Looking for Merit V. Bidwell

There will not be any more Merit V. Bidwell episodes… This is the end.

The phone was ringing. There was nothing quite as annoying as having just fallen asleep and having a phone go off in your ear. I snaked an arm from under the blanket groping for the phone. With one eye open I answered it. This was supposed to be my day off and I had planned to lie in bed until my bladder alarm went off. I reached over to let Dumbo know that I was being called in but his side of the bed was empty. As I sat there on the edge searching with a toe for my other slipper, he came into the room carrying two large mugs of coffee. I have to say, he was the best partner I ever had.

Before I could mutter thanks, he informed me that he’d been called in too. My mother was on her way over to hang out with Blue and make sure she got on the bus. Dumbo’s like that, efficient. A quick shower later and we were both on our way to the precinct. I got there first and scored a sweet parking spot. Before I’d made it to my desk, Dumbo was at my side. It looked like the entire force was present. I wondered who had died. The room was humming with speculation when the Captain came in trailed by two suits. I recognized them as the same FBI agents I’d worked with a few years back. They were still complete douches. After introductions the agents took over. We were all assigned to groups and the case was presented on a slick white board. Seems a psychopath had walked away from a medium security facility for the criminally insane. The FBI agents gave us excerpts from a novel she wrote and from her personal diary. Not much to go on but I got the impression it was a very clever misdirection.

The uniforms were dispersed to canvas the downtown areas. The detectives were tasked with doing interviews of all the people she might contact. I managed to get paired with Dumbo and he was grinning from ear to ear. His comment was that it would be like old times. We had a list of 5 names. The first was an over the hill cheerleader. She was easy to track down thanks to the magic of Facebook. I took one look at her and knew that she was safe from any retribution. Leaving her to live her miserable life was surely punishment enough. Not only were her looks in decline, but her high school sweetheart turned husband was cheating. I asked her if she had had any contact with Merit Bidwell and her face went pale beneath her spray tan. She got teary-eyed and confessed that she had treated her badly when they were both in high school. That was basically the template for every interview. At the end of the day we’d talked to everyone on the list and they were all pitiful. Long story short, Dumbo and I were tasked with turning over rocks and managed to find zero leads. I’m guessing Ms. Bidwell is half way around the planet and making her way across Europe. I hope she stays out of trouble…

This concludes the Merit V. Bidwell story “Looking Back”. I hope you enjoyed this little romp topped off with a taste of everyone’s favorite law enforcement officer, Detective Evans and her faithful partner/lover “Dumbo” Dombkowski.

Looking for Positive Vibrations

This is nearly (next to last) the end of the “Looking Back” story. Here is episode 30 as we look forward and back.

I’ve decided to travel light. I’m not taking my diplomas or this journal. Mostly I’m taking some basic toiletries, some very carefully selected clothes, and the cash I’ve squirreled away. I opted not to take any books since they take up too much space and would weigh me down. I’ll be sad to leave them behind. I sent copies of my novel to 12 publishers. For good measure I sent a copy to my sister and brother. I imagine they will not enjoy reading it. I sent a copy to the lawyer in charge of my trust fund. He might be more amused.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping again and the dreams are starting to upset me. The funny thing is that the dreams aren’t really dreams as much as rehashing memories. I always end up crouched behind a sofa listening to my mother talk on the phone. She’s complaining about the cost of my activities. She whines that it is so expensive for ballet lessons and then she complains that it takes so much time for the art classes. She gripes about the cost for a psychologist and new clothes and even the orthodontia.

My agenda is simple – I want to revisit places that held happy memories and cement them in my mind. Then I plan on visiting some new places and soaking up additional positive vibrations. As much as the psychologist thinks it would be beneficial to face my past, I disagree. The past is done. I’m moving forward and letting the old memories be just that, memories.

Looking for Closure

Episode 29 of “looking Back” is below for your reading pleasure.

It is starting to look green outside. The weather has turned balmy. I’d like to visit my hometown. Nostalgia is a strange thing. My psychologist believes that I need to make connections with others and especially with my family. She told me that a visit would provide me with “some context and closure for my unresolved feelings of estrangement”. I’m not sure if she really believes that or if she just likes to hear herself talk. She also assumes that my family will come to me. Not that they’ve made any effort recently. I think they are sulking because I won’t give up my share of the family home. If I were to go visiting, my sister would be the last person I’d willingly go see. Now my brother might be someone I’d consider looking up. But the point is really moot, since they have no desire to see me. One of my neighbors vacated their apartment last week. I’m thinking of moving out as well. But that is all it is, thinking, for now. I will finish my online class next week and should have the official diploma within 10 days after that. It really is too bad you can’t learn to fly a plane through an online university. All this thinking about the future is just a diversion to prevent me from dwelling on the past. Having memories is a plus and a minus. I remember that first car I bought. It was a real rust bucket. It was a Chevy Vega which was basically a skateboard with an engine. It cost me $350 and was 17 years old with 190,000 miles on it. It lasted two years before the floorboard rusted through and the engine cracked. The nice thing was the scrap yard paid me $350 for it. Basically I paid for gas and oil. That car didn’t have a lot going for it. The seats were duct taped and the steering pulled to the right. It was a fight to keep it on the road. On the other hand it got me where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go. There was no waiting for a bus or hailing a taxi. I miss that car more than I miss my brother or sister and loads more than my parents.

Looking to Travel

We are nearing the end of this story – episode 28 is here for your reading pleasure!

Have I mentioned that I’m bored? It has been several years since I’ve traveled anywhere and I’m thinking I need to get away. Maybe I should plan a vacation of sorts. But that’s the problem, I suffer from inertia. Not a single psychologist or psychiatrist has ever made a diagnosis of boredom or inertia. That makes me question their competence. Anyway, if I were to leave I don’t know where I’d go. Really, I’ve been to so many states and cities both big and small that I can’t imagine an interesting destination. The only place I haven’t been is overseas but that kind of travel is rather problematic. I don’t have a passport. My favorite mode of travel is by bus. It gets you there with the options of taking in the scenery, sleeping, reading, or deep thinking. You just can’t do that if you are the driver, at least not if you want to arrive at your destination in one piece. Some of my best ideas came while riding the charter bus in college. I whiled away some time last week looking up National Parks. There are still some around that don’t charge entrance fees. It was on my bucket list to visit all the National Parks. I had to put that one on hold. I am almost finished with my novel so as soon as I submit it to every publisher on the planet I’ll be able to check that one off. I’ve already checked off a bunch from the list – hot air balloon, petting a lion, swimming in each of the Great Lakes, and New Year’s Eve in Times Square. There are several items on my bucket list that haven’t happened yet. I still want to change my name for one. I’d like to have a pet parrot – one that I could teach to talk. And I want to learn how to fly a plane. Not that anything is really holding me back from doing those things except my own dislike of change. If I decide to take a trip it will be a very deliberate act with lots of pre-planning. I’m not as spontaneous as some people think.

Looking for Sherlock

This is episode 27 of “Looking Back” – enjoy!

Every once in a while you come across a book that resonates with your soul. It is a book you can read over and over. Each time you read it something new jumps out at you. I suppose that is how a lot of people feel about the Bible. My parents didn’t really expose us to organized religion and I don’t think we had a Bible in the house. The book that really gets me going is the Complete Sherlock Holmes.

I suppose I’m drawn to the completely brilliant and totally flawed detective. The tales are so real. There is enough of a twist in the stories to keep me interested even after having read them at least 20 times. Sherlock was a loner and I relate to that. He was a chameleon and I admire that. I’m led to believe he was a rogue too, or at least one who thumbed his nose at societal conventions. I enjoy reading the book repeatedly and discovering yet another perspective on human nature. Unlike Sherlock, I don’t have a heroin addiction or play the violin. Well, I played at the violin. I took lessons in 5th grade and played in the middle school orchestra briefly. I don’t want to think about that. Suffice to say, it was extremely fortunate that insurance covered all the costs of repair to the rental instrument. Of course the rules prohibit any instruments or loud music.

The one thing that Sherlock had that I wish for was his friend Dr. Watson. I suspect that I would be an easier friend than Sherlock since I wouldn’t be chasing murderers or slinking around in unsavory environs. But since I’m chronicling my own life I don’t really need a friend to document my adventures, such as they are.

Looking Murderous

This is episode 26 of the Looking Back story.

I met my new neighbor yesterday. I try not to be judgmental but it is really hard sometimes. Generally I don’t see anyone out and about but I was coming back from another appointment with the psychologist when I bumped into her. It was pretty obvious she was unfriendly when she looked me up and down and then lunged at me. I have excellent reflexes and awesome evasive maneuvers so she completely failed to make any physical contact. My door was right there and I slipped inside while listening to her curse. I poked my head into the hall to see where she was headed. Sure enough she was two doors down. The whole encounter left me unsettled.

My mind wandered back to a chance encounter I had when living in Saginaw, Michigan. My boss had demanded that I cover the latest “snow-pocalypse” by interviewing shoppers at the local grocery store. I had no desire to accost strangers as they rushed to purchase milk, bread and beer. Knowing that my boss was likely to check up on me, I dragged myself to the store and attempted to snag an interview or two. Not having any success getting anyone to give me more than a grunt and dirty looks; I decided to pick up a few groceries for myself. That’s when I met Winston. He was trying to decide between whole wheat and white bread. He was my interview. It was a pleasant exchange until I asked if he had any memories of the Blizzard of 1978. That’s when he went nuts. He grabbed my arm and ripped the pen from my hand. In a nanosecond he had the pen against my throat and had pinned me against the doughnut display case. I locked eyes with him. That was a defining moment for me. I should have been terrified. I could feel his hunger for my fear and I resolved not to give him what he wanted. My lack of reaction caused him to back up. He lowered the pen. I continued to stare into his eyes. Years of being bullied exploded in my head and I became the aggressor. Without breaking my gaze, I snatched the pen back. Then I advanced on him. Nearly growling I told him that he was lucky I hadn’t killed him. He sensed that it was the truth. We became casual acquaintances. And when I needed the opinion of “the man on the street” I’d contact him. When I left Saginaw, I called him to let him know I was moving on. His parting words were, “Try not to kill anyone.” That still makes me laugh when I think about it.

Looking at Karma

In episode 25 of Looking Back, Merit reveals that she has too much time on her hands. She probably isn’t supposed to be using social media to spy on family but that never stopped her before.

I’ve been taking classes online. It is a diversion. I probably will never use any of it but it is nice to know that I’m educated in the ways and why-fors of real estate having passed my realtor’s licensing exam. I’m also a certificate holder for Computer Technology, Medical Billing and Coding, Cyber Security, Website Design, Hospitality Management, Criminal Justice, Accounting, Asset Protection, and my favorite, Veterinary Assisting. It doesn’t cost too much money and I’ve got lots of free time. The next class in Finance starts in 3 more weeks. I’m hoping to add that certificate to my collection. The last class I took in Hospitality Management required familiarity with social media sites like Yelp, Open Table, and Trip Adviser. I couldn’t help myself. I ended up wasting time looking at reviews on Craig’s List, Facebook, and Pinterest. I even looked up some old acquaintances, just to see what they were up to now days. I discovered that my brother is getting another divorce. I found out that my Aunt Eve died. It was amusing to see the photos of old classmates. They looked so old. Not that I haven’t aged, however I have all my own teeth and am not in a wheelchair! The real thrill was lurking and discovering that at least 3 of my chief tormentors were struggling with obesity, addiction, and cancer. Not that I wished any of those things on them but it is nice to see karma has finally caught up to them. Karma catches everyone in the end. I’m sure karma will bite me in the ass someday too. Just not today.

Looking for Privacy

In episode 24 of Looking Back, Merit reveals that she dreams and keeps secrets. I think she is supposed to tell her psychologist about the dreams. I think Merit is a little rebellious.

I’ve been having dreams again. Most of the time I don’t sleep long enough to really get into the dream stage. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having exceptionally vivid dreams. They all start out the same but quickly morph into confusing and irrational experiences. They start with me wandering through a house that is familiar in some respects. I have the sense that it is “my” house. I pass through hallways and doors until I open a door and I’m not in the house any more. I walked through one door and straight into a riot. I felt the panic rising in my mind as rubber bullets ricocheted off the alley walls and tear gas billowed into the narrow space. I found myself running. And I ran and ran until everything was left behind. And by everything, I mean all the buildings, trees, sky and ground until it had faded to white. And there I stood in the middle of bright white nothing. In another I end up in a jungle. As I’m pushing my way through the thick plant growth, I end up caught in the coils of an anaconda. As the breath is squeezed out of me, the world fades to white. By the time I can’t breathe the snake is gone and I’m in that white empty place. That is how most of them play out. I start out comfortable, head to uncomfortable and my world becomes a place of white nothing. Ending up in an empty but still safe place is bizarre but strangely comforting. I haven’t discussed the dreams with the psychologist and I probably won’t. It is nice to have a small bit of mental privacy.

Looking at Seafood

Here is the latest installment (episode 23) of Looking Back. She has had a tough time but I’m not sure how much of it is bad luck and how much is her bad decisions…

My psychologist wanted to talk about my parents again. I really don’t have anything more to say about them. They are dead. I’ve rehashed the childhood trauma – feeling unloved, unappreciated, invisible, and as if they were too tired to deal with raising another child. So I steered the conversation toward a happier topic, my disastrous second job. It really wasn’t that bad if you don’t take into account moving from Texas to Michigan, having a shrew of a boss, and discovering that you are allergic to shellfish. I was really torn up about the shellfish. I still dream sometimes of shrimp scampi or crab patties. In my dreams I can taste the lobster bisque soup and it is so very good. Of course the seafood in Michigan is all frozen or if you want to spend an arm and a leg, it is flown in but hardly fresh. Michigan winters were cold and snowy with an ever present wind. And they started early and lingered well into what I would consider springtime. I didn’t make any friends. I suppose I didn’t try too hard. I was the new face and the person I replaced was well liked. I felt animosity and finally someone spilled that the boss had told everyone that their former coworker had been fired to “make room” for me. It was a rocky start. I ended up with all the crap assignments. It took 3 years before I decided to call it quits. As was typical from the boss, my going away luncheon was held at Red Lobster. To top the terrible work experience, I ended up barfing my guts out in the bathroom at the restaurant before the Going Away Party had even gotten off the ground! I suppose that means I’m allergic to even the smell of seafood.

Looking at Dogs

I present episode 22 of Looking Back! Sometimes we choose pets and sometimes pets choose us. For Merit V. Bidwell, it happened like this:

I had a phone call yesterday. I dread that. Getting a phone call is never a good thing. It is almost always bad news. Anyway, that call dredged up lots of memories. I was still living in San Antonio when I sort of adopted a dog. I say that because there was never any official adoption. Every day I’d walk to and from work and every day I’d pass this house with a dog chained up to a tree. Most of the time I’d walk past the dog and we’d ignore each other. But sometimes I’d toss the last of my breakfast over the fence. I figured it was “good karma” since that dog was so thin. One day I walked by and the house was obviously empty but the dog was still chained to the tree. I figured they had moved but were coming back for the dog. The dog was there the next morning and I tossed most of my breakfast burrito to him. When I walked home he was still there. He didn’t have any water so I decided to fill his bowl. I wasn’t sure if he was friendly so I used a stick to get his bowl. He drank all the water immediately. Then he looked at me with sad eyes and wagged his tail. I didn’t want a dog. The next day I lugged a gallon milk carton of water and filled his bowl to the brim and left him a corn dog and a day old cake doughnut. As I approached the house on my way home, he started wagging his whole body as soon as he saw me. I managed to untangle the chain from the tree and he walked with me to my apartment. From that point on he was my dog. We had some good times. He wasn’t young but when the vet said he was probably 8 -10 years old, I was shocked. He didn’t live much longer after that. They said it was likely a combination of heartworm disease and liver failure. The vet wanted $75 to dispose of the body. I decided to wrap him up in his favorite blanket and bury him myself. I ended up having to buy a shovel and digging the hole in the middle of the night so no one would know I was burying a dog in the courtyard.