Piggy Does His Taxes

Wallowing in the mud,

The pig sees an opportunity.

Someone left a copy

Of TurboTax on the fence pole.

It’s past tax day,

But piggy is expecting

A big return this year,

So he hurries to get it done.

He pulls out his laptop,

Pops in the disc,

And gets to work.

“Can’t wait for those

Fresh oats and corn!”

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The God Who Stopped Loving Herself

   
The universe is a mystery to me. I do believe there must have been one being who must have created it. My question is, why? In a sense, it is related to why we love other human beings. We love, simply because we want to. We love, we create, because it soothes our souls. It reminds us that we are not alone. There is such great fulfillment in each act of love, a kind of spiritual love, which can be objective and subjective, understanding and empathetic. We always want to mess things up by over-thinking everything, with negative thoughts.Having said that, I think that first being of the universe, despite either being independent in existence, or composed of an infinite amount of objects and beings, all connected, like the Earth and all its creative wonders, became lonely. With love, comes pain, the pain of separation, rejection, betrayal, etc. Then comes fear. Then anger. I think that being should not have, in the act of creating the universe, allowed any part of that being’s self to be separated into any other additional beings. We have all spent our entire lives trying to return to that eternal, everlasting womb. 

But, I think I understand why God did it. Because feeling alone, in any form of existence one can imagine, is the most painful experience, in all of life. I believe, in my heart, what happened, was that she stopped loving herself. God lost an appreciation for her infinite gifts. She lost her fellowship with the glory of her Creation, which began long before Earth. She forgot who she was. But she also remembered that she loved her children: planets, Suns, galaxies. She began to stretch her imagination, until she came up with the idea of human beings. These beings would be the roughest creation she made. She was taking a risk. These humans would have an intellect, second only to hers. But their hearts could be as soft as pudding, or as hard as stone. The difference would be determined by two concepts: the ability to trust or mistrust, influenced heavily in childhood, and the choices each human made, each day, all day long, for the rest of their entire lives.

What Seems to Be

And there were little things, powerful things. Stop! Turn back! I scream, but there is no one to hear. No one left in this world who cares. It is the end, above and below. All things come to a stop. There is no air. Nothing moves at all. I don’t see any light, but neither is it dark. The world is a blank surface, empty, where there is nothing to do, nothing to be.

And then, just as sudden,  all begins to be again. There is movement all around, scurrying. Across the surface, things cling, to anything, whatever is nearby. Can I exist again? Can I be? I want to feel the rhythm of life in my body. I concentrate now, focusing on my breathing. I feel the warmth in my chest, and the coldness of my feet. There is much movement: a squirrel climbs up a tree. A breeze pushes into my hair, gently swaying a few locks across my forehead. I think about the blood pulsing through my body. I want to say I am empty, but instead, I realize, I am full. I am content.

A few moments pass, and I just stand there. I look around. I am standing in my front yard. I must be weird. I am alone, except for God’s creatures, doing as they always do. I think about myself instead, which is my tendency. I am embarrassed. How long have I been standing out here? Have things happened as they seem, or was it all in my head? I look around again, gazing down the street. I see a neighbor, a few houses down, getting into their car. I wave, but he takes no notice, which is normal. Why do neighbors wave to each other, despite the fact that they have never spoken a word? I guess it makes us feel like we are giving something back, saying thanks for being there, thanks for never bothering me, thanks for being you. It all runs together. It is a seemless tapestry that has its own beauty, in its simplicity. Really, it doesn’t bother me. It is almost a comfort, staying in my own private space. I prefer to be in my own world, without interruption.

Now, to continue. How will I move on, now that the world has returned to me? So much has happened, and, yet, from the looks of it, nothing at all. It must have been an an illusion. Perhaps a better word is hallucination. Am I schizophrenic? I dismiss that possibility, for, at the least, it makes me uncomfortable. How many things passing through our minds each day do we dismiss for the benefit of our own comfort, our own convenience? So trivial, so irresponsible. I wonder.

A Spooky Night

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One night,
I walked out my front door,
And stepped…
On a knife.

What was a knife
Doing on my walkway?
That’s when I heard it:
Heavy breathing,

Behind me!
I thought quickly.
If I turn around
Really fast,

Maybe…no.
That wouldn’t work.
My next idea
Was to take off running.

So I did.
I ran and ran.
Even as I ran,
I could still hear it.

Heavy breathing!
As I passed by a tree,
I reached out
And broke off a limb.

It wouldn’t be much,
But I needed something
With which to defend myself.
I turned around, really fast,

And yelled out, “Ha!”
I didn’t see anyone behind me.
I looked down,
And there was my

Smiling golden retriever,
Buddy, panting away.
“You!” I shouted.
“You scared me

Half to death!”
Buddy just smiled
And wagged his tail.
He didn’t understand.

But I was relieved.
That’s when I thought of it.
The knife.
I knew there was a knife

On my walkway.
I walked, slowly,
Back to my walkway,
Trying to catch my breath.

I looked down,
Right where I had seen it.
There it was!
A dog comb.

I must have left it there,
Earlier that afternoon,
When I was out front,
Brushing Buddy.

All this Halloween stuff
Had gone to my head!
I went back inside,
And ate some candy,

That I had bought
For kids on Halloween.
At least this stupid holiday
Was good for something!

Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 4

Then, something clicked in my head. “Hell,” I thought. “Why not? I can do whatever I want to do. It doesn’t matter, anyway. It’s all just a silly game. I’m in a fantasy land. I’m clueless!”

I got in the car and drove like a maniac, screeching around corners, zig-zagging from lane to lane, the usual, I guessed. I stopped at a corner store and bought a six-pack of Red Stripe, got in the car, opened a bottle, started the car, pulled out of the parking lot, then started chugging away. Michael looked at me with a concerned look on his face. “Dad, you’re not supposed to drink and drive!” “I know, Michael,” I said. “But right now, I don’t care.”

I slowed to a stop at the first red light, then, changed my mind. I floored the gas pedal, and we took off. We didn’t get far before I heard a police siren behind us. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the flashing lights of a police car. But I wasn’t in the mood to stop, so I decided I’d do my best to try to lose him. I saw a dump truck up ahead, so, when I passed it, I took a sharp turn in front of it, then into a grocery store parking lot. I sped along, cutting across parking aisles, dodging other cars that were scattered throughout the lot. I took a sharp turn when I got to the end of the building, dashed to the back alley, then tore around the corner and through the back passageway. There were empty crates, a couple dumpsters, and more cars and a delivery truck back there. I twisted and turned around all the obstacles, screeched around the opposite corner of the building, then out into the next street. I took off down the road, then looked in my mirror. Nothing. The police car was gone. All that, and he wasn’t even behind me. I didn’t even hear a siren. “Weird,” I thought. “Did I lose him, or was he not even after me? Hmmm…”

I thought again, “Who cares, anyway!” Just then, I looked over at Michael. He looked terrified. He was hunched up in a ball, clinging to the side of his seat. “Dad,” he said, under his breath. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine, Michael,” I said. “How are you?” “I’m okay. Do you think you could drive a little slower for a while? I’m a little sick to my stomach.”

I said, “Sure, no problem. I’ll try to chill out a little bit, okay?” “Okay,” said Michael. “That would be good.” I thought to myself, then, “I’ve got to get a grip on things. I’m losing my mind.” Then, I started to phase out a little bit. As we cruised down the road at a respectable 45 miles per hour, I started having memories, at least, I thought they were memories. I really couldn’t be sure.

Anyway, my thoughts were of being in high school, at the prom. Nothing exciting was happening, really. I was sitting at a dining table in a big room. Next to me, sat my date. After a few minutes of just sitting there not talking, and bored, in general, my date passed me a little tablet. “Here,” she said. “It will take the edge off things.” Then, she said, “Put it under your tongue.” Although I had no idea what it was, or what she meant by that, I tried it. Then, things got kind of blurry. The room started to spin. I got dizzy. My next memory was sitting in someone’s living room, watching other teenagers passing a small pipe. It had sort of a sweet smell. My date from the prom was there, too. I couldn’t remember her name, but, somehow, she seemed important. “I wonder if that was my wife,” I thought. She did seem very familiar. It could have been a close friend or something, I guessed.

“I’m ready to go home,” said Michael. His words brought me back to the present, pulling me away from my “trip” down memory lane. “Hmmm..” I said. “Maybe, that would be wise.” Sometimes you need a twelve year old to talk some sense into you. I slowed down, pulled into a left turn lane, then orchestrated a u-turn, heading back towards home.

Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 3

I had, at first, planned to walk downtown, but on second thought, decided to drive. It would be easier, and we wouldn’t have to run into people on the way there. So, I told Michael to get in the car. He didn’t ask questions or argue, for once. On the way there, I decided to try to start up a little conversation with him. “So, Michael, would you still like to go downtown?” “I don’t care,” he said. “Whatever you want to do, Dad.” “How about a movie?” I asked. “That’s fine. I don’t care.” “Would you like to go to a museum?” I suggested. “Whatever,” he said. I could see this was going nowhere, so I decided to try a different tactic.

“Maybe we could just walk around, and if you see something you’d like to do, you can just let me know, okay?” I said. “Okay” he said. I counted that as a small victory, but I decided to lower my expectations for this little adventure. I found a place to park along the road, in front of a bookstore. That gave me an idea. “Do you like to read, Michael?” I asked. “Sometimes,” he said. Sounded like a winner, to me. “Let’s go inside and look around,” I said. “Okay,” he said.

We went in and walked around a little bit. Michael spotted the comic books, so he gravitated towards them. I decided to give him some space , so I went over to the nonfiction section. The owner was sort of watching us, of course. “Anything I can help you with?” he asked. “No, just browsing. Thanks,” I said. I really wasn’t that interested in a book, but I was happy that Michael had found something interesting, hoping it would distract him from his troubles a little bit.

After a few minutes, Michael walked over to me with a comic book in his hand. “Can we get this?” he asked. I knew I still had plenty of money in my wallet, even though I had no idea where it came from, or even if I had a job. “Sure,” I said. Michael handed the book to the cashier, I paid for it, and we headed outside.

Just then, a truck came towards us, honking its horn. It was the ice cream man. He got out of his truck with something in his hand, which he held out to us to take. “Here!” he said, “Push-ups are on me.” “Thanks,” I said. “I just got fired,” he said. “So I’m giving away everything in the truck. Would you like anything else?” “I’ll take an Italian Ice,” Michael said. “Do you have any Big Chew bubble gum?” I asked. “Sure! Be right back.” He got in his truck, then held them out the window. “Here you go,” he said. “Great!” I said. “Thanks again!” “You’re welcome!” he said. “You don’t know of any job openings anywhere, do you?” he asked. “No, sorry. Can’t help you, there. Good luck, though. I hope you find something.” He thanked me, then drove off.

“That was weird,” I said. But it gave me an idea. “Michael, let’s walk down to that café at the end of the block. I want to talk to you about something.” “Okay,” he said. He was too busy eating his ice cream to worry about what I might want to talk to him about. We got to the café, found a table on the sidewalk out front, and sat down. I waited for the server, so we wouldn’t be interrupted. He handed us a menu, but I figured, since we had the ice cream, we’d just get drinks. “Would you like a drink, Michael?” I asked. “I’ll take a Coke,” he said. “I’ll have a beer,” I said. “Red Stripe, if you have it.”

After the server brought our drinks, and left, I said, “Michael, I need to talk to you about a few things. I’m having some trouble remembering things. Do you think you could help me a little bit?” Michael wasn’t phased a bit, yet. “Sure!” he said, and he smiled at me. “I don’t know how to say this, Michael,” I said, “but I can’t remember some things. Some things, I can remember. Other things, I can’t. One thing I am concerned about right now, is my job. I don’t remember anything about it. Do you know if I have a job, Michael?” “You have a job, Dad. You are an assistant manager at the Wells Fargo by our house.” “Yikes,” I thought to myself, “An assistant manager? I’m sure they are wondering where I am.” “Thank you, Michael. I will call them when we get home.”

As Michael and I sat there, I thought about what I might tell my boss. I could use my wife’s death as an excuse for a little while, I guessed, but I probably needed to see a doctor about my memory issues, and maybe get some sort of excuse to be out if the office awhile, at least until I sorted things out a little. I figured I could look to see if I had an address book, and maybe some business cards. Maybe some mail with account numbers on it, so I could take out more money if I needed it. I decided to completely go through my wallet to see if I had debit and/or credit cards, in case I needed those, too. Membership cards would be helpful as well. I was on the right mental track, I thought. “Just hope I don’t forget much anymore,” I thought to myself.

Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 2

The next day, I slept in, a little bit. It had been a long day, yesterday, and I drank a little too much. I didn’t get sick, which I was very happy about, but on my way through the house, I was reminded of something–I am a father. At least the boy thinks so, and after we thought to bring his mother’s purse to the hospital with us, and showed the clerk her I.D., I noticed that she had the same last name as I.

So, here I was with some sort of responsibility, consisting of what, exactly, I wasn’t sure. I thought to myself, “Why do I not have any memory of all this before yesterday? What happened to me?” I thought about it for a while, then decided that it didn’t really matter. I was who I was, and there was no going back. I made some coffee and had a few cups, then decided to wake Michael up and go down the road again, hoping that having Michael with me might bring some normalcy to my life. Things had just been too weird in the last 24 hours.

“Wake up, Michael,” I said to him softly, then rubbed his arm to bring his attention to me. I patted his head and said, “Wake up, little man. We have things to do and places to go.” Michael rolled over towards me, and rubbed his eyes. “What time is it?” he asked. “It’s ten o’clock,” I said quietly. “I am going to be late for school!” he said. “No, you’re not going to school today. We’re going to just relax and take it easy for a little while, okay?” At first, he looked confused, then it hit him. He remembered what happened yesterday: He did not have a mother anymore. He started to cry a little, but I didn’t want him to dwell in it, so I decided to get him moving to distract him a little.

“C’mon, get out of bed. Don’t you need to brush your teeth or something?” I said. “What about breakfast?” he asked. “Okay, I’ll make some eggs and toast. Why don’t you take a shower while I do that?” “I don’t want to take a shower,” he said. “Alright, then, go into the living room and watch T.V.,” I told him. My head hurt too much from the hangover I had to argue with him. “Okay,” he said, and he jumped out of bed and walked out of the room and down the hall.

Just then, I started to feel really weird. I thought to myself, “What am I doing? I have no idea how to do this! Maybe I should let him go to school.” “No,” I thought. “I’m going to do this my way.” I walked out to the kitchen and made some eggs and toast, like I told Michael I would do. I realized that it would probably help the hangover to eat something, too.

Sometimes, you never know what’s going to happen. Life can deal you a hand that you never dreamed of, and you just have to adjust. Should I be bitter, though? Should I run? Should I deny Michael? Maybe, I should put him up for adoption. After all, does he really need me as his father? I wondered, then, if we were close before. I wondered how attached to me he was. He seemed to trust me, although he had already challenged my authority once. “We’ll see,” I thought. “We’ll see.” I would ride things out for a little while, anyway.

I finished making breakfast and called Michael into the kitchen. He came bouncing in, smiling. “This is fun!” he said. “Can we do this every day?” I smiled, then said, “We’ll see how things go, Michael.” I thought to myself then, “I’m crazy. This is crazy.” But I said nothing more to him about it. “Let’s eat, and we’ll just see how the day goes, okay?” He smiled again, then sat down and started to eat. “Maybe things will be okay,” I thought. “Maybe.”

After we finished eating, I told Michael to get dressed. He said, “Why? I thought we were going to relax.” I looked at him, and was about to tell him to do what I told him to do, because I said so, but I thought better of it. “We’re going to do something fun,” I said. We’re going downtown.” “What’s fun about that?” he asked, with an innocent look on his face. I was beginning to see a pattern, so I decided I was going to have to make him do things my way, or this wasn’t going to work out. “You’ll see. Trust me. Get dressed. Now.” He muttered something to himself, but he went towards his room. “And brush your teeth, too!” I shouted.

After a few minutes, he came out. He was wearing a blue and red striped shirt, tie-dye shorts, and bright green tennis shoes. “Okay,” he said, smiling. “I’m ready.” I thought to myself that this was not going to be easy, but then, I realized, it’s really no big deal. “Who cares,” I thought. “He’s just a kid.” I smiled at him and said, “I guess your mom usually picks out your clothes.” Immediately, I realized my mistake. He frowned, then began to whimper a little. Eager to set things right again, I said, “That’s okay. You look fine. We’ll just have to figure things out as we go, right?” He was still frowning, but he nodded his head in agreement.

“Okay, c’mon, let’s go,” I said, and I started to walk towards the door. I looked back to make sure he was following behind me, before I reached out for the doorknob. He was looking down, and sort of shuffling his feet, but he was coming. I opened the door and we walked outside. I fiddled with the keys I had for a minute or two, trying to figure out which key was the correct one. I had had to do the same thing last night in the dark, when we came back from the hospital, so this was a little easier, but not much. I finally found the right key, and locked the door.

I suddenly had a flashback of yesterday, and got a little nervous. I looked at Michael, who was halfway down the walkway from the door, still shuffling his feet a little, and kicking small pebbles into the grass. “Okay,” I thought. “Today is a new day. Maybe things will get better.” I didn’t believe it, though, and said a little prayer to whomever might be listening in heaven. “It’s got to be,” I thought. “Things can’t get any worse.”

Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 1 (Part 2)

I asked the boy if we had a car. He told me we did, and he showed me where it was. I asked him where the keys were. He suggested I check my pockets. Sure enough, they were there. There was also a wallet with money in it, and a driver’s license that said, “Steve Henderson”. I assumed then that that was my name, and resolved to do my best to remember it. Perhaps, for starters, I’d try to remember that there was a wallet in my pocket.

We both got in the car, but then I realized I did not know where the hospital was. Feeling lucky for the moment, I checked my other pocket and found a phone. I had to go back inside the house to look up the phone number. I called for directions, then got back in the car and started off.

We went to the hospital, and entered the emergency room. We asked about the boy’s mother and were shown to a private room. We waited for a few minutes, then the doctor came in and told us that the woman had been declared dead on arrival. We were both very sad to hear that, especially the boy. I thanked the doctor, and he left the room. The boy had been crying for a while by then, and I reached out to give him another hug. He was glad of that and latched onto me right away.

I realized then that I still did not know his name, so I asked him. “Michael,” he whispered, still crying a little. I said to him, “Michael, let’s go for a ride, okay?” I took his hand and we walked back to the car. When I started the engine, I happened to notice that the gas gauge was almost on empty, so, I decided to look for a gas station before we got too far.

We stopped to get gas shortly after leaving the hospital. I seemed to have plenty of money in my wallet, so I used some of it to pay. I got back in the car and we drove off. Michael asked me if I was going to go to work today. I thought about it for a second, then told him, “I’m on vacation.” That seemed to satisfy him for the moment, so he stayed quiet for a little while, albeit a little bit of crying under his breath.

We drove for a while in silence. I couldn’t remember anything about the city we were in, so I just stayed on the road the hospital was on. It took us all the way through the city and out into a less populated area. I finally asked Michael how he was feeling, and he said, “Okay, I guess.” I realized that I was getting hungry, so I asked him, “Would you like to get something to eat?” “Yes, please,” he said. So, we stopped at a diner on the outskirts of the city. I was glad that I thought of it before we got too far away, as it didn’t look like there was much past that point on the road.

We went in and got something to eat, and while we sat there, I decided to ask Michael if we had any other family nearby. He said we didn’t, which I was sort of glad about, since that meant I had less people to deal with. We finished our meal and got back in the car. I asked Michael if he would like to go home, and he said he did. With Michael’s assistance, I found my way back to our house. I was happy to be somewhere that I didn’t have to make a lot of decisions, and Michael seemed almost content as well.

I turned on the television, and we both sat on the couch. I gave Michael the remote control, as I had no idea how to operate it, nor did I remember anything about the stations. He put it on a music video channel, and left it there. We sat there for a while. Eventually, I thought to look at the clock. It was about nine o’clock at night, so I asked Michael what time he usually went to bed. He said he could stay up as long as he wanted. I wasn’t sure if this was the truth, or if he was playing on my bad memory, but I decided that he had been through a lot, so I’d let him do whatever he wanted.

Around eleven o’clock, I noticed that Michael had fallen asleep. He looked like he didn’t weigh much, so I put one of my arms under his legs, and one arm under his back, and lifted him up. I carried him to the nearest bedroom, and it had all the toys and things that little boys like, and the sheets had Superman symbols on them, so I concluded that it must be his room. I laid him on the bed, then pulled his shoes off. He woke up a little, so I checked a few drawers in the dresser and found some pajamas. I helped him put them on, then pulled back the covers. “Get into to bed,” I told him, and I pulled the covers over him.

I decided to go into the kitchen and check the refrigerator, as I was a little thirsty. There was some soda, a jug of milk, some bottled waters, and a case of beer. I decided to have a beer. I sat down on the couch in the living room, and drank the beer. When I finished that one, I went back and got another one, then another. I realized then, that I must be used to drinking a lot of beer, as it didn’t seem to have a strong effect on me, at least that I could tell.

I woke up around four o’clock in the morning, realizing that I had fallen asleep on the couch. I got up and decided to look for my bedroom. I went into the third room, as the second was apparently an office. I noticed on the dresser a picture of me, Michael, and the woman that had died, Michael’s late mother, and, apparently, my late wife. I did not feel sad, as I had no memory of her in any way, except as dead, when I had found her the day before. I got into bed and went to sleep. I had no idea what I was going to do in the morning, but I decided I’d figure that out then.

Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 1 (Part 1)

One time, I was thinking, and then I thought something else, and, it passed away. I thought, at first, that I could remember it, but after a while, I gave up. Some thoughts just aren’t meant to be, and some, never meant to be concrete.

So, I left my little room, and I went outside. I walked for a while, in no particular direction. Eventually, I came to a few people, but I did not know them, so I turned away from them, and went in a different direction. As I thought about it later, perhaps I should have said something, at least to one of them, but, now, that is neither here nor there.

As I moved in the second direction, I came upon a man standing on the side of the road beside his car, which had broken down. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help. He made a face, and cursed at me, saying “It’s just a piece of shit!” I said, “I’m sorry,” and went about my business.

Eventually, I came to a city bus stop, where a bus had stopped to drop off a passenger. I thought to myself then, “Maybe now there is room for me,” and I stepped toward the bus. I got on, passed by the driver, and was in the process of looking for a seat, when the driver yelled out, “You have to pay, buddy!” I told him that I didn’t have any money, and he made a face and said, loud enough for everyone on the bus to hear, “Well, then get off the damn bus, you idiot!” I got off, resolving not to get on any more buses, at least until I had some money.

I also thought to myself that perhaps it was just not my lucky day, and decided to turn back towards home. As I was walking back in the direction from which I had come, I tried to remember my street name (or number) and house number. As I thought about it, and looked at the houses in the general direction that I vaguely recalled was the correct route to my house, I realized I wasn’t sure.

Just then, a small boy came out of a nearby house, running in my direction. As he was running towards me, he shouted, “Mom is having a stroke or something!” I felt sorry for him, and asked him, “Where is your father?” He looked confused for a second, then said, “You are my father, Daddy!” I thought to myself that I had never seen this young boy in my life, and started to tell him so, but then changed my mind, as I saw that he was getting very upset. I said to him, “Take me to our home. I have forgotten the way.”

The boy made a quick smile of relief, then grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the house from which he had come. As we stepped inside, things did look vaguely familiar, but I was not convinced yet that this was my home. I did see his mother on the floor, and she looked like she had passed out. I put my head near her face to see if I could feel her breathing, but did not feel anything. Then, I checked her wrist for a pulse, and felt none.

“I’m afraid she is dead, son, but, if you like, we can call for an ambulance, just in case.” He looked shocked for a second, then exclaimed, “Yes, we need to call for help!” Although I was pretty sure the woman was dead, I decided to humor the boy, and be on the safe side, just in case I was wrong.

I called for an ambulance, and, in a few minutes, it arrived. The EMTs jumped out and looked at me and said, “Did you call for an ambulance?” I said “Yes,” and that the woman was inside the house. They ran into the house and saw her on the floor. One of them bent down and checked her pulse, but did not say anything. Although, what he had found was next apparent, as he started performing CPR on her. The other EMT ran back to the ambulance, then came back with a battery pack and some sort of what I took to be a CPR machine.

He pulled out two plates with handles and placed them on her chest, then yelled “Clear!” The woman’s chest jumped up, but she did not come to. After a few more tries, and no luck, they picked her up, put her body in the ambulance, and drove off. “I guess they took her to the hospital,” I said to the boy. The little boy began to cry and yelled, “She can’t be dead! She can’t!” I felt sorry for him, so I reached out to touch him. As soon as I got my hand around his back, he put his arms around me and held me tight, sobbing all the more.

The Orange and the Horse

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There once was an orange. He was very happy, as oranges go. There was plenty. Plenty to go around. There were oranges here, and oranges there.

Then came a horse. The horse was hungry. He had come from the west, where things were very dry. He looked at the orange, and smelled it. The orange was fragrant, and looked juicy to eat, so he did, at least try.

The orange sprouted two arms and two legs, and began to fight back. The horse already had him in his mouth by this time, so the orange reached out and punched the horse in the nose. The horse yelped, and dropped the orange. The orange landed on his two feet, and ran as fast as he could, to get away from the horse.

As the orange ran, he started to get thirsty. He saw a bucket, and he figured that there could be water in it. The only problem was how to climb the bucket. The orange saw a rock. So he rolled the rock over to the bucket, then stood on the rock. He could just barely reach the top with his fingertips. So he grabbed ahold as best he could, then pulled himself up.

He dropped down into the bucket and then discovered another problem: the water was too deep, and he had nothing to stand on inside the bucket. Just as the orange was treading water, trying to figure out what he should do, along came the horse again for a drink. The horse looked into the bucket and saw the orange and the water. The orange cried out, “Please, mister horse, bend down your head for a drink. I will not hurt you.” So the horse bent down and began to drink.

Eventually, the horse drank plenty of water. So much so, that the water was shallow enough for the orange to stand on the bottom of the bucket without drowning. After the horse had finished, the orange gave a great push on the side of the bucket, and it fell over, dumping the orange out on to the ground.

From that day on, the orange and the horse became friends.