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Lighted

Lighted

I’m usually a person. But at a little past one today, I became light.

What happened was I was sitting at my desk, working on my new book, Fooded, which is about how food has strong opinions about things, and when you eat food, you gain their opinions, and that’s why people often contradict themselves after a meal. Suddenly I hiccuped and became light.

As light, I passed through the window in my office at 671,000,000 mph. The things that I flew by outside appeared distorted to me. But I never felt nauseous or thought I might throw up, which is how I always felt when I was in a car being driven by someone else, and they suddenly sped up.

I was also aware that I didn’t have my usual thoughts of worry and disdain. Instead I felt invincible. And I had an incredible sense that I was as long as the Universe, and I was willing to bet everything I had if a tape measure that long could be obtained.

The really interesting to me as light was that when I saw other light, I suddenly felt like we were both riding on the backs of the slowest possible donkeys going down a dirt road. I would nod at them. They would nod back. I would say, “Yep.” They would say, “Yep.”

And then suddenly I was a person, back at my desk in my office. I became terrified of the light in my room and shut off the switch. I sat in my office in darkness. Not knowing what to do.

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Ashbrat

Ashbrat

I got in my time-travel machine and went back to August 25th, 1835, New Salem, Illinois, afternoon. I parked the machine behind a tree and walked until I got to the main dirt road.

After walking on it for a few minutes, I saw a man riding toward me on a horse. His head hung low and he was crying. I waved to him and said, “Excuse me.” He stopped his horse and looked up at me. He was Abraham Lincoln and he said, “Yes. What is it?”

I said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” He sighed and said, “I thank your kindheartedness. I loved Ann with a mighty heart. She died before her time. I’ll right be mourning her for years to come.”

I told Lincoln about my cat Ashbrat. She was my heart’s delight. But then she was run over by a truck on the freeway behind our house. I still miss her to this day.

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Time spent with Lucy

Time spent with Lucy

I went for a walk and came upon the ghost of Lucille Ball. She asked if she could walk along with me. I said yes. I say yes a lot.
We walked and she talked about what was on her mind. Like how she’s still really creative, even though she’s dead.
I suggested maybe she draw. Drawing is something you can do, and you don’t need a stage, or an audience. I said if she liked, I would get her some sheets of paper and a pack of colored pencils. She said she would like that.
We walked near a store. I went in and bought a pad of paper and a container of Crayola colored pencils. They’re really good. I came out and the ghost of Lucille Ball was still there, waiting for me.
We went to a nearby park and to a picnic table. I opened the pad and the Crayolas. She picked up a green pencil, but she dropped it. She tried picking it up again, but dropped it again. She wanted to give up.
I said it had probably been a long time since she tried to pick something up, and encouraged her to try again. After two more tries, she was able to grip it.
She drew an image of a dancing bear. She used other colors, for instance, blue and red. When she was done, she held it up to show me. I said it was good. She smiled and started to draw another picture.

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Fishing, again

Fishing, again

I sat on the rock next to the pond, fishing rod in hand, waiting for a fish to take a bite of the dough on the fish hook. I waited for a few hours.

An eagle landed next to me. We looked at each other. The eagle looked at the pond, then dove into the water. There was some thrashing.

The eagle came out of the water, with a large catfish in its talons, and landed on the rock again. It began to eat the catfish.

The eagle stopped said, “Would you like some?” I said, “Sure.”

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That inescapable heartache

That inescapable heartache

I sat in the hallway of the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper building, waiting for a meeting with the publisher, Benjamin Franklin. It was March 21st, 1739. I’d traveled there by my time-machine. I like to travel backward or forward in time to March 21st, the date of my birthday. I’m addicted to that date. That makes sense, it’s the time where I’ve gotten the most positive attention and presents.

Mr. Franklin came out of his office and greeted me. I have time-travel visited him over 12 times. He knows all about my time excursions. He’s even come back with me three times, staying at my place for a month or two. That’s how he was able to “come up with” so many great ideas. We went into Franklin’s office. He seemed troubled. I asked, “What’s wrong, Ben?” He began to cry. Benjamin said, “I’m in love with the seamstress Purde Fowlt. I let my feelings be known. She informed me that she would rather spend a week in the stocks then in my arms. I have known nothing but despair since.”

I shared that when I was very young I had a mad crush on my neighbor, Betty Misture. On my fifth birthday, I felt emboldened to put a dead frog on her doorstep along with a note asking her to be mine. I added a skull-and-crossbones, shaped like a heart. I knocked on the door and ran back home. I was sure my endeavors would win her over. Her parents called my parents and forbid me from ever playing with her again. I took it hard and overdosed on three bags of Circus Animal cookies. My parents took me to the hospital and my stomach got pumped. I spent the night in the hospital. My roommate was a man named Dirksen Malover. We got to talking. I told him my plight.

Dirksen shared that he too had been shot down in flames when thirty-two years earlier he first asked out his one-day-to-be wife, Gilde. He took it hard, gave away all his belongings, and lived out in the woods for three months. He ate insects, walked around naked, and and slept under a pile of leaves. He said his dire melancholy and bedragglement made him a target for repeated animal attacks. He fought off onslaughts of foxes, swallows, deer, and skunks, leaving him scarred and weak. Laying in a moss pit, emaciated and almost done in, Dirksen was rescued by a bear. The bear took him to its cave, feeding him berries and fresh spring water for a little over two weeks. He got back his bearings and decided to approach Gilde for a second time. The bear accompanied him into the city, and stood by him as he knocked on her door. Gilde opened the door. She looked at Dirksen, then the bear, Dirksen, and the bear again. Tears streamed from her eyes as she took Dirsken’s hand. It turned out she loved bears and because Dirksen was friends with a bear she opened her heart fully to him.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Did you follow suit and return to fair Betty’s home the next day?”

I said that the next morning after returning from the hospital, I walked over to Betty’s house. I was carrying our cat Smudge Pot. I figured the cat would be my linchpin. I knocked on the door and Betty answered. She began to sneeze, cough, and wheeze. I didn’t know she was drastically allergic to cats. Her parents called 911 for an ambulance. Betty spent a month in a coma. I felt such a remorse that I avoided her when she came back home.

Benjamin Franklin said, “I’m sorry that happened to you. Have you ever traveled by time-machine to visit your five-year-old self and helped him through what must have been a difficult time?”

I said I hadn’t. I asked Benjamin Franklin if he minded we forwent our visit and met another time. He nodded and I left.

I traveled back to my old home in Springfield, Virginia, the afternoon of March 22nd, 1966. The little five-year-old me was laying on the grass in the backyard. He looked up and knew I was his adult echo. I lay down next to him. I wished him a happy birthday. He thanked me. I said that Betty was going to be okay, but it would take a little while. He said he was relieved. He asked me if that was the last time he would ever do anything that made him feel such pain, regret, and humiliation. I said no. He asked if he’d ever get used to it. I said he wouldn’t.

He held his arms up in the air and let them sway like wildflowers in the wind. I held up my arms and felt the same breeze.