter of fact, it was the lunchtime of the morning that Cassidy was released from the hospital. The forty-six-year-old lineman went straight from his examination room to a stage in the middle of town, surrounded by about three thousand folks and the national press.

Jubal Carlos had no idea what Mr. Templeton was going to say at the rally. He had no time to prep him. Matter of fact, Cassidy arrived in a pick-up truck driven by his wife and accompanied by his son, got out, climbed up on stage, comically pounded on the congas for a few moments and then stepped toward the microphone.

Jubal spoke. “Well, I guess you know who this fella is. Around the team, we’ve started calling him “Lazman.” You remember–Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead?”

The crowd cheered and Cassidy giggled. There was a sweet, childlike quality to him that nearly startled Jubal, but he went on. “I have asked Mr. Templeton–can I call you Cassidy?”

Cassidy lit up a huge smile and nodded his head.

Jubal continued. “Anyway, I’ve asked Cassidy to come and speak to you all today, and he has literally just driven up from the hospital to be with us.”

Carlos glanced over at Cassidy, giving him a once up-and-down. “Damn, that’s the best-lookin’ dead man I’ve ever seen.”

Cassidy clapped his hands and the crowd roared with laughter and cheers. Jubal didn’t say anything else, just held out his hand, offering the platform.

Cassidy paused, glancing out at the crowd, exhibiting a few nervous twitches, and then slowly moved forward, stopped, and then spoke into the microphone, a bit surprised at how loud it was.

“It is amazing that you have to die to find out how dead you were. At least, that’s the way it worked for me. I loved my wife, I loved my town. I thought I loved God. I loved to hunt and I loved the shotgun my Grandpa gave me. I loved sweet corn with lots of butter…”

Each time Cassidy mentioned an earthly delight, the crowd murmured approval. He continued.

“But that morning, when I saw the woman and her children in the car, about ready to be pressure-cooked–yes, I guess that’s a good way of puttin’ it–I realized in a breath of time that to do nothing was to be a coward. Oh, my God, I did not want to be a coward. I didn’t want to wait and then later tell people I was following protocol. I didn’t want to see them pull four dead bodies from the scene when one would be better.”

He chuckled. “Unfortunately, that was gonna be mine.”

The audience responded with nervous laughter.

“So everything I had ever been taught, seen, believed, experienced and hoped entered my legs and pushed me forward. My hands decided to give up my life. I’d like to tell you that I thought about it. I’d like to say I was trying to do the right thing, but actually, in that split second, my something-or-other believed it was the only thing.”

Some “amens” chorused from the audience.

“They tell me I was dead. I don’t know much about that. I suppose I could tell you I saw God, Jesus or maybe Elvis. I didn’t. The next thing I remember after grabbing for that wire was looking down at myself in the hallway, standing upright, without my boxer briefs. It almost killed me again.”

The audience roared.

Cassidy concluded. “So I’m not gonna take much more of your time. But I would encourage you to go out some place by yourself, sit for a spell–and check if you’re dead, so you don’t have to die.”

He finished, then slowly walked away from the microphone as a stillness fell over the crowd.

Jubal left the tender moment alone. Everybody stood in silence for a good solid minute.

Cassidy had time to walk off the stage–a makeshift-flatbed-trailer–and start ambling toward his truck. Suddenly the gathered erupted in applause and he was surrounded by people who just wanted to touch “the Lazman.”

That night, every network led with the story. Every newspaper in America carried the picture, an insight or an editorial, and nearly all the souls in America stole a moment to take their own pulse.

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