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Monday, December 29, 2008

The time of the Ouroboros...

The snake eating it's tail.

In gnosticism, the serpent symbolized eternity and the soul of the world.

In your time, it is simply the end of one thing and the beginning of another. No matter how tired, or cliched.

The end of the year. The start of the new one.

Old ideas...time to discard.

Today may be the first day of your new life, but you've already fucked it up.

Need to keep it in perspective.

Went to a meeting tonight with your oldest friend. In his $40 thousand BMW.

You farted in it.

But the seats were heated.

Perspective.

It counts for a lot.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all...

You don't expect pious sentiment.

Not from here.

You sleep in, 12:30-text messages wishing you a bon-nuit from your twins.

In your refrigerator you have diet-coke and butter.

Last night you realized not even fast-food joints were open. 1:30- Whataburger-closed; Jack-in the Box-closed, Sonic-closed.

You had 7-11 burritos for dinner.

The bad thing about the restaurant business. If you are upscale, you are open when others are not, then when they are closed, you are hungry.

You will have to go through it again today. No one out. Ghost town-family time. The time you don't have.

You found yourself gently rubbing the bottom of your ring finger with your thumb. You smile.
Old habit. From then.

Your wedding band was loose, you would rub it with your thumb.

Absently. Comforting.

You have been without a wedding ring for almost nine years. You rubbed your finger for five.

You know you are alone.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You can't lose what you don't put in the middle. -Rounders

You play it close to the vest, or try to. You have to engage the people you wait on, and that is becoming a major chore.

Dance, bear-boy, tell me of your 'specials.' Cling-a-ling. Your cymbals chime.

And you sweat-they have the heat cranked, as well as two fireplaces blazing- you feel like you're running a fucking fever, and then, at half past nine-it broke, it was over.

Even though back at the old job tonight- much better time management/cost effectiveness/bullshit quotient- actually good to be back in the dysfunctional mix-you were still 'working'.

It seems you now have issue with this concept.

It pains you to do it at all.

There, you said it. Are you lazy? You'll buy it. Do you want what you want without having to work for it? Pretty much.

Weary sums it up fairly well. A general malaise that covers you like molasses with a bad attitude.

It was Christmas Eve, after all.

Your youngest angel called to wish you a Merry Christmas- You hoped hers was the best.

You're sure it was.

She has new Daddy throwing her first expensive Christmas at her. Her Husky had five puppies last week. She's busy. She's happy.

But she still called.

You guess that counts for more than any gift, ever could.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about and that was the beginning...

...of fairies.- James Mathew Barrie. The author of Peter Pan.

My daughters. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will have read of them.

All of them; including the vampiric 26-year old. She was a baby once. And at a time, held her clothes to my face, inhaling her scent, and crying in reply.

That was a long time ago.

I say this with tongue somewhat-in-cheek. She is stunning, her Irish and Hispanic heritage mixing for a truly wondrous product, and I am proud she is mine.

But she is her Mother's child.

She is vindictive. I will be dead before she forgives. You'd think she was gypsy.

The thing is...I love them all. And I remember their births, each and every one, different and wonderful and frightening.

All of them, will always be my angels, even if they think their old-man is not-worth-it.

My 18-year-old twins think I am urban weird...whatever that means, somewhat cool, I guess, but I relate more to each of them than to anyone else, and they are my princesses and for the youngest I am still "Daddy".

A title I can never give up.

Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town.- George Carlin

7:30 a.m. Wide awake. Dread....work, another double. Much like Sunday. Another meat grinder day.

No. Not gonna happen. The wall. You hit it.

You dial the number.

It's too early for the real managers, but you know one of the kitchen managers is there.

You ask for a manager.

"I'm a manager...how can I help you."

You almost expect him to interject, no really, I'm a manager, seriously.

You tell him who you are. What were you thinking?

You tell him Sunday ate every bit of your last lunch. He laughed.

You are not coming in.

"Ever," he replies? He is not laughing, now.

That's right. You're through. He stammers, unsure of himself.

Your last job welcomes you back in time for Christmas Eve. You are concerned. There are things you need to get to speed on, that you have forgotten.

They will come back. As will the cadaverous hostess, turned to pasture, the one that truly hates you. You said you would never be back. Right.

Another meat grinder day, but one you can live with.

There is ebb and flow. Instead of all flow.

So lesson learned. Money does not count for serenity and once again you are so reminded, you do not play well with others.

You are not a corporate player. It will not happen, so just stop it.

You will do your best, while you hash the rest of this out, to cause no further injury, while you lick your wounds.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.- Charles Bukowski

Ain't it so.

You put up with it.

You pay the bills. And it takes a toll. You feel it; longer than you should, feel quicker to realizing that what you do for a living, is starkly comparable to a trained Ukrainian bear.

You are too weary to cry.

You knew two restaurants ago, the same 'concept' blink, blink, corporate "Stepford" restaurant.

Why did you think it would be different? Same Daddy.

And you quit his baby girl once, then married up, and now looks as though you're getting cold feet.

Why are you surprised?

And one day you get a good look, in total clarity, at what you really do, for a living. The entire charade.

You know that you do not care a pinch-of-salted shit how this person's spinach salad tasted. If it tasted yummy, you might make a 2 dollar tip, a whole five if you really gave it to her. The whole nine yards...if you haven't been triple sat and can now become the 'auto waiter', simply throw food at their gaping maws, smacking your lips as they order, showing them, they are indeed...in the know.

You make yourself sick.

Her water- no ice, with straw...it just tasted bad. May I have free 6.00 bottled bullshit? But of course madame, je suis imbecile...

It is probably safer you do not carry a firearm, anymore.


It can put you in a stupor.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The trouble with unemployment is that the minute you wake up in the morning, you're on the job. - Slappy White

Not yet, but the writing's on the wall.

I can read.

So when the hammer drops, what do I do?

"Being unemployed is not good for an actor. No it isn't, no matter how unsuccessful you are, because you always remember getting fired from all the restaurant's. You remember that stuff, very, very, strongly."-Phillip Seymour Hoffman

I think I have done my time serving other people over-priced food.

So...gets me back to the list. See if I can write down every 'career' I ever had: Journalist; waiter, bartender, fisherman, dish-washer, office worker, temp-work, soldier, oil-field worker, rigger, black marketeer, record promoter, Cadillac salesman, soldier, fry cook, day-laborer, phone solicitor, hotel desk clerk, deck-hand on Alaska tour boat, espresso maker, line-cook, apprentice pressman, press operator, retail manager, brain injury technician, aircraft-parts department manager, door-to-door salesman, police officer, private investigator, security officer, corrections officer, bail bonds agent and real estate administrative assistant; and a couple of them my children do not need to be made aware of.

There may be a few that were missed.

I have even shoveled sand out of a grain silo.

Seems I have a stability issue and am not cool with authority.

Who knew?

I don't want to be John O'Brien...

No. It's too sad.

Had his novel. Leaving Las Vegas. Published the novel in 1990.

A movie exec found it in a used bookstore and optioned the rights. Probably in the dollar bin.

It was made into a film in 1995.

Two weeks after learning his novel was to be made into a film, he shot himself.

Jesus. That makes me look stable.

I don't have five years.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Man...

He is a man of thirty-five, but looks fifty. He is bald, has varicose veins and wears spectacles, or would wear them if his only pair were not chronically lost. If things are normal with him, he will be suffering from malnutrition, but if he has recently had a lucky streak, he will be suffering from a hangover. At present it is half past eleven in the morning, and according to his schedule he should have started work two hours ago; but even if he had made any serious effort to start he would have been frustrated by the almost continuous ringing of the telephone bell, the yells of the baby, the rattle of an electric drill out in the street, and the heavy boots of his creditors clumping up the stairs. The most recent interruption was the arrival of the second post, which brought him two circulars and an income tax demand printed in red. Needless to say this person is a writer.
George Orwell quotes (English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950)

Really cheap shots are the one's you take when no one else is in the room.

You are almost fifty. Whatever that means. But for you, it means you've lost a step, and you unfortunately know it.

Sweet suffering Jaysus...your body; it's grown, and softened. And done things. You will never be chiseled again.

At one time you modeled. Years ago.

Quietly and desperately to pay the rent, but so what?

That won't happen again.

One day-you wake up, and realize with blinding clarity,that it has never happened for you.

Just like the monkey at the zoo-masturbating against the glass- "Nor will this ever happen for you!"

None of it-the picket fence, the faultless marriage, the 'Maytag' way of life.

The success (defined by others) that you were denied. Much of which is your own fault-and you know it.

They say being fired is nature's way of telling you you had the wrong job.

At one time you wanted to play blues-guitar.

Really, really wanted it.

You would practice in front of your baby girl...hair in your eyes as you sang to her.

Her mother...your biggest fan.

The memory...fuck.

The haunting.

Your angel was pre-raised on Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray. Headphones on the belly of the most beautiful woman you will ever know. You read his autobiography to the belly. It was good.

And the belly kicked.

And deserved. More than you could give.

Your daughter will always be your special angel for too many reasons.

You go through your motorcycle-drinking-blues guitar-playing, power slide into 40. Holy Shit. Streak... baby daughter- hot wife -great job and she walks away.

Are you kidding?

And takes your heart on a cocktail fork. Nice.

The boob-job for your ex-wife, payed for by your ex-boss, as well as all her new furniture, colored your outlook for a long time. Damn good job though.

But what could you do? You failed to provide.

The 64,000 in back child support, delivered certified mail by the State's Attorney Generals Office to the double-wide in the boonies outside San Marcos, may have had something to do with it.

Hard to find because of the Cedar. Wind could be heard everywhere. Deer, your largest neighbors.

Scorpions you attacked, in the huge mound of undefined earth ,adjacent to the front yard, defending hearth, and home. Sons-of-bitches were everywhere.

As were the deer, and oak trees.


You told your step-son, eight-years old, her son, about the Hill Country, dreaded, weenie-dogs.

His room in the double wide had a window, the bunk beads he 'had' to have, taking up all the space in the room. The wind moaned outside it. There was scratching on the window.

"There are packs of wild dogs in these lands, lad...some of which you may hear on a warm summer night." His eyes would grow.

"Don't be afraid. But do not listen to them, for whatever they promise. And no matter what you do, never, ever, open the window.

They are small, but be warned they are clever. They like to stand on the shoulders of one-another, and try to get in through young-boys windows. And once they do...?"

He would gulp, pulling the blanket to his chin.

The next day; after navigating our way for 1.5 miles down rutted, potholed hell, to the county road, taking him to school-he saw them.

At the intersection.

Three dachshunds. Seriously.

Staring at the car motionless as it passed.

He flipped.

I laughed long and acted like I knew... and he hated me for it.

But the whole thing. Represented what? Some kind of man-vs-nature bullshit, Americana-musician-frontier?

Sad.

Cheap housing for white folks.

Just like you though- buying into the dream by representing the dream -hand-sanding the baby's crib; work boots, Wranglers, Shiner-Bock after work -every day for three-months. That was one smooth crib. It was given away, once she outgrew it.

Even had a pickup. Sometimes-in Hill Country-spring weather, it was grand.

Was anyone watching?

Then practicing guitar. And you do it...all of it. For her.

You breathe for her.

The mother of your daughter? Always.

The love of your life?

Regrettably, but nonetheless.

The only woman who ever, really had you. And you would say it was all okay, the past forgotten, for just one night...pathetic.

"I didn't sign up for this." Parting shot. Door- literally hitting her in her perfectly-cheerleader heart-shaped-ass.

Exactly the type that her next five attracted.

Can we all exhale?

Your marriage crashed...bewildered and you stumbled, and you shattered your left hand. Wearing a space suit for some bullshit micro-processing company in Austin. No more guitar. No more motorcycle. Almost lost all four fingers.

They hurt when it rains.

But you wore tools. And got to work at six.

Steve McQueen would have kicked you. Coffee shops-lounging on sofa's, collecting checks and chain smoking. Crashing on pain killers outside.

Held together by pins and pain-killers for six months. Law suit-Doctor's-Attorney's- You are fucking drained.. Two years. Depositions. Bullshit.

Many joints still immobile.

Never again. Ever. You would never again play along and sing with Jeff Healey; however badly, but for the possibility of slide, but that would be to much of an after-school special.

Rather wallow in it.

You live alone, which you actually enjoy, but are starting to wonder.

Yeah, you think about dying alone.

And it scares you so badly you resort to known methods to put it to sleep.

You hate your job. I mean you loathe getting up and putting on this corporate attire. It weighs a psychic ton.

You 'smile' for a living.

You trudge through your day trying to act as though you care, but everyone around you knows the difference.

You are a trained monkey. And the demands of the job are such that you wake up knowing the aches and pains of an imagined rodeo clown. After work you have to stop and buy ointment and powders for sensitive areas.

"Yes, how much is this cream designed for swamp ass?"

Someone suggests Yoga. You suggest they go fuck themselves.

And you realize you wish to pursue your 'dream' job.

What do you do?

Go through a very dark place, allowing destructive habits to grow a few talons, but then starting over, knowing you never wish to do this again, and it comes to you.

You are one-unhappy motherfucker. You are absolutely no fun to be around. You make Eeyore look like Peewee Herman.

You start going down the list; the 'perfect' job, for you.

Having a large selection of been there done that's- while you make the list-you realize you are up against a wall.

It comes to you.

To be paid to be yourself; or paid for what you represent, so that you may sustain yourself and all past due debts and obligations.

Wow, I guess if you are a professional, a Doctor, Lawyer or other individual with letters behind your name, I suppose that sustains you.

But what of us?

The ones who are never quite certain where we fit...the one's who hear the internal voice-" No...not this...God I hate these people. I really do hate my job. What the fuck."

The one's who know we are writers, or artists, or actors with our own voice, not someone else's.

Journalism is dictation bound by archaic rules of grammar and 'news', held together by strange dysfunctional hierarchies.

I'd rather cut off a foot than do that again. But- I loved the act of writing- although whatever I had written was so badly maligned by my publisher it was hardly my work after all.

Maybe I just dig typing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What if I was behind anything you had to offer?

WTF?

Let them in Peter...let them make some noise, although they are very tired.

It is cold. It is raining. It is nearing Christmas.

Remember where the broken bodies lie.

Tell them how they are missed.

With us down here.

I almost quit today. Done. Finished.

My manager, hearing I would not be in for the evening. Big exhale.

I know when I am not up to 100 percent.

I am pretty much, never say die.

I don't know that I can do this, anymore. It really is a tortuous grind. A Goddamned beating. Hi, how are you? Mean it ...love ya...jesus...I am all about you.

It really can be hard.

I shit you not.

It made me so much, so much fucking sorry.

For a living.

A Bus to Maine? Washing dishes? Why the fuck not?

Throwing myself on the mercy of the language. Using a passable intelligence. Could work.

A guest made fun of me, yesterday. Not that that is unusual. Stop it.

I'm not for everyone. But it is a beating.

But it was a version of hell I'm not familiar with.

It did not fail, however, to end. It endured. For the longest.

I assure you.

People normally enjoy my stupid ass.

If yall could just laugh...

A middle aged black woman, for what it's worth. Table-all black. We want butter...wif dis bread.

Mo' buttah'..surving utensils.

All this... every time.

Know how to never make a canoe not tip? Paint it black.

I'm not fucking kidding.

Passed to me by a waiter going to the game. Fuck this. This is your's.

I had packed up her 12 or 16 box of "I'll have some of that..." The matriarch of the table. Sweet creeping Christ.

"We want med rare-we want well done-at the same time. And hot...goddamnit-these potatoes are cold. "

Asked me what box the mushrooms were in. Like I fuckin' knew. Two, three.

"I'm not sure, one of them."

See you next tuesday. Fuck me.

Just fuck me hard....Jesus. These are the tears I kissed.

I had not bothered to label the damned things. I had grown tired.

"duh..." she replied.

I'm not kidding. She said it again. Then wanted seperate checks."It's his berfday...
I'm paying for him. Them two's together, and them two, and him, he's a baby."

"Duh..." she drew it out. They all laughed.

Wow. I was stunned.

Making fun of a middle aged white guy...in public.

Maybe I had it coming.

She wore me out. How many trips...?

I was just slogging it out.

The trenches.

They're not for me, anymore.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Vet's I know...

I so appreciate you all.

Some, retired and earned it, others cashiered and fucked.

I know that your service allowed me the freedom to live as I did. I know that my service does not make it even-steven.

Sorry. Not the best troop, but I had some of the best leaders.

SSGT Roy Fyffe, Capt. Wild Bill Wilson, and the rest of the 1/16.

You know what?

Okay, there will be more.

Just thinking. Look what the crazy dragged in.

I mentioned you. My oldest. I mention you with venom. Do not be misinformed.

I am pissed. I love you, but I am pissed.

I have made amends. I have apologized. I have paid blood. And yet, it continues....

What more do you want?

The Chilean three...

There are three of you in Chile.

You have read this blog. I want to hear from you.

Why do you read this? Who are you?

Pass this on to the others...there will be nothing further, until then.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A cane non magno saepe tenetur aper - A boar is often held by a not-so-large dog. (Ovid)

I met her, after my last stay at the V.A.

My God, she smiled as she walked in. It burned and I knew it.

I sold Mercedes and Cadillacs.

She-Art major at local college. She smiled- Short hair.

Stunning.

She worked titles. Classes in computers.

I'm not ready to write about it yet. Not entirely.

But let it be known, she was the 'shit'. If anybody ever had "me" completely it was she.

Notes early in the morning, oh my god...

She wrote me a letter-explaining in two pages, telling me to leave if I wanted, as she suffered from Alopecia, and was completely bald, save for a quaint quail patch...I used to kiss it

...loving who she was... beautiful and smooth. Holding each other in a rainstorm, early morning, wrapped in fluffy robes, sitting on the porch. Coffee.

My God-that was the most courageous thing I had ever read.

It truly struck me.

She was open-she was she. She was raw.

After eight years- if there are any feelings left-she owns most of them.

My heart...too much, for too little.

The sad shit-she knows it, and cares-not a bit.

But if she did, she'd never show it.

Plans on re-marrying. Wow.

Good for her.

Our daughter: my last princess. The one I see holding us all together in later-years. For whatever reason...a sense of unity, out of love, because she is who she is...

She and her sisters. Except for the last one, or first, depending on which end you are on.

This is six or maybe seven-trial runs for mom, not the first proposal...just the first she said yes to. But not the last to steal her heart. I was not that lucky.

Known him since high school. Excellent credit. Top notch guy. Has money.

For now.

He is a contractor. Overseas. He will soon be unemployed in Central Texas.

Like 10 thousand other guys.

Three years tops.

I just don't have it in me.

Not anymore.

It's all inadequate, from here on in.

I didn't plan on writing any of this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A lot of people with damn good sense...

As of today, there are 1,877 readers of this blog in the U.S.

Second runner up-is Costa Rica at 51. Awesome.

Holy crap, up from nowhere, beating the U.K. at 44... 32 in Canada, 11 in Spain (Come on guys-our hearts are in the right place...tappas baby...and passion....and heartfelt slams...,)

Germany- goosestepped in to place with ten readers, as does our beer drinking brethren in Australia. ( I would love to be read in a pub in the shadow of an opal mine.)

But the most mystifying, are the three readers in Ireland. Please tell me.

After all, it was from you people from whence I came. Not too sure about the genealogy...heard a cleric in the 1700's in England-excommunicated and de-frekin' frocked for public drunkeness.

Then a privateer, for the Queen of England, in Bermuda. At war with the dutch...a statue exists, from what I heard.

Died attacking a Dutch warship-drunk and unarmed, just seriously pissed. His first mate had to hate his position.

Do ya know each other? There has to be more than three of ya...there has to be.

(Come on, just set this as your home page-you don't have to read it.)

I would give an organ to have your readership improve.

How's that for shameless pandering?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There are many rooms in the mansion-HST

We go down different roads... sometimes because they're just fun.

If you can balance that guardrail, maybe scrape up an inner knee while you're doing it, and come out the other side-just because it made your heart beat a little bit faster, then you know the call.

And this call is not safe.

Some of you retards run with bulls.

Wild bulls. In a foreign country.

And you are an ill bunch of people.

Some of you take it beyond acceptable into hallucinogenics...my hat is off to all of you.

Others go for the deep physical-travelling at high, and bad speeds...just because.

Stepping off a radio tower into space.

Now what is fucking wrong with you?

The one's I most envy- the one's who make the grade, on time, and believe in it.

How do you do it?

How do you stand it...the same thing, everyday. Maybe a different color shirt, but you know what to expect.

Therein is the attraction? The predictable? I have to look at you again, day after day, until it is over.

No wonder I watch from down here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Fathers eye's...

They were a particular shade of brown. Shards of green and gold. They could pierce, like flaming effing arrows, but look kind, while he was beating the shit... dead out of you.

Let me mention. I wanted, so badly to have his approval.

A smile.

A pat on the head.

That look.

Knowing his Dad blasted a 30.06 round through his skull and past a hooker; past his little brother's head, asleep upstairs.

But wanting that approval, all the same.

But no.

He could make me feel like the kicks he was giving me, were truly my fault. That somehow, at five years old I deserved to be thrown to the cold linoleum and kicked and cursed, but I remember more his smell...pipe smoke; apples, scotch, Vick's, Aramis and coffee...

"Dad?"

"What is it buddy?"

"Let's talk about something."

"Sure pal, what about?"

"Tigers, Dad, let's talk about Tigers..."

And I would sit on his lap.

Expanding the 'underside'...

According to the tracker on this website, there are a few, little more than a hand full actually, of countries with two readers per country of this blog. Most countries have quite a few, of which I am entirely grateful. Big nod to my family members in the U.K. Nice to know...wow.

If I needed to take this on the road...could I set up an underside network? An underground underside railroad...pop in, stay a couple of days, write about you, on about my business.

And Bob's your effin' uncle.

Expect a bigger push from my friends in Spain...I know you read this. When I eat, I think of you. Cafe Madrid-Dallas.

When I dare to love, you are there as well. Just not recently.

We share the passion. Please write back.

Out of about 2,000, that's not that many, but my question is, not just for the countries with two readers (Thailand, Switzerland, Slovenia, China, Portugal, Argentina, Mexico and Estonia,) but all readers in all countries: do you know each other? And if you do not, please have parties and read this, even if it is just the two of you...seek each other out... if you do, it will be the three of us...cheers...let me know.

A nod to the past..

A picture. Family gathering. The afternoon of my Father's funeral. I can finally breathe.

A Band had played-made up of his friends-instead of a Eulogy. Stardust. Jesus.

I wept, and crushed my girls.

No mercy expected.

Candid photo. Slipped to me by my cousin/sister over the holidays.

My oldest and coolest brother, three piece suit, cigarette and beer at elbow; my oldest, and only real sister, (although I am closer to my cousins) her weight-spiraling dangerously out of control, and diagnosed by many in the family,to be simply-crazy.

She had been a debutante, the result of Dad marrying for money. California dreaming baby.
I remember a picture of her at two-adorable; her mom, legs folded demurely under her and
Dad posed above the mantle with a pipe-cock of his particular walk.

But he couldn't hold it together. Just another story that begins "...and then I met a woman."

She was connected . Laguna Beach.

Oceanfront dinner jackets. The sound of the surf.

Sammy. Peter Lawford. Phil and Mimi Hines.

Their French Bulldog, Mimi, posed as wiggling centerpiece.

My sister lost her mind early, and behind some truly terrifying men.

I had two nephews serving in Korea, from her union with an Army Officer.

My Brother was the result of urgent war-time sex in the back of a Packard. The hot, Houston night, cloying in the backseat. She has always been a Bayou town. Just big and smelling a bit-much like the last dance at 2 a.m..

Dad, on leave, due to return to England, reeked of gin and eventually an onion field in Belgium, a hunk of his eyebrow blown out by a German .88. shell, burying him. Dug out as if dead. This fucked with him badly.

He wound up at the VA hospital in Waco. My mom and I making the long assed drive. Nobody else.

I remember visiting, in the shadow of huge floor fans. Dad-medicated and vacant. Hum. Hum. Cards were played.

No one cared who won-and the games could go on for days. WWII and Korea, and the starting of a steady stream from Vietnam. Nobody knew from PTSD. They knew from fucked up...cried a lot, too much drink, a bit-of jail, some slapping-given and taken, and say goodbye to sleep.

I arrived in the same dorms in the mid-nineties. His death the catalyst.

I tasted gun oil...he died-three months after my Mom. My ex-wife drove me to the hospital. I was reminded of my first visit, on the government's dime.

I was selling shoes at a Kinney's shoe store in the local south Texas Mall. The military a year behind me.

Married. Wife pregnant. Hopelessly trapped.

Dear Jesus. I lost it. Wound up in a vacant field around nine-one night, dressed in cammo, scoping a deer rifle along the highway, a bottle of Tequila at the ready.

My brother-in -law agreed to drive me to the VA hospital in San Antonio.

Providing they stop for beer. My brother -in -law, his wife (my wife's sister) my wife, and me.

They stopped for beer. I chewed my way through the seat-belt in the backseat. Not easy. Frustration, shaken gently with rage. I was capable.

(Love to have seen the report on the insurance claim.) Just saying thanks.

On the intake form they asked me what my occupation was.

I told them 'Mercenary'...

The black intake nurse looked at me with raised eyebrow. But I think she knew-I could burn it down, if I had to.

They gave me drugs I didn't know how to pronounce. Indian Doctors, in this country to fulfill an obligation, asked me about 'relationships'.

I was kept calm by prescriptions.

My psychologist, cute little white girl; humping that masters degree, turned me on to an Early Christopher Walken piece, and subsequent play, that shed so much light on the 'why' of me.

It was titled, "Who am I this time..." the story of an actor in a community theater that only knew who he was, a sense of identity, with each production.

I started to run... gave me time to think.

A mile, then two...and she was right. I was an actor after all.


I still thought my brother was the shit. Voice like Sam Elliot.

The last time I was eight and he was newly married. Fresh out of the navy, and jail... too cool. My big brother. We were supposed to go to Six Flags. He was in Dallas from Houston. Newly married.

He had a drawl. Looked at our Father with disdain like viewing pecker tracks on a wedding gown.

It wasn't him. She had a lot to do with it, and Dad had been a douche. I didn't blame him, hard when you're eight.

His wife was an Adventist of some kind. Turned him spookily right-(at his funeral she never shed a tear.)

Our Dad- told him to ditch his new bride and go out with the old man and a couple of "Broadies" (Dad's term) to celebrate my brother's wedding..

We never made it to Six Flags. I believe my Father was told to go fuck himself.

My brother turned his back on us until I tracked him down again, a year before Dad died.

I had skills.

I at least did that much. He might have even been proud.

My Aunt, though, anchored the center of the picture.

She embodies my childhood. And my humility.

My brother; dead-a year later-parking lot-outside his pickup truck.

Work. Heart attack.

He had been a printer and worked until the minute he died on a muggy, summer night. Thought he could crawl to the E.R.

My sister, who knows... Arizona?

The high desert? Bagging groceries or reading palms?

My Aunt?...still kicking. Someone God truly loves...just look at her children.

My brother had two blue birds tattooed above his pecs. After his death, I have been known to see bluebirds, checking me out, from time to time.

I choose him..

When Ego hits rock bottom, start digging...

I loved it. Even the boring stuff. I'll say it, aspects of being a Private Investigator are pretty freaking cool. Especially if you live in a fantasy world, (Lawrence Block) and become a caricature of a character in a sober P.I. series. Life could be a movie, sometimes.

Especially the airports. The waiting, gauging the others with you. If the plane goes down, who does the rescue? You? On the job, on a case, watching, following...cool. But not bloody likely.

Start smoking. Camels.

Non-filters.

Interior of Mexico-Medical records from an all Spanish speaking hospital on a couple of Norte-Americanos-insurance claim in the states. Records indicating other wise down south. I do not speak Spanish.

An all black recreational center: my camera in a gym bag on the floor, silently recording a claimant claiming 100 per cent disability, teaching her regularly scheduled aerobics class. Booyah.

Cheating husbands, wives with round heels, kids running away, stolen Mercedes found in a storage facility in Kansas- not a lot of time home. But when I was a present parent, my three-year olds were a riot. One of them used to call me 'Pal...'. How ya doin, pal...

And I lit a a Camel.

We moved to a bedroom community north-west of Dallas. I was out of town 60-70 percent of the time and my wife had grown depressed. I, however, was not around to witness it.

I was being responsible.

Did I mention I was miserable?

Example: Wife asks, (after experiencing massive weight gain) "Do you know what I would like to be?"

I answered without thinking. "A size six."

Yeah...I know.

Camel non-filters. Yeah.

I know.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I have an unfortunate personality-Orson Welles

Yeah, me too.

Okay, I will unveil the curtain for another moment and explain the bank account situation is in progress and not going to be written about in real time.

I need the perspective it will take, that hopefully time will provide, to make it interesting to be read.

Plus, I am not giving this bitch an inch. She has taken enough.

I am told to forgive; to remember my part in the equation. I am reminded-I am the only one on my particular side. I am, after all, Irish. I am also reminded that my alcoholism is much like an Irish dwarf-it isn't big and it isn't clever. But it will get the feckin' job done, all the same.

My goal is to simply outlive her and I will not give her any more time on this blog, at least not in the present.

Her story will best be served cold.

So, where were we?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nicholson needs a drink...

It's that moment in The Shining. Jack needs a drink, in the scene right before he completely loses his shit in the bathroom with the dead, old naked broad.

"I'd give my damn soul for just a glass of beer." He meets Lloyd the Bartender.

It is that conversation-when a rovering drunk chooses to go back down that same tired road after a bit of abstinence, you can hear it in his voice, that same conversation, every time.

He's whistling in the dark muttering, "It's the white man's burden Lloyd, the white man's burden," as Lloyd pours him bourbon, on the rocks.

Or whatever his poison happens to be.

"As long as I live, she will never let me forget what happened." Head in his hands.

No shit Lloyd.

"What'll it be Mr. Torance, it's on the house."

"Anything you say Lloyd, anything you say."

Living will...

Why not. I can add to it as I go, so whatever is on here when I die, there ya go. Instructions for my final send off. And to think I am of sound mind...

First and foremost request, Headstone is to read "Hey, I can see up your dress from here." Only.

Also request Lonely Teardrops by Jackie Wilson and Good Golly Miss Molly by Little Richard, be played at the end of the ceremonies so everyone leaves on a high note.

Plus, if you drink, please do so at my memory. If not, have fun with what's left. And if anyone plays Tears in Heaven I will haunt you. Or say, "He was a good man..." I have evidence to the contrary. Much rather someone say "He meant well."

Now, if any one chooses sureptitious sex or Mitch Albom, or any other request, please request, though not in a keening wale.

Any other musical requests, please leave a comment.

Seriously. This is just in case. I am not, I repeat not depressed nor am I planning on hurting myself in anyway. It may seem morbid but it just makes sense if I want these things to happen, someone should know about them.

Satire is tragedy plus time-Lenny Bruce.

Sure, given enough time anything is possible...except more time.

This blog has turned a page. Before, the memories of my screwed up life seemed suited enough for many of you to want to read, but after yesterday's post I don't know any more. If conflict is interesting, then life just became more so.

Is my life written out and shared in real time, enough to hold your interest? My struggles, my selfish attempts at retribution, my minor triumphs?

I thought about leaving, of course I did, it's how I'm wired...but there was no where to go. The State Department or some such watchdog agency has my passport 'flagged' for just such an occasion. I cannot obtain a passport, let's say-to work overseas as a contractor and make enough money to have all this paid off in three months, no, let's keep me here, working for tips.

What-the-fuck-ever.

I mentioned I thought about a drink. I did not act on it, for those of you who might be concerned.

Not a great time to be having a crisis of faith...but what if this was the catalyst? Maybe this is what it takes to restore it...

Bollocks.

Could I do "The underside...from underground?"

Completely fall off the radar? Probably not. I'd much rather someone buy the film rights to this blog and the whole matter is taken care of.

Plus, Internet access in the jungle is spotty at best.

But I do enjoy a good hammock and I'm a sucker for an umbrella in my drink...

Paul Gauguin was my favorite syphilitic pederast. (Possibly the first time that's ever been written)

And from what I understand, rather unpleasant. Good for him.

Friday, December 5, 2008

She lives...

Today I am breaking from the narrative of the past into a very unsettled 'right now'. For those of you who might wonder if all this is true, I sincerely wish it were not.

I checked my bank account earlier this afternoon. I thought I had about twenty-eight dollars after the rent check cleared.

My balance was $-24,898.71.

25K in the hole since breakfast? WTF. Are you serious?

The amount is remarkably similar to the amount owed my first ex-wife, money for our 26 year-old, married and divorced (once that I know of), daughter.

Another item to add to my list-why Santa shot himself in the head. (For the record her efforts netted her a big 28 dollar 'score', and countless hours of me trying one more time to un-tangle my life...thanks, sweety.)

My other Holiday favorites included being left by my last ex-wife a week before Thanksgiving, culminating in waking up face down in a turkey t.v. dinner. (To include cranberry sauce in the hair. A legion of Newcastle Ale cans as testimony to my heartbreak. )

My Mom dying a week before Christmas is certainly a contender, as well as some very rather unpleasant holiday memories. But they all make it what it is- one big-bullshit gumbo, using money I don't have to buy things for people that they don't need.

And I better be smiling, cause it's the holidays mister, and we have a brother in the White House, and Wall Street is paralyzed but still strong...It's no Wal-Mart but don't forget to pay promptly please.

Pay the bills, and child support, Kid grown? no matter-pay up and try to eat, and keep up car insurance, and pay child support, and stay out of the rain, want heat? more child support, meet somebody forget it, more child support, economy bad, too bad...change? Not from down here...

The thought of a drink has brushed past my lapels but I know enough to ignore it. I think...

I lay my head down wiser but wary.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I try to look on the bright side; much like looking for the humor section in a feminist bookstore.

There was cost involved in this incident.

Sure; the $24 dollars, wallet, badge, ID, assorted wallet crap-I was out that. But there was something more.

Something had been taken from me, and I felt horribly flawed by the news.

I became hyper-vigilant to the point my wife was scared to leave the apartment. I just thought it prudent to warn her what could be out there. Don't be a victim. Situational awareness- I could have used some.

But the things I became involved in, soon became too personal. I couldn't separate myself from who I was/What I did being the same thing.

I was armed-everywhere.

I was offered a full time position with the DA's office. Paralegal, full time. Wow-window of opportunity-wide open. Wind up crashing through the closed one.

I told them no. No to the county benefits, the county job security, the would have been retired by now had I said yes...no.

I became a P.I.

Good money, travel, work by myself. Liked it.

Of course it sounded romantic, but there's nothing like peeing in a coffee cup while following someone in a fast moving, surreptitious vehicle, to dispel the rest of that rumor.

Surveillance; insurance work, pretty run of the mill. But all of it tinting my attitude. Pretty soon my outlook darkened. People. Not impressed.

For a while it looked good on me.

But there were spies everywhere...

Monday, December 1, 2008

I have no script for healthy...

I needed to call my wife. I just wanted news that my babies were OK, and that they still had a Daddy.

She was appropriately concerned, and I believe it to be genuine. She was always easy to emotionally persuade.

I had a script for that. She had issues. Mainly parental, but we had lived with them. I observed. I learned. I knew how to do that. I knew where the buttons were. I even helped install some of them.

All of my relationships have been unhealthy, in some regard. All of them. I do not know from 'healthy'. I do not have a script for that. If you are a woman and in my life even peripherally and you do not have wants or needs from me, I do not know how to react to that. I promise you, I am winging it.

The adrenaline dump took the better part of a day, and when it did, I slept for 12 hours. I woke up not wanting to talk about it... with her.

I needed people who had been there before me. I needed people who do it every day.

I told you the line was strong.

I tried talking about it in a meeting. No cops. No veterans. At least from that kind of war.

I knew where to go.

I knew someone at the DA's office. A good friend of hers had been shotgunned to death in an undercover operation gone very, very, wrong.

These are the ties that bind.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adrenaline: Best served sucked directly from the skull.

It is our most physical link to our most animal past. Adrenaline. Fight or Flight.

I have done my share of substances that suddenly 'get your attention.'

This was stronger.

A spark of static electricity? God blinked? All I know is something happened.

They bolted.

Did shooting me mean more trouble than they were willing to get into, or were they not the hard men they thought they were?

Or was it something else. Sound returned into the vacuum with a rush. And the volume was up.

Jumped into the car, fumbled open the bag and pulled the .38.

Started it and flew into reverse, then the direction their baggy assed-jeans were seen, picking them up and laying them down.

There was blood in my throat and at that moment I certainly could have killed, pushed into it with very little effort.

I was racing down a wrong way street. They were gone. I went NUTS.

An older citizen in a pickup was trying to pass me in the opposite direction. He had just entered a very wrong situation for all the right reasons.

I raged at him to get out of my way. He was not impressed. I screamed at him that I was A POLICE OFFICER AND HAD JUST BEEN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT, YOU FREAK SHOW!

Now he was really not impressed.

He stopped his truck and the door flew open. Pretty spry for a guy with the posture of a jumbo shrimp. He read indignant and morally 'right'.

I might get the chance to kill somebody after all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

They did not cover this on 'Career Day.'

Time can standstill. And you can get focused.

My attention, at that moment, was burning with a white heat as I concentrated on this firearm screwed into my skull. I assure you I was so very focused it was as if this was the only mass produced, illegal 9mm in the entire world. It was certainly the only one pressed above my left eye, at the time.

I did not see my life pass before my eyes. Tunnel vision, a loud roaring in my head. Slow.

I kept my voice even and low and talked my way to the back of my car.

Two of them. Teenagers. With a grown up pistol.

I thought of the .38 where I could not reach it. I realized in an instant I had made a life changing mistake.

If I had reached my gun, would I have used it? Easy to say...harder to do.

I had given them my wallet, and it opened onto my I.D. and badge. The shield gleamed in the glow of a cheap gold tooth.

I realized that within the time it would take for a few more blinks, my children would not have a father, and my body would be on a slab in Parkland. This was not fucking fair.

The one with the wallet told the other one to "Shoot this motherfucker, he's a COP!"

The hammer was thumbed back. That bit of information did not matter all that much, depending on if the automatic was single or double action, although it will in the film, and the scene will appropriately kick ass.

What concerned me then were the last moments of my life and how horribly fucked you can become just for turning off James Brown in a redneck parking lot.

I looked at his trigger finger. I would love to report that I pulled some sweet hop-socky moves on the both of them, saying something pithy as I handcuffed them.

I didn't. Forever passed in an instant. His finger moved.

And I wondered if it would hurt.

I skip the masquerade and fly right by the 'agenda'.

Things get narrow. And as my denial system is similar to a force of nature, I start to believe my own shit. Bad idea, each and every time.

I start to think that maybe this new profession was a way of 'giving back' to a community I more or less turned my back on. For all the foul shit I had done, this was a way of measuring out the scales.

Water seeks it's own level, too. I made arrests and felt fraudulant. I knew I was playing 'cop', and I seriously did not want any one getting injured, especially me. So I made up for the fear with going the other way.

They needed a 'first in', going into a potentially hostile room? I'm you're boy. First to arrive on scene. Ditto.

Took a first responder hostage negotiations course. Language. All about the relationship of the language to the given situation. Want to de-escalate, not kick it into an accidental blood bath, with a poorly phrased request.

I slammed it into overdrive. Full time 9-5 at the DA's office, eighteen hours a week on armed patrol, another twenty at a security job and early morning college classes downtown.

My plate was full. (As my last publisher so eloquently put it; "Get a bigger plate.")

The sleep was managed with a very strict, (fast) sleep schedule, to fit the whole thing into someone else's workweek.

Average Wednesday morning: Parking my car a couple blocks away from my class downtown. It's early, no one's out yet. I was the only one on the lot. Book bag, with .38, on the seat next to me; one foot out the drivers door, turning off the radio.

I turn to my left and meet a 9mm pressed against my temple.

The morning just got real...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The end of Summer's promise...

I was a Father. Again.

Enormous responsibility.

I had yet to hear of the phrase, "If you are ungrateful for your gifts, they will be taken from you."

But I would.

It was the end of summer and I was the proud and scared shitless Father of twin girls. Little angels to be sure. My faith was stronger then.

As I write this, these two are in college, and I wade through a small crisis of faith while paying every spare penny to child support. It doesn't amount to much, but I keep plugging.
For three grown kids. Don't ask.

My bad.

Anyway, so here we are entering the 'holiday season.' Shite.

Thanksgiving, more so than Christmas-for some ironic reason tended to be more violent within my family.
Growing up someone would be punched and someones wife would cry and insults flew like hot giblets. I remember there was Scotch. (The pre-recovery as a family period...more 'issues' per room than waiting for the Dr.)
I had been elected Goal tender for my Dad's personal mental hockey onslaught, so it always had a warm place in my heart as a 'special' time of year.

And that was just on the way to dinner. Dad, driving with one hand and punching me in the teeth with the other, blood in my Peter Frampton hair.

The army seemed like the easier, softer way; so one Thanksgiving I asked him to sign the enlistment papers. I would leave for basic the first of January. A tour in Germany. I could graduate in the army. And don't forget College.

My Dad signed without hesitation. I had him at "I want to join..."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All those who believe in psychokenesis, please raise my hand.

We had a small class about psychics and law enforcement. I liked it, but for the most part, the class was met with derision and howls of disbelief. Law enforcement officials are very much concrete, black and white thinkers. The realm of the spirit is lost on them. You can't handcuff what you can't see.

The rest of our classes were what you would expect. Physical training, chemical weapons. (Yes, pepper spray hurts. Like you can't believe it hurts. Whatever you were doing or planning on doing before being sprayed goes right out the fucking window. You just want the pain to stop...somehow. It is truly terrible and quite effective.)

We learned the psychology of crime, in that some folks just don't have any 'do right' in them. They can't help it. They will lie, steal and cheat when the truth would actually benefit them. And the truly criminal minded are not stupid. It's the wanna-be gangsters that may in fact be retarded.
Jesus. News flash...not pulling up your pants, does not make you a hard man. The phrase 'you know what I'm saying' repeated after every other word does not make you a criminal mastermind.

Get a job, pull your pants up and shut the fuck up. There.

We had a couple of weeks to go, almost six months of learning the way the 'other half' live. I was, in a way, proud that I had accomplished this, my past being what it was. My parents didn't know what to make of it.

(The professional psycho babblers would dissect this and have a field day with it, but graduating the academy is one of the most single proud moments of my life. The other moments were the births of my children.)

My twins decided to be here for my graduation. I was in class when I got a 911 beep on my pager. The balloon had gone up and my wife's water had broken. OH my God...I ran from class and drove in excess of 100 miles an hour through late afternoon traffic, without incident, to the hospital, adrenaline leaking from my ears, screaming at cars to get out of the way. Then I remembered, I was armed. A dangerous mix, but I held it in check.

She was not dilated to the proper dimensions and the Doctors were waiting it out. She wanted me to rub her back. I did so grudgingly. I was too caught up in what I was feeling, what I was going through. Party of one? Yep, Mr. Sensitive, at it again.

My best friend joined me for the wait and we smoked cigars on the loading dock, listening to the wail and wup of incoming ambulances and the summer specific song of the locust waiting for the moment. We talked about my kids, and the life they would have and what I could expect.

We had no idea. I failed to realize that no matter how much I loved my children, I was just not cut out to be a long haul parent. No matter how deeply I was involved in that fairy tale and still wanted to be.

Couldn't make the grade with the spouse, couldn't find someone to truly believe in 'for better or worse'.

Vows? A car warranty carries more weight.

I couldn't believe in me. And my children have suffered for that. (I am also ridiculously proud of my girls, for getting out of a dead end situation without my help and without my guidance and attending college on their own merit.)
I know my children have suffered because of me and am remorseful ...up to a point.

The failure of my marriages was a dual proposition. It really does take two to destroy a marriage.

I own up to my part, and fear I am alone in that regard.

I'm also afraid if I let go of my grief, I will have nothing left.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

They say the uniform makes the man...I say it should make my lunch.

I was in class with about twenty five other cadets, all from outlying agencies within the metroplex. I had two agencies sponsoring me; one south of Dallas and the other an even smaller department northeast of Dallas. Both of which were non-paid positions but good experience while in the academy. Plus I had a uniform.

Don't let anyone ever tell you anything different; there is something about a police officer in uniform that does something to a certain type of female. I don't know why...the gun, the handcuffs, the big black baton? (I just made myself queasy.)

All I know is I got hit on more as a police officer than I ever did as a bartender. If I had wanted I could have gotten more action than Jodie Foster's knuckles. It was ridiculous.

Think Sean Penn-1988-Colors.

I, however, had my eye on a larger prize.

The District Attorney's office for Dallas County sits like a monolith in the shade of Dealey Plaza, across Stemmons freeway and the underpass that was the last thing to register in John F. Kennedy's brain besides a high powered bullet.

An Investigator for the D.A.'s office. Nice ring to it. Plus I looked better in a suit and being around attorney's put me around a better class of criminal than being on the street. (John Wiley Price notwithstanding.)

My cousins' husband had a connection. One that garnered me a letter of recommendation into the intern investigator's program from Henry Wade. Yeah, that Henry Wade.

Roe Versus Wade. That guy. Recommended me. I know. I shake my head too.

But it got me the job, while I held onto the part time position at the small town south of Dallas, working in uniform, writing traffic tickets. Until I stopped the Mayor's wife.

She had been doing about seventy in a fifty-five. I had planned on writing her a warning. Until she asked me if I knew who she was. And she told me.

I was not impressed and began writing the ticket after securing her license and insurance.

"I thought you officers didn't give pretty women tickets?"

"We don't. Sign here."

My Chief was waiting for me when I pulled into the station. Like I didn't see that coming.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In God we trust...all others are suspects.

So I merge. I merge into the right and true, or at least what passes for right and true for the moral majority. I started working out, I even got a crew cut.

I became hyper vigilant and studied hard and went to the pistol range a lot.

Turned out I had a knack for handguns as well as collecting evidence. Who knew?

I became friends with my other cadets, leaving out my past. I appeared average; pregnant wife and all, working my way through the academy and I learned about the 'The thin Blue Line', the line that separates civilians and officers.

It is real and it is wide.

The line can separate an officer from his wife, his parents, his lifelong friends. Why? Because those that don't, just don't know, and those that do...put it on the line, in uniform or out.

And when an officer goes down, the line wavers but never weakens...it is real and true and civilians are stupid.

It is an unspoken code, a look from one who straps on a gun to go to the toilet, lest someone get the drop on him with his dick in his hand. Or her, for that matter. Some of the finest officers I met were female, with balls larger than my own.

I started working as a deep nights security supervisor for the World Trade Center while tending to class in the evening. We had moved in with her parents to save for the girls' arrival and I learned that those in security are frustrated police officers and have a very dark sense of humor as well.

One of my fellow supervisors would make his security rounds through the kitchen of the Trade Center, helping himself to a sandwich, invariably pissing in the soup tureen left out for the following day. He thought it added a little something for the snotty upscale employees who looked down upon us as blue collar turds in their crystal punchbowl. He may have been right.

They always sold out of soup.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I reinvent myself and I am unrecognized.

The dull monotony of my life was as suffocating as the bottom of a dumpster on an August day at high noon. Her parents and mine were quite content with the 'nothing' I had achieved by way of career, so not much was expected of me, other than staying sober and paying bills. (The first kiss of a deadly make out session)

I began to withdraw into literature again as the ever increasing girth of my bride was causing me more discomfort than it should. I read Lawrence Block and a lot of Joseph Wambaugh, and as it seemed, the more I read, the more my life dovetailed into that experience. It is a phenomena that has happened on more than one occasion.

I was at work one winter evening, watching sleet pelt the window, wondering if the spirit of the guy in the bathtub wandered the building, hoping he did, while not really wanting to see it.

Four guys in jeans and heavy jackets entered the building and slid up to the desk. One flashed a badge. Undercover? Cool. This would be new. They wanted information on a tenant, and I was so bored I happily obliged.

He wasn't in and they left a card. Call when I see him. Sure, why not.

He was a young middle eastern dude who would slip in very late, usually with hookers , slide me some cash to look the other way, eyes dim pinpricks over the occasional nosebleed. Very animated, very loud, and about as stable as Gary Busey.

Sure. Why not.

It was a phone call. Sure I saw him. I made the call and let them in the building. I called his condo and told him I had a package he needed to sign for. He sounded congested. Go figure.

The cops slid up the stairwells, silently, and came down on the elevator. A bundle in tow. Knot over one eye, towel stuffed in his mouth.

Worked for me.

The one who gave me a card said they could always use somebody who was observant and could keep his mouth shut.

Me? A cop? He didn't know me or my background so he could be forgiven. A cop? I doubted it.

But the thought lingered, so one day, I made a call. It was a matter of paperwork and a couple of interviews. Oh, hell, why not. Just go through the process, see how far you can take it.

I had lived halfway around the world, drinking and drugging my way through far away bedrooms. Before I could romanticize it, I remembered I had shit my pants in three foreign countries. This shouldn't take long.

But I got passed from interview to interview. Letters of recommendation coming from people who had only known me sober.

The next thing you know, I was to report to the Regional Police Academy in Arlington. Night academy, six months.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Another example that God drinks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.- F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the theater of assisted suicide, the show is usually private. But not always.

I had flirted with the concept of taking my own life in my more morose moments, but extreme cowardice and a glimmer of hope always saved me from myself.

One botched attempt many years before (which amounted to chugging a bottle of NyQuil, case of warm Budweiser, two packets of Unisom sleep aides and a small bottle of Chaps cologne,) resulted in the grandmother of all headaches, shit filled trousers (my own) and very interesting smelling breath.

It also left the act very far to the back of the drawer in which we keep our most selfish possessions.

Most days I would forget it was even there.

One day the very real, very ugly reality reminded me what it could be.

I was at work, meandering about the building, floor to floor, keeping all within the building secure. I had a partner at the front desk manning the phones and I kept in touch with him by radio. This was an extremely boring exercise in that nothing ever happened and I never had anything to report. No terrorists storming the building; so I could hide in the stairwell and somehow save the day; no fires to run through thereby saving an extremely grateful heiress-just empty hallways and the occasional smell of onions in one of the elevators.

Boring.

My radio crackled to life and my partner (sounding like he had been smoking weed by the dumpster instead of filling out the activity log) told me to report to a unit on the 9th floor for a possible water leak. Oh boy, wet socks for the rest of the night and a bullshit report, but it broke up the boredom.

I could hear running water as I approached the front door and saw the carpeted hallway in front of the door a darker, squishier shade of green than it should have been.

I knocked loudly, announcing myself in the largest, most authoritative voice I could muster.

No answer.

I used the master key and opened the door. The sound was coming from the bathroom to the right of the door. The door to the bathroom was closed, but brownish, brackish, foam poured from underneath the door and past my shoes into the main hallway.

I opened the door.

Big mistake, but what was I to do?

The male tenant was in the tub, clear plastic bag tightly over his head, the tub water brown with his own shit, flowing over the sides. His head was half submerged. What I could determine of his face was infested with open sores and lesions.

Oh, fuck me Tilly...this was bad.

Two attempts on the radio alerted my partner to call 911, my voice within an octave of a Bobcat Goldthwaite imitation and the guy in the tub began to twitch like Stephen Hawking at a limbo party.

Without thinking I grabbed him under the arms and tugged upward, losing my balance and falling into the putrid water on the floor, ass first, which caused him to actually submerge momentarily. The water was hot. The air fetid and foul. This was NOT worth seven bucks an hour.

"Oh no you don't fuckhead!" I screamed and grabbed him by the head while he slapped at me weakly.

We wrestled while I gouged a hole in the plastic around his face, causing him to gasp and wheeze and blow nasty bubbles and tried without a lot of success to roll him from the tub onto the floor.

I heard someone scream shrilly from behind me. My partner. This was not something he should be seeing stoned.

"Turn off the water, jackass!" I yelled, trying to keep our victims head out of the poop smoothie he was laying in.

He did and I heard voices in the hall. Police and Paramedics. I let them in to do their thing and stood in the hallway, soaked in shit (someone else's) and shook for a while.

The Police took my statement and someone from down the hall gave me a jogging suit to change into after I showered in the exercise locker room in the basement.

The victims sister arrived, filling in the blanks. He had been diagnosed with AIDS and was next to through anyway. Depressed and despondent.

I guess he wanted to call it on his own terms. I don't know.

Did I save him?

No. He died in the ambulance.

I thought about curling up with a bottle of Bushmills but curled up with my pregnant wife instead.

We didn't talk much about it. What was there to say?

It took me a long time to fall asleep.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black is east and up is white...and we get pregnant.

As usual, I was bored. Dead end job, hated the people I worked with/for, no idea what the future would hold, yada, yada.

Christmas was coming and some fool thought I would be a great candidate for a Discover Card, with a pre-approved $1200 limit.

My first credit card. One of the most dangerous things that could happen to a person like me.

I say that for the following reasons: (I learned this about me the hard way and thank God I have gotten better about it over the years, but back then, if I were out of sorts, and meetings were just the same tired rhetoric and the world turned that particular shade of grey, I would do some things, perform certain acts to break out of the mold and get back at 'you', if there was a you at all.)

I will either drink "at you"; I will use drugs "at you", I will have sex "at you" or I will spend money "at you". Sometimes all at once.

This time I went nuts shopping for Christmas. Small items...a lot of small items. Our Christmas tree was piled with presents, some very stupid presents, (fitted sheet holders for the corners of the bed? Are you serious?) but bunches of them. I was briefly satisfied and thought for a minute about making a card payment, then thought better of it. Fuck 'em, as it were, this was my Christmas and they sent the card. That should teach them.

I can't remember if we discussed having a baby or if it just happened. I seem to recall it was a mutual decision, and we tried several times, checking the ominous little plastic strips with alternating waves of hope and dread, and then, finally it was positive.

I was excited. A second chance at normal.

A baby, one that I could be there for, one that might be the glue that could hold this ever crumbling union together (I thought at the time) unlike my first daughter, who by the way I had attempted to find on several occasions to no avail.

(Years later I found out why. My first wife told the judge-as she stood in front of him, looking twelve, bottom lip quivering, her new family behind her, smirking, to include the 'little girl' now grown up, that I had left behind-she thought I would kidnap our daughter, so she went into hiding. Are you fucking kidding me? )

Was it a make up child? Maybe, or maybe a solid, physical means for staying on the straight and narrow, and let me assure you, it gets very straight and as narrow as an Elvis Costello tie, with no room for expression, at least for me.

Because now it's pay bills, work hard, more bills, work harder, she's getting fat, so what, look at the other miserable bastards , shuffling behind these huge breeder bitches at the Mall like the walking dead (who seem to think it's not so much a vagina as it is a clown car)... their lives, their dreams, finished and dead.

Oh yeah...I was happy.

So our parents were thrilled, she got bigger, and after three sonograms we learned we were having twins. The Doctor broke the news by pinpointing Baby A, then Baby B, both girls. I remember I was stunned as if bludgeoned and could not form words. The only time that has ever happened.

The gravity of the situation then became 'doubly' apparent.

Oh my.

And I stepped through the looking glass.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When you dry hump the American Dream, wear a condom. You don't know where this country has been.

The stripper eventually moved out, and we were back to having a duplex to ourselves. And our dog, and now three cats. (I am not a pet guy, never have been, but normal people have pets.)

I had resigned myself to not working as a writer, listening to the opinions of people who had no passion, or soul, telling me I should simply get a job, pay my bills and be married. The same people who willingly go to Wal -Mart as a shopping option.

Christ, that's a prison sentence for someone like me, but I tried it. Pretending my heart was not creative was very difficult and I would secretly buy Writers Digest magazine and stash it in the closet like most guys stash Ass Spank Quarterly.

I had obtained employment working as a security officer for a high rise apartment building on Turtle Creek. Her Father worked the deep night shift and got me the job.

I sat in a cubicle, signed in guests, watched the other security officer and apartment manager pretend they weren't sleeping together and let the wealthy view me as subhuman, holding the door open for them as they did so.

I had lunch one day with my best friend, his little sister and his Mom. His sister was very much like my own and I knew she had great things in store for her. I will always cherish these people.

A week later I got one of those phone calls; the kind that rings and you know it is terrible news before you even pick it up.

His little sister had been driving down Northwest Highway, near Abrams, when a car came across the median into her lane, hitting her car head on.

She died instantly, and a piece of my heart died with her.

We buried her in a little Nordic Cemetery in a rocky, West Texas field on a clear, big sky day.

I bought my friend a white and black Australian Shepard pup to help take his mind off his loss, gradually, and give him something new to love. He named her Ruby and she lived with him for seventeen years.

I dream his sister plays with Ruby in a huge, emerald colored field of clover and Ruby is young again.

When I wake up... my face is wet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our government couldn't cover up cat shit at the beach...but plausible deniability works for me.

I was flat footed busted. She knew it. I knew it. And as our voices escalated, our neighbor knew it. However; I stuck to my guns.

"What's wrong with you? I was simply trying to let the dog out and I find a naked chick in our backyard. Was I staring...hell no, I was just shocked, you don't see that everyday. What do you want me to do...demand she put clothes on. It's her yard too...".

Maybe defending her right to be bare -assed in our yard put her over the edge...I don't know, but I wound up having to talk to our landlord about it. He lived next door, was my age, and had an extremely hot girlfriend, and I secretely wished I was him. Especially right then.

I felt like I was the biggest whipped loser in the world. My balls? Somewhere in one of her cavernous purses apparently.

I knocked timidly on his door, knowing she was watching me from our porch, arms folded, curdling milk and neutering small animals with her gaze. I felt her stare burn holes in the back of my shirt.

He answered, Van Halen on the stereo, a margarita in hand. My junk shriveled even more.

"Hey dude, look, uh, we have, I mean my wife has a problem with our neighbor."

He looked at me quizzically.

"She's naked in our back yard...suntanning...our neighbor, not my wife."

"Sweet...what's the problem, she need help with lotion," he grinned.

I suddenly felt like a Ken doll. Kick me in the crotch, you'd only hit bone.

"No, my wife, she's upset, uh, says it's rude or inappropriate or some kind of wife thing, I don't know dude, she's just really pissed...like I told her to get naked or something."

He laughed. "Can't help ya amigo, she's a dancer...needs to look good for work. Tell your old lady to broaden her horizons...later." He shut the door.

Damn. This could only get worse before it got better.

Oh, sure, I could see me walking into the yard, asking her to cover up. Not.

The thought of my wife doing it...not so much...while the idea of a half naked, oily, bald cat fight was strangely appealing I felt like sleeping with my eyes closed...inside the house, so that was out.

She glared as I walked on to the porch. "He said we have to deal with it..," I said sheepishly. She grabbed her purse and hurled herself into the car, backing out with great haste.

Shit. This would be a long night.

My dog had peed in the front yard so I did not have to let him out the back. But I did peek to see if she had gone inside.

Nope. Still there. Still naked. And still glistening.

I made popcorn and placed a kitchen chair by the window.

What? It's not like we had cable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A writer is a true voyeur...until he's caught; then it's research.

And so our idyllic little home was intruded upon by a neighbor. A very attractive, Australian neighbor. She kept to herself and worked odd hours so we had very little interaction.

I was home alone one afternoon as the wife was probably at Emeralds to Coconuts (her favorite store) spending money we didn't have on shit we did not need.

Our Labrador was in need of some outside time so I walked to our kitchen prepared to let him out. I was not prepared for what was in the backyard.

Apparently our neighbor had the day off, or, a stark naked, bald headed alien was sunning herself in our backyard.

Holy shit.

I stood at the backdoor window transfixed; unable to move, my breath forming condensation on the glass. She was tan. Really tan. Everywhere. And she was liberally applying oil to places only her Doctor could be proud of. Wow.

My dog whined to go out and I gave him a sharp kick to the slats. "Not now, you moron..." I had no idea why she was bald, I simply knew it was wildly attractive and much like an old joke I was fond of.

"Do you know the similarity between a 9 volt battery and a woman's butt hole?"

"You know it's wrong but eventually you want to put the tongue to it."

Her breasts were magnificent but her head was gorgeous. Tan and shiny and smooth, it was like a third breast on top of her shoulders, put there to keep the rain out of her neck.

I suddenly felt the need to pleasure myself, much like Cardinal Richelieu at a Boy Scout Jamboree, and then I felt someone behind me.

The wife had returned.

"OH, " my voice cracked, "You're home?"

She could see past me through the window and I felt her next question entirely superfluous.

"What...are...you...doing?" she hissed, giving me a look that could wither flesh, and did, if I recall.

I then reverted to thousands of years of male conditioning, responding from the deep end of my gene pool.

"Nothing...?"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

There never was a great love that was not followed by a great hatred. (Irish Proverb)

These events were almost twenty years ago.

Yeah, time flies. Much like a shit laden diaper hurled at your head from across the room.

School was going great and I did what I usually did when faced with success. I quit.

Now, I did it under the pretense of having to support us as the book store gig was laughable and I needed something more.

But the reality was I couldn't face being successful...too much would be asked of me and I was so much more comfortable with failing. The tragic flaw of the Greek hero.

We failed to meet the rent in my childhood home, which in a way was good because there were things going on emotionally in the house (because of the house) that were decidedly unhealthy and weird.

We found a duplex near my Grandparents (Mom's side) two-story home near Lakewood. It had burned down but I remembered the area, specifically the back yard.

My Grandfather; a large, white haired, red and ruddy faced Scotsman was a lineman for the telephone company. My Grandmother was a stern, hatchet faced, East Texas emasculator.

She had been given a new vacuum cleaner the size of an iron lung on wheels and would clean the gargantuan house and leave the monstrosity in the front hallway, much to the displeasure of my Grandfather upon his return from work.

It happened several times and he finally told her if she left it in the hallway one more time he would see to it she had no vacuum.

My Grandmother was not a great listener, especially where my Grandfather was concerned.

He arrived home one day, tripped over the torpedo shaped machine and drug it, without a word to the back yard.

He removed a shovel from the garage, rolled up his sleeves, took a pinch of Garret snuff and began beating the blue eyed Jesus out of the vacuum.

WHAM. WHAM. WHAM.

My Grandmother watched silently from the kitchen window, taking a big slug from the bottle of Old Overholt (Grandad called it Old Overcoat) she kept under the sink.

These were my people, and it was within these memories that we moved a few blocks away.

The other half of the duplex was empty so we set up house, allowing our Lab free reign in the back yard.

Then the bald headed, Australian stripper moved in.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I have a lazy eye...it doesn't wander far.

Valentines Day-1989. An ice storm has turned the metroplex into a skating rink and I am getting married, frozen wasteland or not.

We rented a community center in Irving and some non-denominational Jacobite officiated the proceedings. My parents were in attendance, may have even nodded hello, but no blows were thrown. My best man may have been high and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Other than labored breathing, the sound of hundreds of ice pellets hitting the outside of the building masked the involuntary groans I think I was making as the vows were read.

She had the decency not to wear white and I tried to look happy. If you look at pictures of the event I am not smiling. I look like I have very painful gas.

We did it, cut the cake, thanked the crowd and slipped and slid all the way home, the backseat loaded down with chafing dishes and a couple of toasters.

Our wedding night consisted of diarrhea and silence. I think I may have shed a few tears, alone in the bathroom.

We should have had it annulled the next day, but I have always been one to see where things would lead, so we grimaced and left town the next morning, still ill, but having a honeymoon, all the same.

We had garnered a condo on Padre Island and the winter storm even hit there. I buried the MR2 in the sand at the beach during a freak snowstorm and spent most of our wedding money on a tow truck. She came down with a fever and tucked into a bottle of NyQuil and slept for a day and a half. I boiled shrimp and went to an AA meeting.

When I came back she was still asleep and I sat and looked at her. This was so patently unfair. To her, I mean. I should have left her alone to live her life and I know I am not an easy man to live with, even harder to love and understand. For better or for worse...Boy, did she get the bonus plan.

We followed up that nightmare with an overnight stay in a hotel on the River Walk in San Antonio. We ordered a room service cheese and fruit tray and in a playful mood I winged a piece of Gouda at her from across the room. SPLAT, right in the eye. Great. It left a bruise.

We walked the river and I kept her next to the water, keeping the urge to throw her in at bay.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Love is not something you can put chains on and throw into a lake...that's called Houdini. (J. Handey)

Love did not exactly enter into this.

We were caught up in the momentum, and the undertow was a bitch. I had stopped waiting tables and was working for next to nothing in a book store, attempting to support us both.

We had even moved from my one bedroom apartment into the two bedroom house I lived in while attending first grade. (That was surreal and there were times I felt like I was my Father and she was my Mother, and I held myself in check, not willing to go all the way down that narrow, shitty little lane.)

We obtained the obligatory Labrador and watched Thirty Something, taking notes.

I had started to write and enrolled in college, taking journalism and creative writing. My idea was she could go back to court reporting and support us while I obtained a degree, then, I could support us with my writing.

I was delusional as well as opportunistic. All I remember her doing was sleeping...I even did the cooking. Now, I'm trying to be fair, but I honestly don't remember her doing anything.

And these are my memories, after all.

I became the arts and entertainment editor for the school paper and my scholastic claim to journalistic fame was interviewing Terry Gilliam. Hell of a nice guy, and visionary, to boot.

I had a mild flirtation with a reporter but she knew I was engaged, and I was truly trying to behave...I didn't need the guilt, so I passed.

I learned a lot, and learned that I loved to write, and it didn't really matter what. I also learned that I hated rules, especially one's that hampered my creativity. I say that with tongue firmly in cheek. I understand today, that in order to break the rules, it is necessary for one to know what they are. Plus, I didn't know shit...and there are those who would say I still don't. That is not up for argument.

I entered into and won a short story contest. I wrote every spare moment I had, and meanwhile, the wedding was being 'directed'. I'd say planned, but it was not being planned by me, but rather directed by 'her', her mother, and mine.

It was similar to the Invasion of Dunkirk, but with fewer crying Englishmen.

I was nothing more than a work beast, used to procreate and lift heavy shit. My desires failed to enter into it.

So I lost myself in school, becoming an honors English student and excelling in academics for the first time in my life.

The wedding date was picked. Wait for it...here it comes...February 14. Again, I cannot make this shit up.

Cupid was throwing up Everclear the night of my bachelor party.

The Million Dollar Saloon was in it's heyday; lap-dances, foot massages, a platoon of plastic breasts and yours truly stayed sober. I had invited a lot of friends from my table waiting period as well as best friend and cousin. It was a good time, and everything a bachelor party should be, until the douche arrived.

The douche was a kid from the restaurant that no one liked, the original annoying-know-it-all who simply crashed the party. My best men handled it by taking us all to a Korean stroke job parlor on Harry Hines-where we got rid of the douche.

He was last seen running from a hooker and her pimp after he accused her of jacking his wallet.

We drove away with him running toward us in the rear view mirror, the whore hot on his heels.

We never saw him again.

Other than the birth of my twins, that was the most fun I would have for the next ten years. (And I'm not too crazy about c-sections.)

Deep down, I'm pretty shallow...but I mean well.

I got my own apartment and left my brother with a girlfriend. Good for him.

I, unfortunately, had one as well. I don't think she really liked me that much, but she was so screwed up from childhood and one failed marriage that I seemed like a minor step up.

She still lived with her parents, even after moving a load of her crap to my closet, including the feminine unmentionables under my bathroom sink. Yet, she spent five or six nights a week at my place, and only went 'home' when I told her I needed some space.

She was hostessing as a temporary respite from her court reporting job. (She had gotten arrested, and fired in the Denton County Courthouse parking lot for firing up a hog leg with the Sheriff watching from his window. This was the future mother of my twins. Great.)

So we were together a lot. Home, work, lather, rinse and repeat.

One day we were driving to lunch and suddenly I was possessed by something unholy.

I think the quote, jokingly, was "We spend so much time together we should get married..."

She laughed and agreed. I mean really agreed. There was that moment, and I saw it slide away, and with it my future, when I should have said, yeah right...just kidding, but instead kept my mouth shut.

Meanwhile, my brain was screaming..."What in the blue fuck was that? Are you kidding me? NO, No, Nooooooo!!!"

We drove all night to New Orleans and had lunch in the French Quarter to celebrate. I called my Mom from a pay phone to tell her, yes, with my brain in full free fall and Mom asked if I had been drinking.

This was the same woman that when she met her said , "Honey, he's ornamental as hell but otherwise pretty damned useless."

I assured her I was sober, and no she was not pregnant and reminded my Mom she's the one that said I should marry my best friend. She just never gave a firm definition.

"Now honey, why would I say that?"

Oh, shit...now what?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Age and treachery beat youth and volume...but not as well as a hammer.

I'm taking a break from the story to comment on a few things I have learned.

Last Monday I turned 49 and thought I should have picked up a few things by now, other than STD's and bad credit, and thought writing them down could be helpful.

To whom? Hell if I know...but here goes.

I know that sunny days are not automatically wonderful. Sunshine is simply nature's way of jerking you off, so don't believe it. On any sunny day, I promise you, a church official somewhere is tea-bagging a ten-year old. I prefer rain and gloom. It's more realistic.

I know that if you stand five women on their heads, naked, they all look alike. (Like 50 year old Armenian grocery store owners with no teeth and bad breath.)

I know that the older I get the phone calls in the middle of the night are from people dying rather than a 'booty call'. (I can't believe I used that term.)

I know that food always tastes better when someone else has purchased it.

I know that people who order salad dressing on the side suffer from a mild form of retardation.

I know there is a deep and meaningful joy in looking into someones eyes and telling them to go fuck themselves.

I know that the child support system in this state is corrupt and divorced Fathers are the largest oppressed minority we have. (If you're a black, one-legged, dwarf and a divorced Father, I kneel to you, although I'm probably still taller.)

I know that a perfect night can be had with a good movie, great meal and a decent hand job...meaning I can have one by myself.

I know that the whale squeezers and the folks who dry hump the rain forest are all full of shit. Let a whale become lodged in their drain pipes and they'll be the first one's to grab a chain saw.

I know that the urge which follows the statement, "I have to have that" passes in a few moments, followed by either more money in the bank, to include the absence of a groin pull if I'm talking about a major appliance, or one less heartache, if I'm referring to a woman. That could possibly apply without the appliance.

I know it used to matter to me what women thought of me. Today, I'd rather have comfortable shoes and a warm place to take a crap.

I know that pet ownership is for married people. They don't risk dying alone and being eaten.

I know that there are ugly babies, and all children are not special. Contrary to the opinions of the phenomenon of professional Mommies-they all grow in to adults. (Plus the ability to have a child does not make you a genius or qualify you for sainthood...I know a lot of stupid parents.)

I know that a college education does not automatically make you smart.

I know that simply having a vagina does not make you pretty...but someone will have sex with you. It also makes you a pretty good air scoop on the hood of a car. (Hey, I can hear the ocean...)

I know that the people who watch "Worlds funniest home videos" on purpose should be placed in camps.

I know that true romantic love may last for a while, but never forever. It is a myth. Much like the evil monkey in your closet.

I know that good girls don't finish last, they finish alone.

And finally, I know that if my special needs child ate your honor student's cat...someone would find it funny.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

They say you should marry your best friend...they are wrong.

The first time I got married, it was out of pregnancy and some misguided attempt at vaguely trying to do what was right, even though the execution was horribly and tragically flawed.

The second time, well, that's a whole different story, one that will begin here. (As I have children that are a direct result of this union and are now in college I am forced to be very careful, and maybe go slower in my descriptions in an attempt at uncharacteristic fairness than if she were just another release valve with lipstick. This is going to require thought.)

The first time I saw her she was standing outside the restaurant. Great heels, short dress, wild, thick Irish hair and a look that said I can suck your spine out through your shorts. I even remember the thought I had, as clear as if it were just a moment ago.

The thought was, "With my luck, I'll marry her." We were both applying for jobs, me as a waiter, and she as a hostess. We got hired and made small talk. My triumph was in the shop and I begged a ride home in her Toyota MR2.

Nice car, and a wiggle in her walk that could make the dead shudder. Dangerous ground for the likes of me, but I was swearing off the love tunnel but thought I might try to have a female friend. I should have picked one that didn't go dancing wearing nothing but an Indian blanket and toe rings. (The drummer she marched to was not just different, he was spastic.)

Turned out the benefits were exceptional, and involved hot wax, chocolate sauce and a myriad of lingerie.

So we hung out and got to know each other. My brother even made a run at her, asking her out. She turned him down and I still wonder how all this would have turned out if that had not been the case.

Come to think of it, I couldn't see him doing it.

She was a bone crusher and he was too nice a guy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I reject your reality...and substitute it for my own.

My reality. My world. It's not for everybody.

There have been times when I made a valiant effort to listen to those around me, and to act on the advice given, at least for awhile.

But the advice was always vague, at least to me. "Be like everyone else...get a normal job...settle down...stop being so damn creative and work hard for a living...and on, and on."

But one thing was for certain, this time, I was giving sobriety a shot. I went to meetings, and I got a sponsor, and I did the work. I looked under my personal rocks, and showed the white, squirmy shit underneath the light of day, and I worked at a job I didn't much care for, but I stayed clean.

I was waiting tables again, this time in the West End at a high volume, spaghetti themed joint that catered to tourists and rednecks from Mesquite, for some reason. A Wal-martians idea of Eye-talian food, I suppose.

The money, for 1988 was pretty decent, and I even talked my brother into working with me for awhile. God love him. Everyone was sleeping with each other and getting wrecked on substances, both legal and not but he hung in there. Hated it, but he did it.

But I was sober, and I got into an annoying habit of explaining myself and my choice of self imposed abstinence and became pretty freaking annoying to those who would listen. The newly converted are often like that. I have mellowed with age.

I hung out with my best friend who was still partying like a rock star and who now has been in recovery for over eight years, married for a million and has two great sons and his own business to show for it. I took him to his first meeting then (as I felt a bit responsible for shoving him down a certain path) and it took him quite some time to put down the bong, but he did it and I love him for it.

We met in high school, he a wide eyed innocent and me, well, we know all about me. I turned him on to weed and tequila and his own story reads like something I wish I could make up. One particular story comes to mind...

I was overseas and he was going to film school at SMU. He was also ass deep in a crack cocaine addiction and working as a balloon delivery mime. Yep, a mime. I cannot make this shit up.

One night after a delivery, dressed in full white face and mime drag (rainbow suspenders no less) his car ran out of gas, after dark, in Oak Cliff. I failed to mention he is of Norwegian heritage. And yes, he was in white face. The only white face within many miles.

The fact that he lived through that without so much as a minor injury is all the testimony I need to know that there is a God, and that at times he can be one downright twisted deity.

So we would all work till the wee hours, have late night Mexican food then water ski during the day. I brought twin sisters from the restaurant out to the boat one day and they then and there forever became the 'ballast twins' for largely apparent reasons. Stunning work, God...I remember them fondly.

As we forgot the ski's (it was my buddy's boat...) we bought a slalom ski at a gas station/bait shop on Lake Ray Hubbard. It was, as far as we could determine, an ironing board with a foot cup screwed onto it. I think it sank when we put it in the water.

The twins declined any future invitations to enjoy the lake.

It was during this time frame that fate determined I should be given another shot at a relationship and I met a very substantial her. Long, thick and curly red hair, and an hourglass figure. She was also crazier than a rat in a coffee can and later gave birth to my twin daughters and married me due to a bad joke neither one of us called off.

If you're a waiter...never marry your hostess.

My new disclaimer...yeah I know.

Okay, the old disclaimer was tired. The ideas were outdated and keeping me stuck in a place I don't want to be anymore...so now for something more refreshing.

I have recently changed my views regarding women. Seems I had some issues with the fairer sex due to past pain and self- centered fear. (Yes...duh applies.)

I'm done with that.

Being in recovery has helped me change my entire life, perceptions and attitudes. I cannot change my history but I can change my today and my future.

I recently realized that the women I know in recovery are some of the strongest, bravest, most gentle and kind teachers I have ever had. You exemplify integrity and spiritual growth, and I hope you know who you are.

Some may know of my past marital and relationship history and been a participant in them as well. It's past and that's where it stays...in the past.

I own my part in those failures but claim no more responsibility in any misery you may be experiencing. I am sorry, but it's time to get off the cross. We need the wood.


Thank you all...