The Betrayal of the Beloved

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Suppose you grew up in a fishing town with a large inlet bay. 

You assumed that, one day, you would make your living from fishing, either directly or from supporting those who do, just like everyone else in your town. Yet, before you became an adult, you realized that your assumptions were wrong. 

You were different. You were not content with the provincial life satisfying so many around you. You wondered about the world beyond the bay. You asked your elders about this world, and were told that the bay empties into something called an “ocean”. Your elders told you that only fools dare to head out into this ocean. Many have perished, and if you don’t get these silly ideas out of your head, you will too. You try to follow their advice, giving no more thought to this “ocean”. Yet, the idea continues to grow, an itch you can’t let go. You begin to feel like this girl:

Like her, you decide you’re going to risk this mysterious ocean. You build a boat, even though you have no guidance on building a boat seaworthy enough for an ocean. One morning, in spite of the pleading from your family and friends to give up your fool’s errand, you set off.

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Tuppence a Bag

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

It was the morning of Black Friday, many years ago.

I was a driver delivering random bits of freight to rural areas. My route was a tight schedule, rarely affording the opportunity for conversation. Most days, I did an impersonation of the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (“I’m late! I’m late!”).  

Not this morning. Black Friday would prove to be the rare exception to the rule. Many of my customers were fully stocked and the holiday rush was not yet upon me. I strolled through my day without a care in the world, greeting my customers with a cheery face while taking the time to share a few words. 

With each conversation, I found myself wishing more and more for my normally hectic pace.

“She pushed her to the ground to get to that T.V! Can you believe it?!”

“They were screaming at each other, right in the middle of the store. The manager had to pull them apart…”

“The other guy got to the laptop first, so he punched him in the face! Amazing…”

I felt nothing but sorrow at the end of the day. Relieved to be home, I thoughtlessly flipped on the television (I still had cable), more for the sound than anything else. To my surprise, the opening credits to a childhood favorite greeted me: “Mary Poppins.” 

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The Cowboy

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

“Wanna make some extra money?”

I raise my head from my deepening discouragement, tilting it towards the voice coming through the passenger-side window.  A man in his thirties is stooping down while leaning inside my car.  His shades slide down a notch to reveal eyes constantly shifting between his shoes, the sidewalk, and me.

“Doing what?” I ask.

“Driving,” he replies. “I need someone to give me a ride to the border to pick up my medication.”

I study the man for a moment and I hesitate. A salesperson’s job can be demoralizing, even for the optimistic. Two weeks of door knocking has produced exactly one sale, a whopping sixty dollars in commission. I was trying to figure out gas money when he approached me. Is this a solution? Or a temptation?

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Invisible

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A man was out walking with his best friend one day. As they discussed various things both light-hearted and serious, another traveler happened across their path. After introductions were made, the man asked the traveler if there was anything he could do for him.

“Well, actually, I was wondering if you could help me out,” the traveler replied. “This path is new to me. I was wondering if you could help me make a choice regarding the fork I see ahead.”

The man paused and turned to his friend. After a brief consultation, the man gave some counsel regarding each choice. After the man was finished, the traveler looked slightly bemused. 

“It sounds like you’ve been down each path!” the traveler stated. “I didn’t know anybody could walk both of them. I thought one had to choose one or the other!”

“I actually haven’t been down either path.”

“So how do you know these things?”

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Blessed are the Peacemakers

Expected reading time: 15 minutes

“Dude, puff-puff-GIVE!”

Steve awakens from his stupor. “Sorry, bro, I was spacing,” he says with an embarrassed grin.  He holds out the pipe to me.

“What, I gotta go over there and get it?!” I ask in mock insult.

“You think I’m getting up and going over there? Bro, I am way too stoned to move!”

“What if I’m too stoned to get it?”

“Then I guess you ain’t getting any…”, he trails off, as he pulls the pipe back towards himself.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” I drag my butt out of my chair, snatching the pipe out of his hand. I look at him for a moment while shaking my head.  “F**king stoner.” We both laugh uproariously.

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