About Me

I feel the wanderlust and the call of the open highway. Which is good, because I drive cars for a living. But I'm a writer, and someday hope to once again make my living using my writing skills.

Friday, November 30, 2012


I woke up and stared at the ceiling.  I did not know where I was or what day it was.  My head was light and felt like it had been spinning endlessly.  I was extremely disoriented and felt very unsure of myself.  I looked under the sheets of the bed and saw I only had on a pair of underwear.  On my job, I sleep in many beds in many different cities, but I don't usually wake up feeling quite so strange or concerned.  What happened last night?

Karen, my ex-girlfriend from high school days, came into the room.  She was bustling around quickly, and did not appear to be in a good humor.  "Good morning, beautiful," I said to her.

"Oh, really?  Is that all you've got to say for yourself?"

I sat up quickly, and my head began to spin again.  "Wait, what's the matter?"

She shook her head and continued hurrying around the room, picking things up and trying to make it tidy.  The room was a huge mess.  Something was obviously bothering her, because we normally get along great.  "You need to get up and get ready."

"What is going on?" I asked.  She simply kept on moving, as if doing so would avoid further questions or conversation.  "Hello?  Karen?  You there?"

"Shut up, OK?"


"Do you even remember yesterday?  Let me refresh your memory.  It was Thanksgiving, and you came to spend it with me."

"Today is the day after Thanksgiving?"

"Wow, how did you figure that out?  You had a bad headache, so I gave you one of my pain pills, and you got totally crazy."

"Prescription pain pills?"

"Yes," she replied.

"Was I drinking?"

"Just wine, don't you remember?"

I hung my head.  "No, not a thing.  Pills and wine are not a good mix for me.  In fact, extremely bad.  What did I do?"

"Not so much what you did as what you said."  With that, she marched out of the room.  I had to look around to find the various pieces of my clothes.  I loved this girl more than any girl in the world, how could I have so alienated her?  What was going on with me?  A few minutes later, she came back in and laid down a plate with a sandwich on it.  "You never ate your meal yesterday.  There's a turkey sandwich, eat it while you're dressing."

"Why are we in such a hurry for me to leave?"

"WE are not, I am.  I have to fly back to Indy.  Cheryl is very sick and she needs me."

"Cheryl?"  I sighed.  Cheryl was Karen's ex-lover, and I had trouble dealing with the lesbian issue.

Karen pointed her finger at me and her bottom lip quivered.  "Don't start this again.  This is how it all began last night.  You started getting all jealous, then announced how deeply in love with me you were, and how you want to marry me and spend the rest of your life with me."

I dressed slowly and listened to her, feeling sheepish that I had said so much and had no memory of it.  "What else did I say?"

"That I was the love of your life, the stars in the night sky, all this poetic crap.  You just really went way, way overboard."

"Did I?"

She snorted, not happily.  "Yeah, you did."

"Anything else worth mentioning?"

"You threw stuff all over the room.  And you shared all your fantasies about me, in lurid detail."

"I went too far?" I asked.

"It was...  it's just that...  Bill, it was overwhelming.  I expected to have a nice, quite little Thanksgiving, just the two of us.  This was my first one alone without Cheryl, so..."  She came and sat down on the bed next to me as I pulled on my socks.  "You freaked me out a little bit."

"Just a little?"

"Maybe more than a little.  Come on, get ready, I need to catch a flight in just under two hours."

"I can take you to the airport."

"No.  I mean thank you, that's very sweet, but I need some time alone to process all of this."  I had put on my shoes and was picking up my wallet and cell phone.  She grabbed a few tissues from the night stand and wrapped the turkey sandwich in them.  "For the road."

I accepted it gratefully.  Then I walked to the front door with her close behind.  As I was walking out, I turned and said,  "Karen, I am so, so sorry about all of this.  Whatever I said or did, it wasn't me.  I should have warned you not to feed me pills and alcohol."

"I didn't shove them down your throat."

I nodded and smiled.  "I wasn't swinging from the chandelier, was I?"

This made her laugh.  "No, nothing like that.  It was just stuff you said."  She grabbed me and kissed me on the cheek.  "Come back soon, we'll talk."

"I love you, kid."

A tear rolled down her cheek.  "Me too you."

Monday, November 19, 2012


Only a few weeks ago we were collectively celebrating Halloween.  I was driving as usual on that special day, and had just dropped off a car near Baltimore.  And I got a frantic call from sweet old Mrs. Sherman, who said she needed me to pick up her car as soon as possible.  I've driven her car from the north down to Florida and then back up for several years, but word usually comes from my boss Riff.  I tried and tried to call him, but no luck.  So I made my way up to her house via commuter trains and buses.

When I arrived at her house, she opened the door to greet me.  She looked a little bit surprised to see me, and said,  "Well hello, Bill, this is an unexpected pleasure.  Please do come in."

As soon as I walked in the door I could smell the strong odor of gas.  "Mrs. Sherman, do you smell gas?"

"I'm 94 years old now, sometimes I don't fully digest and break wind.  I took my Beano.  Or maybe, yes, it must be the oven, I am cooking a big batch of...   now wait a minute.  What am I cooking?"

I hurried over to the oven and could see it was set on 450 degrees.  I opened it and the smell of the gas was much more profound.  I quickly turned the oven off, and then looked to find how to turn the gas off.  "Your pilot light went out, Mrs. Sherman."

"The lights are going out?"  She scurried over to a drawer and pulled out a large box of matches.  "Let me just light a few candles while we can still see."

I quickly took the matches from her.  "No ma'am, you don't to be lighting any matches right now."

"Well, OK, but its going to get very dark in here when the lights go out.  By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to you!"

"Not quite yet, today is Halloween.  In a few more weeks it will be Thanksgiving."

She looked perplexed.  "Are you sure about that?"

"Very sure."

"Well then, I guess we better get ready for the trick or treaters.  I don't have candy, I guess I can bake some cookies.  Or rice crispy treats.  What do you like, Bill?  A chocolate cake?  Or a cherry pie?"

I smiled at her.  "I like them all, but I don't think we should be baking right now.  We need to get some windows opened."  I went around the kitchen and living room opening windows.

"Don't you think its awfully cold to be letting the night air in?" she asked.

"We have to get the gas fumes out of here."

"Gas fumes?" she said with wonder.  "Oh, I filled up the tank of my car with gas, so it's all ready for you to drive to Florida."

I nodded.  "Uh, yes, but do you realize that I just drove it up from Florida a little over a month ago?"

She rubbed her chin.  "I see.  Well then there must be some mistake, it's too soon for you to take it back down there.  What made you think I was ready to move it?"

"Your phone call."

She hurried for the front door.  "There's the doorbell, our first trick or treaters are here."  But there was no doorbell, and when she opened the door she found an empty porch.  "Now where did they go?  Do you think they are pulling a prank on me?"

"Perhaps so," I offered.

"Bill, I am so glad you showed up.  I get so lonely here sometimes, its so good to see a friendly face."

"Happy to see you too, Mrs. Sherman."

The door from the garage into the house opened, and Mrs. Sherman's daughter Regina came rushing in.  "Mother, are you OK?" she asked.  Then she saw me.  "Bill Thomas, what are you doing here?"

"He came to surprise me," said Mrs. Sherman.

Regina shook her head.  "I don't understand."  She sniffed at the air.  "Do I smell gas?"

I held my hands up as I explained.  "Your mother called to ask me to come pick up her car."

"What?  No, no, it's not --  Oh Mother, what have you been up to?"

"I smelled the gas when I got here, and turned the oven off.  The pilot light had gone out."

"I was baking some... some... something delicious!" said Mrs. Sherman with pride.  She winked at me.

"The windows are open, I'm trying to clear out the fumes."

Regina walked over to me.  "Thank you so much for looking out for my Mother.  You are a very sweet man."

"No problem, ma'am.  All in a day's work."

We talked a bit longer, and then Regina called a taxi to come pick me up and take me back to the train station.  As I rode away from the house, I saw ghosts and goblins walking down the street carrying bags to collect candy.  And I felt good inside knowing that Mrs. Sherman would be alright.