688. Flat Brain

Image result for pictures of flat breadIt’s not an official diagnosis, but I believe flat brain should be recognized as a disorder as surely as flat bread is a recognized bread. Just as flat bread does not rise since it lacks yeast, flat brain does not rise because it lacks sleep or nourishment or serotonin or dopamine or all of the above. Unlike flat liners, who are dead according to an EKG monitor, flat brainers have a pulse but little more than their brain stem is operating. Yeah, it happens– fatigue sets in, lethargy, the 1,000 yard stare is evident, and then silence.

Related imageFlat brain occurs in most men over 60 after two hours of physical labor. At least in my case that’s when it sets in. Yesterday I had to assemble two office chairs that I bought from Amazon to replace my office love seat. That was the easy part. The hard part was deconstructing the fifteen year old love seat the chairs were replacing. It took two men and a carpenter to get that love seat into my current office 8 years ago. I knew some day it would have to go out in pieces, and that day had come. Its demise seemed ironically fitting since that couch had witnessed the patches and blow outs of many marriages over 15 years of counseling sessions. After all, love and love seats are in the eye of the beholder, or the butt cheeks of the sitters in this case. To lovers it’s a love seat; to others it’s a generic two-seater.Image result for couples arguing in therapy pictures

My original plan was to butcher the love seat into three or four pieces with my jig saw ripping away at key joints. I had no idea how I’d get those awkward pieces into my SUV and then home, where I could dispose of them. Cutting away the upholstery with a razor blade revealed the intricate hardwood structure beneath. Long, thin staple nails held each strut and brace to the frame. I was impressed at the amount of hollow space incarcerated by foam and heavy fabric. I began to adjust my plan: perhaps I could knock each piece of wood apart and wind up with manageable bundles of hardwood 1-x-1’s and 1-x-2’s,which I could duct tape into neat packages of future kindling. Image result for bundles of lumber  picture

So I began, alternately swinging a 16 ounce claw hammer and a rubber mallet. The long skinny nails reluctantly slid out of their old holes when I applied sufficient force. Ignorant brute force accompanied by sweaty man grunts won each challenge. I began to make bundles in the outside hallway. My new plan was working better than I had imagined. You see, I am used to doing mechanical tasks three and four times before I find success or an acceptable form of failure. But, hallelujah, this time things were working out efficiently. Related image

The chair assemblage went fairly well considering my lack of hand/eye coordination and three dimensional problem solving skills. I did that part first because I knew my brain would deflate with the couch wreckage. Flat brainers become Neanderthals once deflation is complete; they can break stuff but not create under the control of a mere brain stem. Fortunately, after an hour and a half of hammering and cutting, my two seater was reduced to five manageable bundles and four cushions that fit perfectly into my Honda CRV. I was amazed, but by then my mammalian brain had shut down as I joylessly drove across town to have lunch with my cheerful bride. Related image

She saw I was sweaty and a bit dusty. My silence was unusual. “Are you okay?”

“Just brain dead. I feel like I’ve been beaten all over with a ball peen hammer.”

“Oh, okay. So take a shower when you get home and take a nap.”

“Excellent advice. I will comply.”

I did exactly that, but I sat down and stared at our fish pond as cloud shadows and sunlight bursts passed over my back yard. One continuous ache throbbed from the crown of my head to my big toe. I thought of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, squeaking, “Oil can. Oil can.” My pain came not from rust but from overuse of underused muscles. A long time ago I could work for 10 hours doing physical labor; then it dropped to 8 hours, and 6, then four. Sadly, fatigue sets in and thinking stops around 120 minutes now, the length of the average Hollywood date movie.Related image

When my formerly sympathetic wife came home later, she proposed two options: walk the dog or finish setting up the fish pond pump and filter. I asked for option three. “Another beating with a ball peen hammer.” No, she said the menu was restricted to A or B. So, with a minimum of whining I returned to the heat and hurt. Bending over to level out the filter and pump mechanism was more awkward than painful. Attaching and reattaching the leaking hoses is what began to wear me down again. Unlike my earlier project this wet one did not go well. I stopped after I had resolved two out of the three leaks. By then my back felt like a set of rusted garage door springs. My flat brain was numb. No amount of further tinkering was going to stop that leak.Related image

So, there I stood again, so fully torqued and stiff that a butterfly landing on my shoulder could snap my piano wire musculature into a cacophony of exploding strings. My flat brain ticked like a broken clock whose second hand simply bumped on the same hash mark unrelentingly. Stuck, buzzing. I wondered to myself what was so bad about the pre-time Neanderthal days. They seemed perfectly wonderful to my flat brain.Image result for stuck clock gif

687. Rezuewreckshun

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(I) can’t recall when the first episode began, but [I] blew out bipolar sparks and soot from my Mania I star ship all over the dark vastness as {I} crashed into a million zillion shiny pieces twenty years ago. Or was it twenty five? No matter. A school of silver sardines exploded like confetti out of a howitzer across the universe: particles of what had been the Big Bang me swam against the invisible electromagnetic currents of deep space. I am the Big BANG WALRUS. i AM Bangers and mash, mash up TO make up– only to mash up again.

Image result for john lennon headshotsJohn Lennon sang, Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, possessing and caressing me, Jai Guru Deva, Ommmm. A chorus of oohs and aaahs followed. Nothing’s gonna change my world, nothing’s gonna change my  worldwhile  I vaporized off into deep space just inside the rim of a black hole and had to be extricated with inter stellar dental probes…COSMIC PLAQUE… then hospitalized for six empty weeks.  A parade of medications and therapies auditioned like sad clown acrobats Image result for three sad clowns pictures before an inscrutable psychiatrist, in search of balance, that fine lost recipe that I used to have in Grandma’s checkered cook book when she baked sugar cookies for me long ago. I was her good boy then. Then, in the thick lovely then, life made sense and favored me to lick the spoon and clean the mixing bowl with joyous fingers of SWEET batter. 

Image result for tarred and feathered man images[I lost my income and had to go on disability. FACTS.] Inside me, boiling tar guilt was followed by a dump truck load of shamefully shitten chicken feathers. Outside hung the humiliating shapeless yellow gown with no backside. The smallest breeze was a quiet violation, leaving me open to further humiliation. Screwed, I felt screwed in the butt by an invisible Bogomil. Later on I needed ECT to break suicidal depression’s iron grip on my shattered mind. Hundreds of disembodied hands kneaded my doughy brain with knuckles of pain and finger nails of hurt; humiliation slaps and fists of failure were all seared off with lightning bolts until I could complete just     one      four word     sentence, “Please help me, God.”Related image

I have to stop here because… the rest is just too awful. I don’t want to go back there, ever. I can’t do it!! The upside was indescribable as I smoked crack with whores and addicts, hoping for the fire breathing bell ringers when the crack exploded through my skull in a fire hydrant flood of dopamine release. My motel room party partners told me to slow down. I couldn’t brake. I had found the luscious passion fruit of external pleasure, and stoked the molecules of cocaine out of each delirious smoky hit. I was pure id, buzzing with alien energy.Image result for gif of sparking fire

I’m not going back“, I said to no one in particular. As if I had escaped from Death Row, I smoked on and on with no fear of arrest, bankruptcy, divorce, abandonment, injury or death and damnation. I felt bulletproof, which isn’t that hard to achieve when you are the only one shooting bullets. After living in the pits of Hell for months with only suicidal thoughts for company, this alchemical rush was my security salve.  White hot heresy answered my prayer. God would not take my call, but Satan did. OMMMMMMmmmmmmm. No words of praise, just my writhing body worshiped, and reveled in the flames of my own destruction.Image result for funeral pyre gif

After rehab and rehab blab, blab, and more rehab, I relapsed and relapsed and relaxed. Self loathing and shame only last so long, you know. I’d contrive a plan to slip away, to answer the inquiry, “Do you like to party and play?” Oh yeah. My fantasies swirled in familiar pathways, rubbing against my willpower like a black cat in heat. Of course I’d yield to the feelings of anticipatory pleasure; lick my lips in excited expectation; the match could not be unlit. Resistance was obliterated.

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I tried and tried again to live out my perverse fantasies, gas lit by the flames of multiple crack pipes. To mount the scaly magic dragon and fly into ether… never happened. I slipped off every time it reared in recoil mode. Instead of achieving ecstasy, I was robbed and scammed. Stood up. Humiliated by a sadist. Crushed into ashes. Ashen, I had no other option but to fall down on the excrement of my own shame.Image result for faces of shame

I’m not going back“, I said to God. “Only nothingness is there. I have surveyed that desert and found white-boned Death.” Two words resonated in my memory… “only death”. Wasn’t that what I was pursuing? Indirectly I’d invited Death to dance with me on the razor’s edge each time I binged. And yet, I survived. Why? I openly defied every godly thing and smirked at my luck afterwards. Others went down in flames, death, and jail. Not me. No insurmountable consequences. I could still smile at the bank and get a signature loan on the spot. No teller ever guessed I was on my way to buy crack and binge in a sleazy motel with prostitutes of every nation, tongue and flavor.Related image

I’m not going back“, I told myself. Degradation crept up my throat like a python of stomach acid. What had turned me on excitedly now turned to nausea. This time I wanted to feel the disgust thoroughly and trace it across the hearts of my loved ones rather than running out to numb myself again. “You dirty old man” echoed in my memory. I was repulsed by this label. I was old and a man, but dirty? No, I was Grandma’s special boy still despite the ripsaw of grief that cut agonizing kerfs every time I uttered her name. Her death sealed me inside a loveless tomb with nothing left to lose. I’d been lost for decades without her. Flat and dead in spirit. Image result for snake in a man's mouth pictures

Surrect, i needed to be surrected, upright in body and spirit. No erection or injection. Just plain Resurrection with no chaser. For now a safe, waveless harbor surrounds me… pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, caressing and possessing me… Ommmmmm. Nothing’s gonna change my world. Image result for images of heaven














686. Swimming with Donald

Image result for trump in a swimming pool pictureWhen he called to say he was gonna test the waters, I thought ‘Good, get in there and blow things up a little. Make some waves.’ We soybean farmers need a man with cold blooded cojones who will make rapacious deals in our favor for a change. Ya know? Smack the Chinese and the EU. And be an Equalizer Deal Dog who’s not afraid to pull the damn trigger.  Everyone likes to claim they are with and for the farmers, but really, it’s all window dressing, you know. A Currier and Ives print you bring out in November for the holidays and elections, show to the relatives before they start fightin’. Not Donald. He can’t be bought off cuz he’s so blingy rich. So rich that he can afford to lose more than a billion dollars as a successful businessman in real estate  and casinos in the go-go 80’s when even blind idiots was making money.  Plus a hot wife. And I liked his bluntness and her butt. He spoke out loud what a lot of us only thought in the dark. He legitimized political pornography for us.  Took the shame away. We’re unapologetically conservative and white Victims with a capital V. America first. YUP.

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Those lyin’ liberals don’t understand hard work and pressure. They live off the milk of a state welfare system and suck it dry. If they do work, it’s for the government or some slick lobbyist agency around the Beltway. I know this cuz Tucker Carlson tells me so. And Laura and Sean. They’re real people like Trump and me. I could drink a glass of milk or a beer with them comfortably. Yep, my kind of Middle Americans. They just live on the coast because that’s where the media centers are huddled. Given a choice, I’m sure they’d move to Iowa tomorrow and shuck those fancy suits. If the Don can stay in power for a full ten years, lots of Fox Newsers are gonna move here. I just betcha.

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Yeah, I’d like to have Donald over for a barbecue and a swim in the pool. I hear he’s a heck of an athlete, best ever to play golf and baseball. Why that doctor said he could live for 200 years. Remember that? Like a redwood tree he’s got endurance for sure. How many folks in his administration couldn’t  take the heat and left or got fired? A whole pile of them. Some even got indicted for crimes and such. Loyal? He sure is loyal. He hated to fire all them leaking weasels, but what are you gonna do when the world is closing in and there’s a illegal coup d’etat goin’ down? Why Comey was workin’ for the Russians, I heard Rush say the other day.Image result for angry rush limbaugh photos

Now when the first tariffs went into effect, well, I got uncomfortable. I figure I’m gonna lose $40,000 this year even after the bail out money. I hate welfare when others get it, so you can imagine how upset I am when I cash my Department of Agriculture subsidy check. See, we figured it would only be a one time deal, ya know? Teach them China commies who’s boss. Now it looks like it could run on another year or more. So my television just got $150 more expensive while my soybeans are worth half what they were a year ago. Some nights me and the mrs. and the kids stare at our autographed red MAGA hat in the center of the dining table and wonder if the Donald will ever show up to swim with us. I’ve never seen him in anything but a suit and a red tie as long as a tie down strap on a tractor trailer. But aint no never mind anyway.

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Now that Mueller has exonerated him, things will get back to great again. Seems like Hillary still pulls the strings of a deep state coup, according to Sean. I don’t know what he is meaning, but I do trust him. He’s Mr. Trump’s friend so he’s gotta be good people, right? Then there’s Kelly Anne’s husband bad mouthing the President, his wife’s boss!!  Who does that? I guess since he don’t work directly for the president that Don can’t fire him. I like Kelly Anne too. No one can talk like she does. If she came over to swim, I’m pretty sure she could give a full press  conference underwater on one breath. I don’t know how the woman does it. I believe she breathes through her eyes.

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But…now that these new tariffs is goin’ up, and I stand to lose another pile of money, I might not be able to buy the chemicals for the pool. You know the chlorine and algaecide and electric and all adds up quicker than the summer heat. And I don’t blame Donald one bit. It’s that cheatin’ Xi dude, who wrote Donald a real nice letter. I guess they’re friends too. I don’t rightly understand how he can be friends with Putin and Kim and Xi and all them other dictators and still be friends with Rush and Tucker and Sean and Fox and Friends. It bewilders me some. I just wish he’d stop in for a dip in our pool some time. It don’t got to be long cuz I know he’s busy. I mean, he never sleeps. He’s on that Twitter like a addict with a sex toy. It would be enough, I guess, if he’d just Tweet us about dippin’ in the pool. At there, it’d be something fine.

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“Billy and Sue. Thank you for the invite. I’d love to swim with you. Busy saving the world. Thank you for your undying love and admiration for the greatest president this country has ever seen. MAGA. DJT”

Boy that would be something to carry us over the hard times after the farm gets auctioned off and we go to work at the Walmart in Davenport. When Sue and I’d greet the shoppers, we’d show’em the tweet and tell about the time Donald came to swim with us.

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685. Wish Again

Image result for photos of a spring dayThe sun and temperature match the faint breeze today, finally, after months of cold drizzle or shingle ripping winds. The wood pellet stove has been quietly shut off for about a month now. My lawn is a thick green mohair sweater that resists any attempts at grooming, choking out my rotary mower every few feet. Birds wake me up at dawn without complaint. In deep sleep lately my dreams take me back 45 years to college streets and vaguely familiar apartments I’m sure I never stepped into. Yet that reality is as real as the sunlight on my pale arms today. Just as I am turning to an old college roommate in dreamscape, the door closes and another scene drops in. Many special feelings linger back there, traversing time in the middle of a fragrant spring night.Image result for paintings of dreams

Those sentimental journeys bring an excited joy, an old brotherhood that dried up once we all coupled with our life partners or lost our way in bitter woods… or both. I’m no sentimentalist, but it’s cool to visit with my old, young friends at age twenty. There’s Sam in a room just off the side of a busy bar. And I wonder aloud how he gets any sleep with the noisy bar outside, and does he use the communal bathroom. Then there is Richard in an enormous apartment that makes no sense on a side street in Richmond. He never lived there, but how do you argue with a detail rich dream. And then the attic apartment I shared with three or four other guys way down on Franklin Street that never existed… when I woke up. The joy of being joined with my old friends does exist in etchings on the wall of some cerebral cavern immune to time. Most of the time this cavern is filled with busy waters that seal off such cryptic treasures.Image result for cave paintings in wet caves

Something from that era calls me back to finish or relish what was. I’m never sure which it is. Perhaps it’s a lost camaraderie that can’t be replicated, just remembered fondly. Or maybe it’s a late appreciation for what was merely common wine at the time, that over decades became a rare lost vintage.  Mark, Bob, Bruce, Chris, Darvon, Mark 2, John, Bill, Jeff, Paul, Jack, Sam and the various visitors who floated in and out of our unlocked apartments linger like old songs pulsing through smoky air from the late 70’s. Our spreading oak tree of friendship grew wide and separated over time. I can see where this branch had been closely connected to that one, till one drooped and the other turned skyward. Some branches are cut off or dead rotted. Each black ink line has a mirror image in my brain that tells a tale.Image result for old oak tree images

I was often included in my friends’ memories during events I did not attend. Now they were under the influence of alcohol and/or substances at the time, so naturally their testimony was sketchy at best. The famous streaking party that got out of control at the Floyd Avenue apartment was one such event. That’s when the ultimate one-up act of the evening’s debauchery was for Darvon to sprint down Franklin Street and into the Governor’s mansion while Bruce and the the knucklehead gang rode in the Green Snake Buick Skylark pace car. Obviously no one predicted the consequences of a naked man with a wild Afro wearing only high top Chuck Taylor sneakers meeting the capitol police. Related image

They were all justifiably detained, but only Darvon was incarcerated. (He was released about a week later due to overcrowding in the city jail. He learned many lessons in jail; humble remorse was not one of them.) Meanwhile the knucklehead gang assumed that I was in the pace car, even challenging my recollection as a truth or dare scheme. The truth was I stayed home and went to sleep. Bruce brought home a blank arrest sheet from the police station and filled it in with the beginnings of his fantasy story about Gurmoil Tushkin’s Private Army, a sort of Confederate Army Don Quixote tale revived for the 1970’s. I may still have that paper in my old files along with letters and drawings and poems that demonstrate a delicious naivete and ignorance that I occasionally miss.Image result for confederate army photos

Another adventure that I was reported to have attended with most of this same gang was a trip out to the famed train trestle that spanned the James River toward the west end of Richmond. Again, it was a pile into the Green Snake while inebriated and do dangerous things outing. In this case the gang walked out onto the trestle in hopes of a train’s appearance so they could see their lives flash before them as each hopped into the shelters on either side of the tracks. The idea of tempting fate did not appeal to me or else I was already asleep. In any event, the next day and maybe till this day, some would swear not only that I was there but could quote me and testify to my actions that never happened. I’m pretty sure I would remember a near death experience like that. Image result for train on a trestle pictures

So, just as I insert my old friends in dream realities 45 years later, back in the day they inserted me into their false realities… perhaps for the same reasons–that it was a bonding experience not to be forgotten, a fraternal intimacy of some value. Factual truth did not matter so much as emotional truth, which is really not truth at all. The cast of characters has faded like old ticket stubs to see Clapton or the Eagles. Kindling a friend fire is much easier than tending to the coals that last as long as you will them to last. Mere desire is not enough to keep the blood flowing through a living, lasting relationship. Wishing it into existence again is just that– a wish.Related image

684. Miasmas and Mimosas in Miami

Miasma was considered to be a poisonous vapor or mist filled with particles from decomposed matter (miasmata) that caused illnesses. The miasmatic position was that diseases were the product of environmental factors such as contaminated water, foul air, and poor hygienic conditions. Such infection was not passed between individuals but would affect individuals within the locale that gave rise to such vapors. It was identifiable by its foul smell. It was also initially believed that miasmas were propagated through worms from ulcers within those affected by a plague.Related image

No, Blogatos, Miami held no miasmas for me or my bride while we were away. Whatever miasmic pollution (cow manure vapors and tree pollen) we brought south from our mid Atlantic home was instantly blown away by an ocean breeze heated to seventy five degrees at 35% humidity. Delightful! I just like the word miasma; it rolls out of my mouth like mimosa. Three lovely syllables rolling along in a frothy wave on Miami Beach.Image result for waves gif

I made promises to others not to write up any adventures involving my new found family who reside there. Seems like a simple and proper request except I can’t comply. The person I play in real life surrendered to the blog poster boy that I am. But wait! I can explain. You see I was promised about a year ago that my brother in law Joey and his long time fiancee Karen were going to tie the marital knot this year, during our visit no less. We sort of made plans. I offered to get a one day minister’s license in Florida to do the honors. I thought about the vows and words of marital wisdom that I could impart. I even bought a captain’s hat in the event that we needed to do the wedding on a boat. Well, the closer we got to the “wedding date” the less energy the prospective bride and groom demonstrated. Mostly the bride to be got ice cold feet and sent the marital souffle back to the kitchen. It just didn’t smell right.Image result for pouty faced blonde picture

Meanwhile, I pictured a morning service on the beach with the waves breaking on my bare Achilles heels as Joey and Karen stood in front of me, staring out to the rising sun above the teal blue ocean horizon. No shoes– just shorts, Hawaiian shirts with bow ties for men, and flowing silk tops with flowers in the ladies’ braided hair. A Slovenian cellist at my side playing “At Last” with the fifty guests singing along while the bride and groom processed,Related image

At laaaaaaast……. my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song, oh yeah
At laaaaaaast……. the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover the night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill I’ve never known, oh yeah
You smiled, you smiled oh and then the spell was cast
And here we are in Heaven
For you are mine at laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaastImage result for etta james photos

After I had said the formal vows and fired a .38 caliber pistol in the air to signify that the vows were done, sealed in lead, the cellist would glide into the recessional song, “Eight Miles High” by the Byrds, or the Eagles as Joey would falsely claim. Really, Joey? You were a professional musician!!Image result for the byrds photos pictures

The assembled guests would then be served mimosas and ceviche by two barefoot waiters in tuxedos before boarding a 362 foot yacht bound for a week long Caribbean cruise. Are you feeling my disappointment yet? This may have been the greatest bait and switch operation ever. Like Taylor Swift said, “We are never, ever, never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.”Related image

So, that was the bait. Now the switch. We flew down to Fort Lauderdale and the engaged couple picked us up. Not a word about lace or tulle, cake or party. I kept my captain’s hat on alert status in my red suitcase. I wasn’t going to bring it up if they didn’t. If they did not want my blessing, that was their terribly perilous, self defeating, awful choice. Silent mental warfare began. I tried to will them into matrimonialness with my Trumplike super brain power. I achieved similar results to Donny’s========= nothing.High Quality Trump pointing to his head Blank Meme Template

This impotent tug of war went on for several days and nights. The rope of contention held no tension. Instead, it was limply wound like a dead snake on the sandy ground. We wound up on the Quarterdeck Pier restaurant on Saturday night. We had drinks and drinks and a late dinner. The place was packed. It was nice, too nice to waste the opportunity, to order champagne and pop the cork after popping the question. Alas, nothing.

We drove back to our air bnb hotel room on the beach. We sat at a round table and drank a bottle of wine on the deck out front. While the wind blew in on us, we huddled beneath a shared blanket, Karen to my left, Joey to my far right on the other side of his sister/my wife. I had my captain’s hat on just in case the moment turned to a Cialis interlude and bathtubs appeared on the deck. It was too precious as a full moon shone down on us. I reached over to take Karen’s coolish hand as I stretched to grab Joey’s warm, willing hand, and began, “Do you, Karen, take this man to be your lawful, loyal, satisfactory, will do in a pinch, only horse in the race husband?” As she stuttered to come up with a Congressional hearing type non-answer, Joey blurted out an emphatic yes.Related image

Continuing in my ministerial duties… “And do you Joey take Karen–”

“Yes! yes! I’ve been asking for twenty years.”

Karen weakly retorted, “But there was the hurricane, and then it was hot…”

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“I’ll take that as a yes, Karen. Now, by the power invested in me by no man or state, in the witness of your sister and sister in law, the Good Lord above, beneath a tropical full moon, I pronounce you man and wife. Please kiss the bride.”Image result for brides walking away from weddings

I played a terrific mouth trumpet recessional “Here Comes The Bride”, but no one moved. We just all held hands under the blanket and laughed in three syllable guffaws.

“My asthma.”

“Yo assaH?”

“My assah.”

“My ami!”

By brunch the next day an annulment was in place. We sipped mimosas in Miami. I put my magic hat away till next time, the next miasma.Image result for plasma miasma gif