THE GEMINI

 

Hey!

Did you ever meet him?

Yes.

Once when you and he

were fishing on the

Susquehanna at

Center Village.

Right!

I forgot about that.

Yes.

I was fishing by myself on

one side of the river

and you two were fishing

the other side.

I wish you could have gotten

to know him more than

just shouting across

the river.

Well he had my line fouled.

That was funny.

Maybe to you.

He wanted you to let line out

so he could unfasten

his line from yours.

And you wanted him to

let his line out so you could

do the unfastening.

Well – – – if you remember correctly

neither of us had enough line to

let out.

So there the two of you stood

shouting at each other

like damn fools.

IT WAS FUNNY!

So we both backed up

until our lines were tighter

than a G-String on one of

those girls at the

Rocket Plaza.

Yes. And then the fishing line

broke right where it would have

if either of you could have

reeled it in.

Coincidence? Surely.

Surely.

And then no one shouted

across the Susquehanna

for the rest of the afternoon.

I wish you could have gotten

to know him better.

Why?

Because once he felt comfortable

around you he was very

communicative; and witty too.

Hard to believe after that incident

at Center Village.

Yes.

He could be tense at times.

But he could also be quite a cut-up.

Do tell.

I remember the fishing trips

we used to make up to the

Chateaugay River.

I remember you used to go

up to Chateaugay quite often.

Yes. We would rent a cabin

or cheap hotel room.

As long as it had a roof

and a shower;

we didn’t need much more.

But you were saying –

that he was funny?

Yes.

He would put on his

best imitation voice;

apeing a Nazi Gestapo and say

“Ve know vere your vamily lives”

or

“So you haf vamily in the old country?”

And stuff like that – – –

stuff he picked up at the

Enjoy Theater.

The ENJOY!

I remember that place,

the one in Johnson City – – –

right?

Yes! Ten cents for a whole

Saturday afternoon,

two movies, a cartoon,

and the “Newsreel of the Day.”

What else would he do that

made you think he was funny.

Well – – –

he would mix us a whiskey

while he kept up the Nazi chatter.

All the time combining what he

was doing with the imitations.

Like what?

Oh – – –

he would hand me my drink

and say something like

“Here Yank, you trink dis – – –

and den maybe you come ofer

to our side – – – Yah?”

I see why you would think he

was funny.

And this would go on for

fifteen or twenty minutes

until my sides were sore

from laughing.

He liked an audience?

Yes.

And then after things

settled down and I would

ask him to mix another drink.

(No one could make a drink

like he could)

He would look at me

close his eyes and tip

his head down a little

then shake it with disdain

as if he was somebody’s

grandmother telling me

not to drink so much.

That was funny?

Yes.

I would start cracking up

again, then – – – when he didn’t

move I would hand him

my glass.

And then?

And then he would start

that shameful grandma

head-shake all over again.

Was he serious?

No. Just trying to get me

to laugh.

And he would keep it up

until I stopped asking to

to mix a drink.

And then he would fix a drink?

Yes.

He had to get a few laughs first though.

Did he have a downside?

No. Never mean to others.

But he was inconsistent.

Inconsistent?

Yes.

Inconsitent with his own life.

Like what?

Like women.

Like jobs.

Couldn’t hold a wife?

No.

I think he just couldn’t

find a woman who was serious

about marriage.

Oh. That’s a shame.

Well – – – maybe I need to clarify that.

His last one stuck by him until the end.

The end?

Yes.

Cancer got him as soon as he retired.

How old was he?

He was a young man.

Early fifties.

Took an early retirement package.

I thought you said

he couldn’t hold a job.

No.

I said he was inconsistent.

What does that mean?

It means that he would

seek a promotion

and then when he got it

he didn’t like the

new position.

Yes. That is inconsistent.

So he ended up a little better

than when he initially started out.

That’s good.

Yes.

But he could have been a little

better off when he retired

if he stuck with the promotions.

In the end – – –

it didn’t make much difference;

did it?

You have a point there.

Maybe his overall life was better

than you thought it was.

Maybe you’re right.

Very insightful.

Was he smart?

Yes.

Mostly street smart.

He did have

an intellectual side.

However;

he didn’t like to display it.

How’s that?

He worked his way up through

the Mason Lodge but didn’t

mention it much.

Oh?

I used to pick on him unmercifully

about showing me the secret handshake

or to tell me the secret words.

That wasn’t nice.

No – – – it was OK with him.

Explain.

He would then pick on me

about the pope,

and the priest chasing

the alter boys around

with that smoking device

with the incense.

Oh yeh.

what did they call that thing?

A ‘thurible.’

So you guys were best buddies

but had totally different

life styles,

work styles,

and selection of women?

 

Yes, but somehow we

got along very well.

Mutual respect I would guess.

Yes.

I see.

We picked on each other about

all things considered

‘politically incorrect’

these days.

And I think you are correct

about that.

You know,

we even fished differently.

How could that be?

He liked to find a nice big hole

and would fish it for hours.

And you?

Twenty minutes at one hole

and I was off investigating

different parts of

the Chateaugay.

But you were fishing buddies!

Maybe that is why.

I believe we both liked

the solitude of the river

and the fresh smell

of the balsam trees.

So you both fished alone

yet together.

Yes.

I would find a new fishing spot

and would tire of it quickly.

And then you would tell him

about it?

Yes.

And I would take him there and

leave him in his solitude

while I investigated more of the

large Chateaugay river.

It sounds like you guys hit it off.

Yes.

We had totally different outlook

on everything;

yet we made room

for each other’s differences.

That would make sense.

Yes.

It worked out perfectly.

 

§

 

THE WOODLAND STREAM; All things to all people

 

If there ever was any one setting that God made

for all people it was the woodland stream,

the brook that is nestled between steep slopes,

jutting rock wall and, sometimes,

sapling studded flats.

 

The dark tannic water that flows silver

over broken stone,

amber in the pool below

and mixed with hues of gold

as it flows from the shade

into a sunbathed meadow.

 

It makes no difference

whether there is one

or one hundred

trout within its pools;

the sounds are there,

the solitude is there,

and sometimes,

a cherished companion,

with whom you have

spent the day – – – – is there.

 

To the busy person,

it is an opportunity to relax,

to the relaxed person,

it is an opportunity to be busy.

 

To the poor person, fantasies – – –

if only he were rich,

to the rich person, fantasies – – –

if only his responsibilities would vanish.

 

To the child, his dreams,

if only he were an adult,

to the adult, his dreams,

if only he were a child again.

 

To the old, memories,

of past trips and companions,

to the young, plans,

of future trips and companions.

 

To the troubled,

answers to problems appear,

to the placid,

questions about life arise – – –

unexpectedly.

 

To the agnostic, a “thank you”

to an unknown creator,

to the religious, a “thank you”

to the same being.

 

To good leaders,

fond thoughts of loyal followers,

to loyal followers,

faithful trust in good leaders.

 

To me, the many things,

I wonder if you ever dream of,

to you, the same things,

that you wonder if I ever dream of.

 

No one pastime and its surroundings

can evoke such commonality

and instantaneous understanding

between two opposite personalities

and backgrounds as the stream.

 

Enjoy it now.

Saturate your memory with each detail,

every venture, every stream,

every pool and run.

 

For, the sad part is,

your grandchildren will beg you

to tell them of things

that they may never have

the opportunity to experience.

 

by Waldo J. Tomosky

in memory of ‘Jeff’

 

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THE ARIES

 

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THE ARIES

 

Do you remember when you first met her?

Yes. It was at Barnard College

in Columbia University.

What was her role in Barnard?

She held a Visiting Professorship.

That is a long way from

teacher’s assistant in Chile.

True. But she had drive.

Did she ever tell you how she

became a teacher’s assistant?

Yes. Her father abandoned her

and her mother.

She took the job to support them.

It must have been a rough life.

She never complained about it.

How did she move from a

teacher’s assistant in Chile

to a Visiting Professor at Barnard.

She started writing poetry

while a teacher’s assistant.

And then?

And then she won some local and national

poetry awards.

That doesn’t seem to answer the ‘great leap.’

No. You are correct. It doesn’t.

Any insights?

Yes.

First, in 1923, she won

the Chilean National Teachers award.

She was able to slowly move up through

a graduated series of colleges in Chile,

finally becoming a professor.

What would you consider her

defining moment?

I do not know this for sure

but I always surmised that

it was the suicide of her lover.

When did that occur?

When she was in her teens.

Did she ever tell you who that was?

Yes. I have it here in my notes – – –

somewhere.

Yes, here it is.

His name was Romelio Ureta.

Do you know anything about him?

Not really.

She said he worked on the railroad.

I have no idea what he did.

Do you think it was the abandonment

by her father or the death of her lover

that defined her most?

Possibly the series of painful things

that occurred in her life.

There were other events?

Yes.

She lost a nephew to suicide.

She told me that she thought of him

as her son; it changed her outlook on life.

How did the death of her lover manifest itself?

She started her signature work

“Sonnets of Death.”

That was the work that earned her the

Juegos Florales prize; correct?

Yes.

And then she went on to win

the Nobel Prize in Literature.

What year was that?

In 1945.

She was an ambassador also?

Yes.

She represented Chile as consul in

Brazil, Spain, Portugal and the US.

How old was she when she died?

Sixty-seven.

Had she returned to Chile

before her death?

No. She died in Hempstead, Long Island.

And the year?

January 7, 1957

 Mature Gabriela

Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga

Psuedonym: Gabriela Mistral

 

TO SEE HIM AGAIN

Never, never again?

Not on nights filled with quivering stars,

or during dawn’s maiden brightness

or afternoons of sacrifice?

 

Or at the edge of a pale path

that encircles the farmlands,

or upon the rim of a trembling fountain,

whitened by a shimmering moon?

 

Or beneath the forest’s

luxuriant, raveled tresses

where, calling his name, I was overtaken by the night?

Not in the grotto that returns

the echo of my cry?

 

Oh no.

To see him again —

it would not matter where —

in heaven’s deadwater

or inside the boiling vortex,

under serene moons or in bloodless fright!

 

To be with him…

every springtime and winter,

united in one anguished knot

around his bloody neck!

Gabriela Mistral 

 Young Gabriela

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THE TAURUS

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Good afternoon!

Good afternoon.

Thank you for allowing

me to interview

you today.

Not to mention it.

I love being interviewed.

So I have heard.

I see my reputation precedes me.

That is does.

Where do you think it would be

a good place to start?

I am a firm believer in starting

at the beginning.

That sounds good to me.

I was Thomas Quick born

under the sign of the Taurus;

April 26, 1950 in Korsnäs, Finland.

What else is important to you?

I have some good traits.

Examples please.

I am patient and reliable,

warmhearted and loving,

persistent and determined,

but mostly placid and security loving.

You sure are secure here!

Touché, my friend.

You have a sense of humor.

Yes.

However, the doctors say

I have another side.

And that is?

I can be jealous,

self-indulgent and greedy.

They also say I am possessive .

Why do they say that?

Because I didn’t want to leave

Thomas Quick behind.

You once possessed the body

of Thomas Quick.

Now you have lost him.

Does that make you sad?

Yes.

Who wouldn’t be sad?

Everything I had accomplished

in my life was gone.

I now possess nothing.

I was meant to be famous;

a persistent drive on my part.

Yes, you were famous;

in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

I was Sweden’s most

notorious serial killer.

I confessed to more than

thirty murders;

only convicted of eight.

Do you think you have

moved beyond that

past life?

My therapy sessions at

Säter Hospital for the

criminally insane

over the years have

proved that point.

So Thomas Quick

is now gone?

Yes!

He had maimed, raped

and eaten the remains

of his victims.

That was back in the 1970’s.

But not all in the 1970’s;

correct?

Most of his eight convictions

were for what he had patiently

committed in the 1980’s.

Were there other decades

of mayhem?

Some other activities

were completed in

the late 1960’s

but no one ever knew.

I had to tell them

all about those.

But now it is all gone?

Yes.

I am now Sture Bergwall.

How did you become Sture?

There is nothing mysterious about it.

I changed my name the way

everyone does; through willpower.

Let’s leave Sture Bergwall

until a little later in the interview.

Is that OK with you?

Sure.

Tell me about

Thomas Quick’s victims.

1976, Charles Zelmanovits, age 15.

After sex I, or rather Thomas,

cut him up and took

a leg as a souvenir.

That pleased Thomas?

Yes.

Then in 1980, Thomas killed

Johan Asplund, 11 years old.

Thomas said he buried

some of the organs,

and what he didn’t throw out

of the car window

he took home

and ate.

You told this to the authorities?

Not I.

Thomas told them.

There were others?

Oh, there were many more.

However, he was only convicted

of these eight.

Who was next on Thomas’ list?

In 1981 Thomas killed, Trine Jensen, age 17

After his usual activities Thomas said

he strangled her with

the strap of her handbag.

That is three victims.

but there were only

four trials and

five convictions.

Yes. I glad you mentioned that.

Thomas was very proud of this double murder.

A double murder?

In 1984, Marinus and Janny Stegehuis,

a Dutch couple were camping.

Thomas said he stabbed the husband

through the tent canvas.

He could describe the attack

in exact detail – – –

how many times

he stabbed

each victim.

That brings us to five victims.

Thomas was a bit ashamed

of the common place murder

he committed in 1985.

She was Gry Storvik, age 23.

He made the Norwegian prostitute

strip and he described how

she vomited as he strangled her.

And next?

Next was a 24 year old

Israeli student – – –

Yenon Levi, age 24

Thomas and an accomplice

took the tourist to a camp

in the woods.

They killed him as he

tried to escape.

And the final one?

In 1988, Therese Johannesen,

a Norwegian girl, nine years old,

was at a bus shelter waiting.

How was she murdered?

Thomas pulled her down a slope.

He bashed her head against a rock.

Wasn’t there some controversy?

Yes.

He was very disappointed

that she was not a boy.

No. I mean some controversy

over whether they had found her remains?

He said he returned a year later

to burn the remains.

A bone fragment was found

that appeared to have been cut

exactly as he had identified.

 

§

 

So that explains Thomas Quick.

Can we discuss Sture Bergwall now?

Yes. Since he is all that remains.

Where should we start with Sture?

The same place as before;

in the beginning.

Fine.

I had met a lot of people

while being held at Säter Hospital

for the criminally insane.

Yes. I understand that you

had a lot of police detectives

from Finland, Denmark and

Sweden visiting you.

Well they weren’t really visiting me

they wanted to talk to Thomas Quick.

I really miss Thomas.

And what did they want?

They had heard that Thomas appeared

to know the details about several murders

in Scandinavia.

And did he?

Oh yes.

How did he know about the murders.

Well I had day pass privileges from

Säter Hospital.

And?

And I would go to the library and read

about murders. Then I told the hospital

staff about them. Then someone called

the police authorities.

And that is when Thomas Quick appeared?

Yes.

I told them I was really

Thomas Quick – – –

a serial murderer.

And they believed you?

Yes.

Why do you think that was?

Because I knew a lot of details

from the newspapers I read

in the library while on day pass.

But they should have realized that

was the extent of your knowledge.

Yes.

They should have known.

But the more questions they asked

the more detailed knowledge I gained.

Soon, I had convinced the police of

my first ‘make believe’ murder.

And then?

Then more and more detectives

began to show up.

From where?

From everywhere!

They wanted to be able to say

that they had closed out an old

case – – – and then another – – –

and then another.

So you convinced them that

you, Sture Bergwall, had committed

all those murders?

Not I, but rather Thomas Quick

– – – who never existed.

And they took you to trial?

Yes.

And they convicted you?

Yes.

Why didn’t you speak up

during the trials?

Why would I?

Look at all the attention

that I was getting.

My life was no longer at

a dead end in

Säter Hospital.

I, as Thomas Quick, was famous!

I see.

And then what happened?

Some of the forensic evidence

was placed in question.

Which evidence?

The burned bone fragment.

And then?

Everything came out in the open.

Once again – – –

I had to become Sture Bergwall.

And all your convictions?

They were set aside.

So now you are no longer

criminally insane?

No.

Are you going to be released

from Säter Hospital?

Yes.

Do you know when?

Yes.

Tomorrow.

 §

 

Twenty three years after he was locked up

in Säter Hospital for the criminally insane,

he made his most staggering confession of all:

that he had made it all up.

 

In August, 2013 all charges

against Sture Bergwall

were set aside.

He was 63 years old.

 

Sweden’s justice system had been shattered.

 

Sture Bergwall

 

Bergwall told the press;

“If I hadn’t accepted therapy and benzodiazepines,

no Thomas Quick would have been created.”

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THE CANCER

 

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Welcome to our little office Arthur.

Or should I call you ‘Mitch?’

Arthur would be OK.

You’ve been a little busy lately.

So it would seem.

You gave us a bit of a puzzle.

I didn’t mean to cause extra work for you.

Well – – – we are quite relieved now.

So I hear.

Do you want to tell us about it?

It seems as though you know everything.

Yes, we do.

However we would like to hear it from you.

I am at your disposal.

Funny – – – you should use that word.

What word?

‘Disposal’

Why is that strange?

Because that is what you did with them.

Oh. Yes. You are right about that.

I heard you were busy along the Black River

up near the Adirondacks a few years back.

Yes. But that has all been settled.

Sure. But let’s talk about it anyway.

I don’t remember a lot about it.

There was a little boy and a little girl.

Yes. That’s right.

Can you tell us about it?

I’d rather not.

We have the court records.

Well, I can’t remember so you

should just read the records.

Your motives were not clear.

I’m not talking about it.

Are you just touchy about it,

or are you being shrewd.

Neither.

Cautious?

No. I just don’t want to talk about it.

Lets talk about what we caught

you doing today.

That is my private business.

That’s true, but not in public.

That’s not the point.

What is the point?

The point is not where or not what.

Again, what is the point?

The point is who.

The point is the girl?

Yes.

Why?

Because she had loved me.

That is a strange way to repay love.

And then you had to do THAT

over her dead body?

She wasn’t dead.

How about the other ten?

There were eleven?

Yes.

If you say so.

How could you lose track?

You would too if you went back

to visit all of your girlfriends

several times.

You visited them afterwards?

Yes.

Why?

Don’t you guys believe in forensics?

Again. We would like to hear it from you.

They didn’t have many close friends.

And neither did I.

You were lonely?

I have already answered that.

Were you clinging and unable to let go?

I suppose so.

Again a strange way of acting

on those emotions.

I look at it as more a matter of being

protective and sympathetic.

Oh. How about discussing some facts now.

OK.

Do you remember any names?

I remember a Dorothy and June

and Darlene and – – – a Felicia.

Yes. Felicia was special.

Any more names?

Not at the moment.

How about Jack Blake?

Yes, I just answered your questions on that.

I didn’t ask any questions

about Jack Blake.

But you wanted to talk about it.

Yes I did.

And how about Karen Ann Hill?

I told you I don’t want to talk about it.

I just need to know if there was anything

common between the boy and girl

in Watertown, New York and these ladies

that we keep running across

here in Rochester, New York.

Not really; other than I had sex with

the little girl before I killed her.

And the boy?

I just killed him in a fit of anger.

Yes, you told that story before

and then you changed it.

Oh yes, I guess you are right.

Do you get mixed up very often?

C’mon – – – that was in 1972!

What were you doing in 1972,

bet you can’t tell me that.

 

A knock on the door;

and then it opened.

Can I speak to Mr. Shawcross?

for a little while?

A nod,

and then the first

investigator leaves.

Hello Mr. Shawcross,

I’m here to ask you a few questions.

So was the other fellow.

Mine are a little more pointed,

if you don’t mind.

No. That’s fine.

Is Clara involved in these murders?

Oh no!

She isn’t?

No, I just borrowed her car.

Is that how her gear shift got broke?

Yes.

Could you tell me what happened?

She pissed me off.

Who?

Elizabeth Gibson.

How?

She said I wasn’t a full man.

And then what happened?

I slapped her around a bit.

And she fought back?

To some degree.

Why did it escalate?

She started screaming at me.

She looked and acted exactly

like my mother used to.

And then?

I buried my elbow in her throat.

She died in the car?

Yes.

And then?

Then we had sex.

In the car?

No. On the river bank.

We didn’t find her clothes.

I threw them out the window somewhere.

I see. Do you remember where?

No.

Are you aware that we found one of

June Cicero’s earrings in Clara’s car?

No. So what?

So we now have solid evidence.

Stick your evidence up your ass.

Let’s see if we can solidify the evidence.

Guessing – – – you are just guessing.

The new investigator

goes to door

and opens it.

Would you bring in

Mrs. Shawcross and Clara?

What are they doing here?

We just want to verify

dates and times.

Leave them out of it.

Would you rather confess

about these eleven murders?

Yes. OK. Let’s get it over with.

 

Arthur Shawcross

 Shawcross Mug Shot

 

Arthur Shawcross’ Victims

Jack O. Blake, age 10

Karen Ann Hill, age 8

Dorothy Blackburn, age 27

Anna Marie Steffen, age 28

Dorothy Keller, age 59

Patricia Ives, age 25

Maria Welsh, age 22

Frances M Brown, age 22

June Stott, age 30

Elizabeth A. Gibson, age 29

June Cicero, age 34

Darlene Trippi, age 32

Felicia Stephens, age 20

 

On November 9th, 2008 Arthur Shawcross

complained of leg pains while in jail.

He was taken to

an Albany hospital for medical attention,

where he died.

 

THE FOLLOWING CLIP IS THE ACTUAL ART

ARTHUR SHAWCROSS CREATED

WHILE IN PRISON

 

 

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THE SCORPIO

 

 

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So you can’t remember the first

twelve years of your life?

NO Doctor, that’s NOT what I said.

But that was the impression you gave.

What I said was that I don’t remember

MOST of the first twelve years.

Well then, please tell me

what you do remember.

I remember family picnics;

not picnics with just the

immediate family but rather

family reunions.

Go on.

To be exact they weren’t really

family reunions either.

They were simply large family

gatherings.

You had a large family?

No. My immediate family

consisted of my mother, step-father

and me.

No sisters or brothers?

No.

And this extended family,

would you tell me more about it?

Yes, there were a few people from

Europe and all their children.

Uncles and Aunts from Europe?

Yes, I believe they said Macedonia

and Yugoslavia.

The children, your cousins?

All born here.

Were these family gatherings enjoyable?

Oh yes, they were great fun.

My cousins all gathered around me

and asked questions about what I

liked and wanted to do next.

So they had an interest in you?

I suppose so.

Why do you think that was?

They all followed the rules.

And?

And I didn’t.

So they considered your life

more exciting than theirs?

Obviously.

Did you like being the center

of attention at these gatherings?

Sure! Wouldn’t you?

Did your cousins always gather around

you at these family picnics?

They had no choice but to gather

around me.

That’s interesting.

Why do you say that?

Their lives were better than mine.

It would seem, then, that they would

not be interested in you.

I didn’t say that.

Please clarify for me

if you would.

I said their lives were better – – –

I knew it the minute

I met each one of them.

Their lives were

more stable – – –

and

more boring – – – .

Yes – continue on.

They were spoiled with attention.

They had no need to invent games

and ideas to keep themselves

entertained.

I see. That makes sense.

So I could control them by

simply suggesting some pastime

that they couldn’t think up

on their own.

And they didn’t seem to know

that you were controlling them?

They did not.

They were too self-centered.

They were too soft

too mushy

no guts.

What types of things did you convince

them to engage in?

At first it was hide and seek

then when I realized that the parents

never went behind the barn

we would experiment.

Experiment?

Yes Doctor – – – EXPERIMENT!

You know what I am saying.

Don’t tell me you didn’t experiment.

Let’s keep the conversation

about you.

Touch a nerve, did I?

Did you get caught – – – ‘experimenting?’

Not that anyone ever confronted me

about it – – – but I think they knew.

What would make you think they knew?

Oh, the uncles and aunts would say

“The children seem to be pulled

toward her.”

 

And then one would respond with

something like “She seems to be

so magnetic.”

 

Did you take offense to those comments?

 

Of course I did.

 

I had to work at being “magnetic.”

 

Did your mother join in these conversations?

 

Yes. She would say that I seemed

 

“determined” and “strong willed.”

 

And that I would become forceful if I

 didn’t get my way.

 

Did you feel loved by your mother?

Of course.

Don’t jump to any

rash conclusions

about my mother.

 

I was only attempting to determine the

relationship between you and your mother.

 

Your questions are becoming hurtful.

 

I think that is enough for today.

Same time and day next week?

Yeh. Sure.

 §

 

We talked a bit about

your family last time

you were here.

Yes.

Would you like to talk about

your father and step-father

today?

Well – I can tell you about

my step father but not much

about my father.

Let’s start there.

He is a good guy.

Takes good care of my mother.

And me when I lived at home.

No issues, no problems?

No. Just an average guy

trying to do his best.

And why can’t you tell me

about your father.

He was a bastard!

Was he mean to you?

No. He never showed up

until I was twelve.

And you resented that?

Yeh. Sure. Wouldn’t you?

Well I don’t know the circumstances.

I was fourteen when my grandfather died.

You were at a tender age.

But where does your father

fit into the picture?

He showed up at my grandfather’s

funeral with an eighteen year old

bimbo on his arm.

And that made you resentful?

I already answered that.

Why would you resent him for

finding a companion?

BECAUSE I WAS JEALOUS!

Jealous? Of what.

Of the fact that he had deserted me

and found a girl about my age.

But she wasn’t his daughter

she was his girlfriend.

So what? I was left behind.

And she had taken my place.

I see.

And you never got over

those feelings?

No. I never will.

Maybe we should work on that.

I have lived with it for forty years.

What do you think you can do

all of a sudden to change it now?

Well you are here because something

is bothering you.

Well, that is rather obvious now

isn’t it.

You have let yourself become

obsessed with this memory.

I haven’t let myself become obsessed.

IT obsessed ME.

We should work on it.

If not, your next problem

will be compulsive behavior.

COMPULSIVE?

Like what?

Like compulsive drinking,

sexual activity,

arranging and hoarding

things around your home.

Is perfectionism compulsive behavior?

Yes. To a small degree.

Well then, I am already a compulsive.

So we don’t have to work on that

any more do we?

It could get worse.

WORSE?

Yes, it could turn into

one of the compulsives

that I mentioned above.

Are there more behaviors like that?

Yes.

Like what?

Some people become compulsive with

cleaning and washing such as

ritualized showers,

tooth brushing,

cleaning silverware,

and such.

Well I am not there yet.

But then some people

have to check everything

multiple times, like door locks,

insuring the appliances and lights

have been turned off.

Nope, still not there yet.

And others become compulsive

about symmetry, re-arranging silverware

on the table, arranging things by color – – –

Oh-oh.

I’m there now!

Which one?

If I am out to dinner with someone

they always comment about me

re-arranging the tableware while

we are talking.

It sounds like the beginning.

So what do we do about it?

I would rather have the full hour

to get into this subject.

That bad – – – huh?

No – it seems to be a subject

that normally takes some time

to work through.

Humph.

Same time next week?

If you say so.

 §

 

Glad that you are a few minutes early.

Am I ever late?

No. It was my way of reminding you

that this compulsive behavior discussion

will take some time.

I told you I was a perfectionist.

I remember exactly what you said last time.

That is why I am here early.

Let’s get on with it then.

Have you ever had a discussion

with a friend or relative about

your father?

NO! It is none of their business.

It is my private thought

and bitter memory.

No one – – – other than you – – –

has a need to know about it.

You have kept this pent up

for quite some time,

haven’t you?

Yes. And that is the way it will stay.

You shouldn’t remain so

obstinate about keeping

it a secret.

“Suffer in silence” – – –

that’s my motto.

Well that secretive and

obstinate behavior is what

brought you here.

No. What brought me here was

my husband threatening me with

a divorce.

He must have seen something in you

that needed help.

You are starting to sound just like him.

Maybe he is right.

Maybe so.

Well, think about it.

Yeh, sure, OK.

Any other advice – – – Doctor?

Maybe just writing your secret down

on a sheet of paper will get you started.

Like a diary?

Not necessarily a daily thing.

More like a letter to yourself.

Like talking to myself?

I thought you were here to

help me with my problems,

not get new ones started.

 

It sometimes helps.

I have had other patients

that had great success by

writing down their private

thoughts.

I don’t think writing is my thing.

The secret is to put the letter away

for a few weeks and then come

back to it. Insights often pop out

as you read it. There is a degree of

separation between what you wrote

and what you read.

Nope. I don’t think that is going to work.

Have you thought about

talking to a priest?

Hell no! They don’t help.

And besides, that’s what

I’m paying you for.

I think we have made

some headway today.

Next week?

THAT’S IT?

That’s what?

I thought we were going to

discuss compulsive behavior.

Yes. However, I see that there

are other issues that we have to

deal with first.

Like what?

Like you being able to

face the truth.

The truth about what?

About your father.

I already told you the truth

about that bastard.

But you are still resentful and

obstinate about not looking the

past in the eye.

I am not sure I can accept

your advice any longer.

It is your choice.

You have to get these feelings

out in the open.

Easy for you to say.

I know it isn’t easy but

we can work through it

together.

We will see.

Next week?

Yeh, sure.

 

 

Next Week Never Came

 

© Waldo J. Tomosky

Posted in THE ZODIACS | 1 Comment

THE SAGITTARIUS

 

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“He is a Sagittarius Mom!”

“So?”

“They say all who wander are not lost.

“And?”

And he will become a vagabond – – –

and an eternal traveler – – –

and he will seek Truth, Beauty, and Wisdom.

“Yeh, sure, is there more?”

Lots more Mom – – –

The only way he can find these is to travel.

He will meet others, and ask soul-searching questions.

“And that is the end of it?”

No Mom – – –

Knowledge will be important to him.

He will become interested in philosophy,

religion, and the meaning of everything.”

“Where do you get these strange ideas?”

“It’s in the newspapers Mom.

Every day they put it in the newspaper

– – – right next to the comic section.”

“Do you really believe all that?”

“Sure Mom, sure I do.

It’s right there in the newspaper.”

“Sounds like he will be a handful”

“Maybe so, but we have to give him a chance.”

“Maybe once, twice – – – but no more.”

“OK Mom. You’ll see.”

“Don’t tell your father what you just told me.

You know how nervous he gets about such things.”

“Sure thing Mom, sure thing.”

“Well – – – call your Dad and tell him

to come and pick up me and this baby

Sagittarius at the side door of the hospital.”

“OK Mom.

You got ten cents?

I’m broke.”

“Yeh. My purse is in the nightstand.”

 

And that was his second day on this earth.

She lied.

She gave him not one,

not two,

not three,

but more chances

than he deserved.

§

As he stood in his crib,

hanging on to the side rails,

he saw the image of a man’s face

reflecting off the surface 

his bedroom window.

He screamed

bloody murder.

 

She came running up the stairs.

 

“What’s going on up there?

“He saw a man in the window.

The man is gone now.”

“I knew he was going to be trouble.”

“He can see things Mom,

I tell you – – – he can see things.”

 §

A few years later he asked

“Who was I before I was me?”

She stood by the ironing board,

lacking an answer,

her lungs froze.

 What the hell thought

 

 

Then he started taking those long-short-cuts.

 

“Where did he go now?”

 

“I told you Mom,

he is going to be

an eternal traveler;

seeking truth.”

“Yeh? Well he better not

do it again.”

 

However, he did do it again,

and again,

and again;

much to her consternation.

 §

Then it was the

‘running away’

period.

 

“He is just trying

to learn things Mom.”

“Yeh? Well he better not

do it again.”

 

However, he did do it again,

and again,

and again;

much to her consternation.

 §

“He wants to go

to Mrs. Tillis’

church Mom.”

 

“Now what?”

 

“Mrs. Tillis says

he can learn things

there.”

 

“I suppose so.

Tell him he can go.

But don’t tell your father.

You know how he feels

about such things.”

 

However, all he ever saw there were little cards

that the elders gave him.

The cards had pictures of men

dressed in robes on one side

– – – and words on the other side.

The cards all started to look alike

after a few months.

He was disappointed.

He stopped his Sunday visits

with Mrs. Tillis.

She was disappointed.

 §

“He wants to go

fishing alone Mom.”

 

“That’s a crazy idea.

Alone?

Tell him I said no.”

“Mom says ‘no’.”

 

But he went anyway.

And, he went again,

and again,

and again;

much to her consternation.

 

“He knows the river Mom.

And the fish.

He knows what

the fish will do.”

“Yeh? Well we will see

what good that does him.”

 §

“He crossed

the railroad bridge

on foot

yesterday, Mom.”

 

“Now he has gone too far.

Why did he cross the bridge?”

 

“He wanted to see the old canal bed Mom

– – – and the old toll house foundation

– – – and the gravel pit

– – – and you should see

the beautiful stones

he found there Mom.”

 

“I’m telling his father.”

 

“Don’t Mom.

He is just wandering.

I told you he would wander.

He told me how he walks

the rails and ties.

He’s careful Mom.”

 §

And then there was the dump.

He loved the dump.

All sorts of treasures

were thrown away

on the dump.

 

“You should see what

he is doing now Mom.”

 

“I can just imagine!”

 

“He brought home

a big pile of

old copper wire

and he has built

a fire out back

and he has thrown

the wire into a fire

to burn off

the insulation.”

“So?”

“He says he is

going to make

money.”

 

And he did,

he sold the copper to

the junk dealer,

Mr. Brown.

 

“He had me help him

drag burlap bags

from the dump

today, Mom”

 

“I suppose he wants

me to haul it

to Mr. Brown’s?”

 

“Yes Mom.

And he is going

to share the money

with me.”

“That’s nice.”

 §

“He sees things Mom.

He sees things that we

can’t see Mom.

“Like what things?”

“Things from the future Mom.”

“Oh don’t be silly.”

“No, really Mom.

He knows when something

is going to happen.”

“Oh, he is just interpreting.”

“How can he interpret Mom?

He only knows English.”

“He doesn’t interpret words,

he interprets ideas.”

 

“Like what Mom?”

“Like the weather,

he interprets the breeze,

and the sky,

and the bird’s actions,

and then blends all that,

into the coming weather.”

“Is that how he knows

about the fish Mom?”

“Yes”

“And does he interpret

the stones from the

gravel pit?”

“Yes”

“But rocks are from

the past Mom,

not the future.”

“Yes, but he interprets

them into what he may

determine about the future.”

“That’s a good answer Mom,

I think I understand him now.”

“Yes, he can be hard to understand.”

“I am going to tell Dad.

Maybe he should know this,

then he could understand him.”

“No, I wouldn’t do that.

You know how your father is.”

“OK Mom.”

§

Then the teen years came.

“Why are you so quiet Mom”

“I am thinking about your brother.”

“Are you worried

about him?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact

I am.”

“Me too Mom”

“Why are you worried about him?”

“I saw him drinking whisky

down by the river.”

“I expected that. Your father and

him probably understand

each other now.”

And his mother remained quiet.

(and his father finally understood him)

§

“Why are you so quiet Mom”

“I am thinking about your brother.”

“Are you still worried

about him?”

“Yes, I am.”

“How come Mom?”

“Well – – – not that it is

any of your business but

he hasn’t slept in his own bed

for three nights now.”

“Where is he Mom?”

“Probably sleeping at

some strumpets apartment.”

“Oh – – – doesn’t he like

us any more?”

“No, it’s not that. He just has to

do what he has to do. He will be back.”

“That’s good Mom, that’s good.

§

And finally the military got him,

and he finally

grew up.

Then the finishing touches

were put on

the

Sagittarius.

 §

“He turned out to be

a good brother

didn’t he Mom.”

“Yes”

“He was a Sagittarius Mom!”

“So?”

“Remember what I said

when he was born?”

“Not really.”

“I said he would wander

but never would be lost.”

“Well – – – he did wander

but always came back.”

“And I said he will become a vagabond

and an eternal traveler.”

“But I didn’t know you meant that

he would be a be a mental vagabond

and traveler through history.”

“Yes Mom.

He sought Truth, Beauty, and Wisdom,

finding these through travel.”

“But most of his travels

were through books.”

 

“You have to remember Mom,

that he would go out of his way

to meet others, and ask

soul-searching questions.”

“I have to admit

he did have a gift

for gab.”

“Knowledge was important to him Mom.”

“That was true.

I think even your father

finally understood that.”

“Why do you think he came so late

to understand knowledge Mom?”

“He had to get basic life

out of the way first.”

“Oh – – – I have to give that

more thought Mom.”

“Yes, that requires some thought.”

“He became interested in philosophy,

religion, and the meaning of everything Mom.

Do you think he understood it all?”

“No. I don’t think anyone

can understand everything.”

“I miss him Mom.”

“I know, we all do.”

“Goodnight Mom.”

“Goodnight.”

“Tell him and Dad I said hello

the next time you visit

the graves.”

“I will.”

 author1

Posted in THE ZODIACS | 16 Comments

Roycroft, Hubbard & Garcia

A fellow blogger, who I have just recently met, informed me that he lived in the Roycroft District. Not knowing what that meant I looked it up; as you just did or are about to do.

One thing lead to another and this gem is what I found.

Over a period of one hundred years things don’t change very much.

~

A MESSAGE TO GARCIA

In all this Cuban business there is one man who stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain & the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly.
What to do!
Someone said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”
Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, & in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.
The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”
General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.
No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, & half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, & sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office- six clerks are within call.
Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio”.
Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?
On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:
Who was he?
Which encyclopedia?
Where is the encyclopedia?
Was I hired for that?
Don’t you mean Bismarck?
What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?
Is he dead?
Is there any hurry?
Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?
What do you want to know for?
And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.
Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself.
And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.
Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply, can neither spell nor punctuate- and do not think it necessary to.
Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?
“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.
“Yes, what about him?”
“Well he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him up town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”
Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?
We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” & with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.
Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer- but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.
It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best- those who can carry a message to Garcia.
I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”
Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular fire-brand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.
Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slip-shod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude, which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry & homeless.
Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.
I have carried a dinner pail & worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; & all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.
My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village- in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed, & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia.
-Elbert Hubbard, 1899

Hubbard

 

Posted in Philosophical | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments