Corporeal Separation

All of my life I have wanted to belong.
To what, I’ve never been sure.
Jus’ belong.
Talk of tribalism has reinfected that wound.
I don’t belong. I have never belonged.
Outside the circle, the community, the troop.
Certainly, I have attempted to belong: school, military, service organizations, professions, even communities that involved hobbyists.
Nothing.
For a while, I will be accepted then slowly I find myself abandoned.
Left to my own devices.
Alone.
You, too?
No, this is not a complaint, but a quest for the why of the nature.
The answer is we are all alone, but together.

A Short Converation from the Morning

“Did you see the news about how Biden’s going to cancel a billion dollars in student loans?” my wife asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Whose going to pay for that?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“What? Why?  This is important stuff.”

“Yup, I know.”

“Then why don’t you want to talk about it? This is in your wheel-house.”

“I know, but every time I say anything I make people mad, I make you mad and that’s because what I say is taken simply as opinion and not fact.”

She was still mad at me when she left for work.

Sue Vincent, 1958-2021

After battling cancer, writer, artist, blogger, friend, and all-around nice person, Sue Vincent left us today. She was born on September 14, 1958.

In her own words:

“I am a Yorkshire-born painter and writer, living in the south of England. I paint the strange things that come as images in dreams and fantasies and write about life as it happens,” she wrote about herself.

“I was raised in a spiritually eclectic family in a landscape where myths and legends were woven into the stones, and have always had an intimate relationship with the inner worlds and the understanding that all paths are but spokes on a wheel, leading ultimately to the same center,” Sue added. “It is not the path that one walks that matters, but how one chooses to walk it.”

Enjoy your new path Sue. Know that we will all eventually catch up with you.

A Dog’s Death

Turning from Seventh onto Sun Valley was like entering a twisted dreamscape. But now I know that this witnessed scene is but a view of the remaining year.

I expect no one to understand.

It was minutes beyond noon, as work let out early. It would forever be ‘out early’ because of COVID-19 and high taxes now, the business permanently closed.

At the side of the pock-marked asphalt, beyond the solid white stripe, lay a body on the icy Earth. I stopped to see if I could help, only to learn it was a large dog, its blood soaking into the dirt and mortal remains quickly chilling.

Holding the dog’s head was a large German woman who lived across the street. She pressed deep, the 14-month old dog to her aging breasts until animal control arrived to take away what remained.

Her neighbors, a Mexican family, stood in weeping despair near the open gate from which their puppy had escaped. Only the father’s sad eyes were dry.

Ahead sat the garbage truck, half in the travel lane and nearly in a ditch. The driver, stone-cold sober, hung on his open door, blood-shot eyes red and looking every bit as sick as a man who suffered a bender the night before.

Yes, a forboding, I tell you. This year will be filled with death, tears, isolation, separation, long waits, and misdirections.

Homeless in the Time of COVID

Ere walking over to the mailbox, I complained aloud that I couldn’t think of anything worth writing about. Then as I went across the street and looked down, I found an overly-used piece of lined paper folded and tucked in a sandwich bag.

With a habit of picking up anything I find, I did likewise with this, knowing that I’d look to see what it was first before tossing it in the trash. But after seeing and reading and rereading it, I think I’m gonna hold on to it.

I also have something greater to share…

At first, I thought it was some school kid’s doodle pad, but the more I read, the more I realized that I was looking at the ‘journal’ of a homeless man. I say ‘man’ only because I read ‘ex-wife,’ among the many scrawls on this single and most singular piece of paper.

Life can be so wickedly hard, and this is the written proof.

Calling Card

UPDATE: I have lost Mark’s card…

As a master hoarder of all things historical and not-as-of-yet-historical, there is a secret pleasure in collecting calling cards. We know them better today as business cards.

Yesterday, I received four cards, possibly five, if one should include the double-side card.

The farthest came is from San Angelo, Texas. It was handed to me by this fella and his wife, whom I invited to visit the saloon where we were gathered for a post-funeral wake.

That is what happens when one drives up, asking, “Why is everyone dressed up so in period-piece?”

(Most id the people attending the funeral procession we’re dressed in mid-to-late 19th-century western wear.)

Nice couple. Small world.

Mark and I learned we have an odd crossing of personal history…

  • He was born in Sacramento, the same as my brother.
  • We each had a great Uncle that worked in the aerospace industry, namely Rockwell-Rocketdyne. His in Texas, mine in Los Angeles.
  • Each of our Great uncles brought us a small poster from Virginia City, Nevada when we were kids. The short poem “My Job.”
  • And finally, we both have family in Oklahoma, where he and his wife live.

That is the value of a calling card, and yes, I will use the older vernacular in this case, and why still I maintain that a ‘stranger is really a friend you ain’t met yet.”

Speculative Humor

Standing on the observation platform, the Commander and a Sub-commander of the spaceship looked at the blue orb known as Earth. The craft’s sensors detected a planet devoid of human life.

Soon the scouts they had sent to investigate returned. The lead scout reported to the platform where the two officers waited.

“Did you find any sign of the Humans?” the Sub-commander asked.

“None,” answered the Scout.

“What caused their disappearance?” the Commander asked.

“I can only speculate,” the Scout began, “But they may have bought and used so much toilet paper during the pandemic that they wiped themselves out.”

Connecting the Dots and Dashes

The sergeant sat in his cubicle listening to the static and hiss of the shortwave. His duty was monitoring the signal being bounced from Moscow to West Germany, write down anything he heard and report it to the duty officer.

Three-years through his four-year Air Force enlistment, and with a couple of hours left in this shift, John had heard little worth reporting. It seemed to him that the so-called ‘cold war,’ was below the freezing mark, and he could hardly wait to rotate home.

He took a sip of his lukewarm coffee, then paused with a slight head jerk. He had heard something faint, but it was there nonetheless.

Dash-dot-dot, dot, dot-dash, dash-dot-dot. Dead in Morse code.

He transcribed the words that followed. Certain he had it right, John got up and went to the duty officer with the intercept.

“Are you sure?” the Captain asked.

“Yes, sir,” John answered.

Returning to his radio and headset, he would finish his shift with the knowledge that he knew something that the rest of the world, including those in the nearby cubicles, would learn later. For now, he had to remain tight-lipped and close out his day in silence.

Back at his single-room billet, the young sergeant tried to sleep, but it was impossible. His mind kept playing those four letters over and over.

Finally, he gave up and went to the corner and picked up his guitar. He sat back on his bunk and began plunking those four letters over and over until he found their rhythm.

It wouldn’t be for another two years that he’d finally find a use for that chord. By then, everybody knew what John had first learned that March day, and now it was old news, and still the Cold War continued.

Fifteen-years would pass before that chord would be considered a future county music classic. You’ve probably even heard the famous words, “But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die,” a time or two.

Dash-dot-dot, dot, dot-dash, dash-dot-dot.

At one time, Johnny Cash had been the only person outside the Soviet Union to know that Joe Stalin had died. And the Man in Black would immortalize that secret in “Folsom Prison Blues,” hours before the world would learn this too.

Some Crap Needs No Toilet Paper

Perhaps I should have known it was gonna be an “Ahh, crap!” kinda day.

My wife brought home two cream-fill donuts for me. Aside from already partaking in my “doctor recommended” two cups of coffee, the one donut turned out to be jelly-fill, the other empty.

“Ahh, crap!” I complained, eating both anyway.

Everything started out alright, then I decided to remove the fluorescent lights from the garage ceiling. All was well as I did not electrocute myself, fall off the ladder or break any of the tubes.

Then I realized that other lights were no longer on. Track and trace, trace and track to find the “short” in the powerline, and I have yet to locate the problem.

My brain growls, “Ahh, crap!”

As I was finishing up a news article, editing and locating a suitable picture to go with it when the power went out to the television, stereo, and the Internet. Did the problem in the garage earlier cause this?

Immediately I think, “Ahh crap!”

Discovered that a fuse had popped off at the junction box. Easy enough to fix, so I return to the computer where my news article…is gone…and I must start from scratch.

Now say it with me: “Ahh, crap!”

Consent

BAM! He jumped from bed at the sound, looking at the bedside alarm, 3:17 am, and as the dog suddenly stopped barking.

Before he had a chance to react, they were on him, men in black uniforms forcing him to the floor and handcuffing him. He was bleeding from the top of his head, where a rifle butt has struck him.

Quickly, he was half-carried, half-dragged from his home, and into an awaiting vehicle. An EMT doctored the gash to his head before they were on the road to where he didn’t know.

Within minutes he was sitting in a small room, painted ocean green, in an unbalanced metal chair in a corner. There he waited for nearly an hour before a man in a crisp white buttoned-down longsleeved shirt and blue and red striped tie stepped into the room.

Without a word, the man placed a photograph and a letter on the small table near the wall. Only then did he introduce himself as a Special Agent.

“Do you know what that is?” he asked, pointing at the photo.

Still cuffed, he slid forward in his seat and looked closely at the image.

“It’s a picture of the letter you have next to it. It’s from a high school friend of mine,” he answered.

“Correct,” the agent said. “The photo’s from a postal service app called, “Informed Delivery.”

“Yeah,” the prisoner said, “I remember downloading it. So what? It’s on the app store site. Is this what this is all about?”

“No,” the agent answered, “It’s about your friend who’s been linked to an underground movement of domestic terrorists.”

“No way!” the man said.

The agent looked at his wristwatch, “In fact, he should be in custody by now. You’re under arrest for conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism.”

“But I didn’t do anything,” the man exclaimed. “And what about my right against unlawful search and seizure?”

“It doesn’t matter,” the agent said, scooping up the photograph and letter. “We didn’t have to get a warrant because you gave your permission by downloading the app. And as you know the postal service is a part of the government, so we can look at your mail anytime and flag whatever we see as a potential threat.”

“But I didn’t do anything,” the man said again as the interrogation room door closed.

**Note: there really is an app called “Informed Delivery” available from the U.S. Postal Service and from your favorite app store.

Printing the Fit of News

Moving womanhood forward nearly 10-days, the winner of Miss Silver State USA is a person of transgender. Kataluna Enriquez will now compete for Miss Nevada USA, the state pageant that leads to Miss USA and Miss Universe.

Several Dr. Suess books will remain out of print, banned for their racial bias. “Please tell me about my White Privilege again, Daddy,” said no child ever when wanting a bedtime story.  Cartoon character Pepe LePew has also been canceled due to rape allegations, even though in 1991, he married the cat he had chased on-screen since 1945.

And we were all given the pleasure of watching Cardi B. and Megan the Stallion rap and grind to their “Wet Ass Pussy,’ song during the recently televised Golden Globe award show. No word on the number of towels needed to wipe up the moisture left behind.

Masks have been named the top-selling item for 2020, followed by toilet paper and hand sanitizer. There was no mention of the propaganda the media managed to sell everyone about a “full-blown pandemic” and “a lack of widespread fraud.”

President Joe Biden fell three times while attempting to walking up the steps to Air Force One. No one was there to help him, while others on social media made fun of him despite the possibility that he has dementia.

You can also add the White House Easter Egg Roll to the list of yearly traditions canceled, once again by the pandemic. Reports are that roasted rabbit will be the delight of many tables this Easter Sunday.

Meghan and Harry sat down to have a chat with Oprah, where they got to air their Royal families dirty laundry while soiling themselves at the same time. Meanwhile, Oprah scores a fat wad of cash for her part.

Speaking of the Royals, Queen Elizabeth’s public birthday celebrations at Buckingham Palace have been canceled due to COVID-19. And soon there will be an unveiling of a new Princess Diana statue at Kensington Palace, in celebration of what would have been her sixtieth-birthday and just in time to be vandalized by the “woke” crowd.

Finally, Hasbro is planning to scrap “outdated” Community Chest cards in favor of new “woke” ones. There are issues with receiving a tax refund, getting a bank error in your favor, and winning a beauty contest.

Please allow me to repeat…beauty contest.

Calvin Fritz, 1959-2021

“Calvin Lamar Fritz, born November 12, 1959, in Crescent City, CA., passed away February 4, 2021, in Crescent City, CA.” That’s all the obituary reads.

Calvin, his brother Keven, my brother Adam, others, and I played “combat” day-after-day in the woods. And sometimes we fought like cats and dogs, and for real.

We met because our parents were long-time friends.

Considered “slow,” and places in special ed at Margaret Keating School with me, I refused to let anyone call Calvin an “M.R.,” because he wasn’t mentally-retarded. As a 5th grader, I got into a fight with an 8th grader because he kept calling Calvin names.

Calvin will always be the tender-hearted kid, that lived in Sages’ Court on the other side of Highway 101 from me.

Without a Voice

It has been some time since I’ve turned on the television. Admittedly bored, I was curious to see what might be on and of possible interest to watch.

There is nothing.

Going through the channels, I discovered that we have two new national news stations: i24 and Newsy. After listening to them, I concluded both suffer from corporate propaganda also.

Nothing new there.

Interestingly, our service provider Spectrum has “muted,” “silenced,” or “shut off the sound,” to BBC News, Fox Business, and Fox News. Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC are “sound efficient.”

Regardless of the presentation, this is censorship and wrong.

And Now Page Two

Younger people might not understand this, but the elder among us, especially anyone living in the US or those who listened to Armed Forces Radio Network, will. Many times I would remain seated in my truck long after pulling into the driveway, waiting, listening for those nine special words.

There was a sense of wonder, sometimes astonishment and from time-to-time a great big, “I KNEW IT” at the end of the broadcast. It was hard to shut the receiver off.

Radio hasn’t been the same since Paul Harvey’s last uttering of, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

So Fucking Mad

while I have been brushed aside
no longer needed or even wanted
after all, what can an employer do
do with a man over the age of 60
with a broken back, overweight,
all anyone sees is as described
they fail to see the experience
work ethic, leadership, ability
to adapt, to overcome, to learn
meanwhile, i watch with sorrow
a seventy-eight-year-old man
trip, stumble, and fall, three-times
going up steps to Air Force One
with no help, assistance, or aid
and while others laugh with delight
(there is nothing funny in dementia)
i see a man who is in need of help
like i am in need of full employment
and neither are a concern to them
humanity failing and it sickens me.

They Done Her Wrong

Clara stepped through the doorway, surprised by the crowd that had gathered. She walked silently through them, forcing herself to look each person in the eye.

Then she came to the bottom of the steps, where she suddenly felt faint. It was as if she had come back to her body from some spectral realm.

Slowly she ascended the stairs, counting as she did. Thirteen.

Once on the scaffold, she was positioned over the trap door. From there, she looked down on the faces of those gathered.

The ropes coils were laid across her left shoulder as the noose was tightened about her neck. It felt heavier than it looked.

“Any last words?” the sheriff asked.

Clara looked down into the faces of the many men who had visited her in the darker hours. They all looked away.

“You men oughta be ashamed of yourselves,” Clara said. “You knew what they were doing and you didn’t have the guts to stop it.”

As she spoke, the sheriff bound her hands behind her back, then a strap around her ankles.

“Now, I gotta pay for your lack of courage,” she said. “Had you did so, you’d have gotten off for defending a woman, but no, you turned a blind eye.”

The sheriff slipped the hood over her head. Clara was surprised that she could still see the shapes of the men, women, and children that had come to see her hang.

“Cowards,” she yelled, realizing she was panting for breath like a dog pants on a hot day.

The trap dropped from beneath her, and blackness filled her eyes. But in her head, she heard a sharp hum, like a tuning fork.

The sound faded into the twittering of songbirds, or perhaps angels singing. She could not tell.

That faded too.

Connie Jones, 1961-2021

What happened? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am going to bed with a broken heart. My friend Connie has died, but I don’t know why.

I don’t know why.

Grief — and I cannot overcome the sadness that I’m going to bed with this night. Perhaps I shall not wake come the morning myself.

Only God knows as he is the final arbitrator of my insignificant life. If so, I love you, and you and you.

You’ve enriched my life in ways I could never express. Thank you.

Should tomorrow dawn, we shall gather in happiness.

A Little Plan in a Big World

There is nothing like being lost in a fog of one’s own making. If I were on horseback I’d give’em his head and let’em find the way home, but I’m not, so I’ll loiter here for the while.

Yesterday, I began this…

“Why do I feel the death of a person so deeply?”

It was a question raised after yesterday’s post about a friend dying. When you’ve witnessed 241 people dying in a single moment, every life you come in contact with afterward becomes that more precious, and therefore their passing becomes that more intimate.

So, yes, I feel that pain deeply.

Time to finish my thoughts…

All the fighting, the bitterness and anger, hatred, the “this” culture, and “that” culture has me on the ropes. Sadly, I’ve contributed my share to this.

Its time to say what needs said, and I think I have the perfect place to start:

  1. Stop it, stop it now!
  2. Because people don’t last forever, tell them you love them.
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

For the longest time, I’ve been in a fantasy world, believing that I could make myself immortal with my writing. But unless I turn out to be Mark Twain or something, that’ll be a big NOPE.

Hell, even Twain’s dead, getting doxed and canceled, so I’ve stopped daydreaming. Now is the time to act and think my three-step action plan could be the cure.

Life is too short to live as we’re living right now, so let’s change it. It’s not too late.

Bill Stamps, Jr., 1948-2021

It’s been a leaky morning. It’s what happens when tears keep welling up in one’s eyes and insist on racing down the face.

I’m writing this as feelings come and go, so please forgive me for the broken train of thought.

Bill Stamps, Jr., passed away on Tuesday, March 9, as best I can gather from social media. He was a good man with a lot of demons in his past.

His dad, Bill Sr., was practically a living legend in my neck-of-the-redwoods. Knowing your dad is a popular figure in a small town must have made for some tough times as a child.

Bill also lost a brother when he was a kid. Then that same kid volunteered to go to Vietnam, serving in the U.S. Marines.

He came out of all the muck and the debris the better man. Bill offered hope, spread cheer, and showed that happiness can and always has been contagious.

Bill was also the man who wasn’t afraid to ask for divine help when the chips were down.

Not too long ago, his beautiful wife Jana was diagnosed with cancer. Bill asked for prayers of recovery, receiving them from all over the globe.

Jana has since come into better health.

Then this…suddenly Bill is gone, and Jana is without him. This is why, ultimately, I am having a leaky morning.

Bill was only a dozen years or so older than me, and this leaves me frightened. There are so many things I still want to do in this short life we each get, so perhaps, I write this, not only about Bill – but selfishly – also about myself.

Perhaps there will be more to write in the coming days, but for now, though, I must absorb this painful blow to the heart.

Crescent City, Calif., makes National News for Wrong Reasons

This comes from my former hometown…

Crescent City, Calif. Mayor Pro Tem Alex Campbell entered a guilty plea to making a false declaration of candidacy in Del Norte County’s Superior Court. He submitted the form to the County Clerk on Aug. 6, 2020, saying his residence was within the city limits when his actual home is in the county.

He faced two felony counts of perjury and one count of false declaration of his candidacy. The Del Norte County District Attorney’s office has agreed to dismiss the perjury charges, however.

Campbell is to be sentenced on April 15. He is looking at two years of felony probation, a fine of up to $20,000, and restitution of up to $10,000.

Campbell said that while he does have a house in the county, he’s been renting a room in the city limits from a friend and claims he is currently living there. He was elected to the City Council on Nov. 3 before he became mayor pro tempore in December.

Nevada is on the Brink of Politcal Disaster

Nevada’s entire Democratic Party staff has resigned.

Their action came after every Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) and the Left Caucus member won party leadership roles on March 6.

Executive director Alana Mounce announced that she and the directors of operations, research, communications, and finance have resigned. The new executive director is the former chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, Judith Whitmer.

Clark County was the center of attention during the 2020 presidential election for voter fraud accusations with more than 3-thousand instances. The primary sources of that fraud being dead voters, double voting, people who have moved out of state, and mass mail-in ballots.

Other DSA members voted into positions are Jacob Allen, first vice chair; Dr. Zaffar Iqbal, second vice chair; Ahmad Adé, secretary; and Howard Beckerman, treasurer.

The media claims this to be in-fighting between the establishment and Bernie Sanders supporters. If so, then Harry Reid is to blame for the divide.

In 2008, he forced the DNC to name Nevada the “first battlefield state” in the nation, using the caucus system rather than a primary election system. To make this happen, Reid promising his support to Barack Obama, who once elected, would stop the Yucca Mountain Complex from being used as a waste repository.

By making Nevada’s caucus the first in the nation, Reid inadvertently created an opening for the Sanders faction, who are still feeling the sting of loss from 2008.

While the media searches for a cause, I see this as a natural progression of the party. Either way, this is the real state of Nevada’s politics.

Double Shot

Yancy was never meant to be shot. But that’s what happened as Bill took aim at the buck, following it along as it ran.

Suddenly Yancy stood up as Bill squeezed the trigger. Tighe and Jerry raced to where the older cowboy fell.

“Oh, Lordy,” Jerry said. “I think he’s dead.”

By this time, Bill was beside himself, and panic had set in. He wasn’t sure whether he should run away or stay and help.

As Bill stood staring, Tighe gathered Yancy’s horse, and with Jerry’s help, tossed the dead man over the saddle. Frozen with fear, they helped Bill get on his horse too.

It was a long ride, arriving back at the ranch in the small hours of the following day. Quietly, Jerry entered the main house, where he was surprised to find Agnes standing in the hallway with a shotgun aimed at his chest.

“You should have called out before coming all the way inside,” she said, lowering the gun.

“You’re back early. Must’ve been successful,” Agnes added. “Let me heat some coffee up.”

“Bad news, Aggie,” Jerry blurted out, “Bill accidentally shot Yance. ‘Fraid he’s dead.”

Agnes quickly rushed to the front door. Though dark, there was enough moonlight that she could see her husband’s body draped over his favorite horse.

She gave out a blood-curdling shriek that startled everyone, including the horses. Yancy’s body slid off the horse, saddle, and all, dropping to the ground with a sickening thud as his frightened horse bucked in circles.

Jerry had to help Agnes back inside and to the couch. He fumbled to turn on the lights before stepping to the phone to call 9-1-1 and report the hunting accident.

As he finished dialing, he heard the yelling and carrying on of Bill and Tighe. They sounded as if they were in a panic.

When he turned, he saw Yancy standing in the open doorway. He had his rifle raised and aimed at Jerry.

Agnes screamed, “Yancy. What are you doing?”

“I’m about to take care of business,” he answered as he chambered a round.

“For crying out loud, Yancy, it was an accident,” Jerry said.

Jerry looked at the shotgun still leaning in the corner against the wall where the hallway and front room met. He looked back at Yancy and knew he had no chance of getting to it before he was shot.

As Yancy raised the rifle to fire and Jerry raised his arms as if to ward off the bullet, a loud blast came from outside the front door. Yancy winced, twisted, and fell to the floor.

In the dim moonlight, he could see Bill standing there, rifle in hand. A trace of smoke trailed up from the barrel.

“Let’s go,” Bill said as he turned and head to the truck, where Tighe waited behind the wheel.

“I’m sorry, Aggie,” Bill said. “We thought he was dead. Honest.”

She didn’t hear him.

Instead, she was going for the shotgun in the hallway. Jerry knew that he’d best make tracks if he wanted to live, and so he dashed out the door and dove into the back of the pickup as it bumped and bounced down the dirt road.

As buckshot from Agnes gun scattered across the right side of the truck’s bed, Jerry wondered, “Did the dispatcher hear all that?”

Above the Neck

Karl had a severe disability. He had been born with a head on his neck.

His condition left the doctors amazed. They were further surprised by Karl’s survival as his head grew large, more round, and he had to be placed in special classes to help him learn to navigate a headless society.

Once Karl became an adult, he could feel the looks, stares, and repulsion his head had on his neighbors and strangers alike. He was ashamed and wished he could be exactly like them.

Then one day, Karl discovered the answer to his disability by building a guillotine.

The Day Silence Came

They called him a nut-job and that what he was saying was nothing more than a conspiracy theory. So they canceled him on social media.

It only made him laugh. He had read the news stories, and he understood the game.

The space agency had claimed that a large asteroid was hurtling towards Earth and that it would “knock out all U.S. satellites.”

“On Friday night, the asteroid 99942 Apophis (named after the Ancient Egyptian demon serpent god of chaos) came within 10.4 million miles of Earth.” read the news article. “While that’s a comfortable distance away, scientists say it’s going to get within 19,800 miles of the planet the next time it comes around in 2029. That’s the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and it’s close enough to potentially collide with high-altitude U.S. communications satellites.”

Seven-and-a-half years later, he couldn’t help but call attention to the idea that it wouldn’t destroy satellites from other nations.

“It’s only the U.S. that’ll lose the Internet,” he said. “And it’s not an asteroid that’ll do it, it’s the government.”

They called him a nut-job and a conspiracy theorist, but then they were canceled too, so it no longer mattered. He laughed when it happened.

He Came from Outerspace

It came down like a bright ball of fire, then disappeared into the depth of the dark night. It was a few minutes later that a heavy thud shook our house.

Not yet 10 years old, I remember that April night in 1961 like it happened yesterday, and it still makes me sick to my stomach. Only now that Mom has passed can I begin to unburden myself and tell what happened during those three days.

After the house shook, Dad grabbed his shotgun and headed out to have a look. By this time, I was sent to bed, so I wouldn’t be in the way.

Then I heard the shotgun blasts. Curious, I got up and sat at the top of the stairs, listening and watching.

Soon Dad came rushing in. He was sweaty, pale, and in a panic, shouting at Mom to grab some towels and that he’d shot a man.

Mom did as she was told. She came in the house another couple of times to get first aid supplies before disappearing outside.

How long it was between the time I watched Dad rush out of the house with Mom in tow, I’m not sure. Soon I heard them on the front porch, where it sounded as if they were struggling to carry something heavy.

Scared, I retreated to my bed and remained there until morning. That’s when I learned the extent of what had happened.

Dad had shot a spaceman, and the ball of light we’d seen and the shaking of the house had been his spaceship coming to Earth. I could hardly believe that men-from-Mars were real.

It took another day before I caught a glimpse of this spaceman. He didn’t look like the monsters my comic books had made them out to be.

He looked so human though he spoke words I had never heard before. I thought that perhaps it was Martian or something.

I also saw his orange space suit, covered in blood, while Mom was trying to clean it in the kitchen sink. When she saw me, she shooed me away.

That night, I sneaked into the bedroom where the spaceman lay. He was dead by this time, and Mom and Dad were trying to figure out what to do with his body and were fearful that there would be an attempt to rescue him.

Though the lights were out, I could tell he had been shot and that he had died from those wounds. I couldn’t understand why his blood was red and not green like I had been lead to believe.

The next morning I watched as Dad carried the sheet-wrapped body from the house to his backhoe. Mom helped him load it on the machine and then stood crying as Dad drove into the wheat field where the spaceship had come down.

From my bedroom window, I watched as Dad placed the spaceman’s body in the ship, then push both into the hole he’d dug, before he buried them. I marked that spot in my memory after being warned to never say a thing about what had happened.

Three days after the spaceship and the spaceman’s unceremonious burial, I was in the hallway between the living room and stairs when I saw the news. I was not supposed to be there as I had been forbidden to watch it since the ship crashed on our farm.

Though he was in black and white, I knew the man receiving a handshake from the Soviet Premier. I had seen him, listened as he died, and watched as he was buried in the wheat field in front of our house.

“Who is Yuri Gagarin?” I asked without thinking.

The Cook and the Waitress

“Order up!” LeRoy the cook shouted.

Molly rushed over and grabbed the plates filled with food.

They were very busy, so busy that the coffee shop owner, Pete had to pitch in that morning. He usually stayed in his office, out of the way, only acting as an umpire in a baseball game between LeRoy and Molly.

“He is the best short-order cook around,” Pete told himself every time trouble erupted.

The owner liked Molly. She was quirky in many ways but always level-headed and she did her best to keep LeRoy in line.

“Wish I had an extra hand,” LeRoy complained as he cooked five orders at once.

“Would a prehensile tail work?” Molly asked.

“Sure,” LeRoy smiled, “As long as it can butter toast and flip burgers.”

Molly broke in a sing-song voice, whirling a butter knife like a wand in his direction saying:

“While you slumber,
You will grow a tail,
And all this summer,
You will use it without fail,
As all memory leaves you,
And the boss, Peter, too.”

LeRoy twisted to his right and saw there was nothing there and laughed, “A tail, my ass.”

The following day, in a panic, LeRoy came to the coffee shop early. Only Pete was there.

“Look! She gave me a tail.”

“Who gave you a tail?”

“Molly!”

“Who is Molly?”

“The waitress.”

“I think your cheese has slid off your cracker, LeRoy.”

“She was here yesterday.”

“We were closed yesterday.”

With the thought of Molly fading, LeRoy put on his apron and started setting his kitchen up for the morning rush. And as promised, his prehensile tail could butter toast and flip burgers, and it came in mighty handy when it came to scratching his itchy nose.

As for Molly, she took the summer off and vacationed in the Virgin Islands. Come winter, she returned and incanted the return of her job.

Cancel

The sniper laid in the sand, waiting. His spotter laid nearby, binoculars trained on the target three-quarters of a mile to their southeast.

It had taken them days to work themselves this close to the target, a younger man with a beard and horned-rimmed glasses. The pair had infiltrated the enemy’s territory, and should all go as planned, they would be another several days ex-filtrating the area.

“Wind west at five, drop half-a-degree,” said the spotter.

The sniper blew air out his nose, holding his breath and feeling his heartbeat. He squeezed the trigger between beats.

“Canceled,” the sniper said.

Pareidolia One

Faces, I see them everywhere,
Even when they are not there.
The floors are filled with them,
The walls are covered in faces.

The dog’s face presents to me
As does cat, cows, and crows
People walking by with faces
But no one looks for my face

My face, it does not matter
Perhaps I am their flooring
Maybe I am the rough wall
Could it be – I do not exist?

No, that cannot be that at all.
Faces, I see them everywhere,
Even when they are not there,
Including your more than one.

Am I Missing Something?

As I try my best to avoid political blogging but fail spectacularly…

In 2020, Nevada’s District 3 Congresswoman Susie Lee lobbied the Small Business Administration for a $5.3 million Paycheck Protection Program loan on behalf of her husband’s company, Full House Resorts. Once awarded, none of it went to Nevadans but was instead used to rehire several hundred casino employees in Colorado and Indiana.

Meanwhile, Lee supports President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. This bill qualifies the average Nevada family (those who do not drive for service-providers Uber or Lyft) for $1,400 in pandemic relief, while illegal alien families in Nevada qualify for $4,200.

Pitiful

He looked up at the entrance to the well. There was no way out.

Soon he began to hold a conversation with another man in the hole, certain that he was not real.

“We’ll never be able to escape,” that man said, “We’ll die down here. Forgotten and alone.”

“Leave me be,” the other cried out, “You’re not really here.”

“Oh, I’m real alright,” that man said, “You’re simply losing your mind.”

“You’re crazy!” the first man shouted.

The other laughed maniacally.

Suddenly their nurse called down, “Get out of there before I call the orderlies, you two nut jobs!”