Stressed…a new story idea…unedited, incomplete…

I sip my coffee; I don’t slurp it like some prehistoric relic unable to find his way out of his cave. Sometimes, you gotta enjoy the little things, because the big things are too much. 

“You’ve gotta be like the politicians. No one is gonna let you take all their freedoms away at one time, you gotta chip away at them bit by bit.”

If only I had done that instead of trying to solve the entire problem at once. But…I didn’t. 

I’ve had this whole take on the world mentality since I was a young’un. An old man had stopped me outside of the five-and-dime. I was maybe nine at the time.

“You Freeman’s don’t know how to relax. You’d go a lot further if you wouldn’t stress the little things.” I nodded and muttered ‘yes sir.’ Then I pedaled off as fast as I could pump my tiny legs. 

I grew up, and out, and my stress grew with me. No matter how trivial things were, I found a way to stress about them. Even when I was not directly involved in something, I worried about it. 

“You’re gonna die long before you’re supposed to if you keep it up,” people told me. I worried about that too. 

Worrying became the national sport of my world.  I even enlisted people to listen to me complain. Yesterday, I sat in a tiny office crammed with black and white photos, an overstuffed bookshelf, a bland looking cardboard box that held the remains of a half-eaten sandwich, two chairs, and a desk.

My psychologist looked at me as I started on my prepared speech.

“I hate everything and everybody,” I told her. “People are the weeds on this tiny planet. Like an idiot we keep bringing more and more life to this rock. I bet there’s an intergalactic hippie standing on a cosmic street corner with a sign around his neck that reads: Are you stupid? Does your family have a hard time thinking? If so, I’ve got a place just for you. Come with me and tour Planet Earth.”

She stared at me with those unblinking eyes and forced a smile. 

“Well, you’re wound up.”

“It’s been a month,” I muttered. In my mind I saw a yellow-jacketed cheerleader leaping up and down on the shoulders of a T-Rex. 

“Shut up,” the cheerleader shouted. “You’re gonna get shipped back to the white roomed sanctum. They’re gonna sedate you if you don’t close your mouth!”

I ignored her. People needed to hear what I had to say. My psychologist lifted the phone and spoke in hushed tones. 

“You were saying something about an intergalactic hippie?”

“Yup. He’s hitchhikes across the galaxy handing out packets of truth, and on occasion, throat punches.”

“Who does he throat punch?”

“Everyone but politicians. He can’t break the barriers that surround them.”

“He doesn’t like politicians,” my psychologist asked. Her forehead furrowed up at the mention of barriers and politicians. Her frown deepened.

“Don’t nobody like politicians.”

“True enough,” she said under her breath. My psychologist looked tired. Her eyes showed the weariness she must have felt in her soul.

The door opened and a burly man and woman stepped into the room.  They forced a smile at me, and a six-inch syringe came into view. 

“It’s okay,” my psychologist began. “This will help you sleep. Then, we can help you. Just stay still…”

“Aliens,” I hissed. “Stay away from me you bloodthirsty juggernauts. I won’t tell you again.”

“We’ve got a live one,” the burly woman said. “Hold him while I sedate him.”

“Yeah? Well, you look like you swallowed a football, you fat-headed yahoo!”

The burly man chuckled as he reached for me. I leapt out of my chair and searched for an exit. The office only had one door, and these two burly behemoths blocked my way out. 

“Six steps to the door,” I counted in my mind, 
“half-left face, nine steps to the end of the hall…half left face….eighteen steps to exit the lobby…”

As I started counting the steps across the waiting room to the front door, and freedom, I felt a pinch as the syringe pierced my skin.

“Don’t hurt him,” I heard my psychologist say as I crumpled to the ground. “He has a brilliant mind that we can use.”

She stood over me, the weariness lingered in her eyes. I pointed at her. 

“You’re my princess. I have to save you.”

My sleep kept getting interrupted by numbers. “28 steps to the front door. Left face. 39 steps to your vehicle. 3 seconds to start vehicle. Nine to exit the parking lot.”

I came to in the back of an ambulance with the siren wailing.  An angel hovered over me. She smiled a beautiful smile and winked at me. 

“You don’t look crazy,” she said nodding to the straps that held me.

“That’s because I’m not. This is my penance for knowing something other people do not.”

This angel was something to admire. She had a round face and black eyes, her lips were full, and when she smiled her teeth were as white as the stars. 

“And what do you know that others don’t?”

“You can’t trust anybody,” I said, while I choked down the urge to spill my guts to this heavenly creature. “Betrayal never comes from strangers but from those closest to you.”

She giggled and nodded. The angel leaned close to me and whispered, “most people know that already. So, why are you strapped down in the back of an ambulance?”

“Because, I trusted someone and they betrayed me.”

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