Saturday, December 29, 2007

FLASHBACK SPECIAL: Run Forrest, Run!

A&E is playing a the movie "Forrest Gump" right now...got me thinking how many times I, like Forrest, just up and ran, sometimes for no reason at all.

Early Spring 1972

One afternoon, for no reason at all, I decided that I didn't want to live with my family anymore. As the sun set, I looked up to the darkening sky and decided to head to New York. Not really knowing which way New York was I headed at least to the nearest border of town; east, to Cumberland.

It probably took me about an hour or so to get to Walnut Hill Plaza. I was just passing the newly built McDonald's and could smell the hamburgers. I sure was hungry. I forgot to bring any money though, so I couldn't buy any.

The police spotted me there, a lone boy walking steadily east on Diamond Hill Road.

Back home, my mother was busily hugging me and thanking the cops for finding me. She wailed and fawned wondering why I would run away. I later was sent to a shrink to try and find out why I wasn't happy. To this day, I still don't know what set me off.

I was 7 years old.

Early Spring 1977

I posted about this one in a FLASHBACK about a year ago.

I talked my friend Michael Drolet into running away. Again, I think New York was the supposed destination. Again, absolutely no preparations like money, clothes, plans for what we would do for a living or how we would get there. It just goes to show that somehow I was able to inspire someone else to my way of thinking, without actually thinking.

We were found by the Lincoln police sleeping in an abandoned car in the parking lot of Lincoln Mall.

Late Summer 1982

After the Bradford Street apartment fell through and I had to move back in with my family, I started feeling the wanderlust bug again.

Since Larry P. had fucked up my car and I sold it back to Paul D. I had been relying on a 10-speed Huffy for transportation. I quickly grew to like bike riding and got pretty fit developing quite muscular legs.

I got the idea that I would ride my bike across the country to California. I drew out my likely route across the southern US to avoid the coldest of the upcoming weather. I wrote out a letter of resignation for Howard Johnson's. I wrote notes for family and friends explaining my intent to bike to California. This time, I actually saved up some money (maybe a couple hundred) and got a backpack. I checked out prices for collapsible portable pup tents and a sleeping bag.

This time round, though, I didn't go through with it.

Late Fall 1990

After the dismissal from Amego, but before the onset of Black Winter, I was seeking a new direction. I went to a job fair at a hotel in Warwick for a company which held the concession for tourist hotels and restaurants at Grand Canyon National Park. The jobs were minimum wage positions like housekeeping and line cooks. If hired, they would provide room and board at the park, but you'd have to provide your own transport there.

I filled out the application and went through the interview. A week later I got the letter saying that I was hired.

But I knew I had to return the Cavalier and the Escort would never had made it to Arizona. So, again I didn't go through with it.

April 1997

I usually tell people that the reason I moved to Florida was the weather. I say that I was scraping ice off the windshield of my car in April and decided that I needed to move someplace where the weather was nice year-round.

That's true, but there were deeper reasons.

Though I grew comfortable with my job, I realized I was slowly burning out from boredom. I'd go in at 11pm, get through Kardex, quick check on the residents and then watch TV till about 2am. Made my 2 o'clock call in and then sleep on Donald's couch till the 5am call. (These calls were set up as a safety protocol, but really they were supposed to be a way to make sure staff didn't sleep on the job. Yeah, right.) I'd sleep again till about 8 when I'd get up, give out morning meds and watch TV until the next shift came in at 9.

Same routine, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. 3 ten hour shifts each week, and that was my career. Total slacker dream job.

I counted as full-time even though it was only 30 hours a week, so I got benefits. And being in the human services field, they were great benefits at that. But I made only $8.25 an hour. A little more than $200 a week take home. Until January of this year I was paying rent at $500 a month, and my car payment at $144 a month; that left very little for everything else. At least now rooming with Chiafalo I paid only about $300 a month.

So I needed to make more money, and I knew there was no chance of advancement at that job. Been there twice, and demoted twice. Once by choice, once not so voluntarily.

I also was hankerin' for a job which interested me and kept me somewhat challenged. Not too much, mind you, but something to keep the blood running.

But also, though I was in good standing with my employer, I knew it could come crashing down.

Though I found out that even a month after my license was suspended as a result of my DUI in Florida, the RI DMV knew nothing of it. I was still legal to drive in Rhode Island. (This was before the widespread ubiquity of the internet; I'm sure today, a suspension in one state is instantly conveyed to all the others instantly)

But I knew it would be just a matter of time. And my job required a valid driver's license. And I felt that even once the suspension was over in 6 months, a DUI on your record wouldn't go over well. A clean driving record was also mandatory.

And living in Providence while working in Woonsocket, a 20 mile commute each way, I couldn't do it without being able to drive.

Florida, meanwhile, allowed a suspended driver to get a hardship license. RI had no such animal. If you had a suspended license, you couldn't drive until your suspension was over.

So for the love of the freedom to drive, I moved to Florida. Nice weather, better scenery, better job prospects, lower cost of living, theme parks and beaches...that was all secondary.

I planned well for this one. I contacted the DialAmerica branch in Orlando and got a job like that. Then I scouted apartments on the internet and found what looked to be pretty nice for a good price. I cashed in my 503b plan (non-profit employer equivalent to a 401k) for about $4000. Paid off my $2000 balance on my Capital One card and put the rest in my checking account ready to transfer to a Florida bank once I moved.

I packed up as much of my shit as humanly possible into my Geo Metro hatchback, which meant I had a lot of stuff left over. I gave it all to Chiafalo.

I drove 12 hours, stayed overnight at a motel in North Carolina, and in the morning drove on another 12 hours to Orlando. When I got to the apartment complex, I nearly had a panic attack. It didn't look like the lush, luxurious resort style living like I saw in the website pictures.

In reality, the place was not that bad. But it definitely was in a low income area of town. And to my eyes, having grown up in a 98% white New England town, the neighborhood certainly had a strong minority flavor.

I ended up settling in fairly quickly. Except I got too accustomed to living off my savings and credit card and showed up for my hated telemarketing job very infrequently.

Which eventually led to...

January 1998

Though I broke my lease at the apartment complex and rented a room in a 3 bedroom condo with 2 gay guys in Altamonte to save money, I was still having problems making ends meet and finding a quality job. I was still struggling with low paying telemarketing that I took lots of time off from.

And after my breakup with Justin, I was in another funk.

So, I secretly (since I was skipping out on rent) packed up my stuff in my Metro again, and decided to go home. Back to Rhode Island.

I didn't give this decision a second thought, even though I wasn't sure where I would stay and had about $90 to my name. Not a second thought, that is, until I reached New London, Connecticut.

As I drove eastward on Route 95 through this eastern Connecticut city, it seemed suddenly as if I had just woken up from a dream. I looked around at all the grey dead trees as I sped along just east of the city limits, within 30 miles of the Rhode Island border. It suddenly dawned on me I had no money, nowhere to stay, no job, and it was still winter. I nearly freaked out thinking that I must be crazy. I call this moment and the subsequent experiences of the next couple weeks my New London Syndrome.

I showed up at Wayne's doorstep after finding his address in the phone book. I hadn't called or written him in about 2 years but we clicked like we had kept in touch all along right away. He said I could stay with him for a couple of weeks till I got on my feet. I looked in the papers over the next week or so for jobs but there seemed to be no prospects. I inquired about working at my original DM office in Warwick, but they contacted Orlando and found out I averaged about 14 hours a week; they had a mandatory 30 hour minimum. I knew I couldn't do that many hours so I declined.

I decided I would go back to Orlando after talking with Chris, a guy I met while I was volunteering at GLCS. After telling him my situation, he said I probably could stay with him in Metrowest for a while. I sold my computer to Wayne for $650 (double what it was worth) but I think he paid that much as an unspoken charitable gift to help me out.

By the middle of February, I was back in Orlando and back at DM again, but this time I saw real potential at a promotion so I started working pretty much my full schedule.

and finally the Koyaanisqatsi moves back and forth from Florida to New Orleans:

March 2003, to New Orleans

June 2003, back to Florida

August 2003, back to New Orleans

November 2003, back to Florida

August 2004, back to New Orleans

January 2005, back to Florida

Yeah, I know.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Fuckin' Christmas.

Notice I put a period at the end of the title phrase? Like, PERIOD, the end. How deep.

Anyway, here it is Christmas day, all alone in my one room "house", and I'm just about fixin' to eat me some leftover BBQ ribs and ramen noodle soup. Yum didilly-dum!

Ho-fuckin'-ho-ho!

Well, we sleep in the bed (or hideaway cot) we make, don't we?

Ric and I are no longer friends.

The straws have been braking the camel's back for sometime now and I've been ignoring the majority of them, but now the camel is just fucking dead, okay!

The beginning of the end probably actually stems back to 2002 when I fucked Gary and stupidly told Ric about it the next day. Worse, I kept messing with Gary whenever Gary came looking for my big cock, over the course of the next year or so.

Ric at the time was mildly upset with it, but he knew, deep down, that Gary was a whore and also, Gary really didn't love him. I think the "real" Ric knows (or at least suspects) it. I know it because you could tell and plus Gary more or less told me.

The truth is neither of us will now really ever know since Gary took that with him to the grave.

Ric's abuses aimed at me during the worse of Koyaanisqatsi were collectively another big load of straws that kept getting heaped on throughout the dark summers of 2003 and 2004.

My growing weight problem and declining fortunes through the years of Koyaanisqatsi coincided with his increased religious fervor and stabilizing economic status to literally create a Holier Than Thou asshole out of him.

His 3rd DUI and subsequent probation/abstinence made him much more tolerable for a while there and even living with him during this time was not unpleasant.

But almost as soon as he came off probation, his pent up demons resurfaced and I was the nearly sole target of his fury.

For the past 6 months or so, a weekend cannot go by without Ric drinking.

While he was on leave of absence from work because of his shoulder injury, he was at Jax almost every day.

A couple months ago we went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal and since I was driving, I wasn't drinking. Ric on the other hand drank enough for the both of us. And dealing with Ric while you are sober and he is drunk is almost impossible.

Sure enough he was quite the jerk, insulting me and berating me every 5 minutes. Some other drunk sitting in the audience next to us at one of the shows was really punky and made mention of my size, calling me "A Big Motherfucker". He thought he was being all funny with maybe a hint of derision, but Ric was feeding into it and goading him on even though I gave clear facial hints to Ric (and the drunk stranger) that I was not appreciating their sense of "humor".

Ric went on to, I think, go out of his way that night in trying to humiliate me in front of other people. He does this often and I think it's because I am starting to look and act middle aged, whereas Ric wants to play the eternal 20-something, out hangin' with hot-looking, energetic, fun-loving party friends. He tries connecting with these types every time he's out. They accept him at first as a sort of oddity...an older dude acting like one of them. But then the content of what he says either doesn't make sense, isn't pertinent to their interests, or is just down right course and/or inflammatory and he is soon found shut out by them. In some cases, insulted and ridiculed. It's so sad. The only ones that let him stick around are because they are somewhat entertained by him since they too are fucked up, or, they like the fact he is buying all the drinks.

This motivation on his part to click with the younger, hotter crowd caused what may be the final straw to drop this past weekend.

We were at Jax, and since I have been eating right (except today's slop) and not drinking since my heart scare, I was taking it easy having only a few Mic Ultras and a fish sandwich. Ric was slamming them back though and after the football games were done, he wanted to keep the fun flowing. He, again, wanted to go to the Parliament House. But he wanted me to drive.

When I reminded him that I was drinking beers, he basically fluffed that off as a lame excuse.

Huh!? Has he not learned his lesson? I swear if it weren't for the fact that he had his license revoked for 10 years, he would probably be heading for his 4th DUI by now, so dense is he.

Drivers of Florida...watch out! He gets his ability to reclaim his license in 2016!

He then offered to pay for the room. I said no. He got pissed off at me and said, "I think I see some of my friends over there to hang out with..." and left me sitting at the table alone.

Since I don't have a key to his house anymore, I was forced to drive home. Thankfully I only had a total of 5 beers over the course of the 3 hours there so I wasn't drunk, but I hate driving with ANY beers in me at all.

I had not finished my laundry at his house and some were not yet put in the dryer. Ric called me at my house a half hour later and said he was taking the cab to P-House but first was going to drop off my clothes at my house...did I want to pay him some money for going out of his way?

I told him I would come over tomorrow to pick up my clothes, but he refused, he wanted them out tonite.

He came by 15 minutes later and handed me my laundry basket, filled half with already dried clothes that he wrinkled up in there and half with totally wet clothes. As he handed it over he said "Don't come by my house ever again...Nice meeting [knowing] you...", and stumbled off towards Phil (the cab driver) waiting in the car.

Stupid, huh? What made him so mad? I don't know. But, as the old line goes, frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Huh...he just called me while I was writing this post. He just says..."Merry Christmas", kinda flat and uncaring. I said, "Why are you calling me?", he says"Calling to wish you a Merry Christmas", again so not heartfelt.

I remind him,"I thought you weren't ever speaking to me again?"

"Well I can't hold any grudges on Christmas. I'm glad you didn't get a DUI driving home the other night", he says.

HE hold grudges? What the fuck did I do to have him holding a grudge. I'm the one rudely dumped, locked out of his house, having to drive home after drinking and getting a pile of wet clothes I'll have to re-wash for my troubles.

And then to mention that he was aware of the potential risk I was forced into?

I just said, "Well, Merry Christmas...goodbye.", and hung up.

Fuck him. I'm so ridding my self of his ass!

He better not be showing his lame butt 'round my doorstep ever again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Be Careful What You Blog For

So this past Friday night/early Saturday morning, I have what appears to be the onset of a heart attack.

Just 48 hours after I post: "What If I Died Right Now?".

Here's the story...I'm still not quite over it and the incident and aftermath has me a bit loopy still:

After "enjoying" a 12 pack of Bud, a large Chicken Pot Pie and many handfuls of potato chips and cheese puffs, dipped lavishly in spinach dip, I pass out around 1:00 am early Saturday morning. Nothing new here.

I wake up an hour or so later in order to go to the bathroom to take a piss. I proceed to take the opportunity while positioned standing over the toilet to go ahead and puke much of the contents of my stomach; a viscous greenish-brown sludge of semi-digested Pot Pie, junk food and beer, laden with many strings of dessicated spinach. Yum. Again, unfortunately, nothing new here.

But around 4:15 am or so, I wake in a startle because I am out of breath. Sleep apnea symptoms...have them often. Only this time my heart is fluttering very rapidly and is in arrhythmia.

Probably due to a likely rush of adrenaline due to the palpitation, I am quite awake, and quite sober. Though not freaked out totally, I know it ain't good. I try to relax to let it regain it's proper rhythm. Not working. After only 10 minutes I decide I gotta get to the hospital. I decide to drive.

In the ER they put the EKG nodes on me and see I'm fibrulating. It's so funny, I'm totally conscious and not in any pain so I can see everything they are doing...when they see the cardiogram and it's erratic-ness and call out stuff like heartrate 170 (yea, I guess 170 beats per minute...yikes), I can see their faces turning grave and serious saying "let's get the doctor down here".

I was lying there, not really upset (probably because of the drugs they were now pumping into me to slow my heart rate) thinking: "I guess I'm having a heart attack.".

Within a half hour or so, my heart finally calms down and regains it's normal rhythm.

Turns out it wasn't a heart attack. Palpitations.

They admitted me and originally had scheduled me for tests to find out what caused it, but when the cardiologist offered to have the tests either done while I stayed in the hospital or as outpatient visits, I opted for the latter. Hate hospitals. And though most of the staff there were really nice, I was hankerin to get home after 2 days.

I told the cardiologist the full story of the events leading up to the incident, including the drinking. He laughed saying that he doesn't know how someone can have 12 beers in an evening (oh Man, could I tell him stories! How 'bout the 6 pitchers plus a few shots the night I got my second DUI?)

He told me that other than the very old (75 and over), usually these palpitation incidents happen only in college kids after a night of binge drinking. Bingo. Now we know where it came from.

But frankly, the hospital staff were also worried about the multiple other problems as well. They changed my blood pressure medications to include a more potent one and diagnosed me with full-blown diabetes.

I have follow up appointments with my regular doctor and the cardiologist.

I think I'm gonna start taking my health matters more seriously. I think I have no choice.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What If I Died Right Now?

Last night I watched Frontline, one of my favorite documentary/investigative report style shows. Each episode deals squarely with it's singular topic with such elegant depth and intelligence, staying entertaining, thought-provoking and pertinently-informative, all at the same time. A hard task. Especially the pertinently-informative part, which I describe as "not-dumbed-down" or ruined with time-filling "additives" like telling us commonly-known "well, duh!" information or repeating the same thing over and over (ala shows like "The Universe").

I gotta say, the episode was quite the tear-jerker. Not to be expected for this type of show.

It covered the rather under-explored world of the undertaker, and how the business of preparing for a person's funereal rites are conducted by a funeral home in a small Michigan town.

They focussed on the one funeral home business and how they carefully went about their business in a "hard-look" sorta way...we saw everything from the pre-death preparatory interviews to the collection and "beautification" of the body and the conducting of the burial or cremation. But it was done in a reverent, solemn and endearing way; not at all upsetting, really.

The tears came pouring out not for the elderly folks they showed going through the process...old age and death are so hand-in-hand, it's usually not going to elicit more than an "aww..." from even the most sensitive people, since they are not relatives or friends, just strangers on the TV.

But one "customer" (no, the show was not tasteless in ever even hinting at the term 'customer' for these people, that's just my own little phraseology there ;)) was a not yet even 3-year old baby. The show filmed interviews with the young parents and the sickly baby, complete with oxygen breathing tube, as the couple made arrangements for the baby's inevitable, and imminent, passing from a rare, incurable birth disorder.

You could feel the pain this family was going through. Hit you like a ton of bricks. Later in the show, (though while leading up to it I kept thinking...ok, this is PBS and it is after 9:00, but they can't really "go there"...or will they?) they "went there" and showed the now dead baby, embalmed and made-up, dressed in a tiny, little suit and tie, lying there in a little 3 foot long casket as his family and loved-ones grieved.

Thankfully, I had a box of Kleenex nearby.

Of course, there were the inevitable memories of 1998 and little 6-year old Tascha's funeral.

I have nothing but praise for the show. It's a not-oft discussed topic, but it is so much a part of all of our lives, no matter who we are or what we believe. It took guts for the producers to even suggest the topic, and summarily, no doubt would have immediately been shot down if it was commercial television.

Especially this season.

After all, are you gonna run a "Ho-Ho-Ho...Remember to spend lots of money with us!" cheery-jingle filled commercial for something like an electric carving knife, Chia Pet or the Weed Whacker, after a scene showing a real freakin' infant corpse?

It got me thinkin' though...what happens to me? What really occurs after I die?

Naturally, the answer is filled with all the usual spiritual and philosophical unknowns, but there are certain tangible facts that are the likely possibility based on hard, cold facts.

Based solely on the facts and circumstances of my personal life situation, right now, here's how it could likely play out:

What if I died right now?

This line of text and onward would never have been typed since I would have ceased the ability to concentrate on not only the physical act of my brain controlling the muscles in my hands, neck and eyes coordinated on typing at a computer, but the entire desire and motivation to put thoughts to words would have stopped as the thoughts of what to type would have evaporated.

My body, currently clothed in a pair of light blue boxer shorts, with a pair of wire-rimmed glasses propped on the bridge of my nose, nothing more, would slump forward from the weight of my head, and pushed from the back out by my butt in the chair.

The chair being wheeled, would push out away from the weight, somewhat forcefully as I am over 300 pounds, toward the open bed. My collapsing head and top-heavy upper body may have knocked over the flat panel monitor and toppled the keyboard off the keyboard tray, allowing it to dangle from it's cord, or, rapidly slam the keyboard tray on it's little rollers back in under the desk top. The 16 ounce size plastic cup to the left of the monitor would have been flung off the surface of the desk, spraying out it's contents: about 4 ounces of Pink Lemonade Crystal Light. Another lightweight desktop item, the cube-shaped box of Kleenex tissues (used just minutes before to dry tears while writing about dead babies) would have dropped off the desk to the right of my falling corpse.

So, here I lie, sprawled out in my underwear on the floor of my little house. The only sound: the quiet whisper of the tower fan on power setting #1, and the hum of the refrigerator. The occasional tweep of some crickets or peep or blurp of some other small creature from the shore of the nearby lake coming through the open window behind the computer desk. And the bi-hourly dreamy wailing of the train whistle passing through town.

So here I lie. It's 5:03 am. One minute after I wrote the line "What if I died right now" in the midst of my post above.

The silence of this scene would not significantly be broken until exactly 6:45 am. That's when the alarm clock would commence it's chiming, starting off with a barely audible "beep-beep-beep" and within a minute or two would be blaring out "BEEP-BEEP-BEEP" since no one would be pushing the STOP button. This sound would go on for quite a while (I actually don't know if it is indefinite...interesting side question...anyone know?).

Being a detached structure several feet away from the main house, it's not likely anyone in the main house would react, if they even heard it at all. It would just be a forgettable and faint beeping to them. There would likely be other factors that might alert someone sooner, or because it is in conjunction with the un-tended alarm clock blaring.

As the morning progressed on, say to about 9:00 or so, there might be a phone call placed to my house from Jill, my boss, since I'd now be unquestionably late for work without calling in. Something I've never done before. With this job:)

But there would not be a ringing telephone sound joining the monotonous symphony of the beeping alarm and humming fridge of my room since I have long ago turned the ringer option on the phone to OFF. (Pesky telemarketers.)

Jill would, of course, get no answer, and would shrug it off, figuring I may be tied up in traffic or something. She might get more concerned as the day progressed, but she may not take action on that. Though a "No Show" would be unusual for me, (again, at this job) it's a fairly now-and-then occurance when you are a call center manager, and it would be counter-productive to raise any major flags each time it happens. We'll go with the assumption she figured I was sick and forgot to call in and would speak to me about it when I came in Friday.

Even though it is December, it is, after all, Florida, so, with the A/C off and the window open, my little house would slowly rise in temperature as the day progressed. The forecast for today is sunny and in the low 80's.

It would probably not have any immediately noticeable biological effect on my body, but it sure doesn't impede any, shall we say, "reconditioning" chemical and biological processes from occurring.

Let's go there, shall we?

Though I didn't feel any "urges" to void either urine or feces at 5:03, it's reported often that the immediate relaxation of sphincter muscles and such during death would allow the release of, let's call it, "stuff". Since I was on Hydroclorot, a diuretic in conjunction with the Lisinopril for hypertension, my bladder is (or was) never completely bone dry, so there would likely be some leakage. What's more, the chemistry of the drug may be such that it could work to continue it's duretic effects even as the cells of my body are dying, moving the cellular water and saline through the system and out the urethra. Dunno.

But, the mass of my gut would, no doubt, be busy producing all manner of bubbles and gasses. Some trapped in the curves and contours of the intestinal tract, others escaping through any nearby orifice.

Bacterial decomposition would likely start churning up throughout this day, but any odoriferous emissions may not be strong enough for any scent to be noticed by any happenstance passerby. Today, that is.

Mike's old grey dog may start to get a little antsy towards the afternoon/evening.

She would have been hearing the alarm beeping all day long, and though she's pretty old and maybe a little poor sighted, her hearing may still be up to par. She's old enough to probably recognize the sound for what it is, a sound which humans usually shut soon after it goes off, and may realize it is not a threatening sound, like say a smoke alarm. (I'm giving the dog a lot of credit in the smarts department here) But she may start now to be both a bit irritated by the non-stop sound and/or smelling a bit o' stink, not much, but she's got a dog's nose.

The Martha Stewart pewter table lamp would have been on all day, unnoticed in the sunshine from anyone outside, but now as darkness fell, it would cast it's warm glow out through the thin slats of my closed California blinds. The monitor would have long ago put itself in screen dark sleep mode, adding nothing to the lighting of this quiet and tranquil (except for this dammed beeping alarm clock) diorama.

So still, here I lie...

9:00 am or so, Friday.

Here's were some action in all this could start. Jill should really start to be concerned now. But depending on her proceedure in these things, it may or may not be very productive.

The company has set guidelines for all sorts of things. Two consecutive "No Call, No Shows" are really bad. Cause for possible loss of job since they consider it Job Abandonment.

Though we went through our recent, and unpopular afore-mentioned downsizing, we members of the current team are pretty vital and expected to keep good attendance. Jill and I are (or were until my untimely recent demise) on pretty good terms, so she might take action to avoid me having 2 No Shows on my record. Or at least get down to the settling of her curiosity of why I am out.

What's more, she knows, as likely everyone in the office knows, I live alone and have health problems. She may get genuinely concerned for my well being.

We know that if she keeps calling the house phone, she's gonna get no answer. If she keeps fairly accurate records, she should have my emergency contact phone number, Ric's cell phone.

A call to Ric at this hour will result in it going to voicemail. Ric's doesn't even think of waking up for anything before noon or so.

She would leave a message.

Meanwhile, back at this house, the beeping alarm and maybe a now somewhat stronger whiff, very strong to the dog, may be somewhat noticed by either Mike or another of the mystery tenants next door. Action, though, is a strong step to take other than maybe knocking lightly on the door or trying to peep through the window. Both likely non-productive since, of course, no one would come to the door and I don't think, with the way the blinds are closed, anyone could see in. Mike is a quite "laissez-faire" sorta guy and he may not take the option to let himself in. Plus, he has told me on a couple of occasions that he doesn't hold a spare key to the house (...why not, he's the landlord, shouldn't he?).

So now it henches pretty much on what Ric will do when he listens to the voicemail message from Jill around noon.

Though Ric fully has experienced my flippant attitude towards past jobs, he knows I value this one, so he would think it would be odd to not show up or call in for 2 days. What's more, of any player so far, he knows my health issues pretty well.

At 2:00 pm Ric bikes to my house. It's timed so that if he finds out I'm just playing hooky and being reckless with my career, he can be on his way from there to his job.

He sees the car in the drive so he knows I'm here. He knows I don't walk anywhere anymore.

He hears the blaring alarm clock.

After knocking, then pounding on the door, he moves towards the side of the house with the open window. He calls in to me. No answer.

Does he smell anything? Or does he sense something?

Hesitation...what should he do? The signs are not good. He has to get in.

He knocks on Mike's door, and hears the dog barking away, but no answer...Mike is at work, as are any other occupants.

Ric goes back to my house and tries to push in the door. It's a pretty strurdy door with a good Schlage lock. Even as he slams his body into it (being cautious of his shoulder injury, of course) it's to no avail.

Back at the open window, he decides to pull off the screen, but the opening is small. His body won't be able to fit through there. But it doesn't need to, since his head and arms can get in.

He pulls up the blinds, and leans in.

There I am.

He yells to me hoping I'm just passed out drunk, or something, or anything, just not...what I am.

Dead.

Not having his cell phone since he doesn't carry it to work with him. Ric rides to either a neighbor's home or a couple blocks to the pay phone at 7-Eleven.

He dials 911.

Ric misses work this day, and has to deal with the paramedics and police. They take my body out on a wheeled stretcher, put me in the ambulance and drive me away.

Someone, at some point during this commotion, finally turns off the alarm clock.