Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Note: The two poems included in this post are acrostic poems. An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last, or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. Both the end of the title and the completion of the last line of each of the poems in this post can be read vertically down the left side of the page.

The loss of a loved one can happen unexpectedly. So, how do you cope?

At some point in time, you have to move on. However, this may not be easy to do. But then the unexpected occurs again, as is seen in . . .

I Did Not Believe It Could Happen, But . . .

One night in early May, I sat on the couch thinking about what life would 
     be like if my husband, David, had not died in our car accident two   
     years ago.
Nobody would have predicted either one of us could have survived when the  
     Ford Explorer crossed the center divide and hit us head on.
Each of us was wearing a seatbelt, but as David lurched forward, the belt    
     snapped and wrapped around his neck, choking him to death.

Death changed my life in ways I had not expected, for I began to gain          
     confidence in myself and became stronger without David in the picture.
A great husband, lover, and friend, he also was a control freak, who paid all    
     the bills, invested our money, and made most of our major decisions.
Yet I loved him with all my heart and his loss drove me to distraction at        
     times, but also caused me to go back to college to finish the degree I had 
     put aside to get married.

Young, only thirty-three when I lost him, and without children, I had a long life 
     ahead of me, but how would I handle it alone?
Oh, I thought about trying to meet someone else, but it didn’t seem right to      
     be looking for a “David replacement,” at least not yet.
Under an overcast sky, I made my way through school, began to        
     understand my finances, and became involved in a women’s bridge club.

Working as a secretary in a local real estate agency, I kept to myself, did my  
     job, and left immediately when the clock struck five.
At night, I dabbled in the online classes I had enrolled in to finish my degree, 
     sat on the couch watching TV, and downed bucket after bucket of sweet 
Life was full, but empty at the same time, and I had no clue how to live it      
Keeping to myself had become a shield against an outside world that          
     sometimes frightened me, and meeting another man was out of the  
Each day I drifted more and more into my private space and, although        
     together with others at the office, I remained isolated and alone.
David, how could you do this to me? Why was I chosen to live and you to    
     die? Or maybe we both died that day on the freeway.

In my deepest moments of grief, I contemplated suicide, but deep down I     
     knew I did not want to take my own life.
No, that was not a viable alternative. But if not that, then what?
Tortured by the thought of spending the rest of my life alone, I tried to figure    
     out how to expose myself to the world outside.
One door had closed, but now I was ready to open another. Yet every time      
      I reached for the handle, I froze and could not do it.

Maybe I was meant to be alone. Could God have taken David from me to    
     punish me for the sins of my past?
Yes, that had to be it. But I knew in my heart, it was not. I was making          
     excuses for my weaknesses I had not been able to overcome.

Late in the day on Saturday, as I sat in my plush, brown recliner reading a       
     novel about an eighteenth century love affair, the doorbell rang.
I walked to the door and opened it. Standing before me was tall gentleman      
     with a beautiful smile on his face.
For a moment, I was caught off guard, but in his soft, soothing voice, he     
     introduced himself as my new neighbor.
Everything glowed. Warmth permeated my soul. I did not believe it could      
     happen, but . . .

Copyright © 2019 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

At times, achieving what we are capable of becoming can be an up hill battle. Yet it is one in which we must engage.

We must believe in ourselves. And, hopefully, we can enlist the support of others. This is the goal you will discover in . . .

If You Would . . .

Jumping out of bed that morning, I knew I had to do something—something    
Unless I acted now, I might never get another chance to be what I thought I     
     could be.
So I washed up, slipped into my gray striped suit, white shirt, and black tie   
     and headed toward the garage.
The shiny black BMW I bought with the money I inherited from my       
     grandfather reflected my image back at me.

But it did not look like the man I wished to be—one strong and confident in      
     facing the future.
Entering the car, I pressed the garage door button, buckled my seatbelt, and 
     prepared for a journey that both excited and frightened me.
Looking in the mirror, I again saw the likeness I did not want to see—one of     
     a young man going nowhere in life.
I could not accept this, as I had more to offer then just sitting back and         
     letting the days fly by without making something of myself.
Empowered by the thought of changing my life and doing something of       
     which I could be proud, I smiled.
Venturing into the unknown would not be an easy task, but I felt in my heart     
     I had the strength to do what needed to be done.
Either I do it now, or I might lose the opportunity to achieve in life what I        
     knew I could accomplish.

I am strong, although I had not always demonstrated this to myself or to      
     others out of fear of failure.
Not wanting to continue down this dark, winding road going nowhere, I        
     needed to change direction.

My mind made up, I now believed I was ready to face a new day and prove     
     to myself and others, I could be a success.
Entering the conference room where my interview would take place, I          
     muttered to myself, “I am your man, if you would . . .

Copyright © 2019 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Some things in life are meant to happen. But how do we know what they are?

We receive messages—forewarnings—in mysterious ways. Such is the case in . . .

I Am Your Destiny

     The dreariness of a cold winter’s day hung over me. I shivered as I walked down Main Street toward First Avenue. I didn’t know where I was going, but the phone call I’d received minutes earlier said this is what I had to do. The caller’s words, “You must go now. Take Main to First.”
     “But go where?” I asked.
     “You’ll know when you get there.”
     “Where’s there?” No answer. The caller just hung up. So I left the house, as instructed. I seemed to be powerless to do otherwise.
     I continued down Main, looking from side to side and then over my shoulder to see if I’d been followed, but saw nothing. Then an unshaven man, in his twenties, dressed in a black hoody, emerged from the doorway of a closed men’s shop and approached. I cringed at the thought of what might be in store for me. But he just stared and grumbled, “Just turn right on First.”
     “Who are you? What do you . . .?” But he disappeared into a dark alleyway without answering. I pulled myself together and continued on my journey, my legs propelled by some unknown force. I tried to stop, but it felt like the ground moved beneath me, carrying me to wherever I was meant to go.
     I reached First Avenue and began to turn left. I’m not going to let this force control me, I thought. But a fierce wind came out of nowhere and coerced me into turning right. I lurched forward. My arms shot out as I tried to break my fall. But I didn’t go down. Another draft of air propelled me back into an upright position. I wobbled a bit before gaining my balance. I lifted my head. “What the . . .?” I muttered. “Who are you?”
     “Who are you?” a gorgeous blond woman replied.
     “Jack Martin.”
     “Well, Jack Martin, come with me.”
     “Why? Where are we going?”
     “You’ll see when we get there,” she murmured.
     “I can’t handle this? I want to know now.”
     “Just trust me.”       
     “Why should I?”
     “Because you have no choice,” she said.
     She grabbed my arm. I tried to break loose from her grasp without success, but then she just let go. But I still couldn’t move.
     “I told you, you don’t have a choice. I am your destiny.”
     “My what?”
     “You heard me.”
     She walked in front of me as I followed behind, but not of my own choosing. My movements were beyond my control. This has to be a damn dream. When I wake, everything will be fine, I thought.
     “Only if you do as you’re told.”
     Oh, my God! She can read my mind.
     We approached a large gated courtyard. She raised her hands with palms pointing toward the sky and chanted, “My Lord, I am your humble servant and I ask for your guidance in fulfilling my mission.” At that very moment, the majestic golden gates swung open and she took my arm and led me to the center of the courtyard.
     “Look toward the heavens,” she demanded.
     “Because I said so.”
     I wanted to object, but something inside of me told me to do it. So I did. Slowly, I raised my head skyward. And to my amazement, a colorful aura appeared before my eyes. I had never seen anything as beautiful before. Spewing forth from a white core was a rainbow of brilliant colors.
     Captivated by the beauty, I wasn’t aware of what was happening around me. I heard squeals of laughter. A small boy called out, “Daddy, daddy take me to the pool.”
     “Are you speaking to me?”
     “Yes, Daddy. Please let me swim in the pool.”
     “But I’m not your daddy. I have no children,” I cried out. I could see tears well up in the child’s eyes. My heart ached.
     “Daddy, don’t let me go swimming alone. I’ll drown.”
     And the little boy, as if carried by a magic carpet, floated onto the surface of the glimmering bed of water. As I watched in awe, he disappeared and then rose up and then sank again. “Daddy, save me. Please save me,” he whimpered.
     “I’m not your daddy,” I moaned. “I’m nobody’s father.”
     “Daddy, don’t let me die. Don’t let me die.”
     My head spun. I didn’t know what to do. “This isn’t real,” I yelled. “It can’t be.”
     “Yes it is,” the beautiful blond woman murmured. Then she gently took my hand and led me toward the water. Bubbles showed up upon the surface—bubbles of a life soon to be lost, if I didn’t act fast.
     For the moment, I stood frozen to the ground. And then a force, like a wave from a violent ocean, propelled me into the water.
     As the years passed, I forgot this wild dream I had. It slipped deep into the crevices of my mind. Six years later, I stood in front of the altar at Bethany Lutheran Church, as Reverend Bell spoke.  
     “Do you, Jack Martin, take this woman, Alison Summers, to be your lawful wedded wife?”
     I turned to face the alluring blond goddess standing next to me and said, “I do.”
     She responded, “I do, too.”
     “How in the world do I deserve someone like you?” I stammered.
     She looked at me with eyes that sparkled with joy, as the love we shared simmered within us, and murmured, “I am your destiny.”
     Four years later, our three-year old son, Justin, wandered into the church pool as Alison and I sat with friends on the deck sipping lemonade.  Absorbed in conversation, I heard screams that brought back memories of my eerie dream. “Daddy, daddy, help me! I can’t swim.”
     I didn’t hesitate for a moment, as I bounded toward the pool, dove in, and rescued my son. I knew in my heart I’d been primed to do so years ago, for it was . . . my destiny.

Copyright © 2015 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Life’s responsibilities can cause us to misplace our priorities. Doing so can have unexpected consequences.

However, when you least expect it, you may be forced to face the reality of the situation. This is what happens in . . .

Mist Opportunity

     “Dammit, nothing’s going right. No matter what I do, it turns out wrong,” I screamed, not paying attention to the people within earshot in LaMont’s Grocery Store.
     “What’s your problem, sir? You’re upsetting the children,” a chunky, redheaded woman spouted.
     Water from the market’s produce mister dripped down my face. I stared at the kids, a redheaded boy and brunette girl. Both appeared to be under five. They tagged alongside her shopping cart and seemed oblivious to me. “Don’t you see what happened?” I asked.
     “Yeah, there are a lot of artichokes on the floor. You knocked them down. So what? Just put them back and stop whining about it. And wipe your face. It’s dripping all over everything.”
     “Put them back? But they’re all dirty and bruised. That’s not right. And furthermore, this is just a symptom of how my whole day has gone.”
     “Sir, it’s only ten o’clock in the morning. So stop complaining.”
     “But you don’t understand.”
     “Yes, I do. But for now, I want you to shut up and stop making my boss’s children uncomfortable. She’ll have my head if you upset them. Just move on and let me finish my shopping.”
     ”Lady, those kids don’t even know I’m here. They’re too busy taking things off the shelves and putting them into your cart.”
     She spun around and screeched, “Jacob, Polly, cut that out, you little . . .”
     At that point, I’d had it with her. I scrambled to pick up the artichokes and tossed them into an empty box sitting on the floor beside the counter. I ran my shirtsleeve across my face soaking up some of the water, grabbed my cart, and disappeared from “Madam Big Mouth’s” sight.
     The one thing she did get right. It was 10:00 a.m. But that didn’t make me feel any better. I now had the whole day ahead of me and my life was in crisis.
     I pulled my crumpled shopping list from my pants pocket and scanned down the ten items. I’ve got all but one, I thought. And I can get that one on the way to the checkout counter.
     “Ah, there it is, Milano Tomato Sauce,” I muttered. I pulled it off the shelf, placed it into the cart, and shuffled ten feet down the aisle to check out.
     The guy at the register stared at me and sputtered, “Your eyes look all foggy and wet.”
     “I’m living my whole life in one big haze,” I groaned.
     “Huh?” he gasped, as he handed me a rag.
     I ran it over my face and eyes. Life was still a bit fuzzy, but I could see better. I unloaded my ten items from my cart onto the conveyor belt. My mind wandered, and then . . .
     “Cash, check, or card, sir?”
     “How are you going to pay for your groceries?”
     “Credit card.”
     “Please insert it into the machine.”
     “Thank you, Mr. Jeffries.”
     He loaded my cart and I pushed it toward the door and out into the parking lot to my 2010 Dodge Charger. I shoved the three small, but expensive, bags of groceries into the trunk. I’d spent $83.00 for almost nothing. It was Saturday morning and the bread, meat, and veggies might not get me through the weekend. I shook my head in dismay.
     “Life isn’t fair. Things cost too much. I’m living alone and shouldn’t be. I don’t deserve this,” I mumbled.
     “Maybe it’s your fault?” a voice chanted.
     “What?” I looked around, but saw nobody.
     “Aren’t you going to respond to my question?” the same voice asked again.
     I scanned my surroundings, but couldn’t make out where the voice had come from. I yelled, “Hey, if you’re there, show yourself.”
     Nothing. No one appeared. So I opened the car door and slid into the driver’s seat. I buckled my seat belt, stuck the key into the ignition, and started the car.
     It must be my imagination. I’ve been living in the clouds lately, I mused.
     I rolled out of the parking lot, hung a right onto Collins Avenue, turned left onto Flowers Way, and drove three miles to Lambeau Drive. On the corner of Lambeau and Flowers sat my 1800 square foot ranch style home. I pushed the garage door opener, watched the door jiggle back and forth as it opened, and drove in.
     Once inside, I sat and stared at the walls of the garage. I had trouble getting up the courage to leave the car and go into an empty house. For the past week, I’ve lived alone. July 8, that was the day Marsha left me.
     I slept late that morning and when I awoke, I was alone in bed. I pushed the covers back and made my way to the kitchen. On the round, glass kitchen table, I saw an envelope. Scrawled on the front were the words, “It’s your fault I’m leaving.”
     “God, everything is my fault,” I moaned.
     “Only if you want it to be,” a voice resonated, causing me to jerk my head around to catch the intruder in my garage.
     But I didn’t see anybody. My God, I am going crazy . . . losing my mind, I thought.
     Nothing has changed. I’ve been in a fog since that morning, adrift in a sea of emptiness. Why did she leave me? When I removed the note from the envelope, I thought I would have the answer, but I didn’t understand what it said. Just three words, “You did it.”
     “Did what?” I groaned. I tried to be a good husband. I have a good job as a senior partner in Jordan, Rockwell, and Smith, a prestigious advertising firm. We live in a nice house. Not huge, but comfortable. And the kids are doing great. Kyle is a successful attorney at a large law firm, Grant and Associates, in town. And Mona, a banker at Grace National Bank, acts as the financial advisor to the mayor. But I haven’t heard from them since Marsha left. And I haven’t figured out why.
     I’ve got to go into the house. I can’t stay in the car. I’ve got to get my life back. The tears fell from my eyes. My body quivered. “Am I having a convulsion?” I screamed.
     “No, you’re not. Restrain yourself,” the voice echoed.
     “Okay,” I responded, as I tried to control my trembling body.
     “That’s better, much better,” the voice uttered.
     Confused, I shouted, “Who the hell are you?”
     The response didn’t make sense. “Remember the words.”
     “What words?” I implored.
     “The other words on the note in the envelope.”
     “What other words?”
     “Clear your head. Concentrate. Don’t let this opportunity get away like you did the other.”
     “All right. Yes, I do remember. At the bottom of Marsha’s note, there were words printed. I read them, but they didn’t sink in, since I was so upset she’d left me. I’m having trouble making them out now. Everything’s hazy.”
     “But who are you and why are you helping me?”
     “I am the guardian angel of mist opportunities. You know, the fuzzy, blurry ones. It is my role to clear your cloudy mind and open your foggy eyes.”
     “Are you kidding me? Guardian angel? You’re just a figment of my imagination.”
     All of a sudden, the car’s headlights went on. Then the lights on the ceiling of the garage created an aura over the front end of the car. And there stood the chunky, redheaded woman from the grocery store.
     “What the . . .? You followed me home?”
     “Well, yes and no. I am at your home, but I didn’t follow you. I just appear when needed.”
     “But why would I need you? And if I wanted a guardian angel, she’d be beautiful and sexy.”
     “Your vision is more blurry than I’d imagined, for I am beautiful. And your concept of spiritual beings is quite distorted.”
     “Where are your halo and wings?”
     I only wear the halo at night to provide light, so I don’t scare people when I appear. And my wings, they’re here. However, they can’t be seen by the naked eye, unless I want them to be. Look closer and squint.”
     “Oh my, there they are. So what do you want from me?”
     “Think hard about the words you read in the letter, but can’t remember.”
     So I did. At first I saw one word and then more started to appear. The words floated above my angel. I focused and read, “Michael, your work world has overwhelmed you and you pushed me aside. I need some time to think. The kids and I are going to a bed and breakfast in the mountains. Call me when you are ready to talk.”
     “Oh, my God! I did do that—pushed her aside,” I whimpered. “I guess it is my fault. And I haven’t called.” Tears welled up in my eyes.
     I looked around to thank my savior, but she was gone. The garage was dark and I sat alone in the car. Through my tears, I reached for my phone and dialed Marsha’s cell number.

Copyright © 2016 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Have you ever been accused of doing something you didn’t do? And your accuser is a total stranger.

So how do you respond? You’ll find out in . . .

Remembering April Showers

     I sat at my desk in my office on the second floor of the Liberal Arts building on the Templeton University campus. The rain beat against the window. The date on the calendar at the bottom of my iMac screen read, “April 25.” I guess the downpour shouldn’t surprise me, I thought.
     My eyes scanned the document posted in the center of the screen—page one of my lecture for my two o’clock English class. I love teaching creative writing, but, for some reason I couldn’t comprehend, today my lecture seemed neither creative nor inspiring. Guess I’ll just have to pull some interesting facts out of the air to stimulate my class of forty-five who will be expecting more than I might be able to deliver.
      I started to gather up my things in preparation for the class. The pages of my notes pitter-pattered through my printer, many jumping over the tray meant to hold them, onto the floor. “Oh well,” I sighed. “I guess nothing will go ‘write’ today.” Just a little pun I thought about using in class to spice it up.
     I knelt down to retrieve the papers when I heard a rap on my office door. “Yes, please come in.”
     The door squeaked, as it opened. Colleen, the English Department secretary, stuck her head in and inquired, “What are you doing on the floor. Don’t you have a class in a couple of minutes?”
     I grabbed the papers and stood up straight. “Yeah, I do. Nothing seems to be going my way today. Must be the rainy weather. What can I do for you?”
     “When I returned from lunch, I found an envelop on my desk addressed to you. It says, ‘PERSONAL.’”
     “Let me see it.” Colleen handed it to me. My name, Professor Ira Ansel, appeared in bold letters, written with a felt-tipped, black marking pen. I shook it to make sure it contained only a letter—no poison powders of any kind lurking within. Sensing nothing but paper, I got the letter opener out of my desk drawer and slid it under the envelop flap and flipped it up. Then I hesitated.
     Colleen stared at me. “Well, aren’t you going to take the letter out? If you’re not curious, I am,” she gasped.
     I removed the paper, just a plain white folded sheet. I unfolded it and read aloud, “My Dear Professor Ansel, it was a pleasure to listen to your excellent speech last Thursday night on how to write a creative essay. The points you made will help me in my future writing, since I may want to write a movie script someday. After your presentation, I felt it had been worthwhile coming out on such a stormy April evening. The short chat we had afterward inspired me. And I even found myself somewhat attracted to you, my dear professor. I know that might not be appropriate, but I do hope our paths cross again in the near future.”
     “Well, it sounds like you have an admirer, ‘my dear professor,’” Colleen said with just a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
     “I talked to a lot of students and some members of the community that evening after my presentation. I didn’t know most of them and nobody stands out. Just a blur of faces.”
     “But someone sure thinks you’re special. Is the letter signed?”
     “No. Just the words, ‘Remember April Showers,’ scrawled at the bottom of the note.”
     “Guess you must’ve had a weather girl in the audience who wanted to make certain you knew it rained in April. Oh, well, I’ve gotta be going. But you better keep me updated on your love life.
     “What love life?”
     “Oh, just a silly comment. You need to get to class. You’re already five minutes late.”
     She closed the door behind her and left me standing, wondering what the note meant. Since nothing came to mind, I grabbed my papers and hustled off to class.
     When I entered the classroom on the third floor of the building, one floor above my office, I noticed three men in dark blue pinstripe suits and light gray ties standing in the rear of the room. I placed my papers on my desk in front of the room and ambled toward the back to find out what these men were doing in my classroom. They must be in the wrong room, I thought.
     As I approached, the men just stared at me.
     “Hello, I’m Professor Ansel. Can I help you?”
     “My name is Hunter Adams,” the tallest of the men stated in a very rigid manner.
     I thought it weird he didn’t introduce the other two men. “Well, Mr. Adams, how can I be of service to you?”
     “I’m here about my daughter.”
     “Okay. Is she one of my students?”
     “No, she is not.”
     “Well, then, if she is not one of my students, how can I be of assistance to you?” He didn’t respond. “And, by the way, who are the other men with you?”
     “My attorneys.”
     “Your what? Why are you here?” I blurted.
     “It seems you may have behaved inappropriately with my daughter last Thursday night at the lecture you gave in town. She came home raving about how she had met the smartest, most marvelous man. She told me, he—you—made her feel very special. Professor, her comments worry me, as she just turned sixteen. She’s a minor, sir!”
     “Slow down Mr. Adams. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Your daughter may have been in the audience, but she never introduced herself to me. I just remember a sea of faces yelling at me and asking questions after my presentation. I did talk to some people individually, as time permitted. However, these conversations took place in the middle of the crowd. There were no improprieties on my part with anyone. I think you’re jumping to conclusions that are unwarranted.”
     “I don’t think so. She seemed enamored by you. Told me she sent you a note expressing her feelings.”
     “A note.”
     “Yes, a note saying she felt attracted to you.”
     “Well, I did receive a letter. And the writer did say she was attracted to me. But it wasn’t signed. It just ended with a comment about this month’s rainy weather. It didn’t make any sense to me.”
     “My daughter, April, signs her name to everything she writes.”
     “So your daughter’s name is April Adams?”
     “Well, it should be.”
     “Now what does that mean?”
     “April is an aspiring actress. As she has secured a few minor roles, I supported her request to change her name because there already was a screen actress named April Adams.”
     “Oh, so what did she change it to?”
     “A name she believed nobody would have any trouble remembering—April Showers.” 
     I gulped, as this whole crazy ordeal began to make sense.

Copyright © 2014 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

From the time we are children, we ask ourselves, “What does it mean to be free?”

The answer isn’t easy. But we must invest both time and energy in finding out, as is expressed in . . .


Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by others. It only becomes a reality through our own efforts.

Hence, the essence of freedom comes from within. Only we can set ourselves free.

A person “under lock and key” may feel free, while one roaming the great outdoors may feel closed in and unable to breathe. 

An invidiual in a community, surrounded by others, may feel trapped and alone, while one living a solitary life may feel free and at peace with oneself and society. 

We may choose to limit our freedom, but since we make the choice, we are still free.

So what is the true meaning of freedom?

It is the opportunity . . .
 To dream, think, and learn.
              To inquire, look, and see.
                 To talk, sing, and pray.
                      To walk, run, and play.
                           To touch, feel, and care.
                                To want, decide, and do.
                                    To live, love, and be.
                                          Be who we want to be.
                                               And thus . . . be free.

Copyright © 2019 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Is the love of money the root of all evil? Can it drive you to do things you’d be better off not doing?

And what if you were standing on a street corner and saw it falling from the sky? What would you do? You’re about to see in . . .

Free Money

     “Dollar bills! Dollar bills!” someone screamed. They dropped from the sky and floated through the air. Caressed by the wind—wisped in magical patterns. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
     I stared at Calvin. He seemed mesmerized. Neither of us said anything, as we walked down Main Street and watched the people around us. They, too, appeared in awe of what was happening. The sight of millions of bills falling from the heavens was an unbelievable event.
     But then movement—people became crazy. Running and screaming, they grabbed for the falling wealth, knocking each other over in an effort to secure the streaming green falling about us.
     The treasure, appearing from nowhere, created madness. Calvin and I dashed to a safe place beyond the throng of hoarders.
     He screamed to me over the awful din, “Lonnie, what should we do? You want to get into the mix and try to score?”
     “You’re nuts. Somebody will get killed if this continues much longer, and I don’t want it to be me.”
     The crowd grew—a reckless, out of control mob. People fell to the ground—some trampled, others kicked in the face and head.
     “What next?” I muttered. And then the dollar bills started climbing up the bodies, adhering themselves to those who tried to grab them. The bills seemed alive. They appeared to be on a mission—a very deadly mission.
     They all traveled a similar path from feet or out of hands toward the face. People panicked. Loud screaming, then gasping for air could be heard throughout the crowd, as bills covered both the nose and mouth of the foragers, leaving dead bodies everywhere.
     I grabbed Calvin by the arm. “Come on, we’ve got to get out of here.”
     “And go where?” he trembled.
     “I don’t have a clue, but we’ve got to go.”
     So we hustled down Main Street, hurdling over bodies and avoiding the falling cash as we ran. Reaching the end of Main, we turned right on Drury Lane, only to see more bodies, hundreds of them, covered in bills, lying face up on the street. And they all appeared to be . . . dead.
     My breathing became labored. This whole thing frightened me. Confused, I didn’t know what to do or where to run. My heart pounded in my chest.
     I looked behind me to find Calvin. His legs seemed rubbery, as he tried to keep up. “What the crap do we do?” I murmured. Overwhelmed by the nightmare in which we had become entangled, I struggled not to succumb to the fear within me.
     Frozen in place, I couldn’t move. Calvin hobbled toward me, falling to the ground about five feet away. I stared at him and cringed. A dollar bill slithered toward his prone body.
     I screeched, “Calvin, get your butt up and out of there.”
     I don’t know if he heard me. The noise of people all around us trying to escape the economic attack had become deafening.
     I pulled myself together and ran to Calvin, sidestepping the bills attempting to climb my legs. As I got to his side, the bill I’d seen approaching him grasped onto his leg. I reached down, grabbing it between my thumb and forefinger, and tried to rip it off.
     Calvin lay motionless, as I tugged at it with all my might. But it seemed to possess elasticity. It came toward me as I pulled, but held on at the same time. Frustrated, I gave it a hard, fast twist. It came loose.
     My jerking motion awakened Calvin from his comatose state. He began to squirm. I took hold of him and propped him up against me.
     “What happened?” he moaned.
     “Don’t know. You went out like a light. Let’s get out of here.”
     I helped him up. He clung to me. “I’m a bit shaky,” he whispered.
     “Can you walk?”
     “Yeah, I think so.”
     With Calvin leaning on me, we made our way down Drury Lane, careful to avoid the bills still floating through the air and, in particular, the more vicious ones on the pavement. Turning onto Amber Way, we confronted the most frightening sight I’d ever seen.
     The street overflowed with people, all covered with one-dollar bills. Some struggled to catch a last breath of air. Others, not moving at all, just lay there. Then my eyes focused on an astonishing phenomenon. Emerging from the Central Valley Savings and Loan on the corner of Drury and Amber were not people, but bills—not ones, but fives, tens, twenties, fifties, and even a couple of hundred dollar bills. All standing upright, they walked like a legion of powerful gods.
     Calvin muttered, ”What do we do now, Lonnie?” 
     “I don’t know,” I stammered.
     We were the only souls standing erect—Calvin and me, amongst a fortune set on destroying us.
     “This can’t be real,” Calvin whimpered. “Must be a dream.”
     “Yeah. And we’re in it together. You have to be kidding,” I replied.
     “Then you explain it,” he screamed.
     The marching bills began to encircle us. My mind raced. There must be a way out. There has to be. Then, scanning my captors, I eyed an opening in this procession of money.
     I reached over and grabbed Calvin. “This way,” I yelled.
     Dragging our fatigued bodies through the opening, we trudged into an alley alongside the bank. For the moment, we had eluded the bills coming after us.
     We huddled together behind a huge dumpster. I mumbled aloud, “If only we could get inside the bank.”
     Why Calvin had the presence of mind to look at his watch, I don’t know.
     “You do know it’s after hours. The bank is closed.” And with a slight laugh, he sputtered, “We’d be breaking in—like bank robbers.”
     At that moment, the side door of the bank opened. I trembled in anticipation of what might emerge. I thought, More money draining out of a financial institution.
     To my amazement, it wasn’t money. Four men dressed in bankers’ three-piece gray suits and striped ties strutted into the alley.
     Calvin and I watched as the men opened the trunk of a late model, jet-black Mercedes-Benz. What they did in the trunk we couldn’t see, but their behavior seemed strange. However, compared to the happenings of the day, it didn’t appear all that odd.
     Then one of the men turned and glanced in our direction. I began to shake, thinking he may have heard us hovering behind the trash bin. His eyes scanned the alley. Turning back to the others still peering into the car’s trunk, he uttered, “All’s clear. We can proceed with the day’s plan.”
     “What plan?” I mumbled. “What do these suits have to do with the money running through the streets and attacking people? What in God’s name is this all about?”
     Calvin shook his head. His body quivered. He said nothing.
     Than a second man, a huge fellow, maybe three hundred pounds, moved away from the group. Pulling a cell phone from his jacket pocket, he ordered, “Send it in.”
     Calvin gasped, “Send what in?”
     “Damned if I know, but I guess we’re going find out,” I groaned.
     Then the largest motor home I’d ever seen came rumbling into the alley, interrupting the relative quiet. Its large side doors slid open and the four men entered. The doors closed behind them. The alley became deathly still—no movement, no sounds.
     Calvin and I got up and stretched our legs, now quite stiff from squatting behind the trash bin. We stood for a brief moment and then retreated to our post behind the large bin to avoid being seen.
     The doors of the motor home slid open again. The shortest of the four suits emerged screaming at the top of his lungs, ”Who were those jerks that ruined the scene? Who let them on the set? We have to shoot the whole blasted thing over again.”
     “Calm down Stanley,” a man, dressed in jeans and a tee shirt, implored. “We can work around it. Maybe even use the footage.”
     “How?” Stanley moaned.
     “Well, some people do escape the hold money has on us. ‘Free money’ isn’t an enticement to everybody.”
     “Show me one person who can’t be bought or conned for the purpose of gaining wealth and I’ll hire him on the spot,” Stanley scowled.
     “I did. Two, in fact.”
     “If we use them, we have to find them. If we find them, we have to pay them. If we pay them, I bet it’s going to be a lot,” Stanley bellowed.
     The men climbed back into the motor home and the doors slid closed behind them.
     Calvin laughed hysterically. “They’re making a movie. And we’re in it,” he sighed.
     My body drooped. I was drained, but relieved.
     We never did become movie stars. However, we did go to see “Free Money” when it came to our local theater.

Copyright © 2012 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Note : The two poems included in this post are acrostic poems. An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last, or other lette...