Not Really Dead - 3/2

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby GeorgTMh » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:54 pm

Of all the outrageous thoughts that could arise from such a message, Howard wasn’t phased by the incredulous nature of it, saying to himself, “I bet he’s going to want his DVDs back.” Upon tossing the postcard onto the kitchen counter, it came to him, “Wait, Guido’s is still in business?” Howard picked the card up again and reread it to confirm that the name was, in fact, Guido’s. Then he turned his head sharply, stared out the window, and shouted, “And why the hell is Sammy not dead!”
Howard felt as if the weight of his body had dropped to his feet, but he managed to walk on weak knees to the back door, and out onto his backyard patio. His hands trembled as he lit a cigarette and exhaled a plume of smoke toward the sky where, not moments ago, he believed his friend’s spirit had gone only days ago.
Recalling the day of the funeral, Howard did find it odd that it was a closed casket, when Sammy had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. A suicide: Sammy closed up the garage, sat in his car, and started the ignition. No one had seen it coming. He was such a fun, loving guy. A typical scenario for such a demise. That got Howard thinking, if that’s really how he died, then who found him? It certainly wasn’t his wife. Why Sammy’s wife, Joan, seemed pretty convinced that her husband was dead. She probably wouldn’t have slept with Howard in a state of drunken grief two nights ago had she known otherwise. And if Howard hadn’t been sure that Sammy was dead, he wouldn’t have obliged. All this thinking made Howard take a last drag of his cigarette and murmur aloud, “I sure hope she didn’t get a postcard too.”
Howard was right. Guido’s had closed down a long time ago. As he drove past the now boarded up pizzeria, a vaguely familiar face glanced his way. Howard’s eyes bulged at the sight of the woman standing in front of the vacant building, and sped off down the street. He looked into his rearview mirror and saw his ex-wife staring back at him as he drove away. She died a year after their divorce (or so went the story), way back in the day when Guido’s was still selling pizza by the slice. Howard had nothing to say to her, dead or alive. He didn’t attend her funeral, and has never visited her grave. He was just happy that he could keep late Sammy’s DVDs. Lighting a cigarette, Howard drove home and forgot about the postcard and forgot about how delicious that Guido’s pizza used to be.

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby amber.(: » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:36 pm

My eyes scanned the letter over again. My fingers smoothed the curled edges and traced the intricate lettering. It was most certainly Jacob's hand writing. Seeing it brought the tears to my eyes and made my stomach turn with the sense of loss and sadness.
He had been my best friend for years. We spent long summers hanging around the pond near my house and we talked for long hours at a time. He had laughing brown eyes and dark brown hair. We were practically opposites when you stood us side by side. He had this smile about him that he could always cheer you up. His death, or fake-death, however you looked at it, devastated me.
Suddenly I was brought back to the present. I would go to see him. I already made up my mind. Even if he lied to everyone, I wanted more than anything to have him back.
The hours that led to our reunion drug by and made me anxious and jittery.
Finally, 6pm came. In the car, my hands shakily gripped the steering wheel. Pulling into the parking lot, the excitement hit me. Nerves wracked my body, fearing that this may be a practical joke that would send me into a downward depression.
I sat at our old table, its cracked and faded seats creasing when I sat. In an attempt to distract myself, I tapped my fingers to a made up tune and read the posters on the walls.
I flinched when I heard the deep, ragged voice that had accompanied me during so many late night phone calls. The only one I'd let call me Isa instead of Isabella. My best friend.
My neck snapped around and I locked eyes on him. I scrutinized his every facial feature, ensuring it was him.
He nodded.
"Jake. Jakey. Oh, God, Jake, its you!"
I scrambled out of the booth and flung myself into his arms. Tears shuddered my body in harsh waves as I clung to him.
When the sobbing stopped, we both took a seat, his brown eyes mixed with relief and concern. My mind uncluttered enough for me to ask the important question that had rested on my brain.
"What happened, Jake?"
"I had an accident in the forest. I was working alone out at my father's logging company and was swinging high in a tree. Suddenly the wire snapped and I fell. I must have hit my head because the next thing I remember was the ground going black. When I awoke, I had no idea where I was or who I was. The doctors asked my name, but I couldn't tell them. They diagnosed me with amnesia and began to heal me. I slowly remembered who I was and the first person I remembered was you. Your face is what I hung to and made me stronger."
His face had so much pain and I noticed the marks and cuts on his arms and neck.
"It still hurts so much, but I had to tell you that I was alive as soon as I was realeased. I had to tell you that you hadn't lost your best friend. I know I've cause so much agony, but it was all I could do. I was helpless." He tried to keep explaining, but I cut him off when I stood up and tackled him again.
I had missed him so, and I knew I forgave him.
Through sobs and hiccups, he muffled into my hair something that I barely caught. "Thank you, Isa, I knew I could trust you."
I went with him to tell his family, to tell everyone.
I watched happiness and sadness and hope and love flood the faces of those who cared for him.
I watched him as he accepted hugs and smiled.
I watched my best friend come alive once more.

Written By: Amber,

Thankyou for reading,(:

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby jmartins » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:30 pm

"Bye!" I yelled back at her retreating form. Even though she was so tall, her form was still hard to see because of the heat rippling off the streets. She waved, not even looking back. She was heading to the Coffee shop down the street, ready to get hyped up on her personal drug: Caramel Mochas. And trust me, Pauline + sugar = bad.
For that reason and that reason a lone, I stayed back today. Normally, I love going with her, just to see the cute behind the counter. His name is Tom and he's just drop dead gorgeous. But I wasn't up to facing hyperactive Pauline today... and it was Tom's day off.
Before walking in the house, I grabbed the mail from our cute manatee mailbox. It was my mom's doing back when I was five, the year that she 'discovered' the manatee. Ever since, she won't shut up about them. Manatee this and sea cow that... it's enough to drive a normal person insane!
Speaking of mom, she wasn't home as I let myself in. Neither was dad. That was not unusual, she had yoga and other hippie activities while he had fishing. Or baseball. Or some other mindless man sport. That was my dad for you. Ever since they retired, all he'd done was that, except for dinner with us and some weird canoodling with mom. Not that I minded, mind you. My dad and I got along fine enough, but we weren't best buds.
My bag smashed to the floor, probably because of all the damn txt books. Too much work for us seniors! The promise of summer couldn't be more tantalizing, but as it was, it was still two whole months away from me and Pauline. Two months crammed full of AP! And all the while, I had to see Michelle and her gang skip and have fun... It's no one's fault but mine though. Everyone warns that Ivy League colleges are hard to get into. I just hadn't realized how hard.
The mail in my hand demands attention, and I do, flinging the bills onto the kitchen table. From the pile, I pull out a rare card, a post card actually. What the hell?
On it, there's a picturesque scene with a mountain in the background, framed by golden trees. I flip it over, wondering what it says and who could have possibly sent it to me...
'I'm not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido's Pizzeria. Tell no one.. -Francesca'.
What the...?
Who's Francesca? And what's Guido’s?

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby sadirabintsanna » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:51 am

As I turned the postcard over and over, I could hear Lana’s voice so clearly. I’ve heard of people having visitations like this, a vision of a recently-dead loved one, a final and loving good-bye. But through the mail? The card in my hands had been postmarked two days ago in San Francisco. It was impossible, incomprehensible - and yet, this was her handwriting, there was no mistaking it. “I’m not dead,” she wrote in her elegant, slanted script. “Meet me tonight at Guido’s Pizzeria. Tell no one.”
Exactly one week ago, we’d all gathered at Laurel Hill cemetery to inter Lana’s ashes next to her parents’ remains. She would’ve hated that – back in our senior year of high school we’d sat in the back seat of her parents’ aged Cadillac, under a star-sprinkled sky, smoking pot and planning our funerals. She’d wanted a formal reception, with a chamber orchestra and champagne, after which we’d scatter her ashes from the Golden Gate Bridge. Afterward, we’d adjourn to Manor Beach for weed, wine, and loud rock music. An excellent plan, I thought. I guess she forgot to mention the plan to her husband.
Lana was the first of us to marry. Only 21, she possessed the grace and confidence of a much older woman. I wanted to be her. On her wedding day, she and Josh embraced beneath a rose-bedecked trellis as the salty bay breeze stirred their hair. Standing beside them at the altar, my heart swelled with love and admiration for my best friend. She and Josh were young and beautiful, cool and hip, with a bright, shining future stretched out before them. They were so in love, so perfect for each other.
But that bright and shining future was cut short two weeks ago when a drunk driver smashed into Lana’s car as she drove alone up coastal Route One, heading north. He caught her at Devil’s Slide. There was nowhere for her to escape – a rocky wall on one side and a sharp drop on the other. Instinctively, she veered to the right, smashing into the cliff. The car ricocheted across two lanes and smashed through the guard rail, plummeting down, down into the gray Pacific. Josh was devastated. At the funeral, he was still heavily sedated, bleary-eyed, supported on each side by his sisters. I guess he couldn’t think clearly enough to consider what sort of sendoff Lana would’ve wanted, poor guy. Only 35, and a widower. Just a month ago, Lana had told me about their plans to finally get pregnant. She’d sounded so happy, so sure.
I had to go to Guido’s that night. It made no sense, but I had to go. Guido’s was where we all gathered back in high school, before college scattered us all over California. The pizzeria was still as dark, greasy, and fragrant as ever. Stepping inside was like stepping though a time portal – only the video games had changed in nearly twenty years. I slid into a booth, my back to the door, and waited, trying to steady my whirling thoughts by concentrating on the menu. “Expecting anyone else, hon’?” The waitress asked. “Oh, here’s your friend.” The waitress set down a second menu, and then a cool hand fell on my shoulder.
I turned, and there she stood. It took me an hour to stand up, it seemed, and then a split second to grab her and hold her so tight – she was real. Her bony shoulder dug into my throat as we embraced. Finally releasing her, I squinted in the dim light. “You look – different,” I sniffed. “Younger,” she said, smiling. It was true! Lana looked like she had on her wedding day – smooth, slim, glowing. She took my hand and slid into the booth. “Sit down. Let me tell you how I got here. Oh, and I’ll need a place to stay for awhile. Can I stay with you?”
At first, I couldn’t believe her story of the time portal in Devil’s Slide, how if you hit it at just the right angle, going very fast, you can slide right through time and end up ten, twenty years in your own past. “Think of it, Rhonda. Everyone always says, ‘If only I knew then what I know now.’ Well, I do know it! I get a second chance!” So, now I have to decide. Do I give up my present for another shot at my past? Do I take a ride on Devil’s Slide?

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby sadirabintsanna » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:53 am

This would make an interesting first chapter. Keep going!

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby sadirabintsanna » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:56 am

Interesting! So, is Guido's Pizzeria some kind of portal, where the dead come to work out their unfinished business?

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby Candacemr » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:31 pm

Guido’s Pizzeria has booths at every window, a horseshoe counter and a kitchen full of greasy spoon ovens. No matter how sticky the counter got I ate pie right off of the surface with my bare fingers and best friends until high school graduation three years ago. I'd return every summer to see my best friend Lenny but he was always away: on a trip, interning out of state, whatever. Then last summer when I went home and sat on my favorite barstool at Guido’s I got the call from Lenny’s mom.
“Hey babe. You seen Lenny?”
I picked up my keys and headed for the door. “Where? Is he home?”
The whole family should be there. The funeral’s set for 3 o’clock at Oaklawn.”
“He’s dead babe!” Her voice faded away from the receiver. Click.
By the end of the week I was back at my dorm. No roommate in sight, just a pile of mail waiting on the floor. Right on top was a postcard from dead Lenny postmarked that day; it said: I’m not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido’s Pizzeria. Tell no one. On no sleep and too much coffee I made it back to Guido’s around nine forty-five; bus boys were wiping down the emptying pizzeria. As soon as I sank into the red leather booth a lady from the bar beside me came up and blocked me in with her knee.
She had on a jet-black skirt and matching tank, a decent rack and a head covered in bleached blonde curls.
She leaned towards my face. “Looking for some one?”
“Yeah, did you happen to see a guy about your height; sandy brown short curls hanging around here earlier tonight?
She sat down across from me.
“Lenny Berko…” Before I could get it out she spoke.
“I’m Lenny Berkowitz. It’s me buddy.”
“Bull poop unicorns and rainbows.” I smirked.
“Here take a look at my ID.”
“Probably stole it. Len always was a sucker for a pretty face and a decent boob job.”
Remember the oven burn I got over my hernia scar when I was reaching into Guido’s oven for my hat you threw in?”
I looked under the table and she raised her skirt over the obvious protrusion of Lenny’s crotch and smoothed her fusia nails over the welt of scar tissue on her belly. It had to be him. I cupped one hand to the side of my mouth and leaned in, pointing to either sides of his chest. “Are those real?”
“I finally did it.”
“Remember how we always talked about making it rich while we’re still young and living it up in Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta or some poop unicorns and rainbows like that?”
“You still haven’t said how or why you’re a chick.” He rolled his eyes and organized the sugar caddy. “Ok I’ll play along. Did you win the lotto or something?”
“Family lotto. I never went to USC like I said. I left to take care of my sick old man; prostate. He told me if I took care of him he’d leave me something special. Brace yourself. Old man left me one hundred and twenty five g’s for when I turn 25, but my mom never read the papers.”
“You’re still taking advantage of her dyslexia?”
He and I have the same name and you know I never got a social security number coming up – so, boom – I’m dead and living off of free money.”
“A dead man’s money.”
“Closing time.” The owner shouted from the door.
Lenny stared with the annoyance of betrayal. “When they mail it to my mom next month, I’ll transfer it to your account and we can get the hell out of here, right babe.”
His mom called me babe. She was like a second mom to me, to all of his friends. And all I could see was her smoker’s face and feel her tear slick fingers stroking my cheek telling me how much she missed her sweet little boy.
“Wait. If your coffin is empty and your dad really is…” I ran my thumb underneath my chin. “Where’s his body?”
We headed for the exit, Lenny with his streetwalker strut, lighting his Virginia Slim like a life long professional. “Parts aren’t cheep. How do you think I paid for these?” He scooped and pumped his breast.
I turned back. “Wish me luck Guido.”
He looked up from wiping down the counter. “Find what you were looking for?”
“Not tonight.”

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby Nate_K » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:29 am

I stared at the postcard for a long time, thinking how careless and cruel someone had to be to send it. Everyone loved Johnny. I never knew anyone in the entire 35 years that I had known him to ever say a cross thing about him. Someone obviously had a very sick sense of humor to do this type of thing. The very idea of trying to make a joke of Johnny's death, especially after the way he died. A senseless killing in broad daylight, just for the ten dollars he had in his pocket. He would have given it to the punk if he'd just asked. But no, the punk had to shoot him and wait for him to die before he took it. It's the kind of thing that makes you hate mankind.

I looked at one more time and thought. Maybe that punk thought this would be funny. Yeah, that had to be it. He took Johnny's wallet and PDA. It had everyone a little on edge knowing the creep had it. The addresses of all of Johnny's friends were in it. The police were hoping the killer would make a mistake and use a credit card or something so they could track him down. I guess he thought a week after the funeral was enough time to grieve. What a jerk. When the phone rang, I figured I would ask whoever if they got one too. The name on the caller ID was for Laura, Johnny's girlfriend.

“Hey, Nate. What's up?”

She sounded almost too upbeat, but I knew it was just a put-on.

“Not too much. Did you get a post card?”

My heart jumped. I was right! The creep did send it out to everyone.

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did.”

“Are you going to Guido's then?”

“You don't really think this is serious, do you?”

“Naw, but I want to go there anyway, just for kicks.”

Guido's was our favorite. Sometimes the whole gang would go there and watch a game or just hang out. If Laura wanted to go there and reminisce, who was I to question it? Maybe she was just looking for a shoulder.

“Sure, if you like. I can be there in 5 minutes.”

“See ya then,” and then, the phone went blank.


I saw Laura sitting in the usual spot when I got to Guido's. She looked good, but I knew she had been crying. Her eyes weren't as bright as they usually were.

“Hey, Nate,” she called as she waved.

“What's up?” I answered.

“Same old, same old. I needed to talk to you about something.”

“Really? I guess the creep that sent the card has you pretty tore up, huh?”

“Actually, I'm the creep.”

I could feel my jaw hit the table. Why in the name of God would she send something like that!?

“Let me explain,” she said low as the waitress brought the pizza and a cold beer and sat them down in front of me.

“Nate, I'm pregnant.”

It took a bit for the words to hit me. Laura was a straight-lace preacher's daughter. She and Johnny were dating and were going to get married, but sex was strictly out of the question and Johnny was cool with that. He always said that she was worth the wait.

“Okay,” I started, “so why the post card?”

“I don't know exactly, maybe I lost it for a bit. Nate, my folks don't know and I don't want to face them alone. You know my father would freak if he knew that Johnny and me...well, you know.”

“Are you going to tell them?”

“I have to eventually.”

Suddenly, it all made sense to me. I took her hand in mine and looked into her face. Tears started to well in those doe-brown eyes.

“You want me to talk to you dad?”

“Could you, I mean start for me. I know he'll still freak, but he knows you and he trusts you. I would really appreciate it.”

I nodded yes and we shared the pizza. I was my favorite: pepperoni and onion. In a way, she was right when she wrote that card. Johnny wasn't dead after all and now, my godson would have his name to carry on the legacy of my best friend.

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby Nate_K » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:54 am

This is supposed to be for GeorgeTMH.

So, he's seeing dead people. Really good ending, I just wish it was a bit longer.

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RE: Not Really Dead - 3/2

Postby perditechno » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:05 am

"I'm not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido's Pizzeria. Tell no one."

My face numbs, and a tingling sensation runs up my arms and down my spine. Can it be? I flip the postcard back and forth but can't find a name. Tonight? Not much time to prepare. I run into my room, grab some cash, stuff some clothes into a bag. What else may he need? Should I bring some kind of weapons? I don't have any, not even pepper spray. I need pepper spray.

An hour later, I slowly approach the alley into Guido's Pizzeria. A couple indulging in risqué behavior stands by the alley entrance. I hear her laughing, teasing. I turn off the car, but can't get myself moving. My mind jumbles. Last week, I almost dropped when Mindy told me about Brian's death, and now a postcard, an inanimate object from nowhere, tells me my best friend may still be alive, granted that I don't know for sure if it is him. It could be from someone entirely unexpected, but it can't be, it has to be Brian, with a closed casket and all. Besides, who else would want to contact me and reveal this information now?

I get out of the car, bag and pepper spray in hand, passed the risqué couple and a few flashing signs on storefronts and restaurants. Why does it have to be Guido's Pizzeria? I hate this place. It's not one I would go after dark, and Brian knows this. I open the pizzeria's door, but something compels me to stop and look toward the dark corner at the end of the alley a few feet away. Someone is there, smoking a cigarette. A customer pushes the door wider and walks out in front of me.

I enter the pizzeria, and the place looks nothing out of the ordinary. I glance around but Brian is nowhere to be found. Someone sitting at the corner with his hood on and staring straight into his coffee cup, that could be Brian, but I don't think so, unless Brian's good at disguise.

I sit down and begin to observe. A couple of people stand at the counter waiting for their pizzas. The cashier keeps looking at me. Half an hour later, still no Brian, I decide to order to avoid the cashier's awkward stare. I take out the postcard and read the message over and over again.

The clock strikes eleven, and the pizzeria is now deserted. I'm pulling my hair out. I'm such a fool for hoping and believing my friend faked his own death. I get up and walk out, physically and emotionally drained. The pizzeria's door closes behind me, then a cigarette cherry flies right passed me. I turn around, the man in the dark corner still there.

"Good to see you, man!" a clear voice echoes from darkness.

I walk into the dark corner, and there Brian stands.

"Oh, my god, it's really you."

I hug him, touching his arms up and down to make sure he's real.

"You don't smoke!" I say.
"I'm also dead," Brian responds.
"So what's going on?"
"I'm over my head, man. I needed to disappear for a while."
"You're doing a great job of that."
"I need you to hold on to this for me. You're cool?"

Brian hands me a drawstring pouch. I believe there is a small ball inside.

"Under no circumstances are you to give or tell anyone about this, not my wife, not the cops, no one. You understand?"
"Yah, sure. Hey man, you need money? Clothes? I brought some."
"Nah, man, I'm good. Listen, if you don't hear from me in 30 days, give this to Father Michael. He'll know what to do."
"OK, sure, but what's this all about?"
"Man, the less you know the better. I've got to go. I owe you, man!"

Before I can say "bye," Brian makes a couple tic-tac moves on the alley walls, and in seconds, he's on the roof and gone. He is not the Brian I knew. I stand there still for a few seconds, then put the pouch into my pocket and walk out.

Driving passed our church, I notice a couple of ambulances parking in front with lights flashing. I wonder what it's about. Fifteen minutes later, I pull into my garage, and my cellphone beeps, indicates a new message arrived. I open, "Father Michael falls off a ladder and passes away this evening."


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