Spin: Benched

Sleep came to her shortly afterwards. Dreams also came, disquieting dreams.

In them, she spun and spun. She couldn’t tell if she was floating upward or being dragged down.

The constant and confusing rotation eventually fell away to a lightness that was very uncomfortable in its coming. She relaxed and allowed the lightness wash over her being, deep inside her.

When she woke, she realized she was never actually asleep. No, she was back on the bench, awake and looking at the man, who was fiddling with a set of beads.

“Anger isn’t the answer,” he said, without looking up.

Spin: Systems

The man held the rosary out to the young woman. She stared at it.

“But I’m not…” she began. She didn’t get the chance to finish.

“Don’t have to be.”

“Who are you?”

“I think you already know. You don’t wanna admit it though.”

“I’m lost.”

“Yeah, you are, you have been for a very long time. Lost in a darkness.”

She frowned deeply.

He smiled, “Everything we believe is like a religion. A personal belief system all our own and everything we take in, we add to our private bible in our mind.”

She laid there, thinking on this.

Spin: Full Circle

Beeps and soft hisses sounded as she struggled to find her mind in the dark cloud cocooning her. Slowly, she swam to the surface of her consciousness, batting her eyes open to a hospital room.

She felt hazy, as if she’d slipped from her body and the two parts had not yet reformed her single self. As she looked about, eyes working to adjust, fighting off an unnatural dizziness that made it hard to see, hard to focus.

Then, with a start she saw the man sitting beside her bed, counting his rosary beads.

“I said it works,” he smiled.

Are You Sure Mark Twain Done It This Way?

First off, I have a new job as a reporter/photographer for the Comstock Chronicle and Dayton Valley Dispatch, both based in Virginia City, Nevada. And while I’m excited about the new position, I’m also excited about the very idea that this is the same town in which Mark Twain worked as a reporter.

As I think about this weekend, I want to tell you everything, but I really can’t, as there was way too much happening.  So instead, I am going to stick to my high-lights.

Flash! I walked into ‘Trump Country,’ with seemingly every person in support of the President, so I felt at home in a way, as I was able to connect with what I like to call ‘like-minded fellow-Constitutionalists.’

Dreamy, dreamy.

I’ll also admit that some  were a lot more supportive of Trump than others.

The sign in this photograph is the most famous sign in all the US. I lost how many times I was asked by women, partially clad and half-unclad if they could pose with it, so I could take their picture using their cellphones.

You should also understand, that this is the weekend of the now-canceled “Street Vibrations Fall Rally.” It was removed from the schedule of events back in July, keeping with Governor Sisolak’s order that no more than 50 people may attend an event at a single time.

Many bikers, riders and tourist came from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California, and Nevada, to participate in protest against the state shutdowns throughout the West, while others simple came, having no idea that the ‘un-rally’ was even happening. At any rate and unlike other places, we all had a peaceable time, albeit noisy due to the rumbling and roaring of motorcycles.

While my engine’s admittedly overheated, I still gotta newspaper article to write.

Spin: Abyss and Buick

At first she stood still, frozen in her inability to comprehend her surroundings. Then she saw the ripples the emanated from where she stood; water filled the floor, if that really was what it might be.

“Hello?” she said. Only a faint echo answered.

She stepped forward and cascaded over the edge of a dark fluid-filled abyss. Then the space above her opened up and bloomed a brilliant blue.

Sky and clouds, followed by bone-jarring thuds as she passed through the limbs of an elm tree, coming to a slamming halt atop a Buick. Then a deeper darkness engulfed her.

Spin: Gravity Feed

Without understand that she had some how reconstituted, the gun-wielding woman found herself several feet beyond the park bench. She was still seated and her arm, gun still in hand, outstretched as if ready to pull the trigger.

With no time to react, she fell backward on you her butt and back. The sudden loss of gravity was violent, and she struck the back of her head hard on a partially buried stone near the base of a maple tree.

Her vision swirled and her consciousness slipped. She woke in a black space, no walls, no ceiling and no floor.

My Penny a Pound

The rioting violence in Louisville, Kentucky is predicated on media lies, perpetuating a false narrative which is being used by anarchists to create societal chaos.

The media claimed that the police executed a ‘no-knock warrant,’ which is a lie. The fact is that they knocked and announced themselves for so long and so loud that neighbors began to wonder what all noise was.

The media also claimed that the police were at the wrong house or address, but that’s a lie, too. They were knocking on Taylor’s door in part because in 2016 police found the dead body of Fernandez Bowmen in the trunk of a vehicle that was rented by Taylor.

Taylor was also collecting and stashing her boyfriends drug money. Her name was on the warrant and there was an additional warrant to search her car.
She’s on jailhouse recordings talking about dealing drugs with her boyfriend. Also, she wasn’t an EMT at time of her death, having been fired in 2017 for selling drugs from the back of an ambulance.

Finally, this same media claimed she was in bed, asleep, when she was shot but that’s also a lie. She was in the hallway next to her boyfriend when he fire on a police officer. Officers fired back in self-defense, striking her either because of her proximity to the shooter or because she’d become an unwilling human-shield.

Do not believe everything the media is reporting. Do your own independent fact-checking.

Spin: Candy Striper

A flame erupted from the barrel of the gun and a puff of gray-white smoke enveloped her hand. The woman was surprised that she could see all of this as it grew more and more slow in her sight.

Then the scene began to twist counterclockwise. At first she thought the bullet was sucking the man into it, but then she new it was herself being twisted, tight like the red and white stripes of a candy cane, behind the wake of the projectile.

Once inside the vortex, time sped up, and eventually she began oozing out the other side.

Spin: Mary-chick

Thursday morning and he sat on the bench at the very far end of the park. It was here that he came to pray each morning.

A young woman, dressed in all black and with her sweat-shirt’s hood pulled over her head, sat down at the opposite end of the bench. After a few minutes of silence, she asked, “Mind if I ask you a question?”

He looked up, “No.”

“What are you doing?”

“Praying.”

“To?”

“Mary, mother of God.”

“Does it work?”

“Yes.”

More silence followed, before she said, “Then prepare to meet this Mary-chick.”

She squeezed the trigger.

The Red Button

He stepped inside, closing the front door behind him. She could see he had another one of his stupid grins on his face.

“Where’s the stuff I sent you to the grocery store for?” she asked.

He toed the floor and said, “I didn’t get it.”

“Why?”

“I ran into this old woman who sold me this magic device,” he said, holding up a plastic red button mounted inside a silver-gray ring with white-raised lettering that read “easy.”

“You gotta be shitting me,” she said, “That’s a toy that you can buy at one of the office supply stores for less than ten-bucks.”

“I know,” she said. “But she claimed it was magic. Jus’ make a wish and push the button. I haven’t use it yet. I wanted you to be the first.”

He set it on the counter in front of her. She picked it up, turning it over in her hands.

“And if it doesn’t work? What then?” she asked.

“I go find the old woman and get our money back,” he answered.

“Yeah, right,” she said.

“Jus’ give it a try,” he prodded her, “Make a wish and push the button.”

She looked down at the piece of red plastic and pushed down on it. A deep masculine voice spoke from the thing, “That was easy.”

She looked up where her husband had been standing. A wisp of curling white smoke hung in the air where he’d been a second before.

“Yes,” she smiled, “That was easy.”

Bob Harrison, 1948-2020

As I sat at the breakfast table, sipping my morning’s coffee, I opened the Facebook app on my cellphone. My heart dropped and shattered at reading the post from his sister, that her brother Bobby had died. And while I ought to wait a couple of days to write this, I sorely need to get it out of me before I fall apart.

While I never met Bob Harrison personally, that’s to say so we could shake hands, I did know him through FB, becoming ‘friends’ shortly after he published the book, “Because of Annie,” in 2013. Therefore, it would be so easy to run the ‘stats’ of an ordinary obituary, like:

“Bob was born March 18, 1948 and passed away September 20, 2020. He graduated from Del Norte High School in 1966.

As a youth, Bob spent most of his time fishing the Smith and Klamath Rivers. He was an avid motorcycle racer, winning several hundred trophies, and picking up the high point trophy for the most wins in a year at the Oregon State Championships, Grants Pass in 1967.

Following high school graduation, Bob enlisted in the US Air Force in 1966, serving his country for 24 years. After retiring, to Wichita, Kansas, in 1991, he and his wife owned two successful antique stores. He is preceded in death by his wife Annie Elizabeth.”

But, like other friends, there is so much more…

Both of us being authors and from the same small county, Del Norte, in Northern California, he reached out to me and we immediately hit it off. Then I learned that his youngest sister, Terri and were of the same graduating class and that is younger brother, Tim had graduated a couple of years ahead of me.

Bob’s story was special to me (and many, many others) because he had suffered a great heart ache, followed by an even greater heartbreak. His wife, Annie passed away in 2010, after being diagnosed with blood cancer.

In his book, he described the agony, the grief and the recovery he’d discovered. And even after “Because of Annie,” was published, Bob continued to share himself with others as both a caregiver and as a writer. Here’s a link

In early 2016, Bob was diagnosed with cancer. Prostate. He battled through it, even sharing the newer discoveries he’d made along the way, coming out both spiritually stronger and physically healthy.

Then early in 2020, Bob underwent surgery to repair a defective heart valve. Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement. In his usual way, he wrote about the entirety of the operation, before, after, even maintaining his hallmark positivity.

Bob’s upbeat posts were one thing I looked forward to reading, not only because of what he had to say, but because of how he said it. He will always be an inspiration, not only as a writer, but as a damned fine human being. His FB bio sums him up best: “Life is about Love and Being Loved. There is no other option.”

Thank you, Bobby…and give Annie a kiss on the cheek for me, please.

The Beauty of a Driveway

The high pitch of a child’s laughter, a scream and multiple voices, followed by fleeting shadows darting between the slats of the blind and from in the front of the house, told much of the tale. The clear skies and sun of a Saturday morning had brought the neighborhood kids out of their homes.

“Are they playing in our driveway?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Why?”

“Between our driveway and the neighbors driveway, we have the best jump for bicycles and scooters in the neighborhood.”

“What if one of them gets hurt?”

“They’ll be fine.”

“Well, go out there anyway and tell them to stop, to go play someplace else.”

“Why?”

“In case one of them gets hurt and we get sued.”

“They can sue all they want, but you can’t get blood out of a turnip.”

“That might be true, but I still don’t want to be sued.”

“But listen that, all that laughter, that shouting, the carrying on, I think it’s worth the price of a suit.”

“You’re too much of a romantic for our good,” she sighed, knowing to argue her point any further was hopeless.

He smiled, knowing she was right.

The Scooter

Ethel sat in her rocker on the porch of the old folks home, watching as the little girl raced her kick scooter up and down the sidewalk. As she watched, she felt a twinge of jealousy come to her mind knowing that as a child she never had such a toy to play with.

At one time her Papa had be a successful farmer, raising milk cows and growing hay. When she was about six, that all changed with the crash of Wall Street and the Great Depression.

There was never enough money for fancy things.

By the time the depression ended, Ethel was an older teen and the idea of toys had long since passed. Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor and she joined the Army, becoming a nurse.

She didn’t have time to think of toys until she began a family of her own. By then the idea of playing with one of her girl’s dolls or tea set seemed unbecoming and she refused to do so.

Now, she was old, alone and vaguely envious of the child laughing and carrying on as she raced by the open porch along the wide sidewalk. Then Ethel felt sad for herself, for not having played more when she was younger, and now it was too late.

“Is it too late?” she asked as she answered the call for dinner.

That evening, as she looked out her bedroom window she saw the little girl’s scooter laying against the sidewalk in the gutter. An idea took hold in her as she planned to go out after everyone was in bed, and try kicking the scooter up and down the street.

Quietly, Ethel slipped out the front door and down the steps. She shuffled along the walkway to the scooter, picked it up and pushed it up and down the street.

Finally, she stepped on it and gave a gentle kick with her other foot and found herself gliding down the street with easy. Back and forth she kicked, enjoying the breeze created as it blow in her face and flitted back her gray hair.

Eventually, Ethel grew bold enough to coast back and forth on the sidewalk, taking delight in the gentle dips downward and then up as she passed over the rounded curbs of the driveways. Then it happened, she was on a flat stretch of sidewalk when she lost her balance and fell hard to the cement, bouncing half way into a yard.

There she lay, hip shattered and in pain through the remainder of the night and morning hours where a neighbor walking her dog found her. In those intervening hours, Ethel floated in and out of consciousness, certain her Papa had come to visit, stroking her head and holding her hand.

Hours later, as she lay in a hospital bed, she heard, “Whatever was that old woman thinking?”

She smiled as Papa came to her bed side, soon leaving hand-in-hand with him, a little girl once again.

Burn Out

Over the last 185 days of self-isolation, social distancing and collections of face masks, I’ve watched as my blog readership has dropped off. I did the unusual things to help refresh interest, like slowing my daily postings, changing the name of my blog, reformatting and even changing subjects.

None of it helped.

Finally, I stepped back and looked over the entire situation: people are simply suffering burn-out when it comes to visiting blogs and other media platforms. After all, there is only so much we can take in before our mind begins to shutdown or search for other avenues of ‘escapism.’

So with all this in mind, I have concluded that the only thing I can do is continue writing and posting to keep my mental health on track. Perhaps by returning to my own ‘normalcy’ of writing and posting as often as I like, I will be helping someone else come into their own ‘normalcy.’

With all this, I say screw ‘new normal,’ the ‘old normal’ was never really busted…

So Long

Feeling lost and alone
And without one word
I hung up the phone
Having heard what
No one wants to hear.

So long my old friend,
I will remember you
And the things we used to do.
Who knew this was the end.

I went to the refrigerator,
Found what I was looking for.
Stepped out the front door
Drank that cold beer while
Watching the sun disappear.

So long my dear friend.
I will remember you
And the things we used to do.
Until we meet again.

No song will I sing,
No tune can I hum.
At the close of day,
Only the unspoken trial,
A memory gone numb.

So, so long my friend,
I will always remember you
And the things we used to do
Where we will do them again.

A London Fog

With a need to escape smoky skies and my own aloneness, I decided to go photograph a tunnel I’d seen south of Yerington, along US 95A. And while fresh air, blue sky and sunshine were not to be found, I did drive directly into a smoke that was worse than that which I’d left.

With the air still full of smoke, I finally found the tunnel. After snapping a few pictures, I returned to my truck, finding it was stuck in the sand and had to spend extra time stacking stones in front and behind my back tires so I could get unstuck.

Back on the road, I took the Fort Churchill cut-off, following the dirt road that’s the historic route used by both the Pony Express and the US Army as they moved from the fort to Virginia City. Having traversed the 15-mile wide Carson Sink, I came out at US 50, east of Carson City.

Here, I got my internal compass reversed, heading the wrong way, realizing my mistake when I drove through Stagecoach. A friend, who lives there, rightly describes the smoke filling her skies as a ‘London fog.’

She’s correct, as one can envision Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House,” where he writes: “Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes – gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun.”

Once turned around and heading in the right direction, I finally found the freeway interchange and pointed my truck homeward. That was about 10-hours ago.

Since then I’ve been sitting up, coughing, unable to lay down because it’s hard to breath. And with it approaching 0230 hours, I’m wondering if I’ll get any sleep by the time the sun rises in the smoky east.

Molotav Cocktail

Whose Molotov cocktail is that? I think I know.
Its owner is quite angry though.
He was cross like a dark Othello.
I watch him pace. I cry hell no.

He gives his Molotov cocktail a shake,
And screams I’ve made a bad mistake.
The only other sound’s the break,
Of distant glass, of heat and bake.

The Molotov cocktail is fire, destruction and deep,
But he has promises to keep,
Tormented with nightmares he never sleeps.
Revenge is a promise this one will keep.

They rise from their cursed bed,
With thoughts of violence in their head,
A flash of rage and they see red.
Without pause I turn, leave them dead.

Wake of Arson

Not savage eagle’s prey nor hunter’s meat,
The turbulent wind lifts you far on high,
Through winter chill or searing summer heat,
The turbulent wind lifts you far on high,

Better to flee your home than be outcast,
The life before you is your paradise,
Above grey clouds you’ll soar in flight at last,
You soar above red sand and blue-white ice,

Now leave behind a life that’s closing in,
Steel nights of silent pain; bronze days of rage,
Rise from your bed, worn body, and frayed skin,
Open the book of shadows; turn the page,

Fly free of summer’s burn and winter’s bite,
On swift storm winds soar jubilant in flight.

After and Forever

sunlight aurora
a wild, old coyote sings
out of sand castles

near high afternoon
a flat, perfect rock unmoved
betrayed by the snake

nighttime eventide
the hungry, yellow owl flies
after the rabbit

shivering nighttime
dark, a wild scorpion hunts
among the pebbles

abandoned, ancient
dead man’s body sleeps
in his pandemic

an eternal void
shrill winds that whisper and sing
the voice of God

Remembrances from a Trump Rally

As I sit at my writing desk, my Trump 2020 face masked pushed down and exposing my nose and mouth, I’m reflecting on time spent at a recent presidential rally, or rather ‘peaceful protest,’ in Minden, Nevada. I bought the mask as a souvenir, a gift to myself, thinking it very apropos for the times we are living in.

For someone who enjoys plying words, I am stalled, trying to find the best way to begin this tale. So as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

Here I am…

From my private journal, Saturday, 12 September 2020 at 1119 hours: I slept in later than I usually do – I mean, much later. That’s because I’m going to the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Douglas County for my first ever presidential rally. I’ve been to others, but only ever as a member of the press, so this is different for me.

Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at 1900 hours, so I doubt that I will be back home before midnight. I’m going with my son and daughter-in-law, Kyle and Alex. Mary is remaining home because of the lack of mask use and social distancing.

The return to my journal wasn’t made until the following day, Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 0051 hours:

What an exceptionally long day. We arrived at around 1400 hours, parked the car and by 1500 hours we were being bused to the airport. Once there, we stood in a dusty parking lot until about 1630 hours. No food, no toilets outside the gated and guarded venue.

Finally the gates opened and people began to pour in. Once inside, security shouting, “no food, no water inside.” People began abandoning their beach chairs, fancy water flasks and I even saw a Nikon camera left along the pathway to the main gates.

It reminded me of those people who unloaded their Conestoga wagons of pianos, fancy china, iron cook ovens and books as they began the trek up and over the Rocky Mountains.

We were thoroughly screened along with whatever we had remaining in our possession. Once inside, we were able to gather a folding chair and make our way to the seating area. Chairs were placed helter-skelter and people packed the front of the venue like sardines. I could not see the stage from where I sat.

Many people took to standing on their chairs in order to get a better look at the flag-lined stage. At one point, a locally hired security guard with a bushel of self-importance a bad attitude to boot, screamed at everyone to ‘quit standing’ on their chairs and to ‘get down.’

One child, about ten, not paying attention, didn’t get off his chair, and the guard threatened to drag his ‘ass out of the place.’ The guard realized his error, when a bunch of us turned, surrounded the kid, and faced him. Thereafter, people returned to standing on their chairs.

The President came on at 1900 hours. His microphone setting was low, so it was difficult to hear him over  the crowds. Twenty-five-thousand people in attendance. This is nearly the entire population, as estimated in 2019, of all of Del Norte County, California, where I grew up.

Afterwards, we were herded out of the venue to where we were to meet the buses back to our cars. That was another two-hour ordeal of no food and no toilets. Eventually, we got on a bus at 2300 hours and by 0036 hours, back in Spanish Springs.

As for me, I am social distancing from my wife for the next two weeks, sleeping in the guest room throughout the period. And so, having eaten a large cold can of Chef Boyardi’s best ravioli’s and downing a three-thick-fingers of whiskey, am ready to sleep, sufficiently decompressed from a long, long, but exciting day.

With my body hurting and sore, I turned off my bedside light, only to realize I couldn’t recall a single word the President spoke last night. Exhaustion. Thankfully, my wife taped his appearance.

Apples for the Mustangs

Needing to get out of the house, I drove up into the hills behind Lockwood, east of the Truckee River. Once on the familiar gravel road, I found a band of wild horses and with a bag of red apples I proceeded to feed them, though I know I shouldn’t do so.

Eleven Mustang, by my count, swarmed around me, nudging one another for a place closest and in front of me, where they could get the best access to my gifts. In no time I was out of the tasty treats and I was no longer the focus of their food-centric minds.

Soon they were spread out, grazing at the tufts of dried grasses and the sage that cover the hillside. Still facing the stallion, I started walking backwards from where they’d been gathered about me only a few minutes before.

Without warning, the stallion, a large gray with a milky right eye and battle scares covering his neck, face, flanks and hips, came charging at a full gallop at me. He came on so quickly that I had no time to react to his apparent aggression.

In a flash, I found myself knocked off my feet and blasted sideways, where I landed in a heap and then tumbled end-over-end into a bunch of dried up Russian thistle. However, the stallion didn’t give chase.

I figured that he believed me to be far enough away to no longer be a threat.

But before I could get fully to my feet, I heard hooves beating into the loose stones near where I’d been standing. Never have I had a wild horse move to protect me from a rattle snake, but as I sit here, nursing my aches, pains and scratches, I’ve learned that there is a first time for everything.

Dog Almighty

Life is but an Edgar Wallace Plot Wheel
‘And Dog created man’ not out of question.
One more volume filled with the holy lies,
Where walls of flame fill skies with smoke,
Embers burning down state’s filled with
Anarchists, environmentalist, evolutionist,
Molotov cocktail throwing pro-revisionists.
And as governor’s dictate demagoguery.
At least we can still praise Dog almighty.

Moon Dogs

Willy got the paperwork via a special shuttle from Earth to Mars. The large envelop was marked urgent in large red-lettering.

“Recalled?” he said, “I jus’ got here. And what about the new porters job I was promised at the hotel/casino?”

The person delivering the folio, shrugged and turned away.

Slowly, Willy read through the documents, looking for an explanation. There it was on, the third page, second paragraph, fourth sentence.

“There are domesticated dogs being unlawfully-housed and fed by the citizen’s of the Moon.”

Willy sighed, “Once a dog-catcher, always a dog-catcher. Where’s Bob Barker when you need him?”

The ‘Is’ Is

The dream is: while with a group of people, we were invited to search through a home for items we believed to be valuable. Since I was in the military, I was assigned to look for anything that was related to uniform service.

As I did this I found myself being followed and then chased by two men. I ducked into a dark room and hid behind a twin bed.

As I saw the shadows of the men enter the room, I crawled around the bed, then decided to slide under it and hide. When I did, I discovered the bed covered a rectangular bottomless pit and I fell into it.

The reality is: I fell out of bed, bruising my right hip, bashing my right ankle bone, jarring my already bad back, banging my head against the dresser as I slipped between the bed stead and it, and injuring my right wrist. This woke my wife, who jumped from bed in a frightened panic that I’d seriously hurt myself, and caused the dogs to woof and investigate me as I sat up.

Once gathered and back in bed, I realized I couldn’t move my wrist. It took a bit of manipulation, but I finally popped the ulna back into place and then allowed myself to drift back to sleep.

The outcome is: as I started back into that place where dreams and reality mix for the briefest of moments, I understood that I am a better story-writer than a story-teller. Enjoy the fall.

Sisolak Will Be Reelected

Unless there’s an act of God or an implosive scandal within his administration, Nevada’s Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak will be re-elected to a second term. And since he won’t be on the ballot until 2022, it all come’s down to time and seats.

Senate terms are four years, but every two years, half are up for election (and not all senate seats will all be up for election at once.) The state has 21 state senators and right now there are 13 Democrats and 8 Republicans in the state senate, putting Republicans in the minority.

The Nevada State Assembly has 42 seats, which are on the ballot every two years. Currently, Republicans only hold 14 seats making them the minority here as well.

There isn’t time enough between now and 2022 for Republicans to change the balance of seats in both the Senate and Assembly. Further, the geopolitics of those leaving California and Oregon for Nevada is turning the state a deeper shade of blue, with Mineral and Douglas counties becoming dominantly Democratic, joining Clark and Washoe.

Crash on the Highway

In bed, I open the news app on my cellphone. I tap 2 News KTVN.

“The Nevada Highway Patrol says crews responded to a head on crash on Pyramid Highway at Los Altos Parkway on Friday afternoon. Officials said there were substantial injuries.”

The third in as many months.

My mind slips into a memory. A bluegrass/gospel song by Dorsey Dixon, written in 1937. The title escapes me.

“Who did you say it was brother?
Who was it fell by the way?
When whiskey and blood run together
Did you hear anyone pray?

I didn’t hear nobody pray, dear brother
I didn’t hear nobody pray
I heard the crash on the highway
But, I didn’t hear nobody pray.”

Not booze, but the specter of texting.

Morning time, I’m on Pyramid, nearing Los Altos.

A small car pulls into the northbound path of a fast-moving semi-truck. The semi’s driver brakes hard, crossing over into the ‘suicide lane’ towards me. Best as I can, I hug the broken white line to the right, unable to move over any further because of the two vehicle’s holding their places in the far lane. The semi clips the left side of my smaller truck.

I jump awake at the sound of the ensuing crash.

Blessed Ignorance

Nineteen-and-eighty-six, earning only $5.15 an hour, residing in poverty, loving every moment. A bag of Ruffle potato chips, 8 pieces of chicken, 6 cans of cherry Coca-Cola, three dollars and ninety-nine cents per day, living like Kings and Queens.

The sweet life at twenty-six years, sun in our faces, wind through our hair, searching for that next big thing, the coming fad. Blessed ignorance.

The poverty line, like our waistlines, has moved since those days. That bag of chips now $5.29, more air than chip, more than we were making per hour, back when we had more hair, and less worry about skin cancer.

Nevadastan

Woke up after my wife. She’s out on her early morning walk.

“Hell, the sun isn’t even up.”

Rolling from bed, I go to the kitchen, make some coffee. As the percolator gasps, wheezes, gurgles and chugs, I thumb through my cellphone at the various news stories.

Corona virus, face masks, riots, anti-Trump, left, right, hatred. Stories I can’t believe, one-way or the other.

The Reno Gazette Journal has the headline, “Nevada Search for Missing New Zealand Para-glider Suspended.” Someone must have thought they were being pretty cute, ‘para-glider suspended.’

James ‘Kiwi’ Johnston vanished August 20. Has it been that long since I’ve checked the local news?

Reading on, it says he posted to Facebook, “Dressing for 18-thousand feet in 100 degrees in Nevadastan.” It’s a place I know all too well.

It’s where many US troops are taken to train for desert warfare because it has features and terrain, similar to Afghanistan. I know both very well.

Johnston and a couple of mates took off in their para-gliders, heading to Wendover from the Shoshone Mountains. His GPS stopped sending signals about 250 miles east of Reno.

“That’s some bad land to be lost in.”

Standing on my front porch, coffee in hand, I watch my wife coming up the driveway. She smiles, goes inside, I follow.

“I need to read the local headlines a little more often.”

Best Damned Guard Dog

Tap called in the morning, “Pete’s dead.”

“Sorry to hear that,” I said.

“Best damned guard dog I’ve ever had.”

“But,” I started to interrupt him.

Pete and I met about five-years before. He’d chased me around my truck, forcing me to retreat inside it until Tap called him off.

“Knock it off, Pete.”

The beast backed away, keeping an eye on me even as Tap came to escort me to safety.

“Guess he doesn’t like me very much,” I said.

“He don’t like anyone,” Tap said.

Eventually, Pete came to accept me, maybe even trust me, allowing me to pet him on his head and back and play with his tail.

Sadness was evident in Tap’s voice, “Found him in his bed, curled up like he was asleep.”

“I’m very sorry, Tap.”

“Be honest with me,” Tap asked, “Is it normal to be sad at the death of a peacock?”

“Yeah, I think it is,” I answered.