A place for the dead

In the end all we have are ourselves. On Memorial Day my wife and I used to honor her father who was a paratrooper in the Philippines in World War II. We raised our glasses and drank to the man who jumped out of planes and helped save the world.

Now he is dead and my wife is dead. Alone in my bungalow on this Memorial Day I raised my glass and drank to them both. Two heroes in my life.

Outside, I hear the fireworks celebrating the sacrifices made in all wars in the name of freedom. I hope the dead are not alone. It would be wonderful to think they are in a place, a holy place, awaiting our arrival. On a personal level, I would give anything to be reunited with my brothers and my son and my wife. Time to catch up. What stories to tell. What joy.

The cynic in me says, Tough luck, it’s never gonna happen. The stoned drunk in me says, Don’t be too sure, you don’t have the first clue about what’s possible with the indestructible atoms of the human mind and the unknown state of wave-being.

In the meantime we are alone, all we have are ourselves and if that’s not enough, God help us, and if there is no God, then we might as well blow our brains out.

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Message to Saint Gabriel, c/o Wherever

Art by Ralph Steadman

Dear Saint Gabriel:

This may be a tall order but I need to get a message to my wife. I’m writing to you because you’re the patron saint of communication in charge of messages etc.

I’m in the communications business myself, so from one communications guy to another maybe you could get my message to the head of the queue, because I guess you get a lot of requests like this — unless you don’t get any because you don’t exist.

Anyway, I’d be most grateful if you could get in touch with my wife, gone now twenty-one months, and ask her to contact me. I’m thinking along the lines of cerebral communication, spiritual communion, a flash of enlightenment in my mind or a feeling in my heart, a sensation, however fleeting and ethereal and ephemeral, even imaginary, something that would give me even the briefest indication or hope that she is somewhere out there with you guys and not in oblivion.

Tell her that life is hell without her and I’m getting to the point where it won’t be worth it. The merest hint, however, that she is Somewhere and not Nowhere would keep me going.


A while back I asked the Silver Surfer to try and find her or get a message to her but even traveling 500,000 light years in seconds and visiting billions of galaxies he came up empty — hard to believe, I know.

But I reckon you have an inside track that even the Silver Surfer doesn’t know about. So I’m asking for your help, which, at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, is increasingly becoming a matter of life and death.

Yours sincerely, 

Billy Pickle

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