Frequency: One (gathered)

ONE (gathered)

one can be kind

After the closing, Kent gathered together friends old and new (actually, he reflected as he looked around the pool, mostly new) for a pool party and barbecue. Stoli lemonades, string bikinis, steaks on the grill. And, he felt, it was good.

one can be mean

Strategically loose lips, approved up the chain of command, are one thing, but the opposition getting hold of a storyboard so that they already had their response ad ready before the damn thing even aired qualified as a sunk ship. Dave gathered the interns and lined them up against the wall. Time to grill the kids, to find out which little bird needed to be made an example of.

one can give a hand

Kent passed out five dollar lollipops to the ghosts who gathered on his doorstep for Halloween. Times were good, and he loved the way those kids screamed with glee. He liked to help the unfortunate, and even if the kids in this neighborhood lived in million dollar homes, most of their silicon moms were real uptight about the sugar intake.

one can learn

Kent gathered up some paperwork to leaf through, sat out on the front porch drinking iced tea, and watched the neighborhood kids he had hired do the yard work. It was just about a perfect day.

one would not answer the call

Her father surprised her when he brought the priest around to pray with her. Her father had never been that religious. She guessed he was just clutching at straws. Nothing she would have done herself, but she didn’t want to be rude. She gathered up her thoughts. She’d pray not for a cure but for a quick and surprising death, a lightning bolt rather than bedsores and lingering decay. If there was a merciful god.

one could move away

Anna had contemplated leaving Charlie more than once, but as she gathered up her things to pack, it occurred to her that she didn’t have any idea where else she could go, or who could make her feel happier, in spite of everything.

one will not be with us

Anna was never the loopy sort who believed in ghosts or angels or séances or the like, but still she gathered there might be some kind of spirit world, some way in which in which the dead are still with us.

one could show the way

Maggie spent several hours on Amazon and gathered some books on how to die in her shopping cart, but when they arrived a week later and she started reading them, she quickly realized that none of them recommended dying while reading books on how to die. She still hadn’t read War and Peace, and her last page-turners were to be self-help books? Better to read Kafka or koans.

one can say no

The rainbow people girl he was sharing a tent with at Burning Man handed Johnnie a bouquet of wildflowers she had gathered up from somewhere. The flower petals reminded of nothing so much as flames. He said they burned his hands, and he actually sat huddled in the tent and cried and rocked for a while as she comforted him, and he resolved not to have another one of whatever he just took.

one could look up

Johnnie had a long conversation at an LA nightclub with a former Suicide Girl about pinups and suicide. He liked the way she dressed. His top ten list included parachute-less free fall, automobile drive into the Grand Canyon like those two women in that movie, death by Viagra overdose, and jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Not the Golden Gate, that would be too clichéd, though he gathered that since she was from California, that might be more her style.

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