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S.O.S. at the Secretary of State

Maybe somewhere down the line nature will reach a conclusion that humans aren't fit for this game.


Nature will check our stats over a relatively short period of time. Pull us from the game. Rip up our contracts and shoot us into the abyss like a technicolor confetti popper into the night sky.

On the bright side!


We’re still alive!


**piped in audience applause**


But...


If we don't start playing the game and having fun – well, lads – I hate to admit it, but we are fook’d, properly fook’d.

More good news though!


If humans get the planetary boot there would be a consciousness void.

Red Pandas and Dolphins will likely be awarded the surplus consciousness as an ode to their playfulness.


Maybe we can try again as one of those!


OR….

Maybe somewhere down the line – and most desirably to a simple guy like me – humans will alchemize the lizard brain into something a little lighter.


Individual after individual making the attentive choice to see heaven within and being a reflection without.


However...


When lil ole me tries to understand something past.... ehhh .... 20 mins from now, my brain gets knotted up like the 55th spin in a game of Twister. My nervous system electrocutes me, my palms get sweaty, and I have to go potty.


So...


I’ll take a walk, use kindness as a medium to the present, and shake my fist at a cloud when it feels right.


Because, sometimes…


Shaking a fist at a cloud is all I know how to do. Especially when I’m in one of those pockets of space created by frightened lizards.


One such place…


Created by frightened lizards…


Is undoubtedly the Secretary of State.


 

It’s quite simple to find a secretary of state.


Pull into a city. Navigate to a strip mall (the parking lot will be crumbling like a dance floor made of nature valley bars.) Find a parking spot between a pothole and littered trash. Scan the strip mall. Find the Little Caesars. Locate the vape shop. In between those two establishments will be the Secretary of State looking serious and sad at the same time.


Lighten up, Francis!


 

If Ben Stein's voice could be transposed into a building it would be the Secretary of State.

The linoleum flooring begs for a merciful death.


The walls are too numb to talk.


The chairs induce a butt numbness in a matter of 3 business minutes.


In one of those Secretary of State buildings, hunched over in one of its seats, was David.


Two weeks prior, David’s tags for his license plate expired.


David’s phone had 3 voicemails on the morning of the expiration. All from his Dad. All reminding David his tags had expired.


David finally made the appointment around the time his voicemail hit max capacity.


David buried his elbow into his thigh and used his palm to support the weight of his heavy head. With his free hand he scrolled through the available free agents in his fantasy football league, and just as he put in a claim for tight end Logan Thomas, the door to the secretary of state swung open.

Enter Delilah stage left.


Delilah was in the same but different boat as David. She needed to obtain a passport for a family trip to Peru. Delilah's mom was hoping to restore 24 years of poor parenting with a surprise out-of-country trip.


Her mom was a nightmare. She never got the attention she thought she deserved from Delilah's father. So... she did what any insane person would do... and compared herself to everyone.


Delilah was the closest competition most days.


The only problem for Delilah's mom was that Delilah realized her mother was coo coo for coco puffs some time ago.


There was no competing with Delilah because time convinced Delilah to let it all go and now she saw her mom for who she was and loved her anyway.

Delilah was beautiful inside and out.

Her hair was a golden waterfall disappearing behind the horizon of her shoulders. Each individual strand shimmered like the strings of a heavenly harp.

“Look at the rack on her” David said aloud. He realized a thought had escaped his mouth and faked a cough.


She moved with such grace and fluidity like water with a GPS.


Deadass, I know she has a nice ass. This time David was able to just think the thought.


As if hearing this, Delilah turned to the water cooler. The denim pockets of her jeans bulged outwards much to the delight of David.


SHE DOES HAVE A NICE ASS LETS GOOO!


Delilah filled her water cup and took a sip.


She turned and let her ass decide where it wanted to sit. The waiting room was relatively full and she thought the guy pretending he wasn't staring at her the whole time was handsome.


She decided to go sit by him.


Holy shit she is about to sit next to me!


Delilah's eyes twinkled like a kaleidoscope in front of a moon beam as they momentarily locked with David's.

“Your eyes are beautiful.” This thought escaping David's mind, too.


“Thank you,” Delilah replied as the corners of her mouth pulled slightly upward into a grin.


She took a seat next to him.


David went back to his phone. Only he pretended to scroll through his fantasy football team while his attention scoured every corner of his mind for the perfect thing to say to the perfect women.

Delilah felt butterflies ringing around a rosie.

 

Kevin picked nervously at his fingers as he sat in his Dodge Ram in the crumbling parking lot of the strip mall.


He picked and picked and picked like a soul trying to burrow its way out of confinement.

It goes without saying, but his truck did not have a functioning air conditioning unit. The sultry mix of a sweltering August afternoon, two monster energy drinks, and three snorted adderall, had Kevin’s heart working like an internal combustion engine. Pistons hammered. Sparks flew. Bolts rattled. Pollution emanated from his body.


The heat created a mirage that hung in the frame of his mind like a still image.


A mirage that it was him versus everyone.


A mirage that it was everyone else’s fault but his.


His life was careening off the side of the road, but Kevin had a plan.


The plan? The oldest get-rich-quick scheme in the world. Rob a bank.


He would then ditch his truck. Purchase his Cousin Gary’s 2006 ford mustang and flee to Mexico. The same Gary that supplied the adderall for Operation Doofus.

The plan is fool proof!


Only a fool says a plan is fool proof.

 

Delilah was somewhere between a daydream and reality when her attention shifted to the door of the secretary of state. In walked a man with hair looking like strands from a tattered broom. He was sweating through a grey shirt and a film of grease coated him like a seal (no disrespect to any seal readers.)


The man quickly turned around and exited only to hastily reenter. He repeated this process four times – muttering and picking at his fingers all the while.


Kevin was unsure of himself. His nerves tried to real in his mind, but it was no use, the mind made itself up.


Kevin took a shallow breathe and reentered the secretary of state for the 5th time.


Delilah’s body began to quiver slightly at this man’s behavior.


David was still searching for something to say to Delilah.


It’s go time, Kevin thought to himself.


His hand shook with trepidation as he reached for the gun in his waistline. Yes, Cousin Gary supplied the gun too.


He unsheathed the warm steel and raise it in the air. No one noticed except Delilah.


“Oh shit…” she said aloud.


Kevin stood there. Gun in air. As if he was holding God hostage.


David thought he could write a note with his number on it and coyly pass it to her on his way out.

"Everyone... on the... on the .... ON THE FUCKING GROUND!!!” Kevin bellowed.


“This thing is fucking loaded!!!"


Kevin pulled the trigger for evidence to his claim.


Click


“…god damnit.”

There was a collective state of confusion. The collective dissonance was as palpable as, well, reality itself.

Kevin only had 5 bullets for his revolver. Cousin Gary used up most of the bullets shooting at stop signs.


Kevin leaned on luck to not come across the only empty cylinder. Luck be a lady and the lady did not care much for Kevin.

Kevin fumbled with the gun and spun the revolver. His voice even more shakey now.

"This is... is... a... uh... a FUCKING ROBBERY"


He pulled the trigger again.


This time, sending a bullet through the roof. Whizzing by an overhanging cherry-tree, whistled past a flock of birds and through an unexpecting cloud.


Delilah felt a sense of fear trickle up from her stomach, but her brain helped rationalize the situation. This guy is trying to rob a secretary of state she thought to herself. There's no way he's any danger to anyone other than any idiot who doesn't stay outwardly calm.

Holy fucking shit holy fucking shit holy fucking shit

David's brain was spinning out like a freshly spun bade blade. He's going to kill me. Oh my god. I'm a dead man. His hands trembled against the linoleum flooring.


Delilah noticed this and placed her hand atop David's.


A sense of calm washed over him.


Delilah absorbed David’s fear and spit it out.


Kevin saw everyone on the floor and felt odd. All his life he coveted the attention of a room and now that he had it, his disillusionment only grew.



 


Kevin wiped sweat from his brow with the butt of his gun. His eyes darted around the room.

"This is a weird looking bank" Kevin thought to himself.


He aimed the gun at the counter – which – in a normal circumstance – would be the home for attendants. All the attendants except one had ducked under for cover. The lone attendant left was Tracy. She looked like Dog the Bounty Hunter’s late wife Beth.


Go with Christ, bruh.


Tracy was inching her way to retirement and had almost seen it all. The one thing she hadn’t seen stood before her. An idiot trying to rob a secretary of state. So, today, marks the day, she had finally seen it all.


Tracy raised 5 boys, and, for all intents and purposes, raised 12 grandsons.


She hadn’t taken any shit since she kicked her alcoholic husband to the curb 25 years ago.


Kevin picked the wrong one.


Kevin's arm shook like it was getting the electric chair as he pointed the gun at Tracy.


"I need... the..the…..the money. Put-it-in-the-bag."


Tracey lifted her head like a cowboy. A cowboy who merely wanted to sit down for a glass of bourbon and relax, but the town idiot just challenged him in a duel.


"Son, this is a secretary of state,” she tapped her pen on the desk to confirm the location, “the only thing you can get here is paperwork and a headache."


"I think the building you were looking to rob is the Shelbyville State Bank a few units down. We often have people walking in here and making the same mistake. Only they aren't holding guns."


Kevin couldn't believe it. He rubbed his eyes with the greasy palm of his non-gun-carrying-hand.

"Take a look for yourself," Tracy motioned to the sign overhead that clearly read Secretary of State.


Kevin believed it now.


His Cousin Gary had reminded him 3 times of the similarities.


"God, damnit..." Kevin muttered.


A surge of embarrassment came rushing up Kevin’s digestive track and it desperately tried to escape for the billionth time. Kevin swallowed it back down. Down. Down. Down. Down into a powdered keg of repressed emotions.


This last bit of embarrassment hit the keg and sparked a chain reaction. Every shameful moment igniting across the timeline of Kevin’s life into a napalm fire. The center of his face being ground zero for the explosion. A mushroom cloud engulfed the rest of his body leaving flushed skin, clenched fists, seized muscles, and generational cancer in its wake. The last of the steam reached his feet, ricocheted upward, and poured through his gritted teeth like a forgotten teapot.


Kevin’s eyes went black.


He gripped the gun tighter and took a step closer to Tracy.


"I don't give a shit what building this is old lady. Give me all your money. Jewelry. Matter of fact..."


Kevin spun around.


“Everyone in here empty your fucking pockets.”


Kevin lost his nervousness and stutter.

Delilah's hands began to tremble on the linoleum floor.


David thought of doing something heroic.

Tracy rolled her eyes.


 

Kevin saw Delilah shaking on the ground. He saw an expensive handbag propped up next to her.


"You!!!" Kevin pointed the gun at Delilah.

"Get the fuck up..."


Delilah couldn’t move even though her life seemed to depend on it.


David saw his opportunity.


David felt courage pulse through his body and popped up off the floor.


"If you want to get to her, you'll have to go throu- "


Kevin cracked David on the head with the butt of the gun and he collapsed to the floor.


Delilah let out a gasp.


Tracey crept slowly behind Kevin.


"GET UP!!"

Kevin reached down to pull Delilah up by her heavenly hair, but before his dirty fingers could get there, someone tapped his shoulder.


Kevin, extremely annoyed at the interruption, spun around and stared directly down the barrel of pepper spray. Tracy unloaded it into his glossed over-eyes.


Kevin yelped like a kicked dog and fell to the floor.

"IT BURNS IT BURNS..."


“No shit, dumbass, it’s pepper spray,” Tracy said.


She kicked the gun away from Kevin and it hit the wall with a thud.

Tracy knew right away she needed to act quickly once Kevin lost his sense of humility. If grace isn’t on the other side of anger it’s ugly. She knew this well. It reminded her of her deadbeat ex-husband.


Tracey knelt and placed her hand directly on Kevin's chest. She narrowed in on them like a camera coming into focus.


"Now listen here. I don't know how you ended up here with a gun and a stupid idea but the choices you made or yours to own and each subsequent moment is an opportunity to make a new choice. Your anger is not your strength."


"fuck you bitch" Kevin said.


Tracy swore for a moment she saw her ex-husbands face.


There was something Tracy always wished she could have said to that asshole. This moment presented the opportunity.


"You think my kindness is weakness. You couldn't be more wrapped up in your own vanity to think such a foolish thing. I could unzip your fragile ego and empty the contents with two spoken sentences. I could take your ego completely off and dangle it high overhead and watch you beg for your fragile eggshell of an existence back. I choose not to because I know this will be a momentary fall from grace. I'd fall with the likes of you. Sniveling and begging for someone else to save them. Hear my anger and hear it now. This anger is sacred used to protect against threats to Love. Your anger is used to keep Love out. For that, I feel bad for you."


"You're nothing you old hag" something replied.


Tracy felt the anger boil up inside. She walked over to the gun and picked it up. Walked back to Kevin and pointed directly at his mouth.


 

You remember the bullet Kevin shot directly in the air? Well turns out it was shot at a perfect trajectory.


The bullet eventually lost its match against gravity. Reversed course. Came back through the cloud, down past the same flock of birds and through the hole left in the roof the building. The bullet grazed Tracy’s trigger finger and plummeted into Kevin’s thigh.


He let out a scream.

Tracy let out a laugh.


David returned came back to life with Delilah holding his head.


Paradise reclaimed. If only for a moment.

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