Fine Again on Waking

This week at cavalcadeofstars Michael Brown presents a new story for our reading pleasure.

Fine Again on Waking
By Michael Brown

Fine Again on Waking
…from the dream and I begin to understand. If we had read the instructions when we needed them, things could be different.
I miss Jackson’s voice, the inflections he used when relating memories. I miss the warmth of his hand atop mine. These things are not in evidence on videotapes.
You know, Helen Shuckford said, the whole thing was founded on a whim. I tired of the daily grind and was looking for answers myself. For a woman with a cult following, she appeared in somber colors. Perhaps it was a calculated ploy. She wore her hair in a severe Ayn Rand style.
She worked for me at the time, Bill Thetman said softly. But I believed so strongly in her channeling of The Word I agreed to type her scripts so we could get it published. Graying at the temples, he had a way of making anyone he conversed with feel as if they were looking up at him from a couch.
Both are dead now, but what is death for them? A mere relative condition. They are spreading The Word in other dimensions.
I tried to wade through the larger volume of the Course last night before packing it in and going to bed late. Since Jackson died last month, I’ve tried to keep busy, to distract myself from loneliness. But I was disappointed too. This read like protracted fiction. I found the writing dense and not so pertinent, much like James Joyce’s later work.
For all his degrees, Dr Thetman couldn’t help Jackson’s mother, Annie, when she needed it. Supposedly, they were great friends. This was before his secretary became a mystic for the ages. Jackson said he grew to despise Bill and found him obsequious and condescending.
Why didn’t he advise my mother during their little confabs to go see a medical doctor instead of patronizing her with psychobabble?
Now Jackson has passed on. He will see his mother again and the doctor. Annie, without a doubt, has been waiting to wag her finger at him and remonstrate about where her son went wrong. In her strong Irish brogue, that tiny woman, my mother-in-law, will say, you flubbed it, honey boy. I tried to raise you correctly–to respect the wisdom of your elders. It’s the history of the race and Jackson will have a thing or two to say to the good doctor.
For Helen’s heirs, the money keeps rolling in. She actually claimed it was the voice of Jesus. Bill just had a lucky break in hiring a future transcendentalist way back when.
Jackson told me, as a child he was taken to visit Bill many times. Annie often had dinner with Helen. Jackson remembered being admonished not to do anything, anything that would reflect badly on his mother. She had so much respect for those people.
Too bad The Word came too late to help her in her own transition. Could it explain anything to me? Now?
It came to me this morning when the alarm clock sounded.
In our bed, under too many blankets, I lie alone, wearing my widow’s pajamas. In tandem, I used to sleep in a negligee. I am dreaming of Jackson. We are running in circular motion. I thought we might do so forever. Then, at apogee, he drifts free. I wonder if he knew I would try to learn the reasons, needing to understand how this could happen. I think I’ve caught his cynicism. I feel guilty and then brrrrng brrrrng comes the intrusive noise. Then I awake…

Michael Brown is originally from New York City and now resides in southern Mexico, where he teaches English as a Second Language to teenagers. Some of his work, and that of many other fine writers can be found on MuDJoB at


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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9 Responses to Fine Again on Waking

  1. gita8 says:

    You must certainly did not “flub it,” honey boy.
    I liked “Then, at apogee, he drifts free.”
    The ending reminds me of a moment in the movie “A Single Man,” where the character George wakes up every morning for 8 months to the realization that he’s alone. He looks in the mirror and says, “Let’s just make it through the goddam day.”
    Well done MDJB.

  2. CJT says:

    The tension in your observations leaves me feeling as though I’ve only just scratched the surface yet was pulled under by all the emotions. As Gita said, you def didn’t flub this one.

  3. “Course?” – The Course In Miracles book?

    Loved the way this line just kinda homespun out: “You know, Helen Shuckford said, the whole thing was founded on a whim.” Then dug the ‘feel’ of the details in ~ “For a woman with a cult following, she appeared in somber colors. Perhaps it was a calculated ploy. She wore her hair in a severe Ayn Rand style.” < real nice observation Michael.

    I admit to gettin' lost in some of the character'sway, but I can tell you had your head wrapped around what you were sayin — Is this all part of a larger book-to-be chapter? If so . . . you got somethin' goin' here Bucko … in more than just your dreams.

    Nice seein' you again,
    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  4. stefanovska says:

    I really enjoyed in this story Michael!Very beautiful!
    Best regards,
    ~ Lydia

  5. angelzapata says:

    I like how you allow the story an easy pace to unfold through logical revelations. I think “If we had read the instructions when we needed them, things could be different” really sums up so many of our own regrets.

  6. Elliott Cox says:

    I love the tone of this piece. It’s a “pull the hat low and ride it out” type of story, and I love those. Wonderfully written, MB.

  7. Your writing, Michael, always rings so true and is told as poetically as it can be without one’s forgetting it is top-notch fiction!


  8. edean1 says:

    Most excellent characterizations Michael.

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