Eat, Drink, And Be Frightened!

It was the day before Halloween, and I was on my evening walk. There was no moon that night, so it was very dark. I decided to walk along the 2400 block of Lincoln Avenue. I had never walked on this particular stretch of that street.

Walking is thirsty work, so I dropped into a bar for a beer. The place was dimly lit, musty, and cobwebs were in the corners. It seemed the place was ready for some paranormal infiltration!

I climbed onto a stool and signaled the barkeep.

“A beer please.”

The barkeep said:

“Did you come here to meet the ghosts?”

I could feel my face turning ashen and the hairs on my neck standing erect!

“What do you mean?” I gasped.

“Well, whenever I see a new face, I automatically think someone told you about the place and it’s bad karma. People enjoy being frightened.”

I stared at the bartender, he was a frightening looking bloke himself! He had black hair and slicked down long sideburns, tiny black eyes and a rough, sickly color to his skin. He was a big fella, with a scar on his left cheek. His mouth seemed to be molded into a perpetual sneer.

“I feel a little hungry, give me two of those hard boiled eggs and another beer.”

The barkeep smiled slightly. “Eat, drink, and be merry, that’s what I say.” He gave me my eggs and beer and a salt shaker.

“Who does the dusting around here, there’s lots of cobwebs.”

“We had a cleaning woman once, but she kept locking the lady customers in the restroom. She would let them out after about 15 minutes, they were well powdered by that time. The boss got rid of her.”

All of a sudden I heard a loud banging on the women’s restroom door. The barkeep ran over and unlocked the door. A frazzled middle-aged woman stumbled out.

“How did that happen? I thought you said the cleaning lady was sacked!”

The Frankenstein behind the bar said:

“That happens every once in a while, it must be the ghost of the cleaning lady.”

Then there was a loud crack of noise from outside the bar, it made me jump.

“What’s that!”

“It sounded like a gunshot coming from the alley that’s haunted by Dillinger.”

“Why does he haunt the alley?”

“Because it’s a DEAD END!”

I wasn’t in the mood for laughing.

I looked out the dirty window and down the street was the Biograph Theatre.

“That’s the place where they trapped Dillinger, wasn’t it?”

“That’s right, he was gunned down in the alley.”

I gulped down my beer and asked for another. All of a sudden the jukebox started up with some jazz music. But there was no one by the jukebox!

I looked at the barkeep, he was grinning at me.

“Did you do that?”

“No, it goes on by itself sometimes. Jazz was Al Capone’s favorite music. He once had an apartment around here.”

Just then a flapper-type woman, straight out of the 1920’s, came into the tavern and sat at the end of the bar.

“Who’s that?” I said, pointing toward the beautiful girl.

“I don’t see anybody, mister, I think the beer is affecting your mind.”

I jumped off the stool and ran out of the tavern. I was exhausted when I slammed shut the door to my apartment and slumped into a chair.

The next day was Halloween and I decided to go to the tavern again and see if what I experienced was real. But when I got to the spot where the tavern was, there was only an EMPTY LOT!



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The Three Pounds Of Jelly That Deceives Us!

Sitting on the sand at the Oak Street beach in Chicago, I was looking toward the downtown area. Straight ahead was the Drake Hotel, many celebrities stay there, and behind it, loomed the Hancock Building, once the tallest in Chicago. Great architecture in a great city!

Then I laid back on the warm sand and looked at the sky with its cloud formations. It was so peaceful, this is how I get my shot of dopamine, the feel good chemical released by my brain.

I was in the process of counting how many faces or objects I could see in the clouds. When I noticed the shape of a good looking woman, in a bikini, laying next to me, also looking at the clouds.

“It’s interesting how many objects or faces you can see in the clouds,” I said, hoping to start a conversation.

“Yes, I see a face in that cloud over there,” she said, pointing.

I looked at her cloud and said:

“It looks more like a flower vase to me.”

“That’s funny, we see different things.”

“Our brains are in the business of deceiving us. It seeks patterns in random stimuli.”

“You sound very knowledgeable.”

I smiled, feeling very full of myself.

“We see things that are not there!”

She shifted her bikini clad body on the sand and said:

“Oh, you mean like when you see something in the tea leaves but it really isn’t there.”

“That’s right, you’re getting the hang of this now.”

“It’s sort of scary really, when what we see, we perceive of as reality, yet it is an illusion built by our brains.”

“Oh, you’re giving me goose bumps!”

I turned toward her to check. Yes, she had goose bumps on her arms. Looking at her, I felt sort of dizzy, like I was on drugs that lead to nowhere, but at least it was a scenic route!

“I feel like I exist somewhere behind my eyes!”

“Your brain is deceiving you to feel that way.”

“How does that work?”

She was squirming in the sand to get comfortable.

“Well, different parts of your brain are talking to each other constantly, coming into conflict on what is the right decision to make.”

“You mean it’s like little people bickering inside my brain and together they build an illusion of one mind, when really there are different parts of consciousness?”

She was getting smarter by the minute!

“That’s right, let’s say, I want to eat a piece of chocolate cake for desert.”

“I love chocolate cake, but I have to watch my weight!”

“Yes, right, but what’s happening is the primitive, instinctual member of the brain says, “Go ahead, enjoy, you’ll feel good if you eat it.” Another member of the brain says, “Hold on, it could be bad for your health!”

“There is a fight going on in my brain?”

“That’s right, the fight will be resolved one way or another. When the conflict is over, your brain will release “feel good” chemicals, as a reward.”

“I knew when I took this sunbathing spot next to you, I would learn something. It’s my intuition!”

“That’s your brain subconsciously processing again. Your brain invents a reason to explain how and why you feel a certain way.”

“Oh, my head is bursting with information. I’ll have to leave now, see you again sometime.”

I turned toward her to say goodbye, but all I saw was a mound of sand that resembled a HUMAN BODY!