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Entry date: 7-11-2023 – Have a Damn Slurpee (and The Bet) – Letters to My Friends

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Dear Friends,


I have this memory of going to the 7-11 on 35th Avenue and Thomas when I was a youngster and getting Slurpees. We lived just off of 43rd Avenue and Encanto for a while when I was a boy and I think maybe my dad and I would have walked there. I could have made the whole thing up. Dad? Does this ring a bell?


As I have written in the past, I don’t have many memories of living there, but that is one of them. I certainly liked Slurpees back then. I don’t even remember the last time I got one. I’m guessing if I did, it would taste sweet and gross now. Red Slurpees, though, back in the day, or mixing a red one and a cola one, boy oh boy. That was the stuff.


*****


It’s cooled off a bit. I’m reluctant to expand on that as it will tempt the humidity gods to rain down sweaty balls on me. Outside of feeling pukey the other day, I was getting pretty sick of just feeling sweaty and dirty all the time. It rained all day yesterday and there is a nice, cool breeze coming across the deck today. I’ll just feel good about that and say no more.


*****


The brain has already started fucking with me the last couple of days, too. The countdown to returning to Phoenix has begun. It does this every year when I reach the halfway point of being gone. Stupid brain.


Time is such a relative thing, too. It’s hard to believe that it goes by so fast sometime only to feel so slow other times. I suppose this is life. I was listening to my Travel Tunes list on Spotify as Q and I went to the town dump. On our way back, Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” came on and it made me think a lot about the deeper meaning of her words.


Well, they weren’t really “her” words. Lieber and Stoller wrote that song in 1960 but Lee recorded it and had a hit with it in 1969. This was the year I was born.


Anyway, the song is a rather sad look at how life just passes us by and if this is all we get, we might as well dance and get drunk. One only has to take a five-minute look at any network news show or read Twitter to realize that dancing and getting drunk are perfectly reasonable options.


My friend, KJ, turned me on to Peggy Lee many moons ago. I never thanked her for that. I’ve gotten a lot of entertainment from listening to Lee’s songs and versions of classics that other people have recorded, too. A prolific songwriter and performer, Lee’s song “I Don’t Know Enough About You” (1946) always brings a smile to my face.


*****


Paul looked at Marcy with the “Do something” look.


Marcy knew the look well. It was the same look that Paul had on his face whenever there was any kind of medical thing going on and usually it would make her a little peeved, but she didn’t have time for that today. She had to think.


“Go get me a cold wash cloth, Paul.”


He didn’t seem to respond.


“Please, Paul. Get me a cold wash cloth and grab my black bag. I want to listen to her heart.”


This snapped him out of it and he was up and moving. Marcy knew this would give her a minute or so to think.


What did the note mean? She turned the words over in her head for a few seconds and then it hit her. She had said, “I bet you can’t fuck off” when she had last talked to Jimmy and now he had written that he was “winning.”


Had Jimmy fucked off? Kind of, Marcy thought. He had fucked off from messing with her directly.


Last night she had told Winny that she “bet she would get a good night sleep” if she just stayed in her own bed and Winny had been asleep faster than she could believe. Marcy thought she was definitely crazy, but it was worth a try.


As Marcy leaned forward and got close to her daughter’s ear, she whispered, “I bet you can wake up now, Winny.”


Winny’s eyes fluttered for a second and then she was awake. She let out a big yawn and said, “What’s happening, Mama? How did it get to be light out so fast?”


‘What do you mean, Poo?”


“You just checked on my closet. I swear.”


“No, baby. You’ve been sleeping really hard for about five hours. It’s time for school.”


“Okay, mama.”


Winny stretched and started to get out of bed, but Marcy threw her arms around her and hugged her tight as Paul came back into the room with his hands full.


“I got the…”


Paul stopped as he realized that Winny was awake. Marcy looked at him and put her finger up to her lips to stop him from saying anything more.


Winny broke away from her mother’s hug and said, “I gotta pee” and was out of bed and out the door of her room in a flash as she bounded by her dad.


“What the hell?” Paul asked.


“What the hell indeed,” Marcy thought to herself before she answered Paul.


“I don’t know, babe. Kids, I guess. Is Billy up?”


“He’s eating breakfast and watching TV.”


“Good. I’ll take them to school if you want. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to sleep,” said Marcy.


She took her black bag and the wash cloth from Paul and walked back into their bedroom to throw on some sweats and a t-shirt. She had a strange smile on her face as she looked into the master bathroom mirror.


“What did you give me, Jimmy?” she thought.


After getting ready, she walked downstairs and gave Billy a kiss on his forehead.

“How did you sleep?” she asked.


“I slept great.”


Billy was a man of few words in the morning. He got this from his dad, Marcy thought, but maybe they were all like that.


Marcy thought for a second before saying, “I bet you’re going to have an awesome day today.”


“Okay, mom,” Billy replied as he put a piece of toast in his mouth. He only had eyes for Oswald on the TV. He had been watching that show since he was a little boy. Marcy wondered if her new gift would work for Billy and if she had chosen the right words.


*****


See you tomorrow.



Lake. Big Lake.

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