Below The Bridge

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What would bring you out to Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge so late at night?

How strange, you sat in your car and waited for the the sunset.

You waited for hours.

Which makes me wonder

What did you come looking for here in the darkness under Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge?

Evidence of Misdeeds? Dark Secrets? Murder? Mayhem?

The Devil?

Me?

How interesting… how puzzling…how amusing.

Under the Bridge is bad enough by daylight- in the evening it’s Hell on Earth.

Sometimes I go down there for stories and it’s days before I can sleep through the night again.

Days.

So I think I’ll wait for you in your car, where it’s dry and warm and dark.

When you get back we’ll chat.

It’ll be a scream.

amm

Say Goodnight

Welcome to Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge Oscar, I think you’re going to feel right at home.

amm

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Cat predicts deaths of nursing home residents

By Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one,” said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. “This is not a cat that’s friendly to people,” he said.

Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill

She was convinced of Oscar’s talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn’t eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.

Oscar wouldn’t stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor’s prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient’s final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don’t know he’s there, so patients aren’t aware he’s a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.

No one’s certain if Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.

Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.

If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

Nursing home staffers aren’t concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.

Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”

 

Blitzing Reality

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We live on a very dangerous road.

It’s not dangerous because it’s poorly designed- it’s dangerous because it’s a short cut to the Mall and nothing is more dangerous then the ground between a Major Shopping Mall and a consumer.

So if someone isn’t jumping the curb with their monster sized SUV they’re almost hitting a kid or more likely running over someone’s cat or dog.

Like my pets for instance.

At the beginning of Summer I was outside getting my mail when my cat Blitzer sees me from across the street. He meows and bolts and just as before he gets to the middle of the street this car comes up the road and I’ll be darned.

He’s not speeding.

He has plenty of time to stop I think.

Wrong.

 I hear the engine rev up and this guy drives straight towards my cat.

Then when the driver sees me he slams on his breaks and pulls up to the curb and he looks embarrassed as he calls out the window, “Hey is that cat okay?”

I’m standing there thinking- what can I say?

Better luck next time?

And then I remember, I write stories at Owl Creek Bridge.I write about Devils and Demons, Witches and Curses and Psychos. I write about people who hide bodies in trunks with Christmas tree ornaments. I don’t know where the ideas come from I just know the inspiration for them can hit at the funniest times- and I’ve taught myself that when they do to pay attention.

“What?” I ask.

“That cat….the black one that ran in front of my car. Is it okay?”

I back up from the car and look over my shoulder at my house. “Cat?”

He points up towards my Cherry tree and says. “That cat. Is it okay?”

I look under my Cherry tree and Blitzer is sitting there with his tail sort of swishing from left to right and he’s got these bright yellow eyes that (thank you Jesus!) are glowing like crazy because of the way the sunlight is hitting them.

Then I back up and hit my mailbox and without turning away from the guy in the car start yelling for my Husband who isn’t at home, “Luis! Can you come here for a minute? “

“Lady that cat! The one sitting under the tree right behind you!”

I turn around and look at Blitzer who is licking his chops because its dinner time and I look back at the guy in the car and say, “Look, just go okay? This isn’t funny.”

This guy looks from me to Blitzer and then he reaches down and tries to start his car which was already running and then he drives away but before he reaches the end of the street I see him stop, he pulls over and he sits there for awhile before he drives off again.

 ” Wow, that was fun.”

I turn around and Blitzer has a bird wing in his mouth.I guess he had it stashed under the tree, or maybe he had it the entire time.

I’m still not sure about that. 

See, Blitzer is always dragging around parts of animals or chasing something through the bushes. He also has these nightmares and starts doing that weird cat scream when he’s all curled up at the foot of my bed.

Blitzer is sort of bonkers. My husband thinks we should see if they make anti-psychotic meds for cats. 

People.

Blitzer walks up to me and drops the wing at my feet and starts to purr.

The Little Devil.

I don’t know where he gets it from.

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amm

Lorne Perth Makes A Deal

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Linder Pace looked up at his friend and said, ” I have to say Lorne, you beat me but good on this one.”

Lorne shrugged from the other side of the dark heavy desk in his office and said, ” Why thank you Linder. Funny thing is back in the old days I’d have sold my Soul to the Devil just to hear you say those words.”

Linder didn’t doubt that.

Lorne Perth hated Linder- not disliked, not despised, but hated Linder Pace more then he valued his own life.

His own Soul even.

In the 50 years he had known Lorne, Linder had stolen Lorne’s wife Sadie, and when he grew tired of Sadie he divorced her and then married Lorne’s favorite daughter Bedelia. Now Linder and Lorne’s daughter were living in the house that Lorne’s Mother had been born in.

The same house his ex-wife hung herself in when she found out who the next Mrs. Linder Pace was going to be.

Linder signed the deed to Lorne’s family home and shrugged, ” well, bets a bet. It’s all yours. Again. When will you be moving back in? ”

Lorne took the deed and the heavy silver pen from Lorne and then set both things to his left. ” I’m not, I’m having demolished on Sunday.”

” Sunday, how’d you managed that? ”

Lorne shrugged picked up the pen and twirled it around his fingers.

” Come one now, Dad” Linder chuckled ” go on tell me. When did you learn to shoot pool like that? Hell Lorne, I didn’t even know you could play.”

” Can’t, but you do and I know you can’t walk away from a game Linder. You never could.”

” Yeah huh, but you didn’t answer my question Lorne, you shot pool like a demon and you didn’t just win. You whipped me. So what’d you do Lorne…sell your Soul to the Devil to win?”

” Oh- I’ll be honest with you…”

” Of course. ” Linder said under his breath. 

 “I tried to do that when you took Sadie from me. Old Scratch though, wouldn’t have touched my Soul for all the Souls in the world.”

” And why is that Lorne? ” Linder said as he worked his jaw from left to right.”

” She told me it wasn’t like the books or plays…she’s only interested in truly corrupt Souls and mine- well, Linder she almost struck me dead for wasting her time.”

Linder figured Lorne was drunk…only Lorne didn’t drink, and he didn’t smoke. Maybe, Linder thought the idea he was about to make Lorne a Grandfather pushed the guy over the edge.

Maybe Lorne was doing a lot of things now that he would never have considered doing before Linder thought to himself.

” So anyway I thought and thought -what horrible thing could I offer Old Scratch in exchange for one good game of Pool. It had to be something so dark, something so corrupt she’d be able to shut down shop for a week or two and take that Cruise to Alaska she’s always wanted to go on.”

Lorne sat back and picked the deed up from the table and fanned himself with it. ” How’s Bedelia ” Lorne asked about his daughter with a smile.

” You did not.”

Lorne dropped the deed and banged his head on the edge of the table as he reached down to the ground to pick it up. ” You would think something like that Linder.”

” So what’d you do Lorne, what did you give Old Scratch for one good game of Pool.”

Lorne shrugged, held the piece of paper up with Linder’s signature on it in dark black ink and said, ” Guess.”

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