Balance Beam of Life
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 Category:  Humor Non-Fiction
  Posted: January 9, 2018      Views: 112

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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Trying something a wee bit different here; one man show???
"The Comedy of Life" by Alec Gould

(Curtain opens, I walk out onto the stage, the people await for me to begin...)

Good evening my friends!

My name is Alec Gould. I'm an author of a couple of books on Amazon and I also had a column in a motorcycle magazine for a few years. If you wish to purchase any of these books, they are available on Amazon, or thru my web site of

I've provided housing for many people, mainly my exes. I've held interesting jobs, including driving truck over the road.

I've bowled and bow hunted and fished many lakes in this great state of Wisconsin and a couple of the great lakes.

I'm far from rich, but I am happy. Still, throughout that time, I have gotten old. I don't like that. I want to stay young.

My wife and I had met in 1981. We actually got engaged on Christmas Day of that year. It only lasted a few months.

She had this crazy idea of getting a high school diploma as she was only 16 and me being 20...well, I wanted to start a family.

Still, we kept in touch through-out most of those years before we got back together.

We managed 3 marriages between us...2 mine, one hers.

3 children, all girls, 2 mine hers.

We've had 2 Dogs....and 9 guess who had what.

Again, I don't like being "old".

My wife always says, "Now Paw"...that's how we talk when we're together...."Now Paw, you have to admit, we have gone thru an awful lot of heart-ache. We should be glad we are this age and doing as well as we are."

"But Maw," I say....."But Maw, I don't want to get old. I want to keep doing the things we enjoyed doing before." And then I'll reach over and try to get "frisky".

"Paw, now you done stop that this instant. You know I don't bend like that no more."

"Aw Maw, how about if we take it slower."

"Gosh darn it all Paw," she'll reply. "If we take it any slower, we be seeing the sun come up and not get any sleep. Would you like that?

I start to grin at her.

"Paw, I said no! Now, go to sleep!"

Then, back to our real voices, she'll say, "I love you Honey" to which I reply, "I love you too Love. Sweet dreams" and then we'd hold onto one another 'til the cramps set in.

Now, I still don't want to give in to this being old, but what is a person to do?

Well, a few weeks ago, I thought I had the answer to this question.

The temp was nearing 90 degrees and I was working out in the yard; mowing and taking care of feeding the birds, watering the plants and thinking, "I really need to go on a bike ride!"

Again, this being adult and responsible sucks at times. Still, I do enjoy taking care of the yard but I also knew the weather was going to dip into the 60's mid-week. Today, if any, was going to be the best day of riding.

Now, I hadn't been down to check upon my parent's graves in almost a year or 2. See, I am getting old, I can't remember if it was last year or the year before.

Still, it had been quite some time and knowing my ma, if she had the chance, she'd pack them both up and leave without telling me. And even though she is probably still pissed off at my dad, she would still bring him along.

You see, he was buried and my ma was cremated. Now what's scarier, a coffin and a can going down the road or just a can?

Heck, some kid probably come up to her and start playing kick the can and she'd be, "Why you little shit! Wait till I get ahold of you!" But a coffin and a can. No one is going to mess with that!

Again, the day is hot and I want to go for a ride. I get my chores done and let my wife know I am going to take the bike out and that I'd be home by dark. Kisses later and I'm gone with the wind in what's left of my hair.

During the first 30 miles, I am thinking about the day and how glad I am that I did indeed get the chores done and that I got to get on the bike. Blue skies, light traffic, perfect warm temps. Oh, if only I was young again. Boom!

That's when it hits me. Hey, I can still act like I am young! Maw ain't here to tell me I'm acting like a darn fool! I smile to myself as I know where I am heading before I go to the cemetery.

Yuppers, there's a swimming-hole outside of my old home town us kids used to go to on hot days like today.

We'd ride our bicycles or walk the couple of miles to where the swimming-hole was located. Get out of our clothes and enjoy the nice cold spring water. As long as we didn't go to the center, we'd be ok.

Hey, I am going to recreate that memory today...I'm going skinny dipping!

Ya, it took about 20 more miles to convince myself to doing this, but I thought no one ever goes there anymore. Just go there and do it old man.

I turn off the highway onto the gravel drive that will take me to the old "fountain of youth".

Once by the grass covered old road that leads to the swimming-hole I turn the bike around so as I can simply drive straight out when I'm done.

This is going to feel great and Maw can't say anything about it. I can still act young. Whoopee!

I get about 10 feet down the drive away from the bike, undress and begin walking the path towards the "beach".

10 more feet and all of a sudden I'm like, "Crap, I think I left the bike exhaust in the taller grass. It'll be ok, it won't be ok, it'll be ok" my mind starts arguing with itself. "Just go back and check on it. Leave your clothes here and check on the bike. It won 't take long and no one is around."

So, like an old idiot, I agree with the voice in my head. I leave my clothes right there on the path and walk the 25 feet or so to make sure the exhaust isn't in the grass. Well, you know it is, don't cha?

Now, what am I to do? I really don't want to go back and put my clothes back on and I know it won't take long to just move the bike out of the grass, so, young man...go for it!

I step out of the bushes to make sure indeed no one is around and of course, there isn't. So I walk up to the bike, put one leg over the seat and take the bike off its kick stand.

That's when I hear it. A truck! It had just turned off the highway onto the dirt road. Oh crap! Hurry up and put the kickstand down and get into the bushes Moses!

So, that's what I attempted - A...TEMP...TED - to do.

Using my bare foot, I took the kickstand out, proceeded to rest the bike upon that there said kick stand and get out of there. Only, I didn't put the kickstand out all the way, as it had hit a high patch of dirt and when I thought it was on the kickstand, I left the bike go....which took me down with it.

Now, keep in mind, the kick stand is on the left side of the bike, which means the bike is now lying on its left side.

Where was I when all this happened? Straddling the bike of course. So I am now a naked old man, straddling a bike that is lying on its side in the dirt and grass.

Not only that, but the exhaust pipes have also burned thru 2 layers of skin. That now means I am an old naked man kicking my leg up in the air! It is not a pretty sight!

I can just see the newspaper headlines, "Old man found burned and naked at local swimming-hole."

Well, I don't need anyone reading those headlines, so somehow I get out from under the bike, run not to graceful back into the bushes and get my pants and boots on. Now, it's run back to the bike in hopes I can get the bike back upright before the truck gets to where I am. Apparently I think I am Super Streak! Fast, strong and invisible! Not quite.

As I get to the bike, the truck nearer, I hoist the bike up to the right but with the adrenaline, I almost push it over onto its right side. Not good! So, I have to mentally slow myself down, put the kick stand out all the way, and rest the bike onto it.

Now the pickup is right by me. What to do? What to do? Well, casually wave at the driver of course. He, yes, it had to be a HE! He just peers out the side window and thankfully keeps on driving.

As he goes down the road, I then get back on the bike and get it out of the grass, get back on the trail to the swimming-hole and that's when it hits me! Oh my God!!!!!! The pain!

Now keep in mind, I didn't see what had happened, only that it was hot on my leg when I touched the exhaust.

I make sure that no one is around again and remove my boots and pants.

Holy crap! No wonder this hurts! This is not good, not good at all!

There, on my right calf is two of the hugest burns I have ever had! Cold water, I need to cool this off fast. Water-hole has spring water....get in there!!!!

Ahhh, much better. Much, much better!

I stood in there for about 5 minutes, up to my knees, and just left the coolness of the water sooth this massive burn. All the while, listening to make sure no one is around.

OK, at least things are settling down. I begin to relax a bit and sit down in the water, thinking back to when all us kids had been there so many decades ago.

No, I wouldn't want to be that young again, but I sure wouldn't mind the energy I had then.

I decide to go back up to where the "beach" used to be and sit down on my clothes, enjoying the sounds of the birds, the breeze going thru the trees. Enjoying the sun upon my skin; all of my skin.

"Thankfully, no one can see this" I think to myself. It cannot be a good sight, an old man, naked in the woods, all alone. "Oh, that is creepy and disgusting".

That's when I looked down and began a very loud, inside scream!!!

I start flipping out, thinking "crap, this isn't good at all! There is no hiding this, there is nothing to hide! What is Maw going to say when she finds out I have no dick! I won 't even be able to piss, there's no hole!!!!"

Thankfully, the OTHER voice inside my head starts talking and reminds me that "hey old man. You were just in a spring fed water-hole. It's COLD water!"

"That's right, that's right!" With these burns upon my leg, I never felt the cold, but apparently he could. Heck, he wasn't even doing the turtle, his one eye in me so deep he looked like a puffy nipple!

"It's ok little buddy," I said to him as I began to give him little flicks with my finger. "Come on, warm up, where's the big man I know you are?"

Eventually, he popped out and I could see an eye. Good. He's ok, I didn't burn him off. Geez, this day is really beginning to suck here!

I ease back upon my elbows and begin to relax, listening to the birds. Then, I felt a tapping upon my leg. I look down and he is beginning to wake up, looking for action.

Nope, that is NOT happening little buddy. Daylight is not as long as it used to be. I get up and take one more dip in the water, if only to cool the burns again. AHHHHHHHHH shit!!!!! Another vehicle! What the heck is going on here?!?!?

Getting out of the water and putting my clothes on while behind a tree I see it's the DNR now. Interesting! Did the last guy call me in? Then it dawns on me, bow hunting time!

I take some video of this place since I'm not sure if I'll ever be back again. Darn old age!

OK, it's time to go to the cemetery.

Town is between where I am and the cemetery, so I ride around there reminiscing.
Taking a ride thru the park, I recall a rock I had found many years ago and wished I had it still today. It had some of those holes and crevices where it looked like someone a long time ago had used a stick to drill into it. Possibly to make a fire?

I turn out of the park and head for the cemetery. Pulling in, I see my parents are still where I left them. That's a good sign!

I park the bike in the usual place I always do and proceed on over to "visit".

I don't know why, but I find myself sitting Indian style, legs crossed in such a fashion, that I was surprised I could do that. Haven't done that since I was a kid!

I straightened up the stuff my brother and I had put on the headstone base, kitty knickknacks. My ma liked cats. Then, I sat there and sat there and sat there. Kind of like talking with them without moving my mouth.

My dad was only 42 when he passed, ma made it into her late 70's. It always makes me wonder why he had to die so young.

I asked them if it was worth it, life, you know. If it was, at least give me a sign. Nothing.

I took the next 5 minutes trying to untie my legs and get some circulation going so as I could take a walk around the grounds, like Ma used to do with us kids when we would visit Dad.

I recognized a lot of the names from when I was growing up, but did not see any new names which rang a bell.

I walked towards the old area of the cemetery when it dawned on me I should take video of this too. Same reason as before, will I ever get a chance to come back?

I looked at the old stones, checked on the ones that had been repaired from vandalism and then touched a tree with a neat bark on it. That's when I seen it. There, at the base of the tree was a rock like the one I had as a kid. I picked it up.

"No, it can't be," I thought. I put it back where I had found it. "You're nuts" I said to myself. "And anyway, how would Ma know what rock you were talking about? Geez!"
I continued my walk.

Before I left, I stopped back over to say my goodbyes, turned around and got on the bike. As I stood the bike up in between my legs, that's when I seen the old water pump. I have to have a drink out of there. Have been doing that since forever.

So, the bike once again, on its kickstand, I walked over to the pump and began pumping the handle. As the water gushed out, I bent over, hands cupped to get my drink and I froze right there.

On the side of the concrete pad was ANOTHER rock like the one I had wished I had again. Oh, now this is just too strange.

Is Ma really giving me a sign? I mean, Dad wouldn't even know what I was talking about, but Ma could, if there is a life after death.

Was she trying to tell me that life is worth it or was I just stuck between a rock and a hard place?

Maybe she was telling me I should just get stoned???

Either way, I got my drink from the pump, picked up the rock and went home.

On the ride home, I began to think, "You know what? I believe Maw is correct. I should enjoy the point I am now at in life. She seems happy about where we are, I should be too."

My friends, it is so true, life is shorter each day we live but we can enjoy each step of this path in life.

Remember the past, LEARN from the past and look forward to the - to YOUR - future.

As for me, I'm going to wear my Fedora proudly. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross and you can help me feed the birds.
Now, enjoy your life and....don't get burned!

(As I walk off the stage, I see my beautiful wife. I look her in the eyes and say, "Yes Maw, I'm coming home. Yes Maw, you were right Maw. I know Maw.....I love you Love.")

True Story Contest contest entry


Author Notes
Sometimes, you just have to let it all out...
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