Friday, June 17, 2011

Butterfly Dreams (59)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
Rosie's Revenge

My mind was straining to project thoughts to Rosie in attempt to plead with her. Next to me, I could sense that Michelle was also attempting the same thing. If she sensed either of our thoughts, Rosie offered no response.

Glancing at Baxter and O'Day, their blank stares only confirmed that they were being controlled. I momentarily wrestled with the idea of charging one of them and trying to seize one of the weapons. I dismissed the thought however, knowing that even if I succeeded, the other would probably have the drop on me.

Then there was a crawling feeling inside of my head. My mind was being probed. Someone was trying to pilfer my thoughts. I slammed my eyelids shut and tried to force the intrusive mind from my head. Inexplicably I felt a surge of neural energy that seemed to spring from deep within my psyche and the invading thoughts were cast away.

Next to me, before I had a chance to ponder the occurrence, Michelle stumbled but was able to regain her balance. Grabbing my arm she leaned against me and whispered, "What just happened?"

It was apparent to me that she'd also experienced the same intrusion and ouster of the alien mind. "I don't know," was my barely perceptible reply.

"Break it up, you two!" Gates barked. His eyes met mine and he said, "I guess I'm going to have to separate you and the missus, eh?"

With Baxter steering Michelle to the far end of the array of consoles, O'Day guided me to the seat in front of the nearest one and waved his pistol for me to sit. When I hesitated he touched the pistol against my shoulder and shoved me into the chair with his free hand.

"Brock? Why are you doing this?" I pleaded hoping to break the trance to which he'd been subjected. If he heard my words at all, he ignored them.

"People," Gates shouted, "I need all of you conscious and there is no need for anyone to get hurt. I want you to pick up those headsets now ... and put them on ..."

As I slipped the device onto my head I thought of Rosie's thoughts to Michelle and me that we would be unaffected. It was her fate however, that troubled me. Why was she so adamant that her sacrifice was necessary? I turned my head to my left trying to locate her in the room. Staring at the wall before her, she too had donned one of the neural headsets.

Rosie had positioned herself at the console next to Michelle. Although she showed no signs of interaction with her, I couldn't help but wonder if her choice of seats might have been by design. I looked up as Jordan slid into the seat next to me. Perhaps his positioning was by design also?

I felt his presence behind me. Addams/Gates placed his hands on the back of my chair and chortled, "Relax, Mr. Black. No one can help you now. In a couple of minutes you won't remember our differences. Why, I will even go so far as to predict that you will become one of my biggest supporters."

"But, Julius," Jordan quipped, "it will not be of his own free will."

"Ah, Bishop, my one time associate-turned enemy has decided to honor me by addressing me directly." He eyed the old man with disdain and snorted, "You of all people know what power I have at hand. Free will? Shortly my will shall be the only one that matters."

"You've gone stark raving mad!" Faye screeched.

He stepped in her direction and grinned. "Step-daughter, it was always you who demanded and received special attention. Everything was handed to you. The more you were given, the more you wanted. Your sister on the other hand, always worked her fingers to the bone for everything she wanted." He paused, placed his fists on his hips and continued, "Well today that will all change. It's her turn to want for nothing."

"Father," Rosie said in an almost mechanical tone, "let us proceed."

Addams/Gates was visibly chagrined to have his ramblings interrupted but was quick to gather his composure. He crossed the room and stood before a vacant console. After donning a headset he moved in front of a master control panel and allowed his finger to hover near a large toggle switch.

He glanced at the row of consoles and the individuals seated before them. "For me, this is victory. For you, Rosie, it is revenge."

Without hesitating another moment he flipped the switch. In a trice the room was filled with agonizing guttural screams as the insides of our heads were ignited with searing pain. Then everything went black.

To be continued

Dreams On Wings


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Smokers Synonymous

I don't want to become one of those obnoxious ex-smokers! You know the ones I mean - the ones who have taken up a cross and have set out on a crusade to make life miserable for those who still smoke.

No, I won't be one of those who pontificate against that nasty addiction. But having just recently begun the process of giving up smoking, I will maintain a measure of advocacy for the rights of smokers. Besides, I'm not that far removed from lighting up myself. I can only claim to be an ex-smoker for six days and that hardly qualifies me as one who has successfully kicked the habit.

The last three weeks have seen a decline in my output and my attention to this blog. On the 24th of last month I was given new prescriptions for my blood pressure, iron count and water retention. Then on the 5th of this month, last Sunday, I applied the first Nicoderm patch onto my arm. Thankfully, the patch, so far, has proven effective.

I have been noticing brief periods of light-headedness and difficulty concentrating. Although I've had some post ideas, it seems that every time I sit down at the keyboard I go blank or lose my desire to type the thoughts to the blog.

I can only assume that the combination of new meds might be responsible of the light-headedness. Perhaps the lack of concentration is a side effect of the patch? Perhaps it's all in my head ...

... I mean, I had never posted to my blog without a lit cigarette close at hand. I keep thinking I should take a drag ... BUT ... I'm not actually craving a cigarette - at least not consciously. They say the urge never goes away ...

To those who have been reading and following my story, Butterfly Dreams, I am working on it ... really! It's ironic, but there are only about TWO installments left until its conclusion. I have to keep backtracking to previous chapters to make sure I'm tying up any loose ends.

Next Wednesday I have an appointment - more blood work - and will inquire about light head and lack of concentration. The following Tuesday there will be a follow-up appointment to assess the results of the blood work. (Hopefully the iron count will have improved, the blood pressure will have come down and the water retention will have been brought under control.)

Why Not Post Some Smoking Humor?

I had been a heavy smoker since I was a teenager, but to my surprise was able to quit "cold turkey." However, my weight shot up and I felt very self-conscious. When a friend congratulated me on giving up cigarettes, I exclaimed, "But look at all these added pounds!"

Her reply was one I'll always treasure. "Oh, my dear, don't worry about that!" she said. "Just think of all the extra years you will have in which to lose them."

A young couple had been married for a couple of weeks, and the man was always after his wife to quit smoking.

One afternoon, she lit up after some lovemaking, and he said, "You really ought to quit."

She, getting tired of his nagging, said, "I really enjoy a good cigarette after sex."

He replied, "But they stunt your growth."

She asked if he ever smoked, and he replied that he never had.

Smiling and lifting her gaze to his groin, she said, "So, what's your excuse?"

A tobacco company had heard that the oldest citizen of a certain
village had been smoking their product for over fifty years. They
dispatched a public-relations man to the village to interview him.
“Sir,” the P.R. man said, “we are prepared to fly you to California
to appear on an early morning television show to give a testimonial
about our tobacco company.”
“Can’t do it!” replied the seasoned smoker.
“You can’t do it?” asked the P.R. man. “Don’t you want a free plane
ticket to California?”
“Yep, I’d like to go to California, but I can’t do it.”
“Well, Sir,” said the P.R. man, “we’re prepared to put you up in one
of the nicest hotels in Los Angeles for at least three nights. Wouldn’t
that be wonderful?”
“Yep, it would be wonderful, but I can’t do it!”
“Why can’t you do it?” screamed the P.R. man.
“Well, young fellow,” he said, “I can’t fly to California and appear
on that morning television show to give a testimonial about your tobacco
because I don’t stop coughing until noon!”

Three little boys were sitting on a porch. One says, "My daddy smokes and he can blow smoke rings."
~~The second boy pipes up, "Well my daddy smokes too, and he can blow smoke out of his eyes."
~~The third one, not to be outdone, responds, "My dad can blow smoke out of his butt!"
~~"Really?" said his friends amazed. "Have you seen him do it?"
~~The boy shook his head and answered, "No, but I've seen the tobacco stains on his underwear."


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Monkey Off My Back

Sunday 6/5/11:

At the time of this posting, it has been 12 hours since my last cigarette !

Now, I realize that when it comes to kicking such an addictive and nasty habit, 12 hours is nothing in the scheme of things. (After all, I've been smoking since March of 1968 - that's 43 years and two months!)

I'd like to say that I'm undergoing this endeavor cold turkey ... but no, I've been sporting "The Patch" since 11 this morning. I smoked, hopefully, my last cigarette at 10:30 with my second cup of coffee.

Dousing that cigarette, I considered the two ashtrays, the one on the end table next to my recliner and the other next to the keyboard of my PC, and promptly removed them from my sight.

I anticipate that there will be some anguished moments - withdrawal symptoms - but so far there have been none. I've heard stories where others began to eat more frequently for the sake of having something to put into their mouths. (Thankfully, there is plenty of cutup cantaloupe and watermelon in the fridge!)

Not trusting my resolve or willpower, I DID leave one lone cigarette in the pack. I decided to test that resolve - I'm looking at that pack now - by leaving it within easy reach of the keyboard.

If that cigarette, so accessible, calls me and I am able to ignore it, then today's actions won't have been vain. If on the other hand I succumb to its beckoning, then I'll know just how hard it will be to continue.

I think the biggest test will present itself tomorrow at 11 AM. They say the first 24 hours are the most difficult. So far the first 12 have been pretty easy ...

Wish me luck!