Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.
W. Clement Stone
You are responsible for how your life turns out, and your attitude shapes that life for better or worse.
What is to Come
That what has been was good—was good to show,
Better to hide, and best of all to bear.
We are the masters of the days that were:
We have lived, we have loved, we have suffered . . . even so.
Shall we not take the ebb who had the flow?
Life was our friend. Now, if it be our foe—
Dear, though it spoil and break us!—need we care
What is to come?
Let the great winds their worst and wildest blow,
Or the gold weather round us mellow slow:
We have fulfilled ourselves, and we can dare
And we can conquer, though we may not share
In the rich quiet of the afterglow
What is to come.
Gillis walked to the book case and arbitrarily pulled out a book. He blew the dust off the book and opened it. He looked over his shoulder toward Pickle and said, “Say’s this is a first edition. This could be a clue.” Gillis raised the book up and gestured at Sampson, “I’m a expert on first editions, Sampson. Is this the weapon you used to knock the monkey out before you removed his eyes and gutted him? If you answer yes, you are one sorry son of a bitch. If you answer no, you are one lying son of a bitch. Either way, you’re a son of a bitch.”
Before Sampson could answer, Gillis opened the book the middle and bent the covers back so they pressed against each other. He said, “Dill, Sampson’s got more books than the public library. Guys like him got too much time on their hands. They read books, play tennis and golf, keep a mistress, and play with themselves.”
Sampson screamed, “Don’t bend the book like that, you’ll ruin it. Those are rare books. Please don’t touch them. You are disgusting. I do not play with myself. I hate tennis and golf, and I don’t have a mistress.”
“You have all the signs of being in stage one, denial. Looks like you could use a mistress. You got a lot of pimples. You know what they say causes pimples on males? Till’s not the only monkey you play with,” said Pickle.
The six foot one-inch Pickle bent over stared at the top of Sampson’s head. “You use hair plugs, Sams? If you do, you need to file a lawsuit. I’m looking at some significant erosion over here, if you know what I mean,” said Pickle touching three different spots on Sampson’s skull.
Sampson jerked up, his eyes fixed across the room on the shattered remains of his blown glass monkey strewn across the marble floor. He took a deep breath, and glared at Pickle, “The city is going to hear from my lawyer. I don’t have time to suffer fools.”
“I hope you are not talking about me or my partner. You must be talking about somebody and I don’t see anybody but the three of us. If you are calling my partner or me a fool I want to see evidence to prove we are fools. You can’t count the broken blown glass thing because that happened before you made your accusation,” said Pickle.
Gillis waved off Pickle from continuing. It was making him drowsy. Gillis said, “The way I figure it you threw your monkey at me. I ducked. It splattered. What I can do for you is sell you the tube of super glue I keep in my glove compartment for just such purposes. It cost me four ninety-five. I’ll discount it fifty percent for you because it’s used. Putting the monkey back together will be a good hobby, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Old people like to do jigsaw puzzles. You’ll fit right in.”
Sampson’s head looked like it was going to explode when Fleming came into the room, ignored Gillis and Pickle, walked around the desk to Sampson and whispered into Sampson’s ear.
Sampson’s eyes widened as big as moon pies. He said, “What? What? My Starry Night? A pickup truck on my perfectly manicured lawn? Fleming, what kind of hell did these two idiots bring to the Casa del Mono?”
Fleming pointed at Gillis, “It’s his truck. And the other one, he threw his shoe at the Van Gogh.” Fleming turned and walked out of the room.
Gillis pointed a finger toward his chest, “I don’t care for snitches. Narcs. Stool pigeons. Canaries. Finks. The only conclusion I can come to is that Phlegm is covering up for somebody. Is it you, Sampson? What was he whispering in your ear? One of you is the killer and the other is a co-conspirator. All I need is proof. As for Pickle, he did not throw his shoe at the painting. He threw it at Phlegm. Can he help it if Phlegm purposely and willfully ducked. If there is any blame here about the damage to the painting look no further than your overpriced assistant with the bad Botox job.”
“His name is Fleming not Phlegm. We did not kill Till,” snapped Sampson.
Gillis ignored Sampson. He held up the first edition. He said, “My granny told me you decide what you had to do by closing your eyes and opening the Bible and running your finger down the page. Where you stopped your finger, there was the message direct from God. That’s what I’m going to do with this first edition.”
Gillis closed his eyes, arbitrarily opened the first edition near the middle, ran a finger down the left hand page and stopped. Gillis opened his eyes, read the lines his finger touched. He glanced up at Sampson and said, “It appears you had an accomplice helping you to kill the monkey and going to give you proof.” Gillis read the excerpt, “He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”
Gillis ripped the page out of the book, folded it and stuck it in his pants pocket.
“You ruined my first edition of Jack London’s Call of the Wild. It’s worthless. It’s no good to anyone,” howled Sampson.
“Beside us in our seeking after pleasures,
Through all our restless striving after fame,
Through all our search for worldly gains and treasures,
There walketh one whom no man likes to name.
Silent he follows, veiled of form and feature,
Indifferent if we sorrow or rejoice,
Yet that day comes when every living creature
Must look upon his face and hear his voice.
When that day comes to you, and Death, unmasking,
Shall bar your path, and say, “Behold the end,”
What are the questions that he will be asking
About your past? Have you considered, friend?
I think he will not chide you for your sinning,
Nor for your creeds or dogmas will he care;
He will but ask, “From your life’s first beginning
How many burdens have you helped to bear?”
Poems of Power
Ella Wheeler Wilcox