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Random Tales

Hello. Here are a bunch of random e-mails from friends and acquaintances of mine. There are eerie encounters, phantom phenomena, confounding coincidence, and pointless jocularity.

I have tried to make sure any paranormal stories are as "true" as possible...that is to say, they're from people I know or have spoken with directly. If they say that they encountered a spirit from beyond this world, I obviously can't corroborate their tale because I wasn't there, but I certify that they sincerely believe their own version of events. How's that for plausible denial? -Tim

Friday, July 2, 2004 6:27 PM
From: Steve Chupaska
, the gent mentioned below on 07 April
Subject: Steve to the Corinthians

Last week I was at my friends wedding in San Diego. During the servicethat would be the non-alcoholic part of the festivitiesthe pastor read a passage from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians. It got me thinking. No, not about the message of Christs love Paul hoped impart to the citizens of Corinth. I was thinking about the fact that Paul didnt really keep up on his end of the correspondence, did he? All, right he did manage to scribble one more lousy epistle. But since thennada. And that was in A.D. 53, well before email.

Now, I was once an American teenager with appalling hair, so I know what its like to have people not call you back. So as an expression of my sympathy and solidarity with the Corinthians, I offer this.

The first letter of Steve to the Corinthians.

Dear Corinthians,

Hows things? Ive been meaning to write you for a while, especially since Paul couldnt find the time to pick up a quill every now and then. He was no doubt gloating about Damascus, and having his life transformed. Nowadays, hed probably be on the Atkins diet.

Still, I think we have a lot in common. I live in Connecticut. Its halfway between New York and Boston so goes the refrain. So, do you tell people Were halfway between Athens and Sparta? Well, while Im on this point: did you tend to side with the Athenians or the Spartans in the marathons and discus throws?

I think we should help each other find out more about our respective cultures. I imagine most people are familiar with your great city through your decorative columns. Oh, and Ricardo Mantalban has spoken favorably about your leather.

So, this is what I know about you. I understand that you were captured and plundered by Mummius in 146 B. C. Shortly thereafter, Caesar and Hadrian restored an expanded your borders, but then you were attacked by Heruli, Visigoths and Slavs. I can understand being ravaged by the Visigoths; its sort of their mètier. I mean no ancient people have ever said, You know, the Visigoths came by last month. Couldnt have been nicer. Youve also been under the control of the French, Venetians and Turks.

I remember reading somewhere that your dried grapes are particularly delicious. Did you know we get the English word currant from Corinth? I bet it pleases you.

Well, Connecticut was under British rule for about 150 years, but since then weve been on our own. Not much plundering in our history, certainly not by the Visigoths. The English burnt New London during the Revolution, destroying several homes, which dealt a serious blow to the colonial mil rate. But weve been pretty undamaged in our history. I feel bad. Youve had wars and earthquakes. Weve had bad winters and unending construction on I-95.

Anyway, I got to go. Please write back. Heres one thing I could never get my head around when I first read the Bible: did you ever write Paul back? I mean Pauls letters made into the BIBLE. Where did your responses end up anyway, the May 27, 1985 issue of The Nation with Trotsky on the cover (again)?

Hope to hear from you.
Yours truly,
Steve Chupaska

Friday, 16 April, 2004
From: John F.
, a friend of my buddy Rick
Subject: new job

just a quick note before I hit the sack, the new job, so far, seems to be going ok..the week has flown by, so that is a good sign. Most of the people seem decent. Some cute women too.

There is also a creature that inhabits the building. It lurks about. Its some sort of stereo typical software nurd, about 400 lbs, pony tail, unshaven, slovenly and horrendous BO. He also emits little farts when walking, and I am sure, when home, lays in a pool of trans fatty acids. There was a birthday cake, cut in peices, left in a break room. The creature stuffed 4 huges peices into his mouth, his chin smeared with frosting...I went to the loading dock and laughed my ass off. He seems to leave a trail of stink in the building. his cubicle is littered with coke cans and frito bags. Well, thats all here...enjoy your vacation,


Wednesday, 07 April, 2004
From: Steve Chupaska
, a friend of mine from college and an all-around wordsmith
Subject: the graple at the office

So yesterday my co-worker (or "colleague" as people tend to say) Tom said to me "Steve, smell this apple. Doesn't it smell like a grape. It's a graple. I got it at the A&P. It smells like a grape but it tastes like an apple."

It sounded like a Seinfeld plot, but, it did indeed smell like a grape. I couldn' t help thinking about that all yesterday. Bad news streaming in from seemingly everywhere around the globe. Then our daily minor annoyances such as people who don't know how to merge on I-95 or that the cafe always makes you wait, as they are "brewing up a fresh pot."

But collectively, through nothing less than sheer human ingenuity and creativity, we've managed to make an apple smell like a grape, but taste like an apple.

A bit later Tom finished said fruit and said, "Hey Steve, there's a grape in the middle of it."

Me (excitedly): Really?

Tom: No, just kidding.

Sunday, 29 February, 2004
From: Frank Foran
, a friend of my mom's from New Jersey

Tale #1: The Coincidental Hitcher

I have two stories of my own, if I can bore you with them. The first took place many years ago. I was running late for an appointment in Columbus, Ohio and was driving on Rt. 70. It had just started to rain and as I went under an overpass, I saw a guy with a sign saying" NJ". I couldn't stop not only because I was late already, but that the next exit was my exit. I thought no more of it. That weekend, I received a call from the sister of a good friend of mine that had moved to Florida. She was up for a few days and wanted to say hello. When she dropped by, another of her brothers was with her as well as someone I had never met before. During the small talk that took place, I had mentioned that I had just spent the previous week in Ohio whereupon the stranger showed me the bottom of his worn shoes to show me the holes in them saying that he had practically walked across the entire state. I asked him if he was outside of Columbus on that previous Wednesday to which he said yes. I asked about the sign. Again, the answer was yes. He was the guy I drove past. What are the odds of that happening?

Tale #2: "A touch from beyond" - also from Frank Foran

My cousin Patrick was more like a brother to me. He died in October of 1992. Several weeks after his death, I received a call from a purchasing agent from a company in Montreal who's last name was Foran. I mentioned that it was my last name also and that my great grandfather's family had initially settled in Montreal after the trip from Ireland. I started to ask questions about his inquiry and how we could help him. He said that he was just the buyer for the company and that I would have to speak with the engineer in charge of the project. His name was Jim Nicholas. My Uncle Jim was the last of 5 brothers. Nicholas was Patrick's fathers real name. That was enough to make me feel weird, but the clincher was when I got the telephone number for Jim Nicholas which was 514-782-2562. The prefix for Flemington as you probably remember is 782 and had been my prefix(there are about 9 for that area now due to the population explosion.). The last four numbers 2562 were the last 4 numbers of my phone number down here at the time. In other words 782-2562 was a combination of my last 2 phone numbers. Along with the names, it was a touch from beyond and I figure Patrick's way of letting me know that everything was alright.

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