The words over at Three Word Wednesday are demise, effort, revival.
This you should know about the ceiling in 43F: Squint long enough at the textured ceiling (not quite into the water stain, but more toward the left), and the Rev. Billy Graham will appear.
Not in Technicolor, no sir.
And certainly not in a burning bush, God-is-calling-you-home, Big Tent Revival kind of way.
It’s like when the brain makes the connection with one of those animation flipbooks they used to put in a box of Cracker Jack – or if you really want to get technical, the way the rods and cones in the eyes just send the brain pencil sketches of life and the brain fills in all the detail, the colors.
So, back to the Rev. Billy Graham.
In a textured ceiling (not the water stain, but off to the left).
Billy (if we may be so bold to call him that) appears without so much effort – all blotchy and in exponential frequency, to one James Francis Cannell.
Our little Jimmy has stopped sleeping nights. In fact, some internal clock stirs him the minute – and as far as he can figure, the exact moment – 52 years after his mother, Jean, pushed him slick and slightly bloody from her womb.
In its greenish glow, the clock radio blinks 3:12 AM.
Jimmy’s feeling the demise of his senses in a circle-the-drain potency. Dark circles taint ever-hollowing eye sockets. His appetite is shot. There’s the nodding off at work. The stern warnings standing on industrial carpet squares in front of the boss. Jimmy’s not really listening, even though his lips move ever so slightly in agreement.
He picks at his flesh, absently.
Fights off waves of nausea.
Gulps air at the increasing spikes of paranoia.
Reaching up into the shadows with outstretched hands, Jimmy pleads with all his heart to the outlined face on the ceiling.
“Billy, make it stop.”
It becomes a chant, a mantra, leaving Jimmy gravelly-voiced as another dawn spreads through the windows in 43F, erasing Mr. Graham’s visage.