Phil Fable – 100 Yards

The eulogy was about to begin for Forrest Jefferson Davis. The room was filled with about 250 people in the traditional setting one finds in Kansas.

A thirty five year old woman ascended the podium. To the right was a screen and a movie projector was set up.

She looked out to the crowd, gained her composure and began.

“This funeral is about Dad, but I need so say something about Gramps first though to build up to the short move we have. When Gramps got back from the War. The big war. The Dubbya Dubbya Two war, he had an old war buddy named Phil who worked with him in the South Pacific as a medic. Dad never talked about the war.”

She paused.

“He was a MEDIC.”

She let that sink in.

“Anyway, gramps always kept things clean. Always. He never let anything be messy. But when I opened up an old suitcase he kept in the attic, I found his field medic kit. It included scalpels and other tools for patching up the wounded so they could be transported to a hospital. It was canvas and had straps that you rolled around it to keep snug.”

She held up the medic field kit. It was small, about seven inches long. ”

She unwrapped the strands and held up a scalpel.

“This scalpel is stained with the blood of someone I will never know. Now, my grandfather, the neatest man in the world NEVER washed the scalpel and other tools from the last soldier he tended. This is unheard of for him.”

She paused again and got choked.

“He wrapped it all up in the canvas, threw it in his bag, and came home to grandma and let the memories bake in the attic and never talked about it.”

“But grandma always said it took grandfather years before he ever really came home after his stint as a medic. After his first year home, his friend Phil came to see him and brought him a camera for his birthday. Dad was proud and wouldn’t take so expensive a gift, but Phil reminded him that he saved his life in the war. Even so, he STILL said no, so Phil offered to trade the camera for gramps old war watch. Phil’s Military Watch got broken in the war and he never got another one issued.”

Phil raised his hand in the crowd showing off the watch.

“There it is! Thank you Professor Phillip.”

“YOU KNEW gramps would love it didn’t you!”

Phil shrugged his gray head and sagging shoulders.

“You see, Phil offered it to him if and only IF, he took a short movie of his son running the hundred yard dash over at Hornet stadium every year of his life. That way, he said, he could give his son the gift of seeing his body change and grow into a man. Gramps LOVED the idea and started out by carrying dad as an infant for the whole hundred yards. This spurred him to became quite the amateur film maker. He wore that camera out and was always filming something. Filming life brought a shell-shocked human back TO life. Every year he would film dad running that 100 yard dash. And after he passed on, my Dad kept up the tradition.”

She started tearing up.

“Kyle… ”

Kyle, her brother, stepped up and continued.

“That 100 Yard movie project meant a lot to Dad. He always made sure Gramps films were taken well care of but especially the 100 Yard project.  I put the entire film on digital and it will be available on YouTube. But it is too long for a full viewing now. The entire piece is way over an hour. But … I took the liberty of editing out the best runs and putting them to music.

He pushed play and let the movie run.

As it played, the increase in film quality got better as the years progressed. Sound showed up as well as color. People started tearing up and were struck deeply to see their dear friend and relative grow through the years. As he got older he got faster and faster and then he got slower and slower.

Kyle paused the film.

“Now we are going to play his last run. This run was after dad had his stroke. We tried to get him to not run but he would have no such nonsense.”

Kyle steeled himself.

“My father’s last run.”

Fred William Davis was at the starting line with a cane. Kyle was offering him his walker and he waved it down with a scowl. From the end of the 100 yard alley he looked like a ghost. Slowly, he walked with great effort. His left side struggling to match his right.

It took five full minutes for him to reach eighty eight yards before he fell. Kyle ran up to help him and people viewed his father yelling and slapping and kicking his son to get away. Kyle tried to pick him up.

Fred bit him – hard.

Kyle screamed “Ow!” and put his father on the ground.

The mourners laughed. A few howled. Phil just plain lost it.

Then the painfully slow crawl began. His clothes were getting ruined by the track, but he didn’t care. The months in bed had weakened his whole body such that progress was in inches. The film stopped and showed an Olde Time silent movie panel that said:

“One hour later.”

The film resumed with Fred ten feet away from the finish line. He lunged forward and dropped from a crawl to lying face down.

“Dad let me help.”

“I won’t let them see and hear me NOT FINISH! People will see this film. Do you want them to see the film of my life as a QUITTER?”

“No dad.”

“I’m NOT a quitter.”

“No dad.”

His father breathed laboriously. He obviously was fighting tears. He tried hard three more times to move and on the third try let out a cry that already knew that he knew there was nothing left.

“AAAHHHHHHHHUUUGH!”

He laid there silent. The film showed another panel:

“Thirty Minutes Later…”

Fred was still in the same spot. He sat up and took a drink from Kyle.

“Son, right now … I AM a failure. I … I … cannot finish. There is not enough strength.”

“Did you have enough strength when you did this as a baby dad?”

“No, of course not. I was a baby.”

“No shame there. No shame here. Just don’t bite my ass.”

Kyle picked him up and carried him across the finish line and had the presence of mind to put his father’s good hand in range of the controls of the camera. Fred reached up and turned off the camera and the screen went blank.

Kyle turned off the projector and was a total mess. But he summoned his courage and finished the eulogy.

“Gramps carried him through his first run as a baby. I carried him through his last run as a frail old man kicking, biting and screaming. But in between, nobody ran at life like my father or saw it like Grandpa. Phil. thank you for giving my grandfather a camera when he needed a new lens for life so he could SEE the world differently.”

Phil nodded his head respectively as his left hand and features shook from Parkinsons.

“Your g-g-g-granddad saved a lot of mens l-lives in the war. I saw him run like a gazelle with a wounded soldier on his back. This is a family of people who leave NO ONE behind.”

The funeral followed standard mortuary protocol from that point on. They played Amazing Grace. They carried out the casket. They went to the cemetery and Fred was buried.

The next day at Hornet Stadium, the three children of Kyle started a new filming tradition. Kyle was still at the finish line poised with the camera. But this time, at their father’s cue, they all three ran as fast as they could – holding hands.

And they still do.

Phil Fable – Phil the Vandal

The mens room was empty and the light was off. The light had one of those motion sensors that turned on automatically when someone walked in.

Phil teleported into the middle of the room. The lights stayed off because he didn’t come in the door and apparently this motion detector pointed only at the door. He fumbled around for a full ten minutes trying to turn the lights on. Finally, a thirty something man in a two hundred dollar golf shirt opened the door, the light came on and he saw Phil.

“How did THIS happen?”

“Donno,” said Phil.

“I’ll have maintenance check it out. The light should be on.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure it’s okay. Really.”

“I’ll have him do it anyway.”

Phil went into the bathroom stall. The man stepped up the Urinal and did his ritual. After finishing, he took off his watch, walked over to the sink and washed his hands. Then he put it back on and left the lavatory. The door closed.

“Cassie is this the place?” whispered Phil.

“Yes. This is where he works.”

Phil took out a magic marker and wrote in a perfect script a message on the stall door.

“If I’m going to do graffiti, it was goddamn going to be good graffiti.”

“Yeah, well get used to it,” said Cassie. This world has a strong hell-world potential and could get really nasty with technology.”

“Okay. Done,” said Phil.

Phil morsed on his watch to teleport out of the bathroom and was soon gone.

Four minutes later, the door opened. The light went on. A depressed looking young man with a thirty dollar golf shirt, who apparently worked for the guy with the two hundred dollar golf shirt, walked to the bathroom stall. He closed the door, dropped his drawers and gazed at the floor.

He didn’t look up until he was finished. When he did look up to stand, he saw this:

“In a hell world, you can still learn to dance and laugh the laugh of an enlightened Universe.”

He went immediately back to his office. Got a sticky pad. Came back. Wrote it down. Went back. Stuck it on his cubicle. Went back to work.

Phil Fable – Phil Audits a World Religion Class at Kansas University

The class was World Religions 101 at Kansas University: 1976. The topic was how all the religions of the world dealt with the idea of reincarnation. The class had ninety four students and the lecturer was a professor who had taught the class for what seemed centuries. He heard every question imaginable.

Except one.

The professor went into the same lecture he had done for decades. First he showed that Christians believed in reincarnation because according to the Bible, they would have another body in another life which is a form of reincarnation. He discussed reincarnation from Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and other faiths.

From the back of the room came a voice cutting through his lecture.

“Sir, I have a question!”

The professor no longer took questions and kept going with his lecture.

“Hey, OLD GUY, I have a question.”

“No questions in this class today, we have too much to cover. You may ask my aid after class.”

“Purple Ninja Pirates!”

The professor’s face showed surprise, and then it completely relaxed with his mouth slightly open.

“How did you know THAT from my life? Nobody knows that,” said the professor.

Phil laughed his laugh. It was JUST as fun as he hoped.

“Well I had to get your attention somehow. Here’s the question,” said Phil. “Ready?”

“Ready.”

The entire class looked at Phil standing at the back of class by the door.

“In all the major religions of the earth, reincarnation is pitched as problem to be solved. Some think it’s a problem that the spirit comes back over and over. Others think reincarnation is the result of natural cause and effect that creates the same emergent phenomenon over and over and that the ego itself is a delusion. Some think being judged by a God and then thrown into hell is an after-life reincarnation problem.  Others see reincarnation as a fable and THAT is the problem and to solve it reincarnation may someday be a software program where we download ourselves in the future like in TRON or the Matrix.”

He raised his finger to the air.

“SO!”

He looked around and raised his finger again for emphasis.

“SO!”

He played with the silence with an impish smirk.

“SO! … What religion doesn’t see all the potentials of reincarnation as PROBLEMS? What religion sees every incarnation, regardless of its source, as truth manifesting it’s own evolution, even in the hell worlds or during a bad movie? What religion sees that the problem isn’t whether or not the spirit or meat reincarnates but whether or not the Paradox of self has the WILL to BE FREE ANYWAY and not blink at truth’s current evolution, but rather to laugh as it, dance as it and be the truth itself evolving?”

“There isn’t one I know of,” said the professor, “Especially considering the notion of truth being a living, evolving reality.”

“DON’T START IT!” cried Phil as he wagged his finger menacingly to the class.

Phil laughed and smiled deeply and fondly at the professor through his eyes and tapped on his watch in morse code. He held up his left arm in a vertical fist at his side with the back of his wrist showing his wrist watch.  His smile was whimsical and kind.

Then, he disappeared into thin air.

The class reacted in ninety four different ways. But the professor’s eyes never left the spot where Phil stood. The professor stood there a full five minutes ignoring all the student’s comments and reactions. And then, he laughed with a paradoxical blend of choice and fate.

The professor felt a warm feeling as he checked his watch. It was an A-11 wrist watch that he wore in World War 2 in the South Pacific as a medic. For some reason he remembered his best friend’s death and missed him at that moment. He hadn’t thought about him in over a decade.

“Purple ninja pirates!” he chuckled as he packed his briefcase. “How did he fucking KNOW that? Damn, I miss that bastard,” he muttered.

He raised his face to the class.

“Class dismissed.”

He picked up his briefcase. It had a personalized name plate under the handle: “Doctor Phillip J. Pirsig.”

Phil Fable – The Love Interest that Isn’t

Cassandra sat at a cafe in Paris. It was spring, and her smirk showed that she knew how cliche’ she looked. But she pulled it off great.

Her red hair, styled like the forties, had very short bangs curled under with a bob. The smoke from her cigarette wisped off the cherry into the wind as she sipped her espresso. She leaned back in her chair to show off her dress and let it steal the scene. It was white with a tiny repeating pattern that matching both her black belt and flagerantly pink freckles.

As people walked by she whispered in French, “Look at me. I’m an American Cliche!”

They were French. They believed her.

She laughed, took a puff and waited.

Her presence so dominated the space around her that it looked like her face chiseled the scene from reality itself. Her ‘pretty’ was obvious, but nothing defined the scene like her smarts.

“CASSY!” came a voice from the crowd outside the cafe.

“Karen,” said Cassy, crushing out her cigarette. You came after all! Come on in!”

Karen walked through the front door, and made her way to Cassy’s patio. Cassy stood, they hugged and sat down.

“God, how did you look younger than me? I swear you look twenty and I look 40.”

“Nanobots!” smirked Cassy. “I live on another planet and nanobots keep my body free of aging and reverse all these pesky effects of smoking.”

“I heard those may come some day! You are SUCH a card!” said Karen.

“Karen, people don’t use card anymore.”

“I’m rebooting a meme.”

“Ooh, the soccer mom goes viral,” said Cassy.

“Seriously, enough of your nerdy sic-fi stuff,” said Karen, “How do you do this? You really do look twenty.”

Cassy paused and then replied.

“Vitamins and exercise. I’m a vegan too. And I moisturized since I was seven!”

Cassy’s face betrayed her lie but Karen didn’t catch it. Inside her lungs the nanobots were already sweeping away the effects of the dozens of chemicals in her lungs delivered to her by the cigarette.  Cassy’s face was frozen in a friendly impish smile that made Karen bubble with joy that she was so glad to see her.

Karen smirked. “Well, you look beautiful.”

“As do you dear.”

Karen’s face turned shameful. Her eyes looked downward.

“Cassy, I was really mean to you in high school and college. I’m glad you asked me here today. I … well … I made your life hell and I really do apologize.”

“It was hell dearie. Let me assure you. Having someone sabotage your life at every turn sucks.”

Karen’s face showed shame. She looked away. A tiny Buddha hung around her neck.

“I was young, insecure and needed to put others down to feel good. Oh Cassy, you are so god damned smart and confident. I HATED how … arrogant you were and how you could back it up so. And you never EVER fought back and succeeded anyway. You are such a star.”

There was a long pause. Cassy crushed a tear. Looked up to the sky in a very specific direction.

“Apology accepted. So, we’re good then?”

“Yes,” said Karen brushing her straight, thin brunette hair behind her right ear. “So what’s up with you. Have you a guy?”

“A guy has me, more like it. Has it bad actually. Really bad. Crushing on me beyond hope.”

“Ooh!,” what’s his name?

“Phil.”

“Phil? That names MEANS love.”

“It means BROTHERLY love Karen. Oh, dearie, I love him to bits. He is the joy of my heart. He is literally the meaning of my life. We ARE soul mates. He is my best friend and he longs for my touch like the desert desires rain. I wake up and he is … wait for it …  SKETCHING me on a note pad!”

Cassandra laughed joyfully.

“Awww. Sounds like you have some hot intimacy going.”

“Actually, NO. I’m gay.

“Really?’

“Yes, and it’s the cruelest trick EVER to be played on a human being like Phil. I am his only love. But he can never have my heart and it is killing him. And it’s killing me too, because if anyone I know deserves my love it is him.”

Cassy reached for a cigarette, offered one to Karen, and Karen declined. Cassy lit her cigarette. and looked wistfully at Karen.

“His heart is so beautiful. His mind so … honest. And yet … YET … “

She spread her arms up to the Universe to see if she could feel any romantic attachment.

“Nope, nothing,” said Cassie lowering her arms smiling.

“Wait, you’re gay?”

Cassie took a puff on her cigarette while darting her head in an impish manner with a slight closed grin.

“And it SO, SO sucks too. I WANT to love Phil and I do in so many ways that go beyond explanation. And …”

She held up her arms to the Universe again, laughed out loud, lowered her hands…

“Nope.”

“Wow Cassy, you gotta cut him loose. That’s just cruel. Does he know you are gay?”

“He knows.”

“Is he refusing to take no for an answer?”

“No, he’s just refusing to let ‘no’ matter about what he wants. He’s the kind of guy who – if he can’t get what he wants – goes without. There is no sexual harassment from him AT ALL. In fact, he’s the most professional co-worker i have had in my life. It just breaks my heart to see someone I love SO SO much hurt because I cannot love him … THAT WAY.”

“Can’t he find someone else?”

“There is NONE better than me dear.”

“Oh Cassy, you are so ARROGANT.”

“No Karen, if I were him I wouldn’t settle either. I’m THAT amazing. If I were him I would do the same.”

“Why?”

“Because when you know what you want, nothing else will do.”

Karen’s eyes flamed with jealousy. She caught herself and breathed. Her days of cruelty were over.”

“You know what I asked you here for?” asked Cassandra.

“No.”

“Before I tell you, you must promise to do something for me that will cost you nothing and mean absolutely everything to me. And really, I do mean it is a mere minute of your time.”

“Sure.”

“Let’s go for a walk.”

Cassandra paid her bill and her and Karen walked in the park with Karen telling Cassy about her life and Cassy listening in pretending to be interested. Finally Cassy had enough and interrupted her.

“Okay, here is the deal, I forgive you for all your drama if you do ONE thing for me. It’s free, takes very little time and will do a LOT of good. Do you agree?”

“Sure.”

“Kiss me for ten seconds, my count.”

“I … I … uh …. uh …”

Cassy took her hand and continued.

“I promise it won’t hurt. And it is really ALL I ask. I have always loved you Karen. THAT has been my real torture. You treated me like shit, tried to ruin my life at EVERY turn, and I went home and crumbled inside at WHAT you did for me and how I felt for you. YOU MADE MY LIFE A DOUBLE HELL! AND GODDAMIT YOU OWE ME A TEN SECOND KISS!”

There was a long pause that was beyond awkward.

“I’m married,” said Karen.

“Ten seconds.”

” … I … I … ” said Karen.

Slowly Cassy drew Karen in, so purposely that Karen could feel Cassandra’s intention on her lips They kissed as Cassy counted out loud to ten. The entire kiss lasted just over a minute with multiple kisses between counts.

“… ten … “, whispered Cassandra as she stepped away.

Karen stumbled on her feet. Her breath short. She grabbed onto a tree.

“That POOR Phil!,” said Karen.

“No pity, dearie. He hates that. He never gives it nor receives it. I make it up for him though.”

“How?”

“Let’s just say that I rock at video games…”

“Cassy, I never knew … I … could … feel … like this.”

“Now you know. Bye Karen.” said Cassandra.

She walked ten steps and turned around.

“BE HAPPY!” she cried to Karen.

Cassandra walked away nursing the kind agony of nostalgia. The nanobots had completely finished cleaning out her system from the effects of the smoke and were now onto fixing telomeres.

She looked up to that blank spot in the sky and smiled.

***

Phil looked up at Disang in the blank sky of his world and gave it a wave. He walked into Cassy’s lab holding a note from her.

It read: “Hey Feeler, you seem to be doing great and bouncing back nicely! But there is still a deep pain you still possess that we finally have the tools to deal with. Now, go to my lab and put on the virtual reality helmet. I’ll be gone for awhile.”

He went over to her lab and found the virtual reality helmet. He put it on and laid down on a couch. The helmet completely took over his brain’s ability to perceive reality and move his body. He instantly beheld the exact world he lived in reproduced in his mind. But in this world, Cassy’s white board had a message that didn’t exist in the real world. “Come to my place – stat!”  He walked over to Cassy’s virtual home knocked on the door. She opened it in the nude.”

Phil was speechless.

“Dearie, I know what you need. And here is the BEST part. I programmed this version of me so that it will be hyper-realistic. It will seem more real than if it really WAS me.”

“Wow. That’s addictive. I may never leave.”

“Yeah, it’s a trap alright. That’s why if any fantasy ever goes beyond 8 hours, the system automatically terminates. I spent a lot of resources on security. That way, you always return to reality and regular senses.”

She grabbed his hand.

“Wow. It DOES feel more intense here,” said Phil. “You know, I snooped around a little and found an interesting file on the screen of your computer. It was like you wanted me to find it.”

Cassy gave a faux look of surprise.

“Me? said Phil, “AS A GIRL?”

“I can dream right?”

“You hacked my DNA, changed my chromosomes and put me in a software program?”

“Oh don’t let it bother your pretty little head sweetie.”

“So are you going to get these memories of us?,” asked Phil.

“No baby, they are all yours. The real me doesn’t love you that way. So it would be wrong for me to know your most tender parts.”

She paused and turned to him. Her eyes showing the slightest of discoloring from her real face.

“I do love you to bits Phil.”

“I know.”

“And honey,” she said whispering in his ear, “I put the YUM in yab-yum.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yab-yum

Phil Fable – Tonglen BBQ


Phil felt the bonds around his hands as terror gripped him with a taste of surreal vanilla. The crowd was forming. There were about two hundred and fifty in the colony and about fifty were already there. The wooden stake gave him the posture he always lacked in his natural gait.

As the wood was being stacked around him, he practiced Tonglen.

He breathed in his fear of the ordeal he was about to face and then on his exhale, he breathed out all the bliss he could muster. He did this over and over with each breath.

After a few minutes, he thought about others he knew who suffered under fire. He breathed in their suffering from the flames of ignorance and then breathed out all his bliss with each breath to visualize healing that pain.

Then he imagined all the humans in all the universes who went through this and the whole ranges of emotion they felt. He breathed their suffering from the flames and then breathed out as much compassion and bliss as he could.

And then he breathed in every being’s suffering that was ever burned alive. And then he exhaled all the joy and kindness and wish for freedom he could. Over. And. Over.

It helped.

It helped him realize that there was no hope.  But that is it’s own kind of comfort. Knowing there is no way out. Knowing that facing raw manic cruelty in sheer terror is really okay. But he also knew it would end. It would not be forever.

And then as the crowd gathered, a man with very expensive clothes and a really tacky, overpriced headpiece declared.

“After this fire this heretic will burn in hell forever!”

Phil laughed. “You have NO IDEA what a hell is,” he said. “After you’ve emptied a few of them then you kind of get an idea.”

“Silence infidel!”

“Oo! Scary. What are you going to do? Tie me to a stake and burn me?”

In the crowd was a woman of 35 years with gray hair. Next to her was her sister wife, a young pregnant woman of fourteen who wore an eight pointed star around her neck. They held hands.

He looked at the men as they began to light the pyre. He looked at the grimmest one as he began his final words.

“Oh you HIGHER men …” he said mockingly. My friend Zarathustra LEFT the likes of you in his cave! Have you been to Zarathustra’s cave? Let me tell you, you have not! Nor are you worthy of it.”

He switched to his theater voice.

“You HIGHER men … the WORST thing in you is that you have, none of you, learned to dance as you ought to dance — to dance beyond yourselves!”

He felt the warmth coming up from the flames. It was soft and comforting in a way. He looked up to the sky at a constellation shaped like an eight pointed compass. “How appropriate” he thought. Then he looked over the horizon to the planet Dendicon. He then screamed to the air the rest of the Zarathustra quote.

“WHAT DOES IT MATTER THAT YOU HAVE FAILED? ….”

Phill paused and looked at their leader as the fire began to rise.

His body tensed in fear. He tried to relax it. But it tensed again. He raised his voice one more time before the shock of self-immolation began. He directed his quote to the two women but changed all masculine references to feminine …

“How many things are still possible! So learn to laugh beyond yourselves! Lift up your hearts, you good dancers, high! higher! And do not forget the good laughter! This crown of laughter, this rose-garland crown: to YOU, my SISTERS, do I cast this crown! Laughing have I consecrated:  You HIGHER WOMEN, learn, I pray you — to laugh! ”

The leader scoffed out a twisted laugh. But then a chill cut through his arrogance.

With laughter.

It cut through the night like a spinning pulsar. It came from depths, melding with his sheer terror and transcended reality itself.

Everyones’ face knew this laugh was the truth of the Universe. The never-finished truth. The unattainable truth. Truth without hope OR fear.

Phil stopped laughing and went back to Tonglen, he breathed in his terror and breathed out liberating laughter. Each laugh grew higher, better, and freer. But in the end, he was breathing in suffering and breathing out madness.

Liberated madness. CHOSEN madness.

He laughed even as the flames first licked his calves. The tonglen practice gave him that gift. And for it he was grateful. But then …

His body shook and writhed and his soul laughed its last at its schism began.

The flames took him as everyone watched him writhe in agony.

The two women stared at their husband. The older one with her gray hair shining and blowing in the wind. The younger one grasping her eight point pendant. The oldest whispered to you younger.

“Our husband is evil and I’m sorry I brought your life into his.”

Her sister wife whispered back.

“Let’s leave NOW mom. Let’s go back to our real home.”

They left the pyre early. Planned their escape. And in thirteen days, they were both out of the compound forever.

***

"Ye higher men, the worst thing in you is that ye have none 
of you learned to dance as ye ought to dance to dance beyond 
yourselves! What doth it matter that ye have failed! 

How many things are still possible! So learn to laugh 
beyond yourselves! Lift up your hearts, ye good dancers, high! 
higher! And do not forget the good laughter! 

This crown of the laughter, this rose-garland crown: to you, 
my brethren, do I cast this crown! Laughing hath I consecrated; 
ye higher men, learn, I pray you to laugh!"

– Zarathustra

Phil Does Dishes

Dinner was good. Friends laughed. Friends shared. Friends danced. 

And then Phil went home leaving the home of his friends. 

Home to … the breakfast dishes he didn’t have time to do earlier. 

He soaked the silverware in a large glass to get off the dried oatmeal. Filled up the sauce pan he cooked the oatmeal within. Put the ground flax seed in the fridge, put up the oatmeal as well as the walnuts, dried cranberries and cinnamon stick. Wiped the counter, swept and mopped the floor, then got the oatmeal grunge off of the pan and silverware and then filled the sink with water. He washed the bowl, the glasses, the silverware and cup. 

He looked at his A-11 wrist watch. It was 12:30 am. 

He looked at his kitchen.

“Enlightenment!” he cried.

Everything was where it should be. Everything was clean. It felt zen and perfect. There was a crumb on the counter he missed. He was okay with that. 

“But a working kitchen cannot stay clean,” he said. 

“Life is mess in motion.”

He went to bed calling his dogs.  

Phil Fable – Street Preaching Flossing Fanatic

Phil stood on the street corner of Denver preaching to the crowd. As passers by went hither and yon, he handed them a small flier with the simple title “The Truth” and a free box of dental floss.

“Floss I say! YOU FALLEN dental sinners! Floss! Do you think you can avoid the hell of tooth decay? Right now your mouth is a cesspool of bacteria intent on consuming your enamel! What say ye?”

Phil held up a picture of a mouth of rotted teeth from the book.

“DO YOU WANT THIS? REPENT NOW!”

People watched in amusement. Some took video as Phil preached while holding a 1950s Dentistry textbook in  a dramatic street preacher’s pose.

“You sir! You in the red. DId you floss today?”

The man, laughing, happily played along and acted with a faux contrite repentance.

“No, sir I am … GUILTY. I only brushed.”

“SINNER!” screamed Phi playing off the man’s great stage presence. “Do you want fucking ugly teeth? Come forward and say the Fallen Flosser’s Flagellation! Now repeat after me …”

The man came forward. Phil put his hand on his shoulder and raised his hand to the sky.

“I a scumbag non-flosser.”

“I a SCUMBAG non-flosser” screamed the man into the sky his hands to the air on his knee.

“Will floss my fucking fangs.”

“Will floss my FUCKING fangs”

“Twice a day!”

“Twice a day!”

“Forever!”

“Forever!”

“Or rot my teeth!”

“Or rot my teeth!”

“So help me me!”

“So help me me!”

“Here, sir is your free box of dental floss and the truth itself! Go and freely floss forever.”

He handed him the dental flsss along with the flyer with “The Truth” on the front of it.

The man walked away and went up a skyscraper to work. Once there, he opened the pamphlet up still smiling from the fun below and read it.

***

“The ultimate truth of reality can be LAUGHED. It can be DANCED. It can be FELT. It can BE. But you can never ever be written down, even in a Dentistry textbook.

So learn to laugh the truth. Dance the truth! Feel the truth. Be the truth.

Let these be the oracles of your soul.”

***

He smiled. Softly. Sincerely.

He looked at his dental floss, got online and booked the Swing Dancing class he had been promising his wife.