Monday, November 5, 2018

Tall Tower, Little Library


[I should have taken a picture of the KOMTAR Tower - this is the library inside.]

Tiny Library
in Georgetown
Tallest Building
For Miles Around

---

Chicken Satay Pizza
Smallest one you've got
As filling as two full meals
Best to eat it hot

---

Book a ticket now
Arrive in twenty four
I hope I still have time
To get to Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Patience" Contest Poems

ONE

Slow it Down
Cool it Kid
Use the Ego
Not the Id

Patience Waits
Patience Won
Spider’s Web
Is slow Spun

I Know that Look
Predator-Prey
Lusty Pursuit
Drives Love Away

So Take Your Time
Thineself Make Better
If You’re the “Catch”
Then You’ll Get Her

---

TWO

On sky-blue pond, a yellow boat
In which, a man, in denim coat
Has set his rods, some line, and bait
And comfy seat in which to wait
But his quarry, freely, swim below
Under boat and to and fro
For denim man has thoughts conflated
Patience and Idleness need separated
For the former can get you what you wish
While the latter might find you too drunk to fish!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Two Jack-o-Lanterns walk into a Bar

“Hey, Jack.”

“Yes, Jack?”

“You hear the one about the two muffins?”

“No?”

“Two muffins are sitting in an oven. The first turns to the second and says ‘is it getting hot in here?’ The second screams ‘EEK! A TALKING MUFFIN!’”


(written for a contest on Steemit ~1500 words)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Very Scary Story

“I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that until you’re older.” The trio of children made their disappointment known through moans and wails. After a moment, Susie spoke up.
“Grampa, we’ve heard all sorts of monster stories! We’re not afraid of your scariest story!” Her siblings agreed with exaggerated nods of their small heads. A mischievous smile peaked out behind the older man’s gray mustache.
“I don’t know…” he teased the trio seated around the small table. A new chorus of ‘please’ just made him smile all the more. The three children made for an overwhelmingly cute sight - each with a handful of wrappers that once held Halloween candy and a mug of half-drank hot chocolate (with marshmallows - their Grandmother made sure of that!) in front of them.
When the begging died down, the older man adjusted his glasses and leaned back in his chair. The three went silent to hear his verdict.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Keep your eyes peeled!

It's amazing what people don't notice, he thought. And the ones that do often choose to keep it to themselves, preferring not to stir the pot. I suppose that's the only reason I get away with this shit.

The middle-aged man kept a blank expression on his face as he pushed his dolly down the street. A half dozen people passed him by, enveloped in their own little worlds. Some on phones - texting, calling, using whatever app was most important at that moment. Still more listening to music or podcasts or just isolating themselves with their headphones.

His wheels clacked along the brickwork as he passed pairs conversing. Groups were the most dangerous - there was often one among them who had been frozen out of the conversation and was, therefore, on the lookout for something upon which they could remark and thereby reenter their friends' world. When he saw a group, he made sure to angle away and look interested in some phenomena across the street. That usually seemed to distract them long enough to pass by without comment.

He was just a short way out from his destination when he spotted a major problem - a young man walking down the street, chin up and eyes taking in every sight. The older man knew this look - it was his own, just in a body twenty years his junior. He angled slightly and attempted to tailgate some other pedestrians, but he knew he'd been spotted. the real question was whether or not the young man would say anything.

The two passed. A little bit further and the older man would be in the clear.

"Excuse me," came a confident interjection.

Shit. The older man stopped. There were rules.

"Are you carting around three pickled heads?"

The older man felt both defeated and amused. As he rarely got stopped, he had money riding on this particular attempt. That being said, it was fun to get noticed.

"I am, though they're fakes," he responded.

"Ah. Any particular reason?"

"Art project and a bet. I bet that no one would say anything for twenty blocks."

"Oh. That's weird. How far did you make it?"

"Nineteen."

"Ha! Well, better luck next time."

[written 28 Feb '16]

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

War Zone

I watched them from across the street through my tears.

The rabbi-philosopher Abraham Heschel - or at least I think it was him - once wrote about witnessing the sublime in the transcendent experience of children playing. What an overwhelming feeling.

A dozen gunshots rang out, but the children took no notice - they knew innately what was near and what was far as they played with their airplanes fashioned from shrapnel. I, on the other hand, flinched - I was still getting used to the fact that Death had his hand on everyone's shoulder.

After an eternity, I stood up, knees creaking. A small amount of dust and grit fell off my leather jacket and thick khaki pants.

[...]


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bangkok Blues



A little drizzle
A quiet park
A smiling face
Under an Umbrella
A second meeting
A moment's spark
A lifted spirit
For this Fella
.
^^
.
Bangkok
Raindrop
Condensation
Inebriation

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tuk Tuk Goose


Mister! Mister!
Where you from?
You see Big Buddha?
I take you
Forty Baht!
No?
Twenty Baht!
No?
Ten Baht!
You come back.
I stay here.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Sunrise Land



Tired Travelin' Trio
Slouchin'
Listing now port
now starboard
A train jolt
eyes spark
no fuel to catch
burnt out
burnt out
.
.
.
Soccer Player Pipsqueak
Standing on my foot
I cannot imagine
How, to him, I look
So we look together
At people falling asleep
I don't mind too much
Him standing on my feet

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Aloha and Mahalo

[no picture because I forgot]

Aloha and Mahalo!
Thank you and Hello!
I need to write a poem
But now it's time to go


LAX lacks sex
HNL ain't hell
KIX plays tricks
'cause
DMK ain't BKK

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Raise the Flag

Best as I can recall, this is my first trip to a strip club. I'm sure there's a more P.C. or professional name for these joints, but let's call it what it is: a strip club outside an Army base. It's possible I've been here before with Warner and Wolff, but whether it's our first trip or not is irrelevant. The point is, Dick Lips is in the house and that's all that really matters. Otherwise this is just one more forgettable night lost among beer-hazed memories.

Imagine you have a completely repressed hardcore fundamentalist Republican Mormon churchgoer with zero social skills. Zero. A dude whose ideals were passed on without ever being allowed to critically think or form his own opinion about anything (except Rammstein - he loves those fuckers and I seriously doubt he got that from his parents). A guy who is ardently against everything a strip club has to offer and exposed to all the evils of society. Evils like overpriced drinks and girls who pretend they're actually into you at a rate of $20 per four minute rock song. Just imagine this person. The kind of guy who isn't savvy enough to realize he's wearing his helmet backwards. And don't worry, I'll tell you that story another time. So what happens when you introduce this individual to such a wretched den of iniquity?

Well apparently said individual takes all his fundamentalist ideals and throws them right out the fucking window. Because tits. And ass.

The sign outside says "Deja Vu - Showgirls." Yeah, it's a chain. God bless America. What would hardworking soldiers and airmen stationed around Tacoma do without such a place? Go out and try to actually speak with girls in the wild? And face rejection? Fuck that, it's payday. Friday. "The day the Eagle shits," as our First Sergeant always says.

And that slogan: "100's of beautiful girls - and 3 ugly ones." McDonald's marketing has got nothing on Deja Vu. That billions and billions served bit is old and busted.

I've already had my inaugural lap dance and fallen into the whole trap about buying your dancer a super overpriced non-alcoholic beverage. I don't understand the scam right now, but I've got that feeling that if I don't do it then Moose and Rocko are going to haul my ass out onto the street. I've got cash to burn so I go with the flow for one round. Don't rock the boat. I learned at a young age that's the easiest way to get through any unknown situation. Go with the goddamn flow.

I don't recall which song they just played even as I leave the VIP room. I would have preferred "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails but probably got "All Star" by Smash Mouth. It's already a haze. Anyway, I get roped into the whole buy your dancer a drink routine along with Warner and Wolff. We were very clearly marked as newbies the moment we walked into this place. So they're in the same situation. Three dudes, and three ladies desperately watching the clock so they can skate away from the fake conversation after like three minutes.

Meanwhile, Dick Lips is still sitting there looking awkward and trying to tell us to leave. This isn't the kind of place for people to be. These dancers are someone's daughter. That whole spiel.

So I don't even know how it happens, but of course he breaks down eventually. It takes maybe ten minutes. I'm laughing and high fiving the Super W Brothers when some girl gets ol' Wild Man to break down and leads him by the hand back to a private booth. We did it. We got him to realize he's a normal guy just like everyone else, with a dick and everything. Ok, well maybe not like everyone else. We can do things like tell a joke and remember to tie both shoes before leaving the house. But you get the idea.

Next thing I know Dick Lips is back at our table after the song ends. And I can't believe my fucking eyes. This dude is standing around, out of breath like he just sprinted a half mile. And he's got a raging tentpole. Kinda hard not to miss because we're sitting down and Cap'n Winky is at eye level.

"Jesus Christ, Wild Man! Wolff shouts. "Have a good time in there?"

"Huh?" He looks down. "Oh, yeah."

I've seen a lot of shitty 80s comedies and I thought the lap dance boner trope was just a joke. Nope. Dick Lips has got a rager going.

"Dude, fucking sit down man." He does.

Over the rest of the evening before we leave which is probably about an hour or so until we hit up a bar, two notable things happen. One: a dancer tells me that a bouncer has escorted Warner to an ATM off the premises because his card didn't work at the ATM in here. So we probably shouldn't leave without him. She's a nice girl. Probably pre-med. Law school, maybe. And Two: Dick Lips enthusiastically runs up after his second or fifth lap dance and tells us there's a girl on girl shower scene going on in the VIP lounge.

"Come on guys! It's OK, you can bring your drinks!" He runs off, waving us back to where there is, in fact, a girl on girl shower scene going on. I didn't expect to see two chicks in a kiddie pool when I woke up this morning, but whatever. Roll with it. Wild Man is apparently the guy who knows what's what in this joint.

"What the fuck, it's like he's been going here for years," Wolff says. "This is old hat for him already."

Eventually Warner gets back with sort of an embarrassed look, having been escorted to find his wallet since they wouldn't take an IOU and all. And we have to practically drag Wild Man out so Wolff can drive us to the next bar.

It only takes until Monday afternoon formation before all 80 or so soldiers in Bravo Troop know Dick Lips popped a tentpole in public. This is only the beginning of his legacy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Seriously, seven bibles!



Tacos on street
Dorms, no en suite
Sneering
Snaring
Snoring
Awake in ears only
.
.
.
Marching to
Marching fro
Where the hell
Do I go?
Place of note
Stand in line
Is it just
A waste of time?
.
.
.
Seven Bibles
One dictionary
Two bags
A thousand crumbs
Flip
Wrinkle
Crunch
Brush
Brush
Brush
Flip

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fampire

"I fant to fuck your blood."

"You want to what!?"

"Fuck! Fuck! Flurp. Dwink." The man in the old-fashioned tuxedo pointed toward his extremely long canines. "My teef."

"Oh, sorry."

"It'f juft fo hawd," the man broke down. "No one takef me ferioufly."

The blonde let out a sympathetic coo. "Oh, you poor baby." She moved over and began to stroke the man's arm. "I'm sure it'll work out someday. Have you considered getting them trimmed?"

"Yef." the man stared at the ground. "I'm a fampire. I wegenerate."

The woman sat with him for a minute. "I'm not a virgin you know."

"What?"

"I'm not a virgin. I thought vampires had some preference for virgins or something."

[...]



Saturday, September 22, 2018

to Gabi


A desire we share
From babe to gray haired
Is to be free
And explore where we dare

To wander the land
As long as we can
What cities we'll see
Until we got sand

We'll swim 'round the beach
Whole schools of fish teach
Lessons from the sea
Which we must then preach

We must let others know
How to help the world grow
And how best steward to be
To life high and low

When finished, we'll fly
Soar high in the sky
We'll send word to Gabi
Just to say "Hi!"

Friday, September 21, 2018

Suicide King


I shot myself.

Sometime in March 2006. Not sure of the exact date, but I’m pretty sure it was March. I remember time by relating it to movies. I can remember in startling detail where a saw a movie and who I was with. And in this case I know I had already seen Revenge of the Sith about a year before. And that came out in 2005. So when I tried to kill myself the following year that’s how I know it was 2006.

I used a Glock .40 caliber pistol. Serial number on the barrel was CRF 404. I bought it at a sporting goods store in Tallahassee in the late 90s when I actually feared for my life while delivering shitty pizzas to even shittier neighborhoods.

Anyway, in that spring of 2006 in Portland, Oregon, I damn sure left a suicide note for my then best friend and put a round right through my gut. Left side of the abdomen because I was shooting with the right hand. I was going to go for the head but I chickened out at the last second. Metaphor for my own life, right? Turns out I missed the vital organs so after I realized I made the biggest fuck up of my life and called 911 I had a fair chance and didn’t bleed out. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a shitty experience and I spent 2 weeks in the mental health ward. I’m told it was the same hospital where they filmed One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Not sure if I’m supposed to wear that as a badge of honor or not.

While I was there I had a few calls from family members at a pay phone in the ward. My mom telling me I should maybe go live with my dad for a while, and my dad saying maybe I should come down to California. Seems like both of them wanted to pawn me off to the other. My parents’ relationship is probably the number one thing that fucked me up since I was six years old, so who knows what I was supposed to make of this.

My best friend and his wife visited me in the hospital. They were good friends and I was the best man at his wedding. This was one of the last times I saw either of them, and flash forward to years in the future: they don’t talk to me anymore. I don’t blame them. I’m a liability.

The one phone call I remember the most was my sister. She broke down even more than I did and I could tell she was in tears. She said, “I just want you to be happy.” We didn’t grow up together, so it really made it that much more poignant when I realized that my actions had hurt her. Of all the moments in my life I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad as when I heard her crying on the other end of the phone.

After I got out of the hospital I was homeless for a few weeks. About a month in total as I remember it. I grabbed my most important possessions and abandoned the rest to drive down to my grandparents’ house in Salinas where my dad was still freeloading. I remember him yelling at me because he demanded I go with him to some bar to hang out with his friends, while I didn’t want to. Because I was scared of interacting with people. Also I’d just shot myself and tried to remove myself from this Earth. He stormed out. I told my grandma that it was time for me to leave. I got in my truck and left. It was the last time I ever spoke to either of them. Grandma Hosford passed away shortly after this. My dad died 10 years later in 2016. We never spoke in that 10 year span. I was too furious to reach out and he probably didn’t know how.

Ironically I got the news while watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my mom in Philly. I say “ironically” because Star Wars was the one thing my Dad & I bonded over. He took me to see Return of the Jedi on opening day May 25, 1983 and it was arguably the best moment of my childhood. To quote Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam: “Oh how quick the sun can drop away.” I associate Star Wars with my dad, but I remember the first movie I ever saw in theaters was The Empire Strikes Back with my mom. Can you be any more fucked up as an 80s kid in a broken home?

So after the .40 cal event. 10 years later, where am I? I’ve got a great job. I own a house, which is weird because  I was homeless living out of my Ford Ranger for a while until my mom took me back in. I activated the G.I. Bill and Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation, and went to school in Florida at UCF. Eventually I ended up with a degree in accounting and got a great job with the IRS in Philadelphia. I chose that city because my sister lived there. She got engaged while I’d been going back to school and I figured a change of pace would be good for me. And it would be awesome living near a family member who understood the ins and outs of a broken home.

After I moved to Philly my life started to get on track. There was a good 2 years where I didn’t socialize and just adapted to having stability in my life. Eventually I met some folks thanks to the Internet. I have a few good friends to this day dating back to 2013 when I decided to leave the past behind and see what was out there. Guarantee a few of them are reading this story. And to quote my favorite literary character Roland Deschain: Thankee-sai.

One of these friends, a lady... I call her “Bartendress” for the same reason that Charlie in Always Sunny referred to “the Waitress.” She understood my mental health issues. It was the biggest weight off my shoulders knowing that somebody understood. That’s all I needed. Someone to understand. I’ll probably never talk to her again because people go their separate ways and I’m a burden that people would probably prefer to forget. But I will always be grateful that she was an ear when I needed it most.

And although my old friends have lives of their own and we don’t communicate anymore, I do have a few select awesome folks that I met since I moved to Philly. We don’t talk to each other on a daily basis because that’s how it is in adult life. But we’re all there for each other when we need someone to listen.

I consider myself a minor character in everyone else’s story. But since I live my life my song lyrics and love 90s rock, here’s my favorite Alice In Chains chorus that I feel is relevant to this story. If you read this far you’re a champ. Thanks for sticking around.

“You my friend
I will defend
And if we change, well
I’ll love you anyway.”

B.H. Hosford
July 14 1976 - ??



The Very Smallest Tokyo



How scary is this place?
A fence, a wall, a brace
All for quick lockdown
Of a library downtown

###

You'll be killed, you'll be shot
They will take all you've got
Beware Los Angeles

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Forget it, it's Chinatown


Sitting and searching
Nothing to say
How will I waste
The rest of this day

###

I wrote a bit
Just this morn
My pen is mighty tired
The well is dry
From which that
Good ideas are sired

###

Poems are supposed to be
Love Letters (Words)
Dear Favorite Language
My poems turn out
Ink on Paper (Letters)
Characters without Character

###

Floozle Zip Astound
Crack open sky
Bright staggering stripe
Human Achievement
Titanium White

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

to Colter

LOVE YA BACK, JACK!

James Hill stared at the card in his hand, not quite sure what to make of it. In fact, it took him several minutes to figure out if it was really meant for him.

"Jimmy, what'd you get?" his mom inquired after opening and discarding a few pieces of junk mail.

"I got a love letter?"

"Oh, who's it from? One of the girls in your class? I bet it's from Molly. Is it from her?"

"I think it's from God."

James put the letter on the counter in front of his mother. It had all the hallmarks of being a love letter - red, white, & pink coloring, shaped like a heart, frilly edges, and all that jazz. His mom inspected it for a moment.

"And where's the envelope? Is there a return address?" The envelope was dutifully produced - interestingly, it had neither address nor return address, just 'James Hill' neatly embossed in gold leaf. His mother flipped both envelope and card over and back several times. She paused, stumped for a minute.

"What is it, Mom?" James finally broke the silence.

"Well, this is much too nice to be someone playing a joke on you or to be one of the people in your class. Who did you think is was from again?"

"I think it's from God."

"And why do you think that?"

"Well, I wrote him a Valentines Day card saying I loved him."

"First up, young man, God could be a woman, so be careful with this 'him' business. Second, why would you write a valentine to God?"

"Miss Harmon had us make cards and I didn't want to write one for anyone in class, so I wrote one to God and I put it in the collection basket just yesterday."

"Is that so?" James' mom had a look very similar to the look she gave when James totally didn't eat all the cookies or when James definitely cleaned his room and made his bed.

"Well, I've never heard of God writing anyone love notes before, so I think there's a better explanation out there." James' mom surveyed the room. "I suppose it doesn't really matter anyway - even if it's a prank, it's harmless. Now, while I get dinner ready I want you to sweep up a bit and straighten up around the front door. Okay?"

"Okay Mom!"

With that, James got the broom and the dustpan from the closet and got to work picking up shoes and sweeping and making sure coats were neatly on hooks instead of thrown in a pile. It took him a few mnutes, but it was an easy chore to do - not the big kind like cleaning the bathroom. Once all the shoes were on the rack and all the coats were on the hooks and all the dust & dirt was collected, he stepped outside to throw the dust out.

A thought struck James as he shook out the broom and dustpan. He looked up to the sky and cheerfully said "Thank you God!"

He took a step before looking and tripped. Luckily he was able to catch himself as he fell and didn't get hurt. His hands were placed square on the mat in front of the door. He looked down at the letters in the same typeface as those in the card: WELCOME

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Trek

"It's certainly ominous," someone in the group let out. Sure we were all thinking it as we crowded down the path, but the act of speaking the thought aloud gave it a certain power - our collective mood soured noticeably.

'I wonder if this is how livestock feel as they're led to the slaughter.' Flickers of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle came unbidden to my mind. I looked ahead at the collection of rags and unwashed heads in front of me - looking down wouldn't have netted much different - feet instead of heads, I suppose. It was concrete elsewise.

I'd done my best to keep my rags clean over the past few weeks. They'd not started as rags, of course, but the crossing took its toll. Salt water, sleeping in boats, sleeping in the woods, endless treks, all of it and more. Even the most stubborn of us had dropped their bags and extras a week or more ago.

[...]


Writer's Blok

Buttery Buttholes
be better than this
why write poems
only when pissed?
Both definitions
whether anger or drink
should encourage
a Simon to think.
Why do these things
spur imagination?
Is it a release
of gratification?
Poetry flows
from all types of thought
Cheesy last line
what hath God wrought?

&&&

Wailing stem bent
Potted not preserved
Vomit stance

&&&

Phone on table
out of mind
Black on grain
For once object
Not temptation

&&&

Boners and benders
and shiney chrome fenders
in a world rent
where are the menders?

&&&

A question mark in every poem
Does it spark from the unknown?
Or just a device for rhyme schemes tricky?
To make them end nice when going gets sticky.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Written Under Duress



Everywhere's a Library
in Anchorage
Buses, Bookstores, Back Alleys
From birdhouses in the 'burbs
to churches in the city
Everywhere's a Library
in Anchorage

###

Afloat, floating
Adrift, drifting
I'm not in trouble
It's just a feeling
Existential freedom
Distress, stressing
I need to know
Becalmed or calming?

###

I did not eat a calorie
for the day yesterday
While I did my fast
One whole day went past
Did I waste the day?
I certainly can't say
A body pained in bed
Does wonders for the head.

Hey

There are so few perfect nights in life that I'm thrilled to be able to count this one.

It's the day before Valentine's Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are only 4 songs deep in the setlist. It's the first time I've ever heard them live. I know that their sets don't run long now that Kiedis is getting older and has to save his voice for each show. But ever since Flea and Josh started off with an E minor jam that turned into "Can't Stop" I knew this was gonna be one for my own personal record books.

She's standing next to me. Enjoying the show, having a great time. There's that awkward intangible vibe between friends and maybe something more than friends. But music wins the day, and I hear Flea hit that first bass note.

"Oh man," I tell her. "They never play this one! This is a treat!"

"I don't think I know this," she says.

"It's a rare one. I love this song!"

The irony isn't lost on me. Something in the back of my mind tells me this won't work, so I sieze the moment to lock this one perfect memory in time before it becomes a lost prophecy. I slip my hand around her waist as we both groove to the song.

What she doesn't know, but unfortunately I do know, is that the song is about knowing when love is lost. When it's time to walk away. It's about a guy who put too much effort into a girl he cared deeply for. She didn't reciprocate. And he realized that sometimes in life you have to throw in the towel and move on.

What I don't know is that she is happily dating someone. That they will be married just over a year from now. That she says she is a friend but will eventually stop talking to me while she moves forward with the people that are important in her life.

I enjoy the 5 minutes of live music. A moment in time that can't be recreated. One of my favorite bands playing a song that has personal meaning to me, while a person I care about who doesn't feel the same way is in my arms. Every second that passes is one more second closer to this perfect moment ending forever. That makes it extra precious. Although I know this will have a bittersweet ending, I hang on to that moment. The music, the feeling of her smiling next to me, and all of life's problems forgotten for a few brief minutes.

The only thing that could make this night better would be if the band played our favorite song. And as it turns out, the penultimate song just so happens to be the one. As soon as I hear the first arpeggio: A, E, A...my face lights up and we look at each other.

I got a bad disease...but from my brain is where I bleed

She says, "You thought they weren't going to play it?"

And yeah, I kind of thought they weren't going to. But they did.

And when Soul to Squeeze is over, I think back to two hours ago when I took a picture of us in front of the Wells Fargo Center. Because for my first RCHP show I figured there's no better way to capture the moment than a picture of us

Standing in line to see the show tonight
And there's a light on, heavy glow
By The Way, I tried to say 
I'd be there...waiting for

As fate would have it, the last song of the set just so happens to be By The Way. I know it as soon as I hear the first F/C/D minor chords. This evening couldn't have been any more perfect if I'd scripted it myself.

But after we leave the show that one rare cut is nagging at the back of my head. The song that she hadn't heard. The song I know is about love lost, giving up, and moving on.

Hey...oh yeah...how long?
I guess I oughta walk away
Hey...oh yeah...so long...
What you gonna do today?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

TGI Fucktards

I'm sitting at a table in Fridays, with Wolff on my left, Warner across from me, and Wild Man in the last seat opposite mine. His eyes look out at us through his stupid glasses, and there's those fucked up lips that I'm constantly trying not to laugh at. Sounds mean, but hey, fuck him.

So the waitress shows up with our salads, and the salad ritual begins. I'm starting to dig into mine, as are my counterparts, when we notice something odd. Wild Man is eating his house salad with ranch dressing.

With his fingers.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Wolff asks. Me and Warner have the 'never-ceases-to-amaze' look on our faces.

"Huh?" he says between ranch dressing coated lips. "I don't have any silverware."

"Just take some off the table next to us!" Wolff has opened the door to reality to Dick Lips, but he's too fucking stupid to step through.

"I don't want to get in trouble," Mr. Passive mumbles.

I can't take it anymore. "You moron!" I say. "Just take it. There's nobody there, nobody gives a shit."

"I'll just wait for the waitress," he explains. Another chunk of jizz-covered lettuce with tomato passes from fingers to lips. Warner is making his usual 'you fucking idiot' face.

As I'm wondering if anybody else in the restaurant who isn't three years old is eating salad with their fingers, Wolff stands up. "I can't take it! Here!" He reaches all of three feet to the next table, vacant, and grabs a napkin-rolled fork and knife. He slams it down on the table in front of Wild Man. This once happened with Ketchup in Applebee's.

"Thanks," Dick Lips mumbles. He unwraps his silverware, smearing ranch dressing on the napkin in the process, and Wolff hangs his head in disbelief. In many situations, I take the opportunity to use a Hoss-style movie quote. This is one of those times.

"Wild Man," I begin.

He looks up as he spears some crap on his plate.

"When you go to the bathroom and the toilet lid is down, do you shit your pants?"

About one second of silence passes, then Warner, gotta love him, almost chokes on his food, he's laughing so fucking hard. Wolff catches it a second later. I wonder at times like this if the people think we're the most obnoxious assholes they'll run into all night, making so much noise, usually at Wild Man's expense.

"Ha, ha," he says in his stupid little mock laugh.

I'm still laughing over that one, because that dumb fuck just re-enlisted for six years.

So the rest of the meal goes by normal, with the occasional at-Dick-Lips'-expense joke. Any other normal human would have stopped hanging out with us a long time ago. But he takes the abuse. Likewise, we would have given up on Captain Dipshit even longer ago, but hey, he's got a car.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Wild Man excuses himself to the bathroom, making the cardinal mistake of leaving his food unguarded. Wolff wastes no time grabbing the salt shaker.

"Sweet," Warner says between burger bites. I'm grinning like a fiend. Wolff unscrews the top of the shaker, and proceeds to ceremoniously dump half the contents into Wild Man's fruity drink, one of those fru-fru things he always orders. No alcohol. Wild man and alcohol don't mix.

About that time, the waitress steps up to our table, and sees our mischief in progress.

"You guys are sooo bad," she admonishes.

No shit.

Wolff still has that big goofy face as he hands me the salt shaker. As I return it to its original spot on the table, he stirs the drink with the straw. They're free here.

Enter Wild Man just as the deed has been done.

So the meal continues, all three of us silently cackling evilly, willing him to take a sip. I enjoy the look from Warner across the table, a look that says he takes pleasure in knowing those big lips will pucker up in disgust any moment. But they don't.

And then the waitress shows up with a refill for Wild Man, knowing what's coming up. This should seem odd since his current drink is almost full. But Dick Lips can't find his way out of a paper bag. I know. I actually drew him a map once.

Come on.

Drink it!

The salt must have settled.

And then, when Wild Man gets near the bottom, he takes a nice long, slow sip from the straw. Then I am rewarded with those huge lips puckering up in disgust.

"Which one of you put salt in my drink?" he yells at us. Cool, because he doesn't get pissed that often. Then Wolff goes off on him.

"What!? Don't you dare ever accuse us of fucking with your drink!"

"Well, it had to be one of you," Wild Man reasons. Sound logic. I'm impressed.

"We're your friends!" Wolff continues. "We don't do that kind of shit! And I'm pissed off that you'd have the balls to think we'd do something that stupid to you!" Me and Warner try not to choke on our food.

"Maybe you're right," Wild Man admits. "Someone might have messed up in the kitchen. I'm sorry."

No shit.

This guy really exists.

Six fucking years.



Author's note: I originally wrote this shortly after it happened circa 2001 when I was in the Army. I recently discovered a written copy and transcribed it exactly as written. Partially to preserve integrity of art or some such bullshit, but mostly so I can look back and see my shortcomings as a writer. I don't like my excessive use of commas and run-on sentences, but hey - live and learn. It's a product of its time.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Rookery Rhymes

Early Morning
Check-out race
Rush hour broken
(by a) Smiling Face
Through overcast drizzle
A sunshine ray
Great to see you
Enjoy your day!

^v^

I am required
to be inspired
by a hulking mass of ice.

And by surrounds
where life abounds
from towering trees to mice.

But when writing
the theme inviting
is something else I hold dear.

To be honest
it's my fondness
for whiskey and wine and beer!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Best Man

I've been tapped for best man duties twice. I did and still do consider it a great honor. It's a pretty big deal if a buddy thinks highly enough that he'd ask me to fill the role over say, his brother or a friend he's known since grade school. And in both cases, these were two friends I'd only known for 2 or 3 years at the time they got married.

First time was my rookie outing. My friend and his bride were together since high school before I knew them. I remember being really nervous because I knew I'd be expected to do a speech. Nowadays I'm much, much better at speaking in front of a crowd. I fucking hate doing it, but I've got a certain sense of style and comedic timing that I've developed over the years. So for my first time doing a speech I gave up trying to write something and just decided, "Fuck it. We're doing it live." Shot from the hip and totally winged it. I was nervous as hell but glad when it was over and I could get back to drinking a beer and reenacting the "Louie, Louie" scene from Animal House during the reception. All in all, I'd give it a 3 out of 10. They were really good friends and it felt awesome to be included in their special day.

The second time was like night and day compared to the first. You're gonna need a bit of backstory first, though. The groom in question was a great friend I met in the Army. My first line sergeant actually. Supposedly there's no fraternization with the enlisted Joes, but we got along well enough that we threw that rule right out the window. We had a lot in common, including the same birthday as it turned out. Odd, right? Anyway, he had met his bride back in high school (there's a trend here, I know) and they separated when he joined the Army and she went to college.

At some point when we were hanging out talking about high school girlfriends, the way guys do, he pulled out one of those wallet photos that were popular back when physical pictures used to be a thing. I was dumbfounded. She was a beauty. I recall my reaction was something along the line of, "This girl? She actually talked to you?" They were both from Portland, and one weekend trip down to Portland from Fort Lewis I got to meet her when she was home from college. We used to take a lot of weekend trips down to Oregon to escape the drudgery of being on base all the time. I was amazed when I got to meet my buddy's ex-girlfriend, because she had personality, manners, charisma: the works. Stellar human being. On the drive back to Fort Lewis we stopped at a gas station. And I remember while he was filling up his tank I said to him, "Dude. If I find out someday that was the girl that got away, I will find you. And I will beat you." Something really close to that, anyway.

Flash forward a few years. After me relentlessly egging him on, they ended up dating again. And eventually engaged. And since you started this short story at the beginning obviously you know they ended up married. When I was doing my best man speech I even invoked the "girl that got away" quote, which was now null and void since he was scared enough of me that he got married instead. Don't thank me. I just do what needs to be done. Anyway, I owned that speech and good times were had by all. Solid 8 out of 10.

I find it ironic that a guy who doesn't know the first thing about relationships or marriage somehow made a good enough friend to two different couples that they included me in their ceremony. And I won't lie. It does hurt a lot that they don't talk to me anymore. Friends moving on is sort of a recurring theme in my life. Over the years people fade away, and in their case it's more important to focus on their families than an old friend who isn't in the picture. I don't blame them one bit, and even though I'd like to say I'd never do that if the roles were reversed, I probably would. There's only so many times you can try to keep friendships active before you realize you're making all of the effort and it's time to stop. Eventually I learned to step back and let them move on to be happy in their own world.

What else did I learn? Good friends are rare and an incredible find when personalities click. Enjoy friendships while they last. Embrace the laughter and good memories. Step aside when it's no longer your time.

Also, I'm not the best man. But I do think I'm a pretty good one. Solid 10 out of 10.

Bench Press


Expensive; Offensive
It all adds up
If rumors be true
Trade a day for a cup

:---:

I slept here just yesterday
'neath this very awn
My body weary, my spirit broke
My mouth affixed a yawn
I wanted to sleep elsewhere
But my strength had gone
I was feeling a long way away
From where a thing's a jawn

Friday, September 7, 2018

How much does attention cost?


Instagram
Phone-in-Hand
Attention ever elsewhere

Take some time
Write a line!
(alas)
Attention ever elsewhere

Look, a gal!
A chat pal
Attention ever elsewhere

Push your pen
Can't find zen
(alas)
Attention ever elsewhere

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Worn Out



Half hour ticket
Thirty minutes
Typing fast I can
Now signed in
Wrong account
Twenty minutes
Settings change
Rejected
Fixed link
Photos up
Ten minutes
One sentence
Two sentence
Three sentence
Save
Log out

...

Gold Rush Gals & Gold Rush Greats
Promulgate & Profligate
This whole town is built on shit
American history, isn't it?

...

Tired monster man
Traveling where'er he can
Always shod, always dressed
How's he s'posed to feel his best
Endless Wander
E'ry morn feeling dumber
No output a real bummer
Can't stop and take off shoe
Can't rest and sleep 'til two
Endless Wander

Zoomin'

BRAM!

I'm goin' man.

Cruisin'!

Lookin' for a bruisin'?

A shot fired in the night, I'm a streak of sound outside your window.

You couldn't catch me if you tried.

Zippin'

Zoomin'

Zap!



You chasin'?

No?

Why?

I'm hip! I'm fly!

I swear that's not a
LIE

Monday, August 27, 2018

I know what I want to write about...


Writer's block
What a cock
My dumb pen
Don't wanna talk

Spread some ink
You little fink
'me no write good'
Is what I think

But here I am
Pen in hand
This little book
Word quicksand

Now verse four
I write some more
One more line
I'm out the door


Friday, August 24, 2018

Just wait until the New Library opens!


Tourist Time
Now Stampeding
After all that
Dim Sum Eating
Interior
Firetruck Fun
You notice how
They tell you tons?
Infodump

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Verdant



Canopy Panoply
A beautiful view
So glad I'm sharing
This moment with you

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Most Influential Video Games: A Look Back


Recently I was asked to come up with a list of my top ten most personally influential video games. At first I thought, "Well that's easy. I've already got a list of my top ten all-time favorites." But then I slowed down for a second and thought about it. Being personally influential is different than being a favorite. And the more I thought about it, the two lists are pretty similar. After all, with games it tends to be one game in a series grabs your attention but a sequel down the road does everything better and really hits home. I also realized how well I remember who I shared my gaming experiences with, and the things that were going on in my life at the time.

Anyway, here we go.

1. Final Fantasy Legend (Game Boy)
This little gem for the Game Boy started my love affair with the Final Fantasy series. Funny, because it’s not technically part of the series but was renamed in the USA to improve marketing. But there was no Internet in 1990 so how would I know? It worked. As a 14 year old stranger to DeLand, Florida meeting new people, new to high school and getting in my own adventures, this was a pretty amazing side quest to real life.


2. Super Mario World (SNES)
The chase for 120 stars! It’s not my favorite Mario game - that honor goes to the almighty Super Mario World. But this beast revolutionized 3D platforming and made me dump way too many hours into my N64. I loved the gameplay and it still holds up, even if the polygon graphics don’t. And for better or worse this gave us “It’s a-me, Mario!”


3. Resident Evil (PlayStation)
I remember working at Domino’s Pizza listening to a coworker trying to describe this game. Something about fixed camera angles and shooting a huge monster with a rocket launcher on a helipad. When I finally got my hands on a copy it was totally unlike anything I’d played before. I love bad horror movies and this game has all the tropes, complete with shitty acting as the icing on the cake. The sequel is the best but Resident Evil is an absolute classic that started something huge.


4. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
Simon’s Quest is like the Flash Gordon of video games: awesome soundtrack, fun premise, painfully executed, and so many things wrong with it. Yet it holds a special place in my heart. For all its

WHAT A HORRIBLE NIGHT TO HAVE A CURSE.

annoyances, this game was still a big hit when I was in 7th grade. Before the Internet you had to know someone with a Nintendo Power subscription and have daily discussions between classes to figure out pretty much everything about this game. And I didn’t even have an NES so I had to be jealous that everyone else got to play this train wreck until I finally beat it a few years later.


5. Super Metroid (SNES)
I never played the original, so Metroid II on Game Boy was my intro to the series. But when Super Metroid hit the SNES...holy shizzleballs. I was totally blown away. Everything about this game is damn near perfect and it set a standard for platform adventure games that was almost impossible to match. Even today in my old age I can still cruise through this game like a pro, sequence breaking and wall jumping to minimize overall time. Kids today can have their fancy 3-D graphics, in-game tutorials and hand-holding gameplay. I’ll take Super Metroid any day of the week and twice on Samusday.


6. The Last of Us (PS3/PS4)
I finally broke down and bought a PS3 specifically to play this. It is without a doubt the most mature and intense story I’ve ever experienced in a game. It’s got top notch production value and proved to me that Naughty Dog is the best studio producing games today.

The Last of Us has a perfect balance of intense stealth gameplay blended seamlessly with a cinematic narrative that makes you feel like you’re living the story with Joel and Ellie. And the ending...well damn! It was even better the second time around on PS4 with a headset and that pants-shittingly amazing surround sound. What better way to make a the Pittsburgh hotel basement even more terrifying? I can’t wait to be emotionally broken all over again when the sequel comes out.


7. Mass Effect (X360)
When I was going back to college at UCF in Orlando I eventually decided to pick up an X360. I’m 99% sure it was just to play Mass Effect. Somehow I scrounged enough cash to pick up an X360 and a copy of this game at a Best Buy on Alafaya Trail, and drove back to my apartment to try something new.

Oh hell yes.

What I got was a Star Wars-esque story set in our own future universe with incredible story, cool alien races, and a universe crafted so well you really felt like part of it. Mass Effect 2 is my favorite because of the smaller scope (think Empire compared to A New Hope) but this game exploded on the scene and gave me something amazing. The biggest selling point is that Commander Shepard is your Shepard. The choices you make are unique to your playthrough and over the course of three games the entire experience feels like it’s tailored just for you.


8. The Legend of Zelda (NES)
When I was in 6th grade the NES hit the market and Atari, Mattel & Coleco were promptly shown the door. And then we got this instant classic called The Legend of Zelda. I never owned an NES so I had to head over to a friend’s house to watch him play. I’d act as copilot and try to point out where to bomb and which bushes to burn.

Zelda was unlike anything I’d seen up to that point. It had this killer map, a golden cartridge (shiny!), and was the first game I can remember playing that felt like an actual adventure. The maps were loaded with secrets! It had geographical regions and Hyrule felt like a real place. My buddy let me keep a save file going at his house, and after a while it became the first game of the new 8-bit era that I ever completed. One day in the not-too-distant future A Link to the Past on SNES eventually became my second favorite game of all time. But the original opened the door and captured my imagination.


9. X-Wing (PC)
Fuck. Yes.

My senior year in high school. I was at a friend’s house and he introduced me to this game on MS-DOS. I was immediately hooked. A flight sim game that lets you be a Rebel pilot in the Star Wars universe? Sign me up!

One of the things I’ve always loved about Star Wars is the side stories. Not the Jedi, but the lesser known heroes who did their part in the war. Especially pilots like Rogue Squadron. This is why I loved Rogue One so much. Back in the 90s Wedge Antilles was my third favorite character besides Han and Chewie. So when I found out there was a game that masqueraded as an Incom T-65B flight simulator? Fugheddaboutit.

I got my first PC sometime in 1995. And this was the first game I bought. Since Windows 95 was the New Kid on the Block, it even took me 5 days to figure out how to get this DOS based game to run on my system. And then I had to learn to save my pilot file to a floppy disk after each mission because this game had permadeath. But once it was rolling I was 100% ready to do my part for the Rebellion, and I became the unsung hero. No TIE Fighter or gunboat would escape on my watch.
10 years later Knights of the Old Republic became my favorite Star Wars game by making me feel like part of an exciting new story. But X-Wing was the first game that really captured the magic of a galaxy far, far away.


10. Final Fantasy IV
Story time.

I really, really wanted to include Final Fantasy VI at the end of this list. Screw it, I’ll talk about it a bit anyway since these games are two sides of the same coin and I’m making the rules here. But here’s the deal. While FF6 is my favorite game of all time, and I can talk about it ad nauseam the truth is Final Fantasy IV was more influential. It was called FFII as shown here since the in-between games weren’t released in the USA. Yeah, it’s confusing but I got over it. It helped once the Internet was around to explain these things after this series became mainstream when FF7 took the gaming world by storm.

I’d already played two Final Fantasy Legends on Game Boy, but totally missed Final Fantasy on NES since I didn’t actually own that console. One afternoon I was hanging out at a friend’s house watching him play Final Fantasy IV which he had borrowed from someone and I was immediately hooked. I asked him if I could re-borrow it since I had recently worked many hours at Winn-Dixie in DeLand, FL and saved my cash to acquire the One Console to Rule Them All: the SNES.

And this game absolutely blew my fucking mind.

I mean, look at the box art! It’s just a title! What the fuck even is 8 meg memory? I had no idea, but it had to be important if it’s on the box. And a 76-page strategy guide? This game had to be intense.

Final Fantasy IV was the first time I really discovered video games could be every bit as epic as movies like Star Wars. It had characters that developed over time who I actually cared about. Cecil and Rosa are right up there with Han and Leia in my book (see also: Locke and Celes). Kain is an absolute badass. And this is the first time the name Cid was introduced to my vocabulary. This was where I first started seeing references to Norse and Eastern mythology, and themes that would keep showing up as I kept playing Final Fantasy games. Like sacrifice and redemption, and the time-honored classic “we gotta save the world” theme. I even eventually learned about the Prose Edda all because of this game. And in 11th grade I took a trip to visit my dad & grandparents in Salinas, CA and had to bring my SNES and this cartridge (which wasn’t mine) with me just to keep playing. Still have no idea who it belonged to.

The next time a Final Fantasy showed up in America (FF6) in 1994 at the end of my senior year it pretty much consumed my free time for a while when I wasn’t studying music. It took the Final Fantasy formula and cranked it up to 11. The soundtrack to FF6 is the video game equivalent of Star Wars and Locke Cole became my all-time favorite video game hero. But if it hadn’t been for the classic Final Fantasy IV then I never would have had the love that I do for this incredible series.

It started when I picked up Final Fantasy Legend on Game Boy when I was 14. Today I'm 42 and still playing this series. And if you're not? Well that's like, your loss, man.

"What's the most important thing in life? To be free of obligations!"
-Setzer Gabbiani, FF6

Accessories



[Shoes]

Clomp, Clomp, Clomp
you can hear them
rounding corners
that heavy female step

Clomp Clomp Clomp
they announce one's
down the hall
that heavy female step

Is it learned from high heels?
Is it natural?
It's almost as annoying as
those who shuffle
that heavy female step

&&&



[Phone]
Are you charging? Are you not?
Are you draining while plugged in?
Tell the truth you little snot.
Else I'll throw you in the bin.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Last Will and Testament

I have a request / for when I do die
Build me a statue / twenty eight feet high
Maybe posed waving / a smile on my face
Definitely set in / conspicuous space
Doesn't much matter / standing or sitting
Though with a top hat / most likely fitting

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tinkerbell

(or: How I watched a girl go from the reading room to the cafe four times in fifteen minutes)

Turkey or Peacock?

Tinkerbell, sweet Tinkerbell
You've gone and put me in your spell
Come sit with me

An opened door, a little smile
Whisk me to your magic isle
Come sit with me

I've watched you walk to and fro
I beg you please do not go
Come sit with me

I know I'm just some odd stranger
Likely imbued with some male danger
I understand...
but...

I promise I'm just a harmless flirt
I'll just compliment your olive skirt
Come sit with me

The Face on the Metro

There is, in fact, a library here
Black lines like paint
Gouged
The Face into an asterisk

Recoil, then recognition
The Face was my own
A shudder - my own or not - and
the face turned to place.
Queen Street Station
Time to move on


Locked Out!


Empty seats watching
The locked out workers parade
Solidarity?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

In Hiding

"With birds I'll share this lonely view."

Am I really lonely? It's a question I ask myself all the time.

As far back as I can remember I've never really had a problem making friends. Growing up as the fat kid you've gotta sink or swim, so to speak. I had to develop a personality and learn the fine art of wit and comedic timing, or else life was gonna suck. There's a surprising amount of joy that comes from making other people feel laugh and feel more relaxed just because you're there. I can get along with just about anyone, and people generally enjoy being around me. That's not in my head. Over the years I have been welcomed with open arms into many different social circles. But here I am, sitting home and listening to "Scar Tissue" by RHCP and that line about the lonely view always makes me think.

"With birds I'll share this lonely view." The image it conjures up is someone surrounded by life, but utterly alone.

Thing is, lonely is a state of mind. There's a big difference between being alone versus lonely. I'm alone all the time, but I choose to be alone whether or not I admit it. In a city of 1.5 million people it's pretty easy to walk out the door and run into folks if I choose to do so. I enjoy hanging out at bars sometimes to collect my thoughts and feel like I'm still part of a community, even if I'm not talking to someone. Sometimes I'll meet new people through a chance encounter and get in a really awesome conversation seemingly at random, and that's pretty exciting when it happens. It's like getting in a mini adventure you didn't see coming. And forcing myself to be social by going out alone has proven to be one hell of a character building exercise over the years.

There's a lot to be said for having the luxury to be alone whenever I want. Don't feel like talking to anyone today? No problem. I've got no roommates and can make the day free to do whatever the hell I feel like doing. I can play guitar and sing without judgment. Take an hour and create some art by drawing Zentangles. Drop 4 hours into playing a video game that I've already pumped 200 hours into over the years. Go for a walk around my local park and listen to some 90s rock. I know scores of people that have either been in a relationship or lived with roommates since their college years. And while I used to think being alone is a downer, truth is many other people would love to be able to have the kind of freedom to just be by themselves at any given moment without any social penalties.

But...

I always have this phantom cloud following me around. As if there's something wrong with me because I'm alone. No roommates, no girlfriend, wife or kids. As if there's a social council that condemns me for being a 42 year old guy no attachments. As if I'm a lesser person because I never found another person to be my "better half."

Fuck that. I am my own better half.

 I've overcome what I consider to be some pretty serious shit to get where I am today, and from my point of view I'm doing damn well. There's always things I'd like to improve of course, but sometimes it's nice to step back to appreciate all the things I've accomplished. Even though at the time it didn't seem I was making progress towards goals. Because when you're on a really long road taking one step doesn't seem like you're actually getting anywhere.

So, lonely? Adding other people to your life doesn't fix lonely. You fix lonely by yourself. You fix it by realizing you're the only person who has the power to dictate your state of mind. It's been very hard over the years to learn this and separate the concept of being alone and being lonely. And it's constantly a learning process. I walk a fine line between deciding if all this is really true, or if I'm just buying into my own bullshit. But I think the latter is just when I don't rise above my own negativity.

I just changed the song to "In Hiding" by Pearl Jam. Time to be positive and enjoy the rest of the day. Free to do whatever I want. Because I'm not lonely, just alone today. This moment is mine to enjoy. And it's pretty liberating to be able to realize that.

"It's funny when things change so much,
It's all a state of mind."

Climbing


Up and up
I aspire
I want to climb
Ever higher

Top the building
Top the tree
I want to climb
All I see


Friday, August 10, 2018

Grump Burger & Machiato


Grump Burger
Steely Stare
Any Seat?
No, you sit there.
No more breakfast (despite the sign)
Four interactions (don't dare whine)
COFFEE
ORDER
BURGER
PAY
Burnt Burger
Frozen Fries
Empty Seats
I know why.
I should have gone to McDonald's

&&&

Machiato.
Machiato?
Machiato?
Oh, Machiato!
HON HON HON HON
Anglais?
American
Smiles abound.
The game is on.
Pointing, pointing
[Pick a size!]
[For here?]
[Three dollars.]
[Enjoy]
I already have.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Piazzetta

One's a little dancer
Dancing in her seat
The other likes to squirm
On and off his feet
Both were much excited
Pizza can't be beat
I was most delighted
Dinner theater treat!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

omelette du fromage


I'm sure this'd be a pretty poem
if it were in French.
As I am a monoglot
it has a certain stench.
Ears open I have seen Quebec
my tongue is not so brave.
My mouth's been closed in Montreal
Lest my accent end up grave.*
But cities are cities and my feet still work
a smile can do a lot.
So I've wandered and pointed and nodded my head
Monsieur Polite Monoglot



*GET IT!? Also, alt: "lest my accent misbehave"

Short Order Wizards

"A Smoocher, a Squeezer, and three Firm Handshakes, got it."

I put the ticket in the clip and got down to business. The order was an easy one that I could do without thinking about it, but today's task was to train the new guy. I shot him a glance.

"Translation." I challenged. He paused for just a second.

"Love potion, weight-loss potion, and three confidence boosting potions, right?"

"You got it. I'll pull the oil and the ether, you get that water up to temp and pull the dry stuff." I grabbed two thick-as-thumb vials off the rack and turned to face a wall of spigots. I flicked open the olive oil tap with my left thumb and the ether tap with my right. The glass containers squeezed between my ring fingers and my palms began to fill. At the halfway point I flicked both spigots off. A drop of red food coloring in the oil and I was ready for the powders. I turned to my left and encountered an unanticipated obstacle.

The cramped space filled with crashes and curses. Broken glass, boiling water and a great melange of powders occupied the floor. After a moment of panic, our eyes locked and we both scrambled out the door, gasping for fresh air.

[...]

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beginnings

Am I starting here, Halifax?
Did I start before?
Have I yet to start, Halifax?
As I've not explored.
I've just barely met you, Halifax.
Not walk'd 'round at all.
Now I've got to leave you, Halifax.
On to Montreal.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New Authors!

As you may have noticed, I've added some new authors to the blog. My hope is that they'll add some stories as I'm out traveling around the world.

Hoss came out strong with Tactical Drop. I hope he adds a bunch more of his army stories - and maybe even a story or two about our adventures together in Philadelphia.

Sean will hopefully start writing soon - he has some great stories / poems in him that should be in front of more eyes.

In either case, they should both know I'm eagerly anticipating reading their next submissions!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tactical Drop

"Cover my move. I gotta take a shit."

I'm tired, on the verge of hallucinations, and sick of being out here in the desert at night. But if there's one thing I'm gonna stick up for, it's death with dignity. No way am I taking a notional bullet up my literal ass from the OPFOR. I'm not even sure if these guys exist. After two years of training exercises I've never even run into the fake bad guys, which I assume is just four guys from Bravo Troop bullshitting under cover of dark with one hit and fade per night to make it seem like they're actually playing their part.  But I'll be damned if I'm gonna be the guy in Warhorse Squadron known as the Joe who got capped while dropping ass outside his humvee.

Hawkins stirs. He's not totally awake, which is to be expected. When you're sleeping in the field there's some part of your subconscious that keeps you in that 90% sleep zone, with the other 10% knowing at any moment some dicknose is about to wake you up and tell you it's your turn for radio watch. In this case my hour isn't up yet, but a tactical fecal drop takes priority over sporadic radio chatter.

"My turn already?" Hawkins is not pleased.

"Just gimme five minutes. Gotta drop ass but second platoon was talking about OPFOR on the radio. I'll cover your shift."

"Fuck, seriously?"

"Yeah man," I tell him. "Look, just use my NODs and keep an eye out. Shout out if you see anyone moving." We're in the middle of a flat area in the goddamn desert which means seemingly miles of visibility in any direction. But when duty calls you never can be too safe. I hand my night vision over to Hawkins so he can keep an eye out, assuming he doesn't fall asleep in the next few minutes.

"Alright dude, I got you," he says. Score! I've got my window. Time to make a tactical dump that would make Rambo proud. I reach over to my rucksack and pull my E-tool out. Nowadays that sounds like an internet hacking program, but in the real world it's an entrenching tool. Or as I call it, the best wingman ever when you've got a shit on deck.

"Thanks man." I crawl out of the driver's seat and move around to the back of Charlie 1-2, aka First Platoon, second vehicle. Senior Scout's truck, and I'm the Han Solo of this beast. But even Solo has to vacate a load every now and then. It's just one of those things we don't think about. As I walk around to the back of the truck I lock my E-tool into position so the spade sticks out 90 degrees from the handle. You won't find this in the field manual, but that bad boy makes an amazing third leg when you need a field expeident latrine.

I drop trou off the back of the humvee and place my E-tool right there up against my right butt cheek. Since I'm not a total savage I may as well hold on to the back of the truck for extra support, so I use each hand to grab one of the tie down points. I'm in the middle of a mostly moonless night in the desert, it's chilly, and I'm risking getting pretend murdered by fake bad guys. May as well be shitting at the Ritz by US Army standards though. This is about as good as it gets out in the field. That first log drops and it's like Atlas shrugging the weight of the world off his shoulders. Fuckin' A, as the Dude would say. In the background I can hear idle radio chatter. Presumably about not seeing OPFOR because they're asleep while us dumbasses are looking for them.

One of the tricks they don't teach you in basic training is about hoarding the toilet paper from the MREs. Sure, it's a pro move to bring your own rolls of toilet paper with you out in the field, but a good soldier is always prepared for any contigency. So five minutes ago when I didn't want to wake up Sgt. Slater to ask where he stashed his rolls of TP, I was fortunate enough to have my backup. Every MRE comes with a tiny packet of shit tickets and it's long been my own personal standard operating procedure to gather as many of those fuckers as I can and cram them in the pockets of my gear. Specifically for situations like this.

But sometimes, fortune smiles on your side. First, Hawkins is willing to cover me for a tactical dook. Second, OPFOR doesnt appear to make me the laughing stock of the squadron. And third (and most imporatant), it's a clean drop. The best kind. Out-and-out, done deal, no Hershey's residue. Granted it's nighttime, but I don't need visual verification or a safety wipe to confirm this deployment is a success. Mission accomplished, I get my pants back where they're supposed to be and hop back in the front seat, about four pounds lighter.

"Thanks man," I tell Hawkins as he hands my NODs back to me. I'm pretty sure he's asleep within 5 seconds. I check my watch. 1:37am. Or 0137 hours, but I still think of time in the civilian format to make me feel like a real person. Radio watch is uneventful. One or two more spot reports of OPFOR out there from second platoon. Once it hits 2:00am sharp, I wake up Wyman and fork over the radio's hand mic.

Next thing I know the sun is cracking over the Eastern horizon behind us and Sgt. Slater is doing his morning shaving routine using the passenger's side mirror. I sip some water from my Camelbak and step out of the truck to stretch my legs. The rest of the five man crew does the same. Then I hear it. Last night wasn't a dream. It really happened.

"Jesus Christ, Hoss! Could you have shit any closer to the humvee? Like on top of it?"

Hawkins is the unfortunate soul who discovers my tactical bioweapon. Sure, I could have used the E-tool for its actual purpose of digging and buried that bomb, but where's the fun in that? Besides, I was tired. And it's biodegradable.

I give him a look that says, "Who gives a shit?" Apparently I give the shits around here.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Shootout

The bartender was eating ice cream with a fork. I inched my hand down to my blaster, suddenly aware of my situation. The only question that mattered was how many it had brought along.

Of the dozen or so patrons in the joint, I doubted more than three were true shifters. If I was in real shit, a handful would be labs - hopefully whoever set up this ambush didn't know the full price on my head and only brought a couple. In any case, I had to act.

I shot up from my seat and flashed the bartender a big smile. Only four sets of eyes locked on to me with the abrupt move - a good sign of odds I could handle. In a voice loud enough that everyone could hear, I pushed out a simple question: "shitter?"

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Show

She took a hard, uneven step that caused her pearls to clack.

She winced, privately. No one was paying attention anyway. She continued her march to the hors d'oeuvres.

"Great show tonight, right?" a porcine man sidled up to her as she dipped a shrimp.

"Sure."

"I enjoyed the male singer - he had a real growl on him. What struck you most?"

"The end," she stated as she walked off.

The woman was a fountain pen. Black. Ornate. A ribbon of ink seemingly left in her wake. The blotter followed.

"I didn't mean any offense - just making conversation."

She traced a path between tables.

"Alright ma'am, I just want you to know I didn't mean nothin'," he despaired.

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