You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

by Ed Malin

At the bus station. That is not where you expect to get a singing telegram.

But at the bus station, indeed, is where it happened.  Never mind the Proud Boys.  They didn’t know I got on the bus.  Here I am.  Soulful blue eyes.  Looking at me from a magazine cover.  Eyes that do not question.  They are flat.  Maybe that’s why some people don’t believe there’s a soul.
Here I am in an ever-expansive reality of perhaps more dimensions than I knew existed.

But do THEY know that I’m here?
People are looking.  I have never gotten a singing telegram before.  I’ve heard of it, maybe from something like The Three Stooges or someplace where people do outlandish things.  It’s so dramatic, especially for this place.  I chose it, you see, because there is so little drama here.  However, would I fit in?  Again, something that I have been trying to do, to train myself to be like the two-dimensional eyes in the magazines covers.  No one would want to probe me further to see what else there might be below the surface, I would just be another person, in this place.

Well how d’ya like that?.  This song I know.  This song is from the Great American Songbook.  Perhaps one of those Duke Ellington numbers?  George Gershwin.  Something that sounds like it deserves a big band accompaniment.  Again, perhaps a little too big for this place.  But even in this place, people let a song out of their hearts.  Even in this place, people got rhythm.  Oh I don’t know.  I wait for the singer to finish the singing telegram.  He hands me a folded piece of paper and turns to go.  I ask, uhhh, to whom do I owe the pleasure?  He looks at me and smiles like he’s in the witness protection program, glances at the ceiling, and tries to yank away from the grip I have on his wrist.

On the ceiling are there security cameras?  Is it known that I am doing this?  Perhaps the sender wanted proof of delivery.  Well, thank you, I say, still wondering, perhaps in vain, perhaps futilely.  Not who sent it, but why.  How did they know where I was going?
I open up the folded piece of paper and read simply these words: “Process of elimination”.  Now, when you know people who know people in the mob, you don’t really want to hear “process of elimination”.  That sounds a little like no one’s ever going to see you again.  Or, it might remind you of what your nutritionist says, a lot of fiber will help you with the process of elimination.  I know I’ve been bad about fiber.  But I have been looking over my shoulder most of my life.  I think I will send THEM a singing telegram.  But what song?  How about (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.

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