CONSIDERING TIME

I’ve considered time since I was a small child.  One of my first time-related memories is of an incident which happened when I was no more than five or six.  I’d been playing next door, in my grandparents yard.  With my bare hands, I pulled a prickly weed from the ground.  It must have been a thistle, but I didn’t think it was.  Whatever this demon-plant was, my small hand was now filled with painful and tiny, itchy barbs.  It hurt.  My first inclination was to cry.

This memory is as clear and life-altering as if it were only yesterday.  I looked down at my hand, and I remember thinking:  A few moments ago, all was well.  In a day, maybe two, all will be well once again.  Only now, in the moment as I stood there looking at my hand, it is painful.  And my young mind reasoned that… just as the philosopher said, “This too will pass.”  This was a giant stepping stone for me and for my future, setting the path for my outlook on life.  

Perhaps that’s why I hold so dear the wonderful memories from my past.  I’ve learned to hold close and remember and celebrate the little joys and victories of yesteryear.  I’m determined to honor those good memories with happiness and thankfulness.  And I’ve chosen to keep those distasteful and painful remembrances at arm’s length.

I most definitely consider this time related blessing a ‘God-thing!’  

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Why Did You Shoot The Cow?

A Short Fiction by Bill Murphy 2021

As I’ve often said, I dream every night.  All of my dreams contain many people and places that I know… some from the past, others from the present.  But… fact and fiction (dream) are confusingly mingled.  Last’s night’s dream made a unique story, so I share it with you.

I found myself in a beautiful woodsy park, a state park?  Off behind me was a large rustic lodge.  It was obvious that whatever meeting or gathering was held there was over, as people were leaving.  I was there to pick up my Youngers daughter Molly, and two of her friends.  I saw them awaiting me up ahead, at the edge of large parking lot.  I pulled into a parking spot.

The girls all looked to be in their late teens.  I didn’t recognize Molly’s two friends.  The three girls were dressed exactly alike, in long red ‘costume like’ dresses, of the type that classical dancers wear.  They get into my smallish blue vehicle. 

It had been raining, and the ground was soft, wet and mushy.  I backed up while turning to the right, then pulled forward… and right into a deep mud-bog!  We were stuck.  Nothing I could do would free the vehicle.  I looked around, seeking help.  But the lot was completely empty!  From the back seat, one of the girls said that’d she’d call 911.  Fine by me!

Soon a policeman drove up.  He walked over to our vehicle and told us that he’ll have us out in a jiffy.  “I do this all the time,” he replied.  “Move over, I’ll take it from here.” 

I moved over to the passenger side, and the office got in.  He cranked the vehicle and moved forward no more that six inches, then reversed and backed up and equal amount.  He did this three or four times, inching farther and farther each time.  On the last time forward, we were free!  “See, I told you I’d have you out in a jiffy,” replied the officer.

No sooner than the words had left his mouth, when suddenly a large cow reared up on the side of the car, on my side.  Its rear feet were on the ground, and the front feet and legs stretched across the top.  Seeing what had just happened, the officer suddenly drew his weapon, and aiming across the front seat (and across me)!  He fired… striking the cow!  It let out one mournful howl and sank to the ground.

“W-w-why did you shoot the cow?” I asked.

“Well, it was blocking your exit,” he replied.  “Now you’re free to go!”

With that, he got out of our car and returned to his vehicle and drove away.

About that time, out of seemingly nowhere, a TV news crew of two showed up.  “We got it all on tape!” The news lady said.  “What made him shoot the cow?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” I replied. 

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The Day Cometh

Flash Fiction by Bill Murphy 2021

Writing fiction is a genre wherein future and past are not constrained by reason.  The impossible is possible and the unexpected is to be expected.  The following story is an example—

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He stood at the bathroom mirror shaving, preparing for just another Tuesday workday when this truth settled into his being.  It was strange, but this finality didn’t rattle him as one might think it should, though it did surprise him.  He just knew.  It was as simple as that.  It was not so much a revelation as it was a realization, a simple distinct knowledge.  Today would be his day to die, though he didn’t know exactly when… or how.

Gazing at his image in the foggy mirror, his singular thought was to tell himself goodbye.  “That’s funny,” he thought.  Still, continuing to be in the mode of ‘life as we know it’ he wondered, “What to do?  Do I go to work as usual? Do I attempt some last grand hurrah?  Do I tell folks good-bye?”  

For the first time in a long while, he felt totally out of control.  Perhaps ‘out of touch’ was a better term for this new reality of his final day of life.  He firmly understood that this was reality.  The Grim Reaper had an arm around his shoulder, and yet, he was not afraid.  

He finished dressing.  Looking in the mirror as he combed his hair, he once again bid his reflection good-bye, and walked out the door.  He didn’t bother  to lock-up.  Why bother?  Let who ever have whatever, he’d no need of it after today.  All those treasures had no chains on him anymore.  It was a most invigorating, yet calming feeling.  He walked to his car with a pronounced bounce in each step.

     As he was about to drive past he local mom-and-pop grocery story, he realized that the sky had never been bluer, the sun never brighter.  Could it be that a person felt the most freedom when they were free of life itself?  This seemed to be so.  Wow!  He smiled a rich, warm smile.  Wow, oh Wow, oh Wow!

A small crowd gathered around the vehicle that had just rolled to a stop against the side of the small grocery store.  The impact against the wall had been rather gentle.  The dead driver still sat erect, his head tilted slightly back, with a huge grin on his face, as if dreaming sweetly.

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