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Monday, August 26, 2013

Apologize, Axplain, and Ask for Forgiveness

An email to me on August 6th of 2013

So, I'm going to be in California this coming week and I was wondering if we could get together and talk. I realize how things look but my life was a lot more complicated and horrible than some realize. I'd like the chance to tell you and share the "why" of it all. I always thought of you as a brother and just want the chance to mend things, apologize, explain, and ask for forgiveness where it's needed. If you'd give me that chance it'd mean a lot to me.

My Reply on August 12th 

Mr. Bogy,

If there is anything you have to say to me I’m sure that the written word can oblige you as easily as the spoken, and I am not stocked with time enough to deal with this subject. Further, your memory has never been a thing to trust and so the written word would serve you far better than apology as you would be able to recall and compose yourself. No one has prevented you from explaining your actions other than your own person.

As far as lives of complication and horror go I assure you that mine is well furnished, and that the opinion of the doctors who have consulted me on this subject is that I have stood life’s tests with duty an honor which is more than can be said of you. It is the opinion of my doctor that most men would have broken beneath the stress of my life. This condition and misfortune gives me no right to harm others and so your situation gives you no leave or excuse to harm me.

As far as why you’ve acted as you have I know as well as needed. A pressing guilt over your high school relationship with Angel caused you to write stories that featured an idealized version of your once girlfriend. When the ideas of good writing suggested you deviate from your ideal you became defensive. No one in their right mind would have funded one of your fantasies, which is why I requested to send a story of my own to your producer. Your greatest enemy was yourself and I did my best to fight him for you.

As for why you insisted on breaching our agreement, you’ve said that as well as any. You saw me as a brother then sibling rivalry could have fueled you well enough. It wasn’t enough for you to profit from my labors, but you had to outshine me. To fit into your own little world you had to become a small person.

In the general nature of things you’re part of a whole group of people I’ve come to avoid. You see, it was Christopher Michael Celaya who explained to me that the misfortunes I suffered as a result of being his friend were my fault for being his friend. Well then, I trusted you and should have known better.

If you need to speak your peace then do so to settle yourself. I find myself occupied with other matters and have no time to devote to such things.

In honesty,

Richard Leland Neal

“What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds.”

Eric Hoffer

Friday, August 23, 2013


31st August 2012
Dear Cassi,
As it is and always has been all I do to tear myself loose only serves to tangle me further. How do I even start with this as proof of the problems and foolery?
Pickles had deseeded that he does not trust the contractor even as he has already entered into the contract and the contractor must eat the cost of permits. No, what it comes down to is that Pickles was angry that he had to pay money for anything, and so he started a fuss and now has decided that he wants to back out.
Then there is the fact that I went to the one person Pickles respects and that is a man I will call Raguel. Raguel is the name of the archangel of justice. He is the Angel who watches over other angels and so I call this man Raguel, and he is blind as is Justice of our courts.
So I told Pickles that I would take this point to Raguel and abide by his words hearing both of our points. Pickles smiles his evil smile at that and felt that he would be absolved. It did not go as he thought.
Before preparing for bed Pickles came to me and said that he may have been fired from his position at the neighborhood watch because I had taken things to Raguel who is the head of the watch.
I was not present for the conversation between the two of them by I caught a glimpse of it and I could tell Raguel was angry. I guess the two of them argues because Pickles would not listen. What can I do, Cassi, in a world that will not stand honesty?

Believe in yourself, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It Hits the Fan

29th August 2012
Dear Cassi,

The shit hit the fan today. First off I was stopped on the way home for speeding by a policeman who acted as if he had better things to do than his job. I take it he was supposed to show me the radar gun, but he only flashed it at me and I could only read that the speed ended in a one. Well, that was about all on that as he had nothing else to say.

The second major point was I got a call from the contractor saying that some girl had called him. As usual when there is a problem in my life it was Pony Girl and she had many a bad thing to say about me. “She told me that ‘Richard is nothing and that she is everything,’” the contractor said. Pony Girl never was one to handle things like an adult. Then again, who in my genetic group has ever acted as an adult?

This appeared to me to about Pickles not wanting to pay for the work. I still think I was right but Pony Girl didn’t help things by telling Pickles that the cost could have gone to pay for the getting a complete make over. It turns out that the contractor was responsible for permits and that he should have taken no more than the deposit until a good portion of the work was done.

This incident was for no reason I understand being handled by my brother-in-law and his step father. The step father, Tom, was a contractor for a long time but Pony Girl’s trouser snake is something I never want to see again.
I walked into this den of snakes and started by asking Trouser to piss off. It took some doing but he did so I turned to his step father and said, “Okay, so how do we fix this?” He told me they needed permits and so I put it to the contractor to get permits. All that screaming and they just could have talked it out.

Keep your cool, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stop and Help

30th August 2012
Dear Cassi,

This morning yielded the odd happening of the second stranded vehicle I’ve seen in a week due to bad batteries. On this occasion I was on my way home when I car failed to move at a green light. The driver got out of his car and waved me passed so I pulled around and stopped in front of him to ask if he was all right.
He told me that his battery was down and he knew this because he had the Auto Club test it and had tried to make it to a parts shop on his own. It was his wife’s car which was why it was improperly looked after.

By this time another man had stopped and we helped him park his car and I took him to the auto parts store. It took us about five minutes to get the new battery in his car and then we shook hands and parted ways. He would have been okay without me and I had other things to do, but I tell you this Cassi, I always want to be the man I’d like to come across in a bad spot.

Be who you wish to meet, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Well of Gratitude

28th August 2012
Dear Cassi,
Sticky heat marked my day as the hammering went on into the darkening hours. The contractor said that my pipes are finished and that this will all be over soon. I can shower, wash my hands, and launder my clothing again. When I can once again sleep I do not know.
Pickles found the workers to be more of an annoyance to him than they
were to me. Then Pickles feels that his world is a private thing, and I can see his point. However, I understand the world and the need for intrusion so it bothers me less.
At the end of this mess the workers found a good ending point for the day and made haste to their own homes. Pickles and I were meaning to take repose when the general contractor and his assistant arrived. This was an awkward moment as Pickles was already in the shower cleaning up for his time away from the house.
The general contractor wanted to look at what had been going on in the house, and I took him about then tried to shoe him off as politely as I could. He dug for more work for his crew and I shrugged it off. In the end I had to say that Pickles and I were about to be off and so the contractor and his assistant toddle away.
As they left they told Pickles that he was lucky to have a brother like me. He returned this with “say that when he writes the monster checks”. The well of gratitude has been so dry for so long that I have no recollection of the taste of its water.

Live for yourself, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What You Have

26th August 2012
Dear Cassi,
I just want this nightmare to be over soon. I’ve no sink to wash my hands and I can look at Pickles new shower but the glue is not dry so look is all I can do. The dust burns in my chest and I spend most of my day at sleep having no good place to lie.  My house is under construction and that construction may finish me.
I move to the den because the air is filtered there then move back to the study were I can stretch. My bedroom his white with dust and I cannot sleep there until the work is done and I can have fresh linens. The washer and dryer are also out as they cannot run without water.
I want my kitchen back, I want my own cooking, and my good ginger tea. I want a sound sleep. I want for so much now but can have none so all that stands for me is the waiting.
These are the days, dear Cassi, when we learn to love the little bits of life. The feel of cool water over dirty hands and the smell of sheets fresh from the wash are alien to me now.

Appreciate what you have,

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to Writing

August 2012 Fifth Reflection
Dear Cassi,

My last note is on the 24th of august and it is that Pickles will not let the contractor do anything without my approval. It was at this point that I started writing letters again and so I have a record of some value. I recall that the contractor wanted more repairs, and I think I said something about that before. Further, there was an issue over the re-piping that I had to address. They said they could re-piped just the wash rooms or the whole house and I wanted the whole house dealt with as it had to be done sooner or later.  

When you have the walls ripped open and the water shut off why not go the distance? What would be the point of coming back at another time and having it all ripped apart again? The old pipe will just make trouble in the future so every day it stays in the system it costs money. All that rust can do terrible things

In any case, I do believe my trip to the gym gave me some strength which is why I got back to writing letters on the twenty sixth. I’m sure I still missed a good amount of facts about this ordeal, but all you need to know is that it was miserable.

Do your best to live, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Friday, August 9, 2013


August 2012 Forth Reflection
Dear Cassi,
One of the most unprofessional things that the contractor did when remodeling my wash rooms is work on both of them at once. This left me for a time without a toilet and for longer without a place to wash up. This was so much the issue that I called off work on the twenty second because I couldn’t shower and showered at the gym on the twenty third.
It was the first time I called off work it more than ten years. We have showers at work, but I would never trust them. Still, as I do have off time I should take it every now and then. I felt the stench of my body in the heat and used the sink to towel myself off.
I have to figure that they demolished both my washrooms at the same time so that they could get things done faster and cheaper, but they never passed on the savings. This operation was amateur from day one and I knew it, but I kept my silence. Now looking back after it’s all over I should have insisted it be done right.

Never live in could have been, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Used

August 2012 Third Reflection
Dear Cassi,

With the contractor who failed to remodel my home came a woman who I think acted as his assistant. She was a chubby woman who walked with a swagger of sex and liked to eat sweet things. I recall one day she had some frozen blended fruit drink and kept touching it to her breast to let the condensation leave wet spots on her blouse.
The contractor himself told me that she was a very clean girl despite all evidence to the contrary. He said that she was an orthodox Jew and so did not drink or smoke. I found this to be a lie as when Pony Girl made an appearance and her idiot of a husband started yelling at the workers this woman started to smoke.
I noted then that she had a stain on her teeth from smoking. This struck a chord in me as you know how I feel about smoking, lying, and that sort of thing. In addition this was when Pony Girl was on grounds and so I was angry to begin with. I told one of the workmen how angry I was about the whole thing and  a group of them got together and told me that she only smokes when she’s stressed.
If you smoke when you’re stressed then you had to pick up smoking and then put it down. This ‘clean girl’ was like a used car they cleaned her up and advertised all the reasons you didn’t want her.

Stay honest, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, August 5, 2013

We All Have Junk

August2012 Second Reflection
Dear Cassi,
How is it so hard to talk about remodeling? Because I knew something was wrong and didn’t want to say anything. I saw Pickles flipping the bill after years of him hording his disability and thought it was his call. He should lose his benefits because of all the money he has in the bank. Five times what I make in a year in this man’s account and still the government pays for his daily bread.  Legally he should have his benefits reduced but federal benefits are poorly monitored. If he was under state disability he would have lost it years ago. 
So I wanted him to spend the money on his home so he would have a nice place to live. The people in my family are all hoarders. Alan spends his life hording pills, I hoard junk, Pony girl hoards more junk, and Pickles hoards money. Junk is how we feel safe I guess. Pony Girl keeps a room of junk at my home, has a storage unit and her home. We all have our nonsense to hoard, Pickles’ is money.
So the work we needed done was two washrooms completely remodeled and the house re-piped. It would have been no good to have the new fitting with the old galvanized pipe because that stuff rusts and gums up your valves. So all told it was just over thirty thousand dollars and that’s the going rate. The problem was that they cut corners without cutting us in on the deal, reused old fittings whenever possible, and used old junk they had lying around. They gave us a hand written contract and expected us to pay in cash only.
I have to figure that if they normally expected a cash only payment they had few customers. Then I can tell you that I would have never hired them a second time even if things hadn’t turned bad. For one they made a mess and offered to repair the messy parts of my home at a discount rather than clean up after themselves and for a second they went for everything they could possibly charge me for pressing and pressing for more work. In my experience, most folks who press hard for more work are the folks that drive off their clients.

Drive for what you need, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lost Time

August2012 Fist Reflection
Dear Cassi,
Over the course of this month I’ve lost time. My life fell down lower than before and so low in fact that I thought there was hope and looked the other way when hope formed into misfortune. It started with so simple a thing. So simple but so difficult a thing happened, and it changed so much of my life.
I’m looking back now on the lost time and knowing I need to relive those moment but wishing they would go away or change somehow. Months have passed since August and here I finally look over my notes and am reliving the events of those days. I have some trouble believing that all this happened because of a toilet leaking.
I got a call at work and that is an oddity because of the hours of my labor, but I could have been pulling late hours into the morning. It was Pickles, “we need to have the bathroom remodeled soon,” and I had to think that my house was flooding. I still came home to address the situation calmly and learned that in the front wash room I had a porcelain bowl that was not long for this world. In addition the collar that mounts it to the floor was rusted so badly that the bolts had turned to nothing.
For all my life, Cassi, I have lived in a tomb that tried to stop time. When my mother was alive that was a different life. It was a life where time had stopped. Time stopped because my mother was never supposed to live passed my third birthday. I like to think that she hung on because she wanted to protect her children, but I think the truth is that she hung on because she knew nothing else.
Her house has her spirit. It holds together long after it should have and when a bit passes it passes so hard that it turns our life around. Just like my mother, she was barely alive and her death sent shockwaves that people still feel.
Let’s help each other hold together, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal