RICK JOHNSON

FIRST BATCH OF MISC STORIES


by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717
RikJohnson@juno.com

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I moved these here after a bitter ex-wife had my personal website closed down. She didn’t like me mentioning what she did. I guess it ruined her image of a loyal southern belle.

DESERT NIGHT

By Rick Johnson
c. 1972

It was a dark and gloomy night as Harold brought his little bro-ther, Tom, home from the high school football game. Because of the time, Howard decided to take a short out across the desert. This idea frightened Tom as he was always a fearful child.
"Why do we have to cross the desert? Why can't we call Mom to pick us up? There are things out there!" cried Tom.
"Shut up," was Howard's only reply. Out of the darkness loomed a giant shape, arms outstretched.
"A giant!" cried Tom.
"Grow up, it's only a Saguaro."
"I heard something."
"It's only an owl."
And so it went through the night. Tom would be frightened by something and Howard would angrily explain what he had actually seen. No explanation, however, would. ease Tom's fright."
"An octopus," cried Tom,
The total absurdity of this angered Howard more than any of Tom's other fears.
"Enough is enough. It's only an Ocotillo and once and for all I'm going to show you that there is nothing here to be afraid of."
Then with a preposition dangling from his sentence, and his bro-ther from his arm, he walked over to the plant.
"See," he cried. "It's only an Ocotillo plant. We have them in our front yard."
So engrossed was he in this tirade, that Howard didn't notice the bran-ches curling about his arms and legs. It wasn't until his brother screamed and ran off that he saw what was happening.
"Come back here, you little creep. The wind is blowing them around."
And with these words the plant gave a mighty wrench and pulled How-ard off the ground and into it's waiting mouth.


A DISCUSSION

By Rick Johnson
c. 1972

Good morning, Mr. Leubke. I represent the forces of Hell. May I come in for a moment?

What???

Don't you remember? This afternoon at approximately 3:15 you, in the company of a Mr. Charles Anderson, declared that you would sell your soul for a chance at the presidency. I'm here to offer you that chance.

Hey, I didn't have that much to drink this afternoon. Did Charlie put you up to this?

I can see that I'm going to have to prove myself. Why can't people be more accepting. Well, what do you want? Horns, tail, cloven hooves? How's this?

What... how... who... ?

Please sit down, Mr Leubke. May I get you a drink? You look as if you could use one. May I have one as well, Thank you.

Ah, yes, go ahead. I didn't know the Devil drank.

We do, Mr Leubke, one of the fringe benefits. Also, for the record, I'm not the Lord Satan, only a minor salesman in the organization.

I don't understand?

Hell, Mr. Leubke, is run much like and business. We have our management levels, operations departments, service branches. We provide a product and service for a fee and am in competition with a similar business. We are just like any large business, after all, we are one of the largest.
In my case, I'm attached to the recruiting branch. I accept invitations such as yours, arrange a satisfactory contract and turn the deal over to services which fulfills your desires.

Oh, I see, I think.... What's it like in Hell?

That would be telling. But it's much like here, only run more efficiently.

So... I give you my soul when I die and in return you give me everything that I want while I'm alive.

Not everything, Mr Leubke. Only that which is within your potential and hasn't already been sold.
You see, life is like a thousand different jig-saw puzzles with interlocking pieces. As you go through life, you choose those pieces that you want to fit into your life. And each time you chose a piece, Fate removes those pieces that are incompatible with your chosen life.
For example, you are thirty-five years old and have made a career out of accounting. As such, all possibilities of a medical field that your family wanted for you are now almost impossible. They have, so to speak, been removed from your board.
Had you called fifteen years ago, you could have been a world famous surgeon by mow.
Also, don't think of the presidency of the United States, that has been sold up to the year 2028.

Then what you're saying is that I'm selling my soul for something that i can get by myself. Why should I deal with you? It seems that you are getting paid for no real work.

Not really. You see, Fate can still step in and kick the world out from under you. Suppose that your employer found out that you are having an affair with his wife?

You wouldn't!

Maybe not, but he can fond out anyway. You left a credit card in her car. There are also other mistakes that you have made which can be remedied with a proper contract. Your expense account, auto accidents, disease... any probable future in fact. We ensure that you reach your desired goal with a minimum of trouble.

What's to stop me from signing then repenting to God at the last minute? I get what I want and go to Heaven, or, at worst, Purgatory.

Do you really think that we haven't met up with that problem before? What we do is sue for Breach of Contract then make your punishment worse as an example to others. And I assure you, we haven't lost a case in over fifteen hundred years.

Where on earth does the Devil sue someone?

Not on Earth, Mr Leubke, in Heaven with God as a judge. If you will read the Old testament, Satan is very much like a District Attorney with another Anger, usually Michael or Gabriel, as the counsel. And Satan, that silver-tongued devil, can talk rings around any Angel in Heaven. After all, he was once God's right-hand0-man.

You sound as if God and Satan are the best of friends.

Not really friends, more like business rivals. We are both in the same business and have devided the world up fairly evenly. We get music, alcohol, sex and parties each weekend. They get harps, songs of glory and long white robes. I was there some years ago and couldn't wait to get home.

What were you doing in Heaven?

We are suing God for the New Testament and Jesus. we feel that Jesus was a 'ringer thrown into the game at half-time' and was coupled with the New Testament which is an unfair advertising campaign directed to discredit our organization. We are presently in the process of appealing to a higher court.

Higher Court? Who's higher than God?

Don't ask. We really must get on with this, I have another appointment at Eleven.

What did you offer Charlie?

Nothing. We don't have to. So far he has done a very good job of giving his soul to us for free. He's committed adultery, swore by using God's name, been vain, been greedy, drinks to excess and committed a number of minor sins that are still on the books but no one bothers to read anymore.

But everyone has an affair or two, cheats on his income tax, tells a white lie and has a drink or two. It's human nature.

That doesn't make it right. And if you think that is does, we have you. Also repenting doesn't help at all if you go out and repeat the act. The courts feel that you are using forgiveness as an excuse and cancel our salvation after two or three times. Then you are on your own. In your case we will have you for free in ten years at the most if you continue on your present course. If you change, we sue on the basis that it is a nominal repenting and not worth the paper it is written on. So we have you either way.
We would, however, prefer you in a management position so we will offer you a fair trade for your soul. But why should we spend a fortune on something that we will have for free anyway?

Can I have some time to think about it?

There are no free trials with Hell, Mr Leubke. I will be in this area next week and will bring along a preliminary contract for you to look over. I'll have a series of blanks drawn in for your desired changes, but don't overestimate your worth to us.
Shall we say ten a.m. on Tuesday for lunch?
Good evening, Mr Leubke, I trust that we can come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement.

Good evening. A credit card, you say....


RAIN

By Rick Johnson c. 1975

Today, just for the Hell of it, I stopped the truck during a rain storm, took of all of my clothes and sat on the truck's hood while staring up into the sky.
The first person who came by slowed, looked, stopped, looked again, then drove away shaking his head. The next person stopped, looked me over, then, for reasons of his own, removed his clothing and joined me on my truck but looked in a different part of the sky.
And so it went all through the storm; some laughed, some stared, some ignored us and some joined our silent, watchful, and quite naked, group.
Some of the comments that we received were these,
"What is this?"
"Just a bunch of hippie, commie, faggot, freaks."
"The Lord will strike you down if you don't get dressed."
"It must be Candid Camera, hi Mom!"
A van of peace-niks scattered flowers in our laps before joining us. Even a policeman came by to argue the Law, write out tickets and threaten to arrest us, but even he submitted in the end, removed his uniform, which he carefully folded, and joined us in silent contemplation.
Eventually the rain stopped and we dressed without a word then went our separate ways


RELIEF STATION

By Rick Johnson c.1976

It sat by the side of the road, innocuous, easily overlooked. No one thought about it until It was needed.
"Look Martha, one of those new geodesic dome rest rooms. Just what I need."
And so they stopped and she waited as he entered the dome. A few minutes later the sound of a toilet being flushed was heard and Martha waited for her husband to exit from the dome. She waited and waited but didn't go in after him for she was a very patient woman.
After an hour of futile waiting, the dome stood upon spindly legs and walked off in search of other prey.


'TWAS THE NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS EVE

by Rick Johnson c. 1971

It was christmas eve and Santa Claus had just finished giving out his three billionth gift for the season.
"So many new children each year. It was easy in the old days, I could give the Pagan kids their gifts in September, the Jewish kids theirs in early December and the few christian kids could get theirs a few weeks later. But now, the Witches celebrate Yule so close to christmas that it's a constant overflow and with the ban on birth control, there are more and more christian children every year. I keep getting off later and later..." he thought as he dozed off to sleep.
He woke up when Dasher snorted. Looking down he saw a castle set in the side of a mountain. Putting the sled in a holding pattern, he checked his maps and found that the castle-city was called Dale and was, supposedly empty. However, he noticed some smoke coming from one chimney so, with a sigh, he landed the reindeer on the roof of a tower and climbed down the chimney.
Inside he found no fire or tree or anything else remotely re-sembling christmas or Yule. This posed no problem as he had come across this before, so he left a present and a note then froze as he heard a scratching sound on the roof then the sound of something being crushed and broken. Thinking that the sled had fallen off the roof, he climbed up the chimney and climbed, ...and climbed.
"I don't remember these spikes being here," he said as he got halfway up the chimney. After that the way became slippery, wet, and very hot.
Smaug closed his mouth, swallowed and climbed off a roof littered with bones and the remains of a once beautiful sleigh. He then crawled back inside to continue his hibernation.


To contact me or to request topics to be covered, send to RikJohnson@juno.com
by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717


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