Memory Lane

(I hope you enjoy this short story. If you would like to read it on your phone, tablet, iPad or computer, download it from this link: Memory Lane.)

“Good morning, sunshine.” A large black man in a green nurse’s aide uniform pulled the window curtains back and the morning sun splashed the room with bright light. The gray in his hair put him on the north side of fifty. “Time to rise and shine, George.”

The old man blinked several times trying to get his eyes to work. With some effort he raised himself onto his elbows, cleared his throat, and with a raspy whisper said, “You are going to catch hell, Sam. I think Mary wanted to sleep in today.” He looked toward the bed just to his right. “She likes to get her beauty sleep.”

“No, George, I’m sure your wife wants you up and about. You know what the physical therapist said about exercising those bionic knees of yours.”

“They’re not bionic, they’re titanium.”

“Right you are, George.” George Warner had undergone a double knee replacement six months back. He thought it was a waste of time and money for a man of his age, but his wife had insisted. “Can’t expect me to give up dancing just because your knees stopped working,” Mary had said. His first instinct was to point out that they had not been out dancing in more than a decade, but George knew better than to argue with his wife. What Mary wanted, she got. So, against his better judgement, he went through with the operation.

“Come on, even the six million dollar man has to practice using his toys,” said Sam, watching George closely.

“The surgery was expensive — too expensive if you ask me,” said George. “God knows, I certainly couldn’t have afforded it without Medicare. But, you know darn well it was nowhere near six million dollars.”

Right after the surgery, Sam had called him the six million dollar man, which annoyed George to no end. Sam had explained to him about the old television show called The Six Million Dollar Man, where a man’s body was reconstructed after a terrible accident, giving him super powers. George had never seen the show, not being much for watching TV, and he had gotten a good laugh at the time. However, the next time Sam called him the six million dollar man, George reacted as if he had never heard of it. It was not the first time Sam had noticed evidence of memory loss, and ever since then, Sam had used it as a barometer to measure George’s memory.

“My mistake, George. I’m sure you are right.” Today wasn’t going to be a good day.

“You can ask Mary if you don’t believe me.”

“No sense waking her if she wants to sleep. But you need to walk, young man. Doctor’s orders.”

Sam helped George get dressed and led him outside into the large courtyard behind the building. There were benches, two shuffleboards and several concrete tables for checkers or chess. Beyond the courtyard was the white sand of the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. “Looks like you are walking pretty good today. What do you say, let’s go for the far end of the shuffleboard.”

George let out a sigh. “If we must, we must.” Halfway to their destination, Sam let go of George’s arm.

“Show me what you got, George.” George wobbled a couple times with Sam staying close just in case, but he made it to the opposite side on his own, sitting down on the bench there that faced the water. “Nice going, George. You da man.”

Mary had been right, as usual. He could walk again. Still, the whole thing seemed like much ado about nothing. “Big deal,” said George. “It’s not like I have anywhere to go.”

“I don’t know about that. You said yourself, Mary likes to walk the dog out here. Soon you’ll be walking with her.” George smiled and took a breath of the fresh air.

“Maybe so.” It was true. Mary loved that dog and walked him religiously every day. What IS his name, Lucky? No, Lucky was their first dog, a beautiful Aussie/Lab mix. Lambchop? No, that was number two, their Shepherd/spaniel mix. He could not remember. Good thing Mary was so generous with pet nicknames. Gemmy, shmoopie, bubbie, Mr. Handsome, she had dozens. He could get away with forgetting, for now. But Christmas was in three days. He needed to remember. In any case, walking did get him outside twice a day for his physical therapy.

After a short rest, Sam took George back inside, dropping him off in his room for a nap.

Well after lunch, Sam found George in the day room where most of the people who were mobile congregated during the day. He was watching two men playing gin rummy. “Time for round two, George.”

“Already?”

“We don’t want those knees to get rusty, do we?”

“Titanium doesn’t rust. I should know, I used to be a design engineer. Had my own firm. Did I tell you about that?”

“You did.”

“And another thing, these titanium knees are supposed to be nearly indestructible. Last for a thousand years, said the brochure. If so, then I figure when I’m dead and gone, all that’ll be left of me will be these damn knees. And yet, I can’t kneel on them, or bump them into anything. Makes no sense.”

“All I know is we have got to exercise those knees if you’re going to get your money’s worth.”

George got up. “Don’t get me started on the cost. Let’s go before I change my mind.”

This time George walked to the farthest bench at the edge of the beach and back again before sitting down.

“Not bad for an old white man,” said Sam. “Want to go again?”

“I’d rather sit here for a while if you don’t mind.”

“Want your hat? Sun’s cooking this time of day.”

“No, it feels good.”

“Okay, George, I’ll leave you to it. Buzz if you need me.”

George dozed on the bench for a while until a shadow moved in front of him, interrupting the sun.

“There you are, Mama. Come sit next to me,” said George, patting the bench seat. Even though they never had children, the succession of dogs they owned had been a successful substitute for Mary. Like many couples with children do, they had begun calling each other mama and papa. The way Mary treated the dogs, it was certainly appropriate. To George, a dog was still a dog. He loved the dogs, no doubt, but more for Mary than for himself.

“What are you doing, Papa?”

“Just getting a little sun. Where is your gemmy?” said George, looking for the dog. He still couldn’t remember the dog’s name. Was it Hank? No, that was their third dog, an energetic Weimaraner/beagle mix. Not Mary’s favorite, but she loved him just the same and cried just as hard when he finally went after 11 years. Brody? Nope, he was their fourth. A big Rhodesian/Lab mix that thought he was a lap dog. He had been a big, lovable handful. They always got mutts. Mary said they were better pets. Their decades together were marked by dogs as much as anything else. Now they had a Lab/golden named . . . Think George, think.

“Our little bubbie is napping in the room,” said Mary. “But don’t try to change the subject. You are supposed to be out here exercising, not sitting on your backside.”

“Already walked to the picnic bench and back. I’ve done enough walking for today.”

Mary gave him the disapproving look that she could manifest so well.

“Enough, I say,” repeated George, feeling the pressure of her withering stare.

“All right, then. You leave me no choice. I may have to go dancing with that young fellow in room 109.”

“Allen Cummins? He’s a toothless old man who can only see out of one eye — barely. But, if that’s what you want.”

Mary grabbed his arm. “Oh, Papa, you know I only have eyes for you.” George smiled. He knew the truth when he heard it. “Come on, it’s soon time for supper.”

In the cafeteria, George and Mary sat alone where they always did, the small table in the corner in front of the potted Indian rubber plant. Tuesday dinner was corned beef and cabbage, a favorite for George, and he dug right in. Mary only picked, as he knew she would. Cabbage gave her gas. Instead of eating, she talked about a movie she had watched recently in the day room. Another of those romances that didn’t interest George much. But he listened patiently until she got to the part he liked. Mary’s tellings always ended the same way. “They were lovies, Papa,” said Mary. “Just like you and me.”

George smiled. “Just like us, Mama.” When they were finished, George looked at the clock and stood up.

“Coming, Mama? Road Runner starts in ten minutes.” George had seen all the cartoons several times over, but he still laughed out loud when Wile E. Coyote got clobbered. And, somehow it comforted him to know that despite the coyote’s attempts to hurt the road runner, the road runner always came out unscathed. Mee-meep.

“You go ahead, Papa. I’m going to wrap up some tidbits for our Mr. Moobley.” It was another of her nicknames. George was getting desperate. Mary would expect him to wrap a gift for the dog and put his actual name on the card. George watched her carefully select pieces of meat for the dog. How Mary loved that dog. He dreaded the day that would inevitably come. The dog was nearly ten and showing lots of gray hair. He slept more than he used to. George didn’t know what to make of God and Heaven, but the way he saw it, making dogs’ lives so short was a cruel trick to play on someone like Mary. He hoped that in Mary’s Heaven the dogs would live forever.

George ran into Sam in the hallway and stopped him. George looked back over his shoulder to make sure Mary hadn’t followed.

“I need a gift for the dog,” said George. “Mary says Rachel Ray’s beef flavor soup bones are his favorite. Could you get me a bag? I’ve got cash in the top drawer next to my bed. Take whatever you need.”

Sam nodded. “I’ll take care of it right away.” Sam continued down the hall away from George’s room, chuckling to himself.

“What about the money?” said George.

“Oh, yeah, the money. I’ll get it later, after I know how much I spend.” Truth was, the cash in George’s drawer had run out years ago, but George seemed to think there was an endless supply. Sam didn’t mind spending his own money. It was Christmas after all.

When Sam neared the entrance, a young Latino man approached.

“The woman at the nurses’ desk told me to come find you. I’m Raphael.”

“You’re the new orderly?”

“That would be me. I started yesterday.”

“I’m Sam, the nurse’s aide for this wing. Good to have you aboard. I can really use your help.” Sam showed Raphael the cleaning closet. “Bucketful of hot water and a capful of disinfectant, no more than that. Start at the end down here and work your way up. Mop the floors in each room. Comprende?”

“Yes, boss.”

Sam looked up and down the hall. “You better skip room 101. Mrs. Perkins has some special needs I’ll have to tell you about. And, if you get down to 119 at the end of the hall, wait for me outside before you go in. I’ve got to run an errand but I’ll be back shortly. You got all that?”

“Yes, boss.”

“Sam will do. What do I call you?”

“Raphi.”

Sam left and Raphi began his work. Meanwhile George settled into his bed, cranking up the head so he could sit up and watch his cartoons. It wasn’t long before the road runner raced up, let out a loud mee-meep that startled the coyote into triggering his trap that dropped an anvil on his own head. George let out a howl.

With the enthusiasm of a new employee, Raphi efficiently finished mopping all the rooms and now stood outside of 119 with his bucket and mop. Sam had still not returned.

After waiting fifteen minutes, Raphi’s curiosity won out and he peered into the room. The handle of his mop tipped over and knocked against the door.

“Sam, is that you?” said a voice from inside. “Come in.”

Raphi ducked away from the door’s window. He wasn’t supposed to go in until Sam got back.

“Sam?” said the voice again, louder this time. “I need your help. Please come in.”

Raphi rubbed his face and considered his options. Sam had been clear. Wait for him outside the room. Raphi looked down the empty hallway. Not a great way to start the new job, disobeying the new boss. On the other hand, what if there was something wrong, and he did nothing. That could be even worse. Raphi pushed open the door and stepped in.

“You’re not Sam, not by a long shot,” said George.

“Sam is out of the building. My name is Raphael.”

George squinted. “Haven’t seen you before.”

“I’m new, just started as an orderly yesterday. I-I just…”

“You just heard the old man yelling and came running.”

“Are you okay? Do you need me to call the nurse?”

“No need for that. You’ll do. Come over here where I can see you better.” George grabbed Raphi’s sleeve. “Son, have you seen a big yellow dog out in the hallway? He was here in the room, but he must have gotten out.”

“A dog? I thought there was a strict no pet policy in this place,” said Raphi.

“What?” said George, sounding confused. “What the devil are you talking about?”

Sam had been delayed in traffic with all the Christmas shoppers. When he saw the bucket and mop outside of George’s room he raced down the hallway and stepped into the room.

“I’ll take care of this,” said Sam. He grabbed Raphi by the arm. “Go replace the towels in the bathroom.”

“But I did that yesterday,” said Raphi.

“Well I guess you are going to do it again today.”

Raphi shrugged and followed orders, walking into the bathroom to collect the towels.

“New guy, huh, Sam?” said George.

“Yes he is.”

“You’ll have to groove him in. I never liked having to break in the new engineers. I used to run a design engineering firm, you know.”

“So you said. What was it, a hundred man outfit?”

“One hundred twenty-three at our peak. And every new guy we hired came out of college thinking he knew everything. But real life is not always according to the book, is it?”

“True dat. Not always by the book. Don’t worry, George, Raphi will learn the ropes around here soon enough. Here’s the soup bones for Barnard.”

“Barnard, yes, that’s it, Barnard. Don’t know why I can’t seem to remember that dog’s name. Thank you for the soup bones. You should know, Mary would have my head if I didn’t get a Christmas gift for Barnard. By the way, have you seen him? He must have snuck out into the hallway.”

“Probably went looking for Mary. I’ll tell her to round him up and bring him back to the room.”

“Thanks, Sam. You’re the best.”

When Raphi came out of the bathroom, Sam took him out into the hall, closing the door behind him.

“I’m sorry, boss,” said Raphi. “He was yelling and—”

“It’s okay.”

“I didn’t mean to upset him. He was talking about a dog. I just thought—”

“That it’s weird that George thinks he has a dog?”

“Well, yeah.”

“That’s not the half of it. He also thinks his wife Mary is here as well.”

“What?”

“Five years into his retirement, his wife got the big C and passed away. Pancreas, I think. Nasty business. That was about ten years back. George took it hard. After forty years of marriage to Mary and the four dogs they raised together, I don’t think George could conceive of life any other way. It wasn’t long after she died that he ended up here at the Daycrest Nursing Home. Then one day, after his roommate passed on, I noticed George talking to the empty bed in his room. It was Mary. After seeing how happy George was, I decided to just play along. A couple months later they apparently got another dog. Mary named him Barnard. That’s why I wanted to talk to you before you went into his room.”

“You want me to play along. Do you think that’s healthy?”

“What healthy? The man’s eighty-six years old. Health isn’t really the big issue. You’ll see. You’ll get used to it.”

“I sure didn’t mean to upset him.”

“No harm, no foul. Look.” The two men peeked through the door’s glass window.

George was smiling and nodding at the empty bed next to his. Mary was telling him he’d have to do more exercise tomorrow. Barnard was stretched out on the floor between them sleeping.

~~~~~

If you enjoyed my story, please share it. -Jack

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Diamonds Never Die (Raja Williams Mystery Novel)

The new Raja Williams Mystery novel, Diamonds Never Die, has just been released.
After an innocent Jewish woman is brutally stabbed in Central Park, Raja and Vinny head to New York to find out why. The case takes Raja undercover into the Harlem drug scene, and puts Vinny into a Russian strip club in Brighton Beach. Stirring the pot as only Raja and Vinny can do lands them both in danger and into the crosshairs of an international assassin known only as the Spider.

The special $.99 release price will be available for the next week.
(Free for Prime Members and Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

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diamonds final scaled

 This book can be read as a standalone novel or as part of the series.

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Get The Color of Greed FREE

The Color of Greed is FREE

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at www.e-thriller.com

What do a private detective, a hacker and an assassin have in common?

The desire to help when justice needs a hand.

The Color of Greed introduces Raja Williams and his partner Vinny Moore. Neither the dark, tragic anti-hero nor the James Bond super-hero type, Raja Williams is a wealthy Oxford-educated PI of mixed Caribbean descent who possesses a strong empathic power and a sixth sense for evil that gives him headaches and steers him straight into trouble. His partner Vinny Moore is a gorgeous hipster geek who prefers hacking computers to haute couture.

When the young husband of a wealthy heiress is found dead on his yacht floating off the California coastline, his death is ruled an accident and the case is closed. The grieving widow, certain her husband was murdered but getting no help from the police, turns to Raja Williams who has dedicated his resources to help those in need of justice. When Raja arrives in Los Angeles and more bodies begin to pile up, he suspects a cover-up that may go up as high as the governor. With the help of Vinny, Raja must unravel the case before everyone involved, including the two of them, winds up dead.

A colorful cast of characters, great dialogue and a suspenseful, twisting plot make The Color of Greed an entertaining read.

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$12.99 (paperback)

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A Classic Thriller

A few weeks ago I caught an old episode of the Rockford Files and it took me back to the golden era of detective shows on TV: Ironsides, Columbo, Kojak. They don’t make ’em like that any more … or do they? … Jack Thompson doesn’t stray far from the beaten track of the classic detective thriller: a rich heiress wants the death of her husband investigated but the police are denying that there was any evidence of foul play. Raja Williams takes the case – no payment required as he already has his own private jet and money to burn. In running e-thriller.com I get to read – or at least start – a number of books that follow this proven formula, but The Color Of Greed is well-written, has a good plot and the dialogue works. And yes, we would all like to be Raja Williams with a private jet and the ladies falling at our feet. Jack Thompson gives his readers what they want: a good plot with a central character painted in bold colours. Who loves ya, baby?! -Mike Smith, e-thriller.com

The Ultimate Detective Story

This is the first detective story I’ve read by Jack Thompson. It reminds me of the old time radio shows where the private detective comes to the aid of a woman . . . ‘catnip’ for the readers who love detective stories. Detective Williams and Author Jack Thompson have achieved success.

5 stars!

Aspiring writers take notes. A beginning, middle and a clearly spelled out closure. Lots of curves, twists, extremely interesting characters. Clearly a classic thriller. Topics delt with are so timely, touches on a type of fraud that is rampant in our society right now. A whodunnit to curl up and read straight through the night. Page turner? 100% yes. I’ll be reading lots more about Raja and Vinny hopefully sooner than later.

Wow! is all I can say

“Wow” is all I can say. The name of this book fits perfectly – it was a story about greed – greed – greed. I loved the characters. They came alive for me, most especially Raja and Vinny. Their struggles touched me. The story flowed easily – like water – and was so riveting that I was unable to put it down. I read to escape, and this book was packed full of everything you would expect a mystery to be and then some more. A great read and look forward to reading more.

This book was exciting, fun and mysterious

I really enjoyed reading this novel. The storyline is a combination of styles. A little James Bond, a strong helping of Dirk Pitt and a beautiful, female version of Tim McGee as a best friend/assistant. I look forward to reading more of the Raja Williams novels.

A wonderful and thrilling PI novel

This book is a thrill ride you can’t put down for anything and screams to be read every time you put it down. This book ranks right up there with Sam Spade novels!!!

Must read detective murder mystery!

The Color of Greed is about as good as it gets in a constantly moving, ever more complicated murder mystery. You will keep guessing, just as the detective Raja and his side-kick do, as they pursue the best of the worst. This is a great read and I highly recommend it.

A Good, Fun, “Kick Your Feet Up Read”

Jack Thompson’s “The Color of Greed” is a very good book. Moreover, it is just a fun book to read. “Greed” is like one of those old gumshoe novels fastforwarded to the present. Let’s just drop all of those silly inhibitions, guidelines and other useless obstacles and kick our feet up and enjoy a fine weekend getaway read….I know that I will be reading the next Raja Williams book when it hits the shelf.

Download The Color of Greed FREE on Noisetrade

 

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FREE Science Fiction Novel

Godmachine
is FREE on Amazon through April 11

GODMACHINE

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What Readers Are Saying:

“As a fan of classic pulp science fiction, this book is my idea of a perfect way to spend an evening. Thompson’s style balances the adventure aspects with the cerebral and gets the mix just right.
“When a crew of astronauts discover a metallic box of mystery discs on Mars, it leads them to decode their messages and uncover an epic story of life on the faraway but Earthlike planet Plixon. Plixon is very much a dystopian civilization, where everything – even the food one eats or how long one lives before being “deleted” – is controlled by a supercomputer called the Godmachine. Thompson delineates the characters and the action with cinematic clarity, and keeps the reader turning pages. Unlike many modern authors of dystopian fiction who clearly take glee in the misery they heap upon their characters, Thompson writes about a grim future with a ray of hope and a cautionary message for mankind.”

“This book was so enjoyable that I would watch it as a movie!”

“I couldn’t put it down! I haven’t read a sci-fi for years. Glad I bought this one. It is also a good commentary on the state of our world, strong parallels.”

“The author does a pretty good job of getting you into the heads of his characters, and an even better job of bridging the gap between science fiction and today with believable scenarios and created future technologies. While part of the present, and wrapped behind the veil of science fiction, I could see the influence of Orwell’s 1984 while reading this one.”

“I highly recommend this book for fans of Science Fiction and Space Travel, or for anyone who’s just looking for a quality book that’s fun to read.”

“Godmachine is a thoroughly entertaining story about a dystopian society similar to 1984, though not as dark. Mr. Thompson writes in a way that allows for a wonderful ease of reading, while his captivating dialogue propels the tale along nicely.”

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Trust Me – The New, Improved NSA

Written by Vinny Moore for Raja Williams’ Blog

I don’t know who the NSA thinks it’s fooling by claiming that because it has no interest in the personal info, phone calls, emails, browsing or any other activities of U.S. citizens, it poses no threat to the privacy or constitutional rights of those citizens. The fact that it is one of the most secretive agencies in the government, by definition makes it one of the least monitored and least controllable agencies. That is a disaster waiting for a head on collision at a blinking railroad crossing. Edward Snowden, anyone? Anyone?

As one of the top hackers in the world, I can tell you that “secure computer system” is a VERY relative term that is rapidly becoming an oxymoron. I have hacked more secure systems than I can count, and I’m good at math. True dat.

But the concerns about outside hackers or leakers is a big red herring. The much more dangerous problem is internal abuse. Only sane men make sane decisions. Working for the government doesn’t carry with it any guarantee of sanity. There are some who might say you have to be a little nuts to work there. There are far too many examples of prominent people in government committing insane acts. Think Watergate and Monica Lewinsky.

So, exsqueeze me if I laugh out loud when the head of the NSA says what amounts to, “Trust me, there is no problem.” I wouldn’t buy a used car from that guy. Bam Shizzaam.

Vinny Moore is one of the main characters in Jack Thompson’s popular Raja Williams mystery series. Available in digital and paperback formats.

Follow the Raja Williams Blog here.

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9/11 Remembered – Yankee Destiny

 

Yankees in 2001 World Series

On 9/11/2001 the crash and collapse of the Twin Towers hit me like a Mohammed Ali body blow.  Like many Americans I was shell-shocked. Then I heard that the World Series would, in fact, be played despite the disaster. Desperately needing a distraction, I dragged myself in front of the TV set to watch. Slowly, game by game, I regained the certainty that our great country would survive. And so I wrote….   

Yankee Destiny

It had been a long hot summer, many races had been close.
Several teams were in the hunt, I wondered who would give their most.
As the Oakland A’s got hot, I started thinking they would win,
but you can’t rule out the Yanks, they always manage to get in.

They fought hard throughout the playoffs, and twice nearly went down.
Both Seattle and the Oakland A’s wanted to wear the crown.
It took courage and fast fortitude, a dash of home field magic,
in the end the Yankees waxed alone; Seattle’s wane was tragic.

Rising next, up from the National, coiled a nasty snake,
a team from western desert, just a new-born for Pete’s sake.
But this deadly Diamond rattler had a pair of fearsome fangs,
and they lusted for some Justice and all the New York gang.

When the pundits had all sworn that Arizona now would rule,
they said, “Pitching is the Series king, so don’t you be a fool.
Anyone who bets the Yankees, should reap some ridicule,
so put your money on the Diamondbacks in every office pool.”

Armed with Randy, the Big Unit, and Curt Schilling pitching long,
all the arguments for victory seemed statistically strong.
They had pitched like fiends on fire, either worthy being ace.
They could shut down any hitter, throwing heat right in his face.

Still, the Yankees had their pride and they had won this thing before,
and their legendary stadium wore championships galore.
Other teams had come into their house and tried to win the war,
yet, for three straight years, the Yankees won — now they wanted four.

When the Series had begun, Arizona had first court.
Yankee killer, ace Curt Schilling took the ball and held the fort.
Game 2 was even worse, with Randy Johnson on the mound,
blanking Yankees for nine innings, batter up and batter down.

So the diehard Yankee fans had plenty cause to feel self pity,
when the Series finally made its way to wounded New York City.
Did that Yankee magic dissipate when terrorism struck?
Did the toppling of two towers mean the Yanks were out of luck?

First a patriotic song was sung, our fractured flag still flew,
New York breasts were swelled with pride, wishing what their Yanks could do.
Throughout, the game was close, and it stayed that way all night.
Thank God, and Yankee pitching, for a one-run win tonight.

In the fourth game came Curt Schilling, he was certain for Cy Young.
If the D’backs got a W, all Yankee hope was hung.
For seven innings Curt was dominant, he mowed down all their best.
He reluctantly relinquished to the closer for the rest.

B-H Kim closed out the eighth, killing Yankees one, two, three.
In the ninth, one Yankee reached, but Arizona still felt glee.
It was bottom nine, two batters out, when Tino grabbed some ash,
just one pitch and then, unthinkable, he tied it with a smash.

In the tenth came Mariano, Yankee closer, with his best,
Three up, three down, said Mighty Mo, and sent them all to rest.
When the clock struck 12:01, and baseball welcomed in November,
Derrick Jeter went the yard and made it one we’d all remember.

Now the teams stood 2 to 2, tied together in their quest,
and the Yankee hopeful dared to dream of rising to the test.
New York had Mike Mussina, Arizona just a kid,
but either one could close the coffin, and hammer down the lid.

Both did battle for the banner, both had plenty of good stuff,
but when the eighth came to a close, the Yanks had not enough.
Arizona looked unbeatable and lead them 2 to zip.
Surely, Kim can hold a two-run lead, I heard the pundits quip.

Only three more men to punch out, he was master of his fate.
One got on, but two went quietly; one last stood at the plate.
Digging in was Scotty Brosius, to take one final chance,
then he crushed one past the outfield wall where fans began to dance.

All those fans who had been breathless, let loose a deafening cheer,
he had tied the game at 2 and once more saved the Yankees’ year.
Praying hard to Yankee Destiny, Skipper Joe knew what to do,
from the bullpen Mariano marched; the crowd felt deja-vu.

Through the tenth, and then eleventh, all the batters’ bats stood still,
until the bottom of the twelfth, when Knoblauch thawed the chill.
Then the rookie second baseman nailed a slider into right,
and Knobby raced around to home — the Yanks had won the night!

In the sixth game Randy Johnson dueled with Yankee Andy Pettitte,
both determined for the prize but knowing only one could get it.
But the Diamondbats exploded, raining hits like desert hail,
12 to nothing, after three, the score, with Yankee pitchers pale.

There was nothing Yankee fans could do, short of look to heaven,
with the Series knotted 3 to 3, it had to go to seven.
And with Schilling for the final, Arizona was home free,
but, take care to bet the house against that Yankee Destiny.

Now the Yankee boss, Joe Torre, sent his warhorse to the mound,
22-game winner Clemens, hoping his sore leg was sound.
Both the pitchers brought their A game, neither team could get much done.
When it started raining after six, the score stood tied at 1.

In the seventh inning Schilling still looked like he had his heat,
’til that pesky Soriano golfed one into the right field seats.
Through the eighth, and half the ninth, the Yankees held that one run lead,
and it looked like Yankee Destiny was all that they would need.

But the Arizona Diamondbacks had yet another plan,
first they tied it with a hit, then all the bases had a man.
And when Luis Gonzales drove in one more final run,
the New York reign was over — the Diamondbacks had won.

Yet, while New York hearts beat heavy, they most certainly beat loud,
for the boys from the Big Apple had done the Nation proud.
With a nation steeped in worry, they proved entertaining pause,
so perhaps that Yankee Destiny just serves a higher Cause.

While I must admit I mourn the end, the irony’s apropos,
it took Diamondback twin towers to take victory in the show.

Copyright 2001 Jack Thompson

 

Books, Short Stories, About Jack

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It’s time for a Frank Capra

Here in 2012 we have reached a tipping point. Drastic times require drastic measures. So the saying goes. If it isn’t the omnipresent threat of terrorism, it’s the omnipresent threat of global warming.

There is the religious faction dedicated to bringing Armageddon down upon us. (What’s the matter, can’t you read the signs?) The great scientific minds see an ironically similar version of Armageddon on the horizon, called singularity, where we all burn in a glowing blur of rapid technological advancement racing out of control. How many versions of Windows can there be?

Or, worse than any of those, we suffer from the omnipresence of Democrats.(and Republicans—don’t read anything political into that) It’s either too much government or not enough government, but always the other guy’s fault. Hasn’t that tune gotten old? There just might be a reason that the US Congress has an approval rating that falls on the scale somewhere between Hitler and Satan.

It’s time for a Frank Capra.

There comes a time in every great nation when the tipping point is reached. Where we either go sailing down into the abyss with one last insane whee, or we dig down through the bad news and blame and dust off some of the truth that makes life worth fighting for. There is a reason we all watch It’s a Wonderful Life every year. (or should) There is a reason we cheer for the good guys, the decent guys to win. Deep down every one of us knows that we are good guys.

There will be those who claim a happy ending is trite, that good guys finish last, that you have to fight fire with fire and the punishment must fit the crime. But aren’t those really the rants of those already on the toboggan ride down?

My appeal is to the many who are kind of heart, the forgiving and helpful many who sincerely wish themselves and others to survive and thrive. I know you are out there.

It’s time for a Frank Capra.

We need someone to remind us not of the depraved or despicable few, but of the determined and decent many who provide the backbone of any great civilization. Someone who will lift our spirits above the fray, not grind them into the earth.

It’s time for a Frank Capra.

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