DIMENSION X-X-X-X-X-X-X

Diminsion X

Back in in the late 40s and maybe very early 50s, when CDs were certificates of deposit, and disk were heavy round objects thrown during the Olympics, there was a fantastic program on the radio named Dimension X.  Or as the intro proclaimed… Dimension X-X-X-X-X-x-x-x-x.  Who (besides me) remembers it?

I habitually had nightmares, no doubt fed and watered on the likes of Dimension X!  But, I was enthralled with that radio program!  A lot of its stories centered on space travel!  This was right up my alley.

I distinctly remember one night after I’d been put to bed.  I was far from asleep.  Dimension X was on that night.  So… boys being boys, and me being a boy… I’d slipped Dad’s portable Philco radio under the covers, and was listening to some space-alien thriller on the radio!  Mom caught me!  Oops.  Now THAT was real-life scary!  Sometimes a space-alien can’t hold a candle to an upset mommie.

Yes, I’ve listened to that above new CD many happy times!

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WAR IS HELL

 Lieutenant Colonel Bradley Newman stood at the window of his prison-like but sterile hospital room.  If only he could see the runway – his runway – and his brave boys as they flew out and returned.   He’d heard the planes as they returned a few minutes before, and it sounded good.  He’d heard nine leaving, and nine returning.  He’d take that math any day of the week!

Colonel Burns, his second-in-command should be due any minute now, with the morning’s mission report.

There was a knock at the door.  “Enter!” He shouted.

“Good morning sir, I have good news this morning,” replied the adjutant.  

“Do you mean nine out and nine back in?  I head that.  Or do you mean that the idiots in the north have finally come to their senses and agreed to end this madness?

“I wish, sir.  Oh how I wish that were true.  At least then you’d feel comfortable in leaving this god-forsaken land and returning home where you could get topnotch care,” replied the adjutant.

“Let’s hear the report.”

“As you already know, it was nine out, and nine back in.  If that was not good news enough, they hit the target, and really plastered it!  Yesterday afternoon the Navy boys had spotted an AA battery on hill 713, just above the Valley we hit this morning, and they took out that battery fifteen minutes before our boys arrived!  So it was smooth sailing for 132nd.  We were able to make three passes, and they boys report multiple secondary explosions.  So they hit something for sure… something besides simply jungle!”

The Colonel grinned broadly.  “When you get it typed up, send me a copy please.  At least they let me read the reports here!”

“Yes sir”

“And tell the boys that I’m proud of ‘em, and that I promise that I’ll be back with ‘em soon.”

“Yes sir.”  Then the adjutant snapped to attention, gave a quick salute, turned and walked out of the room.”

In the hallway, a nurse in white was waiting.  “So, how was he this morning?” she asked.

“About the same.  About the same as he was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.  Cynthia, I think it was General William Tecumseh Sherman who said that ‘war is hell.’  And he was right.  It especially is and was and still is for Colonel Newman.  Sixty-seven years later, and he’s still fighting the Korean War.  Yes, I’d say that war certainly is hell for Colonel Newman.

Father’s Day 2020

    Tomorrow is Father’s Day.  That means a lot of things to a lot of people, on both sides of the gender gap. It also inspires many wonderfully happy thoughts to some, but sadly, unhappy thoughts to others.

     I suppose you could say that when it came to fatherhood, somewhere in my deep sub-conscience I must have pre-planned to do it up with a flurish.  One does not always direct every step of one’s future.  In most instances we don’t know what’s behind the next door, right?

     As for fatherhood steps one through five, five did and didn’t actually happen, not to fruition anyway.  The first wife and I lost five, three miscarriages and two tubals.  Technically I suppose, I ‘can’ count those babes-never-born as they were ‘fathered’ by me.

     But she and I parted ways.  And I sincerely hope that her later happiness was as complete and full as mine proved to be.

     Carol and I married in 1970.  She brought three very young daughters into the marriage, and before you knew it, we produced a fourth, also a daughter.  Those four girls proved to be every bit as fertile as their mother, which made for very, very large future Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners around our table, with various and assorted TV trays, etc. 

    That all said, I was thinking about Father’s Day this year, and just where I fit into the holiday.  I do have a very checkered fatherhood history.  ( And I wouldn’t have it any other way! )  I like to say that ‘it’s been quite a ride,’ and it has been… a bit bumpy at times, but who of us have not had a gravel road or two in their past?  Those bumps are CHARACTER BUILDERS, and God Himself is most often the One who pushes us off the easy interstates of life.)

     Oops, I got a bit off track.  I was thinking about Father’s Day, and where I fit in.  It suddenly came to me that I’m actually ‘more’ than ‘just a father,’ as most fathers are!  In a way, I’m set apart… even a bit unusual, and that makes me special, huh?

     You see, I am a bonified ‘regular’ father.  I’m also a step father.  I’m a grandfather.  I’m a step-grandfather.  Oh, and I’m a step-great-grandfather.  And if you factor in the spirits of those five who began life only to have it snatched away… I’m a pre-birth father too. 

     Yes, I’ll answer to “Dad,” from several directions.  Now all that’s left is living up to that honorable position of ‘Fatherhood.”

     Happy Father’s Day my fellow fathers!    

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WIN / WIN

A very short flash fiction by Bill Murphy 2020

Their second floor bedroom was dark and quiet – dark save for a trickle of light from the street lamp which filtered thru the drapes.

Sheila lay on the bed fast asleep, finally.  Today had been a bad day.  She lay on her stomach, much as a baby often does. She now slept peacefully, like a baby.

Johnathan sat on the wingback chair across from the bed watching his sleeping wife of thirty years.  It had been a good thirty years.  Yes it had been.  

Theirs had been a unique bonding from the start.  On the outside they appeared to be an imperfect couple, mismatched in every way.  But the mismatch was the perfect match for them, right down to the fact that neither was capable of producing children.  Fate had stepped in with the assurance there’d be no issues on that point.

“I love you,’ he said in a soft whisper.  She mumbled something that he understood must have been a “What?….”  He didn’t respond.  He let her sleep.

His mind drifted to when they met, how they met, and what transpired after that first chance encounter.  It was a story that might not interest the world. It was certainly not movie material, but it was their story. And now that story was ending.

How long he sat there gazing at her, he had no recollection.  Minutes?  Hours?  Who’s to say.  And then he thought to himself, “It’s time I suppose.”

He stood and crept slowly to her side of the bed.  He then whispered as silently as he could, “I love you” one last time.

He placed to barrel of the .38 inches from the back of her head and pulled the trigger.

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Johnathan Boyd layed the still smoking .38 on the nightstand, and returned to his seat near the foot of the bed.  Taking his cell phone from his pocket, he called 911 and reported his wife’s death.  He gave them little details, only that he was certain that she was dead and of course, the address.

Dawn was breaking outside just as the EMTs and authorities were arriving.  He had no idea that it was that hour of the morning.  Two and two quickly added to four when the responders noticed the pistol on the nightstand.  There was no question of what had happened and Johnathan Boyd offered no resistance to the police investigators.

Within the hour he was sitting across from two detictives in the police station.

After all the formalities of reading him his rights, the lead detective began questioning the new widower.

“Can you tell us what happened last night?”

“I shot her,” was Jonathan’s honest reply.  

“Perhaps you need to tell us about it.”

“Sure. I have nothing to hide.”

“Mr. Boyd, I’d like to remind you that this is being recorded.”

“I know.  I see the recorder on the table, and the little red light is on.”

Dective Johnson sat back, ready to hear what Jonathan Boyd had to say.  He’d never seen a murder suspect quite so calm, cool, and collected before.

“I been planning this for weeks now,” began Johnathan.  It was all a surprize for Sheila.

“I’ll bet it was,” interjected Dectectve Floyd, the younger of the two detectives.

“OK, I’ll admit, it is what it seems. But then it’s also not what it seems.”

“Please explain,’’ replied Detective Johnson.

“Sheila had cancer.  She found out a year ago.  I’m sure you’ll do an autopsy and it will confirm that.  She didn’t want chemo or radiation.  She’d seen far too many friends and relatives suffer throught that.  She made the remark to me dozens of times that she hoped she’d go quickly, to ‘get it over with quickly,’ because she knew that the end was inevitable and that it would be painful.  So I suppose you’d label it a ‘mercy killing.’ However, it was far, far more than that I assure you.”

Leaning forward, Detective Johnson replied, “Go on.  I’m listening.”

“I’m a writer… a struggling writer to be sure, but I do love to write.  And I write because I believe that I have something to say.  But writing has always had to take a back seat.  I’ve been a good husband to Sheila, ask anyone.  I’ve been a good provider too.  Sheila worked also, before she took sick and she had to quit.  That left us a bit strapped, so my writing suffered too.  Now don’t get me wrong, my writing wasn’t suffering nearly as much as Sheila, bless her heart, but my writing practically came to a standstill, because I was putting in as much extra time at work as was possible.”

“I’m having a hard time following this writing thing,’ remarked Detective Floyd.

“I may be exicuted for what I’ve done, and I know that,” said Jonathan, “But, you’re never convicted on Monday and exicuted on Tuesday.  I might sit in a cell for decades awaiting that fate.  That’s a lot of ‘spare time’ to write.”

“So what you’re saying is that you killed your wife so that you’d have time to write?” Asked Detective Johnson.

“Heaven’s no Detective!  I loved my wife!  I cared for her!  I cared so much for her that if she no longer wanted to suffer, as she was doing, I could and did take care of that, for her.  She’s happier today than she was yesterday, I can assure you!  So now you can lock me up for that, where I’ll have time to write.  As I see it detective, that little .38 slug solved two problems and it benefitted Sheila, as well as it benefitted me.  I call that a win-win situation!”

In all of his twenty years of police investigation Detective Johnson never had a case basically solve itself so quickly.  And he’d never in all of his experience had a murder case that seemed to make perfectly good sence!  As they say, all’s well that ends well.

                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~ The End ~~~~~~~~~~~~