Tag Archives: perception

The Back Alley Strangler

 

Oh God I’ve got to stop working a double shift! ‘ Janey, can you do this, Janey can you do that?’ I am too easy going and too broke to say no. I hate my life!  I am too tired to think and I stink of cheap beer. EWWWWW! I can still smell vomit! Eddy you have got to get a better class of drunk in this run-down bar.  Damn! Did I collect my tips? How could I forget my tips?  I’m swear I am going to sleep for . . .  “What the . . . oh geez, sorry you scared me!  I don’t mean to be rude but it’s late, I’m tired and I’ll not really in the mood for any . . . look I’ll see you around . . . . .what the . . . . hey stop that, OWWW!  AHHHH! You’re hurting me!  Oh my God, my God it’s you!!!!!!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH . . .

……………………………………………….

“Mr. Leibowitz you are going to give your self another heart attack and your wife is going to kill you!”

One man was shifting heavy boxes of fruit from a truck parked outside his grocery store. As the second man approached, the first stopped, wiped his brow and smiled. The second man took over and finished the job in only minutes. The two men stood back to admire their handiwork and shared a good nature chuckle.  One was a small man with a back bowed by old age and arthritis, the other was a large man with a straight back.

“Officer Patrick are you arresting my husband?”  This new voice belonged to the small man’s wife.  She was as formidable and she was angry.  “You should arrest this lump of coal!  He no good.  He disobeys his son the doctor and he is determined to make me a widow.  Me, a young woman in my prime, I say!”

Both men had refrained from moving and each knew better than to attempt any kind of conversation while Mrs. Leibowitz was in full rant.  She would either run out of steam or out of room for her formidable figure.  With luck she would just go back inside to continuing ranting without an audience.  And the luck had it. With barely a pause in her rant, she returned to more comfortable surroundings.

Retired Officer Patrick O’Halleran was a twenty-nine-year veteran of the local police department.  Before he had retired, Patrick walked this beat for almost 10 years.  People knew him and had a difficult time accepting the fact that he no longer wore the uniform.  In fact, they still treated him as if he did.  The days when police officers walked the beat no longer existed and they all missed that.  So, Patrick strolled the streets every day as he had done for all those years.  It gave him a chance to think and it was great exercise.

So here he stood talking to a man who, just three weeks ago, had suffered a mild heart attack. Tobias Leibowitz knew he shouldn’t be moving these grocery boxes, but he also knew that Patrick was due to come by any moment.  Patrick had a reputation for helping.  Everybody knew that.  And everybody expected it.

When Patrick finally left the Leibowitz grocery store he was tired.  He was tired of walking this endless beat but he didn’t know how to stop.  He was tired of everybody expecting him to do the right thing.  Everybody wanted something from him. People expected him to fix their problems, even his family.  No one asked Patrick what Patrick wanted.

“Officer Patrick, Officer Patrick, please I think she’s dead! She no breathing! She no breathing! Come!

His years of training allowed him to react immediately. As he was running after the stranger, he was already preparing for whatever lay around the corner.

Patrick followed closely behind the agitated man; he was not one of the regulars.  As he came around the corner of the alley, he saw in front of him a large crowd made up of mostly children.  They were hovering over something that seemed to be quite small, another child perhaps? Patrick quickly pushed his way to the centre of the crowd; his expertise was needed.  When he reached the centre, he realized he probably shouldn’t have hurried.

“You didn’t tell me it was a cat.”

“No, my cat, my boy’s cat, make better yes?  She no breath!”

Patrick knew he was never going to live this down but he couldn’t make things any worse.  So, he reached down to this ratty feline and put his mouth over it’s and breathed, once, twice, three times . . .   The stinky old fur ball had the unmitigated gall to spit up in his mouth and then run away.  DAMN cat!

“Thank you, thank you Officer Patrick, you good man.”

Patrick did chuckle.  Yes, he could see the funny side of things.  His life saving efforts had been wasted on a mangy and ungrateful cat.  Well the kids were entertained.

He stood up and looked around the back alley.  When the cat had run off, so had all the children.  It seems there was no more excitement here.  He could see clear to the end of the alley.  There’s Mr. Grant, he used to be an executive in some bank but lost it all because of a sordid liaison with a secretary and now he is the local drunk.  He could see two of the resident hookers coming home from what must have been a successful night as they were laughing.  A lot went on in this alley.  It was great place to catch a glimpse of the dredges of life. It was also a great place to hide from the rest of the world. Patrick looked up at the windows that overlooked the alley.  Blinds were drawn and windows were closed tight.  No one wanted to see or be seen.

With a last look around the alley Patrick returned to the main street. He could see Anna Winslow through the glass of her flower shop.  She was a timid woman who had been beaten by a drunken husband until he had managed to cut his own throat with his pocket knife while drinking in the alley a few months ago.  No one had seen a thing.  Ms. Winslow was doing much better on her own.  She even smiled occasionally.

Patrick continued his endless patrol.  When he had retired, he was left with too much time on his hands.  So, he continued to do in his spare time what he did on the job: he patrolled the neighbourhood.    He remembered that he had promised Mr. Olson that he would look in on his son.  Mr. and Mrs. Olson were traveling in Mexico; their twenty something-year-old son was taking care of their bookshop.  The kid had a head for selling books.  He knew his stock better than his father.  Of course, his father was too proud to admit that.  Still, he’d stop in on the kid and maybe get a cup of coffee.

As Patrick continued down the street occasionally crossing to the other side, his eyes were always on the move.  He was watching for kids up to no good, he was watching for telltale signs of shoplifting, and people who just looked guilty.  Patrick had been good at his job.  He was so good at his job that any time he had asked for a transfer to a different branch of policing it was denied.  He was always told that his job as a front-line officer was more important than any other position in the police force.  He was the face of policing to the common folk.  That and the fact that he was very good-looking, and well loved by the people on his beat, made changing assignments very difficult.

“Hey Officer Patrick when are you going to catch that guy?  Us girls shouldna have to worry when we walk the streets.  We’s got rights you know.”

The young woman chiding Patrick was another of the streetwalkers coming home from a late/early meeting.  They always kidded him.  He was single, attractive and polite.  Fodder for their warped sense of humour.

“Don’t you worry Betty they will catch him.  It just takes time, and good police work.”

“Hey Officer, I read in the paper that this strangler has killed four women in the last six months.  This is happening very close to our street.  Are we in danger?”

This time Patrick did grin, although he did it surreptitiously.

“Well Miss Montague I think you will be just fine.  So far, the only women that have been strangled have been young women.  While you are indeed a fine figure of a woman, I think you have a few decades on the victims.  But I must say Miss Montague if I was only a few years older…”

Abigail Montague was indeed a fine figure of a woman.  Forty years earlier she had been a dance hall girl.  She sang and she danced with all the greats of the time.  She enjoyed a good joke: preferably dirty, rich men, and Scotch, not necessarily in that order.  She also loved to flirt with Patrick because he gave as good as he got.  As Patrick moved past her perch, she admired his backside and shook her head.  If she was only a few decades younger. . .

As Patrick continued along his self-imposed beat, more and more people came out to ask him about the Back-Alley Strangler. That is what the newspapers had started calling the man who was randomly strangling young women in back alleys.  Patrick didn’t have much to add to what information people already had but he did his best to calm their fears.  This strangler was preying on young women, many of them prostitutes, all of them poor if not destitute.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a segment of society that registered high in the Homicide Bureau.  Of course, he wasn’t about to admit that to people who were already concerned.  It never does well to admit to one’s faults especially if everyone is looking to you to fix the problem.

Eventually the day came to an end.  His day had been jammed packed with requests.  He had been asked to change a light bulb for Edna Smith, Mr. Fitzwilliam had wanted him to chastise his grandson for spitting, then there were the two dogs that were fighting: they had to be separated, and warnings to a couple of young boys who were fighting over a girl, and people wanted information on the Back-Alley Strangler. They all wanted a piece of him.

By the end of the day Patrick always felt as if he’d been pulled in a hundred different directions.  He was tired and his feet hurt.  He knew he was well-liked by these people but they only liked him because he offered them a symbol.  They still saw him as The Police, he made them feel safe, and they felt that he belonged to them.  Patrick wanted to help.  He wanted to help them all.  They needed him.  He was the only one who knew the right way.  Eventually he would help them all.

……………………………………………

 

And now another is saved!  I feel such relief, such pleasure, such strength. This is what I was meant to do, to release other’s demons, to help them find their path to salvation. I do not understand why they fight me, why they resist me. They are miserable and I am giving them passage to paradise. Only I know how many I have helped and I will be damned for my good work but I am not important, only them, only their souls. Janey is in a better place now.

As he stood up and straightened his coat, he knew that what he was doing was for the greater good.  He looked around the back alley. People needed him to help them relieve themselves of their burdens.  Patrick heaved a sigh; there were so many souls to save.

***************************

Psychologists and psychiatrists speak long and hard about psychopaths.  But even they don’t know why one is created or if are they born.  What they do know is that they can function in society their entire lives with no one knowing about their dark side.  Patrick was good at his job.

 

The end

A Missed Day

 

Tomorrow is the day,

Start running I will!

Salads for lunch,

Lose weight with no pill!

 

The next thing you know,

Days have gone by,

You missed it again,

You think with a sigh.

 

Tomorrow anew,

My routine begins!

I dedicate my life,

To stop all my sins!

 

But there’s a party tonight,

And a luncheon to do,

Next week I’ll begin,

On making me new.

 

Perhaps the next month,

Would be better to start,

A new way of living,

Ooh I love this new tart!

 

Never forget,

That day that you missed,

Is now gone forever,

Forever dismissed.

The Purpose of Life

You will notice that I didn’t say ‘Meaning of Life”.   Because, quite frankly, the meaning will be different for everyone. And that meaning will be based on what we have experienced of said life. We all want something different out of life. Some want children, to continue their bloodline. Some want success measured perhaps by money or by accolades. Some just want to be happy, the esoteric state that is, once again, different for everyone.

But the purpose of life it’s much easier. In its simplest terms:  it is to live.  That is the purpose of all life. From the lowest form of mold and bacteria to plants and animals. Even fire can be said to have a life as it appears to strive to continue its existence. But fire doesn’t think or feel or plot. Fire simply is. It isn’t vindictive or cruel or mean. But the results left behind are often described that way.

The only ones who truly are cruel and vindictive are people. We are the ones who search for meaning and yet we often pervert that meaning into something dark and evil.  Fortunately, most people look for the good and try to continue that. But as the saying goes: one bad apple can spoil the whole bushel. (I know, I know, I didn’t get that quite right. But the intent is there.)

When I was thinking about this post, I was wondering about the meaning of life. And then it dawned on me, what about the animals of the world? If life has to have a meaning then what about our pets? Do they have meaning? Ask anyone that shares a life with a pet and the answer is an unqualified yes! That is their meaning to us, what about to them?

I am not an animal psychologist or biologist or any kind of ‘gist that relates to the animal world but I have known many. (Mostly four legged, a few two.) From my perspective their concern is food, evacuation and something I call love. I think love exists in the animal world. Some people are uncomfortable using that word when talking about dogs and cats and elephants. Use whatever synonym you want, but even a casual server can see the affection that exists.

Perhaps we need to take a few lessons from our pets. They don’t care about three years from now. They probably don’t care about the next 20 minutes. They care about the now.  I know, I know, people can’t function that way. We need to be aware of our future and how to get there or to make it conform to our desires. But perhaps we also need to be aware of the now and not lose track. Perhaps now becomes the steppingstone to the future. Do it right today and tomorrow may take care of itself.

Jesus Walked With Us

When Jesus walked the earth

Our dear Lord Make it so

A teacher here is needed

So much we need to know

 

We sing His songs of praise

And deep within the words

Is everything we need to know

Just like the morning birds

 

We can walk the world with Him

Resting gently in this place

All it takes is a little Faith

To reach that state of grace

 

To reach that state of grace

All it takes is a little Faith

Resting gently in this place

We can walk the world with Him

 

Just like the morning birds

Is everything we need to know

And deep within the words

We sing His songs of praise

 

So much we need to know

A teacher here is needed

Our dear Lord made it so

When Jesus walked the earth

The Value of Failure

We’ve all done it. Some more than others of course. But it is part of the learning curve. Some successes were only possible because of the failure that preceded it. So why are we so afraid of it?

Nowadays it seems we don’t want to teach our children the value of failure. There’s a lovely story I refer to quite often about an older man taking his grandchild to a skating rink for the first time.  The man holds the young boy’s hands to get him on the ice and then throws his own arms into the air and says “fall down”. Of course, little boy does. The grandfather repeats this a few more times until the boy asks his grandfather ‘why?”. His reply surprised me when I first heard it: “It is to teach you not to be afraid to fall. You’ve already done it.”  Brilliant!

We fear what we do not know.  Our children need to understand that failure is something we all need to experience. If they don’t learn to deal with it when they are young, it can be devastating as an adult. Our lives are full of adversity. Along with failure and disappointment and confusion and…. It is also full of wonder and beauty and joy. There is a balance between the two that can be difficult to comprehend if you’re not exposed to it as a child.  I learned failure when I was young. My parents allowed me to fail, they didn’t shield me from it. But they were always there in the aftermath. That is good parenting.

I see too many young adults now who exhibit feelings of empowerment and entitlement. When someone disagrees with them, they are crushed and unable to handle it. They have lived charmed lives.  We all want what is best for our progeny. We want them to know only joy and success. But a false sense of security can before more damaging than the truth.

We inoculate our children against diseases that we know could be so incredibly harmful if they contracted them as adults. So why aren’t we doing the same thing with life. And how exactly do you measure success? Is it by how much money you have earned or awards you have received, or perhaps by the number people you have touched positively? I know what I use.

 

Stimulating the Senses

Cologne on the neck

Of the man you adore

Perfume on the woman

You leave wanting more.

 

Rain on the grass

Just after a storm

Brilliant new flowers

The air silky and warm.

 

The breath on your cheeks

From a baby’s wee cough

A delicate moment

Where nothing is off.

 

The sight of a sunrise

Just kissing the sky

A snow covered lake

The air crisp, cold and dry.

 

The senses were meant

To be stirred and caressed

A stimulating moment

With which you are blessed.

 

Continuity

 

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Things always sound better in French. It is a beautiful, lyrical language. Unfortunately, my ability to speak it is stuck at the high school level. But there are some phrases that most people know.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

We see it again, and again, and again. There were wars when people had only just learned to walk. Then the Middle Ages, the industrial revolution, the modern age, the nuclear age. We can’t seem to stop fighting. Why? If you have something I want, I can just make another. And then we would both have what we want. We live in an age when almost everything is available. I don’t like the way you do things. So, I won’t watch. There’s always a solution to a problem if you’re willing to look for it. But it seems to be easier to hate.

Too many people live in the ‘now’ and are only capable of satisfying the needs they have in this second. They are not capable of seeing a future for us all. And that leads to shortsighted and selfish decisions that hurt other people.

I enjoy living in the ‘now’ and relishing each moment but I am also able to see a future and those working to ensure that the future is tenable. It is the ‘now’ that will dictate the ‘then’. Have I confused you yet?

We want our species to continue. We want all the other species on the planet to continue. We want the planet to continue. But we also want to maintain our lifestyle, to maintain a relationship, to keep getting the coffee we love. (Okay I don’t love coffee but it is the drink of the masses so it works in this context) We like continuity. But to maintain that continuity we must allow change.

I know it seems like I’ve going off my meds or I’m smoking something funny but this does make sense. In order to maintain the lives we have, we cannot sustain the practices we are doing which will ultimately cause a cessation of everything. Does that make sense?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it through my life without too much hardship but it is coming. Our children and our children’s children we’ll be paying the price for our arrogance. Will they have an air to breathe, clean water to drink? Will they have jobs, partnerships, ideals, hope?

By fixing up the present we can guarantee the future. Is that too much to ask?

I Have Forgotten

 

I think I have forgotten

Some memories from my past

So many decades have gone by

I knew they wouldn’t last

 

I’m standing in the kitchen

There’s something I must do

I know that I would do it

If I only knew

 

I hope the ones not kept

Are the ones I’d like to lose

There’s the time I let it out

That is one I’d choose!

 

I think I’ll keep that time

That kinda made me laugh

Oh, then there is the meeting

I had with that giraffe!

 

Maybe I’ll remember

The fun times I have had

So many things that I have done

Things that made me glad

 

I’m standing in the bedroom

And I don’t remember why

Silly little memories

Seem to have gone bye

 

The reason I’m forgetting

May be me getting old

All the years behind me

And my future’s going gold

 

Every day’s a new day

When I’ve forgotten all the rest

Every day is wonderful

And still I think I’m blessed!