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Gonzo Oct 2010
Well I drive the speed limit,

When I'm on the blacktop,

Because ya ain't gonna know,

If yer gettin eyeballed by the cops.



When I see the gravel,

Comin' up around the bend,

I turn the corner, hit the gas,

And my tires start to spin.



I get my get 'em up stuck,

In my pickup truck.

The gravel gets my guages,

goin' up, up, up.



In my pickup truck,

Ain't no slowin' me down.

I love my pickup truck,

Kickin' up dust clouds.



If it's rainin', you're complainin',

About the mud and the muck,

But ya know that I'll be playin,

In my pickup truck.



I get my get 'em up stuck,

In my pickup truck.

The mud gets my guages,

goin' up, up, up.



In my pickup truck,

Ain't no slowin' me down.

I love my pickup truck,

Throwin mud around.



When your rollin' around,

On the ice and in the snow

Sittin' in the ditch,

your car don't wanna go.



Who's the one ya call,

To get ya unstuck,

Ring-a-ding-a-ling-a-ling,

Ya need my pickup truck.



I get my get 'em up stuck,

In my pickup truck.

The winter gets my guages,

goin' up, up, up.



In my pickup truck,

Ain't no slowin' me down.

I love my pickup truck,

Haulin' people 'round,



Time to move is here,

And I back up to your door.

Packing out your things,

Until my truck can't fit no more.



I get my get 'em up stuck,

In my pickup truck.

Helpin' friends gets my guages,

goin' up, up, up.



In my pickup truck,

Ain't no slowin' me down.

I love my pickup truck,

Helpin' friends movin' 'cross town



I can't get enough,

Of my pickup truck.

If I had to do without it,

then my life would ****.



Ya know my life would ****,

Without my pickup truck.

I would feel like half a man,

Without my pickup truck.
Dangerous roads
and starless nights
a/c out
and faulty lights
squeaky brakes
a seat that bites
you can take your truck and stuff it

endless circles
lonely bi ways
without a net
on the highway
it's time that i just
did it my way
you can take your truck and stuff it

you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
right there where the sun don't shine
you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
it's not your life that's on the line
you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
right there where the sun don't shine
you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
i'm on my way....and that's just fine

paperwork
time delaying
canvas straps
constantly fraying
you ***** to me
but i hear naying
you can take your truck and stuff it

life's short
i'm not waiting
takes too much
to keep berating
i'm getting *******
and we're not dating
you can take your truck and stuff it

you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
right there where the sun don't shine
you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
it's not your life that's on the line
you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
right there where the sun don't shine
you can take your truck and stuff it sideways
i'm on my way....and that's just fine
for Patrick Desmond
aerial ladder truck, amok, amuck, awestruck, bad luck, black buck, black duck, bruck, buc, buck, by luck, canuck, chuck, cluck, cold duck, collet chuck, cruck, dabbling duck, delivery truck, diving duck, donald duck, druck, duc, duck, duk, dumbstruck, dump truck, dumptruck, fire truck, fish duck, fishbach, fluck, fslic, garbage truck, garden truck, get stuck, give ****, gluck, good luck, grucche, guck, hand truck, hockey puck, huck, hucke, icing the puck, ill luck, kachuck, kluck, kruck, kruk, kuc, kuck, kuk, ladder truck, lake duck, lame duck, laundry truck, luck, lucke, luk, mandarin duck, megabuck, moonstruck, mruk, muck, musk duck, naugatuck, nuque, panel truck, pickup truck, pluck, potluck, puck, queer duck, raybuck, roebuck, ruck, ruddy duck, schmuck, schtik, schuch, schuck, sculk, sea duck, shmuck, shuck, sitting duck, smuck, snuck, sound truck, starbuck, starstruck, struck, stuck, stucke, suc, ****, suk, summer duck, thunderstruck, trailer truck, truck, tuck, tuque, unstuck, vhsic, wild duck, wnuk, wood duck, woodchuck, wruck, young buck,chuck-a-luck, yuck, yuk, zuck, zuk
me truck
me truck is where i get my luck
good luck, bad luck, nice luck
me truck stunk like a skunk
that seems like bad luck
but it was the good skunk
the wan that gets u bunked

me cat has a bad case of lice
no more chasing ***** mice
the stupid thing only eats rice
the ganga it smokes is so nice
it somkes great out of me pipe

my truck makes me lots of money
me honey likes me money
me brain aint very funny
i also aint a big smarty
so me truck is me only option
i like it, its so very nice
almost as good as mariwawa
otherwise known as de ganga
good bye
tank u truck
for me money and me food
to feed me fam
and me ganga addiction
(song lyrics)
Verse 1:
Now I can’t go fishin’, ‘cuz ya’ sold my rod and reel
Can’t go snow-racin’, ‘cuz ya’ sold my snowmobile
And I got flaws - that’s for sure - and sometimes run amuck
But the final straw that I can’t take: Ya’ sold my pickup truck

Chorus:
You can burn the house, shoot my dog and stomp my ol’ guitar
But when you sold my pickup truck, well, Honey, ya’ went too far

Verse 2:
I didn’t care when ya’ bought that stuff on TV’s QVC
Or ‘cause ya’ always thought of me as your private Money Tree
Or catalog-orderin’ ever’thing from within ol’ Sears Roebuck
But I’ll be danged if I’ll sit still since ya’ sold my pickup truck!

Chorus:
You can burn the house, shoot my dog and stomp my ol’ guitar
But when you sold my pickup truck, well, Honey, ya’ went too far

Verse 3:
So I went and saw a gypsy gal, and a curse on you imposed
To put sand in your chewin' gum and runners in your ***** hose
And all your clothes and accessories to never, ever match
And chiggers in your bed sheets - so you’ll always have to scratch!

Chorus:
You can burn the house, shoot my dog and stomp my ol’ guitar
But when you sold my pickup truck, well, Honey, ya’ went too far

Verse 4:
I seen ya’ last Saturday night at Bubba’s Bar and Grill
The image of you in stripes and checks remains within me still
And them red chigger welts upon your nose and face
Tells me that the gypsy curse is workin’ ever’ place!

Chorus:
You can burn the house, shoot my dog and stomp my ol’ guitar
But when you sold my pickup truck, well, Honey, ya’ went too far
Mark Lecuona Feb 2012
The mile markers sound like a fan in the wind
Was that last one three eighty-eight or four-hundred and ten?
They go from green to black and back to green again
I'm so tired the colors are starting to blend

Do you know the soul of a truck driver?
He's starin' straight ahead and drivin' forever
Can you feel the heart of a truck driver?
He's got scars but you know he's a survivor

It seems I can't out-drive my problems
It's an undying bush with unwanted blossoms
I never see my kids because this road never ends
So I keep driving and lie about not needing friends

I know I got my issues
But then don't we all?
When I think about the world's
Mine seem kinda' small

I'm gonna' quit complainin'
'Cause I got some work to do
Yeah I got my problems
I'm gonna start solvin' the one with you

I used to throw the ball with my boy after work
But they cut back my hours and my wife thinks I'm a ****
So I decided to jump back into my old rig
I'm tryin' to get out of the hole I decided to dig

Do you know the soul of a truck driver?
Starin' straight ahead and drivin' forever
Can you feel the heart of a truck driver?
He's got scars but you know he's a survivor

I've never been a dreamer
But this black-top has turned white
Floating above the clouds where I'm free
I wonder if I can trust the light

I realize how angry I am
That's not me but it's who I've been
I know I can be the man my mom raised
It's not a matter of if it's a matter of when

Do you know the soul of a truck driver?
He's starin' straight ahead and drivin' forever
Can you feel the heart of a truck driver?
He's got scars but you know he's a survivor

I don't mind burning my heart on the road
It simmers as I reap what I sowed
I'm trying to save the hearts that I protect
For my children I'll suffer; but never neglect*


Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved. Mark Lecuona
John Buhler Jun 2014
It was a hand me down,
An old Chevy that grandpa didn't need,
It was just a little truck,
But it would do,
Blue and silver, with rust sprouting up here and there,
A creaky tailgate,
No ac, but a sunroof,
Comfy seats that held you like a race car,
The smell of dust wafting from the vents
It had a little engine that needed work,
It had old tires that needed to be replaced,
A layer of dust that needed to be washed off.
But I didn't care,
It was my first truck!

New engine,
New tires,
A deluxe wash at the co-op,
And a black ice air freshener,
This truck was born again.

Spinning tires and dust flying,
Rolling down the streets and tearing up the gravel roads,
This truck purred like a kitten.
I didn't care if people had bigger trucks,
Newer trucks,
Fancier trucks,
This was my first truck
And I loved it!
Crystal Dawn Aug 2014
A little red fire truck
Given to a boy
Who knew that little fire truck
Would bring so much joy?

He plays and pretends
To be putting out flames
All the kids on the street
Want to know his name

He loves his little fire truck
He hates to put it away
But mother says he has to
Tommorow is another day

A little red fire truck
Sits untouched
Over the years
It's collected some dust

The boy now is grown
Going through some old stuff
And at the bottom of a old box
He finds a small truck

He remembers the fun he had
Playing in the floor
And can't recall the last time
He wanted anything more

He sits for a moment
Replaying all the memories
And smiling to himself says
",You know, life's about the little things".
Crystal Sacco
August 13,2014
Terry Collett Sep 2013
You and Ingrid
bummed a ride
on the back
of the coal truck

the spring holiday underway
Ok
said the coal truck driver
but keep

your heads down
don't want to get
pulled over
by the rozzers

and so you both
climbed in the back
of the truck
settling down

between sacks of coal
covered over
by tarpaulin
with just a slit

for light and air
and you and she
just sitting there
she clothed

in an old green dress
and  cardigan of grey
brown scuffed shoes
and grey socks

you in jeans
and blue shirt
open necked
and sleeveless

patterned jumper
never been
in the back
of a coal truck before

Ingrid said
mustn't get too *****
in case Dad finds out
and leathers me one

you watched
as she sat there
in the semi-dark
gazing out

through the slit
at the thin
aspect of sky
hands on her knees

biting her lip
been once before
with Jimmy
but then it rained

and we got drenched
you said
what did your parents say?
Ingrid asked

nothing much
you replied
Mum moaned a bit
but the old man said nothing

just stared
as he blew smoke
from his cigarette
through his nose

God my dad'd go mad
if I had done that
she said
pulling her knees

together hands
holding on the top
I'd not be able
to sit for a week  

he'd beat me such
she added
moving
with the movement

of the truck
you said nothing
knowing her old man
seeing him often

walking through the Square
swaying with the *****
or seeing her mother
bruised and battered

crossing to the shops
enduring neighbours' whispers
for a while she was silent
looking through the slit

as the sky drifted by
as the truck moved
you swayed
side to side

her shoulder
against yours
her arm touching yours
the smell of wet washing

and of yesterday's dinner
captured on her clothes
seeping in your nose
now and then

she spoke
of this and that
of kids at school
of names called

of hair pulled
and how she liked it
when she saw you
enter school

and your kind words
and helpful ways
and when the driver
pulled off the tarpaulin
to get out sacks of coal
daylight blew out
your eyes
and made you smile

and cheered your hearts
you shared the sandwiches
you'd brought
and bottle of lemonade

factory made
sitting on the truck floor
she nibbling a sandwich
and drinking shyly

from the lemonade bottle
after you'd wiped
the top with the palm
of your hand

her eyes on you
her lips open for words
her knees pressing together
to keep the balance

as the truck
moved on and away
just you and she
on a bright spring day.
Isaac Sep 2017
Let me tell you 'bout a story of a truck drivin' girl,
In a custom made monster truck she took for a whirl!
That little speed demon, gonna be a star!
With her learners permit, and an adult in the car!
She may be out for a lark, but she can't parallel park,

She's a truck drivin' girl!

One day she'll get her license, and she'll have it all,
She can pick up her friends, and take a drive to the mall!
That little red head, gonna rock my world!

She's a truck drivin girl!
She's a truck drivin girl!

She's a,
Tire spinnin'
Gear grindin'
Clutch burnin'
Back firin'
Paint tradin'
Red linin'
Over heatin'
Throttle stompin'

Truck drivin' girl!
That last bit took FOREVER
Sean Tyler B Jun 2013
I throw my gun in the back of my truck
With it I hope to **** a 12-point buck
While in the woods, BANG! I see the deer fall
I take him home, freeze the meat, and mount his horns on my wall

I grab my pole and tackle box and head to the lake
At this time in the morning, I feel barely awake
There is no school today, I’m glad there is no class
A mighty tug on my line, I hook a large mouth bass

There is nothing like hunting; waiting for the ****
Cutting and cleaning the meat my freezer I’ll soon fill
Deer steaks and deer jerky have such a great taste
And with his head on my wall nothing goes to waste

I like fishing, fishing is fun
Fishing underneath the rising sun
I like catching the fish and putting them in a net
Fish is a great dish when the table is set

My truck is unstoppable; it can’t beat
I slam the door and strap myself in the seat
I start the engine and press the gas to the floor
My truck takes off and my engine lets out a roar

I wouldn’t be able to hunt or fish if it wasn’t for my truck
With it I carry poles, guns, and my fallen buck
I pull my boat with my truck in four-wheel-drive
At my destination I always arrive
Maddie Sapp Dec 2012
Sitting in the back of truck beds should be required
Hair all over the place
Wind all in my face
Can barely open my eyes to see
but when I do
sights fill me up and open my mind
to all the beauty around me that I would never find.

In hawaii this is the best
driving in the back of truck beds
although my **** gets achy from the rough, cold truck
I wouldn't change my seat for the comfy one in the front.
guy scutellaro Oct 2019
The rain ****** through a darkening sky.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles. Softly, he whispers, " Man, you're the biggest, whitest, what hell are you anyway?"

The pup sits up and Jack Delleto caresses her neck, but much to the mutt's chagrin the man stands up and walks away.

Jack has his hand on the door about to go into the bar. The pup issues an interrogatory, "Woof?"

The rain turns to snow.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles, "My grandma used to say that when it snows the angels are sweeping heaven. I'll be back for you, Snowflake."

Jack shivers. His smile fading, the night jumps back into his eyes.

Snowflake chuffs once, twice.

The man is gone.



The room would have been a cold, dark place except the bodies who sit on the barstools or stand on the ***** linoleum floor produce heat. The cigarette smoke burns his eyes. Jack Delleto looks down the length of the bar to the boarded shut fire place and although the faces are shadows, he knows them all.

The old man who always sits at the second barstool from the dart board is sitting at the second bar stool. His fist clenched tightly around the beer mug, he stares at his own reflection in the mirror.

The aging barmaid, who often weeps from her apartment window on a hot summer night or a cold winter evening, is coming on to a man half her age. She is going to slip her arm around his bicep at any moment.

"Yeah," Jack smiles, "there she goes."

Jack Delleto knows where the regulars sit night after night clutching the bar with desperation, the wood rail is worn smooth.

In the mirror that runs the length of the bar Jack Delleto sees himself with clarity. Brown hair and brown eyes. Just an ordinary 29 year old man.

"Old Fred is right," he thinks to himself, "If you stare at shadows long enough, they stare back." Jack smiles and the red head returns his smile crossing her long legs that protrude beneath a too short skirt.

The bartender recognizes the man smiling at the redhead.

"Well,  Jack Delleto, Dell, I heard you were dead. " The six foot, two hundred pound bartender tells him as Dell is walking over to the bar.

"Who told you that?"

"Crazy George, while he was swinging from the wagon wheel lamp." Bob O'Malley says as he points to the wagon wheel lamp hanging from the ceiling.

"George, I heard, HE was dead."

The bartender reaches over the bar resting the palms of his big hands on the edge of the bar and flashes a smile of white, uneven teeth. Bob extends his hand. "Where the hell have you been?"

They shake hands.

Dell looks up at the Irishman. "I ve been at Harry's Bar in Venice drinking ****** Marys with Elvis and Ernest."

Bob O'Malley grins, puts two shot glasses on the bar, and reaches under the bar to grab a bottle of bourbon. After filling the glasses with Wild Turkey, he hands one glass to Dell. They touch glasses and throw down the shots.

"Gobble, gobble," O Malley smiles.


The front door of the bar swings open and a cold wind drifts through the bar. Paul Keater takes off his Giants baseball cap and with the back of his hand wipes the snow off of his face.

"Keater," Bob O'Malley calls to the Blackman standing in the doorway.

Keater freezes, his eyes moving side to side in short, quick movements. He points a long slim finger at O'Malley, "I don't owe you any money," Paul Keater shouts.

The people sitting the barstools do not turn to look.

"You're always pulling that **** on me." Keater rushes to the bar, "I PPPAID YOU."

As Delleto watches Keater arguing with O'Malley, the anger grows into the loathing Dell feels for Keater. The suave, sophisticated Paul Keater living in a room above the bar. The man is disgusting. His belly hangs pregnant over his belt. His jeans have fallen exposing the crack of his ***, and Keater just doesn't give a ****. And that ragged, faded, baseball cap, ****, he never takes it off.

When Keater glances down, he realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto. Usually, Paul Keater would have at least considered punching Delleto in his face. "The **** wasn't any good," Paul feining anger tells O'Malley. "Everybody said it was, ****."

The bartender finishes rinsing a glass in the soapy sink water and then places it on a towel. "*******."

Keater slides the Giant baseball cap back and forth across his flat forehead. "**** it," he turns and storms out of the bar.

"Can I get a beer?" Dell asks but O"Malley is already reaching into the beer box. Twisting the cap off, he puts it on the bar. "It's not that Keater owes me a few bucks, "he tells Dell, "if I didn't cut him off he'd do the stuff until he died." Bob grabs a towel and dries his hands.

"But the smartest rats always get out of the maze first," Jack tells Bob.


Cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and losing lottery tickets litter the linoleum floor. Jack Delleto grabs the bottle of beer off the bar and crosses the specter of unfulfilled wishes.

In the adjacent room he sits at a table next to the pinball machine to watch a disfigured man with an anorexic women shoot pool. Sometimes he listens to them talk, whisper, laugh. Sometimes he just stares at the wall.

"We have a winner, "the pinball machine announces, "come ride the Ferris wheel."



"I'm part Indian. "

Jack looks up from his beer. The Indian has straight black hair that hangs a few inches above her shoulders, a thin face, a cigarette dangling from her too red lips.

"My Mom was one third Souix, " the drunken women tells Jack Delleto.

The Indian exhales smoke from her petite nose waiting for a come on from the man with the sad face. And he just stares, stares at the wall.

Her bushy eyebrows come together forming a delicate frown.

Jack turns to watch a brunette shoot pool. The woman leans over the pool table about to shoot the nine ball into the side pocket. It is an easy shot.

The brunette looks across the pool table at Jack Delleto, "What the **** are you starin at?" She jams the pool stick and miscues. The cue ball runs along the rail and taps the eight ball into the corner pocket. "AH ****," she says.

And Jack smiles.

The Indian thinks Jack is smiling at her, so she sits down.

"In the shadows I couldn't see your eyes," he tells her, "but when you leaned forward to light that cigarette, you have the prettiest green eyes."

She smiles.

" I'm Kathleen," her eyes sparkling like broken glass in an alley.

Delleto tries to speak.

"I don't want to know your name," she tells Jack Delleto, the smile disappearing from her face. "I just want to talk for a few minutes like we're friends," she takes a drag off the cigarette, exhales the smoke across the room.

Jack recognizes the look on her face. Bad dreams.

"I'll be your friend," he tells her.

"We're not going to have ***." The Indian slowly grinds out the cigarette into the ashtray, looks up at the man with the sad face.

"Do you have family?"

"Family?" Delleto gives her a sad smile.

She didn't want an answer and then she gets right into it.

"I met my older sister in Baltimore yesterday." She tells the man with sad eyes.' Hadn't seen her since I was nine, since Mom died. I wanted to know why Dad put me in foster homes. Why?

"She called me Little Sister. I felt nothin. I had so many questions and you know what? I didn't ask one."

Jack is finishing his beer.

"If you knew the reasons, now, what would it matter, anyway."

The man with the black eye just doesn't get it. She lived with them long enough. Long enough to love them.

She stands up, stares at Jack Delleto.

And walks away.


It's the fat blondes turn to shoot pool. She leans her great body ever so gently across the green felt of the pool table, shoots and misses. When she tries to raise herself up off the pool table, the tip of the pool cue hits the Miller Lite sign above the pool table sending the lamb rocking violently back and forth. In flashes of light like the frames from and old Chaplin movie the sad and grotesque appear and disappear.

"What the **** are you starin at?" The skinny brunette asks.

Jack pretends to think for a moment. "An unhappy childhood."

Suddenly, she stands up, looking like death wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

"Dove sta amore?" Jack Delleto wonders.

Death is angry, steps closer.

"Must be that time of the month, huh," Jack grins.

With her two tiny fists clenched tightly at her side, the brunette stares down into Delleto's eyes. Suddenly, she punches Jack in the eye.

Jack stands up bringing his forearm up to protect his face. At the same time Death steps closer. His forearm catches her under the chin. The bony ***** goes down.

Women rush from the shadows. They pull Jack to the ***** floor, punch and kick him.

In the blinking of the Miller Light Jack Delleto exclaims," I'm being smother by fat lesbians in soft satin pants."  But then someone is pulling the women off of him.

The Miller Lite gently rocks and then it stops.

Jack stands up, shakes his head and smiles.

"Nice punch, Dell," Bob O' Malley says, "I saw from the bar."

Jack hits the dust off of his pants, grabs the beer bottle off of the table, takes a swallow. Smiling, he says, "I box a little."

"I can tell by your black eye." O'Malley puts his hand on his friends shoulder. "Come on I'll buy you a shot. What caused this spontaneous expression of love?"

"They thought I was a ******."


2 a.m.

Jack Delleto walks out the door of the bar into the wind swept gloom. The gray desolation of boarded shut downtown is gone.

The rain has finally turn to snow.

His eyes follow the blue rope from the parking meter pole to its frayed end buried in the plowed hill of snow at the corner of Cookman Avenue.

The dog, Snowflake, dead, Jack thinks.


The snow covers everything. It covers the abandon cars and the abandon buildings, the sidewalk and its cracks. The city, Delleto imagines, is an adjectiveless word, a book of white pages. He steps off the curb into the gutter and the street is empty for as far as he can see. He starts walking.

Jack disappears into empty pages.


Chapter 2


Paul Keater has a room above Wagon Wheel Bar where the loud rock music shakes the rats in the walls til 2a.m. The vibrations travel through the concrete floor, up the bed posts, and into the matress.

Slowly Paul's eyes open. Who the hell is he fooling. Even without the loud music, he would not be able to sleep, anyway.

Soft red neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks into his room.

Paul Keater sits up, sighs, resigns himself to another sleepless night, swings his legs off the bed. His x-wife. He thinks about her frequently. He went to a phycologist because he loved her.

Dump the *****, the doctor said.

"I paid him eighty bucks and all he had to say was dump the *****." He laughs, shakes his head.

Paul thinks about *******, looks around the tiny room, and spots a clear plastic case containing the baseball cards he had collected when he was a boy.

He walks to the dresser and puts on his Giant's baseball cap. Paul sits down on the wooden chair by the sink. Turns on the lamp. The card on top is ***** Mays. Holding it in his hand, it is perfect. The edges are not worn like the other cards.

It was his tenth birthday and his dad had taken him to his first baseball game and his father had bought the card from a dealer.

Oblivious to the loud rock music filtering into his room, he stares at the card.

Fondly, he remembers.

Dad.


                                     *     

It arrives unobtrusively. His heart begins to race faster.
Jack Delleto rolls away from the cracked wall. He sits up and drops his legs off the bed.

Jack Delleto thinks about mountains.

When he cannot sleep he thinks about climbing up through the fog that makes the day obscure, passing where the stunted spruce and fir tees are twisted by the wind, into cold brilliant light. Once as he climbed through the fog he saw his shadow stretching a half a mile across a cloud and the world was small. Far down to the east laid cliffs and gullies, glaciated mountains and to the west were the plains and cities of everyday life.

The army coat is draped over the back of the chair. In the pocket is his notebook. Jack stands and takes the notebook from the pocket. When he sits in the wooden chair he opens the book and slides the pen from the binder.

When he finishes his story he makes the end into the beginning.



                                           Chapter 3


"I want a captain in a truck." The 10 year old boy with the brown hair tells his mom. "I want it NOW."

His blonde haired mom wearing the gold diamond bracelet nods her head at Jack Delleto. Jack looks up at the clock on the wall. It is only 9a.m. After four years of college Jack has a part time job at K.B. Toy store. "We're all out of them," he tells her for the second time.

"Honey," Blondie tells her boy, "they're all out of them."

"YOU PROMISED."

"How about a sargeant in a jeep?

"OK, but I want a missile firing truck , too."

Delleto turns to the display case behind the counter. Briefly, he studies his black eye in the display case mirror and then begins searching the four shelves and twenty rows of 3 inch plastic toys. He finds the truck. His head is aching. He finds the truck and puts it on the counter in front of the boy.

"Sorry, we're all out of the sargeant," Jack tells the pretty lady. The aching in his head just won't go away.

"Mommy, mommy, I want an ATTACK HELIOCOPTER, MOMMMEEE, I WANTAH TTTAAANNNK..."

Jack Delleto leans over the counter resting his elbows on the glass top. The boy is staring at the man with the black eye, at his bruised, unshaven face.

"Well, we haven't got any, GODDAMED TANKS. How about a , KICKINTHE ***."

Finally the boy and his mother are quiet.

"My husband will have you fired."

She grabs the boy by the hand. Turns to rush out of the store.

Jack mutters something.

"MMOOOMEEE,  what does..."

"Oh, shut the hell up," the pretty lady tells her son


                              
     

The assistant manager takes a deep drag on her cigarette, exhales, and crosses her arms to hold the cigarette in front of her. Susan looks down at Jack sitting on the stool behind the counter. He stands up. "Did you tell some lady to blow you?" She crushes the cigarette out in the ashtray on the shelf below the counter. "Maybe you don't need this job but I do."

"Sue, there's no smoking in the mall."

"Jack, you look tired," the cubby teenager tells him, "and your eye. Another black eye."

"I was attacked by five women."

'Oh, I see, in your dreams maybe. I see, it's one of those male fantasies I'm always reading about in Cosmo. You're not boxing again, are you Dell?" Sue likes to call him Dell.

"I go down to the gym to work out. Felix says I've got something."

"Yeah, a black eye." Susan laughs, opens the big vanilla envelope, and hands Jack his check.

She turns and takes a pair of sunglasses from the display stand. "You 're scaring the children, Dell ." Susan steps closer looks into Dell's brown eyes and the slips the sunglasses on his face. "Why don't you go to lunch."

                                        
     

It's noon and the mall is crowded at the food court area. Jack gets a 20oz cup of coffee, finds a table and sits down.

"Go over and talk to him. " Susan says. Jack turns his head , looks back, sees the Indian walking towards his table.

"Hello, Kathrine," says Jack Delleto.

"My names not Kathrine, it's Kathleen."

Jack pulls the chair away from the table, "Have a seat Kate."

Her eyebrows form that delicate frown. "My names Kathleen." As soon as she sits down she takes a cigarette from the pack sticking out of her pocketbook. "I had to leave. I told the baby sitter I'd only be gone an hour. Anyway you weren't much help."

"So why did you come over to talk to me?"

"You were alone, the bar full of people and you're alone. Why?"

"I like it that way. You've seen me there before?"

"Yeah, sitting by the pin ball machine staring at the wall, and sometimes, you'd take out your blue note pad and write in it.
What do you write about?  Are you goin to write about me..."

"Maybe. How many kids do you have?"

"Just one. A boy, and believe me one is enough. He'll be four in June," Kathleen smiles but then she remembers and abruptly the smile disappears from her face. "Sometimes I see Anthony's father in the mall and I ask him if he'd like to meet his son, but he doesn't.

Kathleen draws the cigarette smoke deep into her lungs, tilts her head back, and blows the smoke towards the skylight. Suddenly caught in the sunlight the smoke becomes a gray cloud. " I didn't want to marry him anyway, I don't know why he thought that."

She hears the scars as Delleto talks, something sad about the man, something like old newspapers blowing across a deserted street. She hears the scars and knows never, never ask where the scars came from.


                              
     

As Jack walks towards the bank to cash his check, he glances out the front entrance to the mall. It is a bright, cold day and the snowplows are finishing up the parking lot plowing the snow into big white hills. That is the fate of the big white pup plowed to the corner of Cookman and Main buried deep in ***** snow. At that street corner when the school is over the children will play on the hill never realizing what lay beneath there feet.

The snow must melt; spring is inevitable.

His pup will be back.



                                           Chapter 4


The 19 year old light heavyweight leans his muscular body forward to rest his gloved hands on the tope rope of the ring. He bows his head waiting to regain his breath as his lungs fight to force air deep into his chest. Bill Wain has finished boxing 4 rounds with Red.

Harry the trainer, gently pulls the untied boxing gloves from Red's hands. "Good fight, he says, patting Red on the back as the fighter climbs through the ropes and heads to the showers. Harry hands the sweat soaked gloves to Felix who puts one glove under his arm while he loosens the laces on the other 12ounce glove. He makes the sleeve wider.

"Do you want the head gear?" Felix asks.

Jack Delleto shakes his head and pushes his taped hand deep into the glove.

The old man takes the other glove from under his arm, pulls the laces out, and holds it open. Without turning his head to look at him, Felix tells Harry, "Make sure Bill doesn't cool down. Tell him to shadow box. Harry walks over to Bill and Bill starts shadow boxing.

Jack pushes his hand into the glove. "Make a fist." Jack does. Felix pulls the laces and ties it into a bow.

Felix looks intently into Delleto's eyes. "How does that feel?"

"About right."

"You look tired."

"I am a little."

"Are you sick or is it a woman."

"I'm not sick."

A big smile forms across the face of the former welterweight champion of Nevada. The face of the 68 year old Blackman is lined and cracked like the old boxing gloves that Jack is wearing but his tall body is youthful and athletic in appearance. Above Felix's eyebrows Jack sees the effect of 20 years as a professional fighter. He sees the thick scar tissue and the thin white lines where the old man's skin has been stitched and re-stitched many times. As he gives instructions to Jack, Felix's brown eyes seem to be staring at something distant and Jack wonders if Felix has chased around the ring one time too often his dream.

"And get off first. Don't stop punching until he goes down. You've got it kid and not every fighter does."

Jack and Felix start walking over to the ring.

"What is it I've got?" Jack Deletto wonders.

Felix puts his foot on the fourth strand of the rings rope and with his hand pulls up the top strand and as Jack steps into the ring, "You've got, HEART."

In the opposite corner Bill Wain waits.

"Will he be alright?" Harry asks.

"Bill's tired, " Felix replies, then he tries to explain. "It's not about money. I'm almost 70 and I want to go out a winner." Felix pauses and the offers, he can hit hard with either hand."

"Yeah, but at best he's a small middleweight and he only moves in one direction, straight ahead."

"Harry, I love the guy," Felix puts his hand on Harry's shoulder, he's like Tyson at the end of his career. He'd fight you to the death but he's not fighting to win anymore."

Harry puts his hands in his pocket and stares at the floor. "Do you want me to tell him to go easy." Harry looks up at Felix waiting for an answer.

"I'm tired of sweeping dirt from behind the boxes of wax beans and tuna fish. I'm sick of collecting shopping carts in the rain. A half way decent white heavyweight can make a lot of money. It's stupid for a fighter to practice holding back. Bill's a winner. Jack'll be alright."

Felix hands the pocket watch to Harry so he can time the rounds.

Bill Wain comes out of his corner circling left.

Jack rushes straight ahead.

Felix winks at Jack Delleto and whispers, "The Jack of hearts."



                                           Chapter 5


The front door of the Wagon Wheel bar explodes open to Ziggy Pop's, "YOU'VE GOT A LUST FOR LIFE." Jack Delleto steps over the curb and vanishes into the dark doorway.

"HEY, JACK, JACK DELLETO," The lanky bartender shouts over the din.

Delleto makes his way through the crowd over to bar. How the hell have you been Snake?" Jack asks.

"Just great," says Snake. "You're lookin pretty ****** good for a dead man."

"Who told you that? Crazy George?"

The bartender points across the room to where a man in a pin stripe suit is swinging to and fro from a wagon wheel lamp attached to the ceiling.

"Yeah, I thought so. Haven't seen Crazy George in a year and he's been telling everyone I'm dead. I'm gonna have to have a long talk with that man."

Snake hands Jack a shot of tequila. The men touch glasses and throw down the shots.

How's the other George? Dell asks.

"AA."

"How's Tommy? You see him anymore?"

"Rehab."

"What about Robbie?"

Snake refills the glasses. "He's livin in a nudist colony in Florida, he has two wives and 6 children."


Jack looks across the room and sees Bob O'Malley trying to adjust the rose in the lapel of his tuxedo. Satisfied it won't fall out O'Malley looks up at the man swinging from the lamp. "Quick, name man's three greatest inventions."

"Alcohol, tobacco, and the wheel," Crazy George shoots back.

O'Malley smiles and then jumps up on the top of the bar and although he is over six feet and weighs two hundred pounds, he has the dexterity and grace of a ballerina as he pirouttes around and jumps over the shot glasses and beer bottles that litter the bar.

Wedding guests lean back in their chairs as strangers fearful of his gyrations ****** their drinks off the bar. Bob fakes a slip as he prances along but he is always in control and never falters. Forty three year old Bob O'Malley is Jim Brown who dodges danger to score the winning touch down.

When Bob reaches the end of the bar he jumps to the floor, pulls two aluminum lids from the beer box, and with one in each hand he smacks them together like cymbals.

Some guests clap. The bemused just stare.

In the back of the room sitting at the wedding table the father of the bride leans over, whispers into the ear of his crying wife, "If I had a gun I'd shoot Bob."

The bride raises a glass of champagne into the smoke filled air and Bob takes a bow but then heads towards the kitchen at the other end of the room.

" Hey, Bob," Jack Delleto shouts to the groom.

O'Malley stops under the wagon wheel lamp and turns as Delleto steps into the  circle of light cast onto the floor.

"Congratulations, I know Theresa and you are goin to be happy. I mean that." Delleto offers his hand and they shake hands.

"Thanks, Mr. Cool."

Jack takes off the sunglasses.

"TWO black eyes. Your nose is bleeding. What happened?"

Dell takes the handkerchief from his back pocket, wipes the blood dripping down his face. "It's broken."

"What happened?" O'Malley asks again.

"Bill Wain."

"He turned pro."

"Yeah, but he's nothing special. Hell, he couldn't even knock me down."

O'Malley shakes his head. "Dell, why do you do it? You always lose."

"If you don't fight you've already lost."

"Put the sunglasses back on, you look like a friggin raccoon."

Dell smiles. The blood running down his lips."Thersa's beautiful, Bob, you're a lucky guy."

"Thanks Dell." O'Malley puts his hand on Dell's shoulder and squeezes affectionately. Bob looks across the room at Theresa. "Yeah, she is beautiful." Theresa's mother has stopped crying. Her father drinks whiskey and stares at the wall.

O'Malley looks away from his bride and passed the archway that divides the poolroom from the bar and into the corner. With the lamp light above his head gleaming in his eyes Bob seems to see a ghost fleeting in the far distant, dark corner. Slowly, a peculiar half smile forms uneven, white, tombstone teeth.  A pensive smile.

Curious, Dell turns his head to look into the darkness of the poolroom, too.

At night in July the moths were everywhere. When Dell was a boy he would sit on his porch and try to count them. The moths appeared as faint splashes of whiteness scattered throughout the nighttime sky, odd circles of white that moved haphazardly, forward and then sideways, sometimes up and then down.

Sometimes the patches of moths flew higher and higher and Dell imagined the lights those creatures were seeking were the stars themselves; Orion, the Big Dipper, and even the milky hue of the Milkyway.

One night as the moths pursued starlight he saw shadows dropping one by one from the branches at the tops of the trees. The swallows were soundless and when he caught a glimpse of sudden darkness, blacker than the night, he knew the shadows had erased the dreamer and its dream.

His imagination gave definition to form. There was a sound to the shadows of the swallows in his thoughts, the melody and the song played over and over. Wings of shadow furled and unfurled. Perhaps he saw his reflection in the night. Perhaps there are shadows where nothing exists to cast them.

"Do you hear them, Bob?"

"Hear what?" Bob asks.

"All of them."

"All of what?"

"Shadows," Delleto candidly tells his friend, then, "Ah, Nothin."

O'Malley doesn't understand but it does not matter. The two men have shared the same corner of darkness.

Bob calls to Paul Keater. Keater smiles broadly, slides the brim of his Giant baseball cap to the side of his forehead. The two men disappear through the swinging kitchen door.


                                          Chapter 6


"Hello Kate." Jack Delleto says and sits down. She has a blue bow in her hair and make up on.

"My names Kathleen."

She fondles the whiskey glass in her slim fingers. "Hello, Dell, Sue thinks Dell is such a **** name. Kathleen takes a last drag on her cigarette, rubs it out in the ashtray, looks up at him, "What should I call you?"

"How about, Darlin?"

"Hello, Jack, DARLIN," her soft, deep voice whispers. Kathleen crosses her legs and the black dress rides up to the middle of her thigh.

Jack glances at the milky white flesh between the blue ***** hose and the hem of her dress. Kate is drunk and Dell does not care. He leans closer, "Do you wanna dance?"

"But no one else is dancing."

"Well, we can go down to the beach, take a walk along the sand."

"It's twenty degrees out there."

"I'll keep you warm."

"All right, lets dance."

Jack stands up takes her by the hand. As Kathleen rises Jack draws her close to him. Her ******* flatten against his chest. He feels her heart thumping.

The Elvis impersonator that almost played Las Vegas; the hairdresser that wanted to be a race car driver; the insurance salesman with a Porche and a wife.  Her men talked about what they owned or what they could do well.

And Kathleen was impressed.

But Dell wasn't like them. Dell never talked about himself. Did he have a dream? Was there something he wanted more than anything?

Kathleen had never meant anyone quite like Dell.

She rests her head on his shoulder. "What do you what more than anything? What do you dream about at night?"

"Nothing."

"Come on," she says," what do you want more than anything? Tell me your dreams."

Jack smiles, "Just to make it through another day."  He smiles that sad smile that she saw the first time they met. "Tell me what you want."

Kate lifts her head off of his shoulder and looks into his eyes. "I don't want to be on welfare the rest of my life and I want to be able to send my son to college." She rests her cheek against his, "I've lived in foster homes all my life and every time I knew that one day I'd have to leave, what I want most is a home. Do you know the difference between a house and a home?"

"No. not at all"

Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear, "LOVE."

The song comes to an end and they leave the circle of light and sit down. Kate takes a cigarette from the pack.

Dell strikes a match. The flame flickering in her eyes. "Maybe someday you'll have your home."

"Do you want me to?"

"Yeah."

Kate blows out the match.


                                  
     


"Can you take me home?" Kate asks slurring her words.

Kathleen and Jack walk over to where the bride and groom are standing near the big glass refrigerator door with Paul Keater. When Paul realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto he rocks back and forth on the heals of his worn shoes, slides his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead and walks away.

O'Malley bends down and kisses Kathleen on the cheek and turns to shake hands with Dell. "Good luck," says Dell. Kathleen embraces the bride.

Outside the bar the sun is setting behind the boarded shut Delleto store.

"That was my Dad's store, " Jack tells Kate and then Jack whispers to to himself as he reads the graffiti spray painted on the front wall.
"TELL YOUR DREAMS TO ME, TELL ME YOU LOVE ME, IF YOU LOVE ME, TELL ALL YOUR DREAMS TO ME."


                                         Chapter 7


An old man comes shuffling down the street, "Hello Mr. Martin, " Jack says, "How are you?"

"I'm an old man Jack, how could I be," and then he smiles, "ah, I can't complain. How are you?"

"Still alive and well."

"Who is this pretty young lady?"

"This is Kate."

Joesph Martin takes Kathleen by the arm and gently squeezes, "Hello Kate, such a pretty women, ah, if I was only sixty," and the old man smiles.

Kathleen forces a smile.

The thick eyeglasses that Mr. Martin wears magnifies his eyes as he looks from Kathleen to Jack, "Have fun now, because when you're dead, you're going to be dead a long, long time." And Martin smiles.

"How long?  Delleto inquires.

The old man smirks and waves as he continues up the street to the door leading to the rooms above the bar. He turns to face the door. The small window is broken and the shards of glass catch the twilight.

Joesph Martin turns back looking at the man and young woman who are about to get into the car. He is not certain what he wants to say to them. Perhaps he wants to tell them that it ***** being an old man and the upstairs hallway always smells of ****.

Joesph Martin wants to tell someone that although Anna died seven years ago his love endures and he misses her everyday. Joesph recalls that Plato in Tamaeus believed that the soul is a stranger to the Earth and has fallen into matter because of sin.

A faint smile appears on the wrinkled face of the old man as he heeds the resignation he hears in his own thoughts.

Jack waves to Mr. Martin.  Joesph waves back. The mustang drives off.

Earth, O island Earth.


                                               Chapter 8


Joseph pushes open the door and goes into the hallway. The fragments of glass scattered across the foyer crunch and clink under his shoes. The cold wind blowing through the broken window touches his warm neck. He shivers and walks up the stairs. There is only enough light to see the wall and his own warm breathing. There is just enough light like when he has awaken from a  bad dream, enough to remember who he is and to separate the horror of what is real from the horror of what is dreamt.

The old man continues climbing the stairs following the familiar shadow of the wall cast onto the stairs. If he crosses the vague line of shadow and light he will disappear like a brown trout in the deepest hole in a creek.

By the time he reaches the second floor he is out of breath. Joseph pauses and with the handkerchief he has taken from his back pocket he wipes the fog from the lenses of his eyeglasses and the sweat from his forehead.

A couple of doors are standing open and the old man looks cautiously into each room as he hurries passed. One forty watt bulb hangs from a frayed wire in the center of the hallway. The wiring is old and the bulb in the white porcelain socket flickers like the blinking of an eye or the fearful beating of the heart of an old man.

When he opens the door to his room it sags on ruined hinges.

Joesph searches with his hand for the light switch.  Several seconds linger. Can't find it.

Finds it and quickly pushes the door shut. He sits down on the bed, doesn't take his coat off, reaches for the radio. It is gone.

Joseph looks around the room. A small dresser, the sink with a mirror above it. He takes off his coat and above the mirror hangs the coat on the nail he has put there.

Hard soled boots echo hollowly off the hallway walls. The echoes are overlapping and he cannot determine if the footsteps are leaving or approaching.

The crowbar is under his pillow.

He grabs it. Holds it until there is silence.

He lays back on the bed. Another night without sleep. Joseph rolls onto his side and faces the wall.

Earth, O island Earth.



                                           Chapter 9


Tangled in the tree tops a rising moon hangs above the roofs of identical Cape Cod houses.

Jack pulls the red mustang behind a station wagon. Kathleen is looking at Dell. His face is a faint shadow on the other side of the car. "Do you want to come up?" she asks.

Kathleen steps out of the car, breathes the cold air deep into her lungs. It is fresh and sweet. Jack comes around the side of the car just as she knew he would. He takes her into his arms. She can feel his lips on hers and his warm breath as the kiss ends.

They walk beneath the old oak tree and the roots have raised and crack the sidewalk and in the spring tiny blue flowers will bloom. The flowers remind Jack of the columbines that bloom in high mountain meadows above tree line heralding a brief season of sun and warmth.

"Did you win?" Kathleen asks as she fits the key into the upstairs apartment door. The door swings open into the brightly lit kitchen.

Dell, leaning in the doorway, two black eyes, looking like the Jack of Hearts. "It doesn't matter."

"You lost?"

"Yeah."

Crossing the room she takes off her coat and places it on the back of the kitchen chair. When Kate leans across the kitchen table to turn on the radio the mini dress rides up her thigh, tugs tightly around her buttocks.

The radio plays softly.

Jack stands and as Kathleen turns he slips his arms around her waist and she is staring into his eyes like a cat into a fire. His body gently presses against the table and when he lifts her onto the table her legs wrap around his waist.

Kathleen sighs.

Jack kisses her. Her lips are cold like the rain. His hand reaches. There is a faint click. The room slips into darkness. It is Eddie Money on the radio, now, with Ronnie Specter singing the back up vocals. Eddie belts out, "TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I WON"T LET YOU LEAVE TIL..."

When Jack withdraws from the kiss her eyes are shining like diamonds in moonlight.

The buttons of her dress are unfastened.  Her arms circle his neck and pull him to her *******. "Don't Jack. You mustn't. I just want a friend."

His hands slide up her thighs. "I'll be your friend, " says Jack.

Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear. "*** always ruins everything," He pulls her to the edge of the table as Ronnie sings, "O DARLIN, O MY DARLIN, WON'T YOU BE MY LITTLE BAABBBY NOOWWW."


They are sitting on a couch in the room that at one time had been a sun porch.

Now that they have gotten *** out of the way, maybe they can talk. Sliding her hands around his face she pulls him closer.

"Jack, what do you dream about? You know what I mean, tell your dreams to me."

"How did you get those round scars on your arm?" Dell wonders.

"Don't ask. I don't talk about it. Do you have family?"

"Yeah. A brother. Tell me about those scars."

My ****** foster dad. He burned me with his cigarette. That's how I got these ****** scars.

And when I knew he was coming home, I'd get sick to my stomach, and when I heard his key in the door, I'd *** myself. And I got a beating.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

When they didn't beat me or burn me, they ignored me, like I didn't exist, like I wasn't even there. And you know what, I didn't hate him. I hated my father who put in all those foster homes."



                                             Chapter 10



Spring. All the windows in the apartment are open. The cool breeze flows through her brown hair. "You're getting too serious, Jack, and I don't want to need you."

"That's because I care for you."

The rain pounds the roof.

Jack Delleto sits down on the bed, caresses her shoulder. "I hate the rain. Come on, give me a smile. "Kathleen pulls away and faces the wall.

"Well, I don't need anyone."

"People need people."

"Yeah, but I don't need you." There is silence, then, "I only care about my son and Father Anthony."

"What is it with you and the priest?" You named your son Anthony is that because he's the father."

"You're an *******. Get out of here. I don't love you." And then, "I've been hurt by people and you'll get over it."

Then silence. Jack gets up from the bed, stares at her dark form facing the wall. "Isn't this how it always ends for you?"

The room is quiet and grows hot. When the silence numbs his racing heart, he goes into the kitchen, opens the front door and walks down the steps into the cold rain.


"Anthony," Kathleen calls to her son to come to her from the other bedroom and he climbs into the bed, and she holds him close. The ghost of relationships past haunt her and although they are all sad, she clings to them.


On the sidewalk below the apartment window Jack stops. He thinks he hears his name being called but whatever he has heard is carried off by the wind. He continues up the dark street to his Harley.

High in reach less branches of the old oak tree a mockingbird is singing. The leaves twist in the wind and the singing goes on and on.



                                            
     



The ringing phone. The clock on the dresser says 5 a.m.

"Who the hell is this?"

"Jack, I'm scared."

"Kate? Is that you?"

"Someone broke into my apartment."

"Is he still there?"

"No, he ran out the door when I screamed. It was hot and I had the window open. He slit the screen."

"I'll be right over."



                                         Chapter11


"How hot is it?" Kathleen asks.

The bar is empty except for O'Malley, Keater, a man and a woman.

"98.6," says Jack. The sweat rolls down his cheeks.

"Let's go to the boardwalk."

"When it's hot like this, it's hot all over."

"We could go on the rides."

"I've got the next pool game, then we'll go."

"It's my birthday."

"I bought you flowers."

"Yeah, carnations."

Laughing, Paul Keater slides the brim of his baseball cap back and forth across his forehead.

Jack eyes narrow. He starts for Keater, Katheen steps in front of Jack, puts her hands on his shoulders. She looks into his eyes.

"Who are you Jack Delletto? What is it with you two? But as always you'll say nothing, nothing." As Jack tries to speak she walks over to the bar and sits on the barstool.

"It's my birthday," she tells O'Malley.

When Bob turns from the horse races on the T.V., he notices her long legs and the short skirt. "Hey, happy birthday, Kate, Jack Daniels?"

"Fine."

Filling the glasses O'Malley hands one to Kathleen, "You look great," he tells her.

"Jack doesn't think so. Thanks, at least someone thinks so."

"Hope Jack won't mind," and he leans over the bar and kisses her.

Kathleen looks over her shoulder at Delleto. Jack is playing pool with a woman wearing a black tight halter top. The woman comes over to Jack, stands too close, smiles, and Jack smiles back.

The boyfriend stares angrily at Jack.

When Kathleen turns back O'Malley is filling her shot glass.

Jack wins that game, too.



                                                 Chapter 12



"Daddy," the little girl with her hands folded in her lap is looking up at her father. "When will the ride stop? I want to go on."

"Soon, Darling, "her father assures her.

"I don't think it will ever stop."

"The ride always stops, Sweetie." Daddy takes her by the hand, gently squeezes.


When the carousel begins to slow down but has not quite stopped Kathleen steps onto the platform, grabs the brass support pole. The momentum of the machine grabs her with a **** onto the ride, into a white horse with big blue eyes. Dropping her cigarette she takes hold of the pole that goes through the center of the horse. She struggles to put her foot in the stirrup, finds it, and throws her leg over the horse. The carousel music begins to play. With a tremble and a jolt, the ride starts.

Sitting on the pony has made her skirt ride well up her legs. The ticket man is staring at her but she is too drunk to care. She hands him the ticket, gives him the finger.

The ticket man goes over to the little girl and her father who are sitting in a golden chariot pulled by to black horses.

"Ooooh, Daddy, I love this."

"So do I," The father smiles and strokes his daughter's hair.

The heat makes the dizziness grow and as the ride picks up speed she sees two of everything. There are two rows of pin ball machines, eight flashing signs, six prize machines. All the red, blue and green lights from the ride blend together like when a car drives at night down a rain-soaked street.

Kathleen feels the impulse to *****.

"Can we go on again?" The little girl asks.

"But the ride isn't over, yet."


Kathleen concentrates on the rain-soaked street and the dizziness and nausea lessens. She perceives the images as a montage like the elements that make up a painting or a life. She has become accustom to the machine and its movement. The circling ride creates a cooling breeze that becomes a tranquil, flowing waterfall.

The ponies in front are always becoming the ponies in the back and the ponies in back are becoming the ponies in the front. Around and around. All the ponies galloping. Settling back into the saddle she rides the pony into the ever-present receding waterfall.

You can lose all sense of the clock staring into the waterfall of blue, red and green. Kathleen leans forward to embrace the ride for a long as it lasts.

Just as suddenly as it started, the ride is slowly stopping, the music stops playing.

Coming down off the pony she does not wait for the ride to stop, stumbles off the platform and out the Casino amusement park door. "****, *******," she yells careening into the railing almost falling into Wesley Lake.

She staggers a few steps, sits down on the grass by the curb, hears the carousel music playing and knows the ride is beginning again, and all of her dreams crawls into her like a dying animal from its hidden hole.

And it all comes up from her throat taking her breath away. A distant yet familiar wind so she lies down on the grass facing the street of broken buildings filled with broken people. From the emptying lot of scattering thoughts the mockingbird is singing and the images shoot off into a darkening landscape, exploding, illuminating for a brief moment, only to grow dimmer, light and warmth fading into cold and darkness.




                                      
     

"Your girlfriend is flirting with me," Jack Delleto tells the man. "It's my game."

The man stands up, takes a pool stick from the rack, as he comes towards Jack Delleto the man turns the pool stick around holding the heavy part with two hands.

There is an explosion of light inside his head, Delleto sees two spinning lizards playing trumpets, 3 dwarfs with purple hair running to and fro, intuitively he knows he has to get up off the floor, and when he does he catches the bigger man with a left hook, throws the overhand right. The man stumbles back.

His girlfriend in the tight black halter top is jumping up and down, screaming at, screaming at Jack Delleto to stop, but Jack, does not. Stepping forward, a left hook to the midsection, hook to the head, spins right, throws the overhand right.

The man goes down. Jack looks at him.

"You lose, I win," and Delleto's smile is a sad, knowing one.



                                                  CHAPTER­ 13

"It's too much," and Jack looks up from the two lines of white powder at Bob O'Malley. "I'll never be able to fall asleep and I hate not being able to sleep."

" Here," Bob takes a big white pill from his shirt pocket.

Jack drops the pill into his shirt pocket and says, "No more." He hands the rolled-up dollar bill to Bob who bends over the powder.

"Tom sold the house so you're upstairs? O Malley asks, and like a magician the two lines of white powder disappear.

"Till i find another place," Jack whispers.

Straightening up, O'Malley looks at Dell, "I know you 're hurting Dell, I'm sorry, I'm sad about Kate, too."

"Kate had a kid. A boy, four years old."

Jack becomes quiet, walks through the darkened room over to the bar. Leaning over the bar he grabs two shot glasses and a bottle of Wild Turkey, walks back into the poolroom. He puts the shot glasses on top of the pin ball machine. "We have a winner, " the pin ball machine announces. Dell fills the glasses.

"Felix came in the other day, he's taken it hard," Bob tells him.
Bill Wain knock down four times in the sixth round, he lost consciousness in the dressing room, and died at the hospital."

"I heard. What's the longest you went without sleep? Jack asks.

"Oooohhh, five, six days, who knows, after awhile you lose all track of time."

They take the shots and throw them down.

"I wonder if animals dream," Jack wants to know. "I wonder if dogs dream."

"Sure, they do, " O'Malley assures him, nodding his head up and down, "dogs, cats, squirrels, birds."

"Probably not insects."

"Why not? June bugs, fleas, even moths, it's all biochemical, dreams are biochemical, mix the right combination of certain chemicals, electric impulses, and you'll produce love and dreams."

                                          
     

Jack Delleto goes into his room above the bar, studies it. The light from the unshaded lamp on the nightstand casts a huge shadow of him onto the adjacent wall. Not much to the room, a sink with a mirror above it next to a dresser, a bed against the wall, a wooden chair in front of a narrow window.

The rain pounds the roof.

The apprehension grows. The panic turns into anger. Jack rushes the white wall, meets his shadow, explodes with a left hook. He throws the right uppercut, the overhand right, three left hooks. He punches the wall and his knuckles bleed. He punches and kicks the blood-stained wall.

At last exhausted, he collapses into the chair in front of the open window. Fist sized holes in the plaster revel the bones of the building. The room has been punched and kicked without mercy.

The austere room has won.

The yellow note pad, he needs the yellow note pad, finds it, takes the pencil from the binder but no words will come so he writes, "insomnia, the absence of dream." He reaches for the lamp on the nightstand, finds it, and turns off the light. Red and blue, blue and red, the neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks soft neon into his room. The sign seems to pulsate to the cadence of the rock music coming from the bar.

Taking the big white pill from his shirt pocket, he swallows it, leans back into the chair watching the shadows of rain bleed down the wall. The darkness intensifies. Jack slides into the night.



                                           Chapter 14


The rain turns to snow.

With each step he takes the pain throbs in his arm and shoulder socket. His raw throat aches from the drafts of cold air he is ******* through his gaping mouth and although his legs ache he does not turn to look back. Jack must keep punching holes with his ice axe, probing the snow to avoid a fall into an abyss.

The pole of the ice axe falls effortlessly into the snow, "**** it, another one."

Moonlight coats the glacier in an irridecent glow and the mountain looms over him. It is four in the mourning and Jack knows he needs to be high on the mountain before the mourning sun softens the snow. He moves carefully, quietly, humbly to avoid a fall into a crevasse. When he reaches the top of the couloir the wind begins to howl.

"DA DA DUN, DA DA DUN, HEY PURPLE HAZE ALL AROUND MY BRAIN..."

Jack thinks the song is in his head but the electric guitar notes float down through the huge blocks of ice that litter the glacier and there standing on the arête is Jimi, his long dexterous fingers flying over the guitar strings at 741 mph.

"Wait a minute, " Jack wonders, stopping dead in his tracks. The sun is hitting the distant, wind-blown peaks. "Ah, what the hell," and Jack jumps in strumming his ice axe like an air guitar, singing, shouting, "LATELY THINGS DON'T SEEM THE SAME, IS THIS A DREAM, WHATEVER IT IS THAT GIRL PUT A SPELL ON MEEEE, PURRPPLLE HAZZEEE."


                                        
     


Slowly the door moans open.

"Jack, are you awake?" her voice startles him.

"Yeah, I'm awake."

"What's the matter, can't sleep?"

Jack sifts position on the chair. "Oh, I can sleep all right." He recognizes the voice of the shadow. "I want to climb to a high mountain through ice and snow and never be found."

"A heart that's empty hurts, I miss you, Jack Delleto."

"I'm glad someone does, I miss you, too, Kate."

There is silence for several minutes and the voice comes out of the darkness again.

"Jack, you forgot something that night."

"What?" The dark shape moves towards him. When it is in front of him, Jack stands, slips his arms around her waist.

"You didn't kiss me goodbye."

Her lips are soft and warm. Her arms tighten around his neck and the warmth of her body comes to him through the cold night.

"Jack, what's the matter?" She raises her head to look at him, "Why, you're crying."

"Yeah, I'm crying."

"Don't cry Darlin," her lips are soft against his ear. "I can't bear to see you unhappy, if you love me, tell me you love me."

"I love you, I do," he whispers softly.

"Hold me, Jack, hold me tighter."

"I'll never let you go." He tries to hug the shadow.


                                          
      *


The dread grows into an explosion of consciousness. Suddenly, he sits up ******* in the cold drafts of air coming into the room from the open window. Jack Delleto gets up off the chair and walks over to the sink. He turns on the cold water and bending forward splashes water onto his face. Water dripping, he leans against the sink, staring into the mirror, into his eyes that lately seem alien to him.



                                            Chapter 15


Someone approaches, Jacks turns, looks out the open door, sees Joesph Martin go shuffling by wearing a faded bathrobe and one red slipper. Jack hears Martin 's door slam shut and for thirty seconds the old man screams, "AAHHH, AAAHHH, AAAHH."
Then the building is silent and Jack listens to his own labored breathing.

A glance at the clock. It is a few minutes to 7 a.m. Jack hurries from his room into the hallway.  They pass each other on the stairs. The big man is coming up the stairs and Jack is going down to see O'Malley.

Jack has committed a trespass.

When the big man reaches the top of the stairs, the red exit light flickers like a votive candle above his head. The man slides the brim of his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead, he turns and looks down, "Hello, Jack, brother. Dad loved you, too, you know." An instant later the sound of a door closing echoes down the hallway steps.


Jack Delleto is standing in the doorway at the bottom of the steps looking out onto the wet, bright street.

"Hey, Jack, man it's good to see you, glad to see you're still alive."

Jack turns, looks over his shoulder, "Felix, how the hell are you?"
The two men shake hands, then embrace momentarily.

"Ah, things don't get any better and they don't get any worse," shrugs the old man and then he smiles but his brown eyes are dull, and Jack can smell the cheap wine on the breath of the old boxer. "When are comin back? Man, you've got something, Kid, and we're going places."

"Yeah, Felix, I'll be coming back."  Jack extends his hand. The old fighter smiles and they shake hands. Suddenly, Felix takes off down Main Street towards Foodtown as if he has some important place to go.

Jack is curious. He sees the rope when he starts walking towards the Wagon Wheel Bar. One end of the rope is tied around the parking meter pole. The rest of the rope extends across the sidewalk disappearing into the entrance to the bar. The rattling of a chain catches his attention and when the huge white head of the dog pops out of the doorway Jack is startled. He stops dead in his tracks and as he spins around to run, he slips falling to the wet pavement.

The big, white mutt is curious, growls, woofs once and comes charging down the sidewalk at him. The rope is quickly growing shorter, stretches till it meets it end, tightens, and then snaps. Now, unimpeded by the tension of the rope the mutt comes charging down the sidewalk at Delleto. Jack's body grows tense anticipating the attack. He tries to stand up, makes it to his knees just as the dog bowls into him knocking him to the cement. The huge mutt has him pinned down, goes for his face.

And begins licking him.

Jack Delleto struggles to his knees, hugs her tightly to him. Looking over her shoulder, across Main Street to the graffiti painted on the boarded shut Delleto Market...

                               FANTASY WILL SET YOU FREE

                                                 The End

To Tommy, Crazy George and Snake, we all enjoyed a little madness for a while.


"Conversations With a Dead Dog..."
Brent Kincaid Aug 2015
They call her Truck Stop Tessie
Out I-forty a ways.
Usually you can find her there
Most sunny days.
And even if it’s raining
I am sure if you tried
You still will find Tessie
At the café inside.

She calls herself a housewife
But that would be a lie
She doesn’t ever clean the place
She can’t cook a pie.
She only gets dressed up
To go out on the town.
She a big old mess unless
She’s messing around.

They call her Truck Stop Tessie
Out I-forty a ways.
Usually you can find her there
Most sunny days.
And even if it’s raining
I am sure if you tried
You still will find Tessie
At the café inside.

She’s an old fashioned ******
In a new-fangled dress.
She makes out she’s a lady
But she’s a bit of a mess.
She dropped out of high school
To ride in boy’s cars.
If they make a round-heel movie
She could be the big star.

They call her Truck Stop Tessie
Out I-forty a ways.
Usually you can find her there
Most sunny days.
And even if it’s raining
I am sure if you tried
You still will find Tessie
At the café inside.

She was going with another guy
When it all started out.
He wouldn’t take her dancing
So she started to pout.
Then, he slapped her face a bit,
I stepped in to defend.
I probably should slap myself
Make this nightmare end.

They call her Truck Stop Tessie
Out I-forty a ways.
Usually you can find her there
Most sunny days.
And even if it’s raining
I am sure if you tried
You still will find Tessie
At the café inside.
Gossamer Aug 2013
I want you to show up at my house
on a clear summer evening
unexpectedly
with your truck
your beat up, half-full-of-gas truck
and I want you to tell me
you have a surprise for me.

So you'll blindfold me
and stick me in the passenger seat
and start playing some song on your ipod
that I don't recognize
but instantly fall in love with
and I want you to drive
for so long
that I question our whereabouts
and you'll say
"I told you, it's a surprise."

and then
at long last
you will help me out of your truck
(like the gentleman you are)
but you'll tell me to keep the blindfold on
for a few more minutes
while I hear your truck doors
open
and shut
and open
and shut
and you'll take off the blindfold
with a huge smile on your face
as you yell, "Surprise!"
with that goofy grin
(slightly lopsided - beautiful imperfection)
and i'll look to my right
and see your truck
in the middle of this field
this lonely, simple field
and in the bed of the truck
are blankets and pillows
and my face will light up
as I run over
and leap into the truck bed
and you will follow
and turn on more music
that I don't recognize
but instantly fall in love with

and the sun will set
and you will wrap me in a blanket
and then your arms
and I will use your chest as a pillow
(it was always comfier than the real thing, anyway)
and you will sing along
to the songs I don't know
but instantly fall in love with
and the sky will turn indigo
and the stars will appear
(though they never really left)
dotting the sky
like the freckles on your face
and we will watch them together
and trace constellations we can't pronounce
and you will play with my hair
and maybe i'll kiss you
and maybe you'll kiss me
and all will be quiet
except for the soft sound
of the music I do not recognize
but instantly fall in love with
kind of like the way
I fell in love with you.
Maytin Paige Jan 2014
It's just an old beat up truck.
Nothing more.
It's nothing
but it means so much.
There's too many memories.
I watch in silence
as she tries to switch gears
with a frustrated attitude.
She yanks the gear shift back
trying to shift into second.
I set my hand on her arm
Hey,
She looks up and stops.
Clutch in and ease into second.
She takes a deep breath and starts back in first.
She shifts into second easily now.
I smile
and stay in silence.
She cruises down through the field
and I set my hand on her arm again.
She looks up as the truck slows.
I tell her it'll all be okay
and that she's doing great.
Which is true.
I tell her I love her.
Because this is just another memory to add with this
old beat truck.
The same one I've been told that I should trade in.
But it means so much more than getting a new truck.
Mike Hauser Mar 2013
After dining at the finest of Maw and Paw restaurants
Frequented by men in trucks
Outside I slipped on the gravel drive
And as would be my luck

The LARGE cowboy belt I'm so proud of
Latched on and then got stuck
Now I'm off to see America
From the front grill of a Big Mac Truck

From the plains of Plano, Texas
To the hills of Hoboken Plantation, Tennessee
There's not to many places
That Big Mac Truck did not take me

To other motorists I was Mr. Friendly
With my arms flapping in the wind
They all would honk and wave and smile
As I smiled back with my bug filled grin

For weeks and weeks we went from coast to coast
Hollywood, California is where I made my mark
Someone happened to take my picture
Which made me an instant star

So I hooked my buckle to the front of a limo
As crowds started to recognize me
A Big Mac Truck would no longer do
When your a Big Time Celebrity

I was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
He interviewed me from a parking lot
The limo would not fit on the couch
Plus I can't get the buckle to unlock

Now when my limo pulls up to crosswalks
Pedestrians ask for my autograph
Before the light turns green and me and the bumper we  leave
I tell a few jokes and we share a few laughs

As life's fortunes would have it
I can't believe my luck
The day I tripped on that gravel drive
And fell into the grill of that Big Mac Truck
Lawrence Hall Jul 2019
Playin’ on the back porch, got an old dog
Chewed my toy car from the ten-cent store
Scared my dear momma with a green toad-frog
When she told my daddy I got my britches wore

(If you see a log truck you’ll have good luck)

Early get the cows up, early off to school
Running up the lane to catch the yaller bus
Paddled by the principal for actin’ like a fool
Hours in the classroom hearin’ Teacher fuss

(If you see a log truck you’ll have good luck)

Then in the afternoon to the locker room
With hardly any time for a ***** stop
Coach-Bubba’s rolling bassy voice of doom
Bellowing “I WANNA HEAR THE LEATHER POP!

(If you see a log truck you’ll have good luck)

Runnin’ the roads in an old-timey Ford
A fifth of Jack Daniels underneath the seat
Stupidly standin’ on the running board
Singin’ to the radio, O so sweet!

(If you see a log truck you’ll have good luck)

Runnin’ the roads on graduation night
Well, hello, great big world, and here I am
They say I got to get a job now, sure, that’s right
Say, buddy, what’s this place called Viet-Nam?

But

If you see a log truck
                                       you’ll have
                                                             good luck
Your ‘umble scrivener’s site is: Reactionarydrivel.blogspot.com

It’s not at all reactionary, tho’ it might be drivel.

Lawrence Hall’s vanity publications are available on amazon.com as Kindle and on bits of dead tree:  THE ROAD TO MAGDALENA, PALEO-HIPPIES AT WORK AND PLAY, LADY WITH A DEAD TURTLE, DON’T FORGET YOUR SHOES AND GRAPES, COFFEE AND A DEAD ALLIGATOR TO GO, and DISPATCHES FROM THE COLONIAL OFFICE.
Test Ting Won To Tree
By
Charles Fleischer







Rifleman decal water is to Tiny basket liners as Strained yo-yo string is to?
Dark wool glowing is to Oldest lost oddity as First genetic engine is to?
Black quail taint is to Nut curdled paint as Hemp biscuit dominoes are to?
Steam traced paper is to Lemon ash vapor as Digital ****** wig is to?
Eccentric brine mimes are to Electric silk slacks as Spark formed lava is to?
Sunchoked black hornets are to as Rescued orphan doves as Retold cat jokes are to?
Hand traced videos are to Braided rubber spines as Opal rain dancers are to?
Halogen anchor gong is to Annoying bread portraits as Soft bracelet lockers are to?
Old troll bios are to Select cherub echoes as Broken matchstick parasols are to?
Dome nine chariots are to Frayed lunar remnants as Fuming honey flasks are to?
Bluing assault operas is to Beading fluted flowers as Magnetic lawn tweezers are to?
Converted flea sponges are to Floating dog murals as Frozen Archie comics are to?
Molded road pads are to Crusty gumdrop thread as Straw ribbed pelicans are to?
Inflatable diamond vowel is to Single gender raffle as Groovy desert coffee is to?
Temporary solution radiation is to Idiotic witness mumble as Motorized marshmallow kit is to?
Panoramic utopian paranoia is to Aggravated **** silhouettes as Unhinged gun sellers are to?
Homesick ghost pajamas is to Virtuous fly fungus as Royal sandpaper gloves are to?
Gangster hayride tickets are to Deer milk Oreos as Turnip fairy maps are to?
Glue gun **** is to Nocturnal cabin mice as Cab fare corn is to?
Speckled fish nickels are to Under water bric-a-brac as Epic snakeskin paisley is to?
******* bungalow pranks are to Drowsy vapid oafs as Quantized cavern fish are to?
Raunchy snail kimono is to Coiled time dice as Smeared equator malt is to?
Metallic centaur franchise is to Transparent cheese chess as Spotted glacial remnants is to?
Sky fused pong is to Rustic mothers brattle as Granulated canister ointment is to?
Overgrown maze mule is to Mated smugglers hugging as Floating thesaurus exam is to?
Sliding coed sprinkler is to Soapy whitefish rebate as Precious lamb diaper is to?
Mushy acorn luster is to Lilac protein rings as Slapstick wrestler dialect is to?
Freaky plankton bells is to Rolling horse divorce as Morphing morphine lips are to?
Sticky razor sparkle is to Emerald muscle spasm as Glaring cat cipher is to?
Peppy unisex mustache is to Pelican fighter syndrome as Clumping night grumble is to?
Scanning paired pearls are to Ruby rubbed roaches as Satanic sailor flotsam  are to?
Glowing asteroid solder is to Ideal shark data as Failed frail doilies are to?
Numb nuts boredom is to Fantastic icy phantoms as Sporadic silk creations is to?
Crooks crow chow is to Loading spackled bonder as Gargled snowdrop blasters are to?
Outdid myself today is to Outside myself again as Outlived myself controls is to?
Venting shuttlecock upset is to Texting badminton kitten as Settler tested motels are to?
Prepare paired vents is to Prefer paid events as Pretender predicts fiction is to
Crunchy mental fender is to Catching mentor menace as Poorly seasoned lettuce is to?
Outside sidewalk inside is to Seaside outcast input as Sideways landslide victory is to?  
Compile fake password is to Compost world poo as Compose village anthem is to?
Crooked crotch blunder is to Loud crowd thunder as Divine vine finder is to?
Chucks’ wooden truck is to Bucks good luck as Sticky ducks tucked is to?  
Overhaul underway overseas is to Overturned downsized pickup as Underground onramp overloaded is to?
I’ll bite there is to Aisle byte their as Isle bight there is to?
Gnat gnawed wrist is to ***** show beans as See through putty is to?
Flapping floppy guppies are to Buzzing zipped dozers as Muddy ****** strippers are to?
Dark diagonal dialogue is to Diabolical dihedral die as Interesting circadian exposition is to?
Experimental flossing expectations are to Waxed dental traps as Permanent impermanence resolution is to?  
Outran ringside intrigue is to Sidetracked onboard boatload as Loaded firearm topside is to?
Phony ****** phone is to Chewy ego honey as Yogi Mama’s dada is to?
Nimble teardrop squiggle is to Humble cage curtains as Loyal truckstop morals are to?
Torching curled elastic is to Sonic neighbor clamor as Golden droplet integers are to?
Duplex pupil scanners are to Nacreous cloud clocks as Shrouded flute shops are to?
Lawn rocket tendrils are to Finding surreal borders as Sheep monarchs children is to?
Gloating ungloved squires are to Busting double doubters as Pushing woeful doctors are to?
Tricking snowbelt firedogs is to Panmixing blackened haywires as Unclothed shameful leaders are to?
Malicious ranch ritual is to Internal puppet bubble as Ornate underworld masquerade is to?
Rustic debonair Eskimos are to Mindless sassy elves as Gorgeous somber acrobats are to?
Learned earthy pimps are to Fearless sneaky Queens as Somber gentle vagrants are to?
Shocking horse wear is to Glossy sled fluid as Damaged chipmunk tongue is to?
Traditional agony chart is to Damp voodoo motel as Backwoods museum quote is to?
Magical cat cabin is to Dapper porpoise humor as Malicious graveyard foam is to?
Therapeutic gazelle cushion is to Stored alibi equipment as Stunning tempo light is to?
Fantastic rascal art is to Wasted prune dust as Jupiter’s ****** law is to?
Little nut razor is to Gigantic hyena shield as Hourglass pillow fever is to?
Coiled rain clouds are to Dizzy tycoon clowns as Lime eating cowards are to?
Possessive epicurean demonstrators are to Faded eavesdropping giants as Determined swanky drunks are to?
Aquatic preview pocket is to Soggy judicial topiary as Finicky hamster fabric is to?
Enlarged fruit cuff is to Obedient mumbling orchestra as Dark tenant tariff is to?
Recycled flash thermometer is to Botched temptation probe as Pet glider grid is to?
Seriously shy idols are to Costly driving perfumes as Ferryboat chapel wine is to?
Winged jalopy details are to Faithful spectral fathers as Sprinkled mint rainbows are to?
Spelling unneeded words is to Sprouting donut ***** as Blaming mellow mallrats are to?
Eroding loom keepsake is to Magnificent accordion canoe as ***** bongo fumes are to?
Souring violet ink is to Juvenile insult park as Periodic ferret envy is to?
Obedient boyfriend aroma is to Sanitized fat lozenges as Dramatic jailer garb is to?
Mysterious patrol group is to Dynamic maiden discharge as Captured hurricane ratio is to?
Lackadaisical bigot bingo is to Oblong care merchant as Expensive swamp shampoo is to?
Petite orifice worship is to Atomic barge pet as Plucked hair exhibit is to?
Elite officer wallop is to Automatic yard rake as Healing ****** glitter is to?
Needless swan costume is to Giant jungle goat as Organic picnic napkin is to?
Leaky jet steam is to Innovative fascist whistle as Enchanting idol evidence is to?
Plastic mascara seduction is to Greasy thermal ointment as Attractive muskrat crease is to?
Lucky camel pills are to White coral Torah as Eternal stage clutter is to?
Roasted oat **** is to Sloppy *** glue as Nylon table debt is to?
Steep nook catastrophe is to Empty dome damage as Pulsing breeze powder is to?
Empty sack power is to Hitched buck stroke as Red claw warning is to?
Ultra brief slogan is to Yummy lab mutant as Pathetic ball armor is to?
Nauseating fish splatter is to Obstinate ****** twitch as Strained ***** coffee is to?
Mezzanine intermission fossil is to Proven **** apathy as Golden duck shroud is to?
Civil tutors torment is to Thor’s posted theory as Yellow melon rain is to?
Immense olive raft is to Exploding kangaroo buffet as Ethereal witness index is to?  
Marching dark speeders are to Searing scribble fighters as **** tripping sinners are to?
Seeping viral angst is to Aged hermit tea as Murky bowl nibble is to?
Condensed blister guzzle is to Pink dorsal pie as Lavish speckled runt is to?
Needy insult poet is to Sedated acorn trader as Dry honey zoo is to?
Veiled trust flicker is to Deranged poser fashion as Flat sizzle tangent is to?
Purified diet spray is to Nebulous wishing target as Thrilling screen dope is to?
Majestic ribbon astronomy is to Bizarre formation sector as Rebel bell gimmick is to?
Sealed dart whisper is to Green silk draft as Cold vacuum varnish is to?
Clumsy raven power is to Insect island circus as Minted mink drapes are to?
Curved map ruler is to Tiny lethal radio as Blue fused metal is to?
Inverted laser invasion is to Damp sheep dump as Puffy gown smoke is to?
Saucy Channel blazer is to Leather goat filament as Starched locomotive hat is to?
Broken jumper leads are to Disgraced mini exorcists as Designer shamrock caulk is to?
Tweaked poachers smokes are to Assorted sulfur pathways as Collected bedlamp trickle is to?
******* bungalow pranks are to Drowsy vapid oafs as Quantized cavern fish are to?
Crawling battle worms are to Vibrating metal pedals as Mentholated matrix wax is to?
Missing meshed rafts are to Liquid rock pipes as Crinkled bean bikinis are to?
Tithing **** joggers are to Perforated buck fronds as Leather zither picks are to?
Fearing truthful cowards is to Rambling preachers mumble as Gazebo ambulance gasoline is to?
Shelving elder’s whiskers is to Poaching goalies pesto as Radical tricycle angst is to?
Mucky gunboat polymer is to Primeval maypole flameout as Cathedral greenhouse intercom is to?
Diaphanous safety prize is to Unleashed saucer lion as Dorky blonde ropewalker is to?
Tapered spring meter is to Silver silo mythology as Misguided judges medallions are to?
Alligator x-ray money is to Cherry unicorn water as Coyote cactus toy is to?
Cowardly dorm scrooge is to Atomized pewter script as Flattened spore smoothies are to?
Trash can yodel is to Flashing wired spam as Exploding chocolate pudding is to?
Sonar blasted bushings are to Threading ruined wheels as Forty shifting boxes are to?
Tiny balloon rebellion is to Softened square cleanser as Iconic soul sucker is to?
Harmony night light is to Spanish nitrogen desire as Squirrel cavern iodine is to?

Lazy winter secret is to Slow airport widget as Silly mustard binder is to?
Elephants raising raisins are to Microscopic lamb planet as Purple hay puppets are to?
Caribou venom vaccine is to Electronic lemonade choir as Demonic princess massage is to?
Beet coated bridge is to Fattened needle point as Mylar monkey spine is to?
Ashy ink dust is to Youngest rabbi planet as Orange cartoon geometry is to?
Cold green chalk is to Cobalt ladder farce as ***** river filters are to?
Sublime sheep master is to Sleeping past rapture as Subliminal bliss jelly is to?
Ocean crust slippers are to Twigged germ radar as Popping sharpie scope is to?
Zen wrapped beep is to Oak foamed code as Wicked flashing sizzle is to?
Dew eyed sleigh is to Say I do as Act as me is to?
Humpback on hammock is to Ham hocking hummer as Hunchback with knapsack is to?
Corned flag jelly is to Draped wing chewers as Tripping swan acid is to?
Futuristic Rembrandt chant is to Almond likened meadows as Asian timber blue is to?
Nap in sack is to Flap on Jack as Ducks dig crack is to?
Flowing flavored lava is to Gleaming optic layers as Enhanced goose gibberish is to?      
Flag tied pajamas are to Saline checker choir as Speed reading quotas is to?
Whipped spam spasms are to Misted shaman scripture as Testing pitched bells is to?
Cave aged eggs are to Crowded tiger cages as ****** wagon pegs are to?
Pigeon towed car is to a Man toad art as Wolf whisker wish is to?
Second hand clothes are to Minute hand gestures as Final hour prayer is to?
Slick wicked shavers are to Tricky watch boxes as Sprouting pine tattoos are to?
Waxed stick ravens are to Match stick foxes as Narrowed thermal towers are to?
Ice cave rice is to Laced face lice as Gourmet pet **** is to?
Diamond lane anniversary is to Space age appropriate as Time travel agency is to?
Lime bark violin is to Lemon twig guitar as Lunar sky waffles are to?
Fake rat **** is to Smart cake batter as Rugged fur tax is to?
Tarred raft fluff is to Flaked rafter dust as Lined liquor flask is to?
Flakes will fall is to Take Bills call as Broken maze compass is to?
First faked voter is to Entombed cartoon honey as Smallest aching smurf is to?
Fancy bared ******* are to Flaky fairy treats as Kings amp filter is to?
Bone window folio is to Whittled fake pillow as Little fitted jackets are to?
Nine nuts brittle is to Ate pear pie as Six packed poppers are to?
Incandescent playground pencil is to Elastic hand worm as Perfumed piano ink is to?
Opal shifting anode is to a Windup lion decoy as Pale paisley trolley is to?
Stacked black boxes are to Old packed tracks as a Throwing micron hammers is to?
Apricot bark furnace is to Merry Orchid Choir as an Ivory rinsing funnel is to?  
Narcotic honey nuts are to Slick flag toffees as Silk fig sugar is to?
Orange coin raisins are to Low note candies as Smelling balled roses is to?
Pocket packed monotints are to Tragic ladder hayracks as Ravishing speed traders are to?
Crayon spider resin is to Coral squirrel forceps as Wolf tumbled loaf is to?  
Silver wheat flies are to Width shifting wheels as Golden blister blankets are to?
Really tiny hippopotamus is to Masked fat podiatrist as a Sad sack psychiatrist is to?
Miniature Mesopotamian monuments are to Apple minted elephants as Raising wise ravens is to?
Lathered nymph nacre is to Sonic ion constellations as Concealed iron craft is to?  
Epic gene toy is to Ladies bubble sled as Jagged data bowl is to?
Bugged dagger bag is to Pop sliced meld as Atom bending moonlight to?  
Rural madam’s deed is to Dyed dew dipper as Eight sprayed dukes are to?
Jiffy grand puffer is to Floating altar myth as Vintage dark mirth is to?
Undercover overnight underwear is to Overpaid undertaker overdosing as Overheard understudy freebasing is to?

Black grape crackle is to Red cactus ruffle as Installing padded pets are to?
Snide snobs sniffing are to Sneaky snails snoring as Snared snipes sneezing are to?
Exploring explosive exits is to Explaining expansive exports as Expecting expert exchange is to?
Shrewd logic ledger is to Puppets dropping cupcakes as Placated topaz octopi are to?
Door roof tools are to Cool wool boots as Wood cooked root is to?
Bright fight light is to Night flight fright as Mites bite site is to?
Floor flood fluid is to Wooden door Druid as Nasty **** broom is to?
Accurate police photography is to Intelligent microbe geography as Condensed aerosol biography is to?
Cowardly cowboy grime is to Corpulent corporate crime as Bosnian dwarf necromancer is to?
Jell-O clearing shaker is to Brillo cleaning shiner as Cheerios bowling shields are to?
Mumbled mindless hokey is to Fumbled found money as Humming kinder bunny is to?
Daisy’s clock setter is to Lilly’s boxer toxin as Poodles rose paddle is to?
Watch Bozo Copernicus is to Hire Clarabelle Newton as Find ***-wee Einstein is to?
Amethyst thistle whistles is to Lapis pistol whip as Diamond bomb scar is to?
Dandelion seahorse rescue is to Crabapple dogwood farm as Faux foxglove lover is to?    
Optical poppy stopper is to Polar halo lens as Day-Glo rainbow sticker is to?
Savanna leopard spotted is to Eskimo lassos kisses as Alligator lemonade standard is to?
Bill of Rights is to Will of left as Thrill of night is to?
Baptize floozies quickly is to Useless outsized nozzles as Puzzled wizard wanders is to?        
Chaps wearing chaps are to Chaps contesting contests as Consoling concealed consoles is to?
Quiet squirming squirrels are to Aeon beauty queens as Queasy greasy luaus is to?
Knew new gnu is to Sense scents cents as We’ll wheal wheel is to?
Blazing zingers ringing are to Wheezing singers flinging as Freezing finger number are to?
Lamb tomb jogger is to Dumb numb **** as Thumbed crumb bug is to?

Blue accordion casket is to Jaded scholar ***** as German mushroom circus is to?
President George Flintstone is to Funny Fred Washington as Abraham Jetson’s dog is to?
Google Desmond Tutu is to Kalamazoo Zoo Park as Zodiac actors Guru is to?
Swamp cradled whisperer is to Cherished drawbridge cello as Bludgeoned prankster outlaws are to?
Dukes pink mittens are to Smeared nest carava
Alyssa Beddoe Aug 2012
Big Red Truck  
When I was young, a child still
My dad worked in the fields
Of our farm.  He toiled
Away with his workers all day
Harvesting sod. It all would load
Onto the big red truck.

On Wednesdays at church he would
Drive the big red church straight
From the fields.  I always begged
Him to let me ride home with him,
And he would smile and give in.

The big diesel engine would rev up
And I would bounce on my oversized
Seat. The smell of the diesel exhaust,
And the sound of the truck was
Haven to me.
Larry B Apr 2010
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
I'm sure you remember that song
Well that was my grandma who was hit
And again, they got part of it wrong

See, she really was run over by reindeer
But it was nothing like they said
Those deer were driving a milk truck
That left my poor grandma nearly dead

My poor grandma just got done milking
And was putting the cows back in the field
When eight drunk reindeer in a milk truck
Crashed thru the fence and didn't yield

They just kept on going thru the barn yard
Straight thru the creek and down the hill
Grandma looked like a bug on a windshield
With pieces of her wig on that milk truck's grill

Now poor grandma never seen it coming
Cause she was looking the other way
We even found that poor womans glasses
Stuck on a scarecrow near the hay

Well, now my grandma had not been drinking
Like that song had claimed she was
But somehow they try to make it funny
Seems like those city folk always does

Well, that's about as much as I can tell you
Because the lawsuit is still pending
Those reindeer got some north pole lawyer
And we heard he's pretty good at defending

So beware of reindeer driving milktrucks
For they mean to cause your grandma harm
And don't forget try to remind your grandmas
To look both ways when she leaves the barn
preservationman Sep 2016
Romance on the road
Watch as the story unfolds
Truck Driver Mike has a wife at home
But he is constantly on the road, so there is always a possibility of roam
It was on Interstate 95 Truck stop called “Resting Easy”
Truck driving Mike met Susan, but known on the highway as Cruisin Sue
It was love at the rest pit
There are all kinds of words that would fit
Yet Mike and Susan became a couple that was it
At one point, they were driving traveling together
Mike and Susan were inacceptable like no other
They were even known on the road
The blinking truck headlights were always a signal of behold
Meanwhile, Mike’s wife often wondered if there was something going on with Mike
Mike’s wife name being Jennifer often felt uptight
Then later, there was suspicion with evidence being a clue
Jennifer was determined she had a divorce papers that need to pursue
When Mike came back from traveling on the road, he did confess
Yet Mike’s wife could care less
Jennifer decided she was ready to move on
She was going to let Mike continue trucking along
Jennifer felt a new beginning is where she belonged
Cruisin Sue and Mike finally got married
How long did the marriage last, I won’t tell
I will just let your heart swell
Keep on truckin with on the road again.
Hot
she was hot, she was so hot
I didn't want anybody else to have her,
and if I didn't get home on time
she'd be gone, and I couldn't bear that-
I'd go mad. . .
it was foolish I know, childish,
but I was caught in it, I was caught.
I delivered all the mail
and then Henderson put me on the night pickup run
in an old army truck,
the **** thing began to heat halfway through the run
and the night went on
me thinking about my hot Miriam
and jumping in and out of the truck
filling mailsacks
the engine continuing to heat up
the temperature needle was at the top
HOT HOT
like Miriam.
leaped in and out
3 more pickups and into the station
I'd be, my car
waiting to get me to Miriam who sat on my blue couch
with scotch on the rocks
crossing her legs and swinging her ankles
like she did,
2 more stops. . .
the truck stalled at a traffic light, it was hell
kicking it over
again. . .
I had to be home by 8,8 was the deadline for Miriam.
I made the last pickup and the truck stalled at a signal
1/2 block from the station. . .
it wouldn't start, it couldn't start. . .
I locked the doors, pulled the key and ran down to the
station. . .
I threw the keys down. . .signed out. . .
your ******* truck is stalled at the signal,
I shouted,
Pico and Western. . .
. . .I ran down the hall,put the key into the door,
opened it. . .her drinking glass was there, and a note:

  sun of a *****:
  I waited until 5 after ate
  you don't love me
  you sun of a *****
  somebody will love me
  I been wateing all day
  
  Miriam

I poured a drink and let the water run into the tub
there were 5,000 bars in town
and I'd make 25 of them
looking for Miriam
her purple teddy bear held the note
as he leaned against a pillow
I gave the bear a drink, myself a drink
and got into the hot
water.
Keith J Collard Dec 2012
I still have flashbacks, horrifying and spectral: of conference meetings, projectors and efficiency meetings...corporate metrics, acronymic value cards that read like a Masonic Temple's pledge.. ...honesty, commitment, sacrifice, the dutiful worship of mercury and saltpeter; also customer satisfaction.
           Those flashbacks frequent my mind alot--especially when I am ramming my co-workers into the trash compactor with the blades of the fork truck. They say " ooooh" and " ahhhhh" as if they are getting a massage. They dull my blades with their dull heads.
          I have to ram them with the blades of the fork-trucks, or they will scramble out. They still say things like, " make sure that has a tag,".....and " wear your safety goggles," making chills run down my spine. I haven't put all the workers from the " Do-Wee depot" in the compactor only corporate cadavers and not zombies.
          But I have to forewarn, the zombies are not a threat, it is a few cadavers and the "consumers" that pose a threat to me and what I have built. The zombies are producers, even only if it is moans and putrefaction, but they are good sports, and my only friends.
         Some co-workers, who I was friends with before, I have spared from the compactor--owing mostly to that the part of their brain that was corporate, either fell out on the floor, or was gnawed on by a fellow zombie rendering them good sports and not cadavers.
        I use the building material section to chain them to their previous aisles. Jose, was my best friend, he was shaped like a slug, with a huge lower lip, and slicked back greasy hair, he always cheered me up, how busy it was and how slow he remained. Him and I worked together in the ' outside-lawn-and-garden' section. Even his zombie self has kept his lisp.
          I chain him to the outside lawn and garden section, where he likes to water the flowers. He lunges at me sometimes, but the chain is thick, and Jose is still a cool zombie.
Angry Joe is out there too. He is chained to the 'reach' truck. He is always mumbling about overtime.....or " Im not staying late."
         I have disabled the riding engine, so he just stands on it and runs the fork blades all the way up then all the way down, beeping the horn the whole while. He is the only one I kept, that has some vestige of corporacy in his brain, for the reason that he watches the back gate. The consumers are constantly probing this outside metal fence gate, and Joe has eaten all of them. Don't get me wrong, Joe can be a good sport, when he is not drooling about 'overtime' or ' I havn't took a lunch yet.' He can be quite funny.
          He banters with Ryan from inside 'lawn-and-garden' all the time. Ryan is alot younger, alittle younger than me. He has a mullet(what I call a mullet and he say's a hockey cut) and verily is--before he become a zombie-- the laziest person ever, and now that he is a zombie, well let's just say, I don't have to chain him anywhere, I know where to find him.....at the back gate smoking a ciqerette backwards with his mullet on fire or in the break room. He had the most squeeky voice when he was a human, but now odd fully enough, he sounds like Tom Jones.
         " You ate my cosumer Ryan," drools Angry Joe, " No I didn't Joe, you ate your own consumer," Ryan rejoins in his acapella voice ( I like hearing Ryan's deep zombie voice).
There are others, in the various departments of the Do-Wee Store, but this journal is to relate the first most pressing concern, two cadavers have escaped the compactor.
             The store manager Joyce and her minion(the assistant manager Damien) have escaped. They were ******* humans, and remained so in corporate cadaver form. They hide from me, as I plow through the aisles with the inside forklift. I have used wire from the fencing aisle to reinforce my forklifts. Sometimes a cadaver co-worker will jump out with a price gun, drooling " where is your spootterrrr...."( a safety regulation in the store).....I run them over with great gladness, but then wishing I heeded their advice of safety glasses."Splat."
            I have my theories, on how everyone turned to zombies. It started with over-ocurring routine, which my a.d.d could have been impervious to. But I couldn't have been the only one in the store with a.d.d? But that seems the case. The first day when I showed up to ' outside-lawn-and-garden' it took me six hours before I noticed everyone was zombies. I didn't notice they were zombies until I noticed them in good spirits.
               But the first day of the zombies, was concurrent with the rise of the consumers--ever more dangerous, greedy, and audacious are the consumers. They consume everything in their path, they consume good conversation, good manners, and replace with their mark, which is this....your life with the current moment is to be sacrificed to get them what they need to continue resuming their lives. They do not enjoy shopping, but enjoy holding you in place, consuming you and your values into their value, which has no value at all, since their mind has consigned the present moment that has you and not them, to a number that always has too much value, and they will bring you and it down while you are subject to time and they are not.  
             They turned my friends into prisoners of arbitrary time; and like putting a rabbit in a dank dark basement, with plenty of food and treats and space, it will slowly get diarrhea and die.  Everyday I marked the sunrise, and I would always pay thanks to it, no matter if I was on break or not.  The nine hour day could not ruin me, but my friends being ruined, that started to ruin me.
                       And that is what I believed started all this, nature has no room for two kingdoms of Consumers. So the producers(zombies) were created from the routine of being divested of life, and from nothing they came to produce: producing gases, vile ****** smiles, human  cannibalism, hearty conversation, practical jokes, moaning questions to the infinite sky.... they were created human again, given value, and most of all, I have my friends back, and they are happy again. But, the corporate cadavers that escaped the compactor , put my creation in risk, they look to let in the consumers again, they are up to something...
             But presently with the corporate cadavers gone, and the consumers held at bay, I have my Depot of Eden, I can grow anything, make anything, and soon will be able to ferment everything, especially fuel.   Now monday morning conferences that threaten you to pick it up because there are alot of people out there that want your job( iterated by the frizzy headed gangly Joyce) are replaced with 'zombie dance parties'.  
            " Zombies, what is the first rule of zombie dance party," they reply to me, " dohmp talk bout damp party," then we make a music video.  I let loose a couple of cat's in the break room, and presto, an agile cat make's flesh eating zombies look like Micheal Jackson.  Even I get busy with them, I feel so comfortable with them; dancing to Juvenile "back that *** up,".the best dancer gets to eat the cat...sure beat's listening Joyce's depressing morning pep talks about quotas while I am watching a bird outside the front glass trying to eat a dragonfly, " Keith you paying attention."  I just want to say, " No I am not you frizzy headed gangly walking skeleton key(she is skinnier than the gang of keys jingling on her belt)."    I will find her and put a roofing nail in her temple and her plans.
                The sound of zombies walking in here is music to my ears, like gypsys walking barefoot on a strawberry patch.  I don't know what that has to do with anything, but I like it, and don't care who knows.

            I fortified the outside of the store with everything within the store. I grew a garden, with all the fertilizers, and acids and alkilines of outside garden. I also use the garden chemicals to sprinkle on the brains of my co-worker zombies to change their acidity(almost like a hyrdrangea shrub). The purpose to get them somewhat coherent to play poker and darts in the breakroom. I figured out how to make explosives, with the nitrogen fertilizer and pool cleaning acid, well actually HeyZues did, he always eats both, and one day he moaned really loud  " BLOOOONDEEE " ( his nickname for me from The Good The Bad And The Ugly) and  gestured his expanding stomach, he blew up and gave me my first wound, he destroyed my dart board.   I took his head and posted it on the back loading dock, I know there are consumers trying to infiltrate when he sounds off with " BLOOONDEEEE..."  resounding through the whole store (almost like when he was a human).   I created another dartboard, I can create anything here, sometimes I think, that feeling is what........
                But the point of this journal is the two who escaped the trash compactor, Joyce and Damien. They haunted me before and haunt me still. When I leave to venture outside for gasoline for the generators(the only thing I need, not for long hopefully) they run amok. I will see new ' sale signs' in zombie penmanship, and I can see that they have hidden co-workers to have cadaver meetings, where they talk about ' customer satisfaction.'  I can sometimes hear keys jangle, it has to be Joyce, for the sound is to the cadence of her John Wayne walk, like she has been on horseback her whole life.
            Outside is very dangerous. There are many consumers out there.
                 I was outisde in the parking lot, where consumers still wallow around when a consumer asked "which product is better." I had to drop a cinder block pallet on him with the forklift; they are more adacious then my zombie co-workers. Even after a pallet of concrete is forklifted on them, they wave fliers with sale advertisments from underneath.
            Well, this particular trip, I returned inside and was startled by the loudspeaker, it was Damien's voice, the same as before, paging the hardware department. I jumped on the fast slim forklift to hunt for him. There are phone terminals everywhere, and he could be in the upper level offices. I saw Joyce's shape through the window once.
          They are up to something.
Everytime I ventured outside, the store became altered. I even saw a consumer waiting in line with the cashier machine now on. I sent the consumer to Angry Joe, who was due for a lunch break.
          There is a gap in my wire somewhere, I know it.
            I was at the gas station, getting propane and gas, when a consumer was scowling " where is the gas attendant, is everyone stupid or what?" while he was trying to figure out how to pump gas. I disabled the safety pumps, they do not shut off, and do not coincide with numbers, you hold the handle it pumps out as much as you need.
              He was pacing around like a little kid denied recess and suffering from sounds of frolic and kickball--dragging his feet due to the fact he had to pump his own gas, I heard a scraping metallic clicking noise. My eyes were caught by a bright glare on his shoe tread, I gripped my nail gun..... then he dropped the hose and walked back to his car with gasoline gushing as his wake. I saw what it was on his tread, I had no time to flee....it was a push button grill ignitor with the orange tint of a " Do-Wee" label on it......" ****."
              The last thing I registered was the consumer saying " ahhh don't touch me," apparently talking to flames. I woke up in a ditch, the big fork truck and my gas station destroyed.
I limped back to the " Do-Wee" store, and utter horror greeted my singed and surprised eyebrows.
              " Grand Re-Opening, 50% off everything." I squeezed the trigger of the nail gun, the nail harmlessly echoed off the parking pavement at which it was aimed. "They set me up at the gas station. "
               They had to do better than that to separate me from my zombies.

             I entered through the store in a nun-plussed state. I woke out of my unbelieving stupor with the sound of Jose's voice. " Welcome to Doooooo-Weeee....can I eat your...."
            "Jose it's me, who chained you to the entrance?"
         " Dammian, Keeeeeth, they are waiiiting....here's a newsletter...." --he smacked me across the face with the newsletter.
        " I don't want that ****.....' as I clutched the newspaper the loudspeaker went off in Dammians annoyingly over-polite and late-night-voice.
       " Attention shoooppers. all prices are feeeefty percent off, ask our associate Keeeeeth for a 80% discount, he is the skinny deleeecious looking kid with spicy skin, and a boston red sox hat on."
Hundreds of consumers pivoted their heads to my direction. " Hey, that kid has a Boston Yankees hat on."
         " Run Keeeth," zombie-lisped Jose.
           Fifty million imbecilic questions assailed me at once......" can I return this sprinkler for a jacuzzi.....can I get 120% off.....can you come to my house and fix my television for free"-- it was unabashed audacity, survial of the most annoying and repetitious; and the corporate cadavers have let this consuming flood in on me and my poor zombies.
           I needed to find my steed, my inside forklift. It was not where I left it near the entrance.            
        Surely they have sabotaged it. " the riding mowers," the thought uplifted my fading resolve. I darted past wallowing consumers before they could get my scent. I heard a consumer, " you obviously don't know what Im talking about," talking to zombie George, who was munching roofing nails.
         The consumer grabbed me, and said "here he is, this is Keith, he is wearing a Phoenix red sox cap"--panic bit into my brain, this consumers grip was implaccable. The grip that holds the steering wheel tightly driving nowhere fast, with anything in that interstice of commuting, not worthy of manners and the least of which being a friendly wave to 'go ahead.'
           They formed a wall of uttering stupidity, escape was cut off. They scratched at me, hissed, tore at my flesh and screamed demonistically in my ears. I caved and and called the hoard m'am and sir, they choked me, and loosened their grip only so I could tell them " Im sorry, sorry for your inconvenience, take my life and personality as tribute, take my imagination rendered prostrate by these sceptic corporate words that this mouth emits, betraying my personal form, the human element to this lifeless purposeless machine....destroy me, for finding the infinity between letters of corporate law and none between nature's laws......"
        I was almost unconscious, giving a speech to imagined hooded phantoms......" destroy me, for valuing friendship and imagination, and seeing infinity, in the shadow of a letter, eternity in the numeral of a number, and for defying the order to see things as others do....."...." destroy me, for seeing that people are unhappy and trying to uplift people for the sake of seeing them smile....destroy me, destroy my smirk, and add a lifeless smile to my corpse."
              I heard a horn, the riding floor mopper/buffer, it was Ryan, he commandeered the machine with precision-like drunkenness. He knocked down the consumers like twenty pin bowling. " What's up ***** cat," he possibly said, and I climbed to my feet.
         I walked to the riding mowers, and turned the key on the floor model. I sped the main aisle, with caresses of consumers that would be deep clawings at a slower speed. I dodged stupid question, and swerved from unabashed frugality. I turned up the tool aisle, grabbed a battery nail gun.
              " It says batteries are included, but are they included?" I answered with a 12 gauge nail, and resumed my course to the upper offices, that for too long looked down on me and my friends. I climbed the stairs and entered. The office was abuzz in corporate banalities. " Hello, this is Damian how may I help you.....oh helloooooo keeeeeth, one minute.......sir hold one second thaaaanx."
                I aimed the nail gun muzzle at his ugly overly polite mug." I finally found you, I will get the store back in shape Damian...."
          He cut me off, " no yoou woonn't, they are pouring in, we will meet our quota for the year...."
        " Me and my friends
Daniel Commini Jan 2016
There once was a time
Where you could drive
Over anything
At anytime

Then stood 5 guys
With their trucks
And all they had to do
Was run over the most bucks

As the race started
All the trucks farted.
Then they drove
Right into the grove
Yelling "Hillbilly Killtime!"

It was all wierd
Yet crazy fun
Until a guy drove
Right into dung

And there he was
A sitting duck
Stuck in his truck
With nothin but some beer

So while he sat
In his truck
That was stuck.
He drunk his beer
While he can watch and hear
His brother chasing a deer,
Eventually doin a cartwheel.
But then his truck
Did a twirlie
So he died
Without a feeling

The guy in his truck
Watched his brother die,
Then,
Without a deer
He took another sip of beer!

Then he watched his friend Liger
Getting chased by a tiger
Eventually getting eaten.

Then came Steven,
The quiet one,
Who died quickly
By a lion

Then there was Bill
Who just got killed
By blowin up his truck
Doin a dunk

Last came Jerry,
As light as a fairy,
Who got his **** kicked and killed
By a deer named Berry.

Back to the guy
Stuck in his truck.
He just found out
What saved his buck.
It was the thing that got him stuck.

Who could think
A piece of stink
Just saved your ****?

Then he found out
That his truck
Didn't get stuck
On a piece of crap.
He actually landed
On the railroad tracks!

He heard the choo-choo
And knew he was *******.
The beer was gone,
So that left one thing to do.
So then he pulled out
A MOUNTAIN DEW!

Then he died.
first step

when he looks at a woman he searches for qualities that attract him because he wants to desire her yet this tendency creates an imbalance or disadvantage he is rendered weak to a woman’s beauty or whatever traits he idealizes self-realizing this propensity he looks away from women years of disappointment neglect change him he becomes afraid of women gynophobic

2

when she looks at a man she searches for qualities she is critical of because she wants to be impervious to his power she is suspicious of all men their upper body strength penchant to be in control misperception of women as property misogyny emotional immaturity neediness to be mommyed selfishness insensitivity or over-sensitivity depending she wants to be treated with equal respect a loving nurturing relationship she is suspicious of all people their alternate realities passive aggressive behavior co-dependence craziness

3

he sees her then looks away she suspiciously notices nothing happens they go back to their separate homes alone always home alone grown calm in resignation yet disbelieving of this destiny saddened by this fate both worry about future she looks at her face naked body in mirror her stomach churns feels sad sickening remembers time when she was more carefree he puts one foot in front of other then walks tries to remember who taught him to walk how many times did he fall who taught him to laugh where did his sense of humor go

4

he sees her thinks she is lovely resists the urge to turn away he smiles says hello she notices nervously smiles her shaky voice articulates louder than a whisper hi

Tucson 2-step

they are standing in line at a café on 4th avenue he is directly behind her she is lanky wearing white background faded colors patterned summer dress thin straps over bare shoulders long brown hair few gray strands small unfinished tattoo on left calf leather slip-ons 1 inch heals he is at a complete loss for words thinks to make remark about the weather decides not to overhead fan stirs hot humid July air barista girl asks what she would like her eyes scan blackboard menu behind counter she hesitates remarks help him i need an extra moment to decide he steps up to counter money in hand orders small to go Arnold Palmer half black current lays $3 on counter mentions change goes in tip jar thank you barista girl moves fast he lifts cup from counter glances at woman still deciding then at barista girl says have a wonderful day turns walks out door dawns on him woman grows hair under her arms his 2nd most compelling female physique adornment fetish oh god he thinks to himself should i wait for her to make up her mind then approach try to craft conversation at least find out her name no i’m too weak in this moment she is so lovely let her go

2

she orders double Americana in small cup to go room for soy milk thinks to herself he did greet her perhaps their paths will cross on street why did he run off so fast she glances toward front of café notices window seat changes her mind instructs barista ******* 2nd thought make it for here digs through purse realizes she left wallet in truck explains to barista girl she needs to run out to her vehicle to retrieve wallet forgotten under front seat the air on the street is heavy dense she smells her own perspiration looks north then south does not see him walks to truck feels exhausted appetiteless almost nauseous wishes she did not order a drink thinks to get behind wheel drive home go to sleep

Tucson 3-step tango

she feels disappointment by her recent writings as if she is reaching a more sophisticated audience and setting a higher standard for her work yet she is not living up to her ambitions her recent writings smell of her past writings too emotional the damaged woman wounded child she wants to write more introspectively with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence she slams her laptop shut decides to go to Club Congress for a ****** mary or margarita but Club Congress is haunted with small town cretins losers wannabes she considers Maynard’s decides Maynard’s is too safe suburban yuppyish finally gives in to thought of glass of pinot noir at Plush next comes what to wear jeans in mid-July desert heat is unacceptable perhaps loose fitting thin cotton white summer dress thin leather belt ankle high indian moccasins hair in ponytail no pigtail braids no ponytail no makeup maybe little ylang ylang oil no she thinks about her recent writings

2

i am one breath away from crying in every moment one breath away from flying m.i.a. in every moment one breath away from destroying everything there is beauty in ugliness beauty in decrepitude disease beauty in harm hurt suffering beauty in greed injustice betrayal beauty in corruption contamination pollution beauty in hate cruelty ignorance beauty in death we spend our whole lives searching for a good death we spend our whole lives searching for eternal love this modern world is too much for me over my head the horrors of this place are beyond words unspeakable voice inside maybe mom yells quit your whining or dad hollers stop complaining i am trying to smile through tears one breath away from giving in one breath away from becoming stranger to myself winter spring winter spring there is beauty in nothingness we spend our whole lives searching for ourselves learning who we are not finding grasping secrets from dark paths light trails winter spring winter spring i am one breath away

3

she sits alone at bar at Plush glass of pinot noir glass of ice water in front of her 2 bearded older men eye her from other end of bar she ignores them glances at her wristwatch tries to look like she is waiting for someone music from speakers antiquated rock standard it is early friday hours from dusk moderate middle aged crowd mingle wait for local jazz trio to begin she thinks about her recent writings wonders is it too late for love considers lesbian affair from 5 different perspectives 5 woman’s voices each describing same lesbian affair in 5 opposing accounts hmmm she sips dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water she considers a story about a gang of female bikers who ride south to Mexico

4

the Americans came through here last night crossing border illegally climbing over our fences digging tunnels beneath our barrier walls littering along their trail they travel in packs of every skin color carry guns knives explosives wear leather boots some are shirtless tattoos dyed hair mischievously smiling conceitedly stealing when in question murdering they rob our homes slaughter our chickens ransack gardens loot our harvest you can still smell the stink of their fast food breaths

5

she swallows the last dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water local jazz trio begins to play as bar fills with more people she decides to walk home one foot in front of other wonders who taught her how to walk how many times did she fall she laughs to herself

Tucson square dance

TPD 10-18 unconfirmed data report

7 post-University of Arizona female graduates go to Cactus Moon for several drinks and dancing then drive to Bashful Bandit for more drinks and dancing 2 women get into scuffle victim Brittany Garner female 23 years of age race #5 (Native American, Eskimo, Middle -Eastern, Other) 5’ 2” long black hair cut-off blue jean shorts clingy light blue top falls hits head on side of bar dies of fatal blow to skull forensics report crushed occipital lobe assailant Stacy Won female 31 years of age race #4 (Asian) 5’6” black jeans black leather jacket red helmet Honda motorcycle still at large

witness accounts

Jess Delaney female 33 years of age race #2 (White) 6’ tight black pencil skirt white sleeveless undershirt no bra 3” heels blond ponytail “that squirting little **** deserves everything she got she lied told Stacy i’m a ***** i never cheated on Brittany i don’t understand we were all having a good time getting buzzed and dancing we should never have left Cactus Moon **** Kerrie thought some biker dude might be hanging around the Bandit hell maybe the Bandit was a biker bar once but now it’s just a college sink hole full of drunken frat boys when Monique flashed a little *** they went crazy cheering and buying us shots it just got out of hand never should have happened the way it happened Stacy didn’t mean to **** Brittany it’s ****** up i want to go home please let me go home”

Sabrina Starn female 29 years of age race #2 (White) 5’8” trendy corporate gray suit black pumps red shoulder length hair “i have to be at work at 8 AM Stacy was drunk out of control she gets crazy when she drinks Brittany was trash talking pushing all Stacy’s buttons then Stacy accused Brittany of sleeping with Monique and all hell broke loose i didn’t see what happened i was in the powder room it’s a terrible tragedy unfortunate accident can i please be released i need to sleep this is madness”

Kerrie Angeles female 27 years of age race #1 (Hispanic) 5’ 6” black pants white shirt black hair cut stylishly short silver crucifix around neck red fingernails “when we got to the Bashful Bandit i was ***** soaking between my legs thinking about a cowgirl at Cactus Moon ready to **** anyone i saw fantasized pulling a train with those frat boys Monique had been kind of quiet at Cactus Moon but when we got to the Bashful Bandit she lit up dancing wild unbuttoning her top jacket Sabrina went to the ladies room to snort coke with biker dude Kerrie wanted but he wasn’t into her then Brittany started saying crazy stuff accusing Stacy of stealing Monique from Jess Jessie goes through women heartlessly she doesn’t give a **** about Monique Jessie knows if she wants Monique back she can simply fiddle a finger my guess is Stacy is half way to Argentina she never meant to **** Brittany i’m going to miss her real bad she was a good kid”

Ann Skyler female 28 years of age race  #2 (White) 4’ 11’’ green white red Mexican peasant skirt black t-shirt black high-tops hair in messy bun “i’m confused i saw them dancing laughing grinding up against each other Rage Against the Machine came on then Nine Inch Nails the room felt quaking dizzy claustrophobic then they were pushing each other shoving yelling frat boys cheering the next thing i knew Brittany was supine on the floor blood pouring out maybe she just slipped hit her head i don’t know what to think i feel real sad confused sick to my stomach scared”

Monique Smithson female 24 years of age race # 3 (Black) 5’ 9” blue jeans jean jacket cowboy boots nose ring braided pigtails “Stacy had it in for Brittany from the start i saw it in her eyes at Cactus Moon she made several clever toxic remarks they snapped at each other i never thought it would escalate to ****** poor sweet Brittany was always so susceptible i was looking down adjusting my jeans over my boots when it happened i heard felt a big thump glanced up Brittany was lying there lifeless blood spilling everywhere Stacy ran out fast i heard her bike engine take off in a hurry”

Rodeo Drive Tucson

matt’s hats tom’s tools & tobacco lou’s liquors fred’s beds frank’s planks bill’s drills jane’s drains & panes chuck’s check cashing cheryl’s barrels hank’s tanks tina’s trucks & tractors walt’s asphalt sean’s pawn rick’s rifles mom’s guns terry’s tires charlie’s harleys rhonda’s hondas jim’s rims art’s parts gus’s gasoline mike’s bikes frank’s feed gwen’s pens ann’s cans nancy’s nursery joes‘s clothes jess’s dresses bert’s skirts steve’s sleeves paul’s shawls michelle’s shells & bells al’s pails & snails sam’s hams & jams patty’s pancakes phil’s chili don’s donuts betty’s spaghetti bob’s burgers alycia’s quiches jean’s beans jerry’s berries anna’s bananas andy’s candies cathy’s taffies tony’s ponies roy’s toys kim’s whims marty’s parties jill’s pills rick’s tricks alice’s palace debbie’s disposal dave’s graves

Quinta Waltz de Tucson

she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary efforts she dreams aches to create deeper discourse higher insight more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration instead she writes paperback television trash stupid inadequate answers to solemn questions she wonders if she is too scratched dented to find love her ******* are definitely changing she is deeply disturbed not ready for menopause too young for menopause she wants to remain a fertile woman with smooth skin wet ******

2

her neighbor Leslie awoke to horrible morning Leslie’s 6 chickens were assaulted overnight precious Mabel dragged off feathers everywhere trail down the street other hens cowering slumped together with wilted necks 3 of them with puncture wounds Leslie carried them one by one inside washed their wounds hugged them cried who did this terrible act a neglected abusive neighborhood cat or some desert predator why didn’t Leslie wake to sounds of savage marauding now this creature knows hen’s whereabouts when will it return for more massacre what modifications need to be enforced to ensure their coup before nightfall

3

she wants to remain a hen keep producing eggs does not want is not ready to enter the next **** stage of this **** existence it was fun being pretty for men inspiring them to say do whacky things she wants to remain a hen she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary attempts “Tucson square dance” (self-referential) ****** bit about Americans came through here last night in “Tucson 3-step” ****** "Rodeo Drive" tepid perhaps the pinot noir lowered her standards everything is becoming nothing she cannot sleep tosses turns thrashes sheets in humid heat of her lonesome bed is she is too scratched dented to find love she worries for Leslie

4

tomorrow is another day they say the rain will come last year’s monsoon never came the baking sun smothered her garden died one by one sleepless she will miss tomorrow’s pilates class the infrequent delightful chatty breakfast afterwards she dreams aches of deeper discourse higher insight with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration she crossed the line tonight her ******* are definitely changing

Tucson 666

he decides to shave eighth to quarter inch length salt and pepper beard a.k.a. unshaven look he has worn for years and grow full mustache the whiskers on his upper lip are darker with sparse gray at first no one notices after weeks the mustache gradually fills evoking many contrasting remarks several women loath it several men admire it girl at grocery store suggests he grow Fu Manchu so she can tug on it shopgirl says he looks like Charlie Chaplin downstairs neighbor from Turkey explains most Turkish men traditionally wear mustaches he read mustaches masculinize and empower men especially men in authoritative positions he thinks back to the 1960’s when many hippie males grew mustaches then in the 70’s gay men fashioned mustaches then in the 80’s cops adopted mustaches he wonders why a swatch of hair beneath nose is so provoking examines his visage in mirror discerns the mustache confers a Pepé le Pew quality or European accent to his appearance he remembers when he was young hippie with many amorous episodes how his mustache preserved the scent of a woman but there are no women in his life for many years do post-menopausal women possess scent? he feels indecisive whether to retain it or be rid of it

2

she observes her figure in mirror thinks to herself maybe her ******* are not changing perhaps it’s all in her head she inspects the little lines forming near her eyelids studies her features for signs of aging hardly any silver strands in long brown hair she examines neck ******* arms elbows fingers tummy hips pelvic region thighs knees shins calves ankles feet detects subtle changes thinks to herself my ******* are possibly slightly changing turned 40 in March married briefly in late teens no children a 15 year old dog beginning to suffer veterinarian promises to warn her when the time comes she wonders why it is so difficult finding fitting mate men sleep with her several times then move on maybe she is not such a great lover perhaps she would be better if one of them stuck around perhaps she is a lesbian the whole ide
JSK Oct 2013
Your truck knows it all
It contains our whole relationship
It knows the beginning, middle and end

I loved seeing those lights
Knowing you were driving to come pick me up
It made me really happy
And sometimes
Even a little nervous
But in a good way

In the summertime
We had the windows rolled down because it was hot
In the winter it was cold
But we'd find a place to park and make it July warm
I almost lost my innocence in that passenger seat

We did so much in that truck
We talked
Laughed
Shared
Kissed
Argued
Cried
Stressed
Freaked out
Held each other
Loved

That truck knows it all
Those camouflage seat covers still hold our passionate sweat
The drooping brownish red ceiling absorbed all our words, feelings and keeps them there
Even today
The plastic in front of the gas gauge doesn't feel as whole without one of my pictures covering it
The center console probably still holds one of my notes
Saying how much I love about you
Who knows, the glovebox still may hold my garter
The lace with a tear on it from prom
When the truck heard you say you didn't care anymore

That truck holds everything
All the feelings and emotions
Maybe not so close to the surface anymore
But it will never forget the stuff you've let yourself unremember
That maroon Chevy still loves me
Even if you don't.
Mike Hauser May 2015
After dining at the finest of Maw and Paw restaurants
Frequented by men in trucks
Outside I slipped on the gravel drive
And as would be my luck

The LARGE cowboy belt I'm so proud of
Latched on and then got stuck
Now I'm off to see America
From the front grill of a Big Mac Truck

From the plains of Plano, Texas
To the hills of Hoboken Plantation, Tennessee
There's not to many places
That Big Mac Truck did not take me

To other motorists I was Mr. Friendly
With my arms flapping in the wind
They all would honk and wave and smile
As I smiled back with my bug filled grin

For weeks and weeks we went from coast to coast
Hollywood, California is where I made my mark
Someone happened to take my picture
Which made me an instant star

So I hooked my buckle to the front of a limo
As crowds started to recognize me
A Big Mac Truck would no longer do
When your a Big Time Celebrity

I was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
He interviewed me from a parking lot
The limo would not fit on the couch
Plus I can't get the buckle to unlock

Now when my limo pulls up to crosswalks
Pedestrians ask for my autograph
Before the light turns green and me and the bumper we  leave
I tell a few jokes and we share a few laughs

As life's fortunes would have it
I can't believe my luck
The day I tripped on that gravel drive
And fell into the grill of that Big Mac Truck
Larry Potter Jul 2013
A cumulonimbus caused the gloom that day. It went shedding drops of rain that looked like bead of pearls glittering in the grey autumn sky, vanishing as they plunge on leafless laurel trees and solitary cypresses. He watched them dance to pitter-patter on every umbrella that opened towards the heavens, their colors of rich black calling out to such empathy. Finally, the drops kiss the graze of withered grasses and thirsty dandelions, reviving their foliage and greenness. Slowly, the rainfall collect to become one with soil and mud crawled down to the six feet depression where a coffin was laid. It was white like ivory and carved with elaborate insignias as a token of love and undying memories. Soon, it was all covered with crimson roses that carry the last parting words of the bereaved. The priest waved out his hands above with mournful eyes, lisping his beseeching of earnest favors while spades of loam filled up the burrow. He saw faces of despair around the pit, gasping for reprieve and sympathy. If only the rain could also bring back her life, he implored.

This, in his senses, was belongingness. This, in his heart, was death.

It had been two long weeks since Roxanne’s death and Vincent couldn’t get his feet back on the ground. He still couldn’t believe he had lost her and that their seemingly endless love has flown away from him for all eternity. He’d make believe that this was all just a dream and at some point of this nightmare he would finally be unchained and awakened. Days became niches of shackled memories that kept haunting his love-fletched soul and nights were nothing more than a requiem of lovelorn longings that still linger in his mind. He remembers it all, the feel of her name on his lips, the smell of her hair, and the sound of her laugh. Everything is still as fresh as the dewdrops of June and as vivid as the most cinematic imagery a mortal could immortalize. The ultimate fight of this melodramatic transition was to remain whole when all the strength Vincent has built up begins to crumble by a mere reminiscence of the tragedy that gets freeze-framed from beginning to end over and over again.

It was a rainy Friday evening on the 22nd of May and everyone’s feeling the smell of the weekend rush. Vincent was already at a friend's house party and called Roxanne that he’ll be waiting. Roxanne was driving the Lexus behind a small truck that seemed to plod toward the upcoming red light. She was a few minutes late on her way and watching these two people ahead of her jabber away in that truck was getting her out of her ecstatic  mood. The light turned green, but the truck too slowly moved forward. Roxanne became frustrated as the driver fixated to the right. He visibly gasped at what was just about to come into her view. A brand new grey-blue Chevy Silverado blazed through the opposing stop light to broadside his little truck. Roxanne tried to stop, but her car slid into the Chevy's rear side and went tossing down the highway to an explosion.

All these is what Vincent needs to drown himself to agony. It’s as if Atlas gave up the bearing of the world for him to endure. Wretched and perplexed was he, blaming the world for such a prejudiced conspiracy. How could an angel like Roxanne be bound to such an end? How could an invincible love become vulnerable on the visage of death? But then again, his heart starts to concoct a spell of phantasm, bringing back the most prized memories of him and her together, infiltrating his whole system and gaining power over the bitterness and pain. In this test of sensations, he himself wasn’t sure if this two-edged delusion is a boon or bane. But one thing was becoming clear to him-he cannot be like this for the rest of his life. If this nightmare must be proven real, he must find a way out. Whatever may lie ahead, he must keep going, recreate his own world and be able to break free from the fetters of this mishap that surely promises him nothing but living scars, frustrations and sorrow.

Two years have passed and the town of New Hope has undergone a lot of changes. New coffee shops and cafes run down a block away from the University premise as well as convenient stores and parlors. New establishments stood welcoming and billboards mushroomed the skyway. The streets are crowded with more and more busy people, indicative of a metropolitan evolution of lifestyle. Summer has ended and without a trace, the arid autumn and the frigid winter fluttered to oblivion.

The same is true for New Hope University which, in its current enrollment period, has its student population increased by two thousand. The institute’s remarkable performance rating in board examinations and national competitions attracted other towns to invest their education to the latter. It was nearly the start of class and everyone is busy catching up the enrollment pace. But not Vincent, who, in the first day of inception has already completed the enrollment process. He was ecstatic, more of curious how his life as a senior student could turn into this academic year. He met faces of different kinds-some familiar and some entirely strangers. Those he doesn’t recognize would just pause and pay a smile while others he knew jsut pass by and make him feel invisible. On a ledge in front of his course department’s office he sat. He in himself was New Hope town in human transfiguration- braver, brighter and better. He looked from afar, with eyes playing on the nimble of heads and shoulders of people passing through the corridor. He drenched himself to an illusion of how each head turns toward him with a infectious smile, that once in a while, happiness is sought even in the gallows of solitude. Solitude-it wasn’t a strange name to him anymore. It never was. He was entangled with it on that day the sickles of death took his love away. Somehow, through the passage of time, the wound that was scourged deep in his heart has mended and the thought of being alone became amusing that he has managed to laugh about it over the seasons. He is more human now, away from the devious portal of his mundane imagining.

The daydream was shattered when out of the blue a silhouette of a familiar figure took the stage. She was elegantly tall, with hair of pure ebony lolling on her shoulders. Each step enraptures, and each gentle sway of a hand is a compelling rhythm. She draws closer to where he was and he's left slack jawed. She entered the office and he was back to his senses. Maybe not. What he beheld was something farfetched, something that he cannot comprehend. Vincent saw it all coming back to him. A remnant of his long buried love has come to life. It was Roxanne and it is more certain than breathing. He couldn’t explain what he felt. It was a maelstrom of joy and surprise, of hope and fear. It was the face he yearned to see, so long that the yearning turned to hate and despair. But now that it came to pass, his humanity fell apart. Although he is a mere victim of his own circumstances, the serendipity took a shot straight to his heart and there is nothing he could do about it.

Perhaps there is, and he is now pretty preoccupied. He wanted to know her. He must unknot this puzzle that has challenged his whole conviction. He must find every answer and throw all of its questions behind. Whatever there is that the road has in store for him is not essential anymore. He couldn’t care less to fathom this enigma and once more, find something worth living. But now that he is hanging in midair, he planned to fall back. He jumped out of the ledge and headed out the campus, afraid that she might be at sight and all the strength in him shall subside. He was up all night, thinking of how he could get a chance to meet and talk to her. He had thoughts of crafting schemes, devising methods and inventing tricks.

And nothing of it worked.

The first day of class commenced. New Hope University is buzzing with ecstatic students. Vincent giggled with utmost excitement, carelessly bumping shoulders and brushing elbows with other students in the corridors.  He molested his tattered COR and skimmed for his first class. It is in room 101 scheduled 9:00. He reviewed through the digital clock and he hurried as it ticked to 8:58. Luckily, he is safe from prime tardiness, though he seemed to be the last comer. He seated at the back, knowing that after thirty minutes, he’d helplessly succumb to napping since it is his favorite subject-English 8, Technical Writing.

And so she happened.

It was her, Roxanne’s doppelganger who broke the charts. She was 15 minutes late and unforgivably beautiful with her sequined tee and skinny jeans. She realized what she has gotten into and apologized with the kindest gesture. The professor gave her a hand and led her to the seat beside Vincent. She felt awkward. He was worse. They both sat like lifeless puppets with the puppeteer gone until she broke the silence.

“I’m Katherine,” she muttered. “Katherine Evans, glad to be your block mate”. She took it off with a smile that sent Vincent to hyperventilation. He couldn’t shake her hands. They’re already shaking with butterflies. The poor guy mounted his strength. He could not afford to lose the chance. “Vincent, Vincent Smith”. That was all and a nod. It was rare for Vincent to survive the thirty-minute nap attack but he did this time, although the victory seemed unnoticed. They enjoyed the remaining hour sharing thoughts and ideas with Vincent succeeding in all his attempts to stint his best jokes. He has come to know who she is at the basics-a transferee from Dakota University, a cheerleader and an adventurist. He also looks forward to know more about her in the days to come- hoping that she likes cheese, watching live wrestling fights and attending Sunday mass.

Perhaps she doesn't.

Two weeks was enough a time for the two of them to get closer to each other. They were both open to let the affinity they share to grow and blossom. It was very apparent that the two knew where their relationship is going and they both seemed ready for it.

Months have passed and the two were no more than couples. But Vincent was too overwhelmed of what he had let enter his life. Katherine is no Roxanne. She doesn’t like cheese, wrestling or Sunday masses. She was more self-driven, conceited and unwelcoming. Sooner he realized that he isn’t in love with Katherine, nor will he ever be. He just created his Utopia by painting Roxanne’s memories on Katherine’s facade. He believed to have loved again and he believed in vain.

It was a candlelight dinner at Katherine's and it was all set. She suggested it herself. She would always do this, steering their affair on a one man tag and turning the tides whichever she likes it to be. She seemed obsessed about Vincent, about their friendship, about their bond. This was her biggest mistake: to let Vincent get drowned in her self-consumed devotion.

Vincent is on his way. To break her heart.

When he came, Katherine pranced in glee. She presented the menu. And the drinks too. She was on the midst of telling Vincent her summer getaway plans when he told her to stop and listen. He undid it to her gently by taking all the blames, that it was his butter fingered actions which led them both bruised and bleeding. It was a self-defeating battle preordained by the gods. A tear fell down from Katherine’s eyes, and she didn’t want to show him more. She fled her way out the dining room with a tormented soul, like Aphrodite torn by Adonis, and hurried to her room with the banging of the door. Vincent was left with only the deafening silence, keeping his severed heart together.

As he sat out there slowly losing substance, he began to notice a set of picture frames that showed two happy faces, one of them Vincent was able to recognize in just a matter of seconds. But what puzzled him most is the picture's relevance to Katherine. He thought of a reason to make his way out the riddle. He looked closer to the girl beside Roxanne and found a spot of mole that was identical to Katherine's.

Vincent stumbled to a discovery he wished he had never known.

On the night Roxanne met death, she was not alone. She was with company. The girl that happened to live is Vicky Duran, Roxanne’s best friend. She was secretly in love with Vincent. And she was prepared to change her entire life for a streak of a chance that she’ll have what she was living for.

And she almost succeeded.

Vincent, still staggered on how things turned out insane, went to Roxanne’s grave. He shattered from an implosion of mixed emotions and he cried out like a child who lost his treasured toy. He curled on the ground with so much pain and bearing contained inside him. He called out Roxanne’s name with pure longing, bringing back his old self and his memories of that grey autumn, of that unwanted Friday that took her life away.

Footsteps cracked from the ground and Vincent ceased his outburst of melancholy.

“Let me end your misery,” a trembling voice came from behind him. It was Vicky, whose face is neither Roxanne’s nor Katherine’s. It was a face of a hopeless woman, wretched and determined for something. She was wearing rugged clothes and she held a gun on her hand. To Vicky, living is no different from death. She has now understood why the very person she loves has turned away from her when she gave all that she never was. But the realization priced too much of her reality that she cannot anymore take back. She decided to **** him and then take her own life.

She pointed the gun towards Vincent. He jumped at her to take the gun away. They grappled on the ground, the weapon still on Vicky’s hands. Vincent managed to overpower her but she kicked him, tumbling back to the gravestone. A shot was heard from afar with a man’s cry.

It rained that day. Brown withered leaves of tall laurels hovered with the wind while branches of solitary Cypresses dance to every whirl. The breeze whispered to the clouds of grey, a mark of autumn’s return. Vincent crawled to Roxanne's grave. It was a weeping of a true love that echoed away. Raindrops keep descending from the heavens, washing away the blood that kept flowing to the ground of mud.  Perhaps, on the last moments of his life he found happiness, even from a love that was never his to keep.

 

- by Larry Potter
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Susan Hunt Jun 2010
EVIL IS AS EVIL DOES 10-13-09

Evil is as Evil does. Thoughts are just that.... thoughts. Deeds are deeds. A thought is not a deed unless it is carried out.

I am a good person; I know that for a fact.

BUUUUT...........it doesn't mean I always do good things.

Still, most of my crimes are altruistic. I risked my entire sanity the other day as I left  Sam's Club/Costco, etc.

I was walking back to my truck and parked next to me was a BEEAAuuutiful Porch convertible, Black; doe skin interior, all leather and polished wood.

16 inches away from me was an 800.00 Dollar Ipod, resting peacefully and securely in its little Ipod holder mounted to the dash. SIXTEEN INCHES.

I got in my truck and got out of my truck. Again, I got in my truck and out of my truck.

My Godchild, K had just had her Ipod stolen.

So, I figured "*** for Tat".

Being as stupid as I can be (on record), I went for it. The car alarm raised me higher than my truck. Panicked, I sped out of the parking lot and called my therapist. In a frantic voice, I disillusioned "OH, My God! I've just committed ******!!!”  Or at least that's how it felt.

My neighbor was swimming in my cheap above ground pool when I got home.

She asked a simple question: "Well, Hmmmmm....did you take the Ipod from the vehicle?"

Now this puts a completely different spin on my sin.

"Uh, noooooo, uuuhhh, I was just looking at it!"

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to change my view. But she was right, I hadn't committed theft, I almost did. And I'm the kind of person that would chase someone down in a parking lot to return his unknown, dropped, wallet.

This one always get my head spinning: …”Even though I walk In the SHADOW of the Valley of Death”….

Uh, wait a tic. The SHADOW of a bee can not sting you. The SHADOW of a cat can not scratch you. The SHADOW of a snake can not bite you.

What the fuuuh?  I kind of get it. Our brains are weird. Our thoughts are strange. Thank God for that...most of the time....

Love, Susan

PS: But I'm still kind of ****** at the arrogant *******, who so blatantly demonstrated how rich he was.
Danny Valdez Dec 2011
I’d get a call over the walkie-talkie, write down what parts were needed, find them in the parts’ warehouse tent, load ’em up, and deliver them to the job site. It was pretty easygoing. In between orders I’d just sit in the air-conditioned truck, listening to Howard Stern and napping here and there. When I could. After a month, they hired another guy to be my partner. He was a computer programming geek, married with kids, and he had these stupid cartoon tattoos all over his arms. Japanese anime **** and Hanna-Barbara characters. The guy really got on my nerves, one of those know-it-all nerds.
Our boss was the biggest Native I’d ever seen. Looked like a Navajo Andre the Giant, only he had a big, black, handlebar mustache. Which as surprising, because, I was under the impression Navajo’s couldn’t grow ****** hair. He stood at nearly 6’6” with long skinny legs, a barrel chest covered in silver and turquoise jewelry. When he got angry, his eyes went wild, like fire raging out of control. Like the time I got the flatbed truck stuck on an embankment and the back axle snapped off. “******* JUNIOR!” he shouted. My old man was one of the foremen there, so everyone just called me Junior. Oh yes, my boss, Darren, was a scary guy to say the least. So me and my delivery partner were making a run to the jobsite one day, the radio blaring “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, just getting into the fast final part of the song. The good part. Right in the middle of the guitar solo, my partner changed the station to Nickleback, of all things. I quickly switched it back to the Skynyrd.
“What’s wrong with you? Don’t change it in the middle of “Free Bird,” I said.
My partner rolled his eyes and switched it back to Nicklecrap.
“Come on, get with the times, man. This is the new ****.”
“Yeah, **** is right.”
I switched it back AGAIN, but the song was ending.
“You made me miss the song, ya’ ******’ *****.’
“Why don’t ya’ just cry about it then?”
“*******.”
We delivered the parts and parked the truck back inside the parts’ warehouse tent. With no calls coming in over the radio, we cranked the a/c and dozed off to Howard Stern talking about an “**** ring toss” game they were going to play. I woke up an hour later to Darren’s angry voice coming in over the radio. “Where the **** are you guys? *******, we got parts that gotta go out. I’m headed to the tent …”
I looked over to my partner, snoring away in the driver’s seat. For a second, I contemplated waking him up. Then I remembered the Lynard Skynyrd/Nickleback incident, and I left him sleeping in the truck. I walked out of the tent, to the Port-John to take a squirt. When I returned to the tent, Darren was staring at my partner, who was still asleep in the truck. Darren’s eyes were big and crazy; he was furious. He turned to me.
“What the ****, Junior?”
“I’ve been trying to get him up, but he just won’t budge. I’m having to do all this work myself!”
“******* …” Darren said, with a heavy sigh, before pounding on the driver’s side window.
“Andy! Wake the **** up, *******! Junior’s carrying all the weight here!”
Andy did wake up. He glared at me, and I smiled back with a ****-eating grin.
You don’t ever interrupt The Free Bird. I don't care what your name is.
Chris Apr 2019
The three wheeled truck sees the fours and asks itself "Why can't I be like that?"
The three wheeled truck has two four wheeled parents, but still only has three wheels.
The three wheeled truck is a bit slower than four and is unable to haul as much.
The three wheeled truck is left to rust.
Enjoy.
Paul Roberts Apr 2012
Unanswered questions, untold truth,
so typical when dealing with fools.
Not my truck that you got in to,
no chance of daylight between him and you.
Not my truck....
Not my truck with the windows smoked up,
Nope, .........not my truck.
Heard the wreck scene  had alot of blood....
heard they also found drugs...
nope not my truck....
No tears for the fool...
now who could that be?
....Him...you.... me?......
Nope, not my truck.
Timothy Mooney Apr 2011
Me an' my truck
Goin' on down the road
I think o' yer cheatin' heart
And I lose my load

Down in Tennersee
I met me a girl
Her name was Billy Joe
Hot ****! What a thrill!

But she broke my heart
It was just my luck
Now alls I got left
Is me an' my truck.
copyright 1973 T.P.Mooney/First song written on my first guitar
It was 1972 and my dad was sick.  Well maybe not sick in the usual sense of the word, but his hip was.  He was in Boston, it was mid-winter, and he was an orthopedic patient in the Robert Bent Brigham Hospital.

He had been selected as an early recipient of what was called back then a ‘partial hip replacement.’  It was called partial, because they only replaced the arthritic hip ball, leaving the original (and degenerative) socket in place.  Needless to say these procedures didn’t work long term, but for those unable to walk and in pain, they were all that was available at the time.

I was in State College Pennsylvania when the call came in from my mother, telling me my dad was in the hospital. He was in so much pain they had to rush him to Boston by ambulance and schedule surgery just two days from now. I was living in the small rural town of Houserville Pa. about five miles West of State College and there was at least eight inches of fresh snow on the ground outside. It was 439 miles from State College to Boston. Based on my mothers phone call, if I wanted to see my Dad before his surgery, I had less than a full day to get there.

It was now 5:30 p.m. on Monday night and my father’s operation was scheduled for first thing (7:00 a.m.) Wednesday morning.  That meant that if I wanted to see him before he went to the O.R., I really needed to get there sometime before visiting hours were over Tuesday night.  My mother had said they were going to take him to pre-op at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, and we wouldn’t have a chance to see him before he went down.

My only mode of transportation sat covered outside in the snow on my small front porch.  It was a six-month old 1971 750 Honda Motorcycle that I had bought new the previous September.  Because of the snowy winter conditions in the Nittany Mountains, I hadn’t ridden it since late November.  I hadn’t even tried to start it since the day before Christmas Eve when I moved it off the stone driveway and rode it up under our semi-enclosed front porch.

My roommate Steve and I lived in a converted garage that was owned by a Penn State University professor and his wife.  They lived in the big house next door and had built this garage when they were graduate students over twenty years ago. They had lived upstairs where our bedrooms now were, while storing their old 1947 Studebaker Sedan in the garage below.  It wasn’t until 1963 that they built the big house and moved out of the garage before putting it up for rent.

The ‘garage’ had no insulation, leaked like a sieve, and was heated with a cast iron stove that we kept running with anything we could find to throw in it.  We had run out of our winter ‘allotment’ of coal last week, and neither of us could afford to buy more.  We had spent the last two days scavenging down by the creek and bringing back old dead (and wet) wood to try and keep from freezing, and to keep the pipes inside from freezing too.

After hanging up the phone, I explained to Steve what my mother had just told me. He said: You need to get to Boston, and you need to leave now.  Steve had a 1965 Dodge Dart with a slant six motor that was sitting outside on the left side of the stone drive.  He said “you’re welcome to take it, but I think the alternator is shot.  Even if we get it jump-started, I don’t think it will make it more than ten or fifteen miles.”

It was then that we weighed my other options.  I could hitchhike, but with the distance and weather, it was very ‘iffy’ that I would get there on time.  I could take the Greyhound (Bus), but the next one didn’t leave until 3:00 tomorrow afternoon.  It wouldn’t arrive in Boston until 11:20 at night.  Too late to see my dad!

We both stared for a long time at the Motorcycle. It looked so peaceful sitting there under its grey and black cover.  Without saying a word to each other we grabbed both ends of the cover and lifted it off the bike.  I then walked down the drive to the road to check the surface for ice and snow.  It had snow on both sides but had been recently plowed. There was a small **** of snow still down the middle, but the surface to both sides looked clear and almost snow free.

      I Knew That Almost Was Never Quite Good Enough

I walked back inside the house and saw Steve sitting there with an empty ‘Maxwell House Tin’ in his hands. This is where Steve kept his cash hidden, and he took out what was in there and handed it all to me. “ You can pay me back next week when you get paid by Paul Bunyan.”  Paul Bunyan was the Pizza Shop on ****** Avenue that I delivered for at night, and I was due to be paid again in just four more days. I thanked Steve and walked up the ten old wooden and rickety stairs to our bedrooms.  

The walls were still finished in rough plywood sheathing that had never been painted or otherwise finished.  I packed the one leather bag that my Mother had given me for Christmas last year, put on my Sears long underwear, threw in my Dopp Kit and headed back downstairs. I also said a silent prayer for having friends … really good friends.

                 When I Got Downstairs, Steve Was Gone

Sensing I might need a ‘moment’ to finally decide, Steve had
started to walk down to highway # 64 and then hitchhike into town.  He was the photo-editor of the Penn State Yearbook, and Monday nights were when they had their meetings to get the book out.  The staff had only ninety more days to finish what looked to me to be an almost ‘impossible’ task.

As tough as his project was, tonight I was facing a likely impossible assignment of my own. Interstate #80 had just opened, and it offered an alternative to the old local road, Rt # 322.  The entrance to Rt. # 80 was ten miles away in Bellefonte Pennsylvania, and I knew those first ten miles could possibly be the worst of the trip.  I called my sister at home, and she said the weather forecast had said snow in the mountains (where I was), and then cold temperatures throughout the rest of the Northeast corridor.  Cold temperatures would mean a high of no more than 38 degrees all through the Pocono’s and across the Delaware Water Gap into New Jersey. Then low forty-degree temperatures the rest of the way.

I put two pairs of Levi’s Jeans on over my long-johns. I then put on my Frye boots with three pairs of socks, pulled my warmest fisherman’s knit wool sweater over my head and finished with my vintage World War Two leather bomber jacket to brace against the cold.  I had an early version of a full coverage helmet, a Bell Star, to protect my head and ears.  Without that helmet to keep out the cold, I knew I wouldn’t have had any chance of making the seven and a half hour ride.  To finish, I had a lightly tanned pair of deerskin leather gloves with gauntlets that went half way up my forearms. Normally this would have been ‘overkill’ for a ride to school or into town,

                                   But Not Tonight

I strapped my leather bag on the chrome luggage rack on the rear, threw my leg over the seat, and put the key into the ignition.  This was the first ‘electric start’ motorcycle I had ever owned, and I said a quick prayer to St Christopher that it would start. As I turned the key I couldn’t help but think about my father lying there in that hospital bed over four hundred miles away.  As I turned the key to the right, I heard the bike crank over four times and then fire to life as if I had just ridden it the day before.  As much as I wanted to be with my dad, I would be less than truthful if I didn’t confess that somewhere deep inside me, I was secretly hoping that the bike wouldn’t start.

I was an experienced motorcyclist and now 23 years old. I had ridden since I was sixteen and knew that there were a few ‘inviolable’ rules that all riders shared.  Rule number one was never ride after drinking.  Rule number two was never ride on a night like tonight — a night when visibility was awful and the road surface in many places might be worse. I again thought of my father as I backed the bike off the porch, turned it around to face the side street we lived on, dropped it into first gear, and left.  I could hear Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’ playing from the house across the street.  It was rented to students too, and the window over the kitchen was open wide — even on a night like this.

                  Oh, Those Carefree Days Of College Bliss

As I traveled down the mile long side street that we lived on, I saw the sign for state road #64 on my right.  It was less than 100 feet away and just visible in the cloudy mountain air.  I was now praying not for things to get better, but please God, don’t let them get any worse.  As I made the left turn onto #64 I saw the sign ‘Interstate 80 – Ten Miles,’ and by now I was in third gear and going about twenty five miles an hour.  In the conditions I was riding in on this Monday night, it felt like at least double that.

I had only ever been East on Rt #80 once before, always preferring the scenery and twisty curves of Rt #322.  Tonight, challenging roads and distracting scenery were the last thing that I wanted.  I was hoping for only one thing, and that was that PennDot, (The Pennsylvania Department Of Transportation), had done their job plowing the Interstate and that the 150 mile stretch of road from Bellefonte to the Delaware Water Gap was open and clear.  

As I approached the entrance ramp to Rt #80 East in Bellefonte, it was so far; so good.  If God does protect both drunks and fools, I was willing to be considered worse than both tonight, if he would get me safely to Boston without a crash.

The first twenty miles east on Interstate #80 were like a blur wrapped inside a time warp.  It was the worst combination
of deteriorating road conditions, glare from oncoming headlights, and spray and salt that was being kicked up from the vehicles in front of me.  Then it got worse — It started to snow again!

                                             More Snow!

What else could happen now I wondered to myself as I passed the exit for Milton on Rt #80.  It had been two hours since leaving the State College area, and at this pace I wouldn’t get to Boston until five or six in the morning. I was tucked in behind a large ‘Jones Motor Freight Peterbilt,’ and we were making steady but slow progress at about thirty miles per hour.  I stayed just far enough behind the truck so that the spray from his back tires wouldn’t hit me straight on.  It did however keep the road directly in front of me covered with a fresh and newly deposited sheet of snow, compliments of his eight rear wheels which were throwing snow in every direction, but mostly straight back at me.

I didn’t have to use the brakes in this situation, which was a real plus as far as stability and traction were concerned.  We made it almost to the Berwick exit when I noticed something strange.  Motorists coming from the other direction were rolling their windows down and shouting something at the drivers going my way.  With my helmet on, and the noise from the truck in front of me drowning everything else out, I couldn’t make out what they were trying to say.  I could tell they were serious though, by the way they leaned out their windows and shouted up at the driver in the truck I was following.

Then I saw it.  Up ahead in the distance it looked like a parade was happening in the middle of the highway. There were multi-colored flashing lights everywhere.  Traffic started to slow down until it was at a crawl, and then finally stopped.  A state police car came up the apron going the wrong way on our side and told everyone in our long line that a semi-truck had ‘jack-knifed’, and flipped over on its side, and it was now totally blocking the East bound lanes.  

The exit for Berwick was only two hundred yards ahead, and if you got over onto the apron you could make it off the highway.  Off the highway to what I wondered, but I knew I couldn’t sit out here in the cold and snow with my engine idling. It would eventually overheat (being air-cooled) even at these low temperatures which could cause mechanical problems that I’d never get fixed in time to see my dad.

I pulled over onto the apron and rode slowly up the high ramp to the right, and followed the sign at the top to Berwick.  The access road off the ramp was much worse than the highway had been, and I slipped and slid all the way into town.  I took one last look back at the menagerie of lights from the medivac ambulances and tow trucks that were now all over the scene below.  The lights were all red and blue and gold, and in a strange twisted and beautiful way, it reminded me of the ride to church for midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

                  Christmas Eve With My Mom And My Dad

In Berwick, the only thing I saw that was open was the Bulldog Lounge.  It was on the same side of the street that I was on and had a big VFW sign hanging under its front window.  I could see warm lights glowing inside and music was drifting through the brick façade and out onto the sidewalk. I stopped in front of the rural Pennsylvania tavern and parked the bike on its kickstand, unhooked my leather bag from the luggage carrier and walked in the front door.

Once inside, there was a bar directly ahead of me with a tall, sandy haired woman serving drinks.  “What can I get you,” she said as I approached the bar, but she couldn’t understand my answer.  My mouth and face were so frozen from the cold and the wind that my speech was slurred, and I’m sure it seemed like I was already drunk when I hadn’t even had a drink.  She asked again, and I was able to get the word ‘coffee’ out so she could understand it. She turned around behind her to where the remnants from what was served earlier that day were still overcooking in the ***. She put the cup in front of me, and I took it with both hands and held it close against my face.

After ten minutes of thawing out I finally took my first swallow.  It  tasted even worse than it looked, but I was glad to get it, and I then asked the bar lady where the restrooms were.  “Down that corridor to the right” she said, and I asked her if she would watch my bag until I got back.  Without saying a word, she just nodded her head. As I got to the end of the corridor, I noticed a big man in a blue coat with epaulets standing outside the men’s room door.  He had a menacing no-nonsense look on his face, and didn’t smile or nod as I walked by.  His large coat was open and as I looked at him again, I saw it – he was wearing a gun.
            
                                   He Was Wearing A Gun

As I went into the men’s room, I noticed it was dark, but there was a lot of noise and commotion coming from the far end.  I looked for the light switch and when I found it, I couldn’t believe what I saw next.  Someone was stuck in the window at the far end of the men’s room, with the lower half of their body sticking out on my side and the upper half dangling outside in the cold and the dark.  It looked like a man from where I stood, and he was making large struggling sounds as he either tried to push his way out or pull his way back in.  I wasn’t sure at this point which way he was trying to go. Something else was also strange, he had something tied or wrapped around the bottom of his legs.

It was at this point that I opened up the men’s room door again and yelled outside for help.  In an instant, the big man with the blue coat and gun ran almost right over me to the window and grabbed the mans two legs, and in one strong movement pulled him back in the window and halfway across the floor.  It was then that I could see that the man’s legs were shackled, and handcuffs were holding his arms tightly together in front of his body.  He had apparently asked to use the facility and then tried to escape once inside and alone.

The large guard said “Jimmy, I warned you about trying something like this.  I have half a mind now to make you hold it all the way back to New Hampshire.” He stood the young man up and went over and closed the window. He locked it with the hasp.  He then let the man use the toilet in the one stall, but stood right there with him until he was done.  By this time I was back inside and finishing my coffee.  The guard came in, seated his prisoner at a table by the wall, and then walked over and sat down next to me at the bar.

“You really saved me a lot of trouble tonight, son” he said, “If he had gotten out that window, I doubt I’d have found him in the dark and the snow.  I’d have been here all night, and that’s ‘if’ I caught him again.  My *** would have been in a sling back at headquarters and I owe you a debt of thanks.”  You don’t owe me anything I said, I was just trying to help, and honestly didn’t know he was a prisoner when I first saw him suspended in the window. “Well just the same, you did me a big favor, and I’d like to try and return it if I could.”

He then asked me if I lived in Berwick, and I told him no, that I was traveling to Boston to see my father in the hospital and had to get off the highway on my motorcycle because of the wreck on Interstate #80.  “You’re on a what,” he asked me!  “A motorcycle” I said again, as his eyes got even wider than the epaulets on his shoulders.  “You’re either crazy or desperate, but I guess it’s none of my business.  How are you planning on getting to Boston tonight in all this snow?”  When I told him I wasn’t sure, he told me to wait at the bar.  He went to the pay phone and made a short phone call and was back in less than three minutes.  The prisoner sat at the table by the wall and just watched.

The large man came back over to the bar and said “my names Bob and I work for the U.S. Marshals Office.  I’m escorting this fugitive back to New Hampshire where he stole a car and was picked up in West Virginia at a large truck stop on Interstate #79.  Something about going to see his father whom he had never met who was dying on some Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He’d have made it too, except he parked next to an unmarked state trooper who was having coffee, thought he looked suspicious, and then ran his plates.”

“I’m driving that big flatbed truck outside and transporting both him and the car he stole back to New Hampshire for processing and trial.  I’ve got enough room behind the car to put your bike on the trailer too.  If you’d like, I can get you as far as the Mass. Pike, and then you’ll only be about ninety minutes from Boston and should be there for breakfast. If you don’t mind ridin with ‘ole Jimmy’ here, I can get you most of the way to where you’re going. I don’t think you’ll make it all the way on that two-wheeler alone out on that highway tonight.

The Good Lord takes many forms and usually arrives when least expected.  Tonight he looked just like a U.S. Marshal, and he was even helping me push my bike up the ramp and onto the back of his flatbed.  He then even had the right straps to help me winch it down so it wouldn’t move as we then headed North through the blinding snow in the dark.  Bob knew a back way around the accident, and after a short detour on Pa. Routes #11 and #93, we were back on the Interstate and New England bound.

The three of us, Bob, Jimmy and I, spent the first hour of the ride in almost total silence.  Bob needed to stop for gas in Stroudsburg and asked me if I would accompany Jimmy to the men’s room inside.  His hands and feet were still ‘shackled,’ and I can still see the looks on the faces of the restaurant’s patrons as we walked past the register to the rest rooms off to the left.  Jimmy still never spoke a word, and we were back outside in less than five minutes.

Once back in the truck Bob said “Jesus, it’s cold out here tonight. You warm enough kid,” as he directed his comment to Jimmy.  I still had on my heavy leather bomber jacket, but Jimmy was wearing a light ‘Members Only’ cotton jacket that looked like it had seen much better days.  Jimmy didn’t respond.  I said: “Are you warm enough kid,” and Bob nudged Jimmy slightly with his right elbow.  Jimmy looked back at Bob and said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.”

Then Bob started to speak again.  “You know it’s a **** shame you got yourself into this mess.  In looking at your record, it’s clean, and this is your first offense.  What in God’s name possessed you to steal a car and try to make it all the way to Oklahoma in weather like this?”  Jimmy looked down at the floor for the longest time and then raised his head, looked at me first, and then over at Bob …

“My Mom got a letter last week saying that the man who is supposed to be my father was in the Choctaw Nation Indian Hospital in Talihina Oklahoma.  They also told her that he was dying of lung cancer and they didn’t expect him to last long.  His only wish before he died was to see the son that he abandoned right before he was shipped off to Seoul during the Korean War. I tried to borrow my uncle’s car, but he needed it for work.  We have neighbors down the street who have a car that just sits. They have a trailer in Florida for the winter, and I planned to have it back before anyone missed it.  The problem was that their son came over to check on the place, saw the car was missing, and reported it to the cops. I never meant to keep it, I just wanted to get down and back before anyone noticed.”

“Dumb, Dumb, Dumb, Bob said!  Don’t you know they make buses for that.”  Jimmy says he never thought that far, and given the choice again that’s what he’d do.  Bob took one more long look at Jimmy and just slowly shook his head.  Then he said to both of us, “how old are you boys?”  I said 23, as Jimmy nodded his head acknowledging that he was the same age.  Bob then said, “I got bookends here, both goin in different directions,”

Jimmy then went on to say, “My mom my little sister and I live in a public housing project in Laconia.  I never knew my dad, but my grandma, when she was alive, said that he was a pretty good guy.  My mother would never talk about why he left, and I felt like this was my last chance to not only meet him but to find all that out before he passed.”  I glanced over at Bob and it looked like his eyes were welling up behind the thick glasses he wore.  Jimmy then said: “If I got to rethink this thing, I would have stayed in New Hampshire.  It just ‘seemed’ like the right thing to do at the time.

We rode for the next hour in silence.  Bob already knew my story, and I guess he didn’t think sharing it with Jimmy would make him feel any better.  The story of an upper middle class college kid on the way to see his dad in Boston would probably only serve to make what he was feeling now even worse.  The sign up ahead said ‘Hartford, 23 miles’. Bob said, “Kurt, this is where we drop you off.  If you cut northeast on Rt # 84, it will take you to the Mass.Pike.  From where you pick up the pike, you should then be no more than an hour or so from downtown Boston.

During those last 23 miles Bob spoke to Jimmy again.  I think he wanted me to hear it too. “Jimmy,” Bob said, “I’m gonna try and help you outta this mess.  I believe you’re basically a good kid and deserve a second chance.  Somebody helped me once a long time ago and it made all the difference in my life.”  Bob looked over at me and said. “Kurt, whatta you think?”  I said I agreed, and that I was sure that if given another chance, Jimmy would never do anything like this again.  Jimmy said nothing, as his head was again pointed down toward the floor.

“I’ll testify for you at your hearing,” Bob said, “and although I don’t know who the judge will be, in most cases they listen when a federal marshal speaks up on behalf of the suspect.  It doesn’t happen real often, and that’s why they listen when it does.

    More Than Geographical Borders Had Now Been Crossed,
             Human Borders Were Being Expanded Too!

We arrived in Hartford and Bob pulled the truck over. He slid down the ramp and attached it to the back of the flat wooden bed. Jimmy even tried to help as we backed the Honda down the ramp. They both stood there as I turned the key and the bike fired up on the first try.  Bob then said, “You got enough money to make it the rest of the way, kid,” I said that I did, and as I stuck out my hand to thank him he was already on his way back to the truck with his arm around Jimmy’s shoulder.

The ride up #84 and then #90 East into Boston was cold but at least it was dry.  No snow had made it this far North.  My father’s operation would be successful, and I had been able to spend most of the night before the surgery with him in his hospital room.  He couldn’t believe that I had come so far, and through so much, just to be with him at that time. I told him about meeting Jimmy and Bob, and he said: “Son, that boys gonna do just fine.  Getting caught, and then being transferred by Bob, is the best thing that ever happened to him.”  

“I had something like that happen to me in Nebraska back in 1940, and without help my life may have taken an entirely different turn.  My options were, either go away for awhile, or join the United States Marine Corps — Thank God for the ‘Corps.”  My dad had run away from home during the depression at 13 and was headed down a very uncertain path until given that choice by someone who cared so very long ago.

“It only takes one person to make all the difference,” my dad said, and I’m so happy and grateful that you’re here with me tonight.

As they wheeled my dad into surgery the next morning, I couldn’t help but think about Jimmy, the kid who was my age and never got to see his dad before it was too late.

On that fated night, two young men ‘seemingly’ going in opposite directions had met in the driving snow. One was looking for a father he had only heard about but never knew.  The other trying to get to a father he knew so well and didn’t think he could live without.

          

      Jimmy Was Adopted That Night Through The Purity
                        Of His Misguided Intention …
                       As So Few Times In Life We Are!

— The End —