This weekend was filled with the Dakota Garden Expo - Bismarck Event Center, and sitting out on my 2nd-floor apartment deck, trying to soak up some hidden sun. The normal sounds of a lazy Bismarck Sunday were shattered by a haunting sound that brought back terrible memories. It is something we can all relate to, in every city all across the country. I thought to myself about a short story I wrote nine years ago when I was living in San Diego, California.....

-  The gift  -                                                                    1

          Dreams are funny, ya know?  Sleep allows us to fly, to love, to imagine we

are Brad Pitt, to kick a winning field goal, to have your mom back. It happened one
night, just like a dream. Laying there, resting, God spoke to me. I thought I was losing
it, man. I rolled over poking the fir of my cranky cat Dominique, “Hey” I said with
some intelligence, she didn’t flinch….just continued her dreams, of catching mice, and
Brad Pitt’s cat. The TV set was dark, my phone was off….God spoke to me. I know for
a FACT that I was not drunk, for the last drop of alcohol my lips had touched was 1,166
days ago. GOD SPOKE TO ME.            “What….sir?”
        “ I am giving you a gift….a wish, you may have anything your pea brain desires”
I woke up on a dreary Tuesday morning, the alarm nagging away, Dominique still in
Cat-TOSE land.   The anticipation of another mind-bending awful day as a bill collector
awaited me, as I numbly steered my Suzuki Sidekick towards work. The idea of getting
cursed at all day really isn’t too bad, it is my boss that I want to throw the phone at. A
tall lumbering man who has all the people skills of your worst nightmare.  Someone cut
me off, as usual, since my car only goes 63 mph in 6 minutes….It’s going to be a…..well
I would be lying if I said “Great Day”….so it’s going to be a Day….
                    I made it to noon MY hour, and my idea of lunch, a cigar, thank you.
Sitting still, in my car, puffing away….it hit me, “Hey”….man, that was some kind
of funky dream last night…..God spoke to me…..what if?  I mean, what if I had one
wish? The first thing that popped into my head was the idea of my loveable
boss getting hit on the head by a meteor from above.   Nah, let’s see, I have a girlfriend, and she is perfect. I could ask for all the MONEY in the world.
That would buy a mansion on the cliffs of Del Mar, faster car, ahh but it would bring
The friendly folks we call the IRS…..I could wish for my mom to come home.  I
would tell her how sorry I was, for the trillion wasted hours she invested loving me, while
my selfishness passed out every night in cheap vodka. May 12th will be 2 years that she entered heaven, carrying her knitting, and her running shoes.
    Why am I playing this game? Why did I just burn a hole in my shirt?  I have 2 minutes left, to rejoin the workforce and punch in with a bland vanilla timecard.  The hours go by like paint drying on a wall…..I sit, like a faceless robot, dialing away, to faceless people across the country, who are in debt. If I did have a wish, maybe I would use it on turning this plastic, ugly building into a bowling alley. I would be in charge, and gleefully assign Mr. PERSONALITY the task of setting the pins in their proper place, by hand.
                    My favorite time of the day, walking out of that death trap, it sucks the life
out of me, 5 grueling days a week. I try not to be ungrateful, I mean, two years ago I
was out of work, living in a recovery home for men, where the disease of addiction
lay thick in the air. My half-smoked stogie saluted me like a friend, as we drove home.
My brain fogged with the memory of over 125 phone calls dialed, and no new friends
made. I sort of laughed to myself, the game that I played at noon, with the one wish,
had left me. I couldn’t think of anything.
                 When you take the same path home - at the same darn time, you are pretty
much on autopilot. Your mind wills you to your destination. Monday through Friday,
always 23 minutes to get home, with an occasional traffic glitch. This Tuesday late
afternoon was no different, I was three minutes from home. I have always heard that
some moments in a time freeze up, seconds become days…..I rounded the corner, in a
small cul-de-sac, and then my life changed.  A young girl, on her knees, bent over a
lifeless dog, blood circled around the animal’s body. The sounds were so horrific,
screams of confusion, terror, Crying out the puppy’s name. The car that had come in
contact with the pet, had come to a stop, neighbors were at their doorstep in complete
silence. Then I approached, why? I knew what this scene was all about, having lost several of my own years ago. Two sets of eyes were locked in, the girl on her dog, and the glassy stare of what was the dying pet’s last second of life.
                                 GOD SPOKE TO ME…..”Now is the time”
                 I cradled the animal in my arms through my tears, shut my eyes, and
spoke back to God…….he answered.
                 My job is not so bad….my ride home now takes 26 minutes: I have a new
friend to wave at…….the dog’s name is Andy.
                               Sadly I had no way to help out yesterday. Maybe your wish is more attainable than mine - Go out and make it happen - Life is too short.


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