Halloween In A Graveyard

Gravestone

I once got the chance to patrol a graveyard on a Halloween night.  I know, I know!  The excitement!  The prestige!  Where do I go to apply for a keen job like that?  Sadly, the unemployment office.

When an unethical manager had pulled the cube-drone carpet out from underneath me, I had found temporary employment with a security-guard company.  They had placed me at a St. Joseph’s Hospital as a glorified ‘Lollipop Lady’ crossing guard.  I didn’t even get to wear an orange, don’t-run-me-down vest.

The hospital had two, parallel, one-way driveways down one side.  Traffic came in on one, swung around past Receiving and the kitchens, and exited on the other.  Work on water mains had them alternatively dug up for about a week.

We stationed a guard at the front and the back, with portable radios.  If a vehicle came in, the guard at the back held any outgoing traffic until the single lane was clear, and vice versa.  Out of sight of any street traffic, the guard at the back could rest in a lawn chair until called.  We alternated every hour….until the Mother Superior looked out the window, and decided that that wasn’t fair, and decreed that no-one could rest.

It was especially busy late in the morning, because they had a Meals On Wheels program.  Civilian volunteers picked up a few meals each and delivered them.  We wouldn’t want them smashing into each other, and spilling all that delicious hospital food.

As Halloween approached, and I still hadn’t found suitable employment, the scheduler asked me if I would consider patrolling a graveyard, from 6PM till 2AM that night to prevent any vandalism or skullduggery.

The hospital sat in the middle of a long stretch of main road that didn’t have any cross-streets.  The Catholic cemetery behind the hospital (where the doctors buried their mistakes) extended back to the next road.  Two pedestrian-access walkways converged through it in a V, toward the hospital.

Another guard and I followed each other around the block-long legs of the triangle.  It never occurred to us to patrol in opposite directions, to stop and talk, and compare notes occasionally.  All went well for the first couple of hours – until the sun set.

That’s when we discovered that there were no street lights on the adjoining road, no light-posts within the cemetery, and no lights between the hospital and the cemetery.  It was a typical cloudy Halloween night…. it was pitch-black DARK back there, and nobody thought to give us flashlights.

At about 9:30, I had emerged from one of the exits, and was walking toward the other, when I saw three 15/16-year-old males enter ahead of me.  While it was light, I had found a two-foot piece of 1½ inch PVC electrical conduit on the path – a tripping hazard, especially in the dark, so I picked it up, and was carrying it, just in case.

I could hear them walking, and conversing, a hundred feet ahead of me in the Stygian gloom, although I couldn’t make out the words.  Then it got quiet.  Often, that’s not a good thing.  Suddenly, something smacked into the gravestone beside me.  Something whizzed past my ear.  Something struck the grass beside me!  Holy Crap, those little f**kers are throwing things at me.

I ducked behind a nearby gravestone, and the barrage continued.  Something bounced off the gravestone beside me.  I felt around in the dark, and found a pulped crab apple.  CLANG!  That wasn’t a crab apple that hit my cover.  More crab apples, splat, whiz, then, another CLANG off the tombstone next to me.  The moon, through a slight rift in the clouds, revealed a sharp stone, as big as a golf ball.

What in Hell am I going to do??!  We don’t have our traffic-directing radios, and if this keeps up, my fellow-guard is going to walk around the corner any moment, right into the middle of this.

“It’s okay, Bobby.  You can come out now.  We won’t throw anything else at you.”  I’m not Bobby!  “Who the hell are you?”  I’m the security guard who’s supposed to keep you from damaging anything.  Are you idiots??!  Throwing crab apples is dangerous enough, but throwing rocks at someone you can’t see, or identify – in the dark….  You could blind or kill someone!  “Sorry, we didn’t think.”  Said every teenage boy ever, just before he qualified for the Darwin Award.

Patrolling a graveyard on Halloween is an…. interesting task.  Ghosts and ghouls don’t exist, so they’re no problem.  It’s the live ones who cause all the troubles.  😯

Jack O Lantern

Happy Halloween!  Trick or Treat.  😀

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WOW #37

Newspaper

All opinions expressed in this blog-post are not of the management, but solely those of the author…and, in MY opinion, the Word Of the Week

TEMERARIOUS

is arty, and pretentious.

I was thrilled to find it, although less thrilled to find that I was not already aware of it.  I was correct to deduce that it was the adjective version of the noun ‘Temerity’, which means audacity, effrontery, foolhardiness, reckless boldness, or rashness.

Without really thinking about it, (Oh, Damn!) I always assumed (making an ASS out of U and ME) that the adjective form would be ‘temeritous,’ but never had the need or occasion to use it.   I was not disturbed to see it used by a newspaper advice columnist.  Lord knows, I only have a Grade 12 education.  This lady may have a string of letters behind her name.

Eleven letters and five syllables in it, I was disturbed to see it used by a newspaper advice columnist, for people whose largest piece of vocabulary might be ‘Wal-Mart.’

I always advise to write to the level of the anticipated readership.  If I had to go and look this up, I’m sure that there was a passel of confused John Deere drivers.

Now that I’ve entrusted this ostentatious, mostly useless, $8.47 word to you, try to be careful with it.  Please keep out of the reach vocabulary of children.  Perhaps reserve it only for TED discussions.

As my Father used to say, before they changed the name of the country to Ethiopia, ‘Abyssinia’ later.  😉

Sleeping with one-liners

Comedy

Some days I wake up grumpy…
….other days, I just let her sleep

What do you call a fake noodle?….
….an impasta

The stars are now in perfect alignment….
….for me to break my addiction to magical thinking

What kind of mistakes are common at a blood bank?….
….typos

What does a vegan zombie say?….
….grainnns

A man runs in front of a car, he gets tired….
….he runs behind a car and gets exhausted

My wife says I have two major faults….
….I don’t listen, and something else

I have the best Egyptian Dad joke….
….actually, it’s more a mummy joke

My friend doesn’t believe in Santa Claus….
….does that make him an eggnog-stic?

My therapist told me that a good way to release my anger was to write letters to all the people I hate, and burn them….
….I did that, and I feel great – but do I keep the letters?

What’s the capital of Texas?….
….the T

What’s more impressive than a talking dog?….
….a spelling bee

Baldness?  I’m not losing more hair….
….I’m gaining more head

There’s a lot of unrest….
….in the insomniac community

A family goes to a hotel.  The father goes to the front desk and says, “I hope the porno is disabled.”….
….The clerk says, “It’s just normal porn, you sick fuck.”

What do Michelangelo and Curt Kobain have in common?….
….The both used their brains to paint the ceiling

I didn’t know what type of hammer to get my Dad….
….but I think I nailed it

Somebody stole my bagful of new AA batteries….
….there was a hefty charge when the culprit was located

How many Amish people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?….
….I don’t know

What do you call a dog with no legs?….
….Doesn’t matter what you call him.  He ain’t gonna come.

What do you call a cow with no legs?….
….ground beef

 

‘18 A To Z Challenge – C

Challenge '18 Letter C

Druid

My Scottish ancestors were doing just fine, until the Christians came along with fire and sword.

Caim – (n.) Sanctuary. An invisible circle of protection drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved even in the darkest times.  The index finger of the right hand was to be extended and pointed at the ground to do this.  It was to be drawn clockwise, as God has made the sun and moon rise and set.

The Irish and my Scottish Celtic ancestors lived a naturalistic existence, close to the earth, the plants and the wildlife.  Then along came the Christians.  They would have none of this mystical hand-waving.  They wanted their own brand of mystical hand-waving.

First, the spelling and pronunciation was slurred to ‘Cain.’  In their mythology, Cain was the first murderer, and an evil person, a servant of Satan.  No-one was allowed to be saved or protected by such an evil spirit.  Union rules said that all such work went to Jesus.  The word ‘Caim’ still exists in the Scottish language, but it now describes a Christian prayer for protection.

The Celts were already well aware of the motions of the sun and the moon, but the Christian ‘God’ even creeps into the historical definition, by making them do so.  I noted that the definition is Northern-centric.  In the Northern hemisphere, the apparent movements of the sun and moon are clockwise, from left to right.

When this word was born, the Christians had not yet invaded the Southern Hemisphere, where the counter-clockwise, widdershins, motion of the Heavenly bodies was obvious, and correct.  I wonder what the Christians would think of that??  (Oops, I used the words ‘think’ and ‘Christian’ in the same sentence.)  😯

Click here http://branawen.blogspot.ca/2011/09/celtic-symbolism-casting-ring-of.html caim, if you’d like to have a look at the research for this.

I’ll have a little bit of lighter humor in a week.  Hope to see you there.

 

Flash Fiction #158

Hot

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN

He’d thought through this move and job change well…. At least he thought he’d thought it through well.  More money, better perks, better advancement chances – yup!  Best of all, no more Pennsylvania winters, so cold they froze his ballpoint pens off, and shovelling snow, drifted as high as an elephant’s aah…..  eye.

Only after moving did he think – if Atlanta’s that warm in the winter, how hot is it in the summer?? Don’t Georgia houses automatically come with air-conditioning?  Praise Saint George Carrier!  What was his promised installation date again??  He might have to sleep in the office until then.  😯

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

Click on the title if you’d like to hear Leon Redbone sing A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight, a happy little ditty from 1927, a time of Flappers, bathtub gin, and no worries about nuclear war.

Friday Fictioneers

Why (Fundamentalist) Christians Hate Atheists

….Agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists….pretty much anybody who’s not them!

Smartest People.jpeg

‘Good Christians’ often paint themselves into a corner with reality and society. The more Fundamentalist they are, the more numerous, and tighter, the corners.

Churches are not bastions of religious discussion. They are merely echo chambers.  Congregations congregate in buildings which are full of people who think exactly like them – no further thought required.  The strangely-dressed bellwether at the front says ‘Baaa’, and they all nod and pass the collection plate, eager to be fleeced.  There’s a reason that they’re called a flock.

Atheists are happy to be on their own, thinking their own thoughts and making their own decisions. For many Christians, it is not enough that they accept the existence of God, and Christ as their Savior; they must Have Faith, and Believe, to be able to go to Heaven.  The mere existence of Atheists, to say nothing of some of their more loudly-held opinions and arguments, undermines that faith and belief, and it scares the Hell into the Fundies.

If someone tells you that they CHOOSE TO BELIEVE – in God, or anything else – they’re full of bullshit, and they’re trying to feed some to you.  People believe because they are convinced.  They can become convinced, but it’s not controlled by an on/off switch.  They can claim that they’re convinced.  They can fool others.  They can even fool themselves, but if the God that they ’believe’ exists, really does, they’re not going to convince Him.  And so, the hatred of, and discrimination against, Atheists begins, to remove all doubts.

I can’t count the number of blog-posts and articles I’ve read, where someone raised in a ‘Good Christian’ home, becomes an Atheist. It seems the more Fundamentalist and Evangelical the household – the more likely it is to happen.  Possibly it’s because the mistakes and hypocrisy and fuzzy logic are more apparent, and easier to see.

It is sadly amusing how so many of these poor souls realize and admit that, based on the claims they’ve heard, they find no proof that the God described really exists. Many of them strongly resist calling themselves Atheists, because they’ve been taught that Atheists are evil, nasty and sinful.  I’m not evil, nasty, or sinful. I’m a nice person.  I can’t be an Atheist!  But the Christian families that kick them out, or entire Bible-belt towns who shun them, harass them, and force them to move away, are evil, nasty and sinful.

I’ve been preaching for years about the ego and insecurity that fuels this type of behavior. Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.  You don’t have to blindly believe in My truths, because, while I’m not imaginary, I’m only G.O.D., not God.

Frankly, A Great Challenge

Footprints Challenge

AFrankAngle has issued a fiction challenge. He is asking his readers to take the above photo, compose a 150 word story about it, and link to his post.  Stop over there to see what he, and others, have written about footsteps in the sand.  Here is my offering.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

Bobby was almost six. A fisherman’s son, he lived on an island off the Carolina coast. He’d had an argument with his Mom.  He wasn’t going to blindly obey her rules any more.  He would run away from home, and live on his own.

He packed what he thought he’d need, and marched down to the shore. The mainland was a blur, and he couldn’t run a boat.  Fine, he’d find a spot in the grass or trees to live.  With his driftwood ‘staff’, he trudged up the beach.

No suitable spot appeared, so he kept slogging – on and on. He finally came around a headland….and there was the dock again.  There was the big log on the beach – and somebody was sitting on it.  It was his Mom.  She just held out her arms and said, “Lunch is almost ready.”

Oh well, he could run away some other time.

Footprints Victory

For Frank, and others, I also offer the story of a devout man who died and went to Heaven. Before God actually ushered him in, He showed him his life with God.  The man saw it as a walk along the shore with God – two parallel lines of footprints in the sand.

At certain spots in his life, there was only one set of prints. When he looked closer, he realized that these had been the hardest times of his life.  He said to God, “How could You have abandoned me when I most needed You?”  God replied, “My child, those were the times when I carried you.”