Archives for July 2015

#229 A personal Call

#229 A personal Call

As Joe sat on the bed in motel sixty Nine, he tried to decide what to do. Brenda, his wife, had said she was spending the night at her sister’s. She’d spend Tuesday and Thursday nights there every week. Joe thought it a good thing the sisters got on so well.

He appreciated the alone time so he could watch porn on his computer without worrying about his wife catching him. The site he watched tonight gave a phone number for personal consultations. He figured it was one of those scams where they’d suck you in by talking dirty, all the while charging by the minute.

After four straight hours of watching girls do every imaginable thing, Joe decided, the hell with the cost, I’ve got to meet one of these girls. He called and used his voice synthesizer as he always did when calling porn sites in the event he spoke to someone he may know. He dialed, immediately he heard a voice.

“Hi y’all. My name is Misty, and I’m here for your pleasure.”

The silky voice crawled through his ears into his brain, down his spine into his penis and he couldn’t get enough. It almost sent him into spasms of ecstasy. It

“Misty,” He said, practically panting. “Your voice is so, so, so exciting. I’m almost coming just listening to you speak.”

“Imagine me blowing in your ear, and then on your neck, I’ll run my tongue around your nipples and once they’re damp from my kisses, I’ll gently blow on them before I move on down.”

Joe stroked himself as she spoke. It wasn’t enough, he wanted her. “Misty, can we meet somewhere?”

“Sorry, that’s against the rules, but it’s so nice of you to ask.”

Her voice was like a contented cat purring into his ear. “Misty, I, I, I don’t know how to say this, but, well, I’ve fallen in love with your voice. I’ll pay anything to have it whisper sweet nothings into my ear for a night.”

“Ha, ha,” she laughed. “You’d pay me for that?”

“Yes,” Joe said in a weak voice.

“How much are you willing to pay?”

Just like a hooker he thought, got to negotiate a fair price. “I’d give you anything, but I work for a living, so how about, I give you half my week’s pay?” Joe figured he could say he only made a few hundred a week.

“If you make $1,000 a week or more, that’ll do,” she whispered into the phone and Joe’s toes curled. But $500 was much more than he wanted to spend.

“I don’t make that much,” he said sounding dejected.

“Sorry sweetheart, no can do for less.”

Her voice sounded hard now and Joe felt let down, but he had to see her now that his curiosity was aroused.”If I give you $500, will you get naked?”

“I usually don’t take all my clothes off.”

“For me to give up that much money, I have to see you fresh out of the shower.” If he was going to have to withdraw money from the joint account he had with his wife. She’d want to know where the money went. She put most of the money in the account as she often reminded him. So if he was going to have to listen to her bitch, he better get his money’s worth.

“I’ll make an exception this time, just because you sound like such a nice man,” she said in her kitten like voice, “I’ll be at Motel Six on Chandler Boulevard in room 220. Be there at 10 sharp tonight, and I’ll be stepping out of the shower.”

Joe couldn’t believe he was going to see Misty. He sat in front of his computer with his eyes closed, imagining her stepping out of the shower and then coming close and blowing her hot breath into his ear. He broke out in a sweat thinking of her. He took a cold shower to cool off. He had two hours before she’d be naked under the shower. An agonizing hour and a half went by before Joe got into his old car and headed for Motel Six.

His thoughts turned to a naked Misty stepping out of the shower at 10. It was 9:39, he had plenty of time. His car sputtered and stopped, out of gas he saw, looked at the clock and figured if he ran the rest of the way he’d make it on time. Leaving his car in the middle of the street, he ran the four blocks, ran up the stairs, and threw room 220’s door open. His breath came in gasps as he saw on a chair by the bed a bra, panties, and a package of rubbers.

He heard the shower being turned off, the door opened and steam flowed into the room obscuring his view for a second. He saw her ankles first. His eyes moved up her shapely legs and rested on the towel wrapped around her waist. “Misty, you’re more beautiful than I imagined you’d be.”

“Why don’t you ever tell me that at home?” she said in that seductive voice.

“Huh?” Joe’s eyes went to her face and saw it was his wife. He never knew she could sound so sexy. “What, how, what’re you doing here?”

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”

His wife a hooker, he should have known she was doing something to make so much money without ever seeming to work, but he never wanted to upset his comfortable life by asking to many questions.

“I knew you weren’t so smart Joe, but even you should have known your number would show up on my phone when you called tonight.”

“You knew it was me all the time?”

She blew into his ear, then on his neck, and kissed his chest.

Joe closed his eyes and said, “Oh Misty, don’t ever stop.”

#229 A personal Call As Joe sat on the bed in motel sixty Nine, he tried to decide what to do. Brenda, his wife, had said she was spending the night at her sister’s. She’d spend Tuesday and Thursday nights there every week. Joe thought it a good thing the sisters got on so well. He appreciated the alone time so he could watch porn on his computer without worrying about his wife catching him. The site he watched tonight gave a phone number for personal consultations. He figured it was one of those scams where they’d suck you in by talking dirty, all the while charging by the minute. After four straight hours of watching girls do every imaginable thing, Joe decided, the hell with the cost, I’ve got to meet one of these girls. He called and used his voice synthesizer as he always did when calling porn sites in the event he spoke to someone he may know. He dialed, immediately he heard a voice. “Hi y’all. My name is Misty, and I’m here for your pleasure.” The silky voice crawled through his ears into his brain, down his spine into his penis and he couldn’t get enough. It almost sent him into spasms of ecstasy. It  “Misty,” He said, practically panting. “Your voice is so, so, so exciting. I’m almost coming just listening to you speak.” “Imagine me blowing in your ear, and then on your neck, I’ll run my tongue around your nipples and once they’re damp from my kisses, I’ll gently blow on them before I move on down.” Joe stroked himself as she spoke. It wasn’t enough, he wanted her. “Misty, can we meet somewhere?” “Sorry, that’s against the rules, but it’s so nice of you to ask.” Her voice was like a contented cat purring into his ear. “Misty, I, I, I don’t know how to say this, but, well, I’ve fallen in love with your voice. I’ll pay anything to have it whisper sweet nothings into my ear for a night.” “Ha, ha,” she laughed. “You’d pay me for that?”              “Yes,” Joe said in a weak voice. 	“How much are you willing to pay?” 	Just like a hooker he thought, got to negotiate a fair price. “I’d give you anything, but I work for a living, so how about, I give you half my week’s pay?” Joe figured he could say he only made a few hundred a week. 	“If you make $1,000 a week or more, that’ll do,” she whispered into the phone and Joe’s toes curled. But $500 was much more than he wanted to spend. 	“I don’t make that much,” he said sounding dejected. 	“Sorry sweetheart, no can do for less.”  	Her voice sounded hard now and Joe felt let down, but he had to see her now that his curiosity was aroused.”If I give you $500, will you get naked?” 	“I usually don’t take all my clothes off.” 	“For me to give up that much money, I have to see you fresh out of the shower.” If he was going to have to withdraw money from the joint account he had with his wife. She’d want to know where the money went. She put most of the money in the account as she often reminded him. So if he was going to have to listen to her bitch, he better get his money’s worth.              “I’ll make an exception this time, just because you sound like such a nice man,” she said in her kitten like voice, “I’ll be at Motel Six on Chandler Boulevard in room 220. Be there at 10 sharp tonight, and I’ll be stepping out of the shower.” 	Joe couldn’t believe he was going to see Misty. He sat in front of his computer with his eyes closed, imagining her stepping out of the shower and then coming close and blowing her hot breath into his ear. He broke out in a sweat thinking of her. He took a cold shower to cool off. He had two hours before she’d be naked under the shower. An agonizing hour and a half went by before Joe got into his old car and headed for Motel Six. 	His thoughts turned to a naked Misty stepping out of the shower at 10. It was 9:39, he had plenty of time. His car sputtered and stopped, out of gas he saw, looked at the clock and figured if he ran the rest of the way he’d make it on time. Leaving his car in the middle of the street, he ran the four blocks, ran up the stairs, and threw room 220’s door open. His breath came in gasps as he saw on a chair by the bed a bra, panties, and a package of rubbers. 	He heard the shower being turned off, the door opened and steam flowed into the room obscuring his view for a second. He saw her ankles first. His eyes moved up her shapely legs and rested on the towel wrapped around her waist. “Misty, you’re more beautiful than I imagined you’d be.” 	“Why don’t you ever tell me that at home?” she said in that seductive voice.  	“Huh?” Joe’s eyes went to her face and saw it was his wife. He never knew she could sound so sexy. “What, how, what’re you doing here?” 	“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” 	His wife a hooker, he should have known she was doing something to make so much money without ever seeming to work, but he never wanted to upset his comfortable life by asking to many questions.  	“I knew you weren’t so smart Joe, but even you should have known your number would show up on my phone when you called tonight.” 	“You knew it was me all the time?” 	She blew into his ear, then on his neck, and kissed his chest. 	Joe closed his eyes and said, “Oh Misty, don't ever stop.”

#228 Ascending

#228 Ascending

Clay figures.

Searching for a hidden treasure, we climbed the San Gabriel Mountains. When we climbed above the valley and we were above the low flying clouds, we saw the discharging electrons accelerating to the ground. For the first time in my life, I saw lightning start and end in a flash so quick; it seemed to end almost before it began.

A week earlier at the Orange County Swap Meet I came across an old book with photos of prospectors, burros and men working in mines. For $28. I purchased a piece of history. I went home and attempted to scan the photos into my computer. The book virtually fell to pieces as I opened it wide to scan, and I noticed a different type of paper on the back cover.

I looked through a magnifying glass and saw the edges where paper had been stuck atop the inside back cover. I boiled some water and held the cover in the steam for a few minutes. I figured I could remove it without damaging the cover, but after a few minutes exposure to the heat, I saw a pale brown script and lines begin to appear.

I remembered from chemistry class that Lemon juice, white wine, orange juice, vinegar, and apple juice are all acidic. When applied to paper, any of these substances weaken it so that when the paper is heated, the acid turns the writing brown. So whoever wrote this way back when easily had access to any of these substances.

A head with horns adorned the top of a map. I figured that depicted, “Devils Peak,” a nearby mountain shaped like a head with horns protruding from it. It was either a treasure map, or maybe it marked the spot where gold was found. I didn’t know which, but the written directions were clear enough for me to find the spot marked on the long hidden map.

I started putting my camping gear together when Paulette, my girlfriend walked through the door.

“Going camping without me?”

“Treasure hunting,” I told her.

“Take me with. Where did I leave my backpack?” she said.

“I have to carry enough grub for a week or more. Don’t think I can carry enough for you too.”

“Don’t be silly. You know I can probably carry more than you.”

What she said was true. She was stronger than me. I have always been more cerebral than athletic, and it showed. But she loved me for my brains and not my brawn, so I figured if I took her along, she could carry any extra supplies I may need, and she’d keep me warm on the cold mountain nights. “Alright, we’ll leave first thing in the morning.” She smiled and said, “Thanks.”

We drove as far as possible up the mountainside. I helped her get her backpack on which weighed 20 pounds more than mine. I had put my gold pan in her pack and my sluice box was tied on the outside. I locked the jeep and we started up the steep and narrow trail.

I let Paulette lead the way. She had better eyesight than me, so in the event we came across a mountain lion or bear, she’d see it long before I would have. After three days of strenuous climbing, Devil’s Peak came into sight. I held the map up and sighted in the spot we were headed for. If one were to draw a picture of a face on the mountain, we were headed for the spot that would have been the mouth. It took us a day to get there and night was approaching as we reached the Devil’s Mouth,” as I called the spot. Paulette built a fire while I put up our two person tent and stretched out our sleeping bags. Then I opened a can of pork and beans for dinner.

We ate and sat by the campfire, smoked a joint and kicked back enjoying the starry sky and fresh air when suddenly I saw the devil. Yeah, the real thing, just like pictures I had seen in a book where the devil’s lower half was that of a goat and his upper half was human.

Being relaxed by the pot, I didn’t panic, but said, “You see what I see?”

Paulette stared at the fire and didn’t answer for a while. After a few minutes of silence she said, “What do you see?”

“The Devil.”

“Me, too.”

The devil didn’t seem to even know we were there. The fire is what he wanted, and danced around it and through it. He stood in the middle with flames engulfing him with a smile on his face. Because I thought we were hallucinating, I wasn’t perturbed by the vision. I enjoyed watching Satan dancing round and round until I fell asleep.

I awoke to a smoldering fire. I gathered some wood to get it going so I could cook breakfast. Once it flared up I noticed for the first time that Paulette wasn’t anywhere to be seen. She must have gone somewhere private to do her morning toilet. I cooked and ate breakfast and she hadn’t returned yet. It was then I saw her sweatshirt close to an opening in the Devil’s Mouth.

I grabbed a flashlight and went to what was an opening to a cave. I shone the light in and saw a narrow passage. Squeezing through the opening I walked for only a few minutes and went around four turns before I saw Paulette laying flat on her back. She was nude and I watched her chest rise and fall, so I knew she was alive. I shook her shoulder.

“What’re you doing in here?” I said. The confused look in her eye told me before she said, “I don’t know how I got here.” I shined the light on the soft floor and saw hoof prints all around her.

 

#227 Poetry is Evil

#227 Poetry is Evil

When I started an English course, my teacher said, “If you want to become a jockey of words and maneuver the English language so that splendor shines through the letters aligned in row after row, a poem must be written every day.”

“I’m not a poet, and I’ll never be a poet,” I said, and thought that rhymed.

My teacher said, “Try to put music into your words, try to meter your speech, try to rhyme the words you use, and you’ll soon see that even someone like you can be a poet,”.

“Why would I even try? I’ve never met a poem I enjoyed!”

“There’s beauty within everyone that needs to be expressed, and words are the means used for it to bloom.”

I decided to try. I wrote, “A golden orb slowly comes into view. The world awakens to the tap tapping of my fingers touching black & white keys, trying to make beauty from a language that isn’t at all passionate or easy on the lips.”

“Not bad, for a first try,” my teacher, Miss Sprite said, “but I’m giving you a D. You need to learn that a word like passionate can be said in many ways: avid, adoring, obsessive, ardent, fervent, zealous, fanatical, loving, are other words that could be used.”

My eyes were opened to so many connotations. I decided to try again using other language, terms, expressions, terminology, vocabulary, or lexis. I wrote, “Once again, once more, for a second time, I’m trying to write a poem, a verse, a rhyme, an ode, a sonnet, an elegy, a limerick, a couplet, or maybe an epic. It’ll be about war, conflict, combat, confrontation, hostilities, battles, fighting, and finally peace, harmony, or serenity.”

Proud of my poem, I showed Miss Sprite what I had written. The look on her face forewarned of what was to come.

“Joe, you may be right about never being a poet. You don’t seem to understand that rhythm gives a poem its sound, and there are many ways that rhythm is used, and lots of elements in poetry that are related to rhythm. This time you get an F for failing to listen to what I said.”

I thought she was mistaken, incorrect, off beam, just plain wrong. I’d show her I knew how to rhyme. I wrote another poem, a verse, a rhyme, an ode, a sonnet, an elegy, a limerick, a couplet, or maybe it was an epic. I showed it to Miss Sprite and her frown, her puckered brow, her scowl, her glower, her grimacing glare, warned me that she wasn’t pleased.

“I’ll give you an A, for effort, but another F, for your failure to understand. You must know there is no one way to write a poem. A foot is a combination of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. Meter is the number of feet that is in a line of poetry and a line of poetry can have any number of feet.”

“What’s a syllable, what’s stressed and unstressed, what’s a foot? I know what a gas or electric meter is, but a poetry meter? Is it something that counts the words, or the rhymes, or maybe the syllables used?” I said.

I was tempted to quit, but I decided to try to make sense from all this gibberish Miss Sprite talked about. I wanted to write one more poem. I couldn’t decide if the first stanza should be a couplet or a quatrain, should it be a ballad, an epic, an elegy, or maybe a long narrative or sonnet? I’d use rhyme, rhythm and meter if I could decide what to write. Maybe a poem about Miss Sprite would influence her thinking and she’d approve?

I wrote, when the Devil recruited teachers to spread his awful words, he chose you as his special envoy to make my life hell on Earth. Why even your name is a derivative of his. You have helped me to understand the evil and ugliness of this world, and I have sinned because you wanted me to.

When the fiend made you his disciple, he enabled you to make me decide to do wrong instead of right, and to write words in a line that showed wickedness was the only way.

When the imp recruited you to recruit me to show the rest of the world that his way was the way, you bargained for a place in hell where you could teach wayward souls that they had done well by following the words you had taught.

When that mischievous sprite meets me face to face, I’ll tell the Prince of Darkness that you fell flat on your face when you tried to teach me about poetry and feet. Then he’ll teach you all about how he loves to put your foot in the fire so he can hear the blasphemy pour from your lying mouth.

When the Fallen Angel asks me why I say, ‘lying mouth,’ I’ll say, ‘Miss Sprite told me my poetry was good.’ And then I’ll watch while he puts your tiny white feet to the flames, the conflagration, the inferno, the flames and those are no clichés.

“I’m sorry that an F, is the lowest mark I have. The poem you have written is gross, and I’ll have you know, I take a size ten, and as far as putting my feet to the flames, I’ve already arranged for that to happen to you. It was part of the deal.”

I watched all my poetic words burst into dancing flames with a touch of her finger and a smile crossed her face.

“I’m sending your words straight to Hell where they belong, and pretty soon I’ll send you there too, if you dare to write another poem.”

I started to write, “This poem is for y…” the pen exploded and pierced my heart, and it was too late to take back my words.

 

#226 Old Gold Cigarettes

#226 Old Gold Cigarettes

Getting off the bus in downtown L.A. was like getting dumped in the middle of the jungle with predators all around. On the run because I shot some fool in Chicago, I ended up here without a dime in my pocket. I walked downtown and when I got there, I watched six men digging through dumpsters in an alley. The alley smelled of rotten meat, the sidewalks smelled like piss, and people slept in cardboard boxes on the pissed up sidewalks in downtown L.A.

“Suckee fuckee,” a teenage skank said as I walked by. Don’t know why she thought I had any money.

“Hey man, got a butt.” A burly white guy said. He was accompanied by a size xxx black man who looked at me like I was a bacterial growth and he was disinfectant. I pulled my shirt back so they could see the pistol stuck in my belt.

“Don’t smoke,” I said, not taking my eyes off of them until they were a good distance away. Guys like them rob other down and outers. Shows how fucking stupid they are. There are lawyers and other professionals walking around who would have cash, credit cards, and shoes worth taking, but these dummies robbed each other. Hell, I had walked by the jewelry center just down the street. They could do a smash and grab job there and get more in a few minutes than they’d steal in a lifetime from one another.

Three guys looked at me and saw something interesting. They headed straight for me. I opened the six inch knife I always carried, slipped on the steel knuckles I used when fist fighting. Didn’t want to shoot anybody my first day in town.

By the way they spread out around me, so I could only see two at a time; I knew that even though they were young, they were experienced robbers.

“You’re new around here, huh?”

I didn’t know if it was a question or a statement. “What’s it to ya?” I flexed my knees and got ready to scoot out of the way when the one behind me tried to jump on my back.

“Jeremiah, you leave him alone, he’s with me.” Miss suckee, fuckee said as she appeared beside me and grabbed my arm.

“Yo, bitch, he buying you a bit o paradise? Cause if he is, I want some.”

“Fuck off,” she said, led me to a doorway, held out a dirt encrusted hand palm up. A gray pill with an image of an angel stamped onto it sat staring at me. “Swallow that before those fuck heads see it.  MDMA>

It tasted like iron when I swallowed it. “Thanks, but you didn’t need to save me. I can take care of myself.”

“Don’t think you could have bested three of them.” Her meth mouth showed as she spoke.

Think I’d rather kiss a mangy dog than her. A chill ran up my back, and I knew the pill had gone to work. Suddenly I fixated on her beautiful blue irises. The drug I swallowed was fast acting. Her nice features and friendly personality gave me a warm feeling. I put my arm around her, pulled her close, forgot how ugly her teeth were and put my mouth on hers and stuck my tongue into her mouth.

“Let’s go to my box,” she whispered.

I followed her past rows of cardboard boxes that were beautiful, especially the ones with colored lettering on them. The heads I saw sticking out of some were magnificent. Some with grey streaked beards, others were women with big questioning eyes set in alabaster faces so intriguing that they belonged on canvas and could be hung beside the Mona Lisa.

“Here.” She pointed to an empty box that must have held a refrigerator it was so big.

We crawled inside and I watched in awe as she took off her top. She was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe my luck. Lying beside me she squirmed out of her jeans and I saw that her legs were covered with puss filled red sores. As I stared at them they became erupting volcanoes and the puss became lava brimming over the sides. Mesmerized, I kissed the miniature volcanoes and as I did a fishy aroma entered my nostrils. I wanted to be repulsed, but everything was beautiful today. The fish stink blew away the smell of piss and replaced it with what seemed like an ocean breeze blowing through the box.

“Lily is my name,” she said as she blew into my ear.

Lily gave me pills every day. I could live without many of life’s comforts, but after a while, I knew I couldn’t live without my daily pills. It didn’t matter that I didn’t shower or shave. I didn’t need money or food. Lily became my everything, and became more beautiful every day.

I didn’t care how she got drugs. As long as she gave me what I needed. Life was good, until one day, she didn’t return. Without any drugs I got sick. I lay in our box for three days shivering, cramping and sweating. On the fourth day I went out and saw the world for what it was. Ugly, stinking, and a terrible place to be.

What have I become? I’ve got to get out of here. I headed down the street when a dirty, ugly girl grabbed me by the arm. I shook her off and backed away. Her greasy hair hung on her like broken spaghetti and her clothes hadn’t been washed in a long, long, time.

Her aroma surrounded her like an aurora. “Don’t touch me,” I said.

She held out her hand palm up. In it were six angel pills. Lily became beautiful again.

Table of contents

Old Gold Cigarettes

At age eight, my first cigarette caused me to choke, cough, and my eyes watered, but I persevered and learned to suck in the smoke and not to choke. Held it in my lungs like a real man would, and took a drink of beer that flowed down my throat through the smoke.

Later that day, I cashed in four Coke bottles and got eight cents, enough for a pack of cigarettes.

“What brand do you want?” asked Sam, the store owner.

I gazed at the stack of cigarette packs, Old Golds came in yellow, Lucky Strikes had a red bulls-eye in the center of  white, Camels had pyramids on the pack. Pall Malls were longer than the rest in puke green packs, but Old Gold rang a bell, and I smoked them my entire life.

In my neighborhood, it seemed that none could afford to own a full pack of their own, so when anyone met another they asked, “You got a butt?”  Most kids hid their cigarettes in their sock so others wouldn’t bum them. I often saw someone counting how many cigarettes they had left after someone asked for one, and then say, “I only have enough to last me the day . Dicky Smith even counted his matches when asked for a light. To own a Zippo Lighter was first class. It would stay lit in the wind and light everyone’s cigarette.

Addiction was common, but was called a habit.  I wanted, no needed cigarettes every day, but it was difficult to scrounge up enough money to buy them. Then one day when I was sixteen, I broke into a warehouse by the railroad tracks and they had cases of Old Gold Cigarettes stored in there. Like a dream come true, I carried enough cartons of cigarettes home to last a few years.

When asked if I had a butt, I’d give away a pack. Someone told the cops.  I got sent to Shirley Industrial School for boys. It was a crazy place where I was put in a cottage with 40 other boys. The overseers were what they called house parents and there were two sets. One man and wife would stay with us for four days. They were normal compassionate people and treated us boys like human beings. The Rujo’s worked as house parents three days a week. They were insane.

Mr. Rujo was part American Indian and hated to be called Chief. He was a maniac who would beat a boy for no reason and we didn’t like one another. During meal time we sat in a dining room where the boys sat at five tables and the Rujos sat at a table facing us.

Out of the side of my mouth, I’d yell, “Hey Chief.”

Rujo would react without thinking and grab whatever was in front of him and fling it in the direction of my voice. Boys would duck, and I’d yell, “Hey Chief,” and he’d throw everything on his table and his wife would join in. Within a few minutes the dining room was a bedlam with boys scurrying to escape the barrage and me laughing all the time because the Rujos threw away all their food.

When Mr. Rujo took us outside after the melee one day to march us somewhere, I gave the “Hey Chief,” yell. He knew it was me then and wanted badly to beat my ass, but I ran so fast, he couldn’t catch me.

“No smokes for you today,” he said.

We were allowed four cigarettes a day, and the house parents passed them out. I had a stash of my own so I could smoke whenever I wanted. That night in the dormitory I lit up a cigarette. I wasn’t allowed to smoke before bedtime because of Rujo being pissed.

We boys slept in one big room with a high ceiling. There was a watchman who gazed through a window to be sure we behaved ourselves during the night. He saw the glow of my cigarette and came running into the dormitory.

“I see ya smoking, ye little bastard,” the watchman said in an Irish brogue, as he headed for me. “I’m gonna beat your ass.”

He was a big man. I knew the beating would hurt, and when he told Rujo, I’d be beat again, so I said, “Wait, wait, you don’t understand, I have to smoke, I have smokaramious.”

He stopped in his tracks, scratched his head and said, “Okay, I’ll give ye a break this time, but no more.” He turned and left. I lit up another cigarette.

What happened got back to Rujo and he beat me bloody that morning. When he finished, I asked him for a cigarette. He beat me again. I was starting to think that maybe smoking was hazardous to my health.

Years went by and I coughed up blood, went to the doc, “Lung cancer,” he said.

I was upset, so I lit up a smoke and figured it was too late to stop now.

The doc opened a closet door, yanked out a guitar, and started singing, “Puff, puff, puff that cigarette, until you smoke yourself to death.”

I knew I didn’t have long, so I got a date with the cutest little gal. Hand in hand we strolled down lover’s lane. I gave her a little squeeze. She squeezed back, but I said, “Scuse me please, I just gotta have a cigarette.”

She looked at me and said, “You’re going to die with a cigarette in your mouth.”

“I’ve been told I’m a feller with a heart of gold, it’s probably from smoking so many Old Golds,” I said.    “When I get to the Golden Gate, I’ll tell St. Peter that I gotta have another cigarette before he lets me in?”

“There won’t be smokes in heaven.”

“Satan will have a cigarette stand right beside the gate.”

“What’ll you use for money?” she asked.

“My soul, for a pack of Old Golds.”  

#225 Fame

#225  Fame#225  Fame

Joe worked as an undercover cop for the Chicago Transit Authority and his job required him to ride El Trains all day to protect the passengers from would be robbers, assailants, drug addicts, etcetera. The January day he stood on the Belmont EL train platform for fifteen minutes was probably equal to standing exposed on an ice berg floating around in the arctic.

The wind blew so hard, Joe held onto a steel girder to keep from being blown onto the tracks. Yet, above the howling of the wind and the screeching of the B trains roaring by he heard the conversation that went on between two women who stood next to him.

“It’s amazing to me that so many of them dream that one day fame and fortune will be theirs.” She pointed to a guy at the bottom of the stairs playing a guitar.

“The problem is, when someone does become famous, they’re admired by so many, and even if they get arrested for doing drugs and the daily news declares they’re going to jail, they become more famous and renowned,” the other woman shouted into the wind.

“That’s right,” the other woman said, “Distinction, recognition, acclaim, was even given to O.J. Simpson for murdering his wife.”

The A-Train finally came and two dozen half frozen people boarded it.

Joe made sure to get on a different car than the yakking women, but he looked through the window in the door and saw that the two women from the platform who had been gabbing were being threatened by a bearded man. He held a knife to one of their throats. Joe reached inside his coat and drew the .38 police special he carried there, quietly slid back the connecting door and went through it.

He was behind the knife wielding man in a flash, and he put the barrel against his head, “Move and you’re dead,” Joe said in a serious voice.

“Shoot me, go ahead, shoot,” the man yelled.

“Don’t tempt me punk.” Joe reached with his left hand and took the knife from his hand.

“Thank you,” the woman he had held said, “He has all my money in his pocket.”

“Mine too,” the other woman said.

“Face the door, lean against it with your hands in front,” Joe went through his pockets and found an expired army I.D. card that said he was Corporal James Jones. “How long since you got discharged?”

“Six months. Man can you give me a break? I wasn’t going to hurt anyone. I needed a few hits real bad, I was only trying to get a few bucks so I could get high and forget the shit that happened over there.”

“Ever think about working?”

Jones laughed out loud. “You kidding? I looked for a job every day for the first month I was out. Then I ran out of money.”

Joe remembered how the women had said that famous people get praised when they get caught doing drugs, beating their girlfriends or other things. Things were different for discharged vets though. They were forced to kill for their country, but once back home and had problems adjusting, no one wanted to know if he had a break down, there were no headlines or radio shows that invited him to give his side of the story. A vet was put in jail or some quiet place. No one cared or wanted to know what he went through.

One of the women said, “So you decided to stick up helpless women to get money for drugs?”

“After the shit I did for you,” Jones looked at her. “You owe me,”

“I don’t owe you anything.”

“She’s right,” the other said. “We work for our money. Now please return it to us?”

“Other than me, they killed everyone in my squad,” Jones said in a sorrowful voice, “I wish they would’ve killed me too.”

Joe had never heard of Jones or his buddies getting killed. He knew that wasn’t unusual because most of those who died for the United States never got their names acclaimed like any minor Hollywood star or even a singer/musician did when they died from a drug overdose or even a drive by shooting. Soldiers who died fighting hardly got any mention at all.

He wondered if the reason they were disregarded was so we didn’t have to think about the high price they paid, so that we could take our drugs, watch our TVs, and the ability to pray to a god of our choice.

“Can I put my hands down?” Jones asked.

Joe saw his hands shook from the exertion of holding them over his head. Jones was sweating and his teeth began chattering. His drugs were worn off and he needed some soon or he’d get really sick.

The train stopped at Montrose Avenue, the doors slid open. Joe pushed Jones out the door and the two women followed. How much do I owe this guy who fought in the war and then came back to be treated like shit? He imagined what it must be like to come back home with a messed up mind after seeing so many killed, and then being thrown out in the street with no job, no money, no place to go, no one to care if you lived or died.

Joe’s thoughts were interrupted by the women. “Make him give us our money back,” the one repeated.

Jones was shaking all over now. Joe took out his wallet, pulled out all the money he had in it and handed it to Jones. “Go get well.”

Jones looked confused. He didn’t take his eyes off of Joe. It looked like he expected to be shot until Joe yelled, “Go on, get out of here.” Jones turned and ran down the stairs with all Joe’s money in his hand and the women’s money in his pocket.

“Why did you let him go?”

“We owe him more than he took.”

 

#224 Dogs

#224 Dogs

If only I had known why, my dog Bo always wanted to be in the kitchen. He and his pal Scamp waited for any chance. If I turned my head, into the kitchen they’d romp, and all the time I thought they were just two hungry dogs, until I had my dream and saw what I couldn’t believe.

Bo and Scamp both wore white chef caps, aprons, and had oven mitts on their paws. They chopped and diced and cooked like pros. Succulent aromas impregnated the house. All who inhaled the fragrance salivated like Pavlov’s Dogs.

Out of the kitchen dogs, I yelled, but they ignored me and dished me out a plate of what looked like moist and warm Kibbles and Bits. To be polite, I took a bite and to my palate’s delight, it tasted better than a Porterhouse Steak.

Bo asked if I wanted more. He not only talks, he cooks and is more faithful than any wife would ever be. I knew if I could have a litter like Bo or even Scamp, I’d soon be rich. I immediately started looking for a bitch to breed Bo and I looked for another for Scamp. Before I found a suitable mate for either one, I figured I better find out where they learned to cook and if they could teach their pups to do what they did.

“Hey Bo, come here boy,” I couldn’t believe I was going to have a conversation with a dog, but then again, I couldn’t believe the dog was a gourmet cook, could talk and even washed his paws before handling any food. “Tell me where you learned to do what you do?”

“Listen Joe, do you really want to know?” Bo said in barks that came out like words.

“Yes, indeed I do Bo. I need to know if you have pups if I can train them to do what you do.”

“Sit down Joe. I’ll tell you what I know if you promise to never repeat it to anyone.”

What did a promise to a dog mean anyway? If Bo told me something worthwhile, and I wanted to write about it, could I do so and be morally right. After all a dog is only property owned by someone, and as property we can do anything we want with them. We owe them nothing, so I concluded, my promise needn’t be kept.

Bo began, “Once upon a time, long ago, a light came from the sky and shone on my ancestor, Howling Wolf. The energy from the light filled his brain with knowledge and he taught many wolf’s to cook and clean as I do. There was a rebellion amongst the young cubs. They didn’t want to work in the kitchen. They howled at the moon night after night protesting that it was a crime against nature to have to cook and clean when they could be running down game.”

“Is this a fairy tale Bo, or did you eat some contaminated puppy chow?”

Bo raised his paw, “I swear on my sixth sense that every word is true. Well, that light had made Howling Wolf so smart he figured out a way to keep all the wolves happy. For those who wanted to hunt and work the solution was to let them follow their nature. For those who wanted to be pampered pups, he created humans to care for them.”

“Hold on Bo. You’re saying a wolf created mankind?”

“He was no ordinary wolf.”

“I can’t believe you. Why don’t all dogs cook and clean like you and Scamp?”

“We’re trying to break away from the pack. We believe it to be cruel to force humans to pick up our doggy doo and have to brush and bathe us as they do. We want to be independent and live as Howling Wolf did. Then we can be proud to say, ‘I’m a dog.’”

“I’m proud of you Bo. I tell everyone I know how smart my dog is.”

“Hold on there Joe. You’ve got that backwards. Before I showed you I could cook, who did all the work around here?”

“Why, I suppose I did.”

“Who picked up after me when I took you for a walk?” Bo said and curled his lips in a doggy smile that meant he thought he had made himself clear.

“But I was in charge, and that made you my dog.”

“You’re deluded as most humans are. You and others were created to fill our needs, to cook and clean for us dogs. To give us baths and dress us in fancy clothes if we desired.”

“Wait a minute; I think that’s weird to dress a dog in clothes.”

“I know, I had you made that way. Those pansy critters who dress like that are weird I think, but Howling Wolf said that dogs could choose to do anything they wanted.”

“Hold on here Bo. I know you’re wrong. If dogs are in charge, how do you explain the dog pounds where so many dogs are euthanized?”

“How do you explain penitentiaries?”

“They’re for people who don’t obey the law,” I said.

“Ditto for dog pounds,” Bo said.

I could see Bo was deluded and thought he was my boss, so I said, “I’m looking for a bitch and you and her will have a litter that I’ll sell and I’ll be rich.”

As we spoke a girl walked past. Bo ran to her and kissed her feet. “Oh what a cute dog,” she said, and smiled at me. My heart melted, and I said, “He thinks you’re cute too. Would you like to come and see him cook lunch for us?”

“Cute and he cooks too? You’re a lucky dog to have one like this,” she picked Bo up and kissed him.

Bo looked over her shoulder and I saw that doggy smile on his face. “I found you a bitch to breed a brood of kids to cook and clean for us dogs.”

#224 Dogs

#223 Chicago

#223 Chicago

Joe looked through the picture window at the end of the bar and saw the misty and dark sky. “Look at it,” he shouted. “It shrouds the city for days at a time.”

“Think warm,” Kathy said, “Picture in your mind what we left behind.”

Joe closed his eyes and saw the ocean waves breaking on the beach in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He saw the palm trees swaying in the wind and the Bougainvillea covering walls. He pictured the bikini clad girls walking on the beach. He opened his eyes and saw the swirling snow growing into illustrious piles of mush fit only for a sleigh or sled.

“I try, and when I close my eyes, it’s alright, but when they’re open, reality crashes down all around and I see that I’ll never enjoy this Arctic like place, which La Salle probably should have passed on by.”

“It’s not so bad up above. Imagine your spirit flying above the clouds,” Kathy said.

Joe closed his eyes again and soared above the dark blanketing clouds. He found himself in rarified illuminating air. He saw sunshine there.  If only when he was down below he could know that the sun rays were mightily trying to burn through winter’s freezing cold that destroyed roads, and any dreams of spring, summer or even thirty two degrees?

“You’re right, Kathy, it’s not so bad up there.”

“If you like it there, you’ll love it where I come from. It’s always warm and there are plenty of others like you there. Women walk around naked all day and to tell the truth no one wears any clothes.”

“Where do you come from?” Joe had met Kathy in Florida and she followed him wherever he went after that. He never asked her where she came from, but now she had him wondering.

“I’m not allowed to say, but if you do all the right things, I can take you there.” Kathy gave Joe a handful of pills, “Start by taking these.”

Joe swallowed the pills and washed them down with beer. He closed his eyes and imagined the world Kathy had described. He saw naked women frolicking on a sandy beach under the warm sun. When he wanted to eat food was delivered on a silver tray by other women who wore aprons but nothing else.

There were all sorts of dogs running down the beach. Trucks loaded with beer lined the road, and movies played in the sky if he wanted to see them. Music was all around if he desired to listen. All he had to do was think of anything and it was his. Money wasn’t needed for anything and he didn’t see any who had a cold or were sick in any way.

He opened his eyes to the dark and he couldn’t see a thing. He didn’t remember going anywhere. Kathy no longer sat beside him. Lightning flashed. He saw he was no longer in the bar. He started to sweat from the heat. Better than the Chicago cold, he thought until it got so hot it burned his skin. “Turn down the goddamn heat,” he shouted to whom, he didn’t know.

It got hotter and brighter. He began to see and happiness filled his heart as he saw sand and a naked woman carrying a tray headed for him. When she got close he saw she had no head. She carried it on the tray. So much heat made his mouth cry out for a drink of something cold. As though answering his thought, a woman who had a head appeared with a glass full of ice water. Joe grabbed it and took a drink. The water turned to sand as it passed his lips. He gagged, chocked and screamed, “Is that supposed to be a joke?”

The woman who had given him the water said, “That’s the way it is here.”

Before he could ask where here was, he saw a dog knock her to the ground and in an instant she was being devoured by lots of other dogs. This isn’t a place he wanted to be and tried to imagine being in another place, but he couldn’t leave.

He ran to where the sand met the water. He was so hot and thirsty that he ran into the water with his mouth open. It turned to flames, and he became a fire eater. He swam through the flames and came to an island where people were being turned on spits above roaring flames.

They were alive and Joe tried to save one by taking him off the fire.

“Don’t do that. I was given a choice to freeze or cook and I hate the cold, so I chose this.”

Joe couldn’t understand where he was or why the people here were so strange. He went to an opening in the hill and found a cave. Inside it got cooler. He was relieved until he saw the insects feasting on people who came there to beat the heat. He ran screaming from the cave. He thought he’d rather be dead than endure living like this.

“You would have been dead, but you did the right thing and swallowed the pills I gave you,” Kathy came into view, “so I was able to bring you to where I came from. This is my home.”

Joe wished he was back in Chicago’s cold. He’d never complain about the snow or anything else if only he didn’t have to stay in this place Kathy called home.

He opened his eyes and was back in the bar, Kathy was gone. He ripped off his coat, ran outside into the snow and put a handful into his mouth. It tasted so much better than sand. He looked to the Gray sky and saw Kathy up there.

“Think warm,” she said and disappeared.

 

#222 Cheap Dreams

#222 Cheap Dreams

 

Saturday night came and I didn’t have a dollar to buy a lottery ticket. Every time I didn’t play, my lucky numbers came out, so I desperately tried to acquire a buck to buy a ticket. Standing in front of the Seven Eleven, I approached a young lady coming out the door counting a handful of bills.

“Can you spare a buck?”

You would have thought I asked her for a fuck the way she reacted.

“Get a job you worthless bum,” is what she said.

Two guys stood by a pickup truck drinking beer. I asked them, “Can you spare a buck?”

“Man, don’t you know we work for our dough. In our house there’s never any to spare.”

“I’ve got the lucky numbers. If you give me a buck to play, I’ll split with you when I win.”

One of the guys spit a mouthful of beer on me, “Get the fuck out of here before I kick your ass.”

I would have shown him that he couldn’t do that as easily as he thought, but I didn’t have the time. My numbers would be drawn soon and I had to buy a ticket. I wracked my brain and gave myself a headache trying to think where I could get a lousy dollar. I checked the time and saw I had exactly one hour left. Then I noticed my Rolex watch. It was a fake of course, but even so, it must be worth a buck. I went into the store and stood in the cashier’s line.

When I got to the front I said, “Give me six, eight, nine, twenty, twenty one, and forty for tonight’s lottery.”

“That’ll be one dollar.” the clerk held out her hand.

I took off my watch and handed it to her. “Hold this until they call the winning numbers, and after I win, I’ll pay you double.”

“No can do, cash only, Joe.”

“Come on, be a sport? When I win, I’ll take an ocean cruise, a trip around the world. I’ll take along all those I love, and a few more that I may someday feel affection for.”

If only she would have given me that ticket. All my friends and relatives would have had their problems solved, and we’d all have enjoyed the better things in life. I’d be wearing the very best in clothes; my hair would be set and styled, my skin exfoliated, and my nose bobbed to the latest style. When I got to Vegas, the penthouse would be mine, and showgirls would want to spend the night. I’d have a chauffeur and a new car every year, and inside my car, there’d be a bar.

My personal secretary would take all my calls, and a writer of my choice would inscribe everything I said. Why I’d even help the poor, and the homeless too. Animals would be on my list of things to do. I’d buy a place where abandoned ones could live.

There were so many good things I’d do, I prayed, “Please God, let this week’s

lottery numbers be mine.”

“I do hope you win, but you need to pay me first,” she said

“Tell you what. When I win, you can come on the cruise.”

“HA, ha,” she laughed, “I’ll die of old age waiting for that to happen, now give me a buck or get out of here, there’s people waiting to pay.”

I took my watch and walked hopelessly home. The store clerk was a nice girl and had always treated me well, but I can understand her not wanting to take a rundown knock off watch for payment. She’d have to make up any cash shortages and she only earned minimum wage.

The next day when I turned on the TV, I saw my numbers had come out in last night’s lottery. I knew the clerk had printed my ticket, so I wondered if she had voided it, sold it to someone else, or maybe kept it for herself.

At first I was hurt, but then my thoughts turned to her, that bitch who wouldn’t give me my million dollar ticket. I’d fix her wagon. I blamed her for me not having a dollar to pay. I planned and schemed to get my revenge. Maybe I’d throw acid onto her pretty face. That would teach her for not giving me what was rightfully mine.

Logic tried to surface inside my head, but I submerged it a sea of hate and held it under until it drowned. I reached under my bed where I kept my gun. Stuck it in my pants, and headed for the store to confront that bitch. I’d tell her it was all her fault I didn’t win. Then I’d make her suffer any way I could. “Vengeance is mine” spun round inside my head.

That little bit of logic tried to raise some questions, but I drowned it once again as I imagined pulling the trigger. Life wasn’t worth living now that my numbers had come out, and I didn’t have a ticket.  If I ever had any luck, it was bad.

When I reached the store it was empty except for the clerk. She smiled when she saw me walk through the door. She was gloating I thought, so I pulled my gun and said, “The fun’s over, you should have given me my winning ticket last night.”

She started to speak. Got it.I shot her in the throat. She wrapped her fingers around the bullet hole and tried to talk, but she could only point toward the cash register. I shot her again and after she fell to the floor, I knew she was dead. I went to the register and there was an envelope on top that said, “Give this to Joe.”

I opened it and found my winning lottery ticket inside. She had paid for it for me and never knew it had won. Now, I’m a jailhouse millionaire.

 

#221 Infidelity has its own rewards

#221 Infidelity has its own rewards

Umber colored skies blocked the sun and a v formations of birds flew south on a one way lane above. Dead leaves, brown grass, and dried up roses covered the ground beneath. Snow fell, water became ice, 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. 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.”

Silence fell at the bar like a theatre curtain had risen and the show was about to begin. 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 my body heat melted the winter freeze around my heart.

“Marry me,” she whispered into my ear.

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

“Got what she deserved,” I said. “I’ll write a story about that,” I raised my glass in a salute to cuckolded Ken, Samantha slapped my face. Was she three months pregnant?

 

 

#220 Beware

#220 Beware

 

It was a warm and sunny summer day when my girlfriend Becky said, “Something is beckoning me to ride my cycle on a rough and rocky trail.”

I almost laughed when I remembered a joke from when I was a kid. “The old lady who rode her bike over the rough cobblestone road said, ‘I’ll never come that way again.’” Instead of laughing, I loaded our bikes and went to the Peavine Trail in Prescott, Arizona. An old railroad bed turned into a hiking/biking trail.

Becky had never been there before. She stared at it for a few minutes and then said, “The gods must have carved this trail from the rocks to entice us to continue on it so we can witness what they have created for us in the middle of a rocky plain.”

“There’s a lake along the way, I said.

“What a surprise,” she said, “and look, the monoliths are pointing as if to say, ‘Venture a little further to see what we have in store for you.’”

Mesmerized by the magnificent creations, we obeyed and steered our bikes down the winding trail. A rattlesnake slithered in front of us.

I imagined the creators of this astounding place wanted to show that they made moving things too.  Becky screamed and fell of her bike. Good thing the rattler was headed the other way.

I got off my bike to help her up. There were long-legged birds hopping about on the water’s edge. Rabbits and lizards scurried by.

“This is a natural paradise, I think,” Becky said.

“It sure is, but see that sign?” I pointed to it. Hikers and joggers beware, mountain lions live here.

“Oh-my-God,” Becky said, “do mountain lions eat people?”

“Only the ones they catch,” I said, and laughed. “You do know that whoever created all this thinks of us only as meals on wheels.”

“Funny,” she said and then yelled in my ear. “Look. A mountain lion.” she pointed to the top of a high hill about a hundred yards from us where a lion stood staring at us.

Becky took off running. “No, no,” I yelled, “that’s the worst thing you can do is to run.”

She ignored me and kept on hightailing it out of there, leaving me as lunch for the hungry lion. I took off after her. As I ran, I looked over my shoulder and saw the lion hot on our trail. I caught up to Becky and I swear to God, I don’t know

what made me do it, but I reached out, grabbed her by the shoulder, and shoved her behind me so the lion would get her and not me.

I instantly felt guilty and spun around in time to see the lion leap through the air and knock Becky off of her feet. It went for her throat, but she had her arm in front of her. The lion took her arm in its mouth and tried to drag her off into the brush. I picked up a heavy rock and bashed the rock onto the lion’s head. He didn’t let go. I aimed for his eye and brought the rock down as hard as I could. The lion held on.

Becky was bleeding and screaming that I was a coward and she hopes the lion eats me. She better shut up, because if she doesn’t, I’ll leave her for lunch.

The lion’s head had to be made out of stone, because as many times as I hit it, the cat didn’t seem fazed. It slowly dragged Becky to the brush that surrounds the trail.

I see that it’s a male. I know the weak spot on males. It’s something I don’t want to do, but after what I did to Becky, I figure I better do it or she’d tell everyone. Wait, I thought. If I let the lion eat her, no one will ever know. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to abandon her.  I reached between the lion’s hind legs, grabbed his testicles and twisted as hard as I could. It let go of Becky’s arm and yowled a painful cry, then took off running for the hills.

“Let me see that arm,” I said and reached for Becky.

“I can’t believe what you did to me,” she said. The look on her face proved what she said was true.

“I couldn’t help myself. It was nature that made me do it.”

She showed me her bloody arm. “Nature made you throw me to the lions?”

“Yeah, you know, self-preservation.”

“Yeah I know. Self-preservation is the strongest instinct and sex is the second. Isn’t that right?”

“Yeah,” I answered, hoping somehow I’d get some sex out of this. I mean, who knows? People get excited about the weirdest things. Maybe that lion chewing on her arm warmed her up.

“Guess we’re safe now,” she said, “so do you want to have sex?”

I didn’t have to answer. She saw the look on my face and said, “Take your pants off.”

“Here?”

“Now or never,” she said.

I undid my belt and dropped my jeans.

“All the way off.”

I took off my boots so I could get the jeans off. She bent over and picked up my jeans and came very close. She put

her hand on my leg and moved slowly up to my crotch.

“I saw how you got that mountain lion to turn me loose, so I’m going to do the same thing to you.”

“Wha . . .” I screamed as she grabbed my balls and twisted so hard I would have fallen to my knees, but she held on and held me up until I screamed and howled louder than the mountain lion ever did.

“It’s nature making me do this,” Becky said and twisted harder.