Jim Archives

September 27, 2006

Jim: The Descent

“This is for your little graffiti project in the coatroom,” said the orderly holding me down. The other man handled the injection and the universe spun away to darkness.

I awoke in an isolation room. No furniture, floor and walls thickly padded, a feeding slot on the door. Just like in the movies.

There were no medications with my greasy breakfast or with my flavorless lunch. By dinnertime the voices were back. Hateful, bile-soaked voices ripping through my skull.

More meals passed with no human contact. Only the shrieking voices.

Days became weeks.

I could no longer remember my name.

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September 29, 2006

Jim: VO5

Everyone called her Molly and for the longest time I didn’t know why she was in the psychiatric ward. She appeared to be just a normal young lady with long, raven hair and a friendly smile.

Then one day I overheard one doctor telling another that she had severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He said that Molly was obsessed with following written directions.

A week after that, one of the orderlies found her huddled on the shower floor with her bare scalp rubbed raw. She was clutching an empty bottle of shampoo and sobbing three words over and over.

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat.”

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October 2, 2006

Jim: Marlowe Meets Maker

The first room we smashed through was loaded to the rafters with swords and knives. “That’s a lot of cutlery,” my partner said.

The next room was full of guns. Crates of guns, from Saturday Night Specials up to bazookas, were stacked along all four walls.

And the dame was there, too. I didn’t need to know body language to see that her body spelled trouble.

“What’s with all the artillery, Toots?” I asked.

I heard the gunshots and felt the warm slap of lead before I even saw the pistol in her hand. “A girl needs protection,” she purred.

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October 3, 2006

Jim: Brain Power

When it comes to planning these things, there’s a fine line between being cleverly Machiavellian or devising something crudely Rube Goldbergian. A very fine line, indeed.

Sure, I’ve made a few mistakes but I learn from them and try again. Nobody said this would be easy.

One of my most valuable lessons is that even the best-laid plans can come to ruin if you don’t have the right accomplices. Sometimes, though, you have to make do with what’s at hand.

So once more, with a small sigh, I answer his inevitable question, “The same thing we do every night, Pinky…”

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October 4, 2006

Jim: Through the Smelling Glass

Alice carefully read the same page again, enthralled with how Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade filled her soul with molasses and sevens.

Stacatto flashes of silky orange cinnamon announced a visitor. “Coming,” her crystal voice pulsed ahead of her toward the door.

“It’s time to come home, Alice,” said the nice man with a voice like lemons and fur. He touched her arm in C Sharp and gently led her down the hallway.

Her mirrored reflection grew larger and larger until all Alice saw were the black pools of dilated pupils. “Best trip ever,” she murmured in rich mahogany.

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October 5, 2006

Jim: Eternity

The third level of Hell is reserved for the gluttonous. Dante described it as a place of eternal storms, accursed, heavy and cold.

Pooh, being a bear of very little brain, had no idea why he was there. What he did know, however, was that there was a hunny tree in the valley below.

“Oh, fluff and stuff,” he said. “How ever shall I get some hunny?”

A plan slowly took form. “Why not?” he asked himself.

First he had to catch the balloon. And then maybe he could talk a demon into saying, “Tsk. Tsk. It looks like rain.”

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October 6, 2006

Jim: Death Valley

The desert plays tricks with a man’s mind. Being alone for too many hot days and too many cold nights can strip away lucidity like the ants strip flesh from bones. But there’s gold out there and you only have to keep enough sanity to recognize it.

Hank found the bones scattered in a deep arroyo around midday. He dug a shallow grave and put the bones in, assembling them the best he could. He said a few words and moved on.

But not before checking the big, humming metal disk to see if there was any gold in it.

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October 9, 2006

Jim: Going Once...

It took over an hour to tell the convoluted story of how the rock passed from one person to the next. Yet such was Gramps’ skill with weaving the spoken word that nobody in the audience dared to interrupt.

“And so,” he concluded, “this hand-worn pebble is all that remains of the stone with which David slew the mighty Goliath!

“I must have it!” declared an excited museum curator.

Bidding started when the Bishop offered two hundred grand for the holy icon.

Gramps made more money that night than he ever made from selling lint from the shroud of Turin.

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October 10, 2006

Jim: And Then A Whimper

“Help me.”

Those two words, spoken by a child, cut through the radio static like a knife.

“This is Tango Zebra 1245.” I used the call sign out of habit. “Please repeat.”

“Help me,” sobbed the child. “I’m afraid.”

I squeezed the microphone. “Where are you?”

I wish I’d heard silence. Silence meant an open mike. Instead, I got static.

“Please come back,” I begged.

I sat in my shelter, listening on that frequency for hours.

For most people, the world ended when the bombs fell. For me, it ended with a child crying for help that would never come.

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October 13, 2006

Jim: The Houseguest

“We need to discuss my mother, dear.”

That fat cow of a mother-in-law has brought me nothing but misery. She’s hated me from day one!

“Momma fell down her apartment stairs and broke her hip.”

Hooray! There is karma!

“But the worst part is that she fell right into a neighbor’s hot BBQ grill. He accidentally knocked her into a coma when he rolled her to put out the flames.”

Ouch! Hee-hee.

“Then her Medicare ran out so now she needs to come live with us.”

Groan. How can my luck get any worse?

“And I’ll need help bathing her.”

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