Blue

What will he do
The man dressed in blue
When everyone’s angry
So angry at blue

What will he do
The man dressed in blue
When his child needs him
Needs him in blue

What will we do
Without men in blue
When no one will answer
And no one wear blue

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Going Postal, XIV

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” “Going Postal, IX,” “Going Postal, X,” “Going Postal, XI,” “Going Postal, XII,” and “Going Postal, XIII.”

Ron was just your average sort of guy: tallish, wideish, oldish, kindish. He drove his reliable old pickup with the reliable old hardtop around the neighborhood every day; often, he drove around several times a day.

Some of the residents talked to Ron. Most did not. Most didn’t notice him or his truck, despite its nearly always being full to bursting with their latest Amazon packages and Domino’s pizza coupons.

Mrs. Hempsworth remembered the last time she’d spoken to the mailman, although she couldn’t recall his name. She thought about their odd, stinted conversation as she peered at her community mailbox from behind her lace bedroom curtains.

Not only had she not seen the white-haired, blue-eyed mailman much lately; she’d not seen her packages for two weeks. When she phoned the post office, no one picked up. Didn’t they know she couldn’t drive? Didn’t they know she didn’t own a car? Didn’t they know that a lady like her couldn’t trust a driver these days?

Mrs. Hempsworth shuddered.

In her seventy-two years of life, she’d never imagined life the way it currently was. Even her father’s tales of The Great Depression or the racial tensions of the 60’s and 70’s didn’t seem as bad as now. “Oh, how I miss it!” she sighed, thinking over her childhood, happy marriage to Lloyd, and lonely retirement.

She’d had Bunco. She’d had an eventual prospect of Happy Meadows Retirement Home. She’s had Days of Our Lives, for Pete’s sake. Now, she had a television full of bad news. She had neighbors who’d left or barricaded their doors. She had nowhere to go because nowhere was safe.

A noise from downstairs startled her from her reflections. She didn’t move; the old, heavy bureau was already in front of her bedroom door and all her necessities were in the room with her.

She sighed. “May as well get it over with.”

The sounds from below increased: furniture moving, drawers opening. She closed her eyes and imagined her phoning the police; imagined a time, now gone, when the police both existed and responded to home robberies.

Expecting masked mobs or bobbing flashlights, Mrs. Hempsworth opened her eyes and looked down at the street outside her front walk. The street, however, appeared mostly empty. The only thing she could see was a white, covered pickup truck, parked at an odd angle to the curb.

THE END

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Life Lessons, The Hard Way

I remember my first in-the-car auto collision like it was a mere eight years ago, because it was. I was stopped behind a midsize vehicle in my sedan when *WHUMP!* -a teenage-powered Suburban rolled down the short hill and forgot to stop behind my car.

“Are you an artist or something?” the policeman teased as I attempted to draw the scene on the official record afterwards.

Laughing, I said, “No. Why?” He showed me the other two drivers’ simple, boxes-and-arrows graphics. “Oh.” And I’d been worried the insurance adjuster would notice the sloppiness of my miniature, expressionist Mazda Protegé.

I’d learned to call the police because an older lady attempted to remove our backseat door of that same Protegé just two years prior. I was parked at the time and had opened the door to unbuckle my two-year-old when she did it.

“Do you mind if we just settle outside of insurances?” She’d asked.

I had considered. Respect your elders and such. We were newlyweds, considering, and couldn’t afford much on our own. However, I opted to phone the police and our insurance.

I found out later she’d tried to contest it. She suggested that I opened my door right as she was pulling into an angled spot, from across double-yellow street lines, at an obtuse angle of entry.

Yep.

The collision I first mentioned was bad because our insurance decided to total the vehicle, and we were left to fill the void with an adequate replacement of equal- or lesser-value. I also experienced minor whiplash.

“I’m so sorry to hear about your accident!” My son’s preschool director said, once I finished with the police reports and continued on to retrieve my then-four-year-old. “I’ll bet that was a real headache,” she commiserated.

“Well,” I said with a straight face, “It was more of a pain in the neck.”

My humor would keep me company over the next few weeks as I learned exactly how fun whiplash was to recover from.

This story crossed my mind early this morning, around 3 a.m.

I’d risen to facilitate an answer to Nature’s call and had nearly not made it back to bed, or even erect again to hobble there.

This was in consequence of a foolish decision I made yesterday to forego a ladder and climb our garage shelves like some lesser-intelligenced simian ancestor.

Had I been said primal ape, the resulting slip and fall would have broken my perfect prehensile tail. Being a Homo sapiens, I instead damaged my rump (and my pride).

This time, my husband got to deliver the zinger. “I’ll bet that was a real pain in the butt!” he said. (Our youngest, age 4, was within earshot. Plus, my husband never curses.)

I’m sure he’s laughing now, as I type on my backlit phone to pass the hours before a health clinic opens.

I’d assumed only minor damage last night. Though slow, I’d managed to drive, walk to book group, and water the house plants. This (early!) morning, on the contrary, I was overcome with nausea upon standing -okay, upon upright hunching. I finally made it back to bed to beg a bit of bread and Ibuprofen from my drowsy helpmeet. And an ice pack.

I suspect I’ve broken my tail after all. We’ll find out in a mere four hours.

Not that I’m counting.