As Fate Would Have It



The Ox is sailing on water and rolling in life. -- Daily Monitor [article excerpt]

He went from abject obscurity to the height of renown. -- Philly Express [article excerpt]

Ralph Oxner can serve as an inspiration to every underdog! -- The True Observer [article excerpt]


        Last Sunday was full of emotional upheavals for Frances Queen Prescott.  First, she met her long-awaited Prince Charming.  Then, she witnessed the conflict, and ultimate resolution, generated by his respective speeches.  And, to top the day off, she found out that her mentor was a ghost.  The dramatic experiences drained a lot of energy out of her psyche.  And six days later, she was still feeling some mental fatigue.  Lord, please don't give me any more drama any time soon!  I don't know if I could handle it! she muttered, as she haphazardly flipped open her Bible under the gargoyle-stylized brass lamp.  Its bright light shone on Numbers 13:33.  She considered the verse interesting and obscure, but she was not in the mood for further reading.

        All week long, she'd been thinking about Richard, and eagerly anticipating their Sunday morning church date, which was now set to occur in about fifteen hours.  So she relinquished her solitary Bible study in favor of TV viewing.  That was customary for her on Saturday nights, anyway.  She picked up the TV Guide to see what was airing.  Unfortunately, it didn't list anything particularly interesting for 7:00 p.m.  So she elected to watch a video.  Her collection was vast and multifarious.  But, on this night, the subject matter wasn't a difficult choice.  The hunky, new man in her life had stimulated a certain cinematic taste, which she had acquired many years ago as a result of her prurient nature.

        Frances got a cold one out of the refrigerator, slid the tape into the slot, and then she sat on the couch, shifting into a reclining position, with her feet elevated on top of a small table.  She wanted to make sure she was fully comfortable.  Then she pressed Play on the remote control.  The movie's title: Angel Sting has a Fling appeared on the screen.  Frances smiled, cracked open the beer can's lid, and took a sip.

        The opening scene featured a coy Angel with a handsome firefighter who'd arrived at her house to rescue her cat from atop a high tree limb.  After he handed the ball of fur to her, she casually informed him that her husband was out of town on a business trip.  Then she invited him to return when he was off-duty to 'inspect the house for fire hazards.'  Her voice was slow and sultry, and her left eye winked at him, as well.  He got the message without a doubt!  They wound up inspecting each others' bodies and having fiery hot sex.  The erotic masterpiece concluded with the classic 'hose scene.'  Although it was over two hours long, it seemed to fly by because Fran was so much "into it"... quite literally!

        Frances selected that particular video because Angel Sting happened to be her favorite adult film actress.  What's more, the lucky stud that got it on with Angel in this production, Thad Wilco, slightly resembled Richard Briggs.  She could only hope that Richard "measured up" to the performer in other areas, as well.



As she watched the hardcore action, she vividly imagined that she was Angel and Thad was Richard.  In her mesmerized mind, she was actually experiencing all of the various sex acts that were being performed on, and by, Angel -- in precise correspondence and synchronicity.  It was an incredibly intense fantasy, which seemed ecstatically real when it got to the point of actually feeling his flesh on, and in, her body.  She also felt his lips, tongue, and breath as he kissed her mouth.  And his strong handed caresses fulfilled that womanly need for a manly touch.  What a sensation!!!  It was just like she was being intimate with Richard!  But she subconsciously prayed that their relationship turned into something much, much more than a fling!

        Now that Miss Prescott's Saturday night home-porno-movie was over, there was only one sensible thing to do: slip into her pink pajamas and retire to bed.  She wanted to get plenty of sleep for the big day ahead.  But first, she wrote in her diary:

3/20/09  Tonight I was feeling horny as a goat, so I treated myself to 'Angel Sting has a Fling' again.  I'm surprised the tape isn't worn out -- as much as I've seen it!  This time, as my passion was at a fevered peak, something unprecedented happened!  While I was watching the screen, I sort of got sucked (NO PUN INTENDED!) into it.  Sitting back as a passive observer no longer, I was now involved with all of my five senses, not just sight and sound.  I felt, smelled, and tasted his body... including a very large part of it.  The most pleasurable thing I felt was multiple orgasms.  For the record, I don't think I applied any "hands-on" stimulation, as is normally the case when I'm watching the video.  But, due to my altered state of consciousness, I can't be absolutely sure that I didn't masturbate; it could be that I did, and just don't remember doing it.  I don't know exactly (what) happened to me tonight!  I can't explain it scientifically.  But I can compare it to someone being hooked up to one of those 'Simulated Reality Machines' or 'Virtual Reality Machines' or whatever they're called.  Again, I have no rational explanation for it.  Perhaps I just hallucinated like crazy.  But I'm more inclined to attribute my spectacular sex-trip to a supernatural cause.

        Teddy bears were all over the place in Fran's bedroom, along with a variety of other types of unreal creatures.  But the stuffed animal that was lucky enough to share her bed happened to be a goat.  She'd named him 'Nap' -- a reversal of the mythical Pan.  Before Frances got into bed with Nap, she got down on her knees -- like Angel Sting did so often in the movie, but for a much different intent... that of prayer.  Afterwards, as she was climbing on the bed, again for a divergent purpose, her vintage wooden radio came on all by itself.  The quirky thing did that occasionally.  Frances assumed that it was due to a wiring glitch.  After all, it was a very old radio!  Screechy violins were playing dissonantly.  Disliking the eerie sound, she reached over to turn it off.  Right before her hand touched the rotary knob, she heard the shocking words: "You filthy whore!"  It was spoken quickly, venomously, and in a half-whisper over the undesirable graveyard music.  Frightened, Frances not only turned the autonomous radio off, she unplugged it and removed the batteries, as well.  She wanted to eliminate the possibility of it coming back on during her sleep.

        Frances managed to get over the bizarre occurrence enough to dose off.  But more degradation and terror were on the way!  She found herself standing up against a wall in a dreary dungeon with tight, steel shackles around her wrists and ankles.  A cluster of vampire bats flew overhead, and a huge, black snake slitered toward her bare feet.  But they were the least of her worries!  A couple of white-faced, pink-eyed demons materialized and began shouting, "You filthy whore!!" at her continuously.  They also spat in her face.



        She woke out of the nightmare with a scream and a pounding heart.  For the rest of the night, she stayed up drinking coffee, listening to music CD's, and reading the Bible.  One verse that particularly interested her was Revelation 12:9: ... he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

        At 9:11 a.m. the doorbell rang.  Frances looked through the peephole and grinned.  Upon opening the door, a bouquet of wild flowers was raised in front of her face.  Her smile widened and her eyes brightened.  "Why thank you, Richard!" she exclaimed exuberantly, as she received the sweet smelling bouquet in her hands.  Richard stepped inside, and Frances closed the door.

        "So, how are you doing?" he asked, while looking over the neat and clean interior.

        "Tired!" she honestly replied.  "I didn't get much sleep last night.  Don't ask why!" she added, not caring to describe her nightmare.

        "Well, I hope you're not too tired to go to church with me!"

        "Oh, no!  I'm not that tired!" she said emphatically.  "I've been looking forward to our church-date all week!" she enthusiastically added.

        Frances was sitting on the passenger's side in a different vehicle on her Sunday morning church commute.  She definitely preferred the company, and she liked the sporty, black car, as well.  But Richard did not particularly care for her Volkswagon Passat.  "Next week, we can go to church in my car," Frances proposed.

        "I don't think that would be a good idea," said Richard.

        "Oh, because it's a girly-type car?!" assumed Frances.  "Afraid to be seen in a girl's car, are you, chicken?!  Bawk, Bawk, Bawk, Bawk, Bawk, Bawk, Bawwwk!" she teased.  Then she saw that Richard's countenance bore a stone-cold serious, pained expression and she knew that it was something else.  "You know, I'll let you drive if you don't like the idea of a woman driving you around."

        "It has nothing to do with that!" he firmly stated.

        "Then what's the problem with us going in my car??" she pressed.  Taking a wild guess, she said, "Do you have a phobia about Volkswagon Passats?"  It was a half-way mocking conjecture.

        "No.  I don't have a phobia about anything!" he proudly responded.  "Your car just... reminds me of... an unpleasant experience," he vaguely explained.

        "Oh, I see," she relented -- understanding that she'd been probing a very sensitive issue.  "Well, I could trade it in for another car," she offered.

        "No!!" Richard quickly, and definitely, uttered in a forceful tone.  "You AREN'T going to get rid of your car just for my freaking emotional hang-up!!!  I'm being a big baby!  I'll tell you what: next Sunday you're going to drive me to church in your car!  Now for the issue I have with Passats.  All right, you remember I said I used to be a cop?"

        Frances nodded as he took his eyes off the road to glance over at her face.  She was staring intensely at him as he drove.

        "Well, there was an APB (All-Points Bulletin) out on Ralph Oxner.  We were told to be on the lookout for a grey Volkwagon Passat because that's the type of car he hijacked." (Frances knew this all too well!)  "Remember, this was when I lived and worked in Fort Lauderdale.  Ralph was suspected of driving that getaway car from this state to South Florida.  That proved to be an accurate prediction of his course of action, by the way, in case you didn't pick that up from the news reports.  The police force was called in on a supermarket parking lot because someone matching Oxner's description was reported being seen in the grocery store.  Also, a silver Volkswagon Passat--just like the one you drive--was parked in the lot.  Everything added up... or so it seemed!" (Frances could hardly believe what she was hearing!!  Little did Richard know that it wasn't "just like" her car -- it WAS her car!)



"I think I can speak for all the officers in saying that we were sure this was the guy!  About fifteen of us had our guns drawn, waiting for him to come out.  Well, the suspect walked out of the building, all right.  He looked exactly like Ralph Oxner!  I felt absolutely certain that it was him.  And, again, I think I can speak for all of my partners when I say that no one else had a doubt either.  We all had our guns pointed at him as he walked.  I'd seen Oxner featured on North America's Most Wanted.  His psychiatrist was interviewed and he basically said that his patient was a monster and there was no stopping him aside from shooting him.  That made a big impression on my naive mind.  You know, I thought, like a lot of other people, that psychiatrists were super-smart and all-knowing.  We were initially briefed to regard the fugitive as a highly dangerous threat to law enforcement, and the public, as well.  I remember the captain saying: 'It's okay to get trigger-happy with this nut, boys!'  That was before all this parking lot drama I'm telling you about went down.  But Captain Blackman's words went in one ear and out the other all the time because, to tell you the truth, he's a bozo.  The shrink's words were the only ones I had in my mind at that time!

        "So, Captain Blackman kept barking out orders for him to stop walking and raise his arms.  The suspect just kept on going as if he didn't hear a thing.  We later learned that he really didn't hear anything.  I shot him.  I did it because, in my mind, I thought he was about to hijack another car and possibly commit homicide in the process.  I'm not trying to make excuses, but, again, I don't believe I would've pulled the trigger had I not seen that damn psychiatrist interviewed on North America's Most Wanted.  He eventually died from the gaping head wound I inflicted upon him.  Of course, as you already know, the suspect wasn't Ralph Oxner.  His name was Nathan Hammonds.  And the simple reason he didn't respond to the captain's orders was because he was deaf."  Fran's eyes welled-up with tears.

        "I was totally devastated by the knowledge that I'd killed the man, and seeing him lying there on the pavement tore up my psyche even more.  Returning to the force was out of the question!  Although I later learned that I wouldn't have gotten fired, there was never any indecision in my mind over what to do next.  I turned in my badge, and worked as a used-car salesman for a little while.  It was a good experience!  I made a great friend, and had lots of fun selling--and trying to sell--automobiles.  Up until the tragedy, I enjoyed being a cop, too.  But law enforcement work didn't really fulfill me deep within.  Now I'm pursuing what I always wanted to do in my heart of hearts.  There is nothing better for me to do than working for the Lord!  He's the one who got me past the trauma.  And he did it by using MY hand to write HIS words.  Well, that's another story!  I'll get into it some other time."

        Frances wiped her teary eyes with the back of her hand.  To her, their "car link" was far beyond coincidence!  It was clearly evidence that they were, indeed, soul mates!  She had no doubt that fate had brought them together!

        "Pull over, Richard.  I have something to tell you," she said, in a serious tone.

        He turned left into the baren convenience store lot, and put his car in park with the motor still running.  Then he turned his head, and focused his blue eyes on Fran's green ones.  She wiped them again, and returned the concentrated gaze.

        "Richard, what I'm about to say is going to knock your socks off," she began -- trying to prepare him for the revelation that was forthcoming.  She swallowed and took a deep breath.  Her pause lasted for a full six seconds.  She resumed her disclosure: "I don't know if you believe in fate, but you will after you hear what I'm about to say!  That was MY car you saw in the Florida parking lot!"



        Flabbergasted, Richard let out a loud "What?!!" followed by, "You're kidding me!!!"  His astonishment was reflected visually, as well; his eyebrows rose, his eyes bulged, and his jaw dropped in receipt of the news.

        Frances continued: "Ralph Oxner stole my car when I was visiting my grandmother at a resthome here in North Carolina.  That was after he had scared the patient to death and beaten up the cop," she explained.

        "Whoa!!" Richard exclaimed, shaking his head.

        "It's amazing, isn't it?!" remarked Frances.

        "Yeah!  This is heavy!  I mean, just think: what are the chances of two people residing a thousand miles away from each other coming together after having undergone such grievous episodes involving the same person and the same car?!" he rhetorically asked.  "It must be fate, just like you said!" he concluded.

        "Exactly!" agreed Frances.  "The chances of this happening are extremely minute on the natural plane.  But if you're like me, you believe in a supernatural aspect of cause and effect.  For example, I met a Gypsy lady and she turned out to be a..." (Frances stopped herself before saying the word 'ghost.')  "Well, I'll go into that later.  The point I'm trying to make is that nothing is too big or too small for God and fate to orchestrate!"

        Richard was impressed!  " 'Nothing is too big or too small for God and fate to orchestrate'; you're a poet and you didn't even know it!" he said.  He knew that he had a very smart and spiritual lady on his hands!

        "Frances, I think this proves that we're destined to be together for the rest of our lives!" he boldly stated.

        "I definitely agree; the rest of our lives, and beyond in the hereafter," she added.  Her eyes were tearing up again.

        Richard opened the door and got out of the car.  His surprised passenge didn't know what he was up to, at first.  Through the dashboard, she watched him walk around the front of the car to her window.

        He opened her door, got down on his right knee, and spoke from the heart.  "Frances, I'm not prepared for this special moment.  Right now, I have no ring to slip on your finger.  However, I'm asking you to marry me anyway because I love you and the mood seems perfect."

        Frances was delightfully impressed by his wholehearted display of chivalry.  Sir Richard Briggs was, indeed, her Prince Charming!

        She stepped out, gleefully said, "I accept!" and wrapped her arms around the man of her dreams -- the one she'd been searching for her whole life.  He, in turn, hoisted her high up in the Sunday morning air.  They stood there making out -- just the two of them, along with the Toyota Celica, on the convenience store's cement lawn.  It was a great "parking lot experience" for a change!  No hijacking and no shooting!

Church was fifteen minutes belated, but it was relevant!  For Pastor Halloway's sermon was on the joy and function of marriage.


       Walter Krouse's careworn face and the thick stubble growth on it were indicative of the depth of his emotional descent.  He suffered from severe depression, and he was obviously a broken man!  Not long after Victoria walked out on him, he put the house up for sale, and closed down his psychiatric practice.  Global social disgrace, vocational downfall, financial crisis, and marital collapse were bad enough in and of themselves, and they all combined to take an enormous toll on his psyche.  Now, as if to add insult to injury, the formerly proud, successful, respected doctor had condescended to janitorial work.  It was utterly humiliating!  Furthermore, his sanity had been on the brink for quite some time.  Freedom and physical health were the only facets of his once joyous life which had not yet eroded on account of The Caller, Aaron Hughes, and his own wife.



        Nowadays, poor ole' Walter had to go out to the supermarket and do his own grocery shopping since Victoria was no longer around to do it for him.  He'd been surviving on a diet primarily consisting of fruits, sandwiches, and microwaveable dinner plates.  And his beverage of choice was beer.  That was the first item he set in his shopping cart -- a six pack of Budweiser.

        He was pushing the cart along Aisle 13, whereupon he spotted a woman and a little boy standing still, facing the shelves.  At that moment, he snapped; somethinng went haywire in his brain.  He cried out, "Victoria, take me back!!!  Reig, don't you want to be with daddy???"  They turned their heads in shock, staring at the scruffy creep.  "We can be a happy family again," he pathetically pleaded, standing five feet away from the stunned pair.

        They weren't his wife and son!  They were complete strangers.  The personal computer in Walter's head had finally crashed under the accumulated stress.  His eyes bulged, his legs stepped forward, and his arms reached out to embrace the frightened lady.  She screamed, and the eight year-old applied a hard kick to Krouse's right knee cap -- trying to defend his mother.

        "Help!!!  Help!!!" the damsel in distress hollered at the top of her lungs, while Walter bent down to rub his knee.

        A middle-aged, male shopper in the adjacent aisle easily heard her shouts.  He promptly jogged up to them all; positioned himself between Walter and the pair; and extended his arms to maintain physical separation.  His aim was to protect the woman and child from the madman harassing them.  Then he said, "What's the problem here??"

        Before she could explain what happened, Walter bellowed, "Are you 'The Caller'??"

        No response came forth, just a bewildered expression on the fellow's face.

        "Are you 'The Caller'?? Walter loudly repeated, demanding to know.  He'd finished rubbing his knee, and had straightened up.

        " 'The Caller'??  What's he talking about??" the gentleman asked the woman in a tone of cluelessness, while turning his head to look at her in the eyes.

        "I don't know!  I've never seen this man before in my life, and he just asked me to take him back.  My son's name is Tommy and he addressed him as 'Reig' and said: 'Don't you want to be with daddy?  We can be a happy family again!'  Then he tried to hug me.  That's when Tommy kicked his leg.  You did the right thing, honey!"  The lady rubbed the top of her son's blonde head, and wrapped his arms around her waist.  Both of them felt secure now that help had arrived and other shoppers had come to view the altercation after hearing the commotion.  However, the dust had not yet settled inside Food Lion.

        "Oh, you're not The Caller.  I know who you are!  You're Steve Whoremonger Horowitz.  You're in here shopping with my wife and son after you take them away from me.  Rubbing it in my face, are you?!  You low-life plastic surgeon homewrecker!  I'm gonna kill you," Walter viciously threatened, in a mad rage.  Then he jumped on the smaller man, as the mother and her son fled hand-in-hand.

        A crowd had formed to watch the action taking place on Aisle 13.  Supermarket security personnel quickly came to the rescue and pulled the maniac off the hapless schmuck he'd attacked.

        "He's fucking crazy!!!" the victim vehemently proclaimed, after he got up off the floor.  All the bystanders had come to the same conclusion!  Meanwhile, Walter--restrained by three security staffers and struggling with them--now began shouting, "God bless Budweiser!"

        Within minutes, the police arrived and took statements from the shaken woman, her brave boy, and the Good Samaritan.  The men in blue tried to get Walter's side of the story, but he just kept shouting, "God bless Budweiser!" over and over again while he was struggling in handcuffs.

        "Yeah, this dude is definitely mentally ill!" the oldest cop said matter-of-factly.  Three of his four partners couldn't help laughing.  One of them called him a "stark raving lunatic."  Nearly every customer and employee in the store had been watching the tumultuous scene.  The younger ones considered it exciting entertainment, while the mature ones looked on in horror.



        "We'll book him on disorderly conduct and assault.  Then we'll see what they want to do with him at the station," the senior officer stated.  He pulled the wallet out of Walter's back pocket, looked at his driver's license, and exclaimed, "Holy cow!  This is Walter Krouse!  You know... the guy Aaron Hughes talked about on Celebrity Interview!"  Many of the spectators OOOH'ED and AAAH'ED.  Everyone was familiar with Walter Krouse -- the real-life Lex Lueger.

        After they hauled him off to jail, fingerprinted him, and took mug shots, they transported him to Dorean Hix hospital for a psychological evaluation.  The examiner there decided to involuntarily commit him for an indefinite period of time.  Walter Krouse's insanity was, undoubtedly, initiated by The Caller's campaign of methodical, relentless harassment.  That is, indeed, a beautiful twist of fate!