Night Reached Out Her Hand

When night reaches out her hand, how could I not accept it, take it, shake it and close the deal at the end of the day?

I wasn’t a young man anymore.

I wasn’t so old that I could say I barely remembered being young, but I was old enough to be made nervous by the ever shortening distance between now and my permanent end.

The newspaper ad had piqued my interest.

“Volunteers needed for medical experiments,” it read. It explained the experiments on nutrition and sleep and exercise to “increase fertility, longevity and extend youthful vigor.”

All, of course, for a handsome sum of money.

Was I looking for immortality when I dialed the number?

I told myself I only wanted the money. At most I hoped to lose a few lines from my face and possibly stave off impotence for a few more years. The most outrageous of my thoughts might have even included a cure for my receding hairline.


A few non-invasive medical experiments did not make man into a god.

The telephone interview was embarrassingly thorough. Before they gave me an address and a date and time to be there, they knew my entire medical history, the schedule of my bowel movements and all of my sexual encounters of the past six months, including acts of self gratification.

After the phone call I was almost too embarrassed to go where they had told me to go.

Though he had been nothing less than professional I couldn’t imagine meeting this man who knew so much about me and shaking his hand, acting like a polite stranger.

I did go.

It was a newly constructed private medical facility, where the receptionist picked up the phone and announced my arrival even before I introduced myself.

A nurse appeared, led me to a room and instructed me to strip and that the doctors would be with me shortly.

Yes, doctors, plural, not doctor, singular.

There were six of them and by the time they had finished with me I had endured embarrassments which made the telephone interview seem as tame as exchanging hellos with a coworker in the hallway.

I had barely had time to put my pants back on before another man came in.

My mind cried out “no more doctors” and I felt on the verge of tears at the prospect. Somehow I managed to offer the young man a weak smile and ask, “Which part of me are you here to prod?”

He leaned his head back and laughed. I hadn’t been attempting to make a joke and was perplexed by his reaction.

Once done laughing he gave me the bad news.

All of the advertised positions had been filled.

For a week they had been filled.

In two days I had been more completely embarrassed than ever before and he was telling me it had all been for nothing. Maybe a sick joke at my expense that they had let me go though it all?

He must have sensed my imminent volcanic explosion because he started telling me about a private experiment he was conducting.

Perfectly legal, he told me, just not funded by the government or any of the medical colleges.

He believed that if a person entirely avoided the sun that they could double their lifespan.

He said that he was curious exactly how long a life could be extended on someone who had already seen the sun, but he was really hoping for the babies.

He was a rich man, he told me. He was going to serve as caretaker for two generations, maybe three.

I could be a part of it, he said. I was older that what he thought of starting with, but I could be an interesting experiment unto myself.

All I had to do, he told me, was agree to never go out in the daylight, never see the sun again.

I am not a young man.

In fact, I am older than most.

My hair is still thin and I still have lines around my eyes.

I haven’t seen the sun in 50 years. My children never have. Their children never will.

My wife misses it sometimes. She says she can still remember the way it felt to stand on a beach with your face turned toward the warm summer sky.

I have no regrets.

The night reached out her hand and I shook it firmly.


Its not likely, but its not inconceivable.

Not anymore.

A Year After Your Death

A year after your death I still run into you in unexpected places.

Once, shopping, I saw you two aisles over. You were laughing and talking with someone I didn’t know. I called out to you but you didn’t answer me. I wanted to run to you, to grab your arm and turn you around, to MAKE you look at me but I didn’t.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Because you are dead.

I saw you once in the back seat of a car at a gas station. You had your head leaned against the window and you were crying. I couldn’t hear you, but I knew. I’ve seen the way your shoulders shake when you cry. And I saw the tears on your cheeks. I wanted to run to you again, to open the door, to drag you out and hold you until the tears were gone and you were happy.

But I couldn’t have made you happy.

Because you are dead.

One time you were in our house. You were standing over me while I slept and you had the sweetest smile on your face. My darling, darling guardian angel. You looked like you wanted to reach for me, to touch me. To make me happy again.

But you didn’t.

Because you are dead.

I cannot touch you because you are dead.

You cannot touch me becasue you are dead.

A year after your death, and sometimes that is still hard to remember.

This Weeks Sponser

Written by Mik & Carolyn, and sometimes by Mik OR Carolyn, Nonsensical Flounderings won out of 4 bids this time around. With post titles such as "Flirty Flasher," and entries about peep-show detours, they appeal to my “dirty old may side “ (Never mind that I’m neither dirty, old, nor a man).

Then they have the posts about hamsters living in harmony with the snakes intended to eat them, and cute rodent wheels that look like motorcycles. That appeals to the side of that loves the small and furry.

There are also paintshop pro/photoshop tutorials which would appeal to my image editing side...if such a side existed. (All my image eding needs are covered well by the paint program that came with my computer.)

So, you should click the link over there to the right and visit my renters blog. I’m sure you’ll find posts that appeal to all your sides as well.


It snowed the day she died.

I remember because I had been with her, sitting in the chair beside her bed reading to her.

We were reading Alice in Wonderland. The mad hatter. The tea party. The doormouse.

It was a grey day, full of threat and promise. We had the curtain closed so we could look at the Lion King curtains instead of the grey clouds. The entire room looked pink becaue of the pink shade on her bedside lamp.

For a long time I had hidden in Alice in Wonderland. Traveling along with Alice, I didn't have to think about MY Alice, laying there, listening to me.

I only stopped reading becasue my eyes hurt. The words had run together. I was crying.

I think somewhere, subconciously, I knew. While I read, I must have heard it happen.

I closed the book, marking the place with her Snoopy bookmark, and set it on her night table, careful not to knock over the various medicine vials or her Cinderella cup full of apple juice.

She looked peaceful.

I pulled her sheets up to her chin. Simba smiled up at me.

Her sheets matched her curtains.

I brushed her hair back, kissed her moist head.

Then I walked to the window and opened the curtain.

Even the grey outside light was enough to dilute the pink from her lamplight.

I stood at her window, looking out, crying harder now, and the snow began to fall.

"It's snowing." I told her before shutting the curtains.

I turned off her lamp on the way out of the room, and pulled the door shut behind me.

I went outside and made the call in the falling snow.

Haunted House Dressing

I’m taking a moment here to be a good BE landlord and introducing you to my renter.

Haunted House Dressing

Jeremy welcomes you into his blog home by saying, “Hello, welcome to Haunted House Dressing. This is a place where toasters run free and hippos climb trees.”

There’s more to it than that, of course, but you have to go there to read it.

And while you’re there you might as well check out his Review Contest, his featured artist of the week, and his webcomic titled “Recycled.”

Just click the box over there on your right, and enjoy.


A new work of fiction is coming soon. Until then feel free to browse any of the old content of this Notebook. Comments are always welcome.

The Clean Room

With a great gasp of air, the man sat up on the stretcher. His eyes were wide and frightened at the sight of the equipment all around him.

There was a crackle of static, then a voice over a pa system.

"Its okay son, you're in a hospital. You'll be okay, but I need to ask you some questions. Do you know who you are?"

The man looked down at his body, crossed and crisscrossed with wires and medicle tape, IVs ran into both of his arms.

"Why am I here?" he asked.

"Do you know who you are?"

"What happened to me?" his voice was touched with panic. He'd never been in a hospital where the nurses only spoke over the PA. Maybe he had been infected with something, some virus. He'd read that it could happen.

"We will answer your quesions later, first you must answer ours. Do you know who you are?"

"My name is Daniel. Daniel Facet."

"Thats right. Very good." the voice answered, as if he were taking a quiz and passing.

"Do you know why you're here, Daniel?"

"I...." Daniel looked around the room. Sterile white walls, no windows, one door. It didn't look like a normal door at all. It looked secure. A clean room. Why was he in a clean room.


"I dont remember. I cant."

"Do you know where you're from, Daniel? Do you know your hometown?"

"Macon, GA" he said without hesitation.

"Do you know your parents names?"

"Molly and Gerald Facet."

"Good. Good. Do you know why you're here, Daniel?"

He was here because...becasue of something important.

His eyes went back to the door.

"Am I sick?" He asked. "Did I catch something. Some government bug?"

"We will answer your questions later, Daniel, but we need you to tell us why you're here."

Daniel jumped as one of the machines beside the bed begain to whir. He tried to stand up, but his legs seemed to be strapped to the bed. His eyes kept going to the door. The door.

His arms tingled where the IV needles went in.

"Daniel?" the voice asked.

"I'm here because I killed a girl." he said suddenly, suprising himself. "Her name was Amanda Peet. She was seventeen. Used to date my neighbors son."

"Is that true, Daniel? Is that why you're here."

The whirring machine shut off. Daniel closed his eyes, and saw the door. Him being led through the door by two men. Him laying down on the table. He remember the vial. The blue vial.

"No." He told the voice. "I killed her, but that’s not why. That’s not why I'm here."

"Why are you here Daniel?"

"I'm here for you to experiment on. I'm a guinea pig. A lab rat."

"Very good, Daniel, you're remembering well now. Do you know why you’re here?”

“I’m here because I killed Amanda Peet, and you came and told me that you wanted to use me, test things on me, and if I survived I would be a free man.”

“That’s right, Daniel. And did you survive?”

He closed his eyes again, saw the blue vial, the needle. They had to stick in in his chest, in his heart. It hurt. It hurt badly. He remember his body straining, he rememberd the men holding him down and he remembered...

“No. I didn’t survive. I died. But you brought me back. You keep bringing me back. You wont let me be dead.”

Daniel cried, sobbed until his chest hurt. Everyone would laugh at him if they knew how he cried, but they would never know. They wouldn’t know because he was dead. Over and over again he was dead.

“Did it hurt Dainel?”

“Yes.” He said. It hurt quite badly. But the blue one was better. Not as bad as the green one.”

“Good, Daniel. Good.”

The door hissed open and two men came in. One of them carried a case as white as the room. The case had a bio-hazard symbol on it.

“Do I get to go home now?” Daniel asked, knowing the answer already.

“No Daniel. Not yet. Not this time. But soon, Daniel. Soon. Just as soon as we get it right. The regeneration formula is imperfect yet. But we have to make a painless death to keep those human rights monkeys off our backs, or everyone will know something is not right at the executions. When you die a painless death and live again, then you can go home, Daniel.”

One of the men pushed Daniel down, and he lay back willingly, as the other man prepared the syringe. The vial was red this time.

He knew he would never go home. He knew that if it didn’t hurt, that if he died a painless death and came back, they wouldn’t let him go home, they would use him as a soldier, like the rest of them, or they would keep him in the lab and make him be a monkey in another test.

As the needle slid into his arm he prayed that it would hurt very badly, and that he would stay dead this time.