Michael's fury was so white hot, that he did not even feel the brick-oven heat of the pavement as he stormed out of the apartment. Another fight with Valerie, and more words thrown out than could ever be retrieved. "Thrown out", that's exactly what she warned she would do. He was thinking hard on what a bad idea: moving out of his own place and shacking up with this small town wannabe. He had been stressed enough over the catastrophe at the deli. When he felt so much rage that murder became an ally, then he knew it was time to book.

Valerie had become a sanctuary and a refuge just when his big plans to move up were ground to worm food during the 'downsizing' at his job. More than likely it was that sanctimonious secretary that had ratted him out. He was caught reading material that he was not supposed to be privy to; but he had naively thought his excuse of looking for one of the reports for someone else had worked its charm. He knew everybody else was making it on 'insider' info, why shouldn't he get some of the 'bennies' from a little 'industrial espionage.' Maybe he should go back and teach someone a lesson in corporate special ops warfare. But, Michael had always been aware of how unpleasant the legal system could be as recalcitrant, and this only internalized his vengeance.

As he approached his parked LeBaron convertible, the previous month's joy at zipping around town in his Ray-Bans and Valerie with her Thelma 'n Louise scarf became a despondent pit, whose abyss started right in the middle of his gut. Not having enough energy to do the hop-over into the seats, he slowly opened the doors, and slid into the leather like a wearied defeated man of forty years older, with thoughts turning to when he would have to sell his royal wheels. Desire had turned to despair, and he just wanted to go.....just go

Feeling like a thief and a cheat, though technically he was the auto's owner in lien with the bank, and officially he was not yet married, it propelled his being to reach escape velocity, and his special edition V-10 hemi could almost provide that. He stomped mercilessly on the pedal, causing the car to just chirp and fishtail causing trash to fly up into his back seat. It sounded more like a stomped chicken and looked like goat vomit, instead of a Hendrix-like wildcat cry and a blue-black plume of rubber incense that would have been the dramatic exit instead of contributing more to a pathetic and ludicrous laden tragedy.

Michael was fortunate enough to be one of those people when angry to not want to do anything fatally to himself that would cause others to gloat. So even if he was flying along the interstate well in excess of the posted speed limit, he had no intentions of crossing the yellow line, or playing stunt driver flipping over the guard rail, and then watching the world kaleidoscope until he woke up bleeding in a creek bed, or in an ER. He used to wonder what do you feel when a Mack truck head-ons you. Do you pass out immediately, or is there some horrible flash of intense pain for one's last moment of mortality? He wondered what it was like for Sam's last second of breath, too.

The hot wind kept all but his sweaty ass cool, and in habit, he reached for the radio controls, and after hearing a weather report that could have been a recording for nearly every early summer's day, 'Hot and humid with thirty percent chance of thunderstorms', except for the fact that Venus was gonna try to block the Sun, the news came on:

Today around 9:00 AM - Q'uarani time, a C-140 transport plane carrying Missionary, UN and Red Cross workers and some military units was shot down over the Al Aribe straits. No word on casualties, but it is believed not many if all could have survived this attack. More word on this will be brought to you as soon as it is available. Meanwhile in other news, the Typhoon Annie has killed over 2500 people on the island nation of Burundai, and aid has been promised.

Sentencing has begun in the case of Sergeant Williams, accused in the last incident of detainee abuse in the other compound at Ku'row. The Pentagon hopes that is has settled the last of the most devastating revelations to come its way since the War in Viet Nam.

European leaders have met today and have elected a new President of the Euro Union. Their first round of business was the passing of a stiff tariff on American goods. The president has promised to go to Congress to propose retaliatory legislation, though experts say it will jettison the country into an inflationary recession or worse in an economy that is still reeling from the Republic of China's drop in imports.

"Crap!" Michael yelled out loud while taking the northbound ramp. "I can't even have some good news to cheer me up. I'm sick of hearing about our guys over there getting killed -- talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Blow up every friggin' body, that's the answer, over there and including those idiots in Washington. And oh boy! now I might be able to look forward to working at Ricky Rat's Cheeseburger Drive-in -- if I'm lucky and first in line." He punctuated his soliloquy by pounding his fists on the steering wheel

Who are you talking to, Mike?

"Who the Hell was that?"

Hell might have everything to do with it.

Michael immediately turned around, and saw nobody in the rear seats, just as his rear view mirror had corroborated. He turned the radio off, and with no small amount of bewilderment kept driving to a place that could best be called nowhere.

Oh, sinner-man,
where you gonna run too?
Oh, on that Day.

When he heard singing with the radio off, and nobody with him, he then realized it was in his head. His thoughts had somehow split into two distinct personalities. His solo flight now included a navigator, or should it be called a tormentor.

Torment? You as captain of your own ship in this sea of troubles provides your own cruel slave-master. A voice of truth, reason, kindness, sympathy, grace, hope and love is what can bring you more than just balance, but rescue, wholeness and life.

"Nobody asked you. Why don't you think people can handle their own misery? And what about those people killed in the Tropics?"

Life is a tenuous thing, a gift; the world is in entropy. Why don't infants raise themselves?

Michael had to stop and think a minute before he blurted out to the open air that also slapped his hair about his forehead, "But, I'm an adult. I didn't ask to be put on this planet. I didn't cause any of these sad and horrific events!"

Yes, but what did you do in the place where you've found yourself to cast back the gloom of ignorance and selfishness? Go back now, and marry and love and stay with Valerie. Push back the darkness one candle of compassion at a time. Worry only hurts you and others. Leave vengeance to the Father in Heaven. Forgiveness covers it all. The Son of Man forgave all with innocent blood spilled one time for all time, now you go and take that, starting with the woman who loves you, needs you --and do your part with faith.

Michael, as he prepared to take the next exit to do a turnabout, felt the tears in his eyes, but they weren't of rage, or of sadness, but of joy. An inexplicable peace coming from deep within washed his soul. He didn't even care to put the top up as the first drops of the coming thunder-boomer let loose to cool the inferno. His father had taught him more than just how to have earthly survival skills, but planted far more important seeds, though small when first sown, have sprouted with the rains in the storms of existence.