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I was driving down the Number 1 highway, heading southwest. At first, all I saw was a dark speck at the side of the road... and then it resolved itself into a blue speck, a person speck, a young girl in a blue sweater speck. She sat on a large backpack, and her thumb hung patiently over the shoulder.

The highway was empty that morning. I stopped.

I didn't intend to give her a ride. I intended to roll down my window and say, "You know, you shouldn't be doing that. It's really dangerous. You could get mixed up with some creep, and then where would you be? Trapped in his car. Or her car. Seriously, go home! Buy a Greyhound ticket. This is too dangerous."

I rolled down the window. "You know, you shouldn't be doing that. It's really danger --"

"-- dangerous, I know. I don't mind, though." She smiled.

She smiled. God, did she ever smile.

"So, you gonna give me a ride or what?"

I couldn't speak. I must have sat there for a few moments with my mouth hanging open. Then, finally, I opened the door. I didn't know what else to do. She got in, and my tongue returned.

"Er, where are you going?"

"Oh, you know. Away. Probably further than you. Where are you going?"

"Swift Current."

"Maybe I'll go there. Swift Current. Stop and drift down the river..."

I laughed. "Good luck. There aren't any rivers big enough to drift down in Swift Current." It didn't seem to throw her off.

"I'm sure I'll find one. There are rivers everywhere, if you know how to look."

What do you say to something like that? I'm not a philosophical person. I wondered if she was crazy.

"So, what's your name?"

"My name?" I don't know why the question surprised me. It's a normal enough question. I don't know why I didn't answer.

"If you don't want to tell me, that's alright. I'm Cassandra."

"Oh."

She didn't say anything more, so I didn't, either. The next time I looked at her, she was asleep. About half an hour later, in Herbert, I stopped for gas. I ran around the parking lot of the gas station a couple of times, stretching my legs while the car filled. She was out like a light. Didn't move. I took the keys with me when I went in to pay, though. Better safe than sorry, right?

Inside, I paid for the gas and a couple of sodas. She'd be thirsty when she woke up, I figured. But when I left the store, she wasn't in the car anymore. Neither was her pack. She was just gone.

I looked for her on the road for the next few clicks, but all I saw was the sky. The same blue as her sweater.

This is the first half. Next, you should read March 24, 2004 by bewilderbeast.

Dogic
    • 4 am is prime time for doggie zooming and puppy pouncing.
    • The garbage collector is stealing our stuff.
    • After a dose of Pepto Bismol the couch or a lap is your face towel.
    • Every time the refrigerator door is opened be positive that your head belongs in there.
    • To help with laundry steal underwear and play keep away with it in the back yard.
    • Even though there's no doorbell bark every time you hear one on TV.
    • Chewing up a red crayon will convince the neighbor's kid at the door that you're hemorrhaging.
It's been a very demanding week. Gen has been a joy, but has an upset tummy. Neither one of us have slept much. The vet says if it doesn't clear up in a couple of days I need to bring her in. She's a busy little body. I'll be glad when she's got all of her puppy shots so we can go for walks and run off some of that energy.

Unconscious grief.
Dreams

    Strange men drive Datsun pickup trucks that are lining gray streets with dead black labs under yellow skies. We're trying to catch them but the license plate number is blurry. Suddenly a castle appears in the sky Kiki sits up looks at the sky and both vanish.
    Treacherousness stains the scene and wood rots and falls through the driveway to the new house Hubby bought. A blue station wagon is stuffed with things from the old place. A dead dog lies in the middle of the street. I stop open the door and Kiki sits up and I pet her, she hops in the back seat. It's so hot and stuffy. The A/C on the green dash board has a white silhouette of a Golden Retriever. I turn that on to keep Kiki cool.

Laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants

    Number One Son was jumped by three worms who beat him so badly he ended up in the ER with a mild concussion, stitches and several chipped teeth. A CAT scan was done and he was sent home. I took the stitches out for him yesterday with my handy dandy dissecting kit from college days. He was at a friend's house when one of the neighbor's drunk as a skunk came out yelling. My son went down there to calm him down. The drunk grabbed his shirt my son pushed him back then two others jumped him. The biggest part of his injuries was to his face because they rolled him over and stomped on his face.

    Meanwhile his neighbor and friends stood there frozen Three days earlier another friend had been shot and killed. He's pretty mad at them right now. One friend said he was stupid to go down there. He's never been around drunks so how could he have known?

    The police were called but he refuses to press charges because of retaliation. He may change his mind when the hospital bill arrives.

The true meaning of speeding tickets

    I asked God to keep an eye out for Number One's Son's speeding, so his license was suspended. I drove him down to the courthouse to get it reinstated. He got a nice little lecture from the judge. He swears to me that he's slowed his driving down sticking to the back roads for speeding. That's why he got that Camaro. He loves it.

    We had a very nice lunch afterwards. We got to sit down and talk. He's had a really rough couple of weeks and I wanted to make sure he was okay. I had to laugh when he told me he has a ticket to settle in this little po'dunk town of Eloy next week. Poor guy never saw it coming. The officer who pulled him over said there was airplane tracking his speed overhead.
    Pretty sneaky Lord.

The revisiting of unintended consequences.

    Number Two Son's MESA group has not been having meetings and according to the two students who have been pretty much left in charge there won't be any more. This is alarming to hear since the U of Az is using his records of attendance to determine eligibility for tuition wavers and scholarships.

The revenge of unintended consequences.

    Yesterday we found out that hubby miscalculated how many vacation days he was due and it meant $300.00 less in his paycheck so things are really a mess. That's the grocery and gas money. Hubby feels bad, but I told him it's an honest mistake. I walked down to the store and picked up a few groceries with fifty bucks I borrowed from my son. I don't know what we'll do until next payday. At least the mortgage is paid.
    I so tired.

When my heart is faint

Even while you sleep the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver.
-Psalm 68:13

Devotion

I am one of those people who outstays necessity because of comfort. These hands were made for clinging, I suppose. Or at least that's what I tell myself for comfort purposes.

I have a job at a newspaper in the composing department making and placing ads. I never wanted to be here very long, but it was my first "real job". The one to make me look like a real graphic artist on my resume.

First it was a year, then I promised myself I'd only be here 2. Now a month past my 3 year anniversary at this job, I find it difficult to leave. I like the people, my boss is awsome, it's a 3 minute drive, and I don't have to do shit for a paycheck that affords me all that I really want to do. Not an overabundance, but pretty much exactly what I need to get by. That all sounds great, besides the fact that I never wanted it to be this way.

It has been so long since I have really had to work that I find myself getting angry when I actually have to apply myself to something. Not only that, but I am starting to forget how to really apply myself fully. This is starting to carry into my personal life as well, which is scary.

It all slips away so slowly, you don't even notice until you've lost alot,
like one of those zombies in vegas, pouring quarters into a slot.
- Ani Difranco



Atrophy... it's a killer. I just had to learn how to identify the problem before it's too late, which is where I am right now.

I had an interview with an advertising agency. I was asking for twice the money that I make here at the newspaper. They, of course, refused to pay it, and we parted ways. After about 24 hours of mental examination, I realized why I asked for so much money. I was scared to leave my safe-haven... my personal bubble of protection that I've been hiding in since I realized that I was not invincible to the trials of the world. What a coward I have become. I am so scared to leave my job that I sabotage any opportunity that may remove me from it.

After that humbling realization, I promised myself it would be no more. I called the agency back and told them how foolish I had felt and that I would like to be recoincidered for the job. I'd take whatever they are willing to pay me. As of now, we are working out a few minor details, insurance costs and what not. Everything seems to be falling into place rather well.

Who the hell put such emphasis on jobs any damn way? How did we come to this? I was watching some random show on stupid TV... Who's Line is it Anyway? or something (I would probably do more for myself watching the moon as opposed to watching that damn box!). They introduced a guy from the audience. For his discription, he gave "Pool Guy". This is all this man is... a Pool Guy!? Nothing about his family, friends, or interests. Just a Pool Guy. What brought us to this point in human evolution? When did we become a job title and nothing else?

This idea was not always present in my mind. I began to realize the trend when I started running into people from High School. When I asked them what they had been up to since graduation, it turned into some sort of pissing contest of who is further along the path to success, and it only got worse as time went by. What happens when the path has vanished. We are born into a society that has us chasing our tails for some mythical ideal that is unobtainable through material success. There's got to be more than this... but I digress.

So there I was, filling up my Subary Impreza WRX STi full of gas at a gas station somewhere on US Highway 1, somewhere between the hell holes known as Swift Current and Ox Nose. Some old Volkswagen is stopped on the other side of the gas pump, while its driver fills it full of gas.

Oddly, she decides to pay inside, instead of using the rather useful credit card reader that's on the pumps at all the gas stations these days.

Just as I was hitting the 'no' button in response to the gas pump's query as to whether I wanted a receipt, I noticed the occupant of the passenger's seat. She had been asleep, and woke up with a start. She didn't seem to notice me watching her. She suddenly had a very odd, sad expression on her face, then she grabbed her stuff, and bolted from the car.

She didn't look like the woman pumping gas. Maybe she was her friend? Maybe she was her "friend"?

The first woman came out of the building with a shopping bag full of soda and pork rinds. She scanned the gas station (presumably for her 'friend') and then got in her car with a sad look on her face.

For a brief second, I have odd thoughts about gay marriage, and how they would probably be as successful as straight marriages. Then I decide I like my completely uncomplicated life.

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