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Chapter 6
"The times, they are a changin'. "
- Bob Dylan

Let's see. Mark moves away. Doug dies. Dead head dies. I'm not so absolutely sure Ishtar is Good.

Mark's moving away wasn't that great a deal right then. He moved about 120 miles to the south. I could handle that alright. We weren't that great at communicating then, anyway. He was now married. Life is treating him purty good.

Doug's death was a bit of a shocker. He had apparently been hit by a train at night. I'm thinking, ok, maybe if it is real foggy out, which it gets around here in the winter at times, maybe. This wasn't winter though. The night was clear, and even with Doug being a great party animal, which I had a feeling he was by then, Doug would have the common sense to avoid trains. Where he died, trains were rare, but they were also entering the city, so they used their horn around that area. It was a flat area, clear of most brush, and next to a long lazy curve. Even if the damn thing is backing up, you still have all kinds of sound to let you know one of those puppies is headed your way. You don't just get hit by a train, if your the Doug I know. You've lived through too damn much and am too damn smart to let such a thing happen. It just didn't make any sense to me at all.

The last time I saw Doug alive was over at my Mom's house. He was looking rather snazzy. He was dressed in some black, almost shiny pants, with shined black shoes. He had on a striped red and white dress shirt with a very dashing bright red tie on. His hair had been quaffed into almost a blonde Afro, with a black fedora hat at a rakish angle. I was impressed. Doug's usual attire was a faded pair of blue jeans, a slightly worn shirt and some sneakers. I asked Doug over the street 

"What was the special occasion?"

He came trotting over to me and shook my hand. We walked over to the shade of the tree in my mom's front yard. Here it was the last of summer, and it was blazing in the afternoon sun. "I'm going to my girlfriend's son's high school graduation."

I let that answer kind of sink in. "Whoa. I didn't even know you had a girlfriend, much less one old enough to have a son graduating from high school." Doug was probably 22 at the time himself.

He got this huge smile on his face. "Yeah, she really likes me a lot and I think I might be falling in love with her. Things are getting pretty serious between us."

"Well, that's awesome Doug. I'm really glad things are looking up for you."

This was the strange part. He said "Yeah, things are almost going too good for me. You know my kind of luck."

I said, the eternal optimist, "Now, don't think like that. Your deserving of some good luck. I think it's great." I patted him on the shoulder. "I like that hat." Half kidding with him.

He didn't pick up on the razzing I was giving him. He touched the brim of his hat and said "Yeah, my girlfriend bought these clothes for me. She wanted me looking nice for the graduation."

I figured I'd quit picking on him. "Yeah Doug. You do look nice."
He looked at his watch as the sun started to go down a little. "Well, ..."
"Yeah, you better go. You don't want to be late." We shook hands.
He started running across the street, got half way across, turned back and said "I'll see you later." He then turned back and kept trotting to his car. I turned and went inside my mother's house. I never saw Doug alive again. Six months later he met up with his train.  

Deadhead's demise wasn't quite as odd.  The timing of me finding out about it was, though.  I was at the hospital the same time Deadhead's parents arrived.  I was at my mother's house when my mother received a phone call telling her that Deadhead was being brought in to the hospital by ambulance.  The prognosis wasn't apparently good. As it turned out, I arrived at the hospital before Deadhead or his parents.  I was directed to a room to wait things out.  I could not find out any information at all about Deadhead.  A few minutes later, Deadhead's parents arrived.  Deadhead's mom asked me if I had heard anything at all about Deadhead.  I told her no.  A few minutes later a lady came into the room and told us that someone from a county office would be in to answer all our questions.  Deadhead's mom started saying that her son was dead.  I told her "You can't be thinking that way."  She informed me that she wanted to think the worst and that way she would be prepared for anything.  I didn't say anything else.  Deadhead's dad didn't say a word.  

In a few minutes, the lady from the county office showed up.  She was introduced to us by the other lady.  She told us that she could answer any questions that we had.  Deadhead's mom asked her if  Deadhead was dead.  Without so much as batting an eyelash, she immediately said yes. I felt my jaw drop as I looked unbelievably at the lady. It was bad enough hearing that my next door neighbor would not be with me on this earthly plane any more, but then the way she said it. Nothing about sorry to inform you, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I'm so sorry. I wanted to yell out "What the hell is the matter with you?" I looked at his parents sitting there in total shock. I felt totally removed from the situation, yet there I was. She asked if we wanted to look at his body. It was a bit purple right then and swollen, but we could see him if we desired. No thank you. I wanted to remember Deadhead the way he was last time I saw him. 

That had been about six months previously, at my Apartment. I had accidently ran into Deadhead at a local gas station in the early afternoon. I asked him if he wanted to come over and shoot the breeze for awhile. He guessed so. He was drinking from a bottle of Sloe Gin. I asked why he was drinking so early and he replied why not? I shook my head, got my gas, and hoped Deadhead didn't rear end me on the way home. Once inside my apartment, I grabbed a beer and drank with Deadhead. We talked as if we hadn't been apart for four years. He had been busy with his life, me with mine, and we just didn't run into each other at all. I felt sorry for Deadhead. He seemed so lonely. He wasn't married, didn't even ever talk of the fair sex, except to put them down. Deadhead hadn't changed much socially from the first time I saw him in third grade. He was older. He appeared some what wiser. Still a third grader though, when it came to dealing with life.

Try to imagine dealing with a whole race of "people" with a sheet in between you and them. This sheet would only come down when you meet one of these "people". You don't get to see them or smell them. The only way you know they are there is by hearing their voice. That is all you have to identify their every being, their essence, their likes and dislikes, their temperament. Just their voice. Then add the fact that you are one of the few people, for what ever reason, can "hear" these "people". Now, you have some idea of what my conversations with Ishtar are like. Except there is no sheet, at least none that anyone else can see. That and you aren't really "hearing"  with your ears. I tend to "hear" Ishtar and the sprit entities that I have dealt with just as if it is a thought, a slight "sound" more or less right in the middle of my head. It wasn't hard at all to hear these "voices" when I was laying in bed as a youngster. They came through loud and clear. 

Recording Ends on VHS Tape.

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