The Men of Honor of Unity House – Chapter Four

 Synopsis:  Worcester, Massachusettes has suffered a nuclear attack, possibly caused by terrorists.  Unity House, a residential facility for foster care kids, has endured due to its rugged construction and location in the lee of a hill.  Psychotherapist Dave Stein, several staff, and four teenage boys now begin to cope with the rigors of survival.

To read prior chapters, click on “Categories” and scroll down to The Men of Honor of Unity House.

Day One, 3:20 p.m.

Terry and I sat back in her office’s big, stuffed chairs.

 “What now, boss?”

 “Wait and see, I guess.  Angie said she’d be leaving after supper.  She lives only ten minutes away on Pilgrim St, down by St. Casimir’s.  That’ll be seven o’clock-ish.  I think she’ll be okay.  Gina?  I don’t know about her.”

 I leaned over and opened the door to the staff office. 

 “Gina,” I called out.  “When you thinking of leaving?”

 “Right now, actually.”

 “How far you gotta go?” Terry called out.

 “Sturbridge.”

 “Whew, that’s a haul, Gina.  How you gonna do it – like Jeannie?” I asked.

 “Yeah, if she can do it so can I.  Maybe I can catch up with her and we’ll catch a ride west together.  I wasn’t going to go, but when I saw her leave I knew I had to go, too.  Sure it’s risky, but staying here isn’t guaranteed, either Dave.  C’mon, we’ve been lucky so far, and I want to get out while I still can.  Who knows how much radiation we’ve already been exposed to?  Suppose I wake up tomorrow and don’t have the strength to hoof it out of here.  Well, I don’t want to take that chance.  Every step I take is one step closer to safety and my family, that’s how I see it.  So, that’s what I’m gonna do.  I’ve got kids, Dave; my husband’s sick….”  Her voice trailed off.  She turned and looked out at the guys playing video games.  She didn’t say anything but I knew she was thinking, I should stay for this?

 “Bill?” I asked, “Anything new from your dispatch that would help Gina?”

 “Nope.  I went out to the truck a coupla minutes ago dressed up like a human garbage bag, but got nothing.  I was telling Gina here that all they said back when I could still hear them a few hours ago was the State Police telling everyone to stay off the roads.”

 “That’s why I think I’ll be able to get right up to Sturbridge,” Gina interjected.  “No one will be on the roads.”

 “Could you get through to you husband?” asked Terry, holding up her cell phone.

 “Nope, couldn’t get through.  Nothing but static.”

 “Yeah, me too,” said Bill.  “I’ve tried a few times.  Nada.”

 “Well, I guess I don’t need to try,” I said, feeling a little lonely and a little more guilty that I hadn’t tried calling my wife, even if she was soon to be my ex-wife.

 “How about the high school?” asked Angie.  “What do you think is happening up there?  I asked Kevin P at lunch and he said he hadn’t seen my Patrick or Antonio, and that most of the kids were in the lunch room, gym or auditorium.  The official word is that everyone is to stay put, but Mr. D as usual thought differently.”

 “Yeah, good ol’ Don,” I laughed.  “Maybe we ought to take his bike and go down and see for ourselves what is going on at the High School.”

 “Good idea, Dave, and check on Ryan,” Gina touted.  “He’s our only one still left up at North.  I wonder how he is.  Ya know, it would be good idea to know how things are down there.  Maybe you should go down there on Don’s bike and check on Angie’s kids, too.”

 “Wait a minute, everyone,” Terry challenged.  “Our first priority is here, and we’ve got our hands full right now making sure we’re okay.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings and make our minds up then.

 “As for Ryan, he’s a follower,” continued Terry.  “He’ll do what he’s told until he gets a lock on what he wants to do and then he’ll do it.  There’s no way to know he’s still at the high school.  He could be anywhere, with anybody.”

 “True, very true,” I replied, “and I understand your thinking, Terry, but I wonder how Deon and Naleef are down at Grafton Street Middle School?  Maybe tomorrow we should make the rounds and check on all our kids?”

 “What about the radiation, Dave?  C’mon,” Terry responded with disbelief.  “We shouldn’t take a chance unless we positively have to.  Besides, what could we do on a motorcycle?  Suppose Deon or Naleef, or any of the kids needed medical treatment, we couldn’t carry them anywhere on the back of a bike.  Really, c’mon.”

 “But,”… she continued, “I am concerned about Deon and Naleef, too.  Don’t get me wrong…” Terry’s emerging ambivalence was obvious.  “It’s a crap shoot,” she added, “but I say we should stay here until we know enough to take risks,… but….Naleef is so young,… and… Deon’s is as crafty as they come….”  She shook her head and sighed. 

Angie and I nodded in agreement.

 “Look everybody,” Terry resumed, “knowing Deon as I do, if the middle school is a bummer he’ll head over to his old foster placement and I bet he’d take Naleef with him.  Deon is really big on family, even if it’s just a foster brother.  His old foster placement is just a couple blocks away from Grafton Middle School, so maybe they’d head there.  Of course, I don’t know if they’ll be welcome.  Deon is on court orders not to go there, not after his last visit when he caused five-thousand dollars worth of damage.”

 “Five-thousand?  Whew, Terry!” I whistled.  “I knew it was a bunch, but I didn’t know it was that much.”

 “Yeah, he really busted up a lot of furniture and a large screen TV.  There’s an order of protection against him from returning, but I don’t think that’ll stop him if he wants to go,” Terry added.

 “At least he’d be safe,” replied Gina, putting on her coat.  “I just hope all the kids in school have their survival kits like they’re supposed to.  I know my kids do, but how can one teacher care for twenty-five kids assuming all the teachers stay?  They’ve all got families.  I sure know how they feel – that’s why I have to go.  Maybe my kid’s one of a hundred with no teacher left.  I don’t know.  I have to go, really. 

 “So.…I guess this is goodbye….  I’ll see y’all.”  Gina headed out the door.

“Good luck guys,” she called out, breezing past the Commons room.

 “You, too, Gina,” the two Kevins and Willy chimed back. 

 “Be cool, Gina,” Trey said, coming in from the dining room.  He shook Gina’s hand, then paused, “Do you think you’re coming back to work tomorrow?”

 Gina halted. 

 The question seemed so, well, stupid, and yet so touching.  And so telling; our guys had such innocence at times.  Other times, well, those times got them plenty of attention from agencies throughout the Commonwealth.

“I, er… don’t think so, Trey.  Good luck to you, kiddo.” 

 She leaned to give him a hug, and then stopped halfway, realizing she wasn’t supposed to.  But, her hug had been an instinct, like a mother saying goodbye to her son. 

 Trey had been in Unity over three years and was due to age-out in just two months, on his eighteenth birthday.  Inexplicably, Trey thrived with us better than he had anywhere else and Unity was the only placement he had never run from.   Now, he was about to be a foster care graduate and go out on his own, out into a nuked world; out, in a little over sixty days.  Trey was family.

 After pausing, Gina gave Trey a big hug.  She hugged him tight- more like a wrestler’s lock, then released him.  In a swoosh she was gone.

 “Stay tight, Gina,” Trey called out after her, giving her a power salute for emphasis.  She never turned back, but instead gave a little wave over her shoulder.

 Funny, I thought, watching the scene.  Funny how attachments are made.  

 I never thought Trey would warm up to someone like Gina, whose heart just wasn’t in this business.  Yet, when it was crunch time in front of her boss and me, she broke the rules and did what any decent person should do: hug the kid whom she had tendered for three years and was probably never going to see again.  Even up-tight, white bread, Christian right-wingers know when to say, “Screw the system.” 

 Good for you, Gina, I whispered to myself.  Good for you, and good luck.

 So, now, it was me and Terry, and our new friend, Bill.  Three staff, four guys in the house, and three more unaccounted for.  I had never slept in the house before and I wondered what it would be like.  I began to feel scared.  I needed my sleep and I needed my time away from the guys.  I treasured my sister’s seven acres in the country, my solitude and late night walks under the stars.  This is gonna be a test.

 Events remained calm for the rest of the day as the guys played video games until dark.  They were in teenage heaven and I was in clinical hell.  In the past I had made war on the TV, insisting that the guys only watch one hour per day.  I thought too much TV made the guys, “brain dead.” 

 “Clinical research shows it enhances isolative and reactive behaviors,” I’d argue at staff meetings.  “We should be teaching our guys how to interact with each other, not a TV set.”  I said it over and over, and the staff was sympathetic, but at nine-dollars-an-hour the electronic baby sitter was a welcomed assistant. 

 Now, I was beginning to get a taste of that other side.  I didn’t like it, but I blessed the gods who let us have electricity and a working TV. 

 This place would be hell with the guys cooped up with nothing to do, I thought.

 Aunt Teddy would have suggested that this was a perfect time to read a book, but my guys read at the third grade level, maybe fourth if they had been tutored, and I was supposed to educate them further.  “Develop real living skills” was my mission as their therapist, not just psychoanalyze them, and that meant implementing programs that fostered reading, hands-on carpentry and limiting TV time.  It was one hell of a challenge.

 For dinner, we did not have anymore Joes, I saw to that.  Terry and I cooked chicken legs and thighs, with instant potatoes.  Bill stayed with the kids and the TV, but Trey came in to help.  He made the instant orange drink and suggested we have chocolate pudding for desert. 

 What a wonderful idea, I thought.  I love chocolate pudding.  I’ll help Trey make it.  We’ll work together and he’ll have a new life skill. 

 “Where’s the chocolate pudding, Trey?” I asked.  “I’ll help you make it.”

 “It’s right here,” Trey said walking into the pantry against house rules, where he pulled out a carton packed with twelve cups of instant pudding.

 I was crushed. 

 “Instant?” I exclaimed.  That stuff is crapI hate instant chocolate pudding.  I thought it would be the mix you had to cook on the stove

 But, Trey looked elated seeing twelve servings, meaning he could get two, one he would eat at dinner and the other he could smuggle into his room for a late night snack. 

 I capitulated.   “Sure.  Open them up, but put them on a serving platter.  Make it look nice,” I pleaded, trying to salvage some clinical value from serving brown chemical crud.

 After dinner, Bill and I did dishes with Kevin A.  KA, never a big talker, had been totally quiet all day since his shower.  As neither Bill nor I knew where anything went in the kitchen, KA directed us adults putting away the pots and pans, and that opened him up a little. 

 Putting away the last saucepan, I asked:

 “You’ve been quiet, KA.  How ya doin’?”

 “Okay.”

 “Just okay?”

 “Yeah.”

 One word answers, the hallmark of my therapy sessions.  Oy gavalt

 Yet, we had just worked together and it had gone smoothly.  Now, maybe I hoped he would trust me enough to talk about his day, maybe even tell me if he was as afraid or as numb as the rest of us.  Hell, I wasn’t even sure what I was feeling because it seemed like we had been in survival mode all day long. 

 Maybe I wanted to talk too, subconsciously.

 “Okay,” I said.  “Okay is okay.”

 “You always say that, Dave.”  He spoke through grinding teeth, but, I could tell by his controlled anger that KA didn’t want to let me go.  That was good, but, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know where he was going.

 “Whaddya mean KA?”

 “You’re always saying something stupid like ‘Okay is okay.’”  He used a child’s sing-songy voice.  He was flashing lightning, now, and I was a grounding wire.

 “What else do I say?”

 “Oh …oh, I don’t know,” he stammered and turned aside.

 “Ya know Kevin, I, ah … um…,” I was going into the unknown.  I surrendered to my ‘God-Within,’ letting a deeper ‘me’ out, one that my socially conditioned brain didn’t know.  My access to this deeper wisdom came from my commitment to the ‘Great Work,’ the work we do to make ourselves greater than what we have been.  It’s the work we do in therapy or when life demands it like during nuclear war.  It compels us to explore the scary places, the places of pain, the places that need to be healed and the ones that give us new strengths. 

 “KA, I think I get scared sometimes.  Like maybe I am right now.  In fact, I know I’m scared.  I’m scared about getting radiation sickness and I’m scared about not knowing exactly what to say to you.  I’m scared wondering about how we’re all gonna make it.  I want to reach out to you because you’ve been quiet and I think you’re too scared to talk.  It’s been a hell of a day.”

 “I wish you wouldn’t curse, Dave,” KA said between clenched teeth.

 “Okay.  I’m scared, and I say silly things when I’m scared, like, ‘Okay is okay.’  I say things like ‘hell;’ or ‘goddamn’ when I’m trying to make an impression on you guys and I’m scared that I’m not.  Part of me wants to fit in with you guys and get through to you.  I want you to listen to me and learn from me.  I want to be a good therapist and sometimes I don’t think I am.  You guys just blow me off so much, like at the community meetings and…”

 “Yeah, they suck,” KA interrupted.

 “And I know that I’ve know stuff that’ll make your lives better.”

 “What do you know about my life and how to make it better?’  KA challenged.

 “I know that you have to believe that your life can be better, and that we have to be real with ourselves and…” 

 KA gasped and turned away, stomping his foot in frustration.  He turned back and looked at me like I had two heads.  I could see my advice had the opposite effect than intended. 

“So, how can I help you make your life better?  What can I do, Kevin?”

 “Nothing.”  He threw down his towel and stormed out of the room.

 I looked at Bill and said, “Welcome to Therapy 101.  How’d I do?”

 “I dunno.  I’m not a therapist.”

 BAMMMM!  A loud, heavy, explosive sound came from the dining room.  I froze for a second with subdued shock,was that another nuke?  Then realizing it wasn’t loud enough, I got into gear and ran through the kitchen door. 

 I entered the dining room just as Terry was grabbing KA.  The eight-foot long, solid maple dining room table he had thrown into the Commons room was still teetering on its side, next to the TV set.

 “Get the fuck outta my way, or I’ll kill ya,” he shouted at Terry.  “Let me go or I’ll fucking shove radioactive shit down your throat.”  Kevin screamed like a wounded pit bull. 

 She let him go, realizing that restraining him was exacerbating his rage.  Terry backed off further, spreading her arms out to block his movement into the Commons room, subtly shepherding him towards his room.

 “Take a time-out Kevin.  Take a time-out in your room,” she commanded in a firm, even voice. 

 She gave me a look, and I nodded.  I would go to Kevin’s room and talk with him in five minutes to help him recover.  Right now though, there was no way to talk with Kevin A.

 Kevin walked to his room and slammed his door. 

 Hmm, sounds more theatrical than fury, I  thought, and decided I could let Kevin chill for five minutes without camping outside his door to make sure he wasn’t going to cut his wrists, throw more stuff around or even leap through the window and run away in utter disregard for the radioactivity. 

 Terry concurred with her own intuitive assessment and returned to the TV. 

 I turned to Bill and together we righted the table and carried it back to the dining area.

 “Things got a little exciting here for a second, eh Bill?”

 “Yeah, that kid is really pissed.  What happened?  He didn’t seem that pissed-off when you’s were talking in the kitchen.”

 “The kids can be like that.  They carry a heavy load, emotionally, and anything can set them off.  Today, we’re all carrying a load and we just saw how a volcano can explode at any time for any reason.  Doesn’t have to be connected, really.  That’s why they call therapy ‘work’ and I get the big bucks around here.”  I winked. 

 He got the joke and smiled back.

 “Bill,” I continued, “you’re gonna spend the night, right?”

 “Yeah.  I guess so.  I live out in Canton and that’s too far to go tonight or even tomorrow.  I’m gonna wait until I know it’s safe, if that’s okay with you.”

 “Oh, no, I’m grateful that you’re here.  I really am.  But two things.  One is, let’s get you settled for the night.  We’ve got extra rooms.  We’ve got sixteen bedrooms, although a few are unusable with the dust and all.  But we only have seven kids on the books.  So, you can have your own room; I know I’m gonna take one.”

 “Okay.”

 “The second thing is I’d like to unload your truck tomorrow.  We’ll take shifts, limit our exposure.”

 “I don’t know how safe it’ll be tomorrow,” said Bill.  “It’ll take a while to unload my truck, being jumbled and all.  It’s only a twenty-eight footer, but it was packed.  Besides, it a refrigerated truck, so even though the compressors aren’t working the food’ll keep for a few days at least.”

 “Good.  I’m saying that because I think we might have to make a stand here.  I don’t think any of my staff is coming in tomorrow or anytime soon.  We’ve got seven people to feed until God knows when.  You’ve got the food; we’ve got electricity and running water.  God bless the fact that all our utilities are underground and that the propane tank for our stove and hot-water heater stayed intact.  I don’t know what the rest of the world is like, but with what I heard this morning a whole lot of Worcester must be rubble, and with the fallout I don’t know when we can get home or when help will get to us.  We’ve got some tough kids here.”

 “I can see that.”

 “And I want to keep them safe for as long as possible.  We might be here for a while, weeks maybe.”

 “Weeks!  It better not be weeks.  I’m not staying weeks – not more than a day or two, even.  I don’t think it’s smart to walk in the dust tonight like Jeannie and Gina did, so I’m staying.  But I’m outta here as soon as it’s safe, I can tell you that.”

 “Yeah, I hear ya; we’ll play it by ear.  The first thing we need to do is find out when things are gonna be safe outside.  Then, we can make plans.”

 “I’ll try dispatch first thing.  See what they know.”

 Bill left for the video games, and I headed to KA’s room.

 “Kevin, can I come in?” I asked, knocking lightly on his door.  There was no response. 

 I knocked a little louder.

 “Kevin, I need to come in.  I want to see how you’re doing.” 

 Still no answer.  I turned the knob and opened the door a crack.  “Kevin,” I called out.

 He was lying on his bed facing away from me, listening to his walkman at maximum volume.  I could hear the rap tune without the benefit of the headphones.  KA was blasting his anger to the ethers. 

 I banged loudly on the door.

 “Kevin!”

 He finally heard me and turned his head.

 “Kevin, take off your headphones,” I instructed.  “I need to talk to you.” 

 He complied.

 “How are you doing, Kevin?”

 He shrugged.

 “The table doesn’t look busted, so you’re not going to have to pay any restitution.  That’s the good thing.  Of course, you’ll be on delta status for two days for throwing furniture.  No desserts or privileges.  But that’s not news to you, right?  You know that’s our standard consequence for throwing things.  Right?

 “Yeah.”

 “But, cursing out Terry, well, you’re gonna have to apologize to her.”

 “She shouldn’t have grabbed me!  I shouldn’t have to apologize for anything.  She should apologize to me!”  Kevin was still a little hot.

 “Maybe she was protecting herself, or the other guys, Kev.  Maybe she was scared seeing a table come her way.  Eh?  What do you think?”

 “I didn’t throw anything at her.  She shouldn’t have touched me.”

 “Okay, I understand that you’re not comfortable with what she did.  May I suggest you write her a letter of acknowledgment, not necessarily apologizing but explaining what you experienced.  And you have to acknowledge that you did throw a table.” 

 Kevin paused before speaking.  “Will you help me?”

 “Yeah, sure, but not tonight.  Besides our computers are down, so we don’t have a word processor.  But, you could always write it out long hand.  You up for that?”

 “I’d rather wait for the computers to come back on line.”

 ”Okay, but, by this time tomorrow you’ve got to have something to Terry, either a verbal acknowledgment or a written one, even if it’s in your own handwriting.” 

 Kevin shrugged.

 “I take that as a ‘yes.’  Is it a ‘yes’?”

 “Yes!”  Kevin was still edgy.

 “So, what got you going?”

 “Nothing.”

 “Kevin.”

 “Oh, I don’t know.”

 “The bomb?”

 “Nah; I don’t know.  Maybe.  But, I’m not afraid of dying.  I’m not even afraid of guns and stuff.  They’re just, well, I don’t know.  They just are.  War is just the way it is.  Now, I’m in one.  It’s no big deal.”

 “Well, whatever it was, you seem to be okay, now.  Are you?”

 “Yeah, I’m okay.”

 “You okay enough to come out to the Commons room and apologize to the guys?  You probably scared them, ya know.  Not just Terry.”

 “Ah, I don’t have to apologize to them.  They know I’m cool.  I didn’t scare them.”

 “I’m not so sure Kevin.  Why not think of it as a courtesy to them – acknowledging that you acted in a loud and scary way, and that they might be a little upset by it.  At the very least, you interrupted their video game.”

 “Yeah, so.”

 “Well, gentlemen make things right when things need to be made right.  This is one of those times.  The guys will think better of you, too, if you do.  I know it.  Besides, full apologies knock down your delta time by half.  You’ll cut your “D time” to one day by talking to the guys.  Whaddaya say, Kevin?”

 “Well,… okay.” 

 Kevin slowly pulled off his walkman and rolled out of bed.  We walked to the Commons room together.

 Terry was with the guys.  I stood next to her and spoke firmly enough to pierce the fierce concentration directed towards the X-Men, or whatever the hell was sword-fightin’ up on the screen.

 “Terry, guys.  In a little while I suggest we turn off the TV and have a house meeting.  But first, Kevin A has something to say to you all.”

 “Hunh-Hunh,” came grunts from the four kids huddled in front of the tube.  I didn’t know if it was an affirmation or a prelude to a power struggle.  But they heard me.

 “Please turn off the game, or put it on pause so that you can hear what Kevin has to say.” 

 Willy kept on playing, unable to turn away from some righteous entanglement with evil-doers.

 “Willy!”  I commanded.  “Turn it off.” 

 Nothing.  I stepped towards him and at the last second he flicked the switch.

 “Kevin,” I offered, “the moment is yours.” 

 All the guys pivoted around and looked at him.

 “I’m sorry for throwing the table.  Dave says that might have scared some of ya, so I wanted to say I’m sorry.”

 “Yeah, man, you were out of your skull,” Trey said.

 “Take your meds, dude, before you kill somebody,” Willy offered.  “I wouldn’t want to have to defend myself and -”

 “-are you okay now, Trey?” Terry interrupted before Willy could add any more toxicity into the proceedings.

 “Yeah, I’m okay.”

 “See, Kevin,” I interjected, “some people get upset even when we don’t see it.  Remember that guys.  There’s a lesson here for all of us.”

 “Yeah, well, can I go back to my game, now,” challenged Willy.

 “In a minute,” I answered.  “Anybody else want to say something about what happened?” 

 No one spoke. 

 “Well, I guess that’s it then,” I said.  “Thanks, Kevin, for apologizing.  As for how everyone else is feeling about the bomb, does anyone have anything to say?”

 “Er, Dave,” interjected Terry, “let’s wait on that until the morning.”  She raised her eyebrows indicating that she wanted to speak with me privately about it first.  I got her silent message loud and clear.

 “Sure, Terry.  Probably a good idea.  But, while I have everyone’s attention, another topic to think about is what we’re going to do in case we have to stay here for awhile.  One idea is to unload Bill’s truck as soon as it’s safe to spend a little time outside.  We need the food and I expect everyone to help.”

 “Are we gonna get clock-hours?” Trey asked.

 “It’s gonna be for food that you’re gonna eat,” I insisted, not wanting to pay the guys the $5.15/hour we paid them for extra chores.

 “Yeah, but you want me to unload food you’re gonna eat.  I should get paid,” insisted Trey.

 I gave in.  “Okay.  You guys‘ll get clock-hours.”

 “We should get double-hours,” chimed Willy.  “Its hazardous combat duty.  We could die out there.”

 “Yeah!”  Everybody turned away from the X Men, or Z- Men, or Whatever Men.  They had a real battle now; real money and a cause, and they had me on the ropes.  They smelled blood and it smelled fine.

 “Okay, double-clock hours.”

 “Yeah!  Oh, man, we’re gonna be raking in the cash,” shouted Willy.

 “Can we go to White City Mall Saturday?” asked KP.  “I wanna spend my money…Oooooooh, wheee.”

 “I can taste it now,” clamored Trey, clenching his fists.  “Sweet green in mo’ pocket.  Oh, Momma!”  

The chorus of happy wage slaves talking at once was charming.

 I looked at Terry cautiously as we walked toward the office.  I had just spent her money without her approval, and she looked at me neutrally.  Finally, she said, “Yeah, it’s okay, but,” under her breath – and then leaning toward my ear added, “next time you ask me first, okay?” 

I nodded smiling, relieved she wasn’t making an issue of it.  She smiled too, but I wished she smiled bigger.

“Go to the mall?” I mused out loud to Terry, walking back to the office.  “Such innocence.”

 Terry nodded, then said, “Let’s develop our plans privately before you spring them on the boys, okay Dave?”

 “Of course, Terry.  Bill and I had just been talking about unloading the truck and it just came up.  I wasn’t expecting a whole big discussion about it.”

 “Well, they jumped on it, didn’t they?”

 “Yup.”

 “So, we have to be prepared.  We need to discuss all our plans ahead of time so we’re not changing things, or arguing in front of the boys.  It’ll stir them up needlessly.  Got it?”

 “Got it.  I apologize, and I agree with you that we need to coordinate with each other first.  That was pretty stupid of me….I guess I was just on a role about how we’re gonna survive here….”

 “Apology accepted, and I understand about thinking out loud.  Yeah, we’ve got a lot to figure out if we’re gonna make it here, so, maybe we should have the house meeting tomorrow when we know more.  Let the boys wind down now with the tube and then go to sleep, not stir them up tonight.  I need a whole day ahead of me if they start acting out, not a whole night when I’m tired.”

 “Yeah, good idea,” I said, then turned and called out to guys, “We’re gonna have the house meeting tomorrow, when we know more.” 

Kevin P waved a half-hearted acknowledgment. 

 That was good enough for me.

 “Guys, it’s 8:30,” announced Terry.  “TV’s off at 9:00.  That’s thirty minutes from now.  Then, it’s time for bed.  Lights out at 9:30.”

 “When’s snacks?” Kevin P called out.

 “Damn, that’s right,” I whispered.  I was tired and didn’t want to do any more nurturing.

 “If y’all want snacks, get ‘em now,” said Terry, whipping out her keys.  “I’m opening up the kitchen.  If ya want ‘em, come an’ git ’em.” 

The whole herd headed for the kitchen.

 Inside the office, Bill was rocking back in his chair and staring at the ceiling. 

 “Quite a day, eh?” I said, walking in. 

 “Yup,” Bill said, never looking at me.  He kept on rocking.

 Too numb to try to connect with Bill, I reached for the circuit panel behind him and threw the breaker on the TV.  I was shutting down our day and getting ready for whatever came next.

 To help with that, I meditated before I went to bed.  I closed my eyes and took a few power breaths that I’d learned at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment.  Moving the energy really charged my mental system.  Humming, I settled into a deep quiet. 

 Why Worcester?  Why nuke this place?  We’re so “no where.” 

 I wonder how Sis and the kids have been affected up in FitchburgChrist, I bet mom is trying to get through to Sis every fifteen minutes… 

 Mom and dad have probably been watching everything on TV all day.  Man, I didn’t even try to call, but I couldn’t have gotten through probably, like the others.

 Even though I had been raised on Long Island, Worcester had been my mom’s home town.  I wonder if her old neighborhood of Westwood made it though?

 And…what about Cousin Betsy and John in Marlboro?  I wonder how they made out.  How about the Leubauskis’ and the Ziziscus’?  Or even Nanna’s grave at St. John Cemetery on the southside?  Did anything survive?

 And why, if I believe I create all of my reality, did I create being in a nuclear war? What’s the purposeful good of that? 

I breathed deeply and focused, asking my Holy Spirit for answers.

 Nothing came.  I accept, I told myself.  

 ©  2011 Bruce A. Smith

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