Jack and Melissa spent the next several years in the crooked house just living normal lives. They now had two children and were very content. After years of abuse about his physical appearance and his name, Jack was happy that he was being treated with respect and was being left alone. Now, though, he faced a new problem.
Crime was down and court cases were few. Big time criminals as well as the street variety were wary of going to court. They liked Jack but they suspected that when he looked at them in his crooked way he knew whether they were guilty or not. Because they felt guilty many of them volunteered to make restitution to their victims and to society. At the same time it became too difficult to commit crimes and then help out in the community. It was much easier to leave the county than to face the crooked lawyer.
Because he was so successful Jack felt guilty for having idle time. Wasting taxpayers’ money went against his grain. Jack liked hard work, research, excitement, and the thrill of convincing others of the truth. Besides that, he was continually proving to himself that he was more than a crooked man. He was ready for an opportunity to step out, to be bold and to prove himself to the world.
One afternoon a long black sedan drove up the crooked road and parked in Jack’s driveway. No one got out. No one opened a door or window. The crooked dog growled but just watched.
Melissa wondered about the strange car and called Jack. He rushed home and stopped a few yards away from the car. Jack was cautious at first. He didn’t recognize the car or the license plate. Finally he walked crookedly around the black car and stood on the porch next to the dog.
The car doors opened and three men got out. Two of them leaned against the car and scanned the area while a third man walked slowly towards Jack.
“Mr. Crooked?” he asked while extending his huge hand.
Jack didn’t correct the large man. He just smiled crookedly and stuck out his hand. “Call me Jack.”
The man looked Jack over. “We’ve been hearing good things about you and we want you to run for office.”
“I’ve been thinking about that, too,” Jack responded. “Perhaps I could run for the County Board of Supervisors or maybe try to be a state assemblyman.”
A deep chuckle bubbled up from the big man. “No, sir. We have bigger plans for you. Oh yes, indeed. We want you to run for President!”
It would have been rude to laugh, but that idea was ridiculous. He was a small-town lawyer with some success. How could a crooked lawyer compete with the urbane experienced gentlemen who had spent years before cameras while gaining their respective offices?
The big man cleared his throat. “I’ve done some checking up on you. You’re inexperienced and new to the political world. You don’t have a sordid past or problems that could be potentially explosive. You’re crooked, but you would be the most honest politician around.”
Jack protested, “I haven’t been studying the issues. I haven’t decided which ones I’m for and which ones I’m against.”
“Don’t worry about that. None of the politicians think for themselves. We lay out the plans and tell them what they’re for and what they’re against. Speech writers watch the polls and try to catch the waves of concern and ride the tides of sentiment. A few votes here or there make all the difference. It’s an exciting game. The candidates have to be smooth talkers and look good.”
“Look,” said Jack. “It’s obvious that I’m crooked. I don’t look good in public. I don’t think I can follow orders either if I believe they’re wrong. I will give my honest opinion every time. I refuse to be bullied.”
The big man grinned. “Yes, we know all that. We don’t expect a crooked lawyer to win. We want you to stir up the issues so our guy looks good. In other words, you’d be a distraction and a decoy. In the meantime we’ll finance your campaign through the primaries.”
Jack thought about the offer for a few seconds. “I’ll do it. There are several issues I want to bring up. I think the American public is smarter than you think.”
The big man shook Jack’s hand. “We’ll be back. Next time we’ll have your campaign staff with us.”
Jack watched as the car sped down the narrow crooked road, the tires kicking up dust and gravel as the car touched the shoulder. When it was out of sight Jack continued to stare. “What have I gotten myself into?” he said quietly.
Melissa noticed his preoccupied look as he entered the kitchen. “Why are you scowling, Jack My Love? You’re always smiling. What’s wrong?”
“I think I’ve done something stupid. I’m running for President!”
The birth was normal but somehow the baby was strangely misshapen. One leg was shorter than the other and he twisted a bit to one side. “He’s a crooked little fellow,” the doctor muttered.
“Oh, no, he’s beautiful,” his mother insisted. “I’m so proud of him!” And to prove how much she loved her baby she gave him a strange name, as mothers sometimes do.
His mom was insistent and the name stayed. Of course, in his early years Jack’s full name was rarely used. Only when his mother was mad did she call him Jack My love Bartholomew and then there were other names liberally sprinkled in.
When he entered school the situation changed. The kids taunted him because of his crooked way of smiling and the way he walked. His name became a special target and he learned to endure the bullies and their little slaves. Jack always thought of the helpers as slaves because they were afraid to challenge any decision made. Suggestions from bullies were commands to be carried out.
“Jack My love”, do this. “Jack My love”, do that. Jack grew tired of hearing his name in jest and sometimes he ignored the tease or refused to answer anything other than Jack.
In high school he began getting recognition in sports as an excellent runner. As a running back in football his slants and cutbacks were different. His crooked way of running gave him unusual opportunities. In cross country and track he became known for his “crooked” miles.
His opponents and some of his teammates asked the coaches to “Make him run right”. He ran at angles but within bounds. Although his coaches listened to complaints they saw how his awkward style led to wins. It was not in their best interests to change him. Therefore the coaches left him alone.
In addition to his talents in sports his writing skills were superior. Because he had spent hours brooding about the taunts and teasing, he kept a journal. At first his teachers tried to change his penmanship because it was so horribly crooked and even left handed students refused to accept him.
As a consequence of his crooked writing his papers were hard to read and were often marked down drastically. Eventually his teachers adapted and began discovering his raw talent. His poems and short stories were wonderful though decidedly crooked. They, not Jack, petitioned the school board for a laptop Jack could carry with him.
Jack’s romantic life was simply nonexistent. Girls remarked that Jack walked funny and when he smiled, his smile was crooked. They would say, “You’re a good friend but………….. and Jack would listen to a range of excuses but never got a date.
After college he thought about becoming a politician but since he was already “the crooked man” he thought that might be a bad idea. He became a lawyer instead.
Jack’s success as a county prosecutor brought publicity about his relentless pursuit of those on the wrong side of the law. His fame spread and he obtained a certain measure of respect but people still made references to his odd name and his peculiar way of walking.
Jack bought an old house on the outskirts of town. It needed renovation and repairs and he went right to work restoring the old mansion. Once it had been a beautiful landmark in town but a series of mobsters had lived there briefly and left it in disrepair. Townsfolk said it was filled with bullet holes and weird stories. Jack was the only one brave enough to buy it and move in.
It was located, oddly enough, on South Crooked Way and situated on the side of a small hill. Everyone who saw it claimed it leaned to one side. For that and other reasons they referred to it as “the crooked house”.
During this time Jack acquired a few animals, hereafter referred to as one crooked dog and one crooked cat. Field mice in the vicinity were decimated by the crooked cat, although there were rumors about town that a couple of malformed mice were ignored by the cat. The crooked dog looked ferocious and strangers did not venture down his road without making a hasty departure.
Jack was lonely, especially at night when the crickets started chirping and the moon rose up full of bright promise. He tried internet dating sites but he could not keep a normal schedule. His “ewomen” gradually drifted away into cyberspace.
During a Purple Passion Poetry posting contest Jack decided to compete and see if his writing talent would give him a chance at winning. He had forgotten one aspect of the contest. The top five writers were required to make a public appearance and read a few poems in front of a live audience.
One of the judges took him aside and asked, “Jack, could you please wear a specially built shoe so you look normal? Oh, and would you please take the time to work on that crooked smile?”
He won the contest which upset most of the long time gentry. While onstage at the awards presentation Jack enraged them more by removing his uncomfortable shoe and smiling at the audience.
The next day newspaper banners read, “Crooked Man Wins Contest!” When some people objected to a crooked man winning, one of the judges was quoted as saying, “I had no choice. It was crooked all the way!”
Jack was not at all pleased with the publicity and the way the public treated him. In spite of the publicity he was offered a partnership with a local law firm that wanted a crooked lawyer. When he accepted their offer he received a large increase of pay, his income doubling immediately.
His crooked smile was front page news in the local paper and one of the top ten internet stories. “Crooked Lawyer Leaves Public Practice to Defend Crooks.”
“Why don’t you sue those insensitive clods on the newspaper?” his partners asked. “They’ve gone way too far. If you won’t do it for yourself, then sue for the sake of all those kids who have to face bullies. Then donate the money to charity.”
His partners were urging him to sue but that wasn’t Jack’s style. They became more insistent, telling Jack he had to be ruthless if he continued with their firm. He resigned and opened an office on the main street of town. The sign above it read simply “THE CROOKED LAWYER”. Rather than fight with those who were ridiculing him, he took the insult as a badge of honor.
The building was nondescript and there were no flashy directions to his office. People would say, “It’s located on the third floor somewhere. You’ll know it when you see it.” Sure enough when visitors made it to the third floor they saw hand painted signs with arrows pointing the way. One sign said, “Love instead of sue.” Another was more dramatic. “Love first, shoot last.”
Across the country the name caught fire. People laughed but when they needed legal help they remembered his sign. Jack’s reputation and his tenacity brought in more clients. It seemed almost everyone wanted the most hardworking, most honest crooked lawyer in the business.
Mob bosses, ministers, thieves, rich men, and poor men wanted Jack to represent them. In his normal crooked way Jack would put up a brilliant defense as he paced back and forth, similar to the slants of his football glory days. The jury was always mesmerized and his victories continued to mount. For Jack it wasn’t all about the money. He wanted to believe in his clients and get them respect.
Because of this honest crooked lawyer many of his crooked clients decided to go straight. They continued to prosper in spite of being honest in their dealings. More importantly, they vowed to remember all that Jack had done for them.
Next door to his office was a quaint coffee shop. Jack enjoyed reading the newspaper and checking the internet over a cup of coffee. There Jack met Melissa, a waitress, who did interest him. As she poured him a coffee each day she talked about her world and wanted to know about his. She never mentioned Jack’s crooked smile. She just seemed happier when he smiled at her. She knew he had an odd way of walking but that didn’t really matter. She saw him go out of his way to say kind words to people and to pet dogs and cats.
The world came alive to Melissa when Jack was there. “Jack My love” took on new meaning after she said, “I love your name.” He excited her and made her feel comfortable at the same time. He, in turn, began sharing his childhood and found she had a genuine interest in this life. Their friendship blossomed. Shortly thereafter they married and lived together in the big crooked house.
It wasn’t long before Jack’s name was bandied about in political circles. “He was okay as a crooked lawyer,” one woman said. “I think he would make an excellent crooked politician.”
(But that’s another story.)
- Of Real-Life Crooks and Villains (opinionhub.wordpress.com)
- Crooked I – Monsters In My Head feat. Slaughterhouse (akahiphop.com)
- W.H. Auden: “You shall love your crooked neighbour/ With your crooked heart.’” (lifeondoverbeach.wordpress.com)
- How to Balance a Crooked Nose Without Anesthesia (bellasugar.com)
- I Am Not a Crook (ellen.warnerbros.com)
Neither Silver nor Gold
Randy burst into the room,
And began to shout,
“My debts have been paid,
They’ve all been wiped out!
Someone paid all my debts,
I don’t owe any more!
My debts have been paid,
Someone’s evened the score!”
“Are you serious?” his friend snorted,
“Who would help a poor bum?
There’s more to this story that you’re not telling,
Who would do something that dumb?
This is so unbelievable,
It can’t really be true,
Someone’s pulling your chain,
And he’s probably scamming you,
Who paid off your debts,
What’s his given name?
If you find out who he’s working for,
You’ll understand his real game,”
There was silence only for a moment,
Before Randy said, “I know he paid my debts,
My burden has been lifted,
I’m at peace and I have no regrets,
Small problems became mountains,
Before I met him I feared each day,
There were always things I owed,
That I knew I could never pay,
I was already in a state of ruin,
There was no way out I could tell,
I had given up all hope,
I was trapped in a financial hell,
Out of nowhere came this man,
Who said the debts I had faced,
Were gone and solved forever,
They were paid and now erased,
My friend was still shocked, “It can’t be true,
The only way to stop debts is to create wealth,
Save wisely, and save till you die,
Money is even more important than health,
Family can wait, stay on your job,
There’s no miracle waiting out there,
No one pays your debts for free,
You’re talking dreams, mirrors, and smoke in the air,
Be shrewd in a world like this,
It’s the only way to get someplace,
So forget the idea your debts are paid,
There’s only one way to win this race!”
Randy answered, “But I tell you it’s true,
The road will be tough but I have no regrets,
When he told me to follow him,
There was no question, he had paid my debts,
I’ve determined that his way is best,
The strangest part of the story I’ve told,
Is about this stranger who paid,
He had neither silver nor gold,
Nothing was uncommon, he fit right in,
He talked as if he had always known me,
His father had always been a family friend,
Then he shared his vision of eternity,
He said I won’t need money in this faraway place,
All my needs and wants will be cared for,
I just need to get myself ready,
When he comes knocking at my door,”
My friend was livid, boiling hot mad,
“I want him arrested and thrown into jail,
He’ll destroy the economy and dreams I had,
Without silver and gold it’ll be pure hell!
He should be murdered or hung on a tree,
Stretched out before us so all can see,
There’s no way he can pay all the debts,
“You’ll always owe, you can never be free!”
After that outburst my friend stormed out,
“I hope he doesn’t kill someone,” Randy said out loud,
But he worried about the way his friend reacted,
Violence unleashed only needs one voice in a crowd,
The stranger was calm, as Randy followed him that day,
He touched the crippled, downtrodden, those with sores,
The stranger performed miracles to Randy’s surprise,
Then he said, “Come to me for I am the door,”
Was this man crazy, for now Randy had doubts,
Everything was happening fast and was so unknown,
Randy could leave the life the stranger offered,
Before he changed all that Randy had ever known,
The stranger’s small group met late one night,
He explained how he would die without a fight,
“Not so,” Randy blurted, “that won’t be right,
I’ll protect you and keep you in sight,”
“When the time comes,” said the stranger,
“You’ll claim you’ve never seen my face,”
Randy denied it but knew in his heart,
That something profound had taken place,
This garden was a new beginning,
Different from when Adam had failed the test,
But it all came about as expected,
And someday Randy will know the rest.
Nothing but love I brought into this world,
I was transparent to all who cared,
I had no need for extra things,
Because I had lots of love to share,
As I grew older the world was mine,
To explore the treasures she had,
And to her bosom I often went,
For I was a curious lad,
Barefoot and rambunctious I grew up,
With few possessions to my name,
Only what nature so freely gave,
Were part of the rules of the game,
Splendid colors did the earth display,
From pastels to brilliant shades,
As she twirled on her destined way,
The world watched as I emulated her lead,
I shared my belongings along the way,
And love was all I ever needed,
To keep my greed at bay,
But the pretenders of love did not stop,
I fought through loneliness and tears,
All I had left was love, sweet love,
And it’s stayed with me for years,
There’s nothing else but love,
That’ll fit between those pearly gates,
And everything else will slip right down,
And fall through the sewer’s grates.
- “Marriage Is a Rose Garden” (danroberson.wordpress.com)
- 2012 The Year Of Love (izzysagenda.com)
- Filling Your Love Tank (redeemedandredirected.com)
- She’s the World to Me (poetsenvy.wordpress.com)
- Barefoot Mornings (bcommanderinchic.com)
- At the sight (worthwhiletreasure.wordpress.com)
- Modern love: Tumblecore (thejamescolumn.com)
We were arguing while waiting in a long line,
There was a concert we wanted to see,
We were newlyweds and things were wrong,
I blamed you and you blamed me,
I expected home to be the Garden of Eden,
Where I could rule my kingdom every day,
Then I discovered you were a princess,
Used to getting your own way,
Neither of us was ready to give in,
Already our love was wearing thin,
We wondered if our love could be mended,
And if we could still remain friends,
The elderly couple behind us was in love,
We could see it in their eyes,
“Could you give me the secret of love?”
What they shared seemed true and wise,
The man smiled and hugged his wife,
“Penny and I learned long ago,
That a marriage is built day by day,
And there was much we each had to know,
Penny taught me warmth and love,
And that friendship is a must,
When others try to tear you apart,
You still have to continue to trust,”
“Love is just the icing on the cake,”
He continued, “Respect is something you need,
If respect and support are missing,
Your marriage is in trouble indeed,
We like to think love is a living plant,
That thrives when tended well,
When it is given the proper nutrients,
It gets stronger as time will tell,”
And often the beauty brings tears,
All the blooms are not yours alone,
They are to be shared for years and years,
Foolish hearts often give up too quick,
Before the garden has a chance to bloom,
They forget that roses thrive best,
When given lots of light and room,
In the first year when new growth appears,
And you’re considering what seeds to sow,
Talk to God about your spouse,
And what the marriage needs to grow,
Give your rose garden tender loving care,
A rose garden blooms profusely when fed,
But don’t forget the most important part,
Prune any part of you that is dead,
Ask yourself the reasons you fell in love,
Challenge each other to revisit them again,
This is one time to dig up the past,
For this time both can win,
With maturity your world will expand a lot,
So be prepared for both to change,
If either was stagnant and did not grow,
Wouldn’t that have been strange?
Marriage is a rose garden,
You have to twist and bend,
When you keep love in sight,
You fall in love again,
There is one secret to ensure success,
To stay married to your best friend,
Think of the good your spouse does each day,
And you’ll fall in love again,
Seek God out for perfect advice,
For patience when troubles brew,
It would be wise to explore your own heart,
Instead of what your spouse should do,
Daily remind yourself you made a great choice,
And found the perfect person for you,
Then falling in love and over again,
Will be easier and easier to do,”
We entered the doors and found our seats,
The music was powerful and loud,
But as we sat there thinking things over,
We realized it’s hard to think in a crowd,
Our hearts were troubled and we left midway,
We found a place where we could walk,
Then in a diner we shared coffee and a slice of pie,
We opened up and had a heart to heart talk,
It was like a flame from friendship grew,
We were connected by our hearts once more,
And in the early hours I fell in love,
And worried what the future had in store,
My wife also had made her choice,
I would always be her man,
Then we decided that a rose garden,
Would keep us focused on a plan,
In the morning when the sun came up,
While the dew was still on the ground,
We planted a single rose bush,
To remind us of the love we found,
Every year we’ll add yet another,
Then share what our hearts have learned,
The garden will fill with bouquets of rose buds,
The rewards our marriage has earned.
- Rose quote from Dale Carnegie (ordinarygood.wordpress.com)
- The Great 2011 Rose Garden Slaughter– Using Forged Steel to Produce Good Looking Roses (forbesontech.typepad.com)
- I never promised you a rose garden, but you got one anyway (weeklygrist.wordpress.com)
- Time to prune your roses (mysanantonio.com)
- Rose Flowers And Their Various Types (proflowers.com)
- Previous Post (whitecranes.wordpress.com)
Last Words That Were Easy to Remember
(Last words are in parenthesis)
There have been times I’ve said,
Last words I hoped were true,
I said them so sweet they’d be good to eat,
If they were returned by you,
The words (I Love You) were special,
And when I gave you a Valentine’s card,
In the fifth grade that was a problem,
Friends teased me often on the school yard,
When we went on the scuba diving trip,
And you assured me (no sharks) were there,
Why did you get so excited,
When one whispered in your ear?
You got into an argument with your friend,
And you said I could take care of us,
You didn’t tell me he was a karate instructor,
(What happened?) I got run over by a bus!
Last words were easy to remember,
Especially when their meaning rang true,
In dreams they came to spice up my nights,
But the words I treasured most were (“I do”),
You might have thought I’d have memorized,
Those phrases that were difficult to hear,
But the two words that drove me to the edge,
Were short and simple, (“Yes, dear”),
You were drinking a tea and on your phone,
While driving with your knees,
You said you had (perfect control),
Except for that awful tree,
You didn’t wait as you vowed you’d do,
I don’t want to see your silly grin,
You’ve closed your book one last time,
It’s over, finished, (Amen).
For once I got the last word.
- Scuba Diving is like property investment [Vicki (The Property Mermaid) Wusche] (ecademy.com)
- New Instructional Scuba Diving Videos Portal by Scuba.com with Expert Scuba Gear Video Reviews (prweb.com)
- Hutcherson obtained scuba diving licence for new movie (hollywood.com)
- All it takes sometimes are a few words. (chasingstarsisbettertogether.wordpress.com)
- What Was I Thinking? (laurieanichols.wordpress.com)
Remember when we were kids,
You’d come and sit with me,
We’d talk about the world,
And everything we could see,
When we were a bit older,
I’d venture off with my friends,
But I knew you were watching,
And I couldn’t help but grin,
I loved to tease and please you,
In science I made your day,
When I said you had special genes,
They showed in your DNA,
Later your family moved away,
It almost broke my heart,
We had pledged forever together,
Suddenly we were a world apart,
That was then, but I saw you today,
Where did you get your DNA?
I loved you before you blossomed,
But I love you even more this way,
It didn’t just happen,
It didn’t just occur,
The way those genes came together,
It created quite a stir,
Whatever you’ve been thinking,
Only you were in my heart,
I was waiting for you to return to me,
I’ve loved you from the start,
I swear this was my best day ever,
Because you came to sit with me,
We talked about the world,
Then we checked if we still agree,
You wanted to discuss our former life,
And wondered if our love was true,
We sealed our vow with a kiss,
And you showed what it means to you.
- Researchers develop better control for DNA-based computations (eurekalert.org)
- How are DNA tests done? (zocdoc.com)
- The Smell of DNA (bellasugar.com)
- New DNA Product Simplifies Science and Gives Consumers Affordable Access to People and Places Their DNA Most Closely Matches (prweb.com)
- USB stick can sequence DNA in seconds (newscientist.com)
- Adding Your DNA To A Biobank Is A Noble Move – But Is It A Wise One? (mt-soft.com.ar)
- Molecule Is Important Step Towards Creating Drugs That Can Go After Rogue DNA Directly (medicalnewstoday.com)
“Caution,” she once told me,
“If you’re not careful in love you might fall,”
Then she slyly slipped away,
Her statement meant nothing to me at all,
The next day I saw her under a tree,
“Are you afraid to be warm and tender?”
Coyly she didn’t have more to say,
I needed a clear question, not a mind bender,
“Lust burns intensely out of control,
While love burns steadily with an eternal flame,”
Her eyes stared into the depths of mine,
I asked myself, “Were her eyes always the same?”
“Come tonight and we’ll count the stars,”
I didn’t want to count each and every one,
That would be extremely boring,
And it didn’t sound like much fun,
“We’ll swim at midnight at the lake,
You’ll like the swimsuit that I’ll take,”
“I’m a good swimmer but I don’t swim at night,
We could just watch t.v. for goodness sake!”
I didn’t risk anything so I was safe,
I don’t understand where I went wrong,
I’m not sure what she wanted from me,
We could have watched sports all night long.
I don’t want to look into your liquid eyes,
I might fall in,
I don’t want to hold you all night,
But I’m ready to begin,
This night is perfect for loving you,
I know it’s true,
We’re more than great friends,
You know it too,
Your life has become intertwined with mine,
Up the beanstalk,
And to the stars we’ve climbed,
And it’s love we talk,
As we gather celestial rosebuds,
On our heavenly walk,
In my dreams I know I want to live with you,
My whole life through,
In my heart I’ve created a kingdom,
Just for you,
Our love will endure forever,
You know it’s true,
Choose me, too!”