Tuesday, September 27, 2016

das Buch Chapter One

I’ve got to get the hell out of here soon. My back is killing me, I have an ulcer from taking OTC pain killers and I am a miserable unemployed time management expert getting some exercise. The people here stink and I find them annoying in every possible way. Have you ever been privileged to experience such joy? Have you ever been surrounded by morons, DPs; displaced persons from another planet? Well that’s how I’m feeling today. What’s more to say? None of its fair, none of it  Lately I simply disdain people for no good reason, none. I have been an asshole for days; a few of my ex-wives would say years. These old hags here have a right to hunt and peck like free range chickens any time they choose. It’s none of my business. I don’t feel good talking about them like this, really. But this new pain makes me look at the world differently; somehow it magnifies everything. I’m irritable and edgy and losing my sanity. It’s not the people here that reek of cat litter or cat piss or cigarette smoke, but the clothes, the damn clothes. God only knows from what dead senior citizen’s wardrobe this shit gets donated. This state is not called the end of the ride or road for nothing. People come here to die, that’s right, to die. They don’t die right away but slowly, like a rotting tomato on a kitchen sink. One day they’re ripe and then a few years later they’re soft and pliable and their skin sags into leathery folds. Then they suddenly appear to be covered in brownish leopard spots and moles of various sizes and colors. I find it very distasteful but sad. I try not to be too hard on old people, honestly, but they’re in restaurants everywhere. It’s like the plague. I know I know, everyone gets old and rots. It’s only a matter of how late in life your genetics kick in and you become a memory. I get it. This second hand store is run by Catholics or so the name implies; Holy Miraculous Sisters of the Downtrodden Thrift. The place is always busy with less than attractive people of all types. I see a lot of earthy looking beings of various ages and shades of life here. They work the racks examining clothes as if looking for evidence for a forensic team. And I swear they shop here in waves. Oddly, many cease to come back after a while and then a new wave from the same cookie cutter comes forth through these doors at God’s discounts.  I can only assume these sojourners are retired and this is what people do when waiting to die. They simply shop until they drop, and then are replaced with new arrivals.
Oh cricket piss, here comes some old movie star pushing a cart, and she looks dirty and kind of shriveled like a raisin and she is wearing too many layers of clothing. She looks like a bag of multi-colored tissue paper. Jesus Christ who pushes a shopping cart in a thrift store? And she’s blocking my escape route. She doesn’t need all that shit in that basket. You’ve got to be kidding me, a plastic pancake flipper? Long sleeve shirts? Christ there is a button missing half way down the front of that white Iceland wool sweater. It’s too hot here for wool lady. Are you nuts? I smile at her and quickly squeeze by. She halts all movement right where I hadn’t finished looking; as if she’s discovered something. I turn and make eye contact.
“Oh, I’ve pretty much scanned all the books here, are you looking for anything in particular?” I ask.
Her ovate lizard eyes are painted blue like a clown and yet I feel compelled to be helpful and assist her. It’s a weakness I have. I’m always doing the right thing; being the giver, the helper. Well I’ve ruined my life being sociable as far as I’m concerned. But she’s so damn sad and needy and then I smell it. There is a surprise. She’s wearing Patchouli oil, perfume from the seventies. To me it has a hint of reefer also known as cannabis sativa. It reminds me of a girl long ago who I slept with in a tent on an empty lot during a very cold Christmas vacation. But that’s a sad story. I try to forget it, but it keeps popping up in my head every few years, usually around the twenty-eighth of December. The aromatic pungency of weed still moves my heart forty years later, but it’s not a good thing to relive the past. Not often at least. Somehow you’re wasting the now, you’re cheating the now. You’re not living.
 “You smell good,” I hear myself say and instantly regret it.
“Why thank you,” she responds, “No, I’m not looking for anything special, are you?” She flutters her black tar eye lashes with intent.
Now I really have to get out of here. She wants to converse with me and no that’s not going to happen. I can feel my benevolence taking over and I’m losing control. These people, once they start babbling, it’s a roller coaster ride through their entire list of medical conditions with not a sign or symptom excluded for decency. Just last week my neighbor lady asked me if I wanted to see her husband’s pictures. Sure, why not. I’ve taken a few art classes before. They were photographs of his colon polyps before they were excised and discarded; hanging like tiny pink fruits in a long pinkish tunnel apparently accessible through his ass. No, no, I’m not being ambushed again, besides I have a life to live. My time is valuable. I hate being selfish but after you pass fifty years of age, how many summers do you have left? Each year time becomes more valuable and with my genetic pool it could be a limited resource. Crucify me, I don’t care. Enough is enough. I cry freedom.
“Sorry ma’am but I’ve got to go. I just remember I left the oven on.”  
I’m finally embracing the sun and inhaling deeply as I return to my car.
A pristine day with a spectacular view of the mountains, I hear myself think, how lucky can a person be? It’s a view only God himself could have created. Let there be beauty! And here it is. Well not to rain on my own parade, but I think about God way too often, and luck also. I have no choice; I’ve been down both roads for far too long to change. It’s been a wreck of a life for the most part. I try to avoid contemplating on God because I’m not very fond of him, to be truthful. And luck, it can be dangerous; it might be the most dangerous of all things. Trust me. I once read a line in a small paper pamphlet from a church meeting that God loves gamblers. Ha! What a line! And then they pass the basket! Who shows up to these groups with extra cash? Or just plain cash? What a scam. A couple dozen grown men sitting on vinyl chairs talking about losing! It’s incredible. If you want to feel hopeless get your dancing shoes on and attend. And listen to the stories how they screwed everyone in their family for the last nickel of hope. Imagine hanging out with these guys week after week for months. Forget donating into the coffee jar, invest in anti-depressants!  But I digress. I frequently listen to people when they ramble on and on about vacations and oceans and beaches and stinking dead seaweed (I’ve been there), but they’ve got nothing on these sharp rugged cliffs ripping up out of the bowels of the earth. This great monstrosity of the earth’s spine moves my heart as it bends and cracks into the blue heavens. And there’s gold in them there mountains! Actually every county in this state has gold, every county. As long as I can remember I’ve had gold fever. That’s probably why I’ve attended seven community colleges in my life, exactly seven. I’m not saying I couldn’t do the work, I just found myself frequently thumbing through history books looking for gold in the campus library. I love the pictures of the old timers panning for riches, I really do. And yes I also checked out chemistry books, but they have fewer pictures and honestly can be very scholastic with graphs and tables and nonsense.  However I learned there is more gold dissolved in the world’s oceans than anywhere else on earth. No kidding. Whoever invents a process to extract the tiny molecules of gold will be richer than rich. I gave it a try a few times. I came up with some good ideas using a mercury chamber and a small pump. But later after investing my meager savings I discovered that sea gold is a different kind than land gold. Land gold dissolves instantly in mercury. Sea gold doesn’t. And so the mystery remains for some smart mind to solve the molecular puzzle and make a fortune. And I suspect it will be centuries before that mystery is solved. There is very little gold on the earth and even less in the cosmos from what I’ve read in scientific journals. Not that I prefer such technical writings, or that I’ve ever finished reading one, but the science is sound. I do think God whoever or whatever he is intentionally made gold rare. He made it rare to burden mankind with sin. I’m serious. Without sin you don’t need a savior. And just for the record, God seems to have little positive impact in our daily lives as mortals, at least in mine. That’s just my opinion, and I’m entitled to it.  I’m not trying to insult anybody or lead them off the road to glory and eternal life with streets paved with gold, but I’ve read a lot of history books and of course the bible. And at least to me God seems to be very distant and not exactly helpful. Take for example the gold processing machine I invented and the time and labor and financial losses I incurred. Six months of bending metal, stretching sheet plastic, buying a heavy small pump (which I had to carry forever over soft sand at the beach), and then the aggravation of people gawking and asking stupid questions, the sudden rain showers, running out of gas, and then the arrival of the beach police. And where was God almighty? What do you mean what am I doing officer? Isn’t it obvious? I’m gold prospecting. I don’t believe this is illegal in our state, is it?
The judge let me off easy. My fine was twelve hundred dollars and court costs. I wasn’t aware that taking mercury to the beach and carefully dipping it in the ocean is an environmental crime. It’s not like I almost created a second Love Canal or worse. I’ve read where the Nazis lost a submarine in the Pacific Ocean carrying tons of mercury. And it is still there on the ocean floor leaking from the rusting hull of the war boat. Regardless I’m almost done with any more alchemistic experiments. It’s just a money pit and I’m close to broke. 
Maybe I’ll pull into a gas station and buy some scratch off lottery tickets. It’s a beautiful day and I still have five more thrift shops to hit. And God knows I need a win. Do you think you can throw a few crumbs my way today…God? Yeah, I’m begging. I know you are so busy with the world going to hell daily, but how about one of those new tickets they’re selling be a winner for me, you know; a quick hundred dollars in my pocket? You’re a god, I’m sure you know the game I’m talking about. You know everything; you’re omniscient, remember? They claim this game is loaded with one hundred dollar winners. Why do I not believe the lottery commission or the government? Am I not thinking clearly? I hear my car door slam and methodically make my way inside. They say the winners are always available when a new game comes out to the public. They do. Who are they? Well, they are these disheveled old men who wobble rudderless around the store. And they scratch their tickets with the ferocity of attacking an itch from poison ivy. And here they are today like a group of pigeons in a park. They’re not my friends however; they have no names. They look disgusting and disturbed. I find them offensive, I do. At least I can wait to get into my car before I feel compelled to hunt for the gold. These guys are crazy, it’s obvious. Now the shortest one of them is standing in front of the clerk. The hand holding his ticket is shaking like palsy. I don’t think he’s bathed in a week. He hands her the ticket and trumpets on the machine announce it is a winner; a quick one hundred bucks in his pocket. Cha-ching! Lucky bastard.
I’m starting to feel thirsty as I sit in my car which has 200,000 good miles and the AC is running on high. Not city miles, but country miles, much less detrimental to your car’s engine. I’m hoping the only asset I own free and clear of debt will last another 300,000 miles so I can brag about having half a million miles on the odometer. It’s a numbers thing. Trust me. I finish the last of ten two dollar tickets and realize a twenty just went down the toilet. So now I’m really thirsty. And have no cash in my wallet. However the sky is baby blue and the sun is bright yellow just like the color of gold. Gold rum is what the shrink use to drink, so she said once, she’s dead now. But that was long ago. Jamaican rum sounds good to me, like a long overdue mini vacation. A short vacation is something I can afford. I’m all in.
I stand waiting to pay behind three people in Ace’s liquor store. Don’t these young people have anything better to do than to double their odds at getting liver failure? Why aren’t they working? They all look like they’re in their twenties or thirties and Christ it’s only two PM and these youngsters are buying the hard stuff. Losers, yeah, all of them are losers.
Years ago people had jobs and worked. God knows I did until I got hurt. Now days it’s amazing how many young people are out and about during working hours during the week. Please don’t tell me they all live at home. The thought just gives me chest pain. I’m divorced times five just like my lucky number, and my kids are all grown, thank God. No, not really. No thanks to God, not now after all these years. And I am not feeling exactly good at the moment. I’m off my game; something’s a little out of synch. Stop thinking, get your booze, and get the hell out of here, now.  I really don’t care if these young guys suck down booze, I don’t give a damn if they get alcohol poisoning. I don’t care if they suck down live frogs. I’m not wasting any more brain space on it. Focus on you, the shrink used to say. Seek out and find your personal happiness because nobody and she meant nobody will do it for you. Born into the world alone and you die alone. There aren’t two seats on the trip. So let the world be damned. She was a professional woman I use to visit, so honest and caring and beautiful, you’d sell your soul for her to be your wife. She died years ago, way too young. She was murdered. I had shown up for my appointment and the clerk informed me she wasn’t available. It was later on the evening news I saw her picture and heard the story. Thirty stab wounds to the head and neck, brutal, and I never heard from her office again. Not a word. She was simply gone as if edited out from the movie of life. All that interpersonal history I shared with her didn’t just vanish suddenly like she did. It faded away very slowly and took years. She was one special woman, she was. I will say this, when the Jamaican gold runs deep in my blood and a serene reprieve washes my mind free of static, I think of her. Always.
I’ve never been a person to share much since the event, that’s because I’ve developed effective coping skills as she frequently suggested. Yeah, that’s what I have, skills to live a full and abundant life. Ha. I know the truth I’m not dumb. But I haven’t needed to talk to anyone for years. As a matter of fact I am not very fond of talking to anyone period. People really don’t listen. They nod their heads and appear to listen but as soon as you bring up something remotely out of their zone they change the subject back and cut you off like a passing lawn mower blowing smoke. Smoke that just keeps billowing important details of damaged indoor plumbing, the price of gas two streets over, or the problems with medical office staff.  I’m over it completely. I’m tired of it all. I just want to feel better and have an extra step in my gait. I want to do things, live a little. I do not want to grow old and lose my hearing to the unsolicited flotsam from nursing home applicants. I remember being young and running and jumping through freshly cut green grass and trying to fly. I can still hear by heart pumping in my rib cage and the airy wind gusts of my breath as I gasped and laughed. And she and I blew cattails into the wind and made wishes and found paths that lead to blackberry bushes loaded with warm thick purple berries. Berries so heavy the bushes were being pulled to the ground by gravity. We kissed for hours and hours under a giant oak tree, just kissed. I don’t hear of those days anymore. I don’t hear of youthful days full of curiosity and desire and longing and love, no. There has been a great change and I am a reluctant passenger on this commuter train to never never land. I turn and look back and fear so much has gone away and so many things that should have been, never will be. And, so many faces I wish I could see and tell them what I’ve carried in my heart for half a century. I wanted to speak up, I did. I wanted to share my thoughts and my true feelings but I never stepped up, I never had the guts to hear my own soul pass my lips. To this day I ask myself who am I? I’m certainly not that young man in love with a girl I would never see again. No. That boy is gone.
Through the years, a psychological error of unknown etiology has metastasized into a mess called my brain. I’ve always known something was there and growing. It’s always been involved in my life one way or another. It can heat up red like a stove top burner when I get angry which has been excessive lately. I don’t fear it now like I used to when I was younger. Instead I seem to have grown inexplicably comfortable with it as if it has blended into my being like mercury into gold. After discussing a lab report with my doctor recently I felt something quake in my head, like a dizzy spell or TIA; trans ischemic attack. My doctor, a woman from India, had made a stringent delivery of the details of the report rather quickly and I barely heard much of what she said. I left her office abruptly to get me a drink, a stiff drink. I had been feeling a little weak and lost more than a few pounds over the last month. I thought it was because I had lost my appetite for awhile. This was to be a quick health check up. And it was. But based on her interpretation of the data sheet, I am now highly cognizant of a time standard that makes the whole of my soul aware of my mortality; that’s if she knows what she is doing. And I am not sure she does. I have had a lot of horse doctors in my life that couldn’t tell the difference between an inhale or an exhale. And you just can’t fix stupid; even medical stupid. I’m not sure she has a clue what’s going on, but since my appointment, I’ve taken a turn on a track less followed. I find myself obsessively thinking a lot about vengeance. And it feels good. It might be true that vengeance is the Lords as they say, but in my life maybe not.  I’m not sure I give a damn anymore about anybody or anything.  And it’s not like I have criminal tendencies, because I don’t. But recently I’ve had a profound change of spirit and I sense things could go awry if my luck doesn’t start improving. At times bad people whether men or women need to be caught and punished, or worse. Somehow this world deserves a little justice instead of waiting for God. I’ve come close, very close a few times to making stupid mistakes, really stupid. I imagine jail to be like a large brick coffin with few amenities, and I’m not sure how it would all end there. And there is the dilemma, the risk of the moral debt I’d have to own forever. It’s an ongoing personal struggle between God and me. I’ve never wanted a dirty soul, never. But I think the threat of damnation is what has ruined my life and all that turn the other cheek shit also.. Well I’m done with turning anything. I’m breaking free from this religious prison, I am.  And by the way, I know for a fact half of law enforcement is corrupt. An ex cop told me all about it. I could even make a list of names and dates and how they all violated the law, but to what end? Those evildoers got just what they deserved. And what is true justice, an endless game of waiting? Bullshit. And besides, you can’t bring back the dead.
I enter City Thrift owned by anybody anytime anywhere; an intercity super thrift teeming with the dregs of humanity. I’m half way to Kingston and feel like dancing in these wide aisles. I hook my sunglasses on my blue striped shirt and subconsciously start my shopping ritual. Each store has a pattern I follow based on historical trial and error, people avoidance, and the need for exercise as tolerated. Some days while I make my rounds per doctor’s orders, the amount of exercise I get has a direct mathematic relationship to the amount of medicinal spirits I imbibe. And so does the amount of money I spend. This is why some places in Vegas give you  free drinks while gambling away your life savings, college funds, and holiday funds for next year. But you could be super lucky the very next moment. So you don’t even begin to think about consequences, just go for the gold baby. Can you feel it?
My first archeological study begins is the household collectables section. Each and every piece has a personal history and a memory. Each item is a nugget of recorded life if you look close enough. Everything has been touched or used in a home with a family and a memory created. Somewhere in space and time a child is licking the chocolate icing off his mother’s rotary beater. His sister is making a fuss so mom gives her the second one. They watch her affectionately ice the cake with a magic rubber spatula and then use their fingers to get the little hidden gobs underneath. But a pair of not too old beaters won’t sell for a dime on Ebay. I’m here to find hidden gold to successfully resell for a profit, cold hard cash, nothing less. I’m not a weak sentimentalist. I suffer from no moody disease that will make be sob when picking up a plastic baby bottle with an eroded yellow Bumble Bee figure. But I will say, I‘ll bet fifty dollars an empty Jack Daniel’s bottle holds a lot more memories then an empty jar of V eight. And with me it’s all about the do re me, the green backs, the cash, the cha-ching!
I move around the maze of shelves feeling very good. My buzz has revved up the RPMs on my fifty seven year old health machine and suddenly spending hours walking on hard concrete feels appealing. I’m gliding now listening to a song stuck in my head. “See the money, wanna stay…for your meal Get another piece of pie...for your wife..”  Although I am not married now, I love the way the tune makes me feel. It oscillates my blood booze level how a conductor excites an orchestra. “See the money, wanna stay…for your meal Get another piece of pie..”
I’m so high, couldn’t care if I die.(my line)
And coming around the corner is a chocolate lady in tights, bright yellow elastic tight shorts, with a body you could slowly pour into a Hershey’s bottle and put on the shelf for a rainy day. Oh yeah, save some for a rainy day my grandmother used to say. I’m not certain when she came home from church Sunday mornings with holy bread and crisp one dollar bills for us grandkids she meant saving for this kind of chocolate. But whoa.
It’s a real strange world we live in. The truth always has to be candy coated for societal or religious reasons. God forbid, the word ‘tit’ ever was mentioned on Gilligan’s Island. Everyone knows there isn’t such a one eyed animal blindly on the prowl in suburbia when the sun goes down. They usually hunt in pairs at night. As this sweet young thing comes into full view just inches from my heart, she flashes me a smile that says, you still got it grandpa? She radiates the essence of carnal femininity and smells like a freshly coated red candy apple. Why oh why was I so asleep in my youth? What did I ever do to you God to be born and raised in the white city of knickerbockers and culottes? I thought Christianity didn’t believe in karma? She giggles moving along and reads my mind like a fortune teller. There was a time long ago when I might have told her what awaited her. But that’s a history that never transpired, never came to be, never arrived. A history perhaps forbidden by geography or mentality, but I never had the chance. So even now I wonder if it would be so wrong to tell her how beautiful she really is. But coming from an old white man with liquor on his breath, she’d think I was just another dirty old man with a pension check and wandering eye, not the true admirer of innate beauty that I am. It’s amazing how appearances are so deceiving, and this deception is a stranger to no culture. But it is what it is.
Bingo! What is that that beholds my eyes?
It’s approximately nine inches long, looks like a darkened almost black metal rod attached to a bell shape of the same color. I pick it up and yes it is; an old candle snuffer. Could it be silver? I eyeball the moveable joint where the snuffer connects to the rod. So far so good, the black color is in fact very thick patina and maybe smoke tarnish. Is it silver or silver plate that is the question? I reach into my pant pocket a pull out my broken loop. The light mechanism hasn’t worked for years, but the magnifying glass is perfect. I carefully and slowly move along the rod then the inside of the snuffer, and there it is; 9.25 Sterling. Ch-ching!
And the sticker says...ninety nine cents. SOLD! I’m figuring I’ll list it on EBay for a starting bid of one dollar USA and watch the bidding war go off like the fireworks in a Chinese parade.
When I first began my exercise program I used to take my gold and silver to pawn shops to be robbed. Oh yes, I wasn’t robbed standing in line by some drug addict with few teeth holding a B B gun. But by the pawn shop clerks who are notorious for giving false weights and unfair prices. People utilize their services when they’re down on their luck and these crooks take advantage knowing full well the social constraints of the situation.  I figure I’ve lost several hundreds of dollars at least before I realized the error of my ways. I had a small gold nugget I had used in my mercury experiments that I took to get some quick cash once. When I had originally took it into my possession it weight five grams. I suspected it might have loss some weight during numerous attempts at transmutation which is to be expected; at least in my world. Well this giant sloth of a man wearing a black ninja silk shirt tells me its three grams. I had no intention of verbally assaulting the hairy mutant at the time because I had more than a few shots of Dr. Courage flowing in my veins. His eyes not unlike a gorilla’s dared me to challenge his GED and his Boy Scout merit badge for weights and measures. I paused in a momentary synaptic lapse of thinking for a way to take him down, but quickly shook it off since I have inherent survival skills. It’s true; I’ve been to divorce court four times. So I politely declined his services at the time and left with a eureka moment similar to a flickering light bulb. Live and let live, right? So it is a learning process. Because people are not inherently good or kind or wanting to help you when you need it the most, at best they’re opportunist. It might be a percentage thing I don’t know. Maybe sixty forty maybe fifty fifty but the flip side of the Good Samaritan is always there just waiting for the chance to take. Trust me; there is a hell of a lot more takers than givers in the world; so don’t feed the bears, they’ll want more.
No gold nuggets, no tracer gold, no Napoleon tableware, no Faberge eggs, no carnival iridescent glass, no Beatles records, no more Sterling, no original oil paintings, yes crystal wine glasses but not worth the value, no rare perfume bottles, no books worth adding to the collection or selling, aisles and aisles of musty clothes for the whole family, rows and rows of shoes from around the world, forget about the electronics it’s a the dead zone, and finally the lamp and lighting section where quiet values sometimes hide, but not today. One quick scan and its junk, all junk. But what I look for are Italian glass lamps that are heavy with thick gnarled artistic forms, they could be worth thousands. Most have no mark on the bottom, but there is a community of islands in the Venetian lagoon in northern Italy called Murano. These people have made glass items for centuries; stunning treasures made frequently for the filthy rich, my kind of people.

I enjoy reading. It’s one the last quiet pleasures in life I can embrace. It’s where I can find respite from my debts and avoid noises. Noises like that of a certain bill collector who is not only unreasonable in his demands, but lacks the basic social skill to be a good listener. And he seems to be highly frustrated with the word no.  I just survived the last chapter of the novel Moby Dick and I hope to God you’ve never read it, don’t bother. I forced myself to suffer through over 500 pages of seawater and sperm, Sperm whales to be exact, while my phone was buzzing like a bee hive because of this lunatic bill collector. I had to reread so much I almost drowned forty times. The endless descriptive minutia about the ships, the sea, the soup, the sailors, the saltwater, the serpents, the salted beef, the stink, the social norms, the Solomon Islands, the senseless slaughter, the sermon, the sins of all mankind including secret sex with a sensitive giant savage from the South Pacific, was very boring to be kind. There I said it. I’ve shaken the world of elitists like a coconut tree in a hurricane.  Herman Melville the author who wrote this book didn’t write a book for the next thirty years then simply died. The end. Now, getting back to the bill collector on the phone, I do not believe I broke the law when I inquired about his personal residence and if he was married. Nor do I feel telling him I was a sniper in Viet Nam and suffered from PTSD broke any law, even though I was never in military service. He did however restate at least six times that everything was being recorded for what I assume would be vague legal issues. Subsequently, I had to discreetly disconnect and place my cell on mute. I’ll say it again; I value the quietude in my home. I don’t even watch the TV news in the evenings. However I might check it sooner than later.
Something is nagging at me. I’m getting stiff neck thinking about it. I am sick and tired of rules. Who makes all these damn rules we live with?
I called the foreign doctor I have for my Primary Physician and asked her for pain medication. She balked and asked me to come in for a urine test. I’m not kidding. There is something seriously wrong with our country. She is the Tarot card reader who gave me the bad news and then I have to piss in a cup to comply with federal regulations? Oh, so she can protect her license. Has America gone insane? For God’s sake I’m in pain. My mind seeks out something more worldly and concrete. I look at layers and layers of sediment as I drive through the mountains and fathom the timelessness of the universe. The darker layers accumulated during historically wet times, where as the lighter shades during dry periods. Geology also fascinates me. But I can’t seem to let go my PCP wants a urine test, a urine test for what? Not to help me oh no, but to follow federal laws so the growing problem of senior citizen addiction to pain killers can be monitored.  Who can I kill? The view from 3030 feet when the sun comes up is spectacular.  I come here to this rest spot on the edge of this mountain because I feel it gives me the best uninterrupted panoramic view and has minimal car traffic. And it is perfect for meditating. Something I learned from my shrink. Find an image she’d say, relax, take a deep breath, exhale and free yourself from the chains of stress. And so I pull off this narrow two way road into this small railed curved area. It’s big enough for maybe a car and a half, probably built for emergencies. I stand close to the edge touching the thin metal grate at my knees that separates me from a 3000 foot treeless death fall. It takes my breath away. I bend and creaks like an old tree that has seen its better days.  The sun is barely breaking the horizon and it’s like that Cat Steven’s song; Morning Has Broken Like The First Morn…I unscrew the cap of the Jamaican gold and hold it arm stretched out to welcome  the sun.  A new day, a new beginning; to my future! Long live the treasure hunter! Then I drink down a healthy wave of Caribbean bliss and feel the sun also rising in my chest. This is a memory for sure. This is what all life should be about; creating new memories, happy ones, sucking the marrow out of life.
I stare down into the flatlands where the mice of humanity scurry like they’re in a lab cage with a Ferris wheel and toy cars and bridges and a large white water tower and a pools of water and of course the endless spider web of roads and highways we travel to our destinies.  I realize   I’m hungry for French bread with butter. I have no idea where that’s coming from. But it’s true. There’s always been something about fresh bread I’ve found soothing or comforting. As I stand here on the precipice between life and death I think of my mother baking in the summertime during school break. That distinct glorious smell of yeasty bread is a good feeling, a happy thought. I’ll drink to that, and I take another hit off the bottle. Ahhh matey! I think of the Spanish treasure ships that loaded up tons of gold silver and gems from South America onto massively huge wooden ships then in groups usually around eleven set sail from Mexico to Cuba straight south of here. The ships were loaded with more cargo from all over the Caribbean; spices, tobacco, fruits, pottery, leather goods most of which was made by slaves.  All of those islands were filled with black slaves from Africa century after century. Human beings by the boat load were packed and shipped like commodities. It surely was a hellish life for those poor souls. People nowadays are clueless how well we all have it. With electricity heating and cooling elements, refrigerators, telecommunications, cars, trains, planes and automobiles we all live like kings and queens comparatively speaking.   
But for millions of others they were stripped of everything including their children and beat down physically and socially to the level of work animals like pack mules. The Spanish had brought horses to the new world and the horses were treated far better than the human slaves who cared for them.  Generation after generation of slavery begetting slaves created a human resource of free labor in the tens of millions.  And yet, in most history classes particularly in the elementary schools the noble Europeans as heroes are seen conquering and educating the wild savages of the lands. Nothing is mentioned of the seven hundred distinct native cultures that through time were erased from history. Nothing.


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Klinik

For hours I pounded my hands and knuckles bloody. I used my feet to kick and kick until the thick hard white fibrous mold cracked then finally gave way.  A great relief calmed me. I diligently crawled through the hole and strangely found myself inside a soft white cottony pouch.  Looking back I realized I just escaped the confines of a rather large egg about six feet in length and four feet wide.  I stood up with the unease of a drunken sailor clutching the pliable sides to get a view.  It was a hell of a long way to the floor as I swayed to the gait of giant legs ambulating with the precision and intent of a drill sergeant on a mission. I looked up to see what great personage I had the destiny to cross paths and behold it was none other than Nurse Hassenpecker the lead counselor of my alcohol and drug rehab group. From the depths of my disbelief I could see the whole of her massive sharply articulated nose. Her twin nasal orifices were darkened caves lined with hairs the size of tree trucks and where clumps of Spanish green moss held fast like glue. I noticed a small black dot with tiny arm like appendages struggling to break free from the sticky clingy moss that held it prisoner. Carefully scraping the innocuous adhesive off as one would clean a pancake spatula the dot began to free itself and moved about within the tangled jungle of Hassenpecker’s olfactory abyss.  The creature had the back of its tiny round speck of a head towards me and successfully removed the last vestiges of insect bondage. It at once turned and stared with its red digital eyes aglow into my frightened soul. I instantly succumbed to fear as I suffered from an extreme case of arachnophobia first diagnosed at Boy Scout camp in 1968 during the Tet Offensive.  But as I looked closer it became clear the face which had sent waves of apprehension over by shrunken body was my good friend and confidant Dr. Fortune Cookie, chief neuropsychologist from the Klinik.  He was not pleased that I had relapsed. The always professionally attired doctor skittered out Hassenpecker’s nose and rappelled down a long strand of silk extruding from the distal end of his swollen ass.  As he closed in on me I could see blue cookie dough smeared about his face as if he had suddenly abandoned all hope of losing weight. The corpulent cookie crumbling bug did not have the resolve to give up sugar, and yet he alone was King of the Klinik; that world class corrections agency where court appointed offenders are sentenced to learn about addictions and submit a plan to make amends. Holy saccharine, there appeared to be a double standard inherent within the treatment regimen for all us guilty party people to follow. However true, I had no desire nor deemed it beneficial to my condition to confront the good doctor regarding his affront to the science of chemical dependency. If he so chose to shorten his life by over indulging in confectionary creams and sugary sacraments and tubs of whipped fluff saturated with lard from a herd of Texas cattle; well so be it. I was there to focus on me, and get my head screwed on the right way; Dr. Fortune Cookie’s way. Because there at the Klinik; there was only one way to recovery; his way. And only he could see the future, your future, my future, but not his. For he was cut from a far different mold than the average gingerbread man, he was made of superior sucrose and molasses, and the heaviest of butter, and imported spices from the very best resources from foreign countries. He received his highest education from the elitist of elitist schools in the world. And his intellect had been awarded with numerous medallions and letters and proclamations so prestigious Dr. Fortune Cookie demanded they be all picture framed, all seventeen of them, and hung along the hallowed halls to be seen daily as the common worker passed to the cafeteria.   For curing chemical dependency is a money game and if the Klinik was to be ranked in Forbes magazine as the premier top rated money maker five consecutive years in a row, than nothing I mean nothing was too over the top for Dr. Fortune Cookie. Halls throughout the Klinik were virtually camouflaged with hundreds of celebrity photographs taken with the magician of marijuana management, the captain of cocaine containment, and the overlord of opium oppression; all titles he so cherished and wore with the absolute humbleness of a holy man.   
We all sat in a circle awaiting the arrival of Nurse Hassenpecker to begin the group.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

401: Access Denied

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