Something Fundamental

His head was down against the silvery sunshine heat. Walking along, he looked up to orient his course and spotted Doctor Frank further up the white cement sidewalk.

He literally froze where he was. His heart beat – he felt it – but a shocked stupor held him stiff. Doctor Frank had died two months before. This had to be a doppelganger. He’d heard or read that everyone has an exact replica of themselves elsewhere on the world. This was the most perfect one he’d ever seen. The man was just like Doctor Frank, the biologist, in every aspect from his impish, good-natured expression, gray and white beard, and slender-as-a-broom frame to the outdoor pants, boots, and vest that were Doctor Frank’s regular attire, including the forest green bush hat.

He snapped out of it. The result put him up the sidewalk past where he’d spotted Doctor Frank, as if he’d never stopped. His head swooned. Pausing to regain control of his senses, he saw Q across the street, waiting to cross.

Now that was fucking impossible. Q’d died four years ago. Like Doctor Frank, doppelganger Q was an eerie ghost of his deceased friend. As he wondered what the what, he saw his mother-in-law, Jean, dead for the last two years, off to the left, with her husband, Carl, who’d been dead since 1992. 

“Holy shit,” reverberated through his mind and came out his mouth. “What’s going on?”

In a blink, he realized all the color had deserted the world, as though he was watching a movie on an old black-and-white television. Closing his eyes to recover, he gasped; with his eyes closed, he could see everything taking place in color, except the dead folk that he saw weren’t there.

Slowly, he cracked his eyes open and took in the monochrome world. The sound differed from before. Swiveling his head, he saw more dead friends and relatives. It wasn’t his beloved hometown any longer, until he closed his eyes. With eyes closed, color was restored, and he was in the town where he’d been living and walking.

Keeping them closed, he resumed his walk. That seemed to work, but it was a temporary solution. Something fundamental had changed in his world.

He was going to have to open his eyes again sometime. And then…

He shook his head. He was going to keep his eyes closed until he was home. And then —

Well, he’d see.

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One More Complaint

I don’t mind sweating, but I’ll tell you, I intensely dislike it when the sweat makes my boxer shorts stick to my butt cheeks. Makes me want to swear off undies, but then I’d just end up with my shorts stuck to my butt. The only option seems to be to avoid sweating, unless someone makes undies that repel sweat…

Woof.

Nature

Don’t you love it when you’re outside with a hat on, and a large spider starts running around on your hat brim’s underside, and then he drops down on a thread and swings onto your sunglasses like Tarzan, and then races onto your cheek and makes a dash over your mustache for your nostril?

Yes, yes, I really love it.

Really.

Ah, nature.

The Pace

He rounded a corner and turned to head up a hill. A woman, perhaps in her early twenties, was also going up the hill.

His energy had been lagging and the hill was steep, so he decided that he would push himself and stride up that hill.

He began the walk. Within seconds, he realized that the young woman was right behind him.

Well, that wouldn’t do. Pressing his lips together, he pressed into a fast stride and higher speed. After a dozen feet, he peeked back out of the corner of his eye.

He almost broke stride. She was still there. Damn it. Sucking energy out of his reserves, he walked as fast as he could up the long, steep hill.

Reaching the top was a crosswalk with traffic light. He stopped to wait for the light to change. She caught up with him. “Wow, that was some pace you had coming up the hill. I thought that I’d use you to pace myself, but I couldn’t keep up.”

He nodded. “I was trying to get away from you. I was pretending that a beautiful young woman was stalking me because she wanted my body, and I had to escape.”

Her eyes widened. Her mouth clamped shut.

He grinned. “Don’t worry, it’s just a silly fantasy to push me to walk faster. Of course it’s not true.” Stepping closer to her, he said, “Right?”

The light changed. He strode away.

The Excuse

Two people were in the cross walk. The red Volkswagen Jetta had plenty of time to stop, but the young woman drove through the crosswalk, missing a pedestrian on either side by two to three feet.

Enraged, they gestured and shouted at her. She had a good excuse for not seeing them and stopping, because she was on her cellphone.

The Disconnect

He walked through the neighborhoods of circa 1940 and 1950 bungalows and craftsman houses. The newer neighborhoods were ranches built in the 1960s and 1970s, larger houses with smaller yards.

Throughout were large oak, sycamore, and maple trees, along with cars and RVs filled with belongings parked up against the curbs. Some cars had people sleeping inside. Others had windows or doors open with people lounging by their vehicles, smoking cigarettes, talking to others, listening to music, or reading books.

Churches occupied every third block, churches with an acre or more of vast asphalt for parking with signs stating, “Church Use Only. All Others Will Be Towed.” 

Somehow, seeing those cars and RVs of homeless parked on the streets and the vast empty church parking lots, he thought there was a disconnect, but he just couldn’t connect it.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Was walking and streaming to myself (of course, but who else could I be streaming to?), “No more speed, I’m almost there. Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care. Last car to pass, here I gooo. And the line of cars go down real slow, whoa. Radio’s playing that forgotten song. Brenda Lee’s coming on strong. And the newsman sang his theme song.”

Yes, it’s Golden Earring’s 1973 hit, “Radar Love”, at least how I remember it. I was pushing myself to get to nine miles for the day and reflecting on it all. Blueberry pickin’ at 6:30, the writing day at 9:30 (with forlorn results), drinks with a friend at three, then the final walking to reach nine miles. Mixed bag, you know?

The blueberries weren’t as fine and ripe this year. We came home with an ounce over eight pounds, which cost us $18.25. Long drop from those heady days of eighteen pounds for $36.

Meeting with FX was fun. He’s an established actor, most recently seen as a judge in On the Basis of Sex. After talking life and politics for a bit, we shifted to books and writing, and then movies we’d not like to seen remade, like Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. I also don’t want to see The African Queen remade, Twelve Angry Men, or Bridge On the River Kwai. I don’t think they can touch the Godfather series, but who knows what lurks in the minds of Hollywood producers?

Saturday’s Theme Music

Chicago was a friend’s favorite group when I was a teenager. Sometimes when we hung around at his place, he’d put on one of their tapes. He bought all of their early albums, so I became familiar with their songs. One such song, “Saturday In the Park” came to mind today.

  1. It’s Saturday.
  2. I was in the park, Lithia Park, in fact.
  3. People were talking and smiling, and a man played guitar, singing for us all.

You can see how it all came together, right?

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July

People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs

[Chorus]
Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

[Verse 2]
Another day in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Another day in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all

h/t to Genius.com

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the park.

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