"If you give up, then what are the rest of us supposed to do?"
She was the muse of Rancho Nuevo. She was the third queen. The card dealer in my death dreams told me that there would be three. I would come to love each of them in a different way and each would play an important role in the pattern of my life. She was scatter-brained, clumsy and emotionally unbalanced. Most of all, she was beautiful in ways that no words can capture.
In the dreams, when I asked the card dealer how I would know the third queen, he told me she would come "from this place," meaning Rancho Nuevo, the frame of my dreams and a place of great desolation and sadness. As it turned out, she was raised as an orphan in a town called Rio Rancho, New Mexico, after being abandoned by her natural parents. Sometimes these so-called coincidences can be disturbing.
"Even you can't get yourself out of this alone.
You need to ask someone for help."
Tammy was a strange break in an obvious pattern that unfolded as I sought out the nature of the prophesy I had learned in death. Until Tammy, everyone who played a vital role in unfolding events had a name that was a variant of "Christina." As was predicted, when my life fell into desperate times, the third queen appeared. The first queen had been symbolized by a card that always stayed just out of reach. The second queen was represented by a card that burned my fingers when I tried to hold onto it. The third queen healed my wounds, filled my empty cup and then vanished. This is how it would be with Tammy.
"Things turned out okay for you.
I'm glad they did, but I have to go.
I'm pregnant and I don't want my baby to live the life I did."
She left quite suddenly, pregnant with the baby of a man she didn't love or particularly care for. I felt a tinge of sorrow, as I once had an opportunity to steal her away from him. It wasn't much of a chance, I reminded myself. She made herself known as my life fell apart. I lost my car and my job and was left looking through old coat pockets for change to take the bus to an interview. They don't hire people who show up disheveled off the bus. You'll need to start thinking about the register at the convenience stores or mopping floors at the pancake house when you hit that stride. I went into bankrupcy, managed to get a decent job not too far from my apartment, and convinced the manager at the apartment complex to give me some extra time to pay the rent. I hadn't eaten in three days. When Tammy called I wasn't in any position to take her to the movies.
One day it rained. It wasn't a pleasant summer rain. It was a deluge, and I had to walk two miles to work. When I arrived I looked like I had just finished drowning. The boss asked me what happened. My story wasn't very convincing. They didn't want me back the next week. I took a job waiting tables in a nearby restaurant. They wanted me to wear rather specific shirts for the job and told me where I could get them cheap. I had sixty dollars left from my last paycheck at the rainy day job, got on the bus and went to get my new uniforms. The problem was that they had changed the bus route since printing the bus map I had. I ended up at the wrong end of town. I jumped off the bus with the intention of getting a bus back in the other direction. In the confusion I dropped my wallet on the bus and didn't even have the money for the return trip. I walked across the city of Orlando. I was two hours late for my first day as a waiter, so I didn't bother to show up. There was a twenty dollar bill in the grass next to a parking lot. I picked it up, walked into a nearby liquor store and bought a nice bottle of rum and a two-liter bottle of Coca Cola. It would only be another five block walk home.
As I drank the rum, I thought back to my suicide five years earlier and how my life had been on much better footing at that time. I had a growing desire to die, but was incapable of suicide. You just don't do it twice when you've done it once. It isn't really possible. I opened any connection I might have to frames beyond this one. I asked anyone who thought their little prophesy and game was amusing to take me to where they were so I could settle things with them.
Then I found Tammy's pager number on the coffee table. I punched the numbers into the phone and left my phone number. She called back within ten minutes.
"Something is really wrong, isn't it?
You were right, I could feel it."
Sometimes you need someone. You can't always take care of everything yourself. People are interdependent upon each other. People can rant and rave about self-reliance until the sun blows up, but if you receive your life lessons correctly, you will realize that we need each other.
The lesson was unfolding. It was not possible to run on only the gas in my own tank. I needed someone else to help me. The hole was getting bigger and I was sinking into it deeper. I called my father. He agreed to loan me the money to get back on my feet, as long as I presented a comprehensive plan for my life and how I would repay his loan. Once I repayed the loan, I abandoned the plan. The debt was paid.
And then I lost the path.
Things had been too difficult, even though I knew I would survive and come out of it okay. I went back to trying to lead a normal life. It was disappointing. There was too much emptiness. This life is sometimes like a test pattern. We run through the mazes and joust with the windmills. In the end there is something more. It cannot be described. The description doesn't work in any language known to man. It is beyond that.
This much is true.
She also stole the manuscript of my life story that I had written for Tina. She read it and holds onto it, quite possibly to this day. Tammy retitled it. She called it, "A Dead Guy Walks Into a Bar," and so she's responsible for my user name here in more ways than one.
Some people don't have fathers working as Senior Systems Analysts
for major corporations.
Try not to forget that.