Every writer at one time or another will come to the truth that we must all face and that is self examination.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Plato

God! How true are those words that continue to echo in my mind and heart. I look back over my life and the one thing that has taught me more about myself than any other thing…

is death. I really, believe death is simply a punch in the nose from truth, and that punch usually hurts. I recall as a boy of maybe four or five years old when I saw my father cry for the first time. it was at my grandfather’s funeral and my dad wept without shame and I was transfixed.


Since that time I have attended many funerals and each time I have experienced a profound self examination. The one death that really shook the hell out of me was the death of my then wife’s or should I say my ex-wife’s brother David.


It was late fall and my wife and I had just returned from the movies. The phone rang and it was my wife’s brother David. His voice came clear and loud onto the phone’s answering machine.

“Hey sis, are YOU there? Pick up the phone…this is David…if you’re there, pick up…

sis, it’s ME!”


My wife waited for the message to end and then she walked to the phone and pressed down on the erase button.

I felt so strange; I kept thinking: “Why didn’t she pick up the damn phone!”

I stared hard at my wife and she knew I was not pleased with what just happened.

I walked into the bathroom closed the door and washed my hands for supper.


It was a long day and as my head touched the pillow I fell quickly into a deep troubling sleep. I had a strange dream, I walked into my kitchen and there were 100 Black Ravens staring at me and then they began to attack me without mercy. I felt myself falling to the floor then through the floor and then into the earth, down, down, down I fell with the Ravens still biting at me. The phone rang!

I jumped up from my slumber. I looked at the clock on the night stand and it was 3:39 A.M. and my heart fell into my stomach. I knew that death  and truth were on the other end of the line. My wife quickly picked up the phone, but slowly did she place it to her ear.

I stood frozen with fear.


My wife dropped the phone to the floor and began to wail. I picked up the phone from the floor and my wife’s sister was calling my wife’s name over and over and over again. My wife’s sister told me that David had a heart attack and died an hour ago. When there was nothing more to say we hung up the phone. I sat at the foot of the bed with my head in my hands staring at the floor.

My wife continued to hit the replay button over and over again trying to recall the voice of her brother. I walked slowly to my wife and put my arms around her and held her tight and close as she wept for her brother David.

Death is always a punch in the nose from truth and that punch usually hurts.



Charles Micheaux

Jekyll Island, Georgia 


One thought on “A CRACKED VESSEL


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