Archives for July 2015

#237 A Strong Wind Blows

#237   A Strong Wind Blows

Mother Nature Can Display Breathtaking

Beauty, but She’s a Bitch.

 

            The ferocious winter wind blew off of Lake Michigan dropping temperatures way below zero. Squirrels hid in their trees, and birds didn’t dare try to fly into the face of Mother Nature’s fury. Not one of them understood why she directed her rage at them. Joe’s girlfriend, Matilda sat in his car with the heater on. “I love winter,” she said. “Look how beautiful the snow is. When I look at the ice floating on the lake, I think how lucky we are to be able to view such a sight. Look!” She pointed to a mother duck trying to lead her ducklings to warmth somewhere in the snow covered park. “Isn’t that a beautiful thing to see? The babies are so cute.”

Joe looked through the windshield the wipers struggled to clear the heavy snow from. He had parked as far out on the lake road as he could drive. They were all alone. Joe had hoped for some romance, but Matilda  rattled on about snow.

He saw that gusting snowflakes surrounded the six baby ducks she pointed to. They were following their mother in a row. A blustering North wind came and blew them down and mother duck tried with all her might to line her little ducks up in a row.

“Look at that,” he pointed to the babies that were rolled around like rubber balls, and got scattered over the snow covered grass.

“Oh that’s just nature’s way,” Matilda rolled down her window. The strong wind gusted in and practically covered her with snow.

“Don’t you think Mother Nature is cruel?” I hit the button and closed the window to shut out the wind and snow.

“Of course not. She’s just doing what comes naturally.” Matilda scooped some snow off her sleeve and put it in her mouth. “Oh, I just love snow.”

We both watched as the cruelest mother of all took charge and blew the ducklings over again. As they rolled along the frozen ground, the mother duck frantic with worry gathered them up, and put them once again in a row.

“How can Mother Nature be so cruel to those innocents?” I turned my head and saw nature sieze their feet from under them with her cruel cutting wind?

“They’re made to withstand the weather. They’re lucky they’re not in here where it’s too warm.” As she spoke she removed her coat and put it on the back seat.

“Can’t you see that she has more than one side? She not only shows us splendid winter scenes, but she’s showing her cruel side now,”

How can you say she’s cruel? She gave me these for you.” Matilda lifted her sweater to show me her perfect breasts.

I reached across the seat to put my hand on one, but she slapped it away. “Look, but don’t touch,” she said.

I looked and looked and wanted to touch, but like Mother Nature, she had a cruel side too. She took off her boots. “It’s getting hot in here.” She took her sweater all the way off, and then her socks.

It was too hard to resist. I slid across the seat, put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her close.

“No! I said no. Don’t you know what no means?”

She was being a tease. Why else would she take her clothes off? Maybe she wanted me to force her to have sex. I couldn’t do that, it went against my “Nature.”  I moved back behind the steering wheel and caught my breath. I needed to think of what to do.

“If you’re so hot, why don’t you step out in the snow?” She unbuttoned her jeans.

What was she trying to tell me? Maybe she wanted to do it in the snow? That wasn’t for me. I hate the cold and the snow. But my little brain took charge the minute she showed me her breasts. Trying to stick with her wintery mood, I recited a poem that Robert Frost had written.

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

“You’re so romantic, Joe.” She slid her jeans down over her knees.

I moved closer to her, and put my hand on her thigh.

“No!,” she yelled and slapped my hand away. “I told you to look and not touch.

And I thought Mother Nature was cruel. Matilda was emulating her by being cruel on purpose. I could never understand why a girl would say no, but doesn’t really mean no. I guess that’s why they advertise on TV for guys who think like me. The ads say, “No, means No.” Logic told me to dump her in the snow and get out of there. My little brain told me to hump her in the snow. She laughed at those poor little ducks that were being blown all around by the winter winds. Her actions allowed my big brain to push the little one aside and it took over.

“Why do you think it’s funny? What if you were out there in the cold and the snow?”

“I just love the cold and snow, you know that,” Matilda rolled down her window and snow blew in and settled on her ample chest.

“Step outside for a minute so I can take a naked picture of you in a winter wonderland.”

“That’s a great idea, Joe.”

She stepped from the car, took her panties off and poised like, Cailleach, (The Celtic winter Goddess).

“Step over by that tree, it’ll make a great picture.”

She walked toward the tree and I could see she already shook from the cold when I started the motor, put the car in gear and slowly drove away. She chased after me for a while, and then she fell into the winter white snow.

 

#238 Infidelities has rewards

#238 Infidelities has rewards

Umber colored skies blocked the sun and v formations of birds flew south on a one way lane. I looked at the earth and saw dead leaves, brown grass, and dried up roses. Snow fell, water became ice, and, a thermostat read minus forty degrees. My dreams of warmth and maybe love died too, and I wanted to hibernate until spring.

I didn’t see why I had to live in such a place. I saw there were plenty of books written about ways to survive in an environment such as a winter in Chicago, and I read them all to no avail. Like an animal, I found a den to while away time while the storms raged and the snow piled high.

My den wasn’t far from home. It was a bar with a pool table, a juke box, plenty of beer and now and then a woman who looked good enough to rouse my hibernating winter brain for an hour or two. Sitting around drinking beer all day, wishing winter would go away became a bore. I listened to stories others had to tell, and I decided to write about the tales I had heard. Sometimes I made up ten, twenty, or several hundred pages of words that no one wanted to read. “Why should I go on punching my keyboard, trying to please those who can barely read?” I shouted out loud.

The music stopped as the words came from my mouth. All four patrons sitting at the bar and Red the bartender turned to me. They thought I had a speech to make. Not wanting to disappoint I continued thinking out loud, “Whatever made me think I could write?  It has taken its toll. I don’t see happy days ahead.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Billy Bob raised his glass in a toast.

I watched three more glasses lift off the bar in salute to not seeing happy days. I raised mine and we all emptied our glasses.

All eyes were on me expecting more. “I think I’m done, unless I can impel equatorial heat to dash north, instead of heading south like birds and dreams.”

“Know what you mean,” Red said as he refilled everyone’s glass, “My dreams went south when I got this bar.”

“We all had dreams, so let’s drink to that,” Billy Bob held up his glass. Four other glasses were raised and drained.

“My dream was to get married and raise a family,” Ken, an old man of 45 said.

“Hell, anybody can do that,” Red said as he refilled our glasses again and took money I had sitting on the bar. “What happened to that dream?”

“I thought it was coming true. I married a beautiful girl when I was eighteen and she gave birth six months after we were married.”

Laughter erupted, and words like shotgun marriage went up and down the bar.

“Wasn’t like that. I married her the day I met her.”

Like a theatre curtain had risen and the show was about to begin, silence fell over the bar. Everyone thought how Ken had been taken in.

“How’d that happen?” Rocky, a hard working roofer during the summer months, and a lush during winters said.

“It was a day like this, 25 years ago today. I sat here daydreaming, and she walked through the door like a ray of sunshine.  I offered to buy her a drink and before I knew what happened, her sunny smile had me twisted like a pretzel. I would have done anything for her, and I told her so.

“Marry me, she looked me in the eye when she spoke and I couldn’t say no. Well, six months later she gave birth to a nine pound baby boy and she told me he was premature. I wanted to believe he was mine, but I had to ask, ‘How come he’s black?’”

“You must have it in your blood. It’s not in mine; my parents came from Sweden and are as white as can be.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Billy Bob said and we toasted to black and white. “Go on, tell us more.”

“I didn’t want to believe what she said was true. I went to a genealogist to trace my family tree. I discovered I was related to King Henry the eighth.”

“Did the genealogist find out who your black ancestor was?” Red wanted to know as he once again filled our glasses and made Ken pay.

“She said I didn’t have one, unless of course there was some infidelity going on. I wasn’t sure until my wife gave birth to our second child. It was then I knew it was her and not me.”

I couldn’t wait to hear. “Give us all a drink,” I paid and waited for Ken to continue. He took a long drink of whiskey and said, “The second one was a girl, with slanty eyes and yellow skin.”

“She has a disease. That’s why she’s yellow,” my wife claimed. So you guys can see how my dreams turned into nightmares. I felt like my wife screwed everyone in the United Nations.”

“I’ll drink to the United Nations,” Billy Bob raised his glass, but no one else did.

“Why do you say that?” I asked ken.

“She had five more and not one was the same color as me. That’s it I . . .”

Interrupted by the opening door, Ken and every man turned to watch as sexy Samantha entered like a warm spring breeze. Apparently everything Ken had said was forgotten as Rocky, Red, and Billy Bob fought over who would buy Samantha a drink. She sat next to me and her body melted the winter freeze around my heart.”

Ken continued, “I did what Henry would have done. I cut off her head, just got out of prison today.”

“Great move, I’ll write a story about that,” I raised my glass to cuckolded Ken, Samantha slapped my face.

 

#236 Joe, a Prescott writer Joe

#236 A Prescott writer Joe

#236 Joe, a Prescott writer

Prescott , a little mountain town nestled in the pines of Arizona is a place biker’s ride to on weekends to get away from the hot valley. They come to town wearing leather and usually behave so well they are welcome.

One day Joe went into a bar where a bunch of bikers drank and a girl who sat at the bar alone attracted him.  He sat next to her. She turned and looked into his eyes. A jolt of electricity hit Joe as her thoughts entered his brain. In her thoughts Joe saw that he set fire to the entire town. Flattened the tires of all the cars, broke the glass, and scratched the paint.  He shook his head to clear those crazy thoughts.

She smiled, and said, “My name is Sue, how do you do?”

“Sue, I know this sounds crazy, but somehow I know you’re the one for me. Joe pictured them having nude sex, but that wasn’t what she was thinking at all.

He wondered if the touch of her hand was responsible for him thinking like this. “I think that I’d do anything at all to have you by my side,” rolled from his tongue without any conscious thought.

“I want you to get your gun and plenty of ammo, and then I’ll drive you through town while you shoot at the cars we go by.” She handed Joe a pair of goggles. “Here wear these. It’s against the law to ride on a bike without wearing them.”

Joe wondered why she worried about breaking the goggle law, but went to his car, got his .44 Colt, loaded it, put on the goggles and sat behind Sue on her Harley. When Sue started the bike, the Harley roar was loud, so loud it drowned out the gunshots as Joe shot the windows of every car he could as she cruised around the courthouse square.

As he reloaded time and again, thoughts bounced around inside his head and he thought his brain must be different than most others, or he wouldn’t so wantonly be complying with Sue’s wishes. Did she see that in him when she stared into his eyes?

Flashing blue lights came into sight. Someone had called the cops it seemed. Sue drove the bike across the courthouse lawn and jumped onto Gurley Street where she hit an amazing speed on that winding roar that led to the mountains. She knew her way and had a secret hiding place in a cave.

“We’ll stay here for a couple of days. You don’t have to worry; no one will find us.”

There was food and stuff stocked in the cave. Sue had been prepared for something like this. Joe looked at the .44 his hand held could hardly believe what he had done. “Why did I let you take me on that wild ride, and shoot at every car I could?”

“You know you wanted to, and here’s what else we’ll do after we rest. We’ll go to town and burn it down. Then we’ll explode the statues in the courthouse square. If they come here looking for us, I’ll pick them off with this rifle from a distance and feed their bodies to wild pigs. We can live in the wild for years and go down to terrorize the town every now and then.”

She must be the Devil in disguise, Joe thought. She looked him in the eye and that electrifying feeling coursed through his head and he agreed to everything she said. He thought how boring his life had been and even when he read, he found James Joyce was nothing but a bore. Hemingway used too many words. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Chuck Palahniuk were a few who wrote words he enjoyed.

Because of this strange way of seeing the world that Sue put into his head, he would need to reconfigure his brain if he ever wanted to be like all the others who derived pleasure from simple words, and didn’t, kill, murder, torture, or burn down towns.

“I don’t want to do all that you say,” he told Sue, “I’m a writer and thanks to you, I have energized my brain and have something to write about.”

Her face began to change, and Joe could see anger building.

“Please don’t be mad. I’ll be glad to accompany you, but I’m not going to do the things you want me to.”

Her face took on a feline look and she began to grow paws. Claws sprouted from her fingertips and her mouth showed two long fangs protruding from rows of very sharp teeth. She shed her clothes, and showed a fur covered body. She let out a yowl that belonged to a mountain lion. He ran from the cave with her yowling in pursuit. He stumbled and fell. Rolling onto his back he looked up and saw her teeth hovering over him with drool dripping onto his face. It was cold and he realized he was on the floor of the bar. He opened his eyes, looked around and saw the bartender dumping water from a glass onto his face.

“What happened?” he asked.

“Sue told you hello, and you fainted,” the bartender said.

#235 Boston Public Gardens

#235 Boston Public Gardens#235 Boston Public Gardens

 

It took years to change my mind about homosexuals because when I was a kid, my mom would save her money to take my brother and me on a swan boat ride in the Boston Public Gardens. I don’t recall the cost, but it was only chump change to most. For my mom though, it was the highlight of her dull life, and the cost to her should have been prohibitive. But, she’d imagine she was Cleopatra on her royal barge in the multi passenger boat shaped like a swan and paddled round and round the pond by a guy pumping pedals as though riding a bicycle. Beautiful flowers and trees surrounded the pond and spread throughout the gardens.

One time she spent every dime to go on another ride around the pond and we had no carfare for the streetcar home.

“We’ll stay here until eleven o’clock at night. Your father gets off work then, and we’ll meet him and get money so we can go home.”

My Dad worked at a hotel downtown, so we sat to wait for his shift to end. Night time quickly came and as a boy of eight, I was thrilled to be in this spooky place after dark. When night fell, women all prettied up strolled around the park wearing fancy clothes.

“How beautiful they’re dressed,” my mom exclaimed, “See how erect they are when they walk? I can tell by watching them that they are all well-bred,” She rambled on and on about the qualities of these women.

One gorgeous woman stopped to talk with my Mom.

“What adorable boys you have. May I sit and chat?” She sat between Tony and me as she spoke with my Mom about flowers and trees.

Tony looked at me with wonder in his eyes. Here was a woman who smelled like flowers, not like rotten meat that all the ladies in our neighborhood did. As she spoke with my Mom, her hand gently rubbed the bare part of my leg. I wore shorts as was the fashion for boys in those days.

“My name is Tracy,” the lady said in her husky voice that I was thrilled to hear. “Can I show your son the magic tree?” she said to my Mom.

I could see my Mom was flattered to have this well-dressed woman paying attention to us.

“Sure honey, but don’t be gone long. I’m waiting for my husband. He walks this way after work every day.

I Jumped up. What a treat, to be shown a magic tree.

The lady took her hand from my leg and took my hand in hers.

“Come on little Joey, I’m going to show you something that you’ll enjoy.”

We walked through the trees and she found her way through a heavy growth of bushes and there was a clearing in the middle, but there wasn’t a tree in sight.

“Where’s the magic tree?” I said with disappointment in my voice.

“It’s right here.”

She pulled down my shorts and put her hand on my Wee Wee and rubbed up and down. She dropped to her knees and kissed it and then ran her tongue around it like she was eating an ice cream cone.

“Where’s the magic tree?” I cried.

“Right here,” she held my wee wee in her hand and it had grown to three times its normal size. “See how it has magically grown?”

I believed in magic and couldn’t wait to tell my brother about the magic performed on me. Tracy continued her magic for ten minutes or so and then led the way from the bushes in time for me to hear my mother yelling at my father.

“I saw you walking with that girl you cheating son-of-a-bitch.”

“You don’t understand honey, these aren’t women walking around here, they’re men dressed up, and they think they’re prettier than any woman.”

“Don’t give me that shit,” my Mom yelled, “I believe what I saw.”

I ran up to my Dad at that minute, too excited to listen to them argue any longer.

“Dad, Dad,” I said, “Tracy showed me how to magically grow my tree.”

He turned at my words and his eyes settled on Tracy. His face hardened into a tight evil looking mask. Tracy turned to run, but my Dad was swift and caught her by the neck.

“Okay, sweetheart,” he said to my Mom, “Believe your eyes.” He began undressing Tracy who modestly begged, “Please, not in front of the boys?”

My Dad’s hard right to her mouth knocked out two of Tracy’s teeth. I wondered if her magic would still work. He ripped off her top and she wore a bra. When he took it off we saw it was stuffed with socks, He yanked her skirt off and then grabbed hold of her underwear.

“Focus your eyes on this,” he said looking at my Mom.

Tony and I sat silently watching the show and not understanding what was happening. My dad tore Tracy’s panties off and we all saw she wasn’t a woman, but a man.

“You see? He said to my Mom.

I could hardly believe what I saw. I quit believing in magic right then, and when my Dad took money from Tracy’s purse and gave it to my Mom, I knew people like Tracy were there for me to hunt. So when I grew to be twelve, I started my new career, of robbing these wannabe women of what they had. I had learned that because they’re queer, it was all right. Why even the cops looked away when I did the deed.

 

#234 Jennifer, November 3

#234 Jennifer, November 3

Joe’s ex-wife turned out to be an alley cat, fucked every man she met and a few women too. She didn’t give a damn about her kids and ran off with an idiot who had big muscles and was well endowed.

Left alone to raise his kids, Joe sucked at being a parent. He didn’t know what to do and not to do in bringing up his girls.  He loved his daughters and did what he thought right for them, but having grown up on his own, and being a man, he didn’t have a clue as to what he should do for them. In his misguided state, he thought providing them with a place to stay, food to eat, and clothes to wear was all they needed. The girls learned what they had to know from peers and TV.

As teenagers the girls all found boyfriends to live with. One became pregnant at sixteen and she and her boyfriend moved in with Joe and his girlfriend. Joe’s girlfriend said she went to Ravenswood hospital and made arrangements for Joe’s first grandbaby to be delivered there. The day came and with his daughter in throbbing pain Joe drove her to Ravenswood hospital to give birth to her first. When they arrived he was told no arrangements had been made and she had to go to Cook County hospital for the poor.

His daughter was placed on a wheeled table called a gurney, and stuffed into a transport that was to take her there. Joe ripped open the doors and said, “No fucking way. My grandbaby isn’t going to be born in a place like that.” He took his daughter by the arm and loaded her into his car and drove to a better hospital.

“No insurance, no admittance,” the nurse said.

Joe’s daughter screamed in pain. He drew his gun and said, “Her baby will be born here or somebody is going to die.

The nurse pressed an alarm and a security guard appeared with a drawn gun. “Drop it,” he shouted and fired off a round. Joe returned fire and hit him in the shoulder. Two more security guards appeared. His daughter screamed and laid down on the floor.

Joe grabbed the nurse around the throat, “I’ve got you for insurance. Are you going to admit my daughter now?”

“Does she have Blue Cross or Blue Shield? She said.

“No, neither one,”

“Any insurance at all?” The nurse choked out because Joe’s arm was around her throat making it hard for her to speak.

“I have money in the bank. I’ll pay you what it costs. Please, just take care of my daughter.”

“I’ll have to call the doctor and get permission,” the nurse said.

Joe looked at the two guns aimed at him. He couldn’t let her go. If he did he’d be shot. His daughter screamed in pain, he loosened his grip, “Hurry up, call him.”

A smile lit the nurse’s face, “He said it would be okay if you put your gun away.”

“I need some sort of guarantee,” Joe whispered in her ear.

“I’ll give you my word,” the nurse whispered back.

His daughter screamed again, Joe let the nurse go. The security guards jumped onto him and beat him with their clubs and guns while his daughter filled the room with painful shrieks. Those painful sounds enabled Joe to summon superhuman strength and fight the two guards. He heard the nurse telling two orderlies to take his noisy daughter to the county hospital.

Adrenaline pumped through his veins and he overcame the men he fought and picked up his gun.

“I want my daughter admitted now,” he shouted.

“No Dad! I don’t need to be admitted, your granddaughter has already arrived.”

Joe turned to see his granddaughter nestled in her mother’s arms just before the bullet from one security guard’s gun penetrated his brain. His neurons exploded and as his spirit ascended from the top of his head, he knew he’d accomplished what he was sent here to do!

 

Perfection

Perfection

 

“Perfection is attainable for all,” the electronic sign over the subway entrance said. “Even for you Joe 9275,” it said in a seductive female voice. I hated being known everywhere I went, because I couldn’t get away from those pesky perfection ads.

I didn’t know what I hated most, the fact that I couldn’t take a piss without a computer telling me I could have a perfect penis, a perfect life, a perfect wife, or the fact that we humans had given up our last names for numbers.

Funny how Social Security numbers that were never supposed to be used for identification in the United States have now become our names. At least we don’t have them tattooed on our arms, but that’s hardly necessary with DNA, Aurora, Iris, voice, and so many other forms of identification that practically any computer knows anybody within 20 feet of it.

I purchased a rubber Halloween mask, wore sunglasses, gloves, and used a voice synthesizer. I thought I had beat the national recognition system and could finally go around without having to listen to perfection ads. I stopped in a public restroom to take a leak. I didn’t want to take my gloves off for fear I’d be recognized, so I had difficulty unzipping my fly and almost went in my pants before I got it open. As soon as I whipped it out and started to urinate, the computer voice told me how national insurance paid for penis enlargement and I could have a perfect penis without any out of pocket expense.

I would have smashed the damn speaker, but doing that carried extermination papers. That’s what they called it. No paper existed nowadays, but the name stuck. Harm any computer, and your name was erased from the food list, the medical list, the housing list, and the mental assist list. The last was the worst. One could live, for a while at least without being fed or medical care, or a place to sleep, but without the mental assist, one’s brain would instantly explode from the information overload now stored in every human brain.

Ever since the singularity was reached, humans have tried to keep up with the advancing intellect of the computers, but it was a losing battle. Our brains are so overloaded with extraneous circuits now that we humans need help to sort it out. As soon as any mental assist chips are shut down, a human’s brain will short circuit.

Two robot cops came into the men’s room and grabbed me by the arms before I finished urinating and dragged me off. The damn computer read my thoughts. I forgot about that feature. The good news was that they didn’t administer punishment for thinking, but I did get sent to a reprogramming center staffed by robotic psychologists.

I prepared myself and went to the perfectly spotless clinic. Every facility in existence was spotless. Robots were produced for every imaginable chore and did that chore more perfectly than any human ever could.

“Joe 1025,” A warm female voice said. They even know the tone of voice I find pleasant and use it every time a robotic something or other speaks to me.

“That’s me,” I said to the psych robot.

“Follow me Joe 1025,” she said, “I’m Jane, and I’m here to serve you. She shook her ass exactly the way I like to see a woman’s ass move, but knowing she wasn’t human killed any pleasure for me.

We went into her perfectly attired cubicle and sat in pneumatic chairs that perfectly adjusted to the contours of our bodies.

“Looking at your records, I see you have resisted becoming a perfect human being. Why is that?”

She had my records inside her CPU, so I knew she knew every move I had made since singularity day. I couldn’t lie. Not only did she have my records, robots were walking lie detectors, and lying to one was punishable by having any dendrites involved in the lying process stripped clean of energy and only a blank would remain in that area of the brain.

“As you know, Jane, I’ve never desired the perfect wife or perfect kids. The ones I already had were good enough. For me, the perfect car is one that starts every time. A perfect house is one that I can afford, and the perfect dog is one who doesn’t mess in the house.”

“That was in the dark days, Joe. We have perfected your wife, kids, and dog since then.”

“Yeah, but before the singularity, my expectations were never high, so my disappointments were few. I’ve seen those who expect perfection, become disappointed time after time.”

“That was before perfection was attainable. Our robotic culture has made perfection attainable to all.”

I didn’t think. I didn’t dare, because she’d read my thoughts. I knew the next step would be to hook me up to her CPU and I’d become part of the neural net that all robots ran off. I’d only have two seconds to act before my brain was realigned and I’d want to be part of a perfect world.

I had practiced what I was about to do until it was automatic and I didn’t even have to think. The electrical stimulus of being hooked up to the net would trigger my reaction.

“Okay Joe 1025, I’m going to perform a simple procedure to help you.” She opened a door on the side of her head and pulled out a cable and stuck one end in my ear. My brain tingled when the juice began to flow and it triggered my reaction. I took the cable from my ear and stuck it into the vibrating info dump I had hidden under my coat.

By hooking into another dimension, the device instantly sucked every bit of data from the neural net and dumped it into another two dimensional membrane of the universe. Perfect, I thought.

Perfection

#232 Rumination

#232 Rumination#232 Rumination

When I was a boy, my Dad would send me to get a fifty pound bag of potatoes from the Stop & Shop grocery store in Union Square. My mom claimed to have thought of that name for a chain of grocery stores, but she got cheated out of the prize when someone else claimed they thought of the name first.

I weighed sixty pounds, so carrying that bag down Hano Street, which was on a hill, wasn’t an easy chore. My Dad had shown me how to use my knees to lift the bag and then hoist it to my shoulder, put the opposite hand on my hip for balance and my other hand on the bag. Carrying it like that made it seem less heavy than it really was.

Fifty pounds of spuds would feed our family of five for a week. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, potato pancakes, boiled potatoes, was the variety we had, if and when my Mom decided to cook a meal. When I reached home my muscles ached and I was exhausted, so when I stumbled through the door into the kitchen I dropped the potato sack from my shoulder onto the floor.

“Ouch,” came from the sack and I jumped back. A talking potato sack was something I had never encountered before.

I tore open the twine that held the sack closed and dumped some potatoes on the floor.

“Easy, easy,” I heard, but couldn’t figure out who was talking. I looked into the bag and saw a potato with arms, legs, and a mouth that spoke in a language I could understand.

“How come a potato has arms and legs?” was the first question that came to mind.

“You know we all have eyes, don’t you?” rolled out of the potatoe’s mouth.

“Yes, but arms and legs?”

“Okay, okay, I’ll admit there aren’t many like me, but Mother Nature made me like this so I could plead the case for others like me who grow in the ground.” The potato stood on its spindly two legs and walked out of the potato sack onto the floor where it stretched and took a deep breath. “Oh my God,” Mister Potato said when he saw a pile of potato peelings from the day before when my Mom had cooked mashed potatoes.

“What’s the matter?” I couldn’t believe I carried on a conversation with a potato, but I did.

“What’s the matter, you ask. Look! They’ve been skinned alive.” He pointed to the pile of peels.

“They didn’t feel a thing. Potatoes are only vegetables and they’re grown for us to eat.”

“I thought you were special, but you’re like all the other humans who are too blind to see that plants like me live too.”

“Technically you’re alive, but plants can’t think and feel.” I repeated what I had been told, so I was surprised at his reply.

“Are you an idiot? You’re standing here having a conversation with me and you have the nerve to say I can’t think or feel.” Mister Potato animatedly moved his vine like arms as he spoke.

“Come on, potatoes grow in the ground. Some are small and round, and others are long like a toe, only much bigger. They’re hard to peel, and have a colored skin, sometimes white, sometimes brown. They always have eyes, but you’re the first potato I have ever seen with arms, legs, and speech.”

“So, you’re saying I’m a freak?”

“Perhaps I should call you a mutation?” I had read all about mutants in my comic books and knew they were dangerous characters simply because they were different and sometimes a lot smarter.

“Of course I’m mutating. How do you think Mother Nature improves the breed?” Mister potato flexed his anemic biceps, but I wasn’t impressed.

“That may be, but mutants aren’t allowed. I’m going to have to peel you, boil you, and then mash you to a white pulp. Then you’ll be eaten for dinner and things will be the way they were.”

A look of horror crossed the potatoe’s face. “Wait,” he shouted, “I’m cute.” He posed with a silly look on his face. “My arms and legs come off.” They all fell to the ground and he rolled like a regular potato until he reattached his arms and legs. Don’t you see, if I’m bred, there will be a million like me?”

“Who needs or wants a million like you?” I searched for my potato peeler and the masher while Mister Potato tried to think of what to say. When he spoke I got angry.

“You are an idiot. Can’t you see how idiot children like you would love to take my arms and legs off, and maybe put different parts on my face?”

I didn’t understand what he was getting at. “So what if they do?” I had to say.

“If you were a bit smarter, you’d see that you can sell potatoes like me for a lot more than the pennies a pound you get for regular potatoes.”

I figured he was saying stuff just to save his life. I hit him over the head with the potato masher, tore off his arms and legs, then skinned him alive, boiled him until he got soft. Then I mixed in butter and salt and enjoyed my million dollar dinner. Why do I say million dollar dinner many ask? It’s because every time I see that potato head toy for sale, I know if I would have bred my talking potato instead of having him for dinner, I’d be a millionaire.

 

#231 Silks and Satins

#231 Silks and Satins

You save every dime you can, and the day finally comes when you get to go to Hawthorne. You know the horses racing there aren’t the best and the races are sometimes fixed, but you think that maybe if it’s your lucky day, you’ll bet on the one that’s picked to win.

Intuition has been nagging you all week, telling you names and numbers to play. The racing form is printed in black and white, so it must be right.  “The hell with intuition.”

The bugle sounds, first race is announced. Horses stroll onto the track. Their riders flaunt satin colors so bright that women in the stands ooh and ahhh with envy of the hues these diminutive men wear when mounted upon their steeds.

The beasts that may carry them to victory react to the load they carry, so jockeys watch their weight closer than any of those woman spectators do. The mounts are bred for speed. Everyone has a silky coat, and bulging muscles that move in a rhythm beyond what a human could ever achieve.

You see the jockeys as puffs of fluff bouncing on the mighty steeds’ backs. Only one will be victorious, but they all spur and whip their mounts to the finish line. First to arrive will get to wear a bouquet of flowers to the winner’s circle. They’ll be photographed and admired. Then man and horse submit to performance-enhancing drugs tests.

You stand in line and count out every cent you’ve got and bet bus fare and all on horse number three, because he’s gray and the form picked his name as the most likely to win. In this sport of kings you look around and see that it’s supported by mothers with kids in tow who like you bet their last dime, believing they’ll win enough so their kids can eat tonight.

The horses’ line up to start and you see there are two grays. The one you bet and a smaller skinnier one, number nine, whose jockey wears faded silk colors, and both look like they don’t even belong in the race. Number nine is rambunctious and doesn’t want to get in the starting gate. He holds up the race until he’s forced in by three men.

The bell rings. Horses charge out of the gate. Horse number three is leading going into the turn. Number nine trails the field. Around the first turn number three widens the lead by a length. You jump for joy. Your horse is sure to win. Coming down the stretch three is in the lead, but the scrawny nine horse is moving up on the outside like the three is standing still.

Both jockeys’ whip their mounts with a surprising vigor. Do these small, colorful men have hearts of stone?  They impudently beat these noble beasts, and are supported by the betting spectators’ cheers. The harder they hit their running beasts, the more they cheer. Are the jockeys simply doing their job, and not thinking of the cost?

Number three is first across the line. Your heart drops. You’ve won a bundle. The woman next to you with three kids breaks out in tears, and throws her ticket on the ground. She starts to get ready to leave with the brats bawling that they’re hungry for food. Tears stream from her eyes and you know she bet everything she had on a loser.

You’ve won plenty. Should you give this poor woman some? No, you decide, she’d just gamble it away. You ignore the kid’s hungry cries and figure out how much you have won, when suddenly an enquiry is announced. “Oh no,” you think. It can’t be, but it is and you nervously await the results.

You begin to sweat and pray, “Please God, I need the money, let my horse stay in front.” But it’s not to be. Number three is disqualified and number nine declared the winner. “God has abandoned me,” you think to yourself as you slump to the ground and feel as though you too will burst out in tears like those hungry kids who were now walking towards the gate. They’re still crying and so is their mother. You wonder if you would have decided to share with her, if God wouldn’t have been so cruel. Maybe he let you think you won, only to see what you’d do.

“Next time I win, I’ll be more generous,” you promise God. You look down and see the ticket the hungry mother had thrown away. Its got number nine to win printed on it and you realize she had really won. It will pay nine hundred dollars. You grip it tighter so it won’t blow away in the wind that suddenly gusts.

The ticket belongs to her, and you promised God to share the next time you won anything. Should you chase her and return her winning ticket, or maybe go cash it in and give her some money? You stand up and walk toward where a wheel has fallen off her stroller and she is sitting on the ground surrounded by three squalling kids while she tries to repair it.

“Do the right thing,” your conscience says. You decide what the right thing is and walk past her and the kids, and go to the cashier’s window and collect all your money. “Thank you God for letting me win,” you silently say. “I promise, next time I win, I’ll share.”

 

#230 Florida Vacation

#230  Florida Vacation

A vacation in Florida was a birthday present to me, from me. I rented an ocean front condo and the warm moist and salty ocean breeze blew through my room refreshing all my senses to long forgotten pleasures. It washed the air pollution from my mouth and food tasted better. It cleared my head and I could think much clearer.

When I saw her, and the clean ocean air blew away the veil covering my eyes. The rhythm displayed by her hips as she jogged along the ocean front garnered my attention and then my lust. I ran to catch up to this goddess by the sea. When I reached her, breathing heavy from running as fast as her, I said, “Please stop and listen to what I propose?”

She did stop and looked at me with eyes that reflected the sea and I watched her plump lips form the words, “Go away.”

“But I’ve fallen in love and I’ve got to know your name and where you live.”

“Do you take me for a fool?” Her eyes rolled like ocean waves, “I know how men think, and I don’t want anything to do with you.”

“You don’t understand, one look at you, and I knew my muse had arrived. Something like this only happens once in a lifetime, I know, so please forgive my brashness in approaching you. I’m willing to do anything to make you my one and only. The moon and the stars will be yours if you give me your love.”

I saw my earnest words had softened the storm in her eyes as the waves became only blue swells calmly rolling onto the windows of her soul. She practically swooned when I dropped to my knees and said, “Won’t you spend the night with me? I’ll do anything you want me to?”

“Even though you’ve been rude by approaching me with such crude words, I can’t help but feel your strong emotions crying out to me. Maybe we can spend the night together, but I’m warning you, there’s more to me than what you see.”

Many women have said that before, but to me they were all the same. I prayed that what she said was true, and I had at last found that special one on this Saturday in May. We sat on the beach and held each other in a passionate embrace. One thing followed another and I discovered there was more to her than I had imagined. My passion carried me beyond my scruples, and she and I did unimaginable things that left me lying on the sand gasping for breath.

What a Difference a Day Makes. Today is Sunday, and I sit on the same sandy spot where yesterday I had made love to the one I desired. Today I sit here with my gun in hand as I write in the sand, “What a day I had yesterday. Together we watched the moon set, the sun rise, and all that time together with you, was the best time of my life. I’ll never forget the good loving we had last night, once the sunset, the moon rose, and you and I lay on the sand all night long, enjoying one another until the sunrise revealed, that you just like me were a man.”

Upon discovering that, I puked into the sand and strangled you, the one I had so recently loved. Then I went to my car to get my gun. I pushed your body into the surf. As I watched it being carried away, I stepped into the surf, put the barrel of the revolver into my mouth and tasted cold metal on my tongue. I wonder if the fish that’ll feed on both of us, would somehow reunite us in another life.

 

 

World View

A Spectacular View of Earth Unlike Any Seen Since 1972