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Slip quietly by -
Only the ripple remains.
Assassin at hand.

She silently glides by, me stuck still in this conundrum

Since we last spoke there have been some sad times in the life of Berhardt Goates on which I must report due to the sadness of events being mixed in many ways with times that gave me reason to be angry.

Recently, two friends of mine who I met while working as a substitute science teacher at various Greater Baltimore area schools where my resume was never scrutinized very closely, suffered the loss of their teenage son, who was named Jimmy due to the parents lacking any kind of creativity where it comes to the giving of names. Jimmy was killed in a car accident where he drove into a tree for reasons unknown, possibly linked to wet roadways or the abuse of steroids for Jimmy's rather unbelieveable weight training program that had him go from a skinny 150 lbs to a very, very muscular 280 lbs in four days.

My friend Art, who is a chemistry teacher in the Greater Baltimore School System, and has a very spotty and suspicious resume for this kind of work, came to the funeral along with his friend, who I will call Mr. Sensitive in order to avoid legal wranglings such as the kind involved when Wrangler Jeans Company sued the makers of the Brokeback Mountain film for asserting that only homosexuals wear Wrangler Jeans. This idea is clearly lifted from a recent writeup on this website connected to rumors and involved no creative thinking on my part aside from changing the reference to jeans instead of cigarettes.

There was trouble when Mr. Sensitive arrived at the funeral reception, which was a small affair at the home of Jimmy's parents, both of which are unemployed due to the actions of the current president eliminating jobs except for cronies. The small affair was fine, but Mr. Sensitive apparently did not believe so. Here are some of the conversational bits I lifted while I was sitting in the living room being consoling to various family members in my Behr way.

"Why did you buy Pepsi instead of Coke? What kind of moron would buy Pepsi instead of Coke?" Mr. Sensitive asked Jimmy's mom.

"It was on special."

"So is Waist Watchers, but I don't see any of that shit out on the table. I guess you'll be screwing up all the time now that your boy is dead. He was the only one with any sense around here, but then again, he couldn't have had that much sense since he tried to drive through a tree instead of around it."

Unfortunately, he was not done. Jimmy's father was asserting that the roads had been slippery and therefore it was not Jimmy's fault. Mr. Sensitive was prepared for this turn of events.

"How would you even know? If you hadn't lost your job, then you might have been driving because they wouldn't have repossessed your car over all those missed payments. And then maybe I could have gone to the movies today instead of having to be at this crappy funeral. Maybe if you and your tramp wife hadn't both lost your jobs you could have rented a hall or something and done right by your dead son."

At that point I became very uncomfortable and went to the bathroom to drop a few extra pounds. When I returned, Mr. Sensitive had cornered a woman who works as a suspicious English teacher in the Greater Baltimore School System. This woman had recently lost a baby to what is called by medical professionals a miscarriage. It soon became apparent to me that Mr. Sensitive had heard about this.

Ms. Anderson, the unqualified English teacher, was sipping a glass of wine when Mr. Sensitive approached.

"Hey, maybe if you put the booze down for five minutes you might give birth to a healthy baby instead of always coughing up corpses. And I'm sure the cigarettes don't help either."

I don't know what else happened after that because I left, catching a ride with a really cute librarian who told me she hadn't been with a man since 1973.

This writeup is submitted for the Quest.

Man. I haven't daylogged in about four months, and haven't noded at all in almost that long. To be honest, I think I've kinda fallen out of love with this place, though not for any particular reason I can name. About the only thing I've been doing is keeping the release list updated in the Nintendo DS node (which itself needs a rewrite that I keep planning to do).

My ISP has been extremely finicky the past week or so, and right now I can't connect, so I don't know when I'll actually get to post this. At the moment it's 1:41PM on March 29th.

Coincidence is a funny thing. Yesterday I ran into a friend of mine from high school, a Baha'i immigrant from Iran named Shah. (Actually, he's legally changed his name to an Anglicized "Shaw", though I'm not sure if there's supposed to be any change in pronunciation.) I was at the library and just getting into my car, when I hear somebody call my name. He was parked right next to me and had just arrived. We talked for a while. Sha{h/w} is in a lot of ways in the same boat I am. He's struggling in college; I dropped out. We're both still living with our parents, and he's got more problems on that front than I do. I have no friends to speak of, and neither does he, albeit for entirely different reasons. He's unemployed, and I have a shitty job that I'm apt to lose any week now (which is to say, the company that owns the place is almost certainly shutting it down soon).

Anyway. We exchanged phone numbers and emails, and we might go do something next weekend. What, I don't know. I was never good at figuring out what people in groups are supposed to do. Still, it might be nice to have something approximating a social life.

Let's see, what else. I wrote a short story earlier this month. Actually more of a short short; about 1500 words. I posted it in the writing section of an online forum that I'm active in, which all things considered was probably a bad idea. Some of the comments I got were downright stupid (if earnest), but that's not the issue. When it gets right down to it, I just can't take criticism. I have an overwhelming tendency to take it as a personal attack. So when I started getting such criticisms, knowing that my reaction is almost certainly uncalled for, I would temper my replies, and eventually it just became so wearing that I stopped wanting to read the thread. It wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that I do this in real life too.

Some of the comments I got I did acknowledge as good criticism, but frankly I have no enthusiasm for rewriting any of it. The main reason is that about three-quarters of the way through writing it, I realized that the idea behind it was something I'd read before. I'm almost certain it was in a story by Harlan Ellison, probably in one of the four collections of his I read last year. It's not the first time I've had an idea that I thought was totally original and then found out it'd been done, but it's a lot more disheartening when it's a good bet you never came up with the idea on your own anyhow, it's just your brain mining the subconscious.

I had to replace the alternator in my car last week. Three hundred bucks. Worst part is the damned thing is barely worth that much anyway. I'm going to need to replace it soon enough.

I just got one of these newfangled Razr phones. Don't ask me what specific model. It's nice, but even the "low" setting on the volume is far too loud, and though it has a mini-USB port (which doubles as AC), it apparently doesn't have any onboard drivers, so there's no way to transfer your own sounds or images to it. At least, so far as I can tell. I only fiddled with the thing for like 15 minutes.

And now I close with a bit of interesting trivia: The state of Virginia apparently has a "Jefferson Davis Highway". I'm not sure why this surprised me.

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