It was an unbelievable experience and not one I would like to repeat. Common sense should have told me not to, but sometimes I must learn the hard way. I remember running; running like my life depended on it and it did. My lungs felt like they were on fire, but still I ran. It was a sweltering summer evening; the type of evening that feels like a sauna is wrapping itself around your skin over and over. Despite the heat and humidity, my skin was cold and clammy.
Tom, my boss for eleven years, was dead. Everyone, the police, even my best friends believed I was the one who had pulled the trigger. A person without a face kept drifting into my confused mind. Who? Who could have killed my boss, my friend? Who would have done this after I was the last one to leave his office? Why would they do that to him, to his wife, to me?
There is a crowded strip mall a block away. Instinctively I head for the crowd. Every breath of air that I force into my lungs feels like knives stabbing. The hot, humid air of the night isn’t helping. The strip mall is more crowded than usual. Loud carnival music blares from unseen speakers above the din of a couple hundred merry making partiers. Everyone is dressed gaily in bright costumes and the smell of spicy Cajun cooking is heavy in the air. Tonight is the Mardi Gras fundraiser for the children’s home. Dressed in sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt, I stand out from the crowd. The police have a warrant for my arrest, a warrant for murder, the murder of my boss, a murder I did not commit and have no intention of being arrested for.
I quickly head for the side street beside the bowling alley. The raucous noise of the fundraiser party fades slightly in the distance and someone has kindly broken all the streetlights. The darkness envelops me in a deep hug like an old friend. I lean against the rough brick wall, not caring that my arms are getting scratched as I gasp to draw air down into my lungs. Sweat is pouring off my forehead like a mountain stream. As my breathing returns to normal, I realize that I am not alone. I ease my body away from the wall and strain to hear a sound, any sound to give me a clue where my unseen companion is. I try so hard not to make a sound by forcing my breathing to become very shallow and hold every muscle tense in an effort not to move. My heart is beating so loudly I am sure everyone within ten miles can hear it. Anxiety painfully prickles my skin like needles, and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Someone is in the dark alley with me and it is Tom’s killer.
A sudden noise at my left elbow startles me and I jump towards it slightly. I feel the cold point of a knife against my neck and hot, fetid breath accosts the left side of my face.
“I’m gonna kill you, girl. Just like I killed your lying scum of a boss.” The deep, gravelly voice growls into my ear.
My entire body jerks upward and I gasp. I am soaked with sweat; the sheets are soaked with sweat. I whirl blindly in the dark searching for my attacker, the attacker I left behind in my dream. That was the last night I enjoyed spicy black bean burritos and a Patricia Cornwell murder mystery as a bedtime treat. Experience truly is the best teacher.
Hope you enjoyed this short story. Due to technical difficulties, the scheduled blog post was not available. DYG Coaching will return next week with tips and tricks to help you along life's journey. In the meantime, what creative pursuits are you interested in this summer?
Retail sales, festivals, television specials, we are fascinated with the concept of “Christmas in July”. Why? Is it because the hot, sticky weather in the South feels like we are swimming in a cup of hot cocoa? Or is it because the hot, dry temperatures in the West feel like we are baking in an oven with cookies? Do warm temperatures induce lethargic day dreams of cooler temperature celebrations?
At Christmas-time we send tidings of peace, joy, and goodwill. Opportunity abounds to create treasured memories with family and friends. Think for a moment about your most precious Christmas memory. How can you use that memory to create a “Christmas in July memory”? What would it look like to celebrate on a normal work-day?
Create Peace: Give yourself a true break. Take five minutes to relax, meditate, stretch, or even daydream.
Spread Joy: Smile at three people today. Genuine smiles will relax you and provide heart health benefits as well.
Foster Goodwill: Take a moment to let someone know they are appreciated. Send a text, make a phone call, write a note, have a chat. Thank someone for their contribution and tell them why their contribution is important.
Whatever holiday you may celebrate, I wish you peace, joy, and goodwill during the summer months.
Whether you desire to escape the summer heat or to bring peace, joy, and goodwill into your everyday life, celebrate well. Take time to create special moments and cherished memories. Enjoy!
What would you do with an extra hour every day? Would you sleep more, exercise more, spend more time with family and friends? In today’s do-more society it seems that every minute is scheduled, but time hacks are available to help you maximize your most valuable asset – time. The time hacks below may even help you save seven hours (or more) per week. Invest those hours wisely!
How much time do you spend on lawn maintenance, mowing, weed-eating, trimming shrubs, maintaining mowers and other lawn equipment, showering when done? Add up all the time spent mowing, trimming, getting gas and oil, sharpening blades, cleaning up after, and you will find a 2-3 hour per week investment during warmer months. Quality yard service starts around $30 in many areas. Post on Facebook and ask your friends for recommendations.
A useful tip for visiting National Parks is to arrive early and avoid crowds at the entrance gate and popular attractions. It is rewarding begin a mountain hike at 8am, then look down at the lengthy line of cars waiting to enter at 10am. This logic can be applied to other areas. Instead of getting oil changes at noon or 5pm, go first thing on Saturday morning. Go to the grocery store Tuesday evening at 8pm instead of Friday night or Saturday morning. Time saved = 2-3 hours per month.
Plan your drive. Do you need to pick up shirts from the cleaners, take Tommy to swim lessons, pick up a prescription, buy a card for your mom’s birthday, and stock up on dog food? Instead of rushing back and forth from one side of town to the other, plan your drive so you go in one big circle. You may be able to cut 10-15 minutes of driving for each errand on your list (and save gas $). Time saved = 1-2 hours per errand day.
Do you go to the grocery store every day? It takes 20-30 minutes to drive to/from a grocery store, then about 30 minutes to select your items and checkout. One hour per day adds up to seven hours per week. Instead, keep a list on your refrigerator, jot items on the list when your stock runs low, plan meals for the next week, and save up to 6 hours per week.
Do you have other time-saving tips? Be sure to share in the comments! Sign up for DYG’s email list and receive subscriber-exclusive tips, tricks, and hacks each week.