Okay, today I came up a little short. I really don’t have anything to put up here, last week was a busy one and last night I simply wasn’t in the mood to try and go anywhere or put something together for a post, so I thought I’d put up an old short story that I wrote years ago. It’s one of the favorite things of mine I’ve ever written.
I rarely write fictional stories and I really don’t know where this one came from. I wrote it when I lived in New York and I just remember one day sitting at my computer and this story just kind of came spewing out of me without really thinking about it. Nothing like that had ever happened to me and it hasn’t happened since. I wrote the story in less than seven minutes. I guess that’s why the story has always seemed kind of magical to me.
Anyway, those of you who have been reading my blogs for the last few years may have seen this already, but for those of you who haven’t, here’s one of my favorite pieces of writing.
For The Love Of Harry!
Harry Edelson was a simple man, who never asked for anything out of life. “Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s!” he’d shout at his fellow workers in the Potterstown Rust Removal company where he had toiled for the last 40 years of his 63 year long life. Nobody really knew what the phrase, “Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s!” was supposed to mean, but they would wave at Harry and smile all the same.
Harry was a simple man and he had an infectious love of life that was as contagious as an HIV positive prostitute locked in a room filled with suicidal sex addicted lottery winners. Yes, Harry was one of those rare folks blessed with always seeing the positive side of life.
When he was 41 years old, he was removing rust at a sawmill factory when all of a sudden a blade slipped and severed Harry’s right hand. Harry was rushed to the hospital emergency room. When asked by the doctor if he was allergic to anything, Harry calmly replied, “Yes, I’m allergic to saws that sever my right hand off!”
They moved Harry into the office after that tragic mishap, and while he missed going out on field calls, he took it all in true “Harry spirit.”
“Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s!” He’d cry out as he danced into the office every day. “Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s, Harry,” the office would answer back as Harry would offer everyone donuts he had purchased at the local Donut Hut. Most appreciated the offer, but also passed, as one look at Harry’s discolored stump where his hand should have been would cause everyone to lose their morning appetites.
Life rolled along for Harry until years later when he learned he had contracted the fatal Lou Gehrig’s disease. But as always, Harry’s happy and positive spirit seemed to be unflappable.
“Maybe old Lou couldn’t fight this disease, but I’m going to beat this thing Doc!” Harry promised kindly old Doc Ramsey.
“You’re truly an inspiration to us all,” the doctor beamed back while shaking Harry’s remaining hand and walking him to his car.
“Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s!” Harry called out to the doctor as he sped away.
“Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s, Harry,” Doc Ramsey shouted back while fighting the tears that were welling up in his eyes.
Instead of going back to work after the doctor’s appointment, Harry went home. Once he was safely inside his modest one bedroom apartment, he drew the curtains and looked into the mirror on the medicine chest in his bathroom.
“Dear God, why me? Why me? Why...why...why?” He cried out. Soon he was sobbing hysterically while curled up in the fetal position on his bed.
Three minutes later Harry used his left hand to squeeze the trigger from a gun he had bought from a sporting goods shop after leaving Doc Ramsey’s office. He unloaded two bullets into the left side of his brain. After about a pint or two of blood gurgled out of his mouth Harry was dead. He was two weeks shy of his 64th birthday.
Three weeks later his neighbors complained to the landlord of a foul stench that was emanating from Harry’s apartment.
As they entered Harry’s apartment they followed the stomach-turning odor into the bedroom and it was then that they saw Harry’s rotting corpse laying on top of his bed. His brains and chunks of his skull were dotted and smeared all over the nearest wall.
Elderly Mrs. Jenkins walked over to the brain splattered wall, pointed at the chunks and said to the crowd, “Are you people thinking what I’m thinking?”
And, as if rehearsed, the group shouted out in unison, “Chicken dinner with all the fixin’s!”
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