“I just ate less…”

NO “bleeping” CHANGE…

STILL 130.4

I could have said NO fucking CHANGE…but I thought I would refrain from bold, blue  obscenities.

Here’s the deal:  IF I HAVE TO START JOGGING AT AGE 75…THE WORLD IS GOING TO HEAR ABOUT IT!!  And I am not even kidding.

OK?  Just saying.  I am warning you world.  I don’t like the concept of jogging.  I have NEVER liked the concept of jogging.   I probably don’t even know HOW to jog…is it like running?  Only slower?  See…don’t know, care less.

Today is September 9, 2019 and my goal is to weigh 125 pounds by … what did I say????… end of October???  Okay.  It was November 1.  Grrrrrr…….

Tomorrow I walk A LITTLE MORE…That’s the best I can do…right now.

Have a nice day…

P.S.  I am basically a calm, happy person…

Chapter 10

When I look back now…I think I truly fell in love with Johnny Taylor at that 8th grade Halloween Party…and never really fell out…

He agreed…but then…he always agreed with me.

Within a week, I had moved into Johnny’s apartment.

It was like we had been together forever.  Everything fell so easily into place.  There was a bus line that went right down Snelling Avenue to the East River Road and into the U of M campus…no one wanted to drive a car to the U. if there was some other way.

I got a job as a waitress at Pierre’s Pizza, just a short one-block walk from our apartment and my student loan had kicked in so I could quite my other job as…

Yes, I had gotten the weekend popcorn girl job!  Even after only a couple of weeks I knew I was going to miss that butter  I mean…popcorn.

Johnny, who had been close to failing ALL of his classes, cleared his mind, stopped partying and began to study…and not just to please me…but to please himself…to please us.

When we weren’t being in love, making love, working or studying, we spent every minute doing whatever we could to protest the Vietnam War.  We marched.  We made signs.  We went to meetings and protest rallies.  We wrote letters.

But still…more and more young men were coming home in body bags…shown in full color on CBS news.

Every night there was  footage…showing young men…somewhere in Nam…either bleeding from wounds or shooting at the enemy.   It was horrible to watch.  But I felt I owed it to every soldier to do so.

One night…as we were drifting off to sleep…Johnny, holding me close to him as he did every night, softly whispered.

“I don’t think I could ever kill anybody, Riley.”  And then…even softer…

“I don’t want to…”

 

Chapter 11

I slowly pushed myself up to a sitting position, keeping my eyes glued to the black form in the corner.

Emma was sound asleep at the foot of the bed…nestled in ‘her’ Drake tee shirt… (it’s too long  a story to share right now)…so I nudged her a little so she would wake up.  Nothing.

“Emma.” I whispered and tapped her lightly on her head.  “Wake Up.”

But she didn’t wake up.  She didn’t even move.  She was, as they say, ‘dead to the world’.

And then it quietly occurred to me that I wasn’t scared…not at all.  I even smiled a little…what the hell is going on?

I was, in fact, feeling a deep sense of calm.  Remember that ‘Zen’ feeling I mentioned earlier?  Like that.  Then.  It hit me.

“Holy Shit! I cried out loud.  “I’m fucking dead!”

I hadn’t even felt sick!  No one had even hinted that I was dying!

Of course sometimes…not often…not very often…I don’t always pay attention to every, single solitary word  that people are saying to me…but still…

“I cant believe this.” I screamed.

“Dead at 24!  I had so many things left to do.  I’m pretty sure of that!”

“Bucket List!  My bucket list!  Crap.  I haven’t even made a bucket  list…”

I tapped Emma a wee bit harder on her head.

“Emma!  We’re dead!  We’re both dead!  Can you believe that?”

“I’m not dead.” said Emma in… NOT MY  VOICE…

Things were starting to ratchet up a bit now…as my heart started to pound furiously…

Do dead hearts pound?  I don’t know…I DON’T KNOW!!!!!

Chapter 12

I slowly drew my hand away from the head of my ‘apparently not dead’ cat.

“So,” I whimpered, “It’s just me.  I’m dead alone.”  My eyes started to burn.

But then, out of the corner of my now watery eye,  I noticed the black…whatever…starting to sway a little and change its shape.

It looked like it was extending a hand out to me.

“OH NO!!  OMG!!  IT’S THE HAND OF DEATH.” I shrieked.

As the hand moved closer, I shrank back against my pillow.  I felt like I should do something…like run…to avoid this death thing.  Could I…?

But I was not going to be that dumb girl in the stupid horror movie who runs down the basement to hide…and subsequently becomes many pieces.  Does this building even have a basement?

“Noooo,” I whined loudly as the hand moved even closer.

And then Emma stood up and turned toward me and walked up my legs.

She put her two front paws on my shoulders.  We were eyeball to eyeball.

“Relax, Tobey.  It’s not death.  It’s one of your guardian angels.  Your main one, actually.”

“By the way, the correct phrase is ‘the hand of God’ not ‘the hand of death.’

Said Jennifer Lawrence…since that is exactly who my cat Emma sounded like…with a heavy Southern accent.

She then licked my nose, dropped her paws, walked down my legs and curled up at the foot of my bed…in ‘her’ Drake tee-shirt.

“Not dead then…?” I asked in a squeaky voice.

“No.”

I exhaled loudly.  “Okay good.  Really good and great.”

“His name is Fred.  Like in Rogers.”

“Oh, Jesus.” I mumbled under my breath.

“No…Fred.”

 

 

 

Chapter 13

Fred?  What kind of weird angel name is that, I was wondering to myself when suddenly ‘Fred’ spoke.

“I know right?  I would have preferred Sebastian…but I’m not in charge.”

Fred’s voice was thin, high and reedy…kind of like Truman Capote just before he died.

“And may I just point out, right from the get go, that… it is not my fault that you saw me tonight,” he said.

“I have been watching over you ever since you were born…for every one of your 24 years, day and night, night and day, through thick and thin, through wind and rain and sleet and snow…through sickness and other people’s deaths…even that date with Carl…what a dumbbell…what were you thinking there?…” continued Fred in a prickly, slightly complaining voice.

He paused as if to take a breath but no…of course…that could not be…and then he went on…

“And you have NEVER EVER rolled back on your right side after you have rolled over to your left side…NEVER.”  His voice was becoming  a little edgy now.

Fred seemed really anxious and upset.  I was feeling kind of bad for old Freddy.

I, on the other hand, was becoming more and more relaxed.  Realizing you are not dead after thinking you ARE dead can be extremely soothing.

Hmmmm…I wonder if it’s too late to order pizza?

 

 

 

Chapter 14

“Pizza Pantry stopped delivering 22 minutes ago…it’s 1:22 a.n.” said Fred.

I looked over at the black shape…okay…Fred…and it hit me…well, maybe not dead.  That was good and great…but maybe…nuts?  Maybe I’ve slipped a cog.

“You are perfectly sane, Tobey.  Don’t concern yourself with that nonsense.  If YOU had just not rolled over again…none of this would be happening.”

“So…what you are saying is…that this is ALL MY FAULT?” I said indignantly and I sat up straighter and fluffed my hair in the mirror on the wall at the end of my bed.

(I feel it’s important to see just what you look like first thing in the morning.  I know.  I know.)

“Yes.  Of course it’s your fault.” Fred said, “it certainly isn’t MY fault.  I’ve been at this job for thousands of years…I don’t make mistakes.”

“I am, as the young folks say…a GOAT.”  Fred said proudly.  (Yes.  he actually said “young folks.”)

“Fine.  Whatever.  I am  just a mere mortal.  You are the great angel from on high.” I said sarcastically and rolled my eyes.

“Did you actually think that I could not see that?” said Fred.  “And, I don’t appreciate your sarcasm…honestly.”

Suddenly, Emma sat up and held up her one white paw and pointed it at Fred first and then at me.

“Hold it…”  she said, again using that strange Jennifer Lawrence voice.

“Stop bickering.  It is what it is.  Deal.  I need my sleep.”

As she spoke, I brushed my hand against my lips, just to make sure…nope…no movement.  Emma was talking again.

 

Chapter 15

I looked from Emma to Fred and blinked several times and let out a huge sigh.

This was crazy…maybe not really crazy, crazy, according to Fred but…you know…crazy.

It appears I have a talking cat…who is talking to my guardian angel named Fred who also talks…and…

I glanced over at the clock on my night table.  Crap!  It was almost 2:00 a.m. and I have to be up at 7:00 to get ready for work.  I had the early shift at  The Book Shop tomorrow.

“No you don’t,” said the all-knowing Fred.

“Margo closed the shop because of the snow storm.”

“Oh, right, right,” I answered quickly, remembering and then thought, does he know everything?

“Yes.  I do.” said Fred…and it sounded like he was smiling…if guardian angels can smile…that is.

“Well look,” I said very slowly, trying to remain calm, trying to wrap my mind around this completely nutso night.

“I don’t want to dismiss the importance of you,” I said as I pointed to Fred.

“Or you, Emma,” I said as I scratched my little cat under her chin.

“But I do need to get some real sleep after this strange dream…so…good night, sleep tight, sweet dreams…it’s been fun.”

And I carefully laid back down on my pillow…somewhat sure of my sanity.

“Not a dream,” Fred whispered very softly.  “Not a dream.”

I took a deep breath and then another and then closed my eyes.  After a few minutes, I ever so slowly opened them and peeked over at the corner of my bedroom.

Fred was gone!!!!  It was a dream!  I knew it!  Thank God!!!

“Shall I pass that on to Him in person?” asked Fred as he floated in from the hallway.

Fuck.