Bike Killer

I don’t drive. Everywhere I need to go I can walk, bus or taxi. I take a bus to my job at Hadleys Department Store in the Consumer Help Department. You should know that I am a highly valued employee based on my ability to resolve customer problems while still maintaining company policy. Trying to find a parent for a screaming child or dealing with someone whose credit card bounced without ruffling feathers or giving away the store is like walking a tightrope. Someone who wasn’t both reasonable and sensitive couldn’t handle it, believe you me!

There are a lot of places I can walk to. The library, post office, my softball field and a lot of shopping is within two miles. Mostly the weather is nice and walking is easy. Even when the weather is bad, you can still walk if you dress for it.

I don’t fight with anyone. Everyone who knows me could tell you that. In my volunteer position as citizen park commissioner, there are lots of controversial issues, but I am always the voice of reason keeping opposing parties civil. You should have seen the ruckus about a separate dog park! But I kept everyone cool.

I’ve been on jury duty three times and foreman once.

I like girls a lot and I think that they like me. If I weren’t a little overweight, I’m sure that I’d have a steady girlfriend by now. But don’t you worry, I’m on a new diet right now and I’ll be OK. I’ve got my eye on a girl in my Bible study class. I think that we would be a great couple. When I lose that weight it will be easier for her to see my inner glow and get over her boyfriend with the looks, money and a Jaguar. He isn’t even of our religion!

There is one thing that really burns me. There are all of these just beautiful boys and girls in their spandex running over the neighborhood with their expensive bikes. I don’t think that their clothes or their bikes are made in this country. They think that they own the place! Once a couple of years ago, a biker came close to hitting me in the dark. It might have been partly my fault because I was wearing dark clothes and jaywalking.

Those bike riders almost run me over every other day. Usually I don’t recognize them, but there is one guy who I see every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6PM as I come home from my bus stop. He has come close to hitting me several times and he cusses me out for being on his streets. This jerk never stops for a stop sign and I’m not the only pedestrian he has almost hit! He also swears at drivers. He thinks that if he spends enough on his tight blue spandex and super bike he just owns the road.

Last month he nearly hit me on a sidewalk going the wrong way on an overpass. “Get out of my way asshole”. There is only so much one can take. But I got out of his way. I have to admit to a bit of self loathing. I’d had enough of everyone thinking they could walk over me? If only I had time for a plan of action, but he didn’t give me time to think. If I’d had time to think I would have held my ground. It’s my sidewalk! Pedestrians have the right of way.

Finally, he made a big, fatal mistake. I was still walking on the long overpass when he came back the other way. I could see a car far behind him. I acted like I was intimidated from the last time he went past me. I squeezed up tightly against the rail. I could see it work out just right. As he came up right behind me I turned around and faced him, taking up just about all of the sidewalk. He swerved off the sidewalk and his bicycle fell over on the road just in front of the car that had been overtaking him. It wasn’t pretty. The motorist couldn’t stop. The grille caught a leg and a wheel went over his head. He ended up in one piece, but extremely, immediately dead. The poor driver blamed himself. I tried CPR, but there was no hope.

Police took our statements. I told them that the bicyclist had startled me causing me to turn around suddenly. Everyone agreed that it was just a horrible accident.

About a week later there was an opinion piece in the newspaper written by Fred Janes, a friend of the deceased Sam Wilkins. The point was that bicyclists are so much superior than drivers and pedestrians and that their superiority made it OK to ignore all rules and etiquette. He wrote about how Sam Wilkins could have bought an expensive car but chose to do the right thing and bicycle everywhere. Fortunately, there was a picture of Mr. Janes.

As luck would have it, I recognized Janes as somebody who frequently rode the same circuit as Wilkins. One place was on a sidewalk between bushes and a busy road where they regularly terrified pedestrians and bedeviled drivers. It took several weeks, but finally I was in the right place to tip him into traffic from my position in the bushes.

There may have been some suspicion about the second death of a bicycle advocate in such a short period, but no one saw me and nothing came of it. I’m happy to report that bicyclists were strangely silent after Wilkins died. No more moral superiority in the editorial pages.

I don’t think that it is prudent for any more bike accidents in the near future. One doesn’t know what might happen in a year or so.

Don’t you just hate door to door salesmen? Always so pushy, won’t take no for an answer?

Cat of Hanley

I’ve been fairly happy since I re-animated Wendy. She wanted to leave me to get back to her bad boys after the first time I brought her back to life. I still believe that because she owed me her life, it was OK to conk her with my baseball bat for a second re-animation. Her first death was in an accident of her own making. It’s all turned out for the best, at least for me. I had to make some sacrifices to keep the relationship going, like getting those ugly tattoos and settling for sex once a week on Wednesdays, but if you could see me, you would know that it is the best deal I could make.

If you don’t know anything about re-animation, my father Duke learned the process from a document hidden in the first draft of “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. Let’s say that I borrowed a copy. I’m David Hanley, the son of Duke Hanley. I have been trying to get rich off the process, but rumors of possible re-animation caused our anti-science government to outlaw re-animating humans, the same as they did with cloning, so all of us Hanleys have kept the process secret.

The tattoos and the infrequently doled out sex weren’t my only problems. I had to be good to her monster cat Jaws. When he wants anything – food, water or affection, he has to be pleased immediately. Scratching me isn’t the worst. The time that his food was an hour late, he shit in my shoes. That’s shoes. Somehow he managed to parcel out his load into both.

Things turned around in late May. Wendy went off to visit her mother for a month with strict instructions to keep Jaws happy while she was gone. She said “If I find anything wrong with Jaws when I come back, you will feel my wrath.” Yes, that is what she said. I know it doesn’t sound like anything anyone would say outside of a horror story, but she said it and I believed her. I like feeling parts of her, but do not want to feel her wrath.

The second day that she was gone dumbass Jaws tried to jump on a bookshelf and pulled it down on top of himself under a hundred pounds of books. Dumbass was deceased. Panic caused me to think of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and evil re-animated pets. As scary as that was, the wrath of Wendy was scarier, so I re-animated him.

The result was not what I expected. The re-animated Jaws seemed not only completely healthy, but he had become completely civilized. The new Jaws was respectful and reasonably affectionate without being clingy.

When Wendy returned, she didn’t notice the change because Jaws had always treated her well.

Except for the change in Jaws, everything was the same old until one day about a month after Wendy returned. I asked Jaws if he wanted out, knowing that he would not respond. He looked at me and picked up his left front paw and put it down. As a re-animator, I’m used to the weird, so I then asked him if he wanted me to poke him in the eye with a needle. He very clearly tapped his left front paw twice. I could see that we were getting somewhere.

Now I understand why he had concentrated on the TV, radio and all of our conversations. He had been learning English.

Over the next few weeks Jaws and I worked over what I now call CSL, or cat sign language. CSL involves ears, tails, legs and blinks. I wish that it were easier, but cats don’t talk and their faces are not very expressive. Wendy observed the whole process and was very proud of her cat. I had no choice but to admit to the re-animation. To my surprise, Wendy was very pleased, rather than hating me for letting her cat die. I even got a treat that Saturday.

Congress had never dealt with re-animating animals, so I saw my opportunity. I now had a way to not only save the lives of pets, but to get them to communicate. To start the ball rolling, I made a video of Jaws and I communicating through CSL. Sure there were skeptics, but I got a few people to try it for free, and it worked beautifully. Next there were the talk shows. We got on Ofir, Eileen, Dr. Pill, Connor and all of the big shows. People were not happy that their pets had to be dead for the process to work. However there were enough recently deceased Boomers and Boots with rich owners lined up to pay $1000 to bring their non-human companions back to life with new communication skills, to make me rich.

Wendy and I are now up to four times a week. As much as Wendy likes bad boys, she likes rich boys even better.

What?

Duke started hallucinating about a month before seeing a psychiatrist. At 7 pm someone, perhaps himself, went flying off a cliff on a horse, but never landing. That was just the beginning. From that day on, each evening at the same time, he would experience what appeared to be a dream overlaying his reality. The next night while talking to his wife Sally, he suddenly saw someone having sex with movie star Vicky Newsome. The male involved looked to be about forty years old, balding and generally pretty ugly. Sally was talking to Duke, but there was no way he could follow what she was saying. “Duke, you looked like you just went into a trance. Do you have any idea what I was saying?”

Duke tried to pretend that he wasn’t scared sh** and after a lengthy pause, just said “Sorry, my mind just wandered off for awhile.”

Duke was sure he had gone crazy, but was afraid to tell anyone. He just hoped the problem would go away quickly, but no. Every evening, same time, what appeared to be a waking dream would come to him. Sometimes someone was being chased, sometimes it was sex, sometimes it was something that got lost and couldn’t be found. Except for an occasional celebrity, there wasn’t anyone that he could recognize in his hallucination. There was the one recurring character, the unattractive man who had sex with Ms. Newsome. Rather than admit that he was crazy, he started reading a book at the same time his hallucinations started and just accepted that he wouldn’t make any sense of what he read.

After a couple of weeks Duke started to hear a strange voice in his head. He would pick up things like “It’s Miller Time” or “I want to go Coney Island.” Duke was able to cheer himself up a little because the voice never asked him to kill anybody, not even his boss, who certainly deserved killing.

When the voices started, he broke down and told Sally what had been happening. She tried to reassure him “Whatever is happening, your behavior has not changed at all. Well, maybe your 7 pm book habit, but after what you have told me, I can’t blame you. Could you have hit your head? I hear that can cause weird brain activity, both hearing and seeing things.”

“No.”

“Any mental trauma – have you had any shocks or losses that you didn’t tell me about?”

“No.”

“Okay, I guess you should see a psychiatrist. Keep in mind as troubling as this seems, we will get to the bottom of it and get you fixed. In case you’re worried, I don’t mean like we had Kitz fixed.”

“That’s a relief. Finally, some good news.”

Dr. Finley did the standard battery of questions and brain scans, and couldn’t find a thing. In desperation, he asked about Duke’s hearing aids. “Did you get the hearing aids before or after the hallucinations began?”

“I had them for a month before they started.”

“That eliminates my last hope. I can’t find anything wrong with you at all. About all I can do is to start you on a tranquilizer and hope for the best.”

As soon as Duke started using his prescription tranquilizer the various voices and visions muted, but did not disappear. He decided that he would just have to live with his problem. Neither Duke nor Sally told even their friends or family about what was happening.

A year later, Duke was reading “Popular Science” and saw the article “Telepathy – Fact or Fiction?” He scanned the article until he came to:

“Rumors abound that telepathy devices, which look and act like hearing aides were developed at an East Coast lab. Alleged testing began a year ago last August. It is further claimed that a disgruntled employee of the lab smuggled a sample of the devices into a hearing aid store disguised as a regular set of hearing aids. This all seems to be an urban legend, because the recipients of these special telepathy aids would have reported it by now. The unnamed employee has spread the word that testing began first with dreams starting as the telepathy originator slept from 10 pm on, and then started testing waking thoughts.”

Duke did some quick calculations. Eastern Time was three hours ahead of his home in Portland. Check. His visual hallucinations started before his verbal hallucinations. Check. The time that the testing started was when he started his visual hallucinations. Check.

Prudently, Duke first saw a lawyer who was entrusted with breaking the news if any harm would come to Duke. After thinking about how much money that he could make writing a book, a little discrete checking around found that it was much easier and a lot more remunerative to sell the telepathy aids quietly back to the lab that lost them. Duke sealed the deal by telling the lab “But wait, there’s more – you get my silence along with the devices.”

Duke had no more hallucinations, but he did begin living the dream with the money he got. Sally said “Given how you suffered, I don’t think that any amount of money would have been too much.”