Sunday, October 30, 2016


He sat across the desk from her watching as she reviewed his paperwork. He was trying very hard to concentrate but she was incredibly attractive and he was having a difficult time focusing.

"I see you have all of your requests listed. The amount of money you feel it will take to further your career. The accolades you wish to receive during your lifetime. And what do you have to offer us?"

"Well, my soul, of course." Kyle stammered out.

"Of course." She said it with such barely disguised contempt it threw him for a loop.

"Yes. My soul." He said it more confidently this time.

She leaned back in her chair, pushing the paperwork forward on her desk. Tilting her head to the side and raising one perfectly arched eyebrow she said, "Why is it that you people seem to think your soul is worth anything? What do you think the barter rate is for souls? Do you think I can pay the property taxes on this building with souls? Do you think these shoes," and with that she stretched out a perfectly shaped leg and pointed to a pair of Jimmy Choos were paid for with souls?"

"Well, that's standard, isn't it? I mean, you give me..."

"We give you wealth and fame and fortune beyond your wildest imagination and you give us your soul. Yes, I've heard it all before."

"Then we have a deal right?"

She laughed. A pure crystalline laugh that sent chills up spine and gave him goosebumps. It was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.

"No, we don't have a deal. I want to let you in a few secrets. First off, as I said, your soul doesn't keep the lights on, sweetheart. We have bills to pay. Obligations to keep. And nobody wants a soul instead of cash. Or gold. Or pelts. What you all want always changes. And second, the moment you walked in that door willing to barter your soul for goods it was already ours." She spread her hands out palms up and shrugged her perfect shoulders.


"Such a basic concept that seems to get lost on your kind all of the time. If you are willing to trade your soul for goods then it's not a healthy soul and it's already ours. That's really the way the soul exchange works."

"But I didn't get anything for it."

"It's not supposed to be a commodity, idiot! It's your soul! You aren't supposed to get something for it, you are supposed to use it to guide your actions! It wasn't defective when it was installed but you broke it so now why in the world would we buy it?"

"But that's not the way the stories go. People sell their soul to the devil, the devil makes their wishes come true."

"And who wrote the stories?"

"Lots of people have written stories like that."

"Like, oh, I don't know, people who thought they could make this sort of deal? People who might have made other deals and then wrote stories like that to make themselves feel better?"

"What do you mean, other deals?"

"Other deals. I'm not rejecting your application, I'm just saying we need to negotiate terms. I see that you want to be a rock star. Okay. You want to make millions and win Grammys. Okay. You want groupies and adoration from the masses. Okay. We can do all of that. We have the connections to make that happen. Up to and including fixing," she waved her hand in his direction, "this look you have going."

"I like my look."

"And how many record deals do you have?"

He hung his head.

"We can make all of that happen for you. But we aren't taking something we already own as payment. We'll take 45% of all of your earnings. We'll take the edges of your sanity. We'll take a few of your fans at some point in a very spectacular way, maybe an accident at a concert or a mass suicide while listening to your records. We'll take a few members of your future entourage or possibly family depending on who gets the case number and what will amuse them that day. Eventually we will take back your looks and your talent, but we won't let you know they are gone so you will keep parading around acting like you still have them."

"Forty-five percent of my earnings! But if you take 45% of my earnings and the IRS takes 40% and my agent takes 20% I won't have anything left!"

She laughed again. "Of all of the things I listed that is what bothered you, the money, and yet you still thought your soul had some sort of value to us."

"But how will I pay you that much and still meet other obligations? Or wait...are you the IRS? They are evil."

She turned and glared at him, "You think the IRS is evil?  Because they collect the taxes? What about the woman you walked past this morning on your way in to the building. The one begging for a few dollars by our front door. She's collecting, do you think she is evil?"

"She is probably on drugs."

"Or starving. Or cold. Or just broke. Did you even look at her or did you just walk on by, intent on your transaction. Selling your "walk by a homeless person without a second thought" soul."

He at least still had enough decency to look ashamed at that.

"The terms are all lined out," she picked up the phone on her desk, "Rodrigo? Will you bring in the new contract please? Thank you."

"Can I have a lawyer look them over?"

She laughed again, "Sure you can. And then when he gets you committed you can consider all of the mistakes you made today."

"Oh, I guess that's true."

"It is. We aren't liars here. No matter what you would think. We find honesty to much more painful."

At that an incredibly attractive man in an impeccably tailored suit walked in to the office. "The new contract."

"Thank you, Rodrigo. Please call Stephan and Ginger and see if they have time for," again she did the dismissive wave in his direction,"well, everything."

"Of course, ma'am."

After Rodrigo had left the office Kyle shook his head, "Will I look like him when you are done with the makeover?"

"Oh no. You don't have the bone structure. We can only improve on what is there, not redesign the frame! Besides, you don't have to be as good looking as he is, you will be out there, not here."

"Is everyone who works here that perfect?"

"Of course. We are in the temptation business. We wouldn't be very tempting if we looked like...well...that." Again she waved toward him.

"Do you really look like this, or is it just illusion?"

She leaned forward, "Oh no, it's all smoke and mirrors, our true shapes would turn your blood to ice and melt your brain. We are too fearful and terrible for the mortal mind to comprehend."

His eyes got impossibly wide and he leaned as far away from her desk as he could.

She laughed again, "I'm just kidding. Of course this is what we really look like. Have you never paid attention to the stories the other side tells? 'You are made in HIS image.'  We are the original. Now you know how far you've fallen."

Kyle shook his head and then started looking through the contract, "What is this about the forgetting?"

"Oh the forgetting, that's the most important part. You won't remember this deal most of the time. When you are asleep you will have nightmares. When you are very high, or very drunk you will get flashes. But for the most part you will believe you did this all yourself. And as your choices get worse and worse you will feel so much guilt. When you take the drugs. When you ruin the roadie's life by introducing him to heroin. When you lose a fortune in a pyramid scheme, you will think it's all your fault. All on you."

"But if I forget how will you collect the 45%? Isn't that a fault in your payment plan?"

"Did you not listen to me talk about the drugs you are going to do? The heroin? The pyramid scheme? We will get our cut. We don't have you drop off briefcases full of hundreds. Don't be ridiculous. We exchange goods. We just work at a high profit margin. Oh, and one more thing, I wouldn't skip out on the IRS to try and make the payments. So many people try to do that. If you stop paying us, we just terminate the contract. If you stop paying them, well, they take their payment in other ways and as you will see from that clause," she pointed at his contract, "If you go to debtors prison or are thrown in jail for any other reasons your benefits stop accruing until your release."

"Wait, back up, you just terminate the contract if I stop paying? So this isn't binding?"

She laughed again, "Oh, Kyle, you really are a dolt! How do you think we terminate the contract? This isn't a nonbinding agreement. No payment, no contract. No. Contract."

The realization of what she was saying settled in, "Oh."

"Well? Do we have a deal?"

He thought about it for a moment. Looking over the pages of the contract. What all would be taken from him in payment. Then he signed the last page. "Yes. You win."

She smiled, "We always do."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ride or die...

So I know I am really late to the party but I've been listening to the Serial podcast at the gym this week. (I haven't finished it yet so no spoilers!) It's really fascinating and at times I've had to step back from the me I am now and put myself back in to high school me to really understand things.

When you listen to this story as an adult (for those that haven't heard it's about a murder and the main witness is someone who was part of the cover-up) you wonder why in the world were no adults talked to. If you knew a friend had killed someone why in the world would you help THEM instead of calling the police right away?

And then I have to think back to being a teenager.

Is there any other time in your life that you are more ride or die with your friends than those years? Now maybe covering up a murder is a bit extreme, but I know that in my high school years we did things that would have sent the adults in our lives spinning. We did some really stupid things and some flat out dangerous ones. But at no time was an adult called in. And if someone did rat you out? They were cut out. Dead to you. Not literally dead, like in Serial, but socially dead.

Ride or die.

Because of Facebook I am back in contact with a lot of those friends from that time and there is still a bond there. Even though decades have passed since we hung out; since we were part of each other's daily lives; since we were each other's whole worlds. There is still a bond. Still a feeling of them being part of me. And they are. They helped shaped me during those really formative years. So they are a part of who I became. Along with everyone else I've come in contact with over the years, to a certain extent, but there is something about those teenage friends. Like the songs I grew up with. It's part of the fabric of my being.

Which of course leads me to want to write a story. What do you do with the people who know where the bodies are buried?

It's brewing...brewing...brewing...

I just don't want to scare my high school friends too much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Nathan put the letter and the package on the work bench next to Elizabeth. It had been a long time since she had sat there and watched him work but it was so familiar it felt like no time had passed at all.

"Why didn't we get married?" she teased him.

"I don't recall ever asking you."

Elizabeth looked at him with those impossibly green eyes. "That's right, you didn't. But you did love me. I am not crazy right?"

"No. You aren't. I did love you. Very much."

"Then why didn't you ask?"

Nathan put down his chisel and blew the stone dust away from the marker, "That's not a question a man wants to ask if he's sure the answer will be no."

She gave him her best flirtatious smile, "What makes you think I would have said no?"

He looked at her and she had to catch her breath. She had forgotten the way he could see her. Really see her. He always knew her truth. The coy smile faded away, "I would have said no. But I did love you. That's the truth."

"I know you loved me. But I was going to stay here and take over Dad's shop and Mom's interests. I knew that wouldn't be enough for you. You wanted to go places and do things. You always said so. Marrying me would not have made you happy. And I only wanted you to be happy."

She swung her feet. "Well that didn't quite work out as planned." She took a deep breath, "Did she know about me?"

Nathan shook his head, "No. Not really."

"Why not?" Elizabeth pouted, "I would think I would have been important enough to mention."

"Delphine was my world. For the twenty years we were married she was my all. I wouldn't have wanted her to feel like she hadn't been my first choice for even a second. She knew I had dated other people, of course, and even knew that one of them was you. She teased me about my celebrity girlfriend a few times. But really know about you? To think I would have married you if you had been willing? No. I didn't tell her. We all just want to be someone's first choice."

Elizabeth laughed a bitter laugh, "I understand that. So much." She waved her hand toward the letter and package, "Were you surprised to hear from me?"

Nathan worked on the stone marker for a little while before answering. "I was at first but then when I saw the stories it made sense to me that you would reach out. Though I am surprised you remembered after all of these years."

Elizabeth laughed, "That's not really something you forget now is it?"

Nathan nodded, "True."

She traced her finger along a design carved in the top of the work bench, "Your mother was amazing."

Nathan gave a small smile, "Yes she was. Thank you."

"Did you know I came to see her when she was in the hospital? Did she tell you?"

"She didn't. But the nurses did. They were very excited that you were a family friend." Nathan smiled again; the sad one that always made Elizabeth's heart clench, "Thank you for that. I know it meant a lot to her that you came. She loved you too. Both of them did."

Elizabeth looked up at the ceiling trying to keep the tear from leaving her eye, "I was so sorry that I couldn't make it for your dad's funeral. We were in London and I didn't hear about it until too late. I would have liked to have said good bye."

"You can go visit him while you are here if you'd like. He and mom are together. I made one stone for them. I can show you on the map where it is."

"Thanks, I'd like that. Should I go before you finish or..."

"Yeah. It will be tomorrow before it's done so you will have time to wrap things up here before you leave."

"Okay, thanks. I thought I might go by my folk's old place. And maybe the school. Just see how the town has changed."

"It really hasn't much. A coat of paint here and there, but really small towns are small towns right? We just sort of plug along."

"You haven't changed at all."

Nathan ran a hand through his hair, "A little grayer, a lot more wrinkled, I've changed."

"Maybe. But not in any important way. And the gray suits you. You always had gray in your hair from the marble and stone dust anyway."

He laughed, "Delphine used to say that. 'Are you going gray or just working too much?'"

"Would I have liked her?"

"No. You wouldn't. You never liked anyone who had something you felt was yours."

Elizabeth laughed, "I really was horrible wasn't I?"

Nathan shook his head, "I wouldn't say horrible, but I would say you were possessive. Do you remember how much you hated Claudia?"

Elizabeth covered her face with her hands, "I do. I was awful to her! What a brat I was."

"Yes, you were. And her only sin was dating Peter after you did. Years after you did."

"It wasn't years, it was only 18 months..." Elizabeth caught Nathan's eye, "I know that's not any better..."

Nathan laughed, "It's not. But you are who you are. So no. You would not have liked Delphine. But if it weren't for me you would have. Everyone liked her. She was a good person."

"Do you still miss her?"


"Were you tempted to call me after she died?"

Nathan looked at her, "I would be lying if I said no. I looked you up online a few times. Saw what movie you were making. Saw the two of you traveling the world. I knew that you hadn't changed. I hadn't changed. You were happy. That was enough."

"If only I had known the truth." She put her hand on the letter, "Do you think I'm crazy?"

"I think you are Elizabeth. Passionate. Dedicated. Determined. Elizabeth."

She gave him a half smile, "You didn't really answer the question."

Nathan laughed, "Maybe a little crazy. But it's your choice. You made it. Though you can still back out if you want. You know that."

"Yes, I remember. I remember when your mother showed us. Or I guess me. You already knew right?"

"I did. I always knew. You can't really be like my parents and keep your kid in the dark. Making gravestones is an odd job. Tying souls is even odder."

"Tying souls. I thought it was so romantic sounding."

"It can be. When you go visit them you will see the best version of tying. They chose to be tied to the stone. Dad waited for her there. For me to add her words. Beloved Husband. Beloved Wife. Eternity is not enough."

"And they will stay there until the stone wears away?"

"Yeah. Then they will move on."

Elizabeth smiled again, "What about you? Did you and Delphine choose that as well?"

Nathan shook his head, "No, Delphine and I never had children. The line ends with me. There would have been no one to do the binding. So she passed on to...well, where ever you go when you choose to leave."

Elizabeth looked at the package, "Did you open it yet? Does it have what you need?"

"It does. I checked it out. I just wanted to talk to you first. To make sure you were positive."

"I am. I thought it might fade away. But it hasn't. There were vows made. I took them seriously."

Nathan nodded, "I know you did."

She tried looking at the ceiling again but couldn't hold back the tears this time, "He promised me! He promised to love only me. Forsaking all others. He promised! There were vows made!"

Nathan reached out to wipe the tears away but stopped when she waved him off, "I'm fine. Really. I will be fine. Now."

Nathan went back to his carving giving her the privacy to compose herself.

"Did you see the story?"

"I did."

"Before you got the letter or after? I was hoping you would get the letter first so you would be ready."

"I did get the letter first. I tried calling you. Before. But I think I was too late."

"Yeah, I know. I heard the ring. I knew it was you. But it was too late."

Nathan nodded. "The stone's finished. I need to wait for daybreak for the tying. It's more complicated since you will be tied to a living person and only using the words as a bond. I'll need the sunrise to help."

Elizabeth nodded, "'There is power in the spaces before and after.' I remember your mother telling us that. Use those spaces. I always tried to begin filming new movies at sunrise or sunset. Did you know? I can tell you the ones that flopped were the ones I started in the middle of the day." Elizabeth ran her hands down her legs, "That's when I found them together. The middle of the day. There should have been no power there. But it was enough to destroy me."

Nathan raised an eyebrow at her.

"I'm not being overly dramatic. Stop looking at me like that!" Then she laughed, "God I missed you. Thank you for this. I know you probably don't agree."

"It's not my choice. It's yours. I do feel badly for him." Elizabeth glared, Nathan went on, "Not that he doesn't deserve your ire, but this is a steep punishment."

"There were vows."

Nathan held up his hands in surrender, "I know. I know."

Elizabeth nodded.

"If you are going to take a tour you better leave now. You will need to be back here by ummm, let's say 4:30 so we can be ready for first light."

And with that she was gone.

Nathan picked up the letter and looked it over again.

Dearest Nathan,

I know you will be surprised to hear from me. I am hopeful this letter reaches you before the news of my suicide. I will explain when I see you but I need you to bind me to that worthless piece of shit husband of mine. Till his death do us part now.

I have signed this with my blood and my will stipulates that you should get a package from my lawyer with a bottle of ash from my cremation. If I remember your mother's instructions correctly that should be enough for me to come to you for the binding. I'm enclosing a lock of his hair and a few drops of his blood (don't ask me how I got it) in this letter as well. That should work for his part.

Talk soon!

All my love,

Nathan put the hair and the cotton ball with the dried blood in his mother's mortar. The poor guy really had no idea what he had unleashed. If he thought the tabloid stories about Elizabeth killing herself over his infidelity were bad just wait until he spent every day with her right by his side reminding him of what he did. She did not like people to take her things. And she especially did not like her things to allow themselves to be taken.

He stepped back and looked at the stone. Only one word. It was the only one he would need.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dead like me?

The past couple of years had not been the best for Julie. They had been, in fact, the worst years of her life. Which was ironic considering it all went downhill when she died.

She remembered the moment perfectly. She had been driving to work going over the 1,001 things on her to do list for the day when the semi-truck headed east bound did not see the red light and ran in to her brand new never even made a payment on it Prius headed southbound. As she saw the truck headed her way and heard the squeal of the tires and the blare of his horn she thought, "I am too busy for this shit today!" and then there was a flash of light and she was standing in front of a dude guarding a gate and checking a book that was balanced on a podium.



"What is your name?"

"Julie Fromentheyer."

He ran his finger down the page and hovered above a space, "Essence please."

"Excuse me?"

"Your essence. I need to collect it before you can move on. Just put it in the box right here."

He pointed to a glowing box at his feet. She looked closer. It looked like it was holding swirling light.

"How do I give you my essence?"

"Just drop it in the box. I've told you."

"But where do I get it from?"

He sighed deeply, "For goodness sake, you are holding it in your hand aren't you? Just put it in the freaking box!"

Julie held her hands up, "I'm not holding anything."

"You're not holding anything? What? Don't tell me you left without your essence? You can't just leave your essence behind!"

"Okay, great, but since I don't know what you are talking about you can't really get mad at me about it!"

He wasn't listening to her though. He had picked up what looked like a walkie talkie and was shouting to someone, "WE HAVE A CODE 48! I NEED SOMEONE DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!"

As soon as he had finished speaking there were three more people with him at the podium. There were two in what looked like contamination jump suits and an older woman carrying a very large pocketbook.

"Confirmed. She left her essence behind." one of the jump suited arrivals announced.

"Were you able to recover it?"

"Negative. The shell was still functioning so we were unable to clear the essence." the second jump suited arrival responded.

"Then she's all yours. Good luck." and with that he closed the book and everyone and everything disappeared except Julie and the older lady.

"What in the world is going on?" Julie asked not sure she would get an answer.

"What is the last thing you remember?" the woman rummaged through her purse and pulled out a small notebook and pen.

"I was on my way to work, and...oh crap. Am I dead?"

"Well..." the woman paused from her note taking. "You are mostly dead."

Julie laughed, "To blave..."

The old woman just looked at her.

"Like Princess Bride? I'm mostly dead." the woman just stared at Julie, "Princess Bride. The movie?"

"Oh a movie. That's right. You watch movies down there for fun."

"Down there?"

"Or up there. Or over there. Directions don't really mean anything. Anyway, back to your memory. You said you were on your way to work, what else do you remember?"

"There was a truck coming at me. He ran his light. I couldn't get out of the way. I thought about how I was angry because he was going to damage my car and I hadn't even made a payment yet, and that I was going to be late for work and I was too busy to be late."

"Oh. There we are."

"What do you mean there we are?"

"This happens sometimes. Here have a caramel." the woman reached in to her bag and pulled out a Werther's for Julie.

"Seriously? You are giving me a Werther's?"

"Well, yes, I have seen that people tend to like a candy to make them feel better."

Julie shook her head. But she unwrapped the candy and popped it in her mouth anyway. Her grandmother had always had Werther's in her purse and it actually did make Julie feel better.

"Okay, I have a candy. Now what do you mean, there we are?"

"You are mostly dead. Like I said. But at the moment of death, or should have been death, as your true essence was leaving your body you announced your pure intention that you did not have time for this and so your true essence popped back in to your body to keep going. See? You cannot announce pure intention to true essence and not have there be consequences."

Julie shook her head again, "No I don't see. I'm here so obviously I did die, right? So how can my body keep going. How am I not the essence of who I am?"

"Well you are you, of course, but there is a part of you, the part that drives you, that is your essence. Your essence is what keeps you going while you are there instead of here. For some people that essence is the love of their family. Or their charity work. Or their kindness to strangers. Or their love of animals. Or the fact that they really really hate people. Essence isn't always so good, but we don't see a lot of those people around these parts. We see the very good, the mostly good, the sort of good and the tries really hards."

Julie reached a hand out and the old woman put another candy in her palm.

"But see, dear, you, well your essence seems to be ummm, being busy. So it just stayed behind in your body and kept going. I would guess right about now you are sitting in a hospital room trying to make a phone call to work."

"So what does that mean then? What happens next?"

"You wait."

"I wait?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so. See now you need to wait for your shell to give out and release your essence. When that happens you can grab it and bring it back to the gate and we will go from there."

"The shell to give out?"

"Well yes, the shell." the woman paused for a moment, "Your body! Yes, your body. Where you were and where you essence is now. Your body was supposed to be deactivated by the truck, you see, but since your essence stayed behind it wasn't." the woman rummaged through her bag again and pulled out what looked like a smart phone. She slid her finger on the screen and Julie saw herself there, in a hospital room and yes, it was true she was on the phone.

The woman zoomed in on a medical chart hanging from the end of Julie's bed. "You are a medical miracle. They would have assumed massive internal injuries but you seem to have survived completely intact." the woman laughed, "Well we know that's not true, but in all essence it is!" she laughed again then noticed the look on Julie's face, "Too soon?"

"So now what? If the truck didn't kill me what will?"

"Oh normal wear and tear, even a busy essence filled with pure intention cannot make a shell last longer than, oh 100 years or so. They just aren't designed to last much longer than that."

"One hundred years? But I'm only 32!"

"Well, yes, it might be awhile. If you are lucky though, maybe your shell will have a massive heart attack or suffer from a catastrophic failure like a decapitation or electrocution! That would be much quicker!"

Julie was horrified. "This is me we are talking about!"

"Oh no, dear, not really. Not anymore. But you do need to recover your essence before you can move on. Those are the rules. One essence per customer sort of thing. You turn in the old one, you get to move along. You don't? Well..."


"Well you have a choice. You can wait for your shell to give out and grab your essence and try again. Or you can just give up and stay in limbo forever."

"Like a ghost?"

"Oh no, not like a ghost. A ghost is an essence that got away. Or was released maliciously. From the other help desk. They think that's funny. But no, limbo is you just well, stuck. Never moving along. Never going back. Just here. But not here, here, there is a place they will send you if you choose limbo."

"Why would someone choose limbo? If it's just nothing?"

"Truly? I think it's the people whose essence is laziness. They never did anything when they had their shell and their essence and them all in one place so it's very easy for them to imagine not doing anything for ever. But that's not really who you are is it?"

Julie shook her head, "No, I don't think anyone has ever used lazy to describe me."

"Then I would guess you will choose to wait for your shell to give out and your essence to come free."

Julie sighed, "I guess so. Where do I wait?"

"Oh you will have to wait with your shell. You wouldn't want to miss the moment."

"What do you mean wait with my shell? Do I get to go back? To keep living my life? That doesn't sound terrible."

The woman reached for another Werther's to give Julie, "Oh no, I am afraid it's not like that..."

And it wasn't. Not really. Julie floated along within reach of her shell while it just kept plugging along. Working on projects, meeting deadlines (ha!), making those car payments, always so busy.

Now thirty four years old. Only 66 years to go. Sixty six more years of watching her old body work and go through the motions of life. Sixty six years of nobody noticing that Julie had died and was no longer really there. Sixty six more years of realizing that honestly there wasn't much difference from when she was there. Only sixty six more years...

Julie thought, "Kill me now." and then unwrapped another Werther's.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Waiting Room...

The door opened and she walked through. The room was pretty full. The receptionist nodded in her direction, "Take a seat."

"Do you know how..."

"Take a seat."

"Of course but I was just wondering how long..."

"Take a seat."


The receptionist cut her off with a look this time and pointed toward an open chair.

She took a seat.

"She doesn't know." An older woman said as she looked up from her knitting.


"How long. She doesn't know how long it will be. That's why she wouldn't let you ask. Some people like to pretend they know it all. Instead of looking like they might not know something they'd rather you just didn't ask the question."

At this the receptionist loudly closed a desk drawer and shot a dirty look their way.

The older woman laughed, "Bang all you want. You still don't know."

"How long have you been waiting?" She asked.

"Oh a good long while I suppose. I never go anywhere without my knitting so I've been able to keep myself occupied though so it's not so bad."

She looked around the crowded room. "Are we all waiting for the same thing?"

The woman put down her knitting, "Well now, that's a complicated question really. Or I guess a simple question with a complicated answer."


"If you were to ask everyone in here there would be more than one answer. See that group over there?" the woman pointed with her knitting needles, "They think they are waiting for something completely different than that group over there," she pointed again to the other side of the room, "and all of these people right here? Well they would be surprised at the thought that they were waiting for the same thing as either of those two groups. And then there are a lot of people in here who never thought at all about it, and just walked through the door and took a seat. And yet, here we all are in the same room."

A younger man in a tied died shirt said, "We are all the same, man. All of us. But they don't want us to see that."

The woman nodded, "Yes, dear."

"Wait, who doesn't want us to see that?" she asked.

"Them, man, them." and with that he nodded off.

"Don't worry about him I think he's still a little stoned. But who am I to judge? I knit, he sleeps, we all pass the time."

She looked at the groups sitting together. They were all huddled talking in whispers watching the receptionist's desk and the door to the inner office closely. 

"They are waiting for their name to be called. That group is pretty sure there is a book back there someone is checking. It must be a really big book, or a really slow reader doing to the checking." the old woman laughed again.

"What about you? What are you waiting for?"

"Me? I'm just waiting my turn. But I have my knitting so I'm not bothered. I once flew all the way to Australia to visit a friend and by the time I got there I had a brand new afghan to give her as a gift. This was before they made you stop bringing knitting needles on planes. I would never be able to make that flight now." the old woman laughed again, "Isn't that the truth?" and she laughed even louder. 

She wasn't entirely sure what the old woman found so funny so she sat back in her chair and looked around the room again. There were a lot of people here ahead of her. She wished she had brought a book. She turned to ask another question but the old woman had gone back to her knitting. She noticed the knitting project for the first time. It was a lovely blue green patterned blanket. It must have been about done since it was draped over her lap, and pooled at her feet, and then trailed down the row of chairs, and over the lap of an older man sitting a row away, and draped over the backs of two other chairs to make a blanket fort for a young boy sitting playing with a wooden train set and then it trailed down the next row.

"How long did you say you have been waiting?"

"Oh a good long while. You might want to make yourself comfortable."