godwithoutassumption

A place for thought.


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Question?


Fifteen stories high, filling a city block, the ground floor lined with small shops selling ethic foods, dresses and whatever else might pull a walker in off the wide concrete sidewalk. The floor plans of stories two through fifteen were identical. The fifteenth floor was labeled sixteenth, the number thirteen had been avoided. The ceiling of the kitchen of apartment three hundred three became the floor of the kitchen of apartment four hundred three and so on until you reached the floor of the kitchen of apartment one thousand one hundred three – that is where she stood. She watched the cars pass the intersection below from the window above the double sink. She leaned against the tile edge of the counter for a better view of cars stopping for the red light and cars accelerating at the green. The recently cleaned tile edge with grout every six inches left a corresponding dot of dark blue moisture every six inches on her light blue dress. She brushed at the three dots hoping they would not leave marks when they dried. The trip downtown was timed to the second, the wait for the elevator door to open, standing next to the damp with dew bench next to the busy street until the bus screeched to a stop pushing the humid morning air aside, waiting for a second elevator – this one crowded with people intent on starting their days and then turning the key in the lock of her own small office. She looked at the clock on the wall across from her desk knowing the display would read: nine – colon – zero – zero – a – m, the same display she always saw when she looked up from her desk at the start of each day. There was no one to see her arrive on time, no one to greet her in the outer office and no time clock to punch a card but that made it even more important that she arrive on time. She sat and stared straight ahead at a pale gray green wall. There was no reason to look busy and she did not look busy at all but she was, she was thinking. It was her job. The phone would ring. A question would be asked. She would think. She would hit the call back button on her phone. Answer the question. Most of the time they would send a check, some of the time they would call back angry and blaming her but most of the time they sent a check. Her answers were always right. Her livelihood depended on her answers being right so ten percent of the time the answer was I don’t know. Ten percent of the time she did not charge for her answer. So far this morning she was stuck with I don’t know and it was no way to start a morning. She stared harder at the gray green wall in hopes the answer would appear there, sometimes it did. This morning the wall stayed a plain gray green without the distraction of pictures or shelves. A digital clock with bright red figures at least one changing every minute gave her a count down to the time she would make the call. And then in the back of her mind she saw a blurry light and she knew the answer would come. She forgot her frustration. She no longer feared having to, in humiliation, give the I do not know answer. She waited patiently for the answer to become clear, as she knew it would. Once an answer started to form it always came into focus. She watched the clock on the wall change once and then once more before she understood. She picked up the phone she had answered the day before and pushed the button that would return the last call.
“Hello,” a male voice belonging to a person she had never met said.
“Forty-two,” she said and ended the call.


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Who Said That?


“Never ready to move on at least not on moving day. It takes time to look back, re-think, take stock and then I’ll be ready. But not yet, not today, today I will look sad, even though it’s a happy thing. Something I looked forward to for a long time, I worked hard toward this goal and it seems to have worked out well. Second guessing happens, could of should of sorts of things and, it’s true, I’ve already found some things that could have been done differently but it works the way it is, it will work and changes can still be made. I don’t plan any changes. I’d rather not change anything, at least not right now. Give it some time let it find its own way for a while. See what direction it takes without anyone steering. Do you think I should make some changes?”
“No.”
“Really? You think it’s okay the way it is? Well, that makes me feel a little better. A little more at ease if you know what I mean? I don’t know why I worry, what’s been done is done. And it’s not in concrete, even concrete can be re-poured. The saying is it’s not written in stone. That might refer to the Ten Commandments. But this could change if it needs too, not the Ten Commandments, those are written in stone. I’m going to just forget all about it and move on like it doesn’t even exist.”
“Good! Do you mind if I get some sleep? Early morning?
“Oh. Sure. I’m sorry; I’ve been keeping you up. I”ll just lay here real quiet. I’m wide-awake. Thoughts just zooming through my mind a mile a minute. You go on to sleep. I’ll just lay here and think for a while. You sleeping?”
“Shut up.”
“Right, shutting up, being quiet, not a sound out of me, like I’m not even here. So quiet. You go on to sleep. I’ll think about what’s coming next for a while, but you need your sleep. Busy day starting early in the morning. I should get up early with you and check on how it’s going. Wouldn’t take long to just check a few things, maybe give a few suggestions on how things should go. That’s what I’m gonna do, make sure I get up when you do. I can get a lot done in those early morning hours. I’m at my best then. I don’t know why I sleep late so often I really do get real productive in the morning. I should start getting up every morning when you do. You’ll wake me up right? You awake?”
“I’m going to sleep in the guest room.”
“Really honey? I’ll be quiet. Look I’m almost asleep already.”
The door to the bedroom slams, but not real hard. The room is empty. I’m all-alone.
“So first thing in the morning I’ll go downtown and talk to some people, see what they think, get some opinions, not that I need their opinions…”


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Enter


“Enter,” one word coming from no-where, or everywhere. I couldn’t point to where the sound came from but I heard it with everything, not just with my ears. I heard it with my skin, a very strange feeling. It could have come from my own bones or from somewhere near the moon, I couldn’t tell. I took one step toward the door, opening, orifice; it was the only place that looked like one could enter and for some reason I very much wanted to do what the voice told me to do. My first step gave me joy so I took another and another. The joy increased with each step. I stepped from what was once here to what had been there and there became here leaving no there behind. That there became here was not unusual, I was used to that but I was left wondering what had happen to there, which in past experience, is what past heres had become. The question passed quickly with nothing to question other than a fleeting thought.
“Come,” another sound heard with every part of me and coming from everywhere. I walked a path. Not a path of dirt, or concrete, or between the tall grass of a pasture but a path that told my feet where to step even though there was nothing there I had seen before and I had never knowingly let a path take control before. Looking back I understand now that all paths had brought me here, I had had no choice. I had no choice if I chose to be. I had always had the choice of not being.
“There,” the sound pointed. “That is your place.” I understood without a single question needed. I did what I had said many times but this time it was true. I understood completely. I had found my place. I walked to my place and stood there. I still stand in my place.


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Nice


Some people seem to know all the rules. They actually know why and how things work. A to B to C, like the golfer who looks away after the putt, picks up his bag and starts walking to the next tee without even looking at the hole. Well, he has to go back and pick up the ball but you see what I mean? I’m not a bit like that. I pick up a rock, hold it out at arms length, watch it drop and I’m still not sure it will hit the ground. There’s a reason. In my life I drop a rock and the rock is just as likely to fly through a window down the block as hit the ground so I watch it until it makes a nice rock to ground noise and then keep my eye on it for a minute or two just to make sure it’s content to lay there.
Today is a day just like any other day, which if you’ve been paying attention isn’t necessarily a good thing. When people ask me how things are going I answer they are going good, so far. The so far makes them smile but just in case they decide to follow me I want them to be prepared. You, my gentle reader, have already followed me this far which doesn’t add much to your credibility unless of course you’re just being nice then welcome aboard. I’m very much drawn to nice, it’s a wonder there isn’t more of it. Well, when I think about it I most likely just watch too much TV news; in real life I see nice all the time. The other day I was out for a walk and stopped at a corner. Not right on the curb but back five or six feet. I stood there deciding whether I wanted to cross the intersection to the East or to the North until I noticed a car waiting at the crosswalk to the East just in case I decided to go that way. I went ahead and used the crosswalk in front of their car, I didn’t want them to have waited in vain, but that’s a little too nice if you ask me. I like that kid who holds the door for the pretty girl and then he sees the old man coming and keeps holding the door for him and then the family with three children and then a group of school teachers; by the time he gets in the tables are all full and he has to go somewhere else, still smiling. I do think it’s a big deal. Being nice. It could be the most important thing in life. It’s hard to devote your whole life to it ‘cause it’s so plain. It doesn’t even really need explained; most people know how to do it even if they tell you different.
So, it’s just another day in Paradise, as they say. If some person holds the door for you and lets you go ahead of him (or her) say thanks, they live for that. It makes their day.


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Flight


“He’s huge,” Matt leaned back and tried to see the bird from beak to tail, he had to take a couple of steps back.
“The beak alone is the size of our car,” he continued to look from tail to beak in unbelief.
“First it’s a duck and the beak is called a bill. The bill is the only part that can be occupied or used for storage everything else is essential for flight.” Sally wasn’t even trying to conceal the pride she felt in the completed work. It had been five years in complete secrecy. Matt was the first person not a part of the program to be allowed into the hanger.
“Why a duck?” Matt asked still distracted by the bird with individual feathers that could be used to tickle the nose of a president’s face carved into Mount Rushmore.
“It’s a male Mallard,” Sally said, excited by his reaction. “It can do anything a real duck can do. It can fly, of course, but it can land on water or land, it can float or paddle on top of the water and it can dive into water and swim.” Matt could see the love in her eyes as she described her baby. “It can even pick objects up with its bill and deposit them into a storage container.”
Matt gave her a sideways hug, “it’s wonderful,” he said. “And that’s a word I seldom use. When is the test flight? And when can you take me up?”
“We plan a flight at the end of the week,” Matt looked disappointed. “I can show you the inside of the bill right now if you’re interested,” In answer Matt took her by the arm and led her toward the duck not knowing exactly where the entry point would be. As they neared the bird Sally tapped a point on a pad that produced a whirling noise from within the foul, the neck lowered and the bill started to slowly open. They stepped together over a very real looking under mandible but at that point Matt was no longer looking at a bird but at what could easily be the inside of a space ship complete with consoles of blinking lights and a view screen that peeked out of the duck’s left nostril.
“Amazing,” Matt mumbled.


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Sarcastic


Reading from a print out, “What you said was: I intend, to the best of my abilities, to cut him into small bits of meat, to grind him into a pink mush and to plant him around my roses. Still reading from the long strip of paper, “you went on to say: If the roses die I will feel a tinge of remorse.”
“Thank-you, Mary,” the lawyer nodded to the stenographer and then stood in front of Patricia, still sitting quietly in her assigned seat next to the Judge. He looked her in the eyes, face-to-face and asked, “ do you deny making this statement?”
Patricia looked down at her hands, twisting nervously in her lap. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead as she refused to meet the eyes of the prosecutor.
The Judge turned toward her and said in a deep, soft, forceful voice, “Answer the question.”
She looked up from her hands and turned in her chair to face the Judge, “I was being sarcastic,” she said.


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Nothing


“And then what happened?”
“Well, nothing really, that was the last thing.”
“Nothing? Really? Are you sure? I mean, this is happening,” she waved her hands about indicating us, the room, the world.
“Things exist, things continue.”
“But nothing happens?” she still could not agree.
“Nothing to write home about.”
“So things need to reach a level of interest or entertainment to be happening?”
He felt she needed convincing, ”So, what’s going on in your life?”
“Not a thing,” the way she answered suggested she considered herself a failure.
“And if you did write home what would you say to the dear folks?” he said driving home his point.
“Nothing!” she gave in completely. “Nothing is going on.” She paused and thought a full minute. He knew the process and waited patiently. Her eyes lit, she understood, “And nothing is going to happen.”
He nodded. She looked disappointed. He understood her disappointment. He had seen it before. “It’s okay,” he assured her.
“For nothing to happen?” her eyes were wide open and she looked a little mad, in every sense of the word mad.
“Things aren’t that bad,” he said with confidence.
She thought for another full minute, “No, not that bad,” she stressed the word bad.
“You’ll see, after all, nothing is going to happen,” he saw understanding creep over her pretty face.
She walked out into the street. She didn’t get hit by a car. No one screamed and set themselves on fire. The world didn’t stop spinning – nothing happened.