Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Poetic...

This is my latest Submission to my free writing group, The Coffee House Percolators:

The prompt I used, from a list of prompts given was, "Professor Wlecke."

"How Poetic"

w/c: 1168 (according to OmmWriter)

"Oh! I must've fallen asleep," Albert thought as he opened his eyes and noticed the open book on his lap. He put his hand on the book to keep it from falling and sat up with a start as his hand went throught the book as though it were a hologram. The book remained in place even as he sat up. "What is this?" Albert stood up and turned to see himself, still asleep in the chair, book on his lap, tea still brewing on the table next to his overstuffed chair. "Oh, I get it. I'm still asleep and this is a dream."

"Well, not exactly," said a male voice from behind. Albert jumped and turned.

"Who are you?"

"You can call me, 'Liam'" for now.

"What is all this about? This feels so real, for a dream."

"That is because this isn't a dream."

"I'm sorry, are you from the UK?"

"What? Oh, yes, you spotted the dialect. Well done. Now, I need you to pay attention. Any minute now, a door will appear and you and I will go through it together."

"Why? How long will this take? I have a lecture in the morning."

"Oh, of course. I'm sorry, you still don't understand, professor. You've left your body and you are about to pass on, but I'm going to help you."

"I died? How? I'm only 66! I don't smoke, I rarely drink..."

"You had an undiagnosed heart defect. Ironically, had you been a smoker or a heavier drinker, you might have had a heart attack much earlier, and perhaps some surgery could have been done. But that is neither here nor there. Oh, look! There it is." Albert looked to his left, following Liam's direction. Suddenly, where there had never been a door before, but where he could have sworn had been a china hutch, there was a wooden door. It appeared to be mahogany, well crafted, though slightly worn, with carvings around the edges.

"So that's my door, then?"

"That's it. Would you like to go now?"

"Well, I wasn't really ready to go in the first place."

"We never really are. At least, not most of us."

"What happens if I don't go?"

"You have that option, but the door won't be here forever for you. Of course none of your loved ones will be able to see or hear least not unless they have the 'gift.'"

"So then psychics are real?"

"For the most part, no. Most of them are either charletons, or they are functionally mentally ill. If they charge money for it, then most assuredly they are putting on a show with smoke and mirrors, and mind games. But there are a few here and there who can sometimes help those who have chosen to not pass on, make contact with their loved ones, but I don't recommend it."

"Why not?"

"Albert, you died. Let the living live and move on. It's going to be hard enough for them as it is."

"I guess I see..." Albert tilted his head and squinted at Liam, "Have we met before this?" Liam smiled like an actor who has been recognized by a fan, "Not exactly, but you've read my even published a scholarly work having to do with me."

Albert's face morphed from confused to enlightened, "Well, I'll be! You're William Wordsworth? Liam?"

William smiled, "My friends call me Liam."

"Thank you, Mr. Words --Liam! I can't imagine that little book I published --I mean others must that why they sent you?"

"Something like that. It's a little more complicated than that, but that would be the best way to describe it, I suppose."

"Wow. So, who came for you?"

"Oh, my dear friend, Samuel."

"As in, Samuel Taylor Coleridge? And who came for him? Milton?"

"Actually, the Bard, himself!"

"You don't say!"

"The lucky bastard!"

"Well, then he did just die, didn't he?"

Liam laughed, "Yes, I suppose so. Besides, once you're up there, you can meet anyone you want."

"UP there. That's good to you mean I can meet anyone except for those who didn't make it UP there?"

"Well, you probably wouldn't want to meet anyone who didn't. You might actually be surprised about who's up there now."

"How's that?"

"Some don't go straight up. They have a chance to get healing and re-education. From there, a decision is made."

"What, so you mean someone like Hitler is up in heaven right now?"

"He is. After he was healed of his mental illnesses, he took quite well to the re-education, so he's up there, painting away. Some of his cronies, however, not so much."

"You don't say!"

"Indeed! Some people have brain defects, and some just choose to be pure evil, or so it seems."

"You don't say."

"Indeed. You know, there will be plenty of time to talk about this on the other side."

"Oh! Of course! So what do I do? Just turn the handle?"

"And walk right in."

Albert turned the door knob, and opened the door. Before him was what appeared to be a well-lit yet foggy path.

"I'll be right behind you," Liam said, comfortingly.

Albert stepped through, followed by Liam. The door closed, then disappeared. The china hutch was visible once again. A few minutes later, the outside door to the kitchen opened. Rhonda, the professor's housekeeper came in carrying several bags of groceries. After putting everything away, she came in to the study.

"Professor, I was able to get that special blend you like --oh. Sorry, I didn't know you were asleep." Rhonda went in a little closer, but carefully. She didn't want to wake him."

"I'll just get this book for you," she whispered, realizing he couldn't hear her in his sleep, "before it falls off your lap--oh!"

She realized something wasn't right. She took a long look at the professor. He did not appear to be breathing. With a shaking hand, she put her fingers on the side of his neck to see if there was a pulse. As soon as she felt his cold skin she knew. "Oh professor!" As she left the room to make the appropriate phone calls one must make in situations like these, she turned over the book she had retrieved from the professor's lap. It was a book of poems by Willam Wordsworth. She stopped to look at the page that had been held open on his lap. It was, "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal." As she read it, a bit of a chill crept up her arms. She shut the book, set it on the table, and left the room to make the calls.

In trying to find out how to pronounce "Wlecke," I googled the name and found out that there really was a Professor Wlecke! Here is his Obit.:

I also found out that he wrote a book called "Wordsworth and the Sublime (Perspectives in Criticism)" which I alluded to in my story.

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