I try so hard to be helpful. But the life of a Good Samaritan is a difficult one. Just this morning I nailed bird wings to the children’s backs so they could fly to school. But the children complained about the blood all over their clothing, and about how the nails were too long and had pierced their hearts and lungs. Not one of them used the wings to fly to school. Not one of them thanked me for trying to improve their lives.
But I’m an optimist. I always believe that “things will get better.” I believe in the power of helping others.
Tomorrow I will gather the children before me and apologize to them for the damage I caused. I will make it up to them. At no cost, I will nail satellite dishes to their heads so they can communicate telepathically among themselves.
They doubtless will have much to discuss.
I have been planting flowers for many days now. Wherever I go, I plant the seeds and then move on, content that I have done my share to beautify the world according to my own sense of aesthetics. In the weeks to come, as the flowers begin to break through the surface of the earth in school yards, hospital landscaping, football fields, and city parks, people will know that I was there. Those red flowers, the gaping black mouths, the fringe of thorns sharp as teeth–oh, I guarantee they will know I was there.
“What’s in the box?”
The black box sat on my coffee table.
“That’s where I keep my collection,” I said.
“Collection of what?”
“See for yourself.”
He lifted the lid and reached inside. “I don’t…” he began. Then he let out a yell. He pulled back a bloody stump.
“What the hell?”
“I collect human hands,” I explained. “One at a time.”
“Look what I found, dad.” Timmy held a human skull in his outstretched hands.
“Where did you get that?”
“Out in the clearing by the big oak.”
His father looked puzzled. “That isn’t your mother,” he said. “I buried her out by the pond.”
We spread out the blanket at a grassy spot near the lake.
“I’ve got a surprise for you,” she said. She opened the basket and brought out a charred human head. She smiled. “And there’s ribs too!”
We were playing the old kid’s game.
“I see a cat,” she said, pointing at the clouds.
“And there’s a train,” I said, pointing.
The shifting clouds formed a kaleidoscope of changing objects for us.
“Is that a face?” she asked me. I looked closer. “Sure seems like one.”
Then the face grinned at us. A giant hand reached down.
It was a big day for me. I wanted to look my best. I showered, shaved, and combed my hair. I put on the new suit and the black polished shoes. As I tied the knot around my neck, I felt great.
Then I kicked the chair out from underneath me.
The mirror was turned to the wall.
“Are you superstitious?” I asked. “Afraid it will steal your soul?”
He chuckled. “Something like that.” He turned the mirror around so that it caught my reflection. For a moment I could see my own face. Then there was a horrible blurring of my features. My face melted away. Nothing was left.
“It doesn’t steal your soul,” he explained, “just everything else.”
Pick the right card and God will give you eternal life. But he takes his damn sweet time shuffling those cards. And they are all marked with the blood of the losers.