Resolution by Andrew Joyce {Excerpt)

Molly's Gun

Huck looked at Molly and nodded.

She stood with such force that she knocked her chair backwards and it started to fall. She had her gun out and in her hand before the chair hit the floor. The scraping noise of the chair as Molly stood turned the men’s attention from the gold to the table. It was the last act of their lives. Molly had a bullet into each one of them before they knew they were dead.

Jass couldn’t believe it. He took the bottle of Three Star, tilted it to his mouth and drank a goodly portion. Then he sat down and wiped his brow. In spite of the cold, he had been sweating.  Huck went to Molly and gently touched her cheek with the back of his hand. “Good girl,” was all he said.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

 

A Conversation with a Friend

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I was hanging out the other night at the Tiki Hut, minding my own business, when a voice behind me said, “Hey man, what’s up?”

I should first explain that the Tiki Hut is an edifice here at the marina where I live. The denizens of said marina congregate there on occasion to commune with one another. I, on the other hand, avoid it like the plague. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just that I don’t like being around people, but that particular evening I had the place to myself.

I turned around, and standing there was this dude I had never seen before, although he did look kind of familiar.

“Hello,” I said in response. I was a little perturbed at having my solitude interrupted, but decided not to be rude. “Are you new here?” I asked in a friendly manner.

“Somewhat.”

I mentally shrugged. I didn’t care one way or the other, I was being polite. Well, I had done my part and started to head back to my boat. I had a six-pack of cold beers waiting for me and I thought it about time I paid it some attention.

“Want a beer?”

It was the dude. He was holding a plastic grocery bag that I had not noticed before. It definitely had the outline of a six-pack. Figuring the guy might be lonely, and thinking I might as well do my Christian duty, I said, “Sure, why not?” I would have a beer and we’d shoot the shit and then I’d get the hell out of there. I reckoned I could put up with him for the time it would take to drink one beer.

He reached into the bag and came out with two bottles of my favorite beer. Things were looking up. He did the honors of popping the caps and we both took a long pull of that cold, good-tasting beverage.

“So,” I said, “you moving in?”

“I’m thinking about it. I wanted to get a feel for the place first. Do you like living here?”

“It’s okay. As long as you pay your rent on time, they leave you alone.”

I’ll not bore you with the rest of the mundane conversation. That first beer led to a second and then a third. I was starting to warm up to the guy by the fourth. Then it dawned on me. We both had had four beers, but we started out with only one six-pack. When I mentioned that fact, he said, “No, you must be mistaken. There were two six-packs in the bag.”

Another mental shrug on my part.

As I popped the cap on my fifth beer, he asked me, “So, what do you think of the state the world is in?”

If I had been asked that question on the first or second or even the third beer, I would have bolted. I don’t get into conversations like that. Truth be known, I generally don’t get into conversations at all. I live alone and I like it that way. I don’t have to please anyone and I sure as hell don’t have to answer stupid questions. But . . . I was on my fifth beer and the guy was buying. So, what the hell?

“It depends on what world you are talking about. My little world is doing just fine. I eat every day. And when it rains, I’m dry. What more could a man ask for?”

He nodded, but said nothing. Fueled by Guinness Stout, I went on.

“Now, if you’re asking about the world in general, I would have to say that for the majority of the people in it, the place is a shit-hole. Wouldn’t you say so?”

“I would say that the vast majority of the people on this planet are living the lives that they want to live.”

Now the guy was pissing me off. Being of Irish descent and having four and a half Guinnesses in me got me up on my soap box.

“Do you believe in God?” I asked with a drunken sneer.

“I have heard of Him, but I don’t know if I believe in Him.”

“Well, if God is real, how can he let the suffering go on? How can he allow a baby to get cancer? How can the son-of-a-bitch let the world get into the mess that it is in today?”

“Good questions, my friend. Very good questions.”

“Don’t patronize me, and hand me another goddamn beer.”

I was in rare form.

When I had been placated with my sixth beer (but who’s counting?), my new-found friend went on.

“Many people feel as you do. They use the same argument. ‘If there is a God, how can He allow the suffering?’ I think the answer is that there is no God. There is only the Oneness. There is only us. Perhaps we are God. And if we are God, how could we allow ourselves to suffer?”

That was it for me. Free beer or not, I was out of there. The guy was crazy. But first I would finish my beer . . . just to be polite.

Then he went on.

“It’s a shame that we don’t believe in reincarnation because that would explain many things. If reincarnation was for real that would mean souls exist before birth. It might even mean that we choose our lives. That life is not a crap shoot.”

I was thinking, “You’re a crap shoot!”

“Do you know that physicists have proven, mathematically at least, that there is no such thing as time and that we are living in a hologram? And if that is so, then what does anything matter? Look at it this way. We live in a dimension known as space-time. You cannot have one without the other. You cannot have time without space and you cannot have space without time. Right?”

“If you say so. How about another beer?” We were now into the third six-pack that wasn’t there. But what the fuck?

“Think of it this way. Space-time is a manifestation only of the physical plane. Off the physical plane, there is no space-time by definition. Correct?”

“Please stop asking me to confirm what you are saying. I’ll admit it makes sense . . . so far. So, I’ll sit here and listen to you as long as that magic bag keeps popping out Guinnesses.”

“Okay. Now visualize this. If you were to look into a dimension of time-space from a dimension of non-time-space, meaning a non-physical universe, what would you see?”

“Your momma!”

He smiled at me with such forbearance that I felt ashamed at having made such a flippant remark. And I sobered up instantly. “I’m sorry I said that. Please go on.”

“I take no offense and I assure you, ‘my momma’ takes no offense.”

I pushed my half-finished beer aside and waited. He didn’t seem drunk, yet he had had as many beers as I. He took another deep swallow of his Guinness and continued.

“What you would see is all time happening at once. That is what you would see. Now, here’s my point. If all time happens at once and we are living in a hologram—a false reality if you will. And if we pre-exist before we are born, and if we know the lives we are going to live, and if there is no time, which means the duration of our lives are as one-millionth of the time it takes to blink an eye, then how are we harmed?”

A good question to which I had no answer. But I had to ask, “Who the hell are you?”

“I’ve been known by many names over many lives. My time on the space-time plane is over. I just come to visit once in a while because that’s what I do. I am a teacher. Sometimes to the multitudes, sometimes to just one lonely man thinking of drinking a beer by himself. In my last incarnation, I was known as Jesus Bar Joseph, or Jesus, Son of Joseph. In parting, let me say this. There is no God. There is only the Oneness and we are all fragments of that Oneness, playing out our existence. Working our way back to the Oneness where we will be reunited. There is no hell and there is no heaven. There is no loss, there is only us. Peace be with you, my friend.”

Then he glowed with such intensity that I had to cover my eyes. The brilliance was filled with love. I have never felt such love. I have never been so loved. It was all I could do not break down and cry right there on the spot.

Then he was gone.

Now I sit here pondering his words. If we are all One, then hiding from my neighbors might not be such a smart thing. I think I’ll invite that nice young couple who live a few boats over for a Sunday brunch. If I can make it through that, perhaps I’ll visit the Tiki Hut a little more often.

You never know who you might meet there.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Got this email today…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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A woman went to the doctor’s where she was seen by one of the younger doctors.

After about four minutes in the examination room, she burst out and ran screaming as she went down the hall.

An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story.

After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room.

The older doctor marched down the hallway back to where the young doctor was writing on his clipboard.

“What the hell is the matter with you” the older doctor demanded.

Mrs Terry is 71 years old, has four grown children and seven grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?”

The younger doctor continued writing and without even looking up said, “Does she still have hiccups?”

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Got Love

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My name is Tommy and I have something to say. I’m nineteen, I am in love for the very first time, and I want to tell you about it. I want to tell the world about it!

My parents were killed in an automobile accident when I was five. Having no other family, I was placed in foster care. I went through many families. Some cared and some did not. Some were in it for the money, some thought they were doing good, but they all had one thing in common. Never, not once, since my parents died did I ever feel loved.

Two weeks before my eighteenth birthday, I walked away from my last foster family. They weren’t so bad, but still there was no love. I put out my thumb. I was heading for Montana. Maybe I could get a job on a ranch and become a modern-day cowboy. However, I got sided-tracked along the way.

Outside of Kansas City, Kansas with the sun sinking fast, turning the western sky a rich pink, I contemplated God. At least He got His sunsets and sunrises right. He still has some work to do as far as I’m concerned, were my thoughts as I waited for my next ride.

A lemon-yellow, 1973 Ford Mustang screeched to a halt and the man driving leaned over and said through the open passenger-side window, “I’m heading to San Francisco, that do you any good?” I nodded, opened the door, and climbed in.

The driver introduced himself as Bryant. He was a few years older than I was. He said that he made his living working with computers. Within minutes, the sun fell below the horizon and the stars were starting to make their nightly appearance. We did not speak as we sped across the prairie. Well, not at first, but then Bryant started a conversation that lasted until we hit Colorado. We talked about everything under the sun: Religion, politics, women, sports, death and taxes. By the time we hit the state line, I had decided to continue on with Bryant all the way to San Francisco. Forget Montana!

We came into Boulder well after midnight. He pulled into the parking lot of a cheap motel and said, “I’m getting a room and you are welcome to share it. If not, I’ll be leaving at first light and if you are on the road, I’ll pick you up.”

Halfway out of the car he stopped and sat back down. “How stupid of me. You must be hungry. Let’s rustle us up some food, then you can do what you want.”

He was right, I was hungry. I had not eaten all day. We found a diner still opened and he bought me the best meal I ever had.

Now this next part is kind of dicey . . . kind of private, but it is germane to the story so here goes. At school, and in my life, I had never been attracted to girls. They were just there, part of the landscape. I was never aroused by a well-rounded ass in tight jeans. Tits did nothing for me; a smile from a pretty girl did not start my heart a-racing. However, at gym class and in the showers, I found myself thinking that the male body was so much more beautiful than a female’s. But I did not dwell on it. I wasn’t no fucking faggot!

After we had our greasy hamburgers and fries, we went back to the motel and Bryant got himself a room. As I was getting my bag out of his car, he said, “Up to you, kid. You want to sleep outside or inside?” I chose inside.

There was only one bed, so I figured I’d sleep on the floor.

After the lights were out, Bryant said, “There is plenty of room over here. If you want, we can share the bed.”

I wanted to share the bed with him. I was attracted to him, but I was no faggot. Or was I?

I got myself up, slid beneath the sheets, and felt his warm body. He did not make a move toward me. He did not touch me. I found myself getting hard, and I reached out and touched his face. He took my face in his hands and drew me to him. We kissed; it was my first kiss ever. His tongue probed, he was gentle.

What happened next is no concern of yours. Today, at nineteen, I am with the most loving man in the world. He does his computer thing and I take care of the house.

I give love.

I get love.

I got love.

Amen

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Beauty and the Beast

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Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess whose every wish and whim was the law of the land. Her every desire, no matter the difficulty in obtaining it, was fulfilled. Her father, the king, had brought her up to believe that his kingdom—everyone and everything in it—was hers to do with as she pleased. She was an only child and the apple of her father’s eye. Her mother, the queen, died while giving her birth.

Her father was a cruel king and his subjects lived in abject fear of him. His daughter took after him and not a day went by when she did not have someone flogged for the smallest transgression.

However, for all her power and all her wealth, the princess was lonely. She had had many proposals of marriage. Princes came from near and far to ask for her hand. They brought the riches of their kingdoms and laid their treasure at her feet. Nevertheless, she rebuffed all offers of marriage—and she grew lonelier still.

One day, as she and her father were riding through the kingdom, followed by their retinue, they happened upon a young peasant of about twenty summers. He was comely of face; the sinew of his muscles glistened with sweat in the morning sun. Being deep in thought and intent on the task at hand, he did not hear the approach of the royal entourage. Hence, he did not prostrate himself as all subjects were required to do when the king or princess passed.

The king halted the procession and pointed to the peasant. The captain of the guard, knowing his duty, ordered two of his men to bring the man before the king. He was accosted and held by his arms. Thusly, he was dragged before the king and made to kneel.

With face upturned, he looked from the king to the princess and back to the king. At length the king said, “How is it that thou does not prostrate thyself when thy king passes?”

The peasant, whose name was Tom, explained, “I am sorry, Sire. I did not hear you coming, so engaged was I in what I was doing.”

The king smiled a malicious and evil smile. “There are no excuses. Captain, show this man what happens to those who flaunt the edicts of the land. Tie him to a tree and administer forty lashes. And when thou has finished, chop off his left hand as a reminder to others that their king’s decrees are absolute. I am feeling benevolent today. Chop off only his left hand. His right hand, he shall not forfeit.”

All through the exchange between sovereign and subject, the princess looked on, enthralled by the peasant’s bearing and striking good looks; his muscles fairly rippled under his tattered tunic. Never had a prince of the realm so enchanted her.

As the man was led to a nearby tree, the princess whispered to her father. The king’s eyes widened. “Are you sure?” he asked.

“I am sure,” she answered.

The king ordered that the punishment not proceed. In its stead, the peasant was to be brought to the castle and ensconced in a room suitable for a prince. “Burn his clothes and bathe him. Then dress him befittingly.” Having issued his decree, the king commanded the procession move on. The princess did not look back at the receding figure of the man she had just saved.

When she arrived back at the castle, the first thing the princess did was call for her maidservant and eagerly demanded of her, “Where is he?”

“Who, Your Highness?” asked the girl.

Losing her temper at the girl’s obtuseness, the princess lashed out. “The man that was brought here while I was gone! Where is he?”

A light dawned in the girl’s mind and she told of a man having been put in the unused wing of the castle and that a guard was posted to keep servants and members of the court away. However, her sister, who was also a servant in the castle, was ordered to take hot water to that wing and she saw the man.

The princess smiled a wicked smile and dismissed her maidservant with an order that her bath water be readied. After her toilet, and dressed in her finest raiments, the princess called for a guard and instructed that the man be brought to her sitting room.

The guard demurred, thinking that he should first get the king’s permission. However, after one look at the princess, he knew that failing to carry out her command would mean imprisonment. Or something worse.

In due time, Tom was brought before the princess. His countenance wore a perplexed expression. He stood before the princess a moment before speaking. “I remember you. You were riding with the king this morning. Can you please tell me how I happened to be here?”

“You are here because I wanted you here,” the princess calmly replied.

Tom, not understanding, awaited her pleasure. He did not have long to wait. “What do they call you?” she asked.

“I am Tom, son of Tom the Tinker.”

“Do you know who I am?” the princess queried.

“You are a lady, milady. That is all I know.”

“That is good enough for now. You and I shall dine together. Is there anything in particular that you fancy?”

Tom responded, “If it’s all the same to you, milady, I would like to leave this place. I have someone that will worry if I do not return on this eve.”

“No. It is not all the same to me. I saved you this morning from lashings and the loss of your hand; you now belong to me,” she said in a raised and angry voice.

Tom, not knowing what to make of the tirade, smiled at the girl before him and told her quite forcibly that he belonged to no one save his one true love.

Without a word of reply, the princess stood, walked to the door, and summoned the nearest servant. “Bring to me the captain of the guard—at once!” Thence she smiled at Tom and asked the name of his one true love.

Tom fathomed something in her manner and hesitated. “She lives not in this country. She is of a clan eight leagues to the north.” He lied. And the princess knew the lie for what it was.

“I tire of you,” she said.

It was then that there was a knocking upon the door. “Enter!” the princess commanded.

The captain entered and awaited word from his princess. She was not long in forthcoming with her instructions. “Take this man to the dungeon and see to it that he is not fed this night, nor on the morrow. He is not to be fed until I say so. He may have water, but that is all.” Showing reluctance, the captain said, “Your Highness, your father has instructed me to treat this man with courtesy.”

The princess informed the captain in no uncertain words that the king had issued his command on her behalf. Now she wanted the peasant in the dungeon. The captain, who had been at court many years, and was a captain because he knew how to obey orders, did as instructed. As he led Tom from the room, the princess intoned, “Captain, when you have finished with the charge given you, return to this chamber.”

The captain reported back as ordered and was given a new commission. “I want you to send men out to find a woman. She will be in the vicinity of where we came across that man. His name is Tom, son of Tom the Tinker. She will be either his wife or his intended. When you locate her, bring her here to me. Now leave. I am weary.”

The captain sent four of his best men to find . . . and bring back . . . one girl.

The undertaking was not as easy as the princess had thought. It was not until the early morning hours that the girl was located. And when she was brought to the castle, no one, including the captain, wanted to awaken the princess. So the girl was locked in a room until her highness awoke and had eaten her morning repast. It was only then that the captain sent word that the girl she desired was in the castle and awaiting her pleasure.

The young girl, whose name was May, was brought before the princess not knowing her offense. She was too scared to say anything. The princess walked around her once, twice, and at length said, “So you are the little snip that Tom prefers to me?”

Not knowing to what the princess referred, the girl said, “I am sorry, ma’am, but I do not know of what you speak.”

This infuriated the princess to no end. “I am Princess Elizabeth. I always get what I want. And I want Tom. Your Tom thinks you are more desirable than I, but if you were no more, then he would come to me willingly.”

The outburst had the opposite effect from that which the princess had intended. May stood straight and tall. With a smile, she let it be known that she was proud to love Tom and was proud of his love for her. Then she implored, “Where is Tom? Is he all right? May I see him?”

“You ask much for a peasant girl. No, you may not see him. He is mine, and as soon as you are dispatched, we will be married.” The princess smiled her coldhearted smile and called for the guard. “Take this girl to the dungeon and behead her.”

May, contrary to what the princess had envisioned, did not beg for her life. “You may kill me, but you will never kill Tom’s love for me.”

“Take her away and do as I have commanded,” screamed the princess.

That afternoon, Tom was brought before the princess. She bade him to sit at a table laid with the finest food in the land and to please partake of the fare.

“Do you think a night without food would have me forsake my true love? Nay! Not one night—not one thousand nights—will do so!”

The princess smiled and bid Tom to eat and enjoy. “I am not fearful of your love. Her name is May, is it not?”

Tom was startled and asked, “What do you know of her?”

“I know nothing of her. Nothing . . . that is  . . . excepting she lies dead below us.”

Tom shouted, “You lie!”

“Shall I have her head brought to us?”

It was then Tom knew in his innermost being that the princess spoke the truth. He walked over to a window. While looking down at the courtyard far below, he asked, “Why?”

The princess shrugged. “I wanted you and she stood in the way. Now you are mine.”

Tom shook his head. “I will never be yours.”

He then leaped to his death.

The End

The Beauty of this tale: The love between Tom and May.

The Beast is self-evident.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Granny

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This tale is mostly true:

My great-grandmother crossed the plains going to the promised land of California in a covered wagon. The year was 1866. She left St. Louis, Missouri, eight months after the end of the Civil War.

Her name was Rebecca Joyce. Her husband, Jeremiah, drove the wagon as Rebecca walked alongside—there was no room for riding. The wagon carried the things needed to start a new life. Rebecca walked the entire two thousand miles.

I know this because my family still has her diary. It recounts the harrowing trek across an unexplored land.

One hundred and sixty-six men, women, and children left on that fateful journey. One hundred and fifteen lived to see California—fifty-one souls did not.

Forty-two days after leaving Missouri, Rebecca reloaded her husband’s long gun as he fought off Indians from under their wagon. Twelve people were killed in that encounter. When they crossed the Green River, six of their party drowned. On the high plains, cholera hit, thirty-three died over a two-day period.

I tell you of these things for a reason. You younger folks of today have it easy, but still you complain. Well, what do you think of this? Rebecca crossed a continent—an untamed continent—with an iPhone 1 and only 2G service! And no video camera! Can you imagine the hardship? Can you picture what that poor woman had to go through to keep up with the goings-on of the Kardashian clan and what was trending on Twitter? The horror!

The next time your phone takes all of 0.0002 seconds to connect to Facebook and you think that’s an eternity, please remember Rebecca Joyce fighting off disease and Indians—worse still, she was in the dark on the latest news concerning Kim’s butt.

Thank you,

Andrew Joyce

Christmas Day, 2015

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

http://andrewjoyce76.com

What I Love Most About You

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What I love most about you is the way sunlight plays in your hair.

What I love most about you is the way you hold me when we dance.

What I love most about you is the way your eyes smile.

What I love most about you is the way you sing your songs.

What I love most about you is the way you make love to me.

What I love most about you is . . . you!

http://andrewjoyce76.com