New Horizons Writers’ Group

Judgement ground? No!

Bob Hirt

The gate is usually open; mostly there’s no gate at all; all the secrets of every departed soul quietly reside there: in Forest Lawn Cemetery and in all the checkerboard-like plots in every land.

all the memories, all the happenings, sit closely guarded under

cold, hard stones that cannot speak, stones that defy any attempts to breach the eternal silence.

these sacred plots of earth are the leveling ground for all…the famous, the ne’er do-wells, the accomplished, the piper and the pauper, the warm-earth farmer who at one time tilled his fields.

they all rest there side-by-side for eternity, indifferent to one’s station in life and the cares of the other;

No judgment, no adoration of the other, they reside in unspoken indifference and in overwhelming silence that never ends.

The Angels Appeared

Carol Mitchell-Gears

Every April I start feeling serious anxiety because it is time to take my beloved, sporty 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera for its annual emission test. First you need to know I hate testing centers, too many cars and trucks, the noise and the smell of car fumes, the endless waiting and the fear my dear car won’t pass, after all she is getting up there in years and miles, 196,000 to be exact. She is still looking pretty good with her slightly faded navy blue top and white body with wheels trimmed in golden spokes and a golden luggage rack. We have been together for 21 years and I still like her.

I get very nervous as I approach the MVD testing compound, I see a red barricade arm like you see at a Rail Road Crossing, and a ticket dispensing box with a big red button you push to get a ticket. Taking the ticket activates the barricade arm to open, now you have no choice your in and the only way out is to get tested. After a long wait and slowly inching forward your now in the testing area. The testing officer will ask you to produce your drivers license and other documents, next you asked to step out of your car and wait in what resembles an old not so clean American public phone booth, there is no pay phone however there is a folding chair. When my car is on the spinning contraption, I don’t know what it’s called but it’s like a giant high speed out of control treadmill. I can her engine in a continuous screaming roar, it seems to go on forever and the spinning of the wheels makes her little body shake and shimmy. My little body shakes and shimmies too for fear the wheels will fly off and all the nuts and bolts will be left on the ground.

Well my car failed the test, the number was just shy of passing. In frustration and disappointment I took the car to Virgil my mechanic. Virgil is really a great guy and over the past 20 years has taken good care of my car. He checked it out and made a few adjustments, new spark plugs, new gas filter etc. “Ready to be retested” he said.

It took me several days before I could return to the testing center. As I approached I was feeling even more on edge than before. I pulled into the testing area, just as I come to a stop the testing officer in a strong voice of authority said “You have to leave now your car is leaking gas.” My head was frozen in shock yet spinning in confusion. “What are you talking about,” I cried “Leave now” was his reply. There was no room for discussion, I left. Thinking now what am I to do.

Confused and scared I begin to make my way home, still in shock, wondering if the car would blow up, would I become a ball of fire on wheels, could I even make it home. I asked myself how could it be my car was loosing gas. I just had the it serviced. I got as far as Queen Creek and McQueen, I pulled into the left turn lane and then safely into the intersection when my car just stopped. I was shaking and felt absolute panic being stuck in the center of this big and busy intersection. Hearing angry drivers impatiently blasting their car horns as they inched their way through the intersection. I put the car in park and turned the ignition key, she gave me a bit of hope with a starting sound and then nothing. Before I could again put the car in park and turn the ignition key I realized the car was moving forward. I looked in the side mirror I could see two very strong men wearing green safety vests pushing my car out of the intersection through the bike lane and nest to the curb. I was aware of the expression in their eyes and smile telling me they were happy to help, and that everything was OK. I stopped the car and put it in park, I looked to them to say thank you but they were gone.

With my head in my hands in disbelief, my head spinning and feeling shattered I said to myself calm down and regroup. I pulled my cell phone from my bag, and then became aware of a black Jeep pulling up behind my car, a nicely dressed gentleman got out of the Jeep and walked to my open window and calmly asked if I had a cell phone while extending his for me to use as soon as he could see I had one and before I could thank him he was gone. As the Jeep pulled away I was aware of a police car with flashing lights parking behind me. A Police officer in full uniform came to my open window and asked if I was OK, I told him I was and that my car was loosing gas, he said “I can see it in the intersection.” He offered to call a tow truck and said it could be there in about 10 min and for a very small fee. I explained my husband was on the way and he was calling the insurance company for a tow truck. But I said “That 10 minute timing sounds very good, I’ll call him back and let him know the change of plans.” He asked if I had water then he said “You know I think I’ll stay here. I have paper work to do. I’ll just sit in my car watch to see that your OK.” The tow truck and my husband both arrived with in 10 minutes. The driver of the towing company got my car up on his truck, he notice the gas filter was not secure, his fee was $15 to take my car to Virgil. I introduced my husband to the very special police officer, we both thanked him for his concern and care, we all drove off at the same time.

Driving home I began to tell my husband everything that happened. I got to the point of the intersection at Queen Creed and McQueen and how it felt intense like a demolition derby event. Then it hit me, I said “You know I am so very very lucky to have had four great guys arrive on the screen just as I needed them, in perfect order and timing. They are my Angels.”

My husband asked “Do you really believe in Angels? I said without a pause “You bet I do.”