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Monday, November 23, 2015


22nd November 2015
Dear Sister Margaret,

My hope is that my last load of recyclables found you easily. I often forget how heavy the bags can be and I still question if I should save them. I wash out my cans and bottles for you out of habit I guess. I have no problem with bringing them down once or twice a month, but I doubt management would be happy about an ex-employee coming by in that regard.  

In related news I learned on Thursday that the company will be fighting my unemployment benefits, likely with some forged documents, and I will not know the outcome until the following week. This may be delayed by thanksgiving or I may get bad news for my holiday.  Either way I spend the day alone and in contemplation.

I have filed a complaint of retaliation with Labor Enforcement and they may rule my termination retaliatory in nature. I can’t say how that will help me. Perhaps they will need to give me my job back or pay out a settlement. To be honest, I don’t know if I want to be back there dealing with all that mess again, but we all do what we do, and life gets on with itself.

Further along, three of the kittens have been homed, and I still have two maybes. If I had room for another cat I’d keep one, but I can’t afford the pets I have. Doing the right thing has never profited me but good men die hard.

The last thing I have to talk about is, well, I don’t like asking for favors, but if you could remind Raf to read the script I gave him I would appreciate it greatly. He promised me his opinion and has been sitting on the thing for months. It’s not that I think he can help me with it or anything like that, but he did make a promise.

My life is so full of broken promises that I’ve learned not to let things like that go. It would be great if he knew who or how to get the thing made, but I don’t think he does.

I hope you are doing better than I,

Richard Leland Neal

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Two Days

20th November 2015

Dear Cassi,

It was yesterday that I learned that the company would fight my unemployment benefits and yesterday that I drew four pages of comics. Then today that I drew another four. I ended my work four Issues away from being caught up on Random Street theater and nine issues away from being caught up on Jonny American.

The sun was gone from the sky and two of the remaining kittens, Bob Denver and
Nimh, slept on my drafting desk offering up another opportunity for a photograph. It came to me that the news of the fight had been great motivation, but I have been here before.  I’ve been to the place where I had everything under control and was a single page of drafting away from being caught up. Then I fell back into depression and had to start over.

Truth be told, it would be better to post late every day than to post everything now and be baron for another few days or weeks. The only real problem is that many of the comics I’ve drawn are Halloween themed and that was twenty days ago. Readers need a reason to come back every day and I want to give them that reason.

Still, I am so tired. I slept part of the day then woke and worked. I slept again leaving many of the hours of sunlight behind me. Two days of hard work when I should have had two weeks of hard work to bring things back to the now. I don’t know, Cassi, may be this art business just isn’t for me.

Well, midnight strikes and I have work to do, so, off I go again.

Stay safe, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Thursday, November 5, 2015


4th November 2015

Hay Lee,

I’m not a man to ask for favors normally because they never get done, but I’m in something of a bind here. By now you have to know about the Kittens I got stuck with, well, there were about four employees that wanted one and I can’t go calling them.

Emma and Raf both said they wanted a kitten, the music teacher as well, and Danny. Danny is just not calling me back but the other three I have no way of contacting. I was wondering if you could have a word with any of these folks and see if we could set up a time and place for them to get their cats.

I mean, being unemployed and all I have to get these little fur balls out of my hair before they eat me broke. If I could unload the four I’d only have two left to look after and that would make my life just so much easier. It’s not that I don’t love having them around, but now I need to focus on looking for another job. That and the things are ripping up my legs something awful.

Oh yes, and I save recyclables for sister Margret and I figure I’d still bring them to her but I’m sure I’m not permitted on property. I guess we should be asking what to do about that.

The last thing is kind of a long shot, I was wondering if you knew who could put me in touch with Marni. I have a question that only three people on this earth can answer and she is one of those three. I honestly don’t think you can, but I have to ask to settle my mind.

Thanks bro,


Monday, November 2, 2015

It Happened Again

31st October 2015

Dear Cassi,

Well, it happened again. I’m jobless for the second time in five years and the fourth time in my life. I loved what I did, but hated who I did it with and that’s kind of why I don’t feel so bad. I don’t know, maybe I’m still numb to it, but the world has dealt me another bad hand and here I am working through it again.

They FedExed me a letter letting me know I was no longer an employee with two checks for my last weeks and one my vacation. They had this all figured out, they’d get me eventually. On the one hand now I need a job and on the other they have to live working at that place.

My last supervisor used to say that she hadn’t gotten a raise in eight years. That made her a bitter old nut with anger problems. I imagine all the bits I held in place will fall apart and then what will they be left with?

Still, in a month or two I will be forgotten and that place will still be running like it always has. That’s the world for you. Hard work doesn’t keep a man in this economy.

I know that if nothing else I should be using this time to catch up on things. I mean, If I had kept working all that hard before this maybe I would be walking away with a smile on my face saying ‘screw it, I have better things to do’.

If there is one thing people have said to me it is that one should see the opportunity in every situation, and here is a situation all right. So what do I do? Make all the videos that I have been meaning to make, draw the comics I’ve written, get all that business taken care of like I meant to do all this time.

I guess I should put in that same forty hour work week like I had before only now I’ll be doing the things I enjoy. The only thing is that the things I enjoy have never come with a pay check.

Stay Strong, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, October 26, 2015

Kitten Poop

20th October 2015
Dear Cassi,

The kittens have had problems with constipation and, once I get them going, diarrhea. I woke yesterday morning to find them covered in excrement and trying to crawl out of their box. I set them in a new box which, quickly became soiled, and got an hour or so more sleep.

As I wakened I fed the kittens, but found I needed to mix more formula and, in thinking, decided I would risk giving the things a wash. Well, the sink was full. A result of my poor sleeping and hard work. I closed my eyes and squared my shoulders. There was nothing for it but to get the dishes done.

I must have set a record for loading and offloading a dishwasher. The mason jars I used to mix cat formula were a priority, and the blender I had used the day before had a few tomato stains. I mixed for the kittens a special formula with a small amount of plain yogurt to help them evacuate. 

I first washed rusty and wrapped him in rayon shammy. The orange felt caught the fleas and trapped them but they ran from the wet feline. His near twin Gizmo followed, and the two waterlogged animals huddled together in my arms until I was satisfied that they were dry.

Stripe and Bob Denver were the nest kittens to get the treatment, and so I washed them and held them repeating what I had done before. Bob was the hardest being as he has the worst of the bowel problems. I wiped his end bits over and over getting more out of him until I was sure he was clear.

With the four kittens huddling together and rather dry I washed Nimbus and Nimh then took to watching videos while keeping the cats warm by holding them.

Pickle came home and nearly fellow over dead when he saw only four kittens in the box, but when he came to tell me I showed him the two still in my arms. I packed all six together and set them on my bed trying to get some more sleep.

They woke me again some hours later with cries for food and kitten farts leaving the pet pad in their box brown again. I set at the feeding and cleaning but once again Pickle had stacked the kitchen table with so much that I could hardly put the pet pad down and the thrashing of kittens knocked it off the table from time to time.

I made it out of the house today just in time to get to work but without my water bottle or work ID. Life kicked me in the teeth and reminded me to stay on top of things. Well, I should know that by now.

Stay strong, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

In a Name

A litter of kittens just over three weeks old huddling together.

16th October 2015

Dear Cassi,

Yesterday I was wakened by a disturbing text message telling me to bring my cat carriers to work as a litter of kittens had been discovered on property.

Now I can’t talk about the rigors of cats at work, but it is enough to say that I got a group of six, three week old, kittens home at the end of my work day and had to break out the formula. The bottle I had proved useless as the cats would not suckle at it and no matter how many holes I made in the nipple it would not give enough milk.

I fed the kittens with a syringe and then with an eye dropper. Both
Gizmo sits on his brother, Rusty's, back.
were a messy affair, but the animals would not take food from the bowl. One of my coworkers had laid claim to a kitten which she dubbed Rusty.

This fellow was a ginger cat with a brother who we named Gismo. Rather Pickle named him Gizmo as Pickle had never the opportunity to name an animal and was keen to do so this day.

There was a third male that Pickle wanted to name ‘Adversity’ but as we have no intent on keeping this animal I rejected this off hand as being too long and too sad. So he then tried ‘Denver’ in the honor of Bob Denver who played Gilligan on ‘Gilligan’s Island’. I took to calling this animal
Stripe plays as Bob Denver contemplates his existence.
Bob and so he is Bob Denver.

Now the first sister, a sad looking dark tortoise shell colored cat, has an orange stripe down her forehead. For this sister to Gizmo I found the name stripe to be right fitting. Stripe
 is a sad looking thing with pleading eyes that cut into your soul.

In this there was a gray kitten I called Nimbus for her cloud like appearance and her darker sister I called Nimh. Nimbus is fluffy and gray with a lighter voice then her sister Nimh. Now, Nimh, the darkest cat, has stripes that get lost in the dark of her pelt, and I feel she keeps secrets. This is why I call her Nimh as “The Secrets of Nimh” was a beloved story of my youth.

Know what is in a name, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Nimbus floats over her sister Nimh.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Moonchildren By Michael Weller: Review

Moonchildren is a coming of age story for a group of college grad students who are facing the possibility of a draft and getting shipped off to fight in Vietnam. 
It accurately depicts the gravity tension and of that time in American life. The story elements are second to character building and skit like comedy. There are running jokes and odd little notions.
The major down side of this play is that it would be hard to produce. There is a working refrigerator, a wall of milk bottles that needs to be real, and a living cat all part of this script. Thus it is more of a script for a film than one for a play.

Moonchildren was a fun read and I'm glad I read it but it still works better and literature than as production.

Who should read this book: Hippies and theater geeks.

Total Books Read: 10 of 5,000

Pages: 85

Total pages read for 'The 5,000 Project':1,975