how much for the rainbow?

Last week after work I found a twenty on the ground, folded around a few one dollar bills. I picked it up, turned it over, and saw that it had a post it note taped to it that said:

“If found please call:”

And then it had a number.

Okay, so what the fuck? Spooky, right?

I took it over to a couple of my co-workers. I said, “Should I keep this money?” I was answered with a resounding, “Hell no.”

So dropped it back on the ground as if it were crawling up my arm. A few of the ones scattered away, and before literally running away from the money to jump in a cab, I grabbed three dollar bills that weren’t touching the 20.

“Ma’am!” I turned around. A man was pointing at it.

“No thanks!” I yelled, around the same time as I heard my co-worker say, “We don’t want it.” At least I wasn’t alone.

There is no gold at the end of the rainbow. Only metaphors.

My very first therapist, way back in Chicago, once told me that it sounded like Misery was my comfort zone. My second to last therapist, here in New York, told me that she didn’t think Misery was necessarily the place I felt at home. She said it was the place I feel “safest,” because it’s free.

“Happiness costs something,” she told me, “it always does.”

And because money equals happiness, what would that twenty dollar bill have cost me, ultimately? I fleshed out the possibilities with my cab driver.

  1. I take the money and don’t call the number. There is a tracking device in the money. Someone comes to my house and murders me to teach me a lesson.
  2. I take the money and DO call the number. Someone rewards me for my honesty. I could have been a millionaire!
  3. I take the money, I call the number, I enter a psychotic game of cat and mouse, where I am warned not to hang up the phone or I will be killed, but then it turns out I was the killer the whole time.
  4. I take the money and I call the number. A sophomore in high school answers. They are doing a project for their psychology class on human behavior.

I also told my cab driver about the time that I found a ten dollar bill on the ground that was taped to a fishing pole and I had to chase it like in a cartoon, which was scarring.

“What would you have done?” I asked him.

“I would have taken the money!” He responded immediately, as if the words were burning his mouth, and he needed them to burn mine instead.

“Would you have called the number.”

“No!” He said, urgently, as if he had to go #1, all over my dreams.

A few blocks later, we saw a little black bus. He pointed it out. I saw the word “morbid” on the side, and a person standing next to the driver talking on a microphone.

“Oh,” I said, ” I bet you it’s a spooky haunted building tour.”

He sighed. “You need to get your head looked at.” By this point in the ride, we had become intimate friends, so I took it as a compliment.

I don’t spend much time with Misery anymore. It’s really just a place I go to when I’ve eaten too much dairy. And that’s called aging, people. I guess once you start to get control of your mind, your body peaces out?

So basically, whatever. Some people take the money, some people leave it and write blogs about being a little broke instead. I guess I’m the latter. After all, I can afford cabs now, so I’m doing pretty good.

 

Shut up, Kevin.

My brother has this crazy idea in his head, that if he gets his ass kicked in the old Chestnut Barn, he’ll somehow end up with ghost blood in his body.

“A ghost would heal me, and then nobody would ever try to fight me again, because I’d have a little tiny bit of ghost blood in my body, so their punches would go right through me.”

“Why not the McDonald’s parking lot?” I asked, “Isn’t french fry grease less spooky?”

“Shut up, Kevin, you don’t understand.”

“You’ve never even been in a fight.”

“That’s totally not true. I’ve been in so many fights, dude.” His face starts to redden and I know a tantrum is on the horizon.

I’ve been trying to figure out who my brother is. He is 12, and he talks a lot about his friends, but I’ve never really seen anyone hanging out with him. Although, I don’t come home all that often, so I don’t really know what his friend situation is like.

Riley is exactly ten years younger than me, and I have just realized that he has been a completely different potential version of himself every time I’ve seen him since I moved away. I know that he has impossibly long eyelashes, that used to tangle themselves up while he slept. I know that he loves snowboarding. And I know that he’s a dick just like every other 12 year old boy. Mostly I know facts about him. Like his middle name (Bryant), and that we share a birthday (June 13).¬† And that the shiny scar that splinters across his face like a fracturing planet is from a school bus accident.

Our mother says that sometimes he gets mentally stuck at 8 years old, which was how old he was when the bus driver had a stroke and crossed the center line on a foggy April morning. She told me that he is “mostly normal,” but not to be surprised if he acts immature for his age. It’s what happens when you experience a trauma like that. So when he see him clench and unclench his bony fists, I change tactics.

“I’ll kick your ass in the Chestnut Barn, if you want.”

“Shut up, Kevin.”

“Yeah, dude I will. If you think it’s gonna win you some ghost friends. I’ll beat you til you cry.”

“I don’t need¬†ghost friends. I’m just saying that if I get a little of their blood on me, I’ll have a superpower.”

He looked down at his phone and spun it around the kitchen counter, quietly.

“Stop teasing me, Kevin.”

I had knocked something loose in his fouled-up imagination, and I wished I knew how to put it back.

“Have you ever seen a ghost?” I asked him, finally.

And finally, he responded.

“Yeah.” He pointed at me. “You.”

 

 

Mrs. Wentworth’s New Blue Door

Someone yelled from inside the Morgan’s house.

Mrs. Wentworth, who has been living in the shed in the backyard for nearly 17 days now, pressed her face to its only window; which was a tiny thing that she could only reach from atop a small stool. Not that it was a tall toolshed. It was an average sized toolshed, approximately 574 cubic feet. Not so big that it ate up the backyard, but large enough for a cot, and a small nightstand with a television. Also, the stool. For looking out the window. Every year, Mrs. Wentworth seems to get a little shorter.

Mr. Morgan, a well-liked pharmacist, had agreed to help her set up her old Magnavox, as well as her VCR, so that she could watch videos. He ran the cables through a small hole in the shed, across the yard, through the dog door, and into the house.

The house is a split-level ranch, in a suburb of Boise. It was built in 1972. Its official address is 1901 Randolph Avenue. When the Morgans moved in six years ago (2012, only two kids at the time), they painted the front door a deep shade of blue.

When Mrs. Wentworth returned, just over two weeks ago, she almost didn’t recognize the place, because of the blue door, which was just a normal colored door when she lived there from 1972-2011.

It certainly didn’t look like the home Mr. Wentworth had built for her all those years ago, before he went away, but she would change that soon enough.