It’s 3:03AM. I am awakened because my bladder decides it has to go like a horse in the field. I roll over to put my feet on the floor. The hip pain builds to intolerable levels as I try to stand. The pain is greater than childbirth and kidney stones combined. I march to the bathroom as stiffly as possible to avoid swinging the biting hip. I finally reach the bathroom and the bladder decides it doesn’t want to go any more. I refuse to go through this much pain again in the morning. I spend the rest of the night sleeping in a chair on a heating pad.

The next morning the volunteer fire department asks me to bake a pie. In the afternoon, I bend over to pick up the rake in an awkward manner to appease the hip. I end up in a half shoulder roll spread out on the ground making grass angels. That’s when my bladder decides to pull all the stops. Excuse me for five minutes while I get back on my feet and another ten to shower and change. Damned hip.

Two days later, I’m back at the clinic because my mammogram showed “something.” Coming out, I meet Clara who tenderly touches my arm and asks me to bake a pie for the Ladies Auxiliary. Shit. What am I made of, pie?

The other day, I took off my long-sleeved shirt to discover a large red and blue bruise on my forearm. Not swollen. Doesn’t hurt. Looked it up on the internet. Nothing but ads for psoriasis and liver pills. We’ll see how it goes.

A day later, the regional church ministry calls and asks me to bake a pie. Jesus, where are you when I need you? Doesn’t the blue-haired crowd know no one else makes pies anymore? They are all busy with those expensive gadgets that run up the phone bill. Capitalism sure knows how to make a buck.

Used to be, I’d call Margaret the telephone operator to get so-and-so on the phone. Could be a neighbor or some store. Didn’t have to dial a single number. And the NSA didn‘t know, Google didn’t know, every retailer in the United States didn’t know. Of course, Margaret knew. At least the news was local. The VFW called today asking for another goddamned pie.

What younger folks do today is go to fun beer parties looking for sex where there are always very attractive people. That’s what television says, anyway. Doesn’t matter, anyone who can still have sex doesn’t ask. But the beer party – that’s another matter. The spots where beer and smoke blended for a wonderful smell of fun and good times has marijuana beat from the start. That reminds me to put marijuana in the pies; I’ll be able to come home before the varicose veins become unbearable.

I know the end is coming. I’ve outlived the actuary statistics. I’m going out with my boots on, though. I have two six-shooters. Twelve bullets have a name on them: one for each person that asks me to bake a pie, one for the life insurance guy, one for the property insurance guy, two for my incompetent, greedy Congressman, and one for the neighbor two houses down. The town will give me a send off to prison for that one.

I guess you’ve figured out two things by now. One, do not ask me to bake pie. Two, it’s 3:10AM and I’m sitting on a heating pad.

Ancient Mariner