OK, so you know how you make bargains with yourself…

8/15/10
OK, so you know how you make bargains with yourself… or with God? That if He just does this, you’ll just do that?
You don’t?
Well, lucky for you then! It will keep you saner in the end if you don’t start. Anyway, for those of you who do partake of such inanity on occasions of stress, here’s a breakdown of my little breakdown yesterday.
I am sitting there at my laptop- tired, frustrated and at that crucial moment where I must decide how much of this to allow others to handle, when to pass over the mantle of lead and when enough information is enough? That if God and Charley will just give me the answers to six questions… I will leave them alone for a while.
In the midst of my quandary, I decided that I was getting a little too close- that this had become too personal on some level and that I obviously needed to back away and get some fresh air and a new perspective.
So, last night I took the night off. I sat down- read some then decided to let my mind vegetate and watch some TV. Much to my joy I found a movie I loved was on. In fact, it is the movie that started all of this. Not Charley mind you- that was in play long before I saw this film. The film was, Julie and Julia. The cute romantic comedy about Julie Powell and Julia Child that started all this nonsense about blogging my way into a novel. (Yes, even I succumb to desperate measures as an artist sometimes in order to get my work acknowledged.) Anyway- at the height of the plot I noticed deep similarities. Julie had Julia to obsess over for a year while working her way through her unaccomplished existence and turning “30” crisis and I have had Charley to obsess over for a year through my apparent mid-life crisis. And in that vein I realized just like she, that at some point this will all come to an end and then what? What will I obsess about then? Graying hair, kids, marriage, menopause? Been there, done that already! So back to Julie.
She had 542 recipes to navigate in 365 days and blog about it. I had a murder to solve in less and I have and can’t write half of what I know about it. So, one would naturally ask… what are you still doing working on this?
And the answer to that is…trying to solve another murder of course! You see, Charley was not the only victim in this case. There is another.
So now the question becomes; how long do I work to solve this murder? Another 365 days?

No. I begin classes in a week and will need whatever brain mass I still possess at 52 to wade through that, run a household, do homework and block two shows simultaneously. So that begs the question. How many of the classic statutes must be met before I can walk away and let someone else clean up the mess? In order to do so, I will need the answers to the following minimal basics:
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
And how?

In asking this I am reminded of childhood anecdote. When I was probably 9 or so, my class in English was given an assignment. We were to each select a newspaper article from the paper the nun had brought to class, place it on a matting of construction paper, find the correlating answers to these 6 questions circle them and then write a brief accordingly. Which I promptly selected and then completed at home after watching the “tribbles” episode of Star Trek. The next morning when I awoke, I discovered I had left my paper too near my sister’s hamster’s cage. Thus, my academics had become marvelously colored mattress fodder for the hamster and I in absolute panic for my life. Sister Angelita was deadly when in possession of a wooden ruler and the fear of that put me into depspertae mode! Terrified of the wrath of a frigid penguin, I raced to school and to the back of the room to find whatever had been left of supplies the day before. What was left of the newspaper on the floor was just as shredded as my rodent’s bedding- all but for one section of one page.
The Obituaries.
Looking at the clock I deduced I had less than 6 minutes to complete my task. I grabbed whatever construction paper was left, and with scissors, chalk and glue did my best to secure a passable assignment before the final bell and Sister Angelita returned to the room. When she called for homework to be turned in, I sighed a huge sigh of relief. I had made it- just under the wire mind you, but I had pulled it off! As each row passed their assignments forward, mine alone stood out as a notable beacon of achievement. There amongst the burgeoning pile of bright yellows and oranges, all criss-crossed with marked circles of blue or red ink beckoned mine–a shining example of absolute desperation!

On black construction paper, with red matting to highlight I had absentmindedly gutted the only column left in tact; an obituary. But not just any obituary! There in white chalk on classic black, splayed for all the world to see… was the rudimentary elements of the beloved pastor of our sainted little parochial school’s life. A saint to congregation and convent alike, reduced and diluted into a blur of chalk and Elmer’s glue. The nun burst into tears, muttered something under her breath I believed to be basically unholy and ushered me into the front office where several other blackbirds in tears descended upon me, demanding to know the reasons for my obsession with death.

I was number 7 out of 10 children. Didn’t they realize I would never have any obsessions of my own? Even if I had been lucky enough to have had one, it would have been a hand-me-down and of little worth by the time it would have made it to me? Still they peppered me with questions. The more I refused to supply them with answers, the more the penguins ruffled their feathers and pecked at my resolve. I kept a keen eye out for swinging rulers and rosaries; guarded my fingers, swallowed hard and kept my mouth shut. For what would have been worse? For them to continue to think I was deeply troubled and obsessed with death… or for them to think I was an idiot with an overactive rodent in my room whose reach far exceeded my appraisal of his tiny little hairy arms?

I opted for troubled…and countered their concerns stating that while the article had been succinct in its ability to supply all the pertinent facts in a tightly constructed format, it left little to fill in the silhouette of their beloved mentor. They seemed satisfied and as my penance remanded me to write a biography about our parish priest; fleshing out the bones of my original assignment. The bottom line was irony! For even though the obituary was exactly what the nun had wanted in the first place, it was not the information she had really wanted in the end. Brief and to the point, it hit all the major highlights of this man’s life and death- leaving little to the imagination… which of course was the point of the project. Understanding that grief had added an unreliable variable into the situation, I apologized and promised to consume less of the sunflower seeds my mother packed in our lunches. Apparently the nuns had begun to think that consuming mass quantities of these seemed not a matter of economics for a family of ten trying to find different sources of fiber- but that they must contain some sort of mind altering chemical in them, thus providing the rational explanation for my morbidly vivid imagination. Those of you who know me know nothing is ever black and white with me. I function quite comfortably in the gray zone on a daily basis. It may not always be where the facts are, but it is generally where you find the truth.

So maybe the nuns were smarter than I gave them credit for. Maybe I do have a thing about death. Personally, I just think I like to ask questions. Questions like those dear, old Sister Angelita once renounced me for asking…the classic 6! In honor of her, let me ask them again- but to Charley.

Who… is the other victim?
What… was she doing with the “4 who wear flannel”?
When… did you find out about what they had done to her?
Where… did the MOT hide the tape?
Why… did you go to Jewell Futch with the information?
And how… do you think they would react now, if they all knew, I already knew the answers to some of these?

I need the rest of the facts in black and white, Charley…so this second victim in your saga can finally be put to rest and so the nuns will finally get off my back!

2 Responses to “OK, so you know how you make bargains with yourself…”

  1. Mental Disorders 101 Says:

    OK, so you know how you make bargains with yourself?…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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