S. for save my sorry ass

A year ago I set out on the road to God. Renata de Dios was my guide. She was a messenger from God. There was a storm. We lost track of one another. I turned back. I went back to my house, the ghost-ridden lowly bungalow.

When I was on the road to God I imagined meeting S. again. In some sort of after-life. The inexpressible joy of that. How blessèd it would be to believe that. This is what Renata de Dios believes. This is what she hoped I would believe. But my mind shut down. The message was not getting through. Brain invaders had cut the receptors like phone wires.

So, I was alone again. At night, in a purple haze, I called out to S. in the dead room, formerly known as the living room: Can you hear me, honey? I’ve been trying to contact you. But the lines of communication must be down. Maybe the storm knocked the power out. I want to talk to you. There are so many things I want to tell you. I want to apologize for one. Some of the things I said…

I know what she’d say to that: You know what you call that, William? Thirty years of marriage. 

So why am I still beating myself up? I’m guilt-ridden by nature. That’s probably why I can’t get through to God. My mind is blocked by a lifetime of storm damage.

That’s why I needed S. S. for save my sorry ass, S. for save my miserable soul, S. for sanity, S. for spaghetti with delicious meatballs she used to make with her mother’s secret recipe.

But this is not about meatballs. I forget what this is about. Something about phone lines being down. Did we have a storm? I heard the roaring wind fly by the window. The lights went out. I couldn’t see in the darkness. I couldn’t see the road to God. 

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The Fourth of Lonely


Every Fourth of July for thirty years I was with my wife — until her death a year and a half ago, so that makes the last two Fourths without her.

Alone on this Fourth and in need of human contact I played a little game with myself, almost as deadly as Russian roulette.

Whoever among the half a dozen extended family members I have left and the two or three “friends” I have phoned me on the Fourth would be my only true friend(s) and if no one called then I would have to face the fact that there is no one who thinks enough of me to pick up a phone and call. One rule — I wouldn’t phone any of them, since I was the one to call in recent, rare conversations anyway.


By midnight (I figured no one would call after 9 p.m. but I waited until the midnight hour anyway) the results were in.

[Drum roll please] 

One person phoned.

It wasn’t either of my two sisters-in-law, it wasn’t my brother-law, it wasn’t either of my two nephews, or my two nieces, or my cousin. It was none other than Renata de Dios, my wife’s colleague from when we all lived in Miami Beach in the wild Miami Vice 1980s and who I had lost touch with until a year ago when she called me out of the blue with condolences over the death of my wife. At that point she became my spiritual advisor and we kept in touch — albeit with little progress in getting me on that “road to God.”

I told her how much I appreciated her phoning me on the Fourth, that she was the only one who did, and she said, God could sense your loneliness and your need to talk to someone and He tapped me to make the call.

To which I replied, You know something, Renata, I’m beginning to think you’re onto something.

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Billy, the Silver Surfer and a girl named Sue


I haven’t heard from my wife in 17 months — 17 months and 11 hours as of this writing to be exact. I call her name, I try to summon her spirit. Not a peep, not a hint of a presence. I crawl into the crawlspace looking for her ghost, I look in the liquor cabinet, the closets, under the bed, all I see under the bed is the cat who gives me a look that says, You is crazy, Cat God. She thinks I’m the Cat God like people think God is the God God.

I don’t want to get into that, all I know is I don’t know where my wife is. For answers I pray in my own way which is not so much praying as sending out fervent psychic energy reaching from heaven to oblivion. I even engaged the Silver Surfer to look for her but so far he has come up empty.

I need more time, he told me. There are more than two trillion galaxies in the universe.

In other words, I said, she could be anywhere.

Or nowhere, he said.

What do you mean?

Oblivion, my friend.

But what about the indestructible atoms that make up the human body and the mind? They’ve got to end up somewhere.

That scientific theory may have been overstated, said the Silver Surfer.

I need something, man. My friend and spiritual advisor Renata de Dios tells me to have faith in God, that my wife is in Heaven — Renata’s words, not mine.

Listen, I’m out there, dude, and I’ve yet to see any evidence of God, but that doesn’t mean your wife’s not somewhere in those two trillion galaxies. 

That’s what I’m counting on, because if the God of Love that Renata de Dios believes in does exist, he sure as hell’s got it in for me. He has taken everyone in my family. My wife was all I had left. And he had to take her too.

All I can tell you, man, is don’t give up hope. If you give up hope, you’re dead. Now, hand me a shot of that whiskey you’re drinking and I’ll be on my way.

You’re a good friend, Silver Surfer.

I try. Get some sleep, Billy, you look beat.

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