Michael Dirk Thalman would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The 13 Lives of a Television Repair Man

By Michael Dirk Thalman All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Humor

Where Do I Begin?

All of this stuff happened pretty much as I have written it, except the bits that never happened at all. That which did happen, was always going to have happened, and there was no stopping that.

***

You may not remember it, hell, your parents may not even remember it, but your grandparents will … or would have if not for the hydrogen bombs. Truth is, I’m not sure who I am writing this to, or why. I just am. There is nothing else to do around here, without Elvis, my golden retriever, rest his soul. Notice I didn’t say, “God rest his soul”? This is for the simple fact that God doesn’t come this far south anymore. He left Florida on October 22, 1962, along with all the people. He might even have left a little earlier… that was just the first time I went looking for him and found him not there. He left no forwarding address.

My father, rest his soul, had a way with words. He was calloused from too much long-ago death, fighting alongside the British in the Second World War. Killing Nazis with bravado, and so forth. Or at least that’s what he’d have you believe. What had really happened was that he had gone into combat for a short period and had seen the death of all his squad and their English-speaking counterparts and German-speaking doppelgangers, most of whom were just children, really, and had hidden himself under a pile of still-warm corpses until he could escape. He had left the war terrified, and remained terrified until his death some 20 years later. He wasn’t one of the World War II veterans fortunate enough to have been lobotomized by the government as a way to repair the shell shock, so he had to deal with all that mortality on his own.

He often recited the first line of a limerick when faced with the news of someone’s passing; he was deflecting. I sort of adopted it along the way; I was deflecting, too.

When I mentioned my dog had died, he would’ve said, “Here lies old Gus.”

And if the dog was named Gus, it would make sense to everyone, but since no one was named Gus anymore, it seemed to only have meaning to the two of us.

In other situations, such as conversations with old war buddies or bar flies from the VFW club, he would refer vaguely to the limerick. The limerick was one about a man named Gus, who’d been horrible to his spouse. On the day of his death, his wife’s only emotion was joy that she had mailed his insurance check on time each month. It goes like this:

Here lies old Gus, a miserable cheat,

Survived only by the wife that he beat.

She’s got no one now,

And she’s big as a cow,

But his insurance paid through the teeth!

“Did you hear Charlie Webber blew his head off last week?” his buddy might ask, to which Father would undoubtedly reply, “I hope his insurance was paid!”

His buddy, Henry Fortenberry, when presented with the specific way someone had bought the farm would say, “That’s one way to do it,” implying that death was little more than an option or a means to an end. Incidentally, Charlie Webber’s insurance hadn’t paid a dime. Apparently, suicide wasn’t a good way to do it.

We all say stupid things when people die, I suppose.

When I lost my dog, Elvis, I said, “Here lies Elvis.” because his name wasn’t Gus.

Boy, do I miss him … the dog, that is. I don’t really miss my father anymore, and I never liked Henry Fortenberry. Besides, they’re both dead now. Heart failure for dad. That’s one way to do it. Fortenberry let the car run in the garage until he went to sleep. That’s another. If he would’ve had a wife, she would have been disappointed about his insurance not paying, either.

None of it matters, anyway.

I used to have faith; maybe I will again one day, but I doubt it. Not after what I’ve seen.

You think my father was jaded? Not even. I’ve been hidden under a lot more bodies than he ever was.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

John Scriven: Great story!I loved it and would recommend it. Some spelling errors in the second half were a loo distracting, but overall an excellent read

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

Happiness9876: This is my go to book whenever I want a laugh or to feel good. 🙂👌

Michael Katz: I love reading all the stories in this universe. I do especially love this one about Green Hell with Roy, Sam, and Partner. I can't wait to read more!

3fxs749: This is a very well written and thought out book about a dystopian future filled with computer-made genetically engineered dinosaurs who roam the land while the last remnants of humanity struggle to survive. One man’s half-successful experiment could tip the balance of this world to the favor of ...

Wisher13: This is a really good. I loved how she changes into looking like a boy. But I think it's way too short and there should be at least 5 or 8 chapters instead of just one.

pencil: It is well written and the story flows quite evenly and there is somehow something strange about it that makes one read on and the thing is the story is originally told. For something so simple it is elegant and well versed in literary traditions.

More Recommendations

James Lawson: I enjoyed this so much I immediately bought (and read) the sequel from Amazon.ca - and am eagerly awaiting the third installment.Since this is a review and not a synopsis, I'll share my impressions rather than write out a condensed version of the plot.There were enough plot twists and turns to ke...

lailachupp04: THIS NEEDS TO BE PUBLISHED I MUST MUST MUST SHOW THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE I KNOW!!!!!!I WANT TO HAVE A COPY OF IT SO BAD!!! your book was amazing and so interesting especially describing Maggie's life it reminds me of my life

Jalakins: I loved this story. The characters were very interesting and engaging. The plot was very interesting and I had a hard time when I had to stop reading - just wanted to read it all in one sitting! My only complaint on the story is that sometimes I felt like the storyline jumped from one thing to a ...

Laraine Smith: This should be a movie! You are talented! It is that good! Keep it up! It is visual! It grabbed me! Don't give up!

deee_ro: Read this book in a couple of sittings and have kept it!!! Not one to read books again, but the story, the atmosphere, the descriptions, the humour, all right up my Blackpool street. Very cleverly written, sets the scene from the start, love how you get to really know the characters, must've look...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.