Being of a Forewarning Thrice Given

Below is a sample story from All of It Volume 1 (purchase the physical volume here)

John just woke up. It’s lighter outside than it should be when he wakes up, which mean it’s late, which means he’ll be late. For work. Oh brother. He squints, confused. No alarm? Did he turn it off in his unconscious sleep? He checks it. No. The alarm switch was set one click past radio. Off – Buzzer – Radio – Silent.

“Silent?” What good is that?

He didn’t even know his alarm clock had a silent mode. Had he read the instruction manual it would have advised him:

Silent is handy if you need to get up early, but don’t really want to, so when you arrive late to the work, you have an excuse. Say, for example, to the boss, “I set my alarm, don’t know what happened Boss. Oh, and the dog ate my report too.”

John sat there a moment, soaking in the gravity of the situation. Now he couldn’t lay in bed and think about how much he just wanted to go back to sleep and not go to work. There wasn’t any time for fooling around. No room in the schedule for delay. No dilly dallying. John had to get up, that’s all there was to it.

All right Okay.


John’s standing now, but remains tired. He looks back at the clock which confirms he’s still running late. He needs to make up some time. Can’t fool around, must be quick. He grabs his pants standing up and puts on the first leg, his right. It slides right in, like he’s been doing it all his life.

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The Triumph Over Fear

Below is a sample story from All of It Volume 1 (purchase the physical volume here)

“They have a thirteenth floor at the hospital?” Apparently. This didn’t leave me with the best feeling, and I wasn’t even going to the thirteenth floor, I just saw it as an option in the elevator. Seems spooky. Who wants to have an operation on the thirteenth floor? Paging Dr. Bad Luck for his 2:15 botched surgery.

No thanks.

But I wasn’t going to the thirteenth floor. I was going to the fifth floor. In the elevator I chose Five and found my way to an open seat in the waiting room. I had lots of time to think, but I didn’t want to think about my friend, so I spent a good deal of time thinking about thirteen.

And from there?

From thirteen, I went on a ways. Winding up so far away from thirteen that I had to trace back my thought steps to see how I had arrived there. A strange destination, but turns out, it all fit. It all made as much sense as it could. Turns out, having a thirteenth floor in a building is a good thing, especially in a hospital.

When you think about things from the optimistic viewpoint, you want your hospital to have a thirteenth floor.

And let’s add in some black cats for that matter. And feel free to walk under a ladder or break a mirror too. Someone sends you a chain letter? Toss it out – don’t they know how expensive a stamp is these days?! Go ahead and spill all the salt you want – it’s about the cheapest thing you can buy in the store. Open your umbrella inside too – no sense in getting soaked while you fiddle with it outside.

The point of this being – all this bad luck stuff isn’t real. Made up superstitions. Irrational socially-accepted phobias. They aren’t real. They help you as much as they hurt you – not a bit.

So of course there’s a thirteenth floor at the hospital. Because hospitals are a place of science. It isn’t superstition or hoodoo that’s going to save people’s lives. It’s centuries millennia of learning and experiments and rational thought and everything else that shows the best of what people are capable of. It’s all the good that humanity has done to learn and pass on the knowledge of how to the triumph over the . . . well, the unknown.

Triumph over fear.

You set up your floors the way hotels do and go from 12 straight to 14? Okay, then what’s next? We roll some chicken bones in the sand, get some old lady to take a look at them and tell us what will happen? And if it’s bad news, do we consult the tea leaves? Hunt for a four leaf clover, touch a chimney sweep, or change the orientation of our horseshoes?

No thanks.

Of course after I’ve said all this, everywhere I look in the hospital there’s religious stuff. The place was named after a saint, so I guess it fits. It’s just a bit strange, in the place that didn’t give a second thought to the thirteenth floor, to have all that religious stuff. Not that I care, it just seems funny. And in that waiting room – waiting – you need all the humor you can get.

I’m not saying religion is made up or isn’t real, but still, you can’t prove god. The whole thing is based on faith. And while faith isn’t superstition, it’s much closer to that than science. No tests, no evidence – just belief – that’s the whole point of it. Faith, that is.

So what do the doctors think of walking by all these artifacts of faith? Do they hope for help? Pray for it? Or, are they confident they can perform their surgery alone, without the aid of unseen forces?

What happened with my friend?

Did the surgeon know they couldn’t do it – that they couldn’t save the life of the stranger on the table? Did some doctor who rides to the thirteenth floor ask for other worldly help?

Or did they keep fighting to the end – relying on decades of experience and education, all built on millennia of knowledge and reason, only still to come up short?

Because science can’t save everything.

Prayers, it seems, can’t either.

Now I can only hope my friend still exists somewhere in an un-seeable, un-provable place.

Read another sample here, or purchase the entire physical volume here.