Monday, July 25, 2011

Dreams and another Episode of Twisted Perception

Are dreams nothing more than twisted reruns of the day’s events, built in safety valves to relieve pressure from our minds, or is it possible that God uses these mental holidays to communicate with us?

Not all dreams lend themselves to this concept, but I believe that some do. Please refer to Getting Personal, a prior post archived on this site for a good example. The majority of these brain-related information dumps trickle through our consciousness as vague, fuzzy images that are easily forgotten. However, occasionally a gem comes along, one with enough substance, if you will, to stick with us. Here is one that I had recently.

I’m walking through an antique shop, though it more resembles a warehouse, an expansive building with isles that disappear into the darkness and are lined with metal shelves, crammed to near capacity with miscellaneous items. I’m searching for kitchen utensils, such as pots and pans, when I come upon what appears to be a tiny teakettle. It’s made of metal and obviously quite old, an antique in fact. However, a closer examination reveals the object to be a tiny 35 millimeter camera, designed to look like a tea kettle. Pleased to have uncovered such a treasure, I discontinue shopping and head for the front of the store to check out.

As I am preparing to leave the store, I see an acquaintance, of mine, who in reality has passed away. This seems to be the case in the dream as well. However, my feelings are not of shock but of happiness to once again see my old friend. He’s sitting in a chair, which is part of a display of lawn furniture, and I quickly run over to join him.

I hand him the camera and say, “Isn’t that the cutest thing?”

Cute is a word that I rarely use, and it strikes me as odd that I would describe the camera that way.

My friend seems unimpressed and this bothers me. He hands the camera back and says, “You’ll never find film for it.”

That’s when I wake up. I have no idea what the dream means, if anything. However, when I have one as vivid as this, I always feel that it should.

Twisted Perception - Chapter One continued -

He sat forward in the car seat and stared in disbelief. She was there all right. There had been no mistake. And when she crossed the parking lot, she saw him as well, her lovely blue eyes piercing the night as if they carried their own source of illumination. She seemed to look right through him, but he knew that was just an act. A smile played across his lips. The parking lot was empty except for the two of them. He’d planned on following her, but it wouldn’t be necessary. He did have a bit of luck now and then. He worked his hands into surgical gloves and grabbed the roll of duct tape. He tore off a six- inch piece then ran his hand through the roll, wearing it like a bracelet. Next he retrieved the sock from the floorboard. It was lined with plastic and filled with wet sand.
Opening the car door, he stepped quietly onto the asphalt, sliding the black-handled knife into his back pocket. He did not intend to use it just yet, but he would if he had to. With the torn piece of tape readied in his hand, he came up behind her. She was completely unaware of his presence, and he paused as the sweet scent coming from her hair filled his senses. He wanted to touch her, to take her in his arms and love her, the way he had always loved her. It was then that he saw her the way she had been, lying on her bed, wearing only the top half of her see-through pajamas while she pulled the covers back and shifted ever so slightly. It was not unusual. She often stayed that way after it was over, even getting out of bed on occasion to walk around the room, stopping close where he could see her, watch her through the cracks in the door.
He thought about the small room that had been his prison, where dust particles would dance in the sunlight that showed through the broken window shade, giving an impression of substance to the beams, making it appear as if he could reach out and grab them. But that, like so much else, had been nothing more than an illusion. The dust was not only in the light. It had filled the room. He’d eaten mouthfuls of it with every breath. They were casualties of their own fates, and he thought she must surely understand what he had to do.
He raised the sock, swinging in a high arc to give it more velocity, and when he brought it down against the back of her head, he remembered how the light would catch her pretty necklace as she walked about the room. It was an enlightening moment, for she dropped quite readily to her knees, not unconscious, but dazed to the point of incoherence. He pressed the piece of tape over her mouth then slid the roll from his arm. He pulled her hands behind her and bound them with several revolutions, then tore off another piece and slapped it across her eyes as he brought her to her feet. She offered little resistance and a delightful urge to take her now ran through him, testing his resolve. He pushed the thoughts away and guided her across the parking lot toward the car. Once there, he shoved her into the backseat. The lot was still empty. He started the car and drove away, pulling onto 31st Street.
When he reached Yale Avenue, he turned south, traveling until he found a suitable location, an old house that had lost the fight for survival. It stood in a neighborhood that had been suburban but was now a mixture of banks, retail outlets, and, ironically enough, real estate offices. Acting as a reminder of the house’s fate, an industrial trash bin sat in the front yard, boasting the name of some construction company on its side. He thought that a ridiculous notion. What they were up to was anything but constructive.
He pulled her from the car and walked her to the front of the house, pausing briefly to check the door. It wasn’t locked. They seldom were. He pushed her inside, his heart pounding with anticipation as he switched on the flashlight he’d doctored for just such occasions. Its dim red glow revealed an old mattress on the floor. Some things were just meant to be. She had begun to struggle, even as he’d pulled her from the car, and he had no choice but to use the sock again. With a small shove she fell onto the mattress.
Kneeling beside her, he removed the tape from her eyes and studied her face, so pretty and yet so lined with fear he hardly recognized it. She could not speak. He’d left the tape on her mouth, but she shook her head and pleaded with every expression she had available. It had been cold in that room, a chilling dampness understood only by those left alone, not for moments, but for eternities in an unforgiving and infinite darkness. He would not go back. She would die first.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grandpa Luke's Final Visit

Is it possible for relatives, or friends who have passed on to communicate with us?

This is a rather sad account with a broad timespan, but it ends well and I’ll be judicious with the exposition.

The story starts in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where my family and I were living at the time. Actually, I need to back up a bit further.  We’d been working and living near Houston, Texas when the landslide or avalanche began. The economy, especially the Oil & Gas sector, in which I work, had taken a nosedive and the company I worked for, a place that I had planned on retiring from, was gobbled up by another petroleum giant. This kind of thing was widespread. Thousands of people were losing jobs. I still had mine, but had been told it was being phased out. Out of the blue, I got a job offer in Ardmore, and we put our house up for sale and moved.  Things went well at first, but quickly began to turn sour. I was transferred from auditing, a job that I loved, into a supervisory position in revenue, a branch of the Oil & Gas industry in which I had little to no experience. It quickly turned into a nightmare.

To make matters worse, I received a letter from the Veterans Administration – I’d purchased the Houston house with a VA loan – advising me that the buyers had defaulted and that I owed the $12,000.00 difference between what they sold it for and the original loan amount.  I began paying them $200.00 a month, but they said this was not enough. I forgot to mention that our daughter had just started college, which further increased our financial demands. When a friend of mine, who worked for a rival firm, told me of an opening in her company with a much more attractive salary package, I applied for it and got it. At the time, it seemed like a blessing. It was not. The company went bankrupt and I was left without a job. A few months later, after exhausting my options, I, too, was forced into bankruptcy.

Not long after that, I received a phone call from my uncle, telling me that my grandfather, Luke Padgett, had passed away. I loved my grandfather. However, as a child, I was afraid of him. He was big, stern and didn’t speak much. My memories were of him sitting in a chair outside, smoking a corncob pipe. Occasionally, he’d lean down and stroke my head then say, “You’re a good boy, bus.” That’s what he called me. I dropped everything and went to the funeral.

After that, my wife, Kathi, and I decided to leave Ardmore and return to our home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had family there, and we figured the job market would be better. I sent out hundreds of resumes without success. Then, at what we thought to be the apex of our misery, our daughter, Karen, whom we love and adore, gave us some news. It was almost Christmas and I’d left some ornaments for her to hang on the tree. Instead, she told us she was getting married. My wife and I were completely unprepared for this, so we took it kind of hard.

In an effort to shorten this, here is what happened next:

Our 13 year old Wiemaraner, Ginger passed away. Two weeks later, the cat, Mittens, left us as well. The vet said she’d died from a broken heart. I knew how she felt. A few days after that, I was sitting at my writing desk – yes I was attempting to write even then – when I heard a thump. I turned around to see that our final pet, the parakeet had just died as well.

This might sound comical to some people, but it did not seem that way to me. At that point I just gave up. I put down my pencil and stopped writing. My wife and son both had jobs so I was alone each day. I just sat in the living room, no television, no radio or anything. I could not find a job and I was getting nowhere with my writing. Each day I sat in silence, wondering what would happen next. Needless to say, I fell into a deep depression.

Then one day, as I sat alone, I heard a strange sound, as if someone was behind me. When I got up from the chair, I saw no one, but I was surrounded by an old, familiar aroma: The distinctive smell of my grandfather Luke’s corncob pipe. He spoke to me, not through a physical auditory sound, but his words formed inside my head. “Time to move on, bus, time to get on past this.”

I told Grandpa Luke that I would do as he said. I went into the bathroom, shaved and took a shower then went down and applied for work with yet another temporary employment agency. This time I got hired.

I often wonder if Grandpa Luke asked the angels if he could take a leave of absence so he could come down to help his grandson. Thanks, Grandpa. I’ll see you in Heaven.
Please feel free to comment, or, if you have stories of your own that you would like to share, please email them to me at

Friday, July 08, 2011

Twisted Perception - Second serialized post - Ch 1, continued

Twisted Perception

Michelle Baker stepped off the stage and tried to ignore the remnants of the night’s audience, the leering faces, each sharing a fantasy they thought their own, and it went through her again, one of those black-hole feelings that sucks you in and tells you you’re not getting out, no matter what you do. The doctors called it depression. Michelle called it life, because it had always been that way for her. But there were moments, like that time in Florida, early in the season before the heat set in. A stiff breeze had come off the sea and rolled back the clouds, leaving the moon and stars contrasting against the black sky. Then the dark haired man with rope sandals in his hand slid his arm around her, just as natural as that, and they walked along the beach talking of life as if it were theirs. There had been no darkness then.

Her shift was over. She was going home. She could have her mother pack some clothes and together they could drive down to South Texas, spend a few days at Padre Island.

Lisa, another dancer, a soft little brunette who’d only been there about a month, intentionally brushed against Michelle as she walked past.

“Hey, sweetie,” she whispered.

Michelle smiled but said nothing. It came with the territory in these places, the girls loving each other. You learn to hate men so you turn lesbian. The problem with that is after a few weeks, or months, or however long it takes you, you start to hate women too. And where does that leave you? In hell, she guessed.

She didn’t even rehearse anymore, worrying over the steps and the music. None of that really mattered. She was a stripper, beginning her act with suggestive clothing and ending with nothing but an idea. It was, though, the boring monotony—the same faces, the same looks and catcalls—that allowed one to detach from it all and exist in such a world. But there were exceptions, those nights when someone would stand out from the crowd, their eyes searching deeper than her nakedness, and that scared her, for she knew the thoughts of such people went beyond fantasy, and they would make them real, given half a chance. She had not seen anyone like that tonight, but the fearful feelings that surrounded those encounters wrapped around her thoughts, and lingered heavy as she said good-bye to the other dancers and stepped outside into the rain.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Here's a great book to check out

 Beyond The Surgeon's Touch

By Gloria Teague

Ami was three years old when her mother’s killer attempted to murder her, too. Man, alone, couldn’t have saved her. It was a battle fought by doctors, nurses and miraculous intervention. Beyond the Surgeon's Touch is filled with stories based on actual events that have been witnessed and recorded by the staff of emergency rooms and surgical suites, even in their own lives. These accounts prove that medical personnel are, after all, just human and they pray for divine assistance, too, when trying to save a life. Sometimes those pleas are answered. These stories illustrate that miracles can, and do, happen to average people more often than you may realize.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Guardian of Route 66

A few years ago -- quite a few actually -- while attending classes at what was then called Central State university, located in Edmond, Oklahoma, I had an unusual experience.

Actually it happened after class during the drive home. I was married and had a fulltime job, which left me attending night classes to continue my education. The duration of class was three hours, starting at 6:00 PM and letting out at 9:00. Since I was already out of class and on the way, the incident occurred between 9:20 and 9:30 PM. At the time, I was driving an old MG, which had a few annoying if not dangerous idiosyncrasies. One of the treacherous traits was a faulty light switch, which, on occasion, would cause the lights to go out.Toggling the switch in rapid succession brought them back on.

The trip home consisted of an eighteen mile drive, originating on East Second Street in Edmond. It was there, at the point where Second Street curves into Highway 66 that it happened. Just as I was about to enter the curve, I saw a man dressed in a robe, like that of an ancient Greek or Roman, and he was walking alongside the highway. That's when the lights went out. At the time, there were no houses, buildings or even streetlights located in the area, so when the lights went out, they went out. I was plunged into total darkness. My immediate concern was that, without being able to see where I was going, I ran the risk of running over the unusual pedestrian. I began to jab the dashboard until I found the light switch then continued to toggle the switch. Seconds later, when the lights came back on, I'd traveled a distance of about 300 feet, somehow successfully maneuvering the curve.

Fear shot through me as I brought the MG to a stop. No other cars were on the road and I saw no one in front of me. I quickly turned the car around. I had neither heard nor felt anything hit the vehicle, but I wanted to make sure that I had not hurt or possibly even killed the pedestrian. I saw no one. I went past the curve then turned around and drove through again. After that, I parked on the shoulder where the incident had occurred and got out of the car and searched the area. I found nothing. Later I would examine the car and find no damage.

As I continued the drive home, details of the event played through my head, and I began to wonder if perhaps I'd seen an angel, who'd brought me to an alert status, helping me to make the curve on Route 66 when the lights went out.

This is a true story. I'd love to hear about your experiences. If you have something you'd like to share, please leave a comment, or email me at You can remain anonymous if you wish.