Beyond Beyond

I got half way through
The Last Jedi and hit
the pause button

I’ve gotten older not
necessarily smarter
but today I did it

I bought the first decaf
I’ve ever bought except
by accident drinking

my second cup now
as its going on eight
and your day ending

you heard me right I’m
drinking decaf into the
night first time ever

I forgot to tell you today
because we got hung
up talking laughing

about the perpendicular
but really horizontal or
something like that

(the breathless and
speechless force
was strongly with us)

drat I still have to
put clean sheets on
my bed forgot all day

I may not even watch
the second half tonight
no need

I know you’re about to
lie down put your head
on your pillow

I can smell your hair
I can taste your lips
when we can’t touch

I know the true force is
with us a Jedi doesn’t
come close to what we

have and the force of
our love unites us

beyond beyond

Murky Days in Hell

I was meditating, early in the day
when I reached for what was left
of my second cup of coffee.

It had separated into murkiness.
I was staring into a mirror of my
current state and circumstances.

Murky. Simply murky. But I got
in the car to take care of the
business at hand. The drive was

murder both ways, but I was in
and out in ten minutes. The
dismal deed was done. Gasp!

I was so stressed out when I
got back home, I couldn’t
write on my Mac, so I opened

my old HP and killed aliens in
Halo until I couldn’t see straight.
That would be about an hour.

Which is about all The Covenant
I can take. Playing this game for
fourteen years now and Holy

Smokes! I found a new way to
kill The Hunters by using the
overcharge power output of

a Plasma pistol. Got ’em both.
So, I made it through this gloomy
day after all. I stay amazed at

how God’s grace is enough for
me even on these stupid days
when hope fell off the edge into

the abyss at my feet. This calls
for an end of day fresh cup.
Espresso this time. Espresso to

sip, think, reflect, and wait. And
to give thanks. I’m alone and my
life is a mess. But coffee is good.

I never tire of Halo. I never tire
of God’s goodness on these
murky days in hell. (Satan isn’t

on break during Christmas; he
never takes a day off.) So, try
espresso. Try Halo. Try God.

Odds and Ends No. 62

Flu shot this morning was in and out.
I told her, “I made an appointment
for last week, but you guys ran out.”

“And we’re running out of the high
dose now; good on the low dose.
Which is your dominant arm?”

“My left. Completely so. The right
one just grew.” She didn’t laugh.
“Which dose will you give me?”

“High dose. Then we’ll go with the
right side,” she said as she stuck the
needle in my right shoulder. “You’re

all set. Have a great day.” “Thanks,
you, too.” I got in my car and looked
at the time. Time for coffee. I drove

a few buildings down from the
medical area to the shopping side of
the complex to one of my favorite

Starbucks. Why? They are cordial,
fast—and no drive-through. A small
but busy store. My turn. I ordered

a grande hot Carmel Macchiato and
paid with the app on my phone. All
five tables along the front window

were taken. I took a seat in one of
four chairs in a cluster at the far front
corner of the store next to the side

entrance. I could see the whole store
from here and both entrances. (That
old Vietnam habit still kicks in even

when I don’t think about it.) Tables
one and two: Oldsters on laptops. One
with Bluetooth in his ear. Table three

is a Joe College laptop. Table four has
an older couple. He is drinking hot;
she is drinking cold with a hard cover

book to her right. Her short pixie
hairdo is right out of Peter Pan. Nice
to see a husband and wife laughing,

talking, enjoying each other at any
age. I became aware of the store
music speakers. Bobby Darin singing

“Beyond the Sea.” I look around. I
think I’m the only one listening to
the musical background noise. Two

mature women chatting away at table
five get up and chat their way out the
side door. Dean Martin is singing

“Just in Time” from the Broadway
show comedy hit, “Bells are Ringing.”
Déjà vu. I heard this same song in

another Starbucks not too long ago.
But the show is ancient. I have the
soundtrack on vinyl. Here is some

more trivia. That song used to be
in my repertoire when I studied
acting in NYC ages ago. Part of me

wanted to get up and sing the rest
of it with Dino. The other part of
me had more sense. I took another

sip and stayed put. Isn’t it amazing?
You always remember the words
when someone else is singing them.

Store is getting crowed. About seven
more people in line. Only one high
table in the other corner with Jane

College and two laptops on that
little round table. Holy Smokes! The
Mills Brothers. Great harmony and

distinctive sound. Three of the four
counter stools are taken. To my far
left, two more Jane College on

laptops. Odd. Both blonds in pony
tails. Both dressed in black. And
best friends, no doubt. A noise.

An armored truck pulls up and stops
in the parking lot out front blocking
traffic. A uniformed gent dashes into

the store with a bag and goes behind
the counter and disappears. The
chairs next to me fill up. I think I

hear Nancy Wilson. Store is full. The
tables outside are starting to fill and
it is over one hundred degrees. The

truck is gone; I would normally see
him leave. Time for me to leave. Nice
break. Good coffee. I don’t know why

but sometimes I have to remind
myself that I’m not in Vietnam. It is
over. I smiled as I got up to leave

thinking to myself that I would
enjoy living in Vietnam if I could.
No Starbucks? I could do that. The

sights, smells, and sounds of Vietnam
flashed through my mind’s eye. Loved
Vietnam then; love Vietnam now.

I could do that. I got in the car and
pulled out into traffic leaving thoughts
of Vietnam at Starbucks. For now.

Odds and Ends No. 60

Maybe it was the coffee, but my first hour
of waiting went by very slowly. When I
walked in, I saw the donuts sitting there.

The smaller waiting area was full. It had
the big screen TV. I wasn’t interested in
the donuts or the TV. The other waiting

area was in the center of a showroom.
The children’s playroom was nearby and
certainly within earshot. TV noise or

kids? I put my case down on a chair and
decided to get my second cup of coffee
for the day. They had a Starbucks machine

with two choices of ground beans for one
size styrofoam cup. I added creamer and
a little sugar and returned to my seat.

Two little ones came flying by. Toys in
hand and a bunch of dominos crashing
to the hard linoleum floor. Could I have

been wrong? I thought this being a long
wait would be a good time to start a new
old book. New, because I hadn’t read it

yet; old, because it has been on my shelf
for about seventeen years or so waiting
for this moment. About “codebreaking and

American diplomacy, 1930-1945.” But the
sounds of kids running, playing, and being
chased by their grandmother was getting

to me. My patience is stellar. (Well, in the
vacuum I live in day-to-day. No people. No
calls. No reason to be impatient.) This was

different. I love kids and smile warmly
when I see them in commercials or news
clips. One of the service reps came out

and told the mother that it would take
another hour. I could hear the groans.
Not from the kids; from the adults

hoping their car was ready. I already ate
the glazed donut I said I wasn’t going to eat.
The music coming out of the speakers in

the showroom was static as far as I was
concerned. I couldn’t hear or understand
a word. As I read about the state of our

cryptology efforts in 1919, I heard Karen
Carpenter singing “Close to You.” The
grandmother’s phone was bigger than

his hand but he took it anyway and sat
in a chair close to me. He started to grunt
every four seconds. Loud grunts. How on

earth did I do that? How did I raise two kids?
The little girl ran by, mashed my foot, looked
up and said, “scuseme” with big eyes, cute as

can be. I thought to myself, “Well at least
she is a polite little terror.” Static music was
interrupted by an announcement asking me

to report to the service desk. The woman to
my right looked up from her book and gave
me an “aren’t you lucky” look and smile. As I

made my way to my car, I said a silent prayer
of thanks for every parent in the universe and
for their kids. For peace, quiet, and for coffee.

And for the gallant grandparents who do more
than their fair share. I drove home and put a
kettle on as I wasn’t sure if I wanted coffee or

tea with my sandwich. I put three teaspoons of
Medaglia D’Oro espresso instant in my mug and
happily returned to my vacuum zone for the day.