Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Big Carrot (A Short Story: 1958, out of St. Paul, Minnesota)

Uncle Ernest, whom I called uncle really was not my uncle but my mother’s boyfriend for some forty-years, found out my secret when I was eleven years old, back in the summer of 1959. Let me explain: Earnest Brandt, had about a half-acre of land in the city proper off Cayuga Street, it was all fenced in, and in the back of his house was a fairly large garden and he gave me a small section of it to grow carrots.
       Well, I was grateful, and so I tried to copy him by planting my seeds in a number of rows: not too close, not too far apart, and picking out the weeds, watering it when needed, and so forth and so on; but my carrots just didn’t grow like his, thus comes the envy of a growing youth, I was eleven years old. This would be the beginning and the conclusion of my Al Capone Days, you know, the big gangster of the 1920s; actually, he died the year I was born, 1947, he was a kingpin for seven years, I was for seven hours.
       Well, we lived next door to Earnest—kind of—an empty lot separating us, my brother Mike, my mother and my grandpa, we lived together; but it was grandpa’s house. And Earnest had two children who lived with him, Gloria and Don. And so it wasn’t a long hike to his garden, and Donald and I had a few things in common and were best of friends, he actually taught me how to dance. Anyhow, it was easy to simply jump over the fence, which he never liked the neighborhood boys doing but he had an apple tree and many a time one of us boys went over that fence to fetch apples for the throng.
       So it was that that every so often I’d go and check on my garden to see how my carrots were doing: and they were not doing very well in comparison to Mr. Brandt’s. This one day, summer day, 1958 (the year he traded his old 1950-Chevy and bought his New Galaxy 500 Ford 500, not sure what the ‘500’ meant, I saw him go into his house using the backdoor, my mother had just come down to visit him (he could see her walking from our home to his), and so I knew he’d not be back in the garden for the rest of the evening. They took turns going to each other’s houses, for the most part, but as time went on, and I got older, it seemed she preferred his, because of grandpa, and his moods, and I suppose privacy, but grandpa could be ornery at times, and so for a less of a disrupted evening, it was a simple choice of who’s house was better to mingle in.
        As I was about to say, Ernie went into his house, and I went looking into his garden, he had many things growing but somehow I was more interested in how his carrots were doing. The top of his carrots were as round as my writs, and mine were as round as my thumb: this was not just, not fair by any means I felt, and envy set in, and I’ll let you know, envy is not like jealousy, jealous comes and goes; envy, grows, and sticks in your mind like white on rice. Consequently, I looked here and there, mostly at the backdoor that lead out to a wooden platform, an open porch kind of, to see if Ernie was coming, and he wasn’t. Carefully I dug around and pulled out one humungous carrot, the size of 2 x 4 log, so it appeared to my mind’s eye, even if that is a tinge of exaggeration.   I pulled it out like I was Jack pulling out the deep rooted roots of his bean-stock. Then I padded the dirt around it so no one would be the wiser of my dirty deed (but life is never so sweet is it).
       So the deed was done, and I went back home to watch television with grandpa, hid a few apples in the side of the sofa—because grandpa always had a fit about my chewing and chewing, it bothered him, and I’d eat apple after apple, or an orange, or a carrot, and it bugged him to kingdom-come.  And across from me was grandpa in his padded sofa chair, always watching me as if I was overdoing it to annoy him.  He always liked those cowboy movies: Gun Smoke, or Have Gun Will Travel, or Wagon Train, or The Texan, and of course Hopalong Cassidy, his number one favorite, cowboy TV-series, with those “Sugar Crip” commercials, and his number one hero, William Boyd, to me he was an old man, with white hair, and I couldn’t figure how he’d even be able to climb up on that horse half the time, I was waiting for him to rock off. But that was grandpa for yaw. He never took into consideration that cigar or pipe half out, half lit, half the time, and half the time in the ashtray burning slowly, didn’t bother me. But it was Grandpa’s house, so what can you say.
       And grandpa he’d be mumbling, not looking directly at me, but from the corner of his eye, ‘…vat he doin’, ya, ya, ya, et, eet, eet, and vait tell you got to buy da food ya’d not ate so much…’ in his old Russian tongue with bits and pieces of English, complaining. Nevertheless, I had the two other apples in the corner so when he saw me eating one apple, call it ‘the apple’ I would  eat the seeds and all (I still do to this day), and when he looked at me again, he kept seeing the one apple, never knowing I had three, two hidden in the couch. He thought I was really eating slowly, two hours to eat one apple. He never was the wiser, or if he was, he didn’t say so, and it would have been against his nature not to go through that ‘Vat he doin’.
       Anyhow, about 9:30 p.m., the next day, my bedtime was 10:00 p.m., Ernie brought my mother home, walked her home, and they were in the kitchen. My mother asked me to come into the kitchen for a moment, and I did. Ernie was there with a big carrot in his hands—the very one I replace into my garden, and took from his, having given him the little one from mine, actually he had both of them if I recall, the big one and my little one. For a moment I thought it was just some vegetables from his garden he was bringing over (he did that quite often), and he said: “Does this look familiar?”
        Well you know it did, but I said “No …mm…why?
       “I think it does,” said my mother, with a disappointed look on her face.
       “Well,” she said, “Ernie found this in your garden, and for some odd reason it didn’t seem to belong there with all your little carrots.” (That was the big one.)
       “Yup,” I said (I couldn’t talk my way out of it I knew), adding, “I, I didn’t think taking one carrot would matter, I mean you got all the big ones, I got only small ones.”   
       No logic to my statement, but at eleven years old, has any kid got logic, or all that much to say! I think they were trying to hold back the humor of the situation, but it was theft, and it had to be dealt with a theft.
       “Didn’t it seem obvious that it would stand out?” Asked my mother (I think my envy blinded me).
       I looked a bit uneasy for being caught in such a silly predicament, I guess I was sorrier for being caught, than for taking the carrot, but it proved I couldn’t be a thief: in any case, I said, I never thought of it. And that was the truth. And that was the end, of my Al Capone days.

Written: September 6, 2012/reedited: 9-28-2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Strange Ending

(The Case of Hermon Hamilton Hunter - A Drunk!) 1978-79


Mr. Herman Hamilton Hunter, of Enterprise, Alabama, 1978, had waited until his wife had died, and his children had grown up and left home, before he started drinking again, thereafter! He had stopped drinking twenty-seven years prior to save his marriage and his job and to raise his two children. He had told his neighbor—Staff Sergeant Chick Evens that he had not gone to bars and lounges and grills of the same clubs but he knew someday he'd end up drinking again, that had he not wanted to save his marriage he would have went straight into long term drinking, long ago. In other words, he had been temporarily forced to stop, lest he lose his wife, kids and job. He had buried his wife a week to the day, which is today, Evens still standing in his yard talking to his neighbor; Evens a young soldier from Fort Rucker, Alabama, and a heavy drinker himself. The old man, Herman, his elbows are resting on the fence reflecting those old days he used to drink to get drunk and very drunk he got—or could remember, seemingly was floating throughout his cerebellum,  and wanting to implement the new one sooner than later; perhaps even half lit now.
       "I want to get drunk, real drunk," he told his Evens, explaining to him he was also a Staff Sergeant retired from the Army, but had always been from Alabama, and prior to the Army a farmer like his kin.   
       "All right," said Staff Sergeant Evens, “nothing is stopping you now I see,” jokingly.
       "Give me ten minutes and we'll go get drunk together," said Herman.   
       It was the hottest part of the afternoon “Tell me the bar you'll be at and I'll join you there,” continued Herman.
       Herman didn't move from the fence, he just dribbled from his lips:    
       "Sergeant. Look at me," he said in a rustic tone that the sergeant thrust his whole body up against the fence from where he had been standing, looking across the fence from him, "What is it?" said the Sergeant Evens, almost as if being annoyed.
       "I spoke to you in English, you didn't answer me!" said Mr. Hunter.
       "I don’t want to be part of your returning back to the booze, if you stopped it seems to me, you had something good going, plus I got school tonight, working on a degree at Troy State University!"
       "I'm sixty-five years old tomorrow," Said Mr. Hunter, tight-fistedly, adding to that, "I have just exactly the amount of money it will take to supply my drinking wants and pleasures until the dirt falls over my tomb, and when that occurs, I mean the tomb, of course-nothing will have happened to me in all my life, that I didn't want to happen to me but one thing, and that is having to stop drinking, I've been waiting for twenty-seven years to get drunk again; if there is any time left here on earth for me, it will be used for my drinking and I will leave only a drunken carcass to be buried, I will, like everyone else, Sergeant, be but a smudge or stain, left on someone's doorstep, forgotten before the door closes. Until now, my wife and children have hostilizad me to remain sober, or put another way, I had resigned to accept sobriety, but not anymore. Before I gave up drinking, I had enjoyed life, since then, a day has not passed, nor vanished from the recollection of me would hoping this day come back…"
       The Sergeant was quiet and he listened attentively, "Then get drunk," he said, "hell with the doctors and health, and all, you might live another year or two, and may your shadow never be taken away, but this I cannot do with you."
       "All right," said Mr. Hunter, “We understand each other, hope I can still grow my cucumbers in your backyard, I’ll give you one fourth of them, and you got a huge backyard!”
       "Of course,” said the Sergeant "there’s no hard feelings, this is where I bow out as far as drinking goes I got enough problems with my issues."
       It was nine month later the old man died, heart trouble, too much drinking; consequently, he made up for lost time, so it was said; and as far as I can see, he had surrendered, relinquished to the God of wine and booze, and opium, his life to escape this a life of sobriety one he had for per near a whole generation, or three decades, evidently he found nothing better; but he could surely grow some huge cucumbers, he had a green thumb.

No: 788 (3-31-2011) Reedited: 9-27-2016

Note: this story is also told, in a paragraph in the author’s book, “The Inside Passage,” on Alcoholism, 2002, and retold in paragraph form in the Spanish book, “Alcoholism, Curse of the Devil” to soon be released in September or October, of 2016. This story came out of the “The Inside Passage,” and restructured, in 2011, to form “a Strange Ending.”

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Demon Voices ((At the: 'Gates of Wonder') (Poetic Prose))

Don't be alarmed, I've not gone buggy, but the question may arise within your mindset—sooner or later, that is: your alternate mind: are those voices you hear, demonic voices, real?
And if you say they are not, well okay, although they're something, are they not?
It's like saying you have a soul, but what is it made out of, it has to be made out of something, does it not? Perchance, some kind of spiritual matter we've got no clue to! Yet to be discovered.
Thus, if there is a soul, there is a God, and if there is a God, there are demonic beings, and why would they not have voices?
If you've never heard those voices, well, you don't need to read any farther within this Poetic Prose...
Unless you are lime me, ‘I am what I am’
But for those who have, you have to take some things by faith, we know that, and demons have voices, and they have a job to do, and they must use natural forces! That is, those forces available to them.
We know that, because we’ve experienced them, seen them, heard them, know them to a certain degree…!
Anyhow, the Psychologist, will say you're nuts, they get paid well to say that, and to be honest, there is a hidden reason they went to higher learning in the study of the mind, but they avoid spiritual things...
There are four elements the psychologist must examine: the physical, the social, the psychological, and spiritual, to get the whole out of subject, but they leave a hole in the spiritual, so what do they get?
A lot of something else.
And the Priest may say that also, but he may also say, 'Perhaps?' Giving you the benefit of doubt!
But without question, the scientist will say, will surely say, whatever needs to be said, to disavow the demon theory, and replace it with little aliens, from Mars or Venus or wherever in the Galaxy they can find that will takes its place, even if it is more fantastic than the demons themselves; that which is not so unbelievable to them, but demons: no way!
But are they real, and if so, are they speaking to us, to some of us?
Can demons transmit their voices into our ears at night, at will?
Or perhaps walk with us down the street, whispering into our minds?
Or perhaps invade the television, or our communications?
We need to use our imagination here, like: Carl Sagan, and Stephen Hawking! 
Let's suppose demons have the same capacity, or at least, some do, or if they don't than those so called angelic renegades do, and perchance have given the knowledge to them; angelic renegades surely have had their courses in Astrophysics I would think, and the rudiments of simple polarization, or magnetism: in that there is no need to explain the physical reality that surrounds us, like the electrical forces, those invisible forces—they already know, that there is a force field around us, that the world is a force field in essence.
I'm sure they know how to use it to their benefit likewise!
And if we didn't have such a force field, we'd not have electricity! And with earth's central core, a magnetic field creates such a field.
I mean let's assume they've read up on Isaac Newton, and all the data up to today's Quantum Physics, theories...  and perhaps beyond!
And all those simple things as motion verses electricity, creating a motor to push those voices into your head at light-speed!
The speed of light being: 2.5 seconds for a word to reach the moon, and be tossed back to earth! (…or, 186,000-miles per second.)
The sun tells the planets how to move, by its magnetic field, but the electric magnate field does the work—
If there are such things as demons, and their voices are getting into our heads like radio waves, are we not then living at the "Gates of Wonder?"
I mean, is this not something we'd like to know?
And so when you sleep this evening, realize, demons need no sleep:
thus, just say a prayer, the old fashion way, that'll scare the daylights out of them, or provocative thoughts!

No: 4588 (11-2-2014) Reedited: 9-2016


St. Antony’s Nightmare ((Revised) (in Poetic Prose)

Prologue:   I want to write about Saint Antony for very good reason. That being, demonic pestering, it exists. My grandfather (Anton) to which I’ve written a short story some years ago, concerns demonic beings he saw and heard and witnessed, digging a hole, a tunnel to get to him in his basement (a warning); my father in law (Augusto Peñaloza), fought with demons—sometimes nightly; my mother saw one demon spying in her window, even drew a picture of him for me; Father Pio fought with demons, and Saint Rosa wanted to step on the devil’s face, and I have had several experiences with them myself. But as for the most of my stories involve me, this one involves Saint Anthony, to serve a purpose, his may be more believable! And if I was to seek out more witnesses, the unbelievers would simply say, they all had psychological problems, if that’s the case, I’m sure there would be quite a high stack.

The Nightmares

Saint Antony: 'The dead are pale, faded, they stock each other, live in the eyes of the past, bewildered, and profound'
The ascetic sees demons in the shape of beasts, and the remnants of the Gates of Ctesiphon, to which shapes (demons) piled all about them!
Their black cloaks are fastened by dead men's bones!

They flog one another, and laugh at their aching limbs and burning caresses...
Their hair fastened by vipers, and the faces bear the resemblance of: Cain, Sodom, and Pilate, Nero stares at Antony, as Judas yelps:
"Thanks to me, God saved the world!"
Many of those demonic faces are made of wolf’s skin, they are envious of Antony's dog's bone meal.
The old ones, older than written time, from the pre-Adamic era, are all dried up, like mummies—
Their glances dull; they have long white eyebrows; they are eating grasshoppers, and at the same time, their mouths quiver exclaim: 'Come, come, be swift about it, there are no crimes here in Tartarus; the need here below is of the love of God, and He is gone! We are made for the Devil!'

Knoup his lights some argil lamps, gives light to Antony's nightmare, more like a vision now
The light smothers the long legged fluttering mosquitos...
Antony's mind is fragmented, his thoughts twisted, imps are trying to rope and tie him from the windings of entrails!
There is no manifestation, not today, not like other days.
One of the old ones snatches the bone from Antony's dog.
And the nightmare that had emerged as if through a hole in the
wall and formed itself out of a blue mist, dissipates.
And a second vision comes into making.
The High Priest of Saturn.
Ere long, he grows bright, as darkness envelopes his hollow eye sockets!
He opens his mouth it is as a deserted pit—
His eyebrows are like clumps of shrubs!
With a long breath, and panting pulse he decries:
"How irksome you make me! Hector, I gathered his bones, lest the worms get them, be a martyr, or sin, so I can collect yours!" He tells Saint Antony.

No: 4774/6-27 & 28-2015/ Revised: 1-2016

Note 1:  St. Antony was born 250 A.D., died 357 A.D., at the age of 107-years old. He was from a town in Egypt called Coma, and is noted for his monasticism life. He had many trials with the demonic world. He lived many years in a tomb near his native village. His conflicts were with demons whom took the form of beastly shapes.
Note 2: Inspired in part by the writings of Gustave Flaubert, and the writings attributed to St. Athanasius

Mauling of the Australis (The Anarchic Summer of 2010)

Mauling of the Australis

(The Anarchic Summer of 2010)

She plunged down by the head, and all the mass of the Drake waters surged forward. The Captain knew it was coming, crammed the ninety of us guests into what was called the meeting room (sometimes called the after-room, really) on the third deck of the ship (the ship being perhaps 20% empty of full capacity, for guests). 
       The waves were hitting above the third deck windows, spouting skyward, all of thirty feet I'd say. The water impacting against the four sides of the ship, and I really didn't see the crew, or shipmen. And all this to the bulk of several monsters waves swept the ship, rolled it, and dipped her decks rail to rail into the cold Drake waters. The Captain had at that point advanced back to the bridge, hoping us guests would not realize the mauling the ship was undergoing. Ere, the captain did his best to make us unaware of any anxiety we might receive should we open up those same curtains he had so diligently, and calmly had his midshipman close. But I had noticed the matter had been building up, not only from my cabin window, save that the ship tilted, but when I had ventured earlier onto her stern deck, being the back of the ship, where the poop is, and where the structure of the ship can break waves, having left Cape Horn, seeing beyond the Cape, the dark stormy skies fermenting; but had I not been able to see the dark gray skies forming, being a Minnesotan, my body acted like a barometer, in that it could detect an atmospheric change in pressure, or that being fluctuations in the weather long before they hit you directly. And even a two degree difference was a hint for weather change. And ten minutes later when I reached the zodiac, there was a call from the ship to the mate walking beside me, of a rising breeze that appeared and awoke over the ship's bow, and therefore, the good old sea was shifting moods quickly, so to hurry it up. One must if anything, have a growing respect for Cape Horn, and take serious the weather conditions in the Drake. The wind coming out of the southwest, and by the time we reached the ship, the sky over us had turned into a grayish-darkness. And this was the start of the seas burst, and the outpouring that would soon take place.
       The young prodigious, yet incredible captain, then appeared who knew the teeth of the storm evidently, and its danger, could feel aft with him, the working of the ship's motors against the heavy mauling of the waves, thus, he was no weakling of the sea, he knew it, and we were entering the center of the back of the storm I do believe; he painted no dark-pigmented scenes.
I sat in a chair, as if I was made of iron, as I looked onto the other faces, those in peril, —lest I join them, I lightly smiled to my wife feeling safer that way; my wife was to my side, arm tight against mine, as a thousand tons of Drake water surged across the bow; that being the front of the ship. Looking straight ahead, at the heavy iron door now locked tight, on the port side of the ship, or larboard side, the ship's left side, knowing right outside that door, the nearness of the Drake Passage was 19,000-feet deep; in essence, miles deep. The starboard side, or right side, had life-lines rigged, I would imagined for the sailors that may have to deal with what is considered the gustiest headland, or cape in the world; a better phrase might be: the inhospitable tip of the continent. This being the end of the Tierra del Fuego
(Land of Fire; an ancient name for back thousands of years, the natives of this region had once sought sight of it from a distance, would have seen campfires everywhere dotted throughout the terrain of the mountains areas, and so the name stuck).

       I was no Midshipmen, but I knew enough, not to tread outside the inner part of the ship, that being the open aired decks, I would have gotten a prime soaking. Although I did venture to the bow of the ship, on other occasions when the sea was rough, but not too rough, to feel the force of the wind and waves, but not this time. I suppose for the crew it was merely a day's work, as it was for the ship. Actually now that I think of it, I never really know where the crew were housed, there didn't seem to be any forecastle, on the upper deck, towards the bow where it usually would be. So I never got to see them coming or going, fore or aft of me, for the most part. Or perhaps I missed it; the ship was rather new and what is customary today on ships, perhaps is quite different from the old but huge clippers and windjammers, and galleys of yesteryear, and this was my second cruise, my first being on still waters in the Galapagos, in which an Olympic swimming pool had coarser waters: this was some eight-years prior, on a similar ship of this type: a small cruise ship that is, with a rather flat bottom.
       I was in a way, praying for more weather like this, I knew if I said what I was thinking someone would wring my neck. But now four years later I got the gumption to say it. Just the same, the sea settled down, and I went to get a bite to eat. And my wife, well, that's another story, she was nearly seasick the whole voyage, and when not in bed, she was with me with a woozy head, and this did not help, except for when she went to some remote island with a few crew members, and investigated the beaver environment, that day I took a five hour siesta, and she had commented,
"What a relief getting off that ship, to get my head back in balance, and my body into a more stable equilibrium."
       It seemed to me, when we left the Drake Passage, and could no longer see Cape Horn, now into the Pacific Ocean, or that side of the ocean, we had lift behind, what might be referred to as 'the hill of the earth,' figuratively speaking, and so as, Jack London referred to the end of the Terra del Fuego, lest I'm misrepresenting his figure of speech, for between Cape Horn, there is only Elephant Island, and then the Shetland Islands, and King George Island of any significance, until you get to Antarctica itself, and to my understanding it would be the highest peak what Jules Vern referred to as: the 'End of the World'; if indeed that is what London was refereeing to as the 'Hill'. For Cape Horn is not liken to the Himalayas, in comparison it would be a hill, it seemed to me we were in tranquil seas the rest of our voyage, there beyond, right up to disembarking at Punta Arenas, Chile.
       I can still remember the damp cold on top of Cape Horn, with its brisk wind that penetrated my clothing right into my the pores of my skin, per near to a freezing point, now part of my wind swept past. And for this region of the earth, it was summer, in South America, and winter in the North America, the best time to travel this part of the world. I couldn't imagine come winter, surely it would be savage, forsaken and bleak at best. But the main point being, we had made it through the graveyard of ships; for over 800-ships lay at the bottom of Cape Horn, and within its vicinity, as well as 10,000-sailors.

Written 10-14-through 10-15-2014 (No: 1026) Reedited: 9-2016
Note: drawing by the author, does not resemble the Australis.

Note: When it is winter in North America, it is summer in South America; as well as for the Antarctic waters.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Shoeshine Boy (1959)


Chick Evens was walking home one evening, the fall of 1959, he was 12 ½ years old at the time, a strong looking lad, reddish hair, determined if anything to make a few bucks. His trade until he worked for the World Theater, at fourteen-years old was shoe shining, and he went to perhaps twenty-bars a night doing just that.
       This one evening he had made already made $4.35-cents; he charged .15 to .25 cents per shoeshine, depending on the bar, its clientele. He’d go into the establishment, and like a psychologist, make a list in his mind, on what approach to make, or better put, to at least figure out if he could outsell his opponents for there were other shoeshine boys on the beat, so he kept himself neatly dressed, smiled, and never argued about price, if he said 25-cents, and the man said, it was too much, he’d say: pay me what you think I’m worth. On another note, if he another shoeshine boy on the same Street he was working, he automatically charged .15 cents, and more often than not got .25-cents, the going rate.  Some kids even charged 35-cents.
        Not looking about and just counting and recounting his money, on Rice Street, St. Paul, Minnesota, across the street from White Castle Hamburgers, he smiled, he had made: $4.35, a decent sum for the three hours he put into the evening. Dust had crept in, as his bluish-green eyes looked at the coins once more, knowing he had to be home before 10:30, he heard a voice, lifted his head, it was a demand, 
       “Hay boy!” shouted a white lad of about sixteen, “hand it over the money…” stern was his unrelenting voice.
       Then he sized up the lad, he was a head taller than him. And there he stood with a hand full of change.          
       “I said boy, hand it over the money, or I’ll beat your head against the brick wall.”
       Chick Evens hesitated, almost in disbelief, baffled to say a word, then as he adjusted to the surroundings taking in a deep breath, as if he had but a second to deliberate and make up his mind to fight or hand it over, he couldn’t run, he was cornered, said “No-pp!” and the boy stepped two feet closer, grabbing his shoulders and pinning him against the brick wall; now things got a little gloomier. 
       “I said, boy…hand it over or…!” another voice came from behind this tall white robber, it was a heavy voice this time—a strident voice, it had kind of accent to it, and when Chick Evens looked around the thin kid’s lower part of his right shoulder, he saw even a taller person than the white lad, a big tall black man: it all became  a bit dubious (was he going to rob the tall white boy after he rob Evens, so Evens got thinking?) Inasmuch as that was one thought, it was not his only; but often times when such things happen like this, one swears—hours pass by, when in essence it is but a few seconds if not minutes, yes, the time for Chick Evens to give up the money was close at hand. But something magic, something peculiar happened.
       “Leave the boy alone…” said the rustic voice of the black man, perhaps a tinge over six foot tall, and in his thirties; —as the pandemonium thickened the ghostly scene of the evening—mentally for Evens—got eldritch-dark.    
       “You just can’t hear, can you, I said let go of the boy NOW!” and as the huge black man was about to grab the white lad, the white chap turned about, his eyes opened up as wide as White Castle Hamburgers.
       With one hand the black man pushed the tall white lad away from Evens, like a twig: making everything a tinge more dramatic. 
       “You want to make something of this,” he asked the white robber, adding, “If so, let’s get to it… if not then get going before I flatten you on the sidewalk.” 
      The white lad was gone, faster than a jackrabbit being chased by a wolfhound. The black man then turned to Evens
(whom was more concerned about getting home than being robbed, or punched in the face)  
       “You best be getting on home, you’re lucky tonight.”
       Evens thanked the man wholesomely, yet in disbelief a Blackman had come to his rescue.  It was the first Blackman he had encountered, and it left a good impression, that has lasted fifty-six years.

Written: July, 2006/Reedited 9-2016

Being Born ((October 7, 1947) (Non-fiction))

Being Born
((October 7, 1947) (Non-fiction))

It is the big unseen, “Woops,” there I am.  Someone says, “It is time now,” and mother pushes and tugs and clutches onto the bed railings. 
       As I come out of her womb, I hear an echo, far in the background, “It is your time now.”
       Who said it I don’t know.  There is some bloodshed in leaving this nearly one year cocoon, cozy as it was, to enter these enormously larger surroundings. There are of course several moments child and mother collide, a series of little and final evictions, the nurse and the doctors are there watching all this, ready to sign the birth certificate, and asking what the name will be, one to christen this new being, being born, in this primitive savage way.
       I am sure many have written on this subject, spoken on it, much better than I, I seek in brief only to recap it, perhaps for myself. I was born because my mother met and exercised the act of passion with a man called my father, a different father than my brother’s father, but that is neither here nor there, I was born at 4:00 a.m., in the morning at St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Minnesota, October 7, 1947.  In my case, my father left before I was named, before the certificate was even rolled out of the doctor’s drawer, whereupon the nurse tried to grab me and replace me with a stillborn baby, so another family might have a live infant, but no dice, my mother saw the scheme, and stopped it. You see she heard, “It’s a boy!” You don’t say that to a stillborn child; and then she never heard another word—and that provoked suspicion, and the other family wanted a boy, and so she kept her eyes half open, demanded: “Bring my boy to me!”
       You don’t think things, happen that way, but they do.
       Her first baby, some two years earlier, was a boy also, my brother of course, now she had potatoes and carrots. That is, my brother always liked potatoes; I on the other hand, had bright red hair, carrot hair, plus I liked carrots. My brother was christened on the spot.  It doesn’t matter how it all began, it all turned out okay—that’s what matters: we were a family, but I wonder whatever happened to that other family, —the two who almost made three, who had the stillborn? I couldn’t say, nor wish to try but perhaps they had better luck thereafter, I hope so, and I hold no grudges.

#894 (3-30-2012)

Goldfish, Dying! (A Minnesota Short Story, 1958) Revised

It is forenoon, the summer of the 1958. My mother just went downstairs, she says, "I won't be long; I got to wash a few clothes."
       I'm at the sink, cleaning out my fishbowl. Grandpa is outside trimming the lilac bushes; my brother is someplace with his new go-cart. As I was about to say, I'm cleaning the glass of the fish bowel in the kitchen, that is, taking the rocks out, replacing the water, cleaning the rocks, and I'm looking at my goldfish (I'm eleven years old); I remain standing at the sink in the kitchen, kind of in a tight body position, sizing up the situation, I think I'm thinking how am I going to get this fish from the water out safely, and into a glass in the sink, a transfer process that has to be done fast, lest I drop the fish into the sink and heaven knows what then, I think I am doing too much thinking, when this should really be a simple process.
       Now I got everything ready: the new water, the rocks are back into the bowel, and I'm about to put my goldfish back into the bowl, and I'm thinking—: I have to do this very fast lest I drop the fish in the sink, then what? Curtains for the fish? I am again sizing up everything, and again doing too much calculating on this simple matter, and I learned from this episode in life, not to think too hard, save you need to be careful, yet not get yourself paralyzed in the process, so again I tell myself, 'Ready or not, do it!' So I drop the goldfish from here to there in one strive—this is what I’m going to do: one swish of my hands will do it, but carefully, so I pick  up my glass with the fish in it, —the goldfish, my intentions are to drop the goldfish into the round hole in the glass bowel. I know I got to be quick, especially coordinated, I will have one chance, only one chance, but I'm ready, or so I tell myself.
       I notice the fish is energetic very lively today (perhaps I overfed them yesterday, I tell myself; incidentally, there are two goldfish): two quick witted fish, I think they are quicker than me anyhow, and I get the notion they do not like this small glass environment; it is perhaps likened to a closet for them, in comparison to where they had come from.

       Now I raise the glass up,  the fish in the glass, to be poured into the glass bowel, fish, glass, and bowel all looking at me, something distracts me, I take my eyes off for a second, just a second, a clap of an eyelid, and my eyes appeared to have went into a process of readjusting, as a result of turning them back to the: the glass, which  hits the rim of the bowel, and the fish falls headfirst into the sink, and I panic, I am near hyperventilating, and I rush, rush, rush to save my goldfish, fingers all over the place, and they are squirming, sliding out of my hands: they are going to die! Death is lingering over them, and dread over me, and I'm responsible: I'm in a terror, fright, alarm...where is my guardian angel? 
       I scream: "…he’s dying!!"
       My mother comes running up the stairs thinking there is a tornado, or earthquake about to take place, or taking place, or I fell into the fish bowl or cut myself in the process.
       Her face is now calm, and sullen after she sees it is all over two goldfish. Her eyes are brooding and alert like owls—alarmed, her adrenaline had kicked into high gear, expression is stringent.  My eyes are like marbles, the fish is in the sink wiggling all about (perhaps having a good old time), but for me, I sense they might go down into the drain, take a trip into the sewer system, and be eaten by a rat. My words are in a stutter.  
       "Fish...dying, dying!"
       I look at my mother, and then the fish: her and the fish: her and the fish        
       "Calm down," she says, then she looks in the sink, hesitates, and says:
"Fish...all this over fish...? What's the matter with you, I thought you were dying!"
       She looks in the sink again, then at me, at the fish in the sink, at me, grabs the fish as quick as the eye can blink, puts them both into the fish bowel, so easy, too easy I say to myself, how come I couldn’t?
        "Explain to me," she says, puffing from the ordeal of running up the basement stairs, examining the situation, "What is the emergency for all this screaming… (she hesitates) the fish?" she asks staring into my marble eyes—I’m frozen in time.  
       She of course knows it's the fish, and I overreacted, but I was never one for under-reacting, at least in those early days, I think she knew this, and simply asked for an explanation, not sure why, because she knew at this point what had taken place, perhaps to calm me down.
       "I couldn't get the fish in the bowl, I hit the bowl and the fish fell into the sink... and they were going to die!”  My breathing slowed, less oxygen to the brain vs. carbon dioxide released...!"      
       "Do you want me to have a heart attack?" she says to me now, with a civil, but serious voice: no more concern, no more anger, just a sigh of relief, and a time for cooling down.
       "Do not every call me up over goldfish again just make sure there is no next time, okay?” (I nodded my head in an agreeable, I was speechless.)
       “Now pick up the bowl,” she tells me, “and put it where it belongs!"
       "Yes," I confirmed, my tongue still a little tied up from the panic; now looking at my goldfish swimming around safely in my fish bowel, and my mother walking down the steps to the basement to finish her washing.

       Now if you good folks, who are reading this, are asking, “Was it worth it?” I’d have to say: yes, I think so—but I'd never tell my mother that, and I'm sorry I caused her to think the worse had taken placed. She was protective in her own way, and perhaps came to fight a whale, and found out it was a goldfish—she was that kind of person: if anything, she was spunky, but that is part of being a parent and I was a kid, learning, and she was a mother, teaching, that's how it works on this planet, called earth.

Written 9-2005; reedited, 3-2009, again in 2-2011, and once again 9-2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Christian Gay Marriage


We now are getting more and more renegade priests, and so called self-made, scholarly Christians, proclaiming, or using—might be the better term, or even justifying gay marriages on the grounds of social stability: they imply ‘Let’s leave God out of this.’ Christians telling Christians to accept homosexual marriages; let me rephrase that, proclaimed Christians telling real Christians, if this be God’s will or not, that all this self-obsessed biblical thinking is paralyzing one’s reality, that we Christians should be more concerned with social stability—than God’s written laws, that children are really not affected by homosexual activities (how misguided can we be, that reminds me of actors saying, these are only movies, we can’t be blamed for how a person internalizes them, yet how untrue this is, they’d stop making movies, if the patron, was not emotionally involved, they’d go broke, matter of fact, songs in bars are centered for that very reason, sad, to get people to drink more—)(let me explain that: when you hear a sad song, or read a sad poem, you know it’s sad, the writer knows it, the reader knows it, but hearing it, and reading allows you to leave it behind for a while).
       “Will” says the advocate, “homosexual marriages serve the public?”   
       That is what is being said. That is their reasoning for justification for Christians to stop protesting gay marriages. Well, as Christ put it, “Give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to God what belongs to Him.” So what has the 20th and 21st Century’s done, and what are we in the process of doing now: it is called reinterpreting (if not reinventing) the Bible to sway A Christian’s way of thinking, accepting. I think these homosexual Christians, and Priests think God is supposed to be working for them, not them for him. They got things a little backwards. For 1900-years we read the Bible as it was meant to be read, and for the last hundred or so years—in particularly in the last fifty, nothing anymore is offensive, it is surely the Obama era, we are seeping into muck. That’s the devil’s psychology: no questions asked, whatever you want, why shouldn’t you have it.

Written 2-22-2011 (Article) Reedited 9-20-2016

Still and Windless (The Time: Commentary)

A world, nation, subject to chance, you can be sure not one thing would be calculable; natural laws world be undependable. A lawless world. This is what I see today in America. Astoundingly, America—a good portion of it—is living in a mirage, and to be frank, it has been a brief journey to this stage.  All traditional values, and morals has shifted about, re-composed itself beyond recognition. In lieu of a stronger and healthier, and wiser America, chaos has mysteriously appeared, in the past fifteen or so years. Nothing is what it ought to be, we live in a labyrinth of mirages. America is still and windless.  She has yet to see the Days of Darkness, as Amos in Chapter 5, so prophesied for her, in the Old Testament. Or the Days of Awe, as Isaiah has prophesied for her in the Old Testament. And we can include Daniel, Chapters 8 & 9, that fit America today; in chapter two we see Daniel writing and seeing in visions, “He changes times and seasons…deposes kings, and raises up others.” All three write what they see, and let whomever cares, heed.  No demands, just warnings. God is pretty democratic in that way, he’ll let you hang yourself if you have a closed heart, and mind. Matter of fact, he’ll help it along, and take away your understanding, why, because you most likely received the wisdom, and laughed, or mocked it.  We all forget God is in charge, and he says in a figurative way: you do not have the right to do as you please with what is his? Are you envious because he is generous to others? So the last will be first and the first last (Matthew 20). So one and all has to figure out what is his, and what is not!

#1159/9-21-2016 (11:50 p.m.)  Dls