ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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“So,” Jim said, “What makes you think all of this is real?” He nodded toward the Ferris Wheel with its lights and mix of old and new cars filled with soul, revolving in a circle so big that it stretched into eternity.

“I neither believe nor disbelieve much of anything,” I said. “I live in each moment as it happens, and I have no knack for grabbing hold of the future – not even the future as close as tomorrow. When I’m here, with you, seeing all this; it’s real. That’s one reason I haven’t done much with my life; the future is too abstract for me. Tomorrow is too abstract. I can’t make plans for what isn’t real to me, and only the time I exist in at any given moment really is. I get stuck pretty easily.”

“I’m death. I’d think that would me me too abstract for you, yet here you and me talk all the time.”

Surreal is the New Real )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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“First my dog and then my grocery store,” I said to The Carney, a.k.a., the Angel of Death, a.k.a. Jim, “You keep nickeling and diming me, man.”

The Carney didn’t even look at me, though he did crack a crooked grin on the side of his mouth that wasn’t holding his cigarette. Being just slightly younger than Time (who he once told me he admires and considers to be a mentor), he’s been around long enough to know that pissing and moaning is part of human nature. It's something people need to do from time to time in order to make ourselves feel better by wallowing in our own misery for a bit. The demise of my 16-year-old dog and the closing down of one of the last family-owned-and-operated grocery stores in southeast Texas are of little concern to Jim. He’s seen it all – literally – millions upon millions of times before. Still, he tried to sound sympathetic. Not enough people give him credit for it, but Death has a strong streak of decency.

Dog gone it. )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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"In the grand scheme of things, life on this warmish, marbled planet is wonderfully good. But, in the details, sometimes it just sucks - heartbreakingly and seemingly relentlessly so. For no reason at all."
- Jill Carroll, in her Houston Chronicle column, Talking Tolerance, Jan 15 2010



I slipped out of the house this morning to pay a visit to my friend, Jim, who has had an extraordinarily busy week. Should you pass Jim on the street, you wouldn't think much of him. He's scrawny, scruffy and tattooed. He wears a dingy baseball cap so dirty you can't really tell what color it used to be, and he chain smokes cheap cigarettes. He operates what looks like a carnival ride – an enormous Ferris Wheel that represents the life spans of every human on the planet. If you walked by him you might step aside so as not to get too close to him simply because he doesn't look like the kind of man respectable people want to be seen with. You might find him distasteful, but nothing about him would make you think you had just seen the Angel of Death.

That's who he is, though.

Wild Women Do and They Don't Regret It )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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Misery loves company, so I decided to sit down with Death and discuss all that's been going on during the last couple weeks. Not Big Death, who just fired me, though I can think of a few things I'd like to say to them. I mean Jim, aka The Carney, aka The Angel of Death. Big Death is evil; Jim, on the other hand, is an alright guy once you can get past who he is and what he does.

Feet To The Fire )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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It's been a long time since I dropped in to visit with the Angel of Death, who appears to me as a Carney operating the Ferris Wheel of Life and Death. I still pass him on my way to and from work every day, where I can see the Ferris Wheel at a Thin Place close to a stoplight that always seems to back up more than it should. I wave to him on most days, and if he's not too busy he waves back. But I've been derelict in my duties as a friend, so I thought I'd pay him a visit last night. Also, I wanted to see if he had any insight on my mixed feelings about the demise of my brother in law.

Be Careful Who You Ask )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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I thought I'd pay my friend The Carney, a.ka. Death, a visit last night. I've been too busy with life to pay Death much attention of late, which I suppose makes me a bad friend. Turns out he wasn't alone. Death had a date, which made my visit both short and awkward. I hate feeling like a 3rd wheel; though I think the two of them barely noticed me they were so wrapped up in each other.

A Romance Not Quite As Old As Time )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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On my way home last night I dropped by the Ferris Wheel to visit with the Angel of Death and drop off his Christmas card. I haven't mailed my other cards yet (I consider any card that arrives by January 6, Epiphany, to be on time), but I thought I'd drop his off and get it over with, since he doesn't exactly have a mailbox.

"Thanks," he said when I handed him the envelope. He spoke through teeth clinched around his cigarette. "That's real nice of you."

Read More )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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I stopped by to talk with The Carney, a.k.a. the Angel of Death, the other night, to see what was up with him. I've been neglecting everyone and everything in my life of late, with the possible exception of my job. For something that gives me so little money or personal satisfaction, I sure do spend a lot of time doing it. The backlog that started in August when I took my trip to California, then got bigger at the start of September when I took a couple of days vacation, grew exponentially when hurricane Ike forced me to stay at home for a week. I am officially drowning in paperwork.

Turns out, The Carney knows a thing or two about backlogs. His own makes mine look like nothing.

You should all be dead by now. )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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"What, no questions?" the Carney asked me, "You usually got questions for me."

"Can't I just stop by to say hello? Isn't that what friends do?" I asked.

"I suppose," he drawled.

"Make a smoke ring, please," I told him, "I like those."

Making Do About Matters and Mattering )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
I paid Death a visit the other night, just to touch base with him. I've been playing coy with The Carney since my cousin died, pretending not to notice him as I drove past the Ferris Wheel every morning, even though I could see him waiving at me. Still, he's one of the few real friends that I've got, so I couldn't stay away forever.

A tear-stained facet of love )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
I am standing back from the Ferris Wheel, watching the Carney and the woman with her finger pointing in his face. She is shouting at him, more confrontational than anyone I have ever seen facing down Death.

"If you think I'm leaving without my baby, you're dead wrong," she shouts at him, seemingly unaware of the irony of her words, and then she lets loose with a string of epithets. She is screaming, crying, cursing, banging on his chest with her fists, until he takes her in his arms and whispers something to her. I've never seen him actually touch anyone like this before, or anyone fall against him and sob like she does. He holds her tightly, tenderly, whispering words I can't hear, stroking the back of her hair with the hand that is not holding his cigarette.

I stand back and watch as if frozen. I am stunned. Since Cameron's aneurysm in 1993 I have written his epitaph a thousand times in my head, waiting for that phone call from Tennessee; waiting to hear that, after all these years in limbo he was finally gone and we could grieve for him at last. I've steadied myself to be there for Leslie when she finally lost her son, to comfort her and help her through it.

"You're like my little sister, Nina," she's told me on so many occasions, "You don't know how much you mean to me. I love you so much."

I was prepared for Cameron's death. Leslie's death, however, has blindsided me.

A New Ass-Kicking Angel stomps through the Pearly Gates )
ninanevermore: (Jack)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about my conversation with the Angel of Death late last night. I paid him a visit after I unplugged my spooky lights and turned off the scary-sounds CD I had playing in a boom-box on my front porch. It was a good Halloween, though it got off to a slow start and I was worried for awhile. My first trick-or-treater didn't show up until almost 8 o'clock, two tween goths who made out like bandits because I thought they'd be my only visitors and I gave them heaping handfuls of candy to get rid of it. After them, others arrived in a steady stream for the next hour, and fear that I might run out and start having to hand out canned goods made me less generous with each progressing goblin.

Finally I had one last thing to take care off; I'd been wanting to ask the Carney a question since I drove by him that morning. At midnight when Halloween was officially over, I made a trip to the Ferris Wheel.

Invisible costumes and other spooky fun )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
"By this time next week, I will officially be one year older than I am right now."

The Carney looked at me sideways, looking a little bemused, and spoke around the cigarette clinched in his teeth. "By this time next week, you'll be a week older than you are right now. How is that any different from you being a week older today than you were last Wednesday?"

Hitting the snooze on my mortality )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
"How's the new job?" The Carney asked.

I shrugged. "Hard to say. I haven't really gotten into the nitty-gritty of it yet. It takes a lot just to get set up as a new employee in a big corporation. It took a week to even get my email. I'm just now getting my feet wet."

A Cog watches The Wheel Go Around )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
"I got the job," I told the Carney.

He looked up from the cigarette he was lighting. "Congratulations," he said after he took a deep drag.

"Thanks."

Careful what you ask for )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
I stopped by to visit the Carney on my way back from my job interview this afternoon. I thought he might find it interesting which company has been talking to me.

"We're going to be in the same business!" I told him.

The Carney snorted. "I deal with souls, not corpses."

"I wouldn't be dealing with corpses, either. I'd be on the end that solicits souls about how to process the corpses they plan to leave behind."

Different Positions, Same Team )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
I drove by the Carney yesterday at dusk to see what he was up to.

Standing next to him at his gate was a beautiful, slender woman that I recognized as the wife of a childhood friend of mine. Her dark brown hair fell across her shoulders. She was showing the Carney a photograph, pointing to it and smiling the way parents do when they show off pictures of their children. Her son is 7, her daughter is 3. The Carney pointed to a car on the Ferris Wheel as it moved up toward the sky away from where they stood, and the woman waved to it. Her face looked wistful as her children's car moved away from her because they are still destined to live and grow. When it was gone from her sight, she turned away from the Wheel and the Carney and stepped through the gate, where she disappeared into the evening air.

The last anyone saw of her face, part of it was missing, as was her dark hair. I hear she was startling to look at, to put it mildly. But when I saw her last night she was as beautiful as ever.

Watching her there, I realized that I have a funeral to go to this week.

The baby's eyes are red from weeping / Its little heart is filled with pain / Oh Daddy, it cried, they're taking Mama / Away from us on the evening train... )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
Last night I paid a visit to The Carney to discuss a few things. Sometimes, you just have to confront death face to face. It's not so bad, because once you get to know him he's actually kind of a nice guy. He's kind of evasive, but very personable.

More fair than ever, but still not fair enough. )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
With nothing better to do last night and a whole lot of questions that I wanted answered, I paid The Carney a visit. I've still being seeing him on my drives into work, and we've waived at each other, but I hadn't talked to him since the last time I wrote about it here. I just haven't had anything that I wanted to discuss with him urgently. I did consider asking him what he though about meeting Anna Nicole Smith, but I figured that since he met the real Marlyn Monroe when he let her off the Ferris Wheel, a cheap copy of her probably didn't impress him all that much.

Dead Jobs, New Beginnings and Fate )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
Today on my drive into work, the stoplight next to The Carney was red, so I looked over at The Angel of Death while I waited for it to change to see what he was up to.

The weather is warm today in Houston, and The Carney was in his shirtsleeves. To my delight and surprise, he wore a red Santa hat. Death has more of a sense of whimsy than most people give him credit for. He was playing his harmonica, so I rolled down my window to hear him, and the strains of Merry Christmas, Baby drifted into my ears over the sounds of the wind and the traffic. I found myself singing the lyrics to myself:

Merry Christmas baby
You sure did treat me nice
Merry Christmas baby
You sure did treat me nice
Gave me a diamond ring for Christmas
Now I'm livin' in paradise

Even Death Likes Holiday Cheer )

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