Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Tribute to Algernon from an Author's Perspective

By Cal Orey
This morning when I was awakened by my Aussie pup Skye, I should have let him do his business, feed the dogs, and go back to bed all day. But that's not how my day played out.  Perhaps if I had done the 7:30 A.M. swim events would have been different. So, here is how my new morning from a good night's sleep progressed. I dedicate this blog post to Algernon, a lab mouse with a cause.
Don't kids read anymore? See reference below

First, when I brewed a cup of coffee to savor in the living room and enjoy my fish aquarium--that's when things tanked (pun intended). My hardy goldfish were weathering ick (a common but deadly parasite, often from stress) and there wasn't a sole survivor. Images of end hours of boat goers floating in the lethal sea viewed in the film Titantic or party people found on the boat in the movie Dead Calm haunted me all day.

Neighbor wishes I would take care of her as well as I do my dog

Next up. My senior Brittany, Simon was booked for a 5:00 P.M. vet appointment. A couple of days ago when I was cleaning his pendulous ears I found a tiny lump on the outer flap. I sensed it may be nothing but to get peace of mind we were going to our friendly vet. So, waiting for the verdict was like a cloud hanging over me all day.

The lighting must be hiding the red bumps on the skin; 
feel like a mouse on topical cream--will it work?

But like a trooper, I did hit the kitchen and put together a New Age Mac and Cheese dish for my weekly food newspaper column. And I was content that the editor for a monthly Earth Changes column I pen decided one of my reprints would suffice for the April issue. And I did market the Healing Powers series via social networking as I anticipate the publication of OLIVE OIL, NEW AND REVISED.  I await a new Healing Powers book assignment. And while waiting I drink a lot of tea to chill.

Then, my skin. On Monday, I was at the doctor's office. A rash, a rash.  I pondered, "Was I bit by a flesh eating mountain spider?" Staph?Where oh where did I pick it up? I am a clean freak with OCD. Nobody knows how or where I caught this infection. Memories of the sci-fi flicks Outbreak and Contagion feed my fears. But while I do know it itches and it burns I don't sense I'm going to be quarantined. I have been using a prescribed pricey antibiotic cream which seems to be working, sort of. But it stings. A lot.

On the upside, my beloved aging dog's lump was a tiny pimple and tended to...Why are we getting this pesky things, anyhow? New fish are in the tank. (On a side note, a lanky teen who didn't talk much at the fish store was  buying six white mice to feed his snake and it spooked me as well as made me feel sorry for the mice as they were plucked from a cozy cage and plopped into a take-out box like Chinese food. My eyes met one and my heart skipped a beat because I knew he knew his warm and fuzzy life as he knew it was going to soon change. The stoic snake guy didn't get my explicit and heartfelt literary reference to Flowers for Algernon. Poor mouse. Poor Charley. Poor kid. Didn't he read the classic in high school? 

That leads me to present moment. Skye sleeps. The drive to the vet, waiting for his canine pal, and pet store as well as Frisbee playing with me earlier fed his boundless energy. Tomorrow morning I will get up early (thanks to my pup's 5:00 A.M. wake-up calls) and write my food article.  And I will fantasize about swimming next week, hopefully when my skin is back to normal. Meanwhile, I can watch the new vibrant fish swim. I'm not certain I can be compassionate tonight working the psychic networks. Maybe it will be a slow night. 

Nah, the phone just rang. I hope it isn't another unrequited love call.  I will be tempted to dart "Get a dog or cat and move on." But I won't say it..."Hello, this is Intuitive Callie. I'm sensing you're a water sign and having romance woes, correct? Yes or no. Please stop crying...take a deep breath."

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