What Sounds Funny To An Irritated Person….

Before I start, I am announcing that I am postponing the posting of any segments of You’re Too Fucking Loud” until I can afford a new printer. I need to print off the extremely rough information I have as a rough draft so I can actually rework it to look professional. Smooth.

Now, with that out of the way….

 

My day was going great. We picked elderberries today, not that we got a lot (enough for about a pint of juice), but we got some. I suggested to mom that, to prevent any further future spraying by the county, she needed to post No Spraying signs next to the culvert near the bushes that got sprayed. It would ensure that the county would not spray again.

We did a few other things (sought out her empty jars, looked for a canner and a pan, and other things needed for canning as well as cleaned out and emptied the sprayers) as well. When we were done, I came home. She sent home with me several jars of canned pickled beets (I have always loved pickled beets), three potatoes, some tomatoes, and sugar.

I was supposed to fill the car up with gas, but found that there was not enough in the bank to do so….so I opted to go a little longer without. I’m perfectly fine with that. I understand.

That is where the ‘good day’ ended.

I have been struggling to get a small bit of funding so I can start a business. The whole process has been fraught with faux pas. The first attempt was reversed due to someone hacking an account. Second, by the bank’s alert system. And today?

Today, I was asked to do something. I tried to do it. I was blocked by the need for a code that I did not have.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate investing in anything not tangible. But, to humor the investor, I did as I was asked ‘to make it easier’. I opened a cryptocurrency trading account. I hate cryptocurrency. Perhaps I am a creature of habit that is leery of sudden change. Or maybe I just hate the idea of having to invest in something I can’t readily use.

To shorten the story, I could not get the person I was dealing with to understand why I could not do as they asked. Either they did not listen to what I said, or they flat ignored it. Both will piss me off quicker than anything. Don’t ignore me. Don’t not listen to me either.

To say the least, I am growing disgusted with the whole procedure. Mainly because the person on the other end is not willing to meet me in the middle. Thus, I posted something on Facebook something not characteristically in step with me. Something that seemed funny at the time.

It was meant as a joke. It concerned a project I decided not to go ahead with. One meant to be a sequel to The Devil.

The joke is liable to offend a few even though it was not meant to do so. Oh well. Sometimes sadism creeps into an angry mind. Sadistic sarcasm. Something I am good at.

Anyhoo…..

Did I mention there’s a new book due out on Halloween? Here’s the link:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-door-on-the-thirteenth-floor-jaysen-true-blood/1133067861/

The Face of It All

I sit here, in my living room, on the day I should be in Virginia. Why? Because of promises broken less than a week into the planning. Originally, my mother-in-law (Ruth) was supposed to help me with the plane tickets and accommodations. Yet, less than a week after she returned to Virginia, she called and asked if I thought I would be able to find my own way.

Knowing how Ruth is, this usually means that she has things other than being a compassionate, understanding person that she feels is more important. This, along with her selfish ideas on what constitutes a memorial service, spurred me into writing a letter to her minister imploring him to try to get her to see how a memorial is really supposed to be and that the wishes of the dead should be honored, despite one’s own feelings.

Subsequently, Ruth unfriended me because I told her that she needed to show more compassion, something she really does not know the meaning of. Oh, sure, she did send money. But that is not borne of a compassionate heart. That was borne from a view that she had a duty. Compassion sees no duty. Born from real love, compassion simply does without personal desires attached. It understands. It accepts the position of the other. And most of all, it treats all with respect.

It is one of the most important components in Love. It is what exemplifies that you have accepted and follow the truth. And that truth is that your wishes do not matter in the grand scheme of things. There are greater forces at work than you. You are finite. At least this physical shell is. Life itself goes on endlessly. And all life is linked.

But, here I sit. No plane tickets, no way to get to where I should be. Perhaps it is for the best. Maybe the universe is protecting those who are in the wrong from my deep mind. Or maybe something is about to happen that I did not need to be involved in. Either way, their little misguided world is safe. I am safe.

Of course, it is supposed to start storming later and I wouldn’t be able to leave Virginia and land in Omaha. Still, I will remember Kelly my way, the way she was. Not my preconceived notion of what I wanted for her. But then, I never expected her to change. To me, she was perfect the way she was, on the path she was on.

From this point on, I will have to remind myself that to stand in judgment of another is to stand in judgment of myself and to condemn another is to condemn myself. If I bind, so shall I be bound.

Living With Tinnitus

Imagine hearing a low hum constantly. Even in an empty room where there is complete silence.  This is the lower end of the tinnitus spectrum. A constant, almost unnoticeable hum. That never goes away.

Now imagine what I can only describe as having a jet engine’s high pitched whine in one, the other, or both ears. Or, maybe, a tornado. Although this is not an accurate description, it is as close as I can get.

Now imagine going through this on a daily basis at varying degrees. Most days could be at the low end of the spectrum, but the high end could strike at any moment, caused by any sound…or just the wind blowing in your ear. Or nothing at all. Onset can be heralded by a sudden case of vertigo or even a sudden loss of balance for no apparent reason.

Tinnitus, by definition, is the excessive vibration in the inner ear, causing a buzzing or humming sound that can only be heard by the sufferer. Even definitions cannot define or describe the attacks accurately. These minimally descriptive definitions mislead the majority of people into believing that tinnitus and its effects are “imagined” by the sufferer, even though it is very real and very devastating and debilitating to the one who suffers from it.

Side effects include vertigo, migraines, and temporary (sometimes for hours) deafness. Of course, all of this depends on the severity of the attack.  At the very least, someone speaking to a person suffering from an attack will seem muffled. At the very worst, the person will not be heard. Some attacks can make the sufferer physically ill or double over in pain. One famous sufferer, Vincent Van Gogh,  even cut off his ear and eventually went insane.

Upon hearing that one of my heroes, Eric Clapton, has come forward and admitted that he also suffers from it and is going deaf has caused me to reflect back on my own experience with this maddening problem. It also reminds me what can cause the problem. Yet, mine was not caused by fantastically loud guitars and concerts. Mine was caused by something much more mundane and yet, much more abusive.

When I was five, I had to have fluid drained from my middle ear. When it was through, I had extremely acute hearing. The doctor did warn my parents that I would probably have occasional bouts of tinnitus, but he thought it would clear up after my ears got used to not being full of fluid.He also warned them that there should be no loud noises or there could be the possibility that there could be nerve damage or permanent tinnitus.

So acute that I could hear a mousetrap being dropped five rooms away! My father, thinking himself clever, delighted in waiting until I was nearby, then dropping a mousetrap just to watch me jump because of the loud noise. And, as the doc had warned, I began suffering tinnitus. At first, it was the low  hum. But as my dad continued to persecute me with the traps, the tinnitus began to rise in pitch and severity.

It reached a peak when I was in my teens. I did not know when it would hit or at what decibel I would be enjoying my next bout.  People thought it was weird that I would lose my balance for what they thought was absolutely no reason (one of the reasons I never went pro as a boxer) or would have to stop and wait for “the colors” to go away so I could see. Some couldn’t even understand the connection between my migraines and my “inner ear problem”.

Over nearly 40 years (I am only three years short of the 40 year mark), I have staggered, lost balance, nearly fallen down stairs, winced in pain, had to cover my ears, had to stop for no apparent reason, or sit down for a few minutes simply because I was hit by a sudden barrage of sound that no one else can hear. I have gotten sick to my stomach, had to go lay down, had to brace myself, and had to suffer through migraines that caused me to vomit. I have had more times than I care to count where I had to embarrass myself and ask someone to repeat themselves because the tinnitus had started up and I did not hear a thing they had said.

I can attest that, at its worst, tinnitus is enough to make the one who suffers from it want to commit suicide. And yes, the thought had crossed my mind a few times about chopping off my ear just to find a little quiet. Both were never truly options to me, though. A buzz is bearable enough to stagger through life with and I can handle having that 747 take off in my ear from time to time as well. And though I don’t feel comfortable with asking people to repeat themselves, I will patiently do so as long as they are as patient with me as I am with them.

I was lucky enough for three and a half years, to be relatively free of much of the worst of my tinnitus. While Kelly was alive, my tinnitus had died down to a barely noticeable hum. The migraines and vertigo were almost nonexistent. I had stability and someone who understood my problems and was patient with me.

Now, my tinnitus is back with a vengeance. And I have nothing. No way to keep it at a minimum. If you remember, I told you at the beginning that tinnitus does not need a trigger. silent rooms can shriek louder than noisy ones. The irony is, with tinnitus, one learns that the old adage “silence is deafening” is very true because in silence, the plague that is that infernal hum of tinnitus can grow to a deafening roar.

Cataloguing Pain

I supposed I should give a rundown of my history of pain so some might understand why I am not depressed when I say that I am tired. While depression can cause pain, my pain has been ever-present from early in my life.

1975/76(?): I recently had my mother confess that I’d had a horse step on me while I was still a baby. More precisely, on my chest. My first dance with that beautiful lady known as death, though I knew her not. This is probably the origin of some of the pain I now suffer, though I cannot be sure.

1977/78(?): I nearly drown. My second dance with that wonderful lady called death. Had my mother’s friend not found me when he did, I would have been dead. If he had found me just minutes later, I would not be talking to you

I can also note that between 1975 and 1978, I also suffered from nearly every childhood illness that children are now vaccinated for.

1980: Though I suffered from the chicken pox this point, I also had to have ear surgery to drain fluid. was pushed off the top of a playground slide. had to be carried off the playground. (was later told that I was lucky to be alive.)

1980-present: I suffer from tinnitus and occasional bouts of vertigo brought on by the tinnitus. In some ways, my migraines have also been closely tied to these problems. If you have never suffered from tinnitus, imagine id someone were to install a gadget in your ear that could create inner ear noise that could range from a mildly annoying “distant” buzz to a noise that can only be described as multiple jet engines all running at the same time. At its worst, it can be debilitating and paralyzing. Blinding. The vertigo attached to this happens somewhere near the midpoint of the tinnitus scale. recently, my tinnitus made a resounding comeback, leading to an increase in my migraines.

1983: my sister molested me. destroys my innocence and causes me more problems than she should. She spends her life denying my existence and accusing mom of abuse…despite the fact that she also spends her teen years and young adult life being a “run around Sue” and gaining a rep as an easy lay.

1984/85: I survived a case of massive heat stroke coupled with possible heat exhaustion. I still think that I should have died, and they did almost lose me. From that point on, I have been unable to handle extreme heat. I slap suffer my first bout of frostbite waiting on a school bus.

1985/86-1993: I suffer several subsequent bouts, each worse than the last, of frostbite from having to walk to school in sub-zero temps. I also suffer numerous bouts of “Respiratory Infection” that are also more serious and less fixable with each round. By the end, I am immune to nearly all antibiotics used to treat the “infection”.

1988: A cousin, a distant cousin, almost runs me over.

1992: I went to summer camp. Had a canoe come down across my neck and shoulders after slipping during a portage trip. Should have died, but ended up paralyzed for what seemed to be an eternity (about 15 minutes).

1992/93: had “falling dream” where I hit bottom. Was told that I shouldn’t have survived.

1993: had my own father point a gun at me. had it been working and loaded, I know I would have been dead. His expression said it all.

1994: I am involved in a collision (I rear ended a van) after trying to avoid being hit. note to self: never wear slick bottom shoes while driving.

1995-2001: My first marriage. my first wife attempted, several different times, in several different ways (last being trying to drive me crazy), to kill me.  My health begins its decline when I turn 27. I balloon out to well over 220, nearly die hitchhiking back from Tulsa, and become an outcast for trying to start life over.

1998: I have an accident while working as a landscaper in Alabama, accidentally driving a work truck 40 ft off an 80 ft drop. This is the final straw where my back is concerned. I am unable to stand, sit, or lay down for nearly a week. Note to self: It’s not smart to smoke and drive.

2001: I mess up my feet by wearing worn out shoes on the job, working as a gutter-tech. Nearly fall from a 50 ft scaffolding. nearly fall off a tar-shingle roof where the temps are well over 110 (99 in the shade), and suffer yet another bout of heat exhaustion. All while my soon-to-be-ex is in the mental hospital. In June, I am advised by the psychiatrist (who had noticed my flagging health) that I should get a divorce before my wife takes me down with her. I follow Dr’s orders.

2004: My father tries to beat the shit out of me. He fails. Messes up my thumbs. We both scare the shit out of my niece. Later, I go to Omaha as a tutor for a friend’s son only to be sent packing after the hubby gets jealous. (it had a lot to do with lies being told by a cousin who was also staying with that friend.) I returned and worked briefly for a shipping dock. the pain I had to bear was excruciating, though it never went away all the time I was there.

2006-2011: My second marriage. Another round of having someone trying to kill me. this time, it is through keeping me smoking even though I am trying my damnedest to stop. I almost die from complications with my gallbladder. Again, I have another dance with death. I would have my teeth pulled (probably more a symptom of a bad gallbladder than what the dentist attributed my rotten teeth to) and find out that I was extremely close to having a heart attack. (would take statins, at first, to combat this until they damaged my muscles; then would be put on fish oil tabs). In the latter part of the marriage, I would end up on migraine meds that ended up altering my behavior (and I would wean myself off of them as quick as possible).

2011: Gallbladder attacks! I had been suffering from some “intestinal” symptoms for a few years, but had thought nothing of it. I had started college in 2009, after I had initially split from my second wife. Being the forgiving kind, I took her back under one condition. she would move with me to Council Bluffs so I could be closer to classes. In late 2010, my symptoms became much worse and I began to undergo testing to see what was wrong. In December/January, I had gallbladder surgery. After I woke, I was shown just how “bad” it had been. The doctor explained that he could not tell how long it had been dead. He also told me that he could not see how I was still alive, that people who wait that long usually die. My only reply was that I had been in pain all my life, so I could not always tell what was hurting or how bad. AS stated above, I had another tango with death. That lady must love me.

2012-present: still suffer from many of the side effects that I was told would go away after gallbladder surgery. My health has been in a steady decline, the pain I live in has worsened, and I rarely get enough sleep. I have had occasional chest pains since 2001, but these have gotten more frequent. I can’t always breathe, finding myself gasping at times, and I am concerned. I have also had a nervous shake, more noticeable in my right hand than the left, in my hands that has worsened each time it has appeared. Each time my back has slipped out, the effects have been more devastating (the last time, I was paralyzed and had to be helped to the bed by Kelly…just a couple of weeks before she died), leaving me concerned about what’s going to happen if it goes out and I am alone. (Will I be able to drag myself out of the bathroom? Or will I die in there, unable to call for help?)

I no longer have the strength left to fight. I no longer have the energy. The pain, the physical pain, I have had to go through for the entirety of my life has sapped it all out of me. It isn’t out of depression that I desire an end, it is out of a desperate need for rest. A desperate need for peace from the war I have had to fight my whole life. While Kelly was alive, I had a bit of that peace, a bit of that rest. But not enough.

My tinnitus has come back with a vengeance. Now, it is almost as if I have a whole fucking jet in my head, the high pitched whine often growing to a roar without warning. Vertigo hits with irregularity still, but the migraines-often after a bout of tinnitus-are getting worse. As they do so, I only wish for one thing: an end to it all.

 

 

RTZ: Act 3, Scene 3

Scene 3: On the platform waiting for the train. John and Abercrombie are talking as they wait for John’s train.

 

John/William

I know that I have no right to ask, but I have a request where my son is concerned.

 

Abercrombie

And that would be?

 

John/William

Rather than separating him from the main population, Keep him in public schools.

 

Abercrombie

(raising an eyebrow, impressed)

Very well. We will teach him how to play nice.

(smiles)

I would have done so anyway. Teaches how to be a humble leader.

 

John/William

(gracious)

Thank you, Uncle.

 

Abercrombie

(smiles)

Nothing doing! I would have done the same for you if you were my boy!

The train arrives and passengers disembark. After a brief refueling, The call begins for passengers to get aboard.

 

Porter

(calling loudly over the bustle)

All aboard! Calling all who are headed for Massachusetts. Boston, Massachusetts! All aboard for Boston Mass and all points north!

 

Abercrombie

Just so you know. This really isn’t about the girl. I, personally, think you make a great couple.

 

John/William

(in shock)

Then, why–?

 

Abercrombie

(smiling)

I wanted to see how decided you were on the girl. I must say that you have the Sparrow rebelliousness. Don’t worry. I won’t go through your mail. And don’t worry. I will make sure she is still waiting for you when you return…if it is within my abilities to do so.

I had this planned when you first wrote me telling me that you were coming to Gloucester. Now get on that train and make me–and your dead father–proud.

 

John/William

Yes, sir!

 

John goes and boards the train, finding a window seat. Moments later, as the train pulls away from the station, he waves at his uncle from the window and Abercrombie waves back. He watches as his uncle becomes a speck on the platform, then disappears. He turns his attention to his new surroundings. 

He is one of several passengers in the car. these passengers range from families to elderly men and women. The porter begins making his way back.

 

Porter

(calling out)

Tickets, please!

 

John/William

(when the porter stops and takes his ticket to punch)

Excuse me, which way to the club car?

 

Porter

(pointing the direction he is headed)

Right back that-a-way.

 

John/William

(graciously)

Thank you, sir.

 

Porter

My pleasure.

(holding his hand out)

Ticket?

 

John/William

(handing him his ticket)

Oh. Here.

(porter punches his ticket and hands it back to him)

 

Porter

Enjoy your trip, Sir.

 

John/William

(smiles)

Thank you.

 

John makes his way back to the club car. As he goes, he listens to the buzz of conversation around him, picking up a little news here and there. He enters the club car and sits at the bar. 

 

Bartender

What’ll it be?

 

John/William

What do you have?

 

Bartender

As long as you don’t squeal, I have whiskey. I also have martinis.

 

John/William

(smiles knowingly)

No worries here. I’ll take a glass of your finest wine. Never been one for whiskey.

 

Bartender

(trying to start a conversation)

You know, this may be the last train to offer drinks. the law changed at the beginning of the year.

 

John/William

Yes, I know. Prohibition has begun. Don’t think it’ll take. Too many things going against it. Will cost too much as a law to remain in effect.

 

Bartender

Hope yer right.

 

John/William

When’s dinner served in the dining car?

 

Bartender

(hands him a menu)

Here. this’ll do a better job than me.

 

John/William

(takes the menu)

Thanks.

 

Bartender

(setting down the flue of wine in front of John)

My pleasure. Enjoy.

 

John sits and drinks his wine, reading the menu. When he is finished, he gets up and fishes in his pocket for the cost of the wine. Setting down the payment, he takes his leave and heads back to his seat.

Once back at his seat, John settles in. It is going to be a long ride. He might as well sleep a little. Fade to black. new scene. John has awakened.

 

Porter

(calling out)

Baltimore, Maryland! Next stop is Baltimore, Maryland! All passengers getting off at Baltimore please be ready to disembark when we stop!

 

Passenger

(sitting in front of John)

Where you headed?

 

John/William

Boston.

 

Passenger

Then you got a while.

 

John/William

(nodding)

Yes.

 

Passenger

College bound?

 

John/William

Yup. And you?

 

Passenger

Golly, no! I get off at the next stop. Going visiting.

 

John/William

Always a good thing, right?

 

Passenger

(smiles)

I suppose.

 

John/William

(perplexed)

I take it, this is not something you chose.

 

Passenger

(shaking their head)

No, not really.

John/William

I see.

 

Passenger

My mom and dad died and I am headed to my aunt and uncle’s.

 

John/William

How old are you?

 

Passenger

Eighteen.

(then realizing that they haven’t introduced themselves and offering John their hand)

Oh. Sorry. I’m Sarah Molfey.

 

John/William

(shaking her hand)

Hello, Sarah. I am William Sparrow.

 

Passenger/Sarah

(eyes growing wide in surprise)

Nephew of Abercrombie Sparrow? that William Sparrow?

 

John/William

(with a smile)

Yes, last time I checked.

 

Passenger/Sarah

(excitedly)

Golly! I wouldn’t have known! Could you look me up if you’re ever in Baltimore?

 

John/William

I’ll see what I can do. Not sure when I will be back this way. Perhaps you should look me up if you’re in Boston. I’ll be around, since I am headed for Harvard.

 

Passenger/Sarah

(excitedly)

If my aunt and uncle don’t want me ’round, I definitely will!!!

 

John/William

Whatever happens, I wish you the best of luck.

The train pulls into Baltimore station and Sarah rises to go. He notices just how beautiful she is. He smiles. 

I hope your aunt and uncle know how lucky they are to have a niece like you.

 

Passenger/Sarah

Th-thank you.

 

She turns and leaves. The porter comes by and stops at John’s side.

 

Porter

Mr. Sparrow, sir.

 

John/William

(looking up at the porter)

Yes?

 

Porter

That was right kind of you to talk to the young miss.

 

John/William

Yes, yes it was.

 

Porter

(shaking his head)

Poor child. Lost everything. I doubt her aunt and uncle will keep her long. Sad thing is she’s too old for an orphanage.

 

The porter walks on. John looks out the window in time to see Sarah;s uncle point at the train and force her back aboard. he hails the porter.

 

John/William

Porter! Porter!

 

Porter

(coming to where he is)

Yes, Mr. Sparrow?

 

John/William

How much is her fare?

 

Porter

Depends on the destination.

 

John/William

I will pay her fare to Boston. From there, we will decide where she will go…or if she will stay.

 

fade. End of scene.

 

 

RTZ: Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 1: both John and Todd look as if they are about to puke. They appear next to a pile of newspapers. John picks one up one. January 1, 1930.

 

John

Well, we made it. Least they could’ve done was warn us of “jump sickness”.

 

Todd

(smiles nervously)

Maybe it affects each jumper differently.

The two of them begin to walk. John smiles. 

 

John

(musing to himself)

Good to see that the city never changes.

 

Todd

I agree.

 

John

Now, we need to find our contacts.

 

John and Todd go in search of the men sent to prep things for them. 

 

Voice From Alley

(in harsh whisper as they pass)

Pssst…Hey! In here!

 

They follow the whisper into the alley. A man in a trench coat stands, back against the wall.

 

Agent

(with English accent)

No lasting side effects?

 

John

Nope. Just a minor bout of “jump sickness”.

 

Agent

Sorry ’bout that.

(changing subject)

We’ll switch out Identities now.

(takes a package out of coat pocket. removes first set of ID out of package)

John, You are Now William C. Sparrow. Your stage name is J.C. Harrel.

(hands John his ID papers, then takes the second set out of the package)

Todd, you are now Michael John Sparrow. Your Stage name is T.D. Harrel.

(hands Todd his new identity.)

John, I need you to divest yourself of your old ID cards. You won’t need them anymore.

(John reaches into his back pocket and pulls out the cards in his pocket, handing them to the agent.)

One last thing.

(the agent reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out banking passes. hands them to John.

Your accounts. Guard them well. Should your wealth last, you will leave behind billions.

(gets ready to disappear, but pauses)

Oh. a word of caution. Your identities are of living…I mean were of living people. Both died, father and son, of starvation a year back, but no one knows that they are dead. I built your wealth with hard work and ingenuity.

 

The agent turns and disappears. John and Todd emerge from the alley. John looks on the ID and finds the address. 

 

John

(whistles in surprise)

We have ourselves a penthouse.

 

Todd

Just curious. What is your line of work?

 

John

Newspaper magnate. Thus the fortune.

 

Todd

And me?

 

John

I will put you in a public school. No need for private schooling.

 

Todd

(nods)

Sounds good.

 

The two head to their new home. When they arrive, the doorman lets them in and they head to their floor. A butler opens the door.

 

John

Good evening…Jeeves?

 

Butler

Good evening, Sir. You’re such a joker, sir. Name’s Marcus, Sir.

 

John

Yes, yes. Sorry, Marcus. Been a long day.

 

Butler

Of course, sir.

Todd

I think I will head to bed, Father.

 

John

(nods)

Have a good night’s rest, Michael.

 

Fade to scene in newspaper office, next day.

 

Carmine

Sir? There’s a Mr. Toller here to see you.

 

John

Send him in, Carmine

 

looking up, he admires her curves as she walks out the door. a few seconds after she disappears, Mr. Toller enters. John recognizes him as the second agent.

 

Mr. Toller

I assume that Mr. Greene met with you last night?

 

John

Yes.

 

Mr. Toller

As you can gather, I am here to discuss the agency.

 

John

Yes. Is there somewhere we can meet in private?

 

Mr. Toller

Yes, when we get down to the details.

 

John

What is the price tag we are shooting for?

 

Mr. Toller

About 300 grand.

 

John

Not a problem.

 

Mr. Toller

Then we’re agreed?

 

John

(nods)

Yes.

 

Mr. Toller

Very well, then. I will contact you when everything is ready to finalize and e will meet in private.

 

John

Agreed.

 

Mr. Toller leaves John’s office. Carmine comes back in.

 

John

(nervously)

Carmine, are you married?

 

Carmine

No, sir.

John

Would you go to lunch with me?

 

Carmine

Sir?

 

John

Would you go to lunch with me?

 

Carmine

Yes, sir.

 

John

Carmine?

 

Carmine

Sir?

 

John

You don’t have to call me sir.

 

Carmine

Sir? What should I call you?

 

John

Please call me William.

 

Carmine

Yes, S–William.

(turning to go, then turning back to him)

Why did you ask me if I was married?

 

John

I didn’t want to make a possible husband mad at me for taking you out to lunch.

 

Carmine

(blushing)

Oh. Is that all, William?

 

John

For now, yes.

 

She turns and walks out of his office. Again, he watches her as she sashays through the door.  scene change. Noon. John and Carmine meet for lunch at a nearby club.

 

John

Order whatever you want, my dear.

 

Carmine

OK.

 

The waiter appears, ready to take their order.

 

John

I’ll have the house special.

 

Waiter

(writing John’s order down)

And what’ll you have, Miss?

 

Carmine

The house salad.

 

Waiter nods and writes the order down, then leaves. John looks Carmine over.

 

John

So…What is your dream, Miss Carmine?

 

Carmine

To be a working girl, I guess.

 

John

Nothing more?

 

Carmine

Well, to be a mother someday.

 

John

You need a boyfriend for that, don’t you? I mean who’ll marry you?

 

Carmine

(apprehensively)

I-I suppose. Why?

 

John

I suppose I should quit beating around the bush. I find you irresistibly attractive and I was wondering…Would you fancy being my girl?

 

Carmine

Are you asking me out?

 

John

(chuckling)

Yes, I guess I am.

 

Carmine

But aren’t you married? I mean, you have a son and–

 

John

No, Carmine. I am not married. I am a widower.

 

Carmine

(excitedly)

Oh, Will! Yes!

 

He kisses her hand after he gently takes it in his own. Their meal is brought to them and they eat in silence. end of scene.

 

 

 

 

 

RTZ: Act 2, Scene 6

Scene 6: The preset date of departure. John’s office. John is sitting in front of his computer, reviewing something.

 

John’s Voice

(narrating)

To date, we have brought down many of the smaller threats that has brought this country to its knees. We have also brought down many of the top threats as well. I have intimidated dignitaries and world leaders…and even a President. I don’t scare anymore and that scares everyone. Threats of death have no effect on me. In essence, I have nothing to lose.

 

Jennie enters John’s office and sits on the desk.

 

Jennie

Whater you watching?

 

John

Eepisode three of “Pennies”. I’m reviewing it for inconsistencies.

 

Jennie

Is there?

 

John

No. Looks pretty good so far. Pennies From Heaven is going to be an amazing series. Too bad I won’t be around to see the last episodes.

 

Jennie

I am pretty sure that whoever you get to take it over will do fine.

 

John

Yeh, Me too.

 

Jennie

Have anyone in mind?

 

John

For the entertainment business?

 

Jennie

Yes.

 

John

Sure do. And I believe I have also found who will be training her.

 

Jennie

(confused)

Oh? Who?

 

John

Tawnie Lee. And you are going to train her.

 

Jennie

child?

 

John

teenager. One I can identify with. She is bullied and teased. I was done the same way when in school. That was why her mother asked me to mentor her.

 

Jennie

So you are handing her your entertainment business.

 

John

(nodding)

Yes. But you get both this business and the incubator. After all, I have been training my replacement for the past month. I figured that you and your sister could handle this operation. That was why I recommended her for the London office.

 

Jennie

Did you look at the last files?

 

John

Sure did. 

 

Jennie

(curious)

And?

 

John

(smiles)

Everything looks good. I think it’s time for the takedown.

 

Jennie

I’ll go inform the board.

 

John

This is your baby. Go wow them.

(looks up at her)

I taught you well.

 

She gets up and goes around to where he is sitting. She puts her arms around him from behind. He leans back and they kiss. He watches her leave, then returns to what he is doing. A few minutes later, the phone rings.

 

John

(picking up the phone and putting it to his ear)

Hello?

(listens for a few seconds)

Yes Todd? Yes you can come in and talk to me. Ok. See you in a few.

(hangs up the phone. sits back for a minute and looks at the time)

Almost time. Just a few more minutes.

 

time seems to pass rather quickly as a pain hits. Todd appears in his office doorway. 

 

Todd

Hey, dad. Are we ready?

 

John

(a tear coming to his eye)

One more minute.

(types a quick reply email and hits send.)

Now, I am ready.

(stops in apprehension momentarily)

You called me dad.

 

Todd

(nods)

Mom would’ve wanted it that way.  Besides. I stopped in here while you were out earlier. Jennie told me about you and mom’s plan to get me back. Only a dad would fight for a child.

(looks at John questioningly)

Why aren’t you taking Jennie with you?

 

John

She belongs here. In this time. Not with us in the past.

 

Todd

Oh.

 

John

Besides. I can find us someone to complete the family when we get to where we’re going. It’s more practical that way.

 

Todd

Won’t you miss her?

 

John

(nodding)

Sure I will. She’s been wonderful. But she also made the sacrifice so that we could go do things to make sure that things turn out different.

 

Todd

In other words, she gave you up so we could go get you and mom together before you met this round.

 

John

(nods)

Pretty much.

(looks at Todd)

But we have other things to do as well.

 

Todd

Like set up the organization.

 

John

Exactly.

 

Todd

(smiles, looks at John)

Then let’s do this.

(he grabs John’s hand)

 

The room around them vanishes. End of scene. 

 

End of Act 2

 

 

 

RTZ: Act 2, Scene 5

Scene 5: The next day. Still a flashback scene. John answers the phone when it rings.

 

John’s Voice

(narrating)

It’s amazing how everyone ignores you when you have nothing but ideas, but suddenly notices you when you have come into money. the same was true about my pleas with the organization. As soon as I had money in my pocket and represented their class, I was suddenly a hot commodity. Never mind that I was to use the majority of the money I had just acquired for different things like merchandising and production costs, They suddenly believed that I was exactly what they wanted.

 

John

(answering the phone)

Hello?

(listening)

Yes, this is he.

(chuckles)

It totally amazes me, Ms., how you wanted nothing to do with me when I had no money to offer, but had time and ambition. Still, Just head south until you reach an exit that has a Sapp Bros. truck stop to your right and take that exit. Turn left onto the highway and head to a stop sign after the state park. Turn left and head north until you reach another stop sign and turn left. I am in the third house after the state driveway.

 

He hangs up. Flash to a scene an hour later. A woman shows up at the door and he lets her in. She is Many Dressler.

 

Mandy

Please forgive our seeming lack of interest. We had to make sure that you were truly interested.

 

John

Money doesn’t equal interest. the true fighters are those who are losing, not those who are running around making videos. I contacted you as the son of a lower-middle class worker. My father, though I was never close to him, was considered middle class even though we were basically poor. Every time a cut like this was made, or the cost of living was raised, we suffered.

Please understand. I have never been what you would call wealthy. At least not monetarily. I have always been poor. I have always had to worry about whether there were going to be enough jobs to go around. I even missed out on a damn good one with the postal service.

Ironically, I am waiting on the funds I just negotiated for my scripts. Should keep me afloat while I produce everything.

 

Mandy

So what is this revolution you hinted at?

 

John

It is more of a shift in paradigms. Or a change in how businesses are run, how top management is paid, and how the employees get paid. It also has a few…political shifts. Not to mention a big economic shift.

 

Mandy

(getting impatient)

As in?

 

John

(sighing)

Look. As I explained in the emails. There isn’t going to be huge dividends in this investment. You’ll only get back what you invested in the end.

(pulls out the ‘business plan’)

The idea for the main company is simple. Form a simple corporation, but leave it decentralized. A mail box and/or incorporation in Delaware or Nevada with a forwarding address for the bulk to here in the Midwest.  The staff must be volunteer and part of staff from someone else’s business. Accounting. Legal. Research. all areas will be needed. Even I, and our poster boy, will be volunteer.

the main company will research what kind of debt load those who threaten the country have. From this, we will calculate each move, obtaining these debts, so that we can affect a hostile takeover of the businesses and wealth of each target.

 

Mandy

In effect, causing them to go truly bankrupt.

 

John

Yes.

 

Mandy

And the money gained?

 

John

Until we can take out the top threats, we will pool the gains. Their businesses will be evaluated, restructured, and–if near monopoly-size–broken up into smaller companies. Restructuring will set salary caps on the CEOs and boards of between $100,000 and $400,000, not allowing them to raise it above that, classifying anything above that as embezzlement. It will also keep the average employee’s wages 25% below the salary of the CEO and no lower. CEOs will lose severance packages and their pensions will be pooled with those of the employees and will not be a negotiation point. Health benefits will be pretty standard across the board.

As I stated before, the financial aspects will be broken up. company accounts will be redistributed and restructured so that each company has enough to rebuild and grow. A shift will be from acquiring competition to allowing competition so that the market can be healthy again. why isn’t redistributed, at least 75-90%, out of the monetary acquisition will go toward taking down the next target.

 

Mandy

And once we are done?

 

John

Once we reach a certain point in the first business, we will refocus whatever overage we have into a second company that will invest in and incubate small businesses that will offer competition to some of the other large corporations. Some of these businesses will be green businesses and natural energy-related. Through what is gained from one business, we will rebuild the economy without the aid of  the politicians.

As things progress, we will promote proposals to the Midwestern states on laws that protect the small businesses we grow through restrictions on out-of-state corporations, tax hikes on billion-dollar businesses to balance out the imbalance created by the federal  tax scam, and to set salary caps within the state while raising state minimums and fining ways to protect the SSA and Medicare of individual state earners.

 

Mandy

(grinning)

I like the sound of this. let me run it back to the others.

(looking at him)

Do you need anything?

 

John

At the moment, all I need is food.

(he winces in pain)

Although I could use a little company.

 

Mandy

(concerned)

Are you OK?

 

John

NO, but I am used to it.

 

He watches her leave.

 

John’s Voice

(narrating)

She would return afterward. Not the next day, but within hours. But it wouldn’t be with an answer. Instead, it would be to keep me company. In more ways than one.

The royal family would send Willian, Harry, Bette, and Jennie to visit me after they got a copy of the business idea. Mandy would leave me in the very capable hands of Bette and Jennie, but I would always remember her passion.

 

fade to black. end of scene.

 

 

 

 

RTZ: Act 2, Scene 4

Scene 4: Flashback. In the Month and a half after Kandy’s Death. Just before The story began. Show John before a computer, typing various articles and poetry in montage supporting the narration.

 

John’s Voice

(narrating)

I suppose I should backtrack a bit and explain how the whole thing began. Kandy died on November 20. Between November 20 and January 15, I worked tirelessly on two projects. The first was a memorialization of her in written form. The second was much more complicated.

I had wanted to write a special story for our anniversary, but her death had changed everything. Our plans, what we had decided to do for Thanksgiving, her birthday, Christmas, and our anniversary had all been cancelled in a single unexpected minute. I had taken about a month to mourn a bit before returning to writing. I was not done mourning, no, but rather I was ready to mourn in written word.

But, then, I was best at the written word. The first pieces were poetry. And then nonfiction. And finally, a script. The memorial to her love.

It would be my nonfiction that caused the most problems. What is it about confessing that one has but a short time left that makes ministers believe that one is depressed? What makes them believe that it is wrong to accept the finite-ness of this human existence? Or that wanting someone to respect the last wishes of the dead is somehow wrong when it is not?

Whatever it is, I set off alarms with a letter that I wrote Kandy’s mother’s minister that had my own mother at the door trying to rebuke me for stating truth.

scenes change to match the narration.

About a month into mourning, I wrote an email to a resistance organization. I was attempting to start a bloodless coup in the business world through shifting certain long-held, but dangerous, paradigms. It was December and Christmas was drawing near, so I thought they would contact me the week after the holiday. No such luck. So I wrote another the day after New Year’s Day. Still nothing.

As I did so, I began my magnum opus to my immortal beloved: the pilot to a series about our love affair. I poured into it all my love. All my joy. All my adoration. All my pain. All my sorrow. In ten episodes, I had an amazing series started.

I was contacted by The head of a studio shortly after submitting it. At the same time, I found myself being visited by my mother-in-law Brenda’s preacher. He had made the trek north into the hinterland to see for himself that I was, in no way, depressed. He brought reinforcements in the form of his superior.

 

Preacher

Talking of death is always a sign of depression.

 

John

(incredulous)

Do I look like I am depressed? I just signed a multi-billion dollar deal! I should be elated! Look. Just because I came clean and told you that I am dying doesn’t mean that I am depressed. It simply means that I have accepted the fact that I am dying.

I wake up every fucking day in pain. I go to bed in pain. I have had heart problems since about ten to fifteen years ago. If not longer. It has only been fairly recent that I have been able to notice the little things. Before that, other problems kept me from noticing the real problem.

The last time I had surgery, the doctor looked at me and told me that he couldn’t see how I was still alive. I was in that bad of shape. I haven’t rebounded from that either.

the only reason death hasn’t taken me yet is because He wants me to do something. Why has not been made clear yet.

(changing direction after noticing the blank looks he is getting)

OK, I can see this is all foreign to you. Let me start again by asking a few questions.

(pauses, gasps for breath as a pain strikes)

Do you believe that He shows you what will take place in dreams?

(in warning)

Be careful how you answer, because a denial will literally negate your claim of believing prophecy in the Bible.

 

Preacher’s Superior

Of course we believe in that. Why?

 

John

Do you believe that He could even show you how your life, or the life of a loved one will end?

 

Preacher

Well, yes. Why?

 

John

For the two months before Kandy died, I had recurring dreams. They were of a city whose center was completely dead and decaying. She would vanish only seconds after we would arrive in this city and I would frantically search for her but never find her.

(takes another deep breath and lets it out)

After the doctor told me how she died, I realized what the dream was trying to tell me. The problem was that I was too late to prevent anything.  The week after she died, I began having a similar recurring dream. This time, I was accompanied by a young woman and a young boy of about eight. The difference was that vanished and the boy went in search of me. And he never found me.

Being the philosophically astute man that I am, and being in tune with my spiritual side, I realized that I was being told that I, too, had something wrong with my heart and that I also only had a short time left. I have just enough time to finish what I started. No more, no less. Death, you see, is ready for me now and I have to complete whatever it is I have been sent to do.

Now, all I want is to have one day without pain. Understand that I have lived my whole life in pain. Physical pain. emotional pain. But never spiritual pain. Spiritually, I have always been at peace. Until now. These new revelations have unsettled me. Awakened me.

 

Preacher’s Superior

(realization dawning)

I believe I see now.

 

John

The second question will answer why I sent the letter.

(gasps as another pain hits)

Exactly Who is a memorial service for? Ids it for the living? Or is it to remember and honor the recently deceased?

 

Preacher

It’s to memorialize the deceased and honor their wishes, of course. Why?

 

John

So many people use a memorial service to make themselves comfortable about the deceased instead of being proud of them. Brenda is no different. She has always been ashamed of Kandy because her daughter was never religious. She didn’t see the need for physical deeds to make her spiritual growth happen.

Unfortunately, Brenda believes that she needs to send Kandy off in a “Christian” manner without even realizing that even songs about nature are praising God. Basically, she is forgetting who is being memorialized and honored, instead glorifying and justifying herself.

She feels that, just because Kandy and I had planned on returning a courtesy, namely being invited to my mother’s church, that we had planned to begin going to church. She didn’t know that we had returned the same courtesy at a Mormon church because a friend of mine, who happens to be the bishop over that church, also invited us. It had nothing to do with a permanent return to something we both felt we had outgrown spiritually.

 

out Christ and Preacher

(slightly offended)

How can you say that you have outgrown Christ?

 

John

You misunderstand me. I didn’t say that we had outgrown Christ. I said that we had outgrown the message you and all churches seem stuck on. We had both seen that Christianity had stopped being about Christ and had begun to be about the personal biases of the members and clergy.

Nearly all churches have begun to preach hate, greed, and self. Not the Selflessness, Kindness, generosity, understanding, mercy, and unconditional love that Christ taught. N, you are stuck on Moses, Peter, Paul, James, or John. You call these your fundamentals. The true fundamentals are the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John…and The Acts. Everything before was fulfilled by Christ. Everything after are simply internal memos that are to dead churches in dead cities and we have not been given the questions that actually go along with the answers given. And we, as Christians, tend to ignore history–cultures, customs, religious cults, and so on–believing that the Bible explains all. It doesn’t Never did. It is up to us to find the pieces that complete the puzzle. We cannot afford to sit on our asses and be complacent and comfortable. We are supposed to grow and move forward. No matter how many times we have to change how we believe or what.

 

The room goes silent. The preacher stirs after a few minutes, rising. His superior is smiling, realizing that they both just got their asses handed to them theologically.

 

Preacher’s Superior

(to the preacher)

I think he ought to give the Memorial service. I also think he ought to give your congregation the sermon he sent you. It may scare them, but he might actually be able to broaden it out and give more information.

 

Preacher

(in a defeated tone0

I believe you’re right.

(looks up at John with a newfound respect)

Would you be willing?

 

John

(with a grin)

Yes I can. And I will.

(picking up a handprint and a photo album)

Can I ask you a favor?

 

Preacher

Sure!

John

(holding out the two items, offering them to the preacher)

Can you deliver these to Brenda?

 

Preacher

(taking the two items)

I sure can.

The three shake hands and the preacher and his superior leave John’s house. Fade to black. End of scene

 

 

RTZ: Act 2: Scene 3

Scene 3: Monday, a week later. London. A small group gathers at  St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Among them are the Queen, Prince Phillip, William, Harry, Bette, Jennie, and those who accompanied John to London. There is no actual ceremony except for the thrum of bagpipes in Kandy’s honor as her urn is lowered into a regal tomb fit for a queen. 

 

Queen Elizabeth

(solemnly)

Rest easy, My dear. Soon, your life’s love shall join you and you can be in each other’s arms forever.

 

William

It is done.

Elizabeth

(looking at John)

We shall see you inside. Take your time.

 

Brenda

Beth and I need to return to the US. She has—

 

John

(nodding)

She has children to get back to and you have Carl. Yes. Everyone could have come, you know.

 

Todd

I want to stay.

Beth

(nodding)

OK.

(looks at John)

Will that be OK?

 

John

(nods)

Yes. He has a right to do so.

(turns to his pilot)

See that they get home safely. Return for Todd, Jennie, and I in a couple of days.

(the pilot nods and ushers Beth and Brenda to the waiting limo. once they are gone, John puts his hand on Todd’s shoulder.)

 

Todd

When she was still alive, they tried to convince me that she didn’t love me. They also told me that you wanted to keep her from me.

 

John

Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Your mother loved you very much and we had plans to move to Virginia within a year or two. As for who kept who away from who…Your sister made all sorts of excuses as to why, after the “open adoption”, your mother couldn’t see you. She would set up times, but made sure that she had you well away at those specific times. She even went so far as to keep your mother from talking to you on the phone or even receiving any of the gifts she sent you.

Your grandmother aded your sister in this as well. I am just hoping that they come clean to you someday.

 

Todd

(nodding)

I know all about the deception. I found everything they had hidden from me, including the shoddy papers dealing with my adoption. Looking at it, the best thing that has ever been done for me is when you had that agent give me this bracelet. It helped me greatly…and they will never admit to being wrong. Besides. I will disappear at the exact same time you will. Together, we will see if we can set things right.

 

John

(nods)

Indeed.

 

John and Todd make their way into the Castle and are ushered to the Queen’s office. they are instructed by the usher to kneel before the queen.

 

Queen Elizabeth

(authoritative)

Before me stand two noble souls. One is just starting out in this life, a boy, and the other has done much to change the world. Today, it is our distinct pleasure to knight both. Sir John Harrel, for your tireless work to right social wrongs and your drive to change the world, I knight thee. Sir Todd Harrel, as the son of the late Kandy Harrel, I knight you in her place for her tireless work in the legal world as well as her passion to help children with autism.

John Harrel has done much to correct so many social injustices and political missteps. His work has changed how companies are run, CEOs are paid, and payment of employees is viewed. He has torn down the power brokers and leveled out the markets. As he did so, he also selflessly created jobs despite the enormous resistance he encountered. And all within a year.

Todd Harrel has promised solemnly to continue his mother’s work and press on until such time as he is no longer able to do so.

(motions for John and Todd to rise)

Milords, please rise and allow the court to view you.

(to the crowd in the office)

I present to you Sir John and Sir Todd Harrel.

 

Applause erupts as pictures are taken by the press. It is the first time in a year that John has smiled for a picture. Change scene. Sometime later. The new Lords sit with their cousins at the royal table.

 

Queen Elizabeth

We’ll have to arrange a meeting between you and Sir Hendrick Sparrow. He is a distant relation to you and has no heirs. Perhaps you can continue on for him.

 

John

Just the chance to meet a relative is a positive thing. I look forward to it.

 

Queen Elizabeth

Then consider it done.

 

The buzz around the table is dizzying. The meal pleasant. Both John and Todd listen to the conversation going on among those there. Charles and Camilla are there as is the young duchesses’ mother, the elder Duchess of York. John notices that she keeps eyeing him suspiciously. 

 

John

(clearing his throat)

The meal and the conversation has been extremely pleasant, Your Highness, and I thank you for your hospitality. I would humbly beg for permission to take leave, as I am worn out from the day and desire to retire.

 

Queen Elizabeth

(with a smile)

Permission granted.

(looks at Todd)

You also have our permission to take leave if you wish.

 

Todd

(graciously)

Thank you, Your Highness.

 

Queen Elizabeth

(still smiling, amused)

My pleasure.

 

John and Todd take leave of the table and are led to their rooms in the castle. John is alone only for a short time before the elder Duchess appears.

 

Duchess of York

(demanding)

What is your intentions where my daughter is concerned?

 

John

(with a sigh)

Milady, I assure you that my intentions are completely noble.

 

Duchess of York

And the subject of marriage?

 

John

Are you afraid that I will besmirch your daughters?

 

Duchess of York

The thought did cross my mind.

 

John

You don’t have anything to worry about. Your American cousin has no intentions of dishonoring either woman.

 

Jennie enters after John is through talking and sees her mother.

 

Jennie

(in shock)

MOTHER!

 

Fade to black. End of scene.