His Eyes Said It All


Hell-Betty and I were walking down from Penelope Pennyworth’s Photographs, where she works, to the Washoe Club to meet her brother Bert the Hurt for a beer. We were chatting about our day, paying little mind to the visitors that filled the wood boardwalk.

As we passed the open doorway to the Silver Queen Hotel, a Latino man of about thirty came flying down the narrow staircase, nearly running the both of us down. It wasn’t like he meant to — he was just in a hurry and didn’t have the time to think that perhaps two or more people might be crossing in front of the door during his sudden escape.

Out of the doorway, he practically flew, chattering in his native tongue. His eyes were wide with surprise and fright behind his yellow lensed glasses.

“You would think he saw a ghost or something,” my friend quipped.

Hell-Betty and I laughed, knowing he probably did because we both witnessed that peculiar look before.

Dog Faced


Sitting in the back of Virginia City’s Union Brewery Saloon by myself, I watched a man and woman enter with their dog and take a seat at the bar. Carol Sisco took their order as their pit bull sat down facing me.

Every once in a while, the dog would prance his front paws and thump his tail as if he wanted me to pet him. I remained seated, watching and grinning at the young and excitable pupperz.

At one point, the man got up and walked toward me. I thought nothing of it, as the bathrooms are along the wall to the right, from where I was sipping my beer.

He stopped and demanded, “Stop smiling at my wife!”

“Sir, I was smiling at your dog,” I responded with a deadpan face., “I never smile at humans.”

Without saying anything else, he returned to his spot at the bar and let the dog off its lead so it could come down and visit with me. The pitty and I had a wonderful conversation without speaking a single word.

Page Ramos, 1943-2022


A few years back, Tonya Ramos and her late husband, Rich Irvin, reached out to me through social media to say ‘hello’ after I wrote my first spiritual encounter in Six-Mile Canyon. The couple wanted to visit Virginia City and that place.

Near the beginning of 2022, Rich passed away, leaving Tonya a widow. Then on May 17, Tonya’s mom, Page Ramos, entered the afterlife, only a few days before her 79th birthday.

Both people’s deaths left me sad, but because I’ve known Page all of my life, her’s hit me the hardest. There was even a time when I thought the Ramos and Olivera families (my mother’s maiden name) were cousins.

My mom used to refer to Tonya’s father, Tony Ramos (yes, she is named after him, and you’d best learn to say her name with a ‘tony’ in it) as family, as did my grandfather Joaquin Luis Olivera (whose name I bear as my second, third and fourth.) Page politely disabused me of the notion.

Last night I learned that Page had passed, and because of this, I fell asleep with a deep sadness in my soul. The feelings precipitated a dream where I was sitting in the back of a long hall, a cathedral if you will, where God was speaking, and being interrupted by two women giggling and laughing. It was Page and her mother, Theral Hammond (Tonya’s grandmother, a woman known for her jazz and honky-tonk style of piano playing.)

Then, I heard God ask, “Am I going to have to separate you two, again?”

I woke myself up, laughing.

Silvery Figure


Running late Friday morning, still needing to deliver the Dayton Valley Dispatch to the farther reaches of Lyon County, I was merrily speeding along U.S. 50, coming to the hill that drops into Stagecoach, when I saw it. That ‘it’ was a bright, silvery figure running across the sagebrush-strewn landscape.

Stepping hard on my old truck’s brakes, I swerved off the road and stopped. I fumbled for my cellphone, wanting to take a video of it, but because of my unsafe maneuver, it had fallen and slipped under the passenger seat. Instead, I sat there and watched as it raced behind a bush, squatted down, and vanished.

At first, I thought that maybe I saw a dust devil that had picked up a piece of aluminum foil or some metal flashing used in roofing construction. Then I looked around me, finding two other vehicles had stopped, and each driver was out of the car and truck, looking in the same direction I had been looking.

Getting out of my truck, I looked in the direction of the silver thing and found it nowhere. Then I looked again at the two who had also seen what I had.

The expressions on their faces were of disbelief, and I could tell neither one wanted to compare notes as each was quick to get in their vehicle and drive away. I sat there another 20 minutes or so, hoping to see it again.

Such an odd thing to happen in the middle of the day, on a busy highway, and only three person’s taking notice. Wishing my phone hadn’t gone under the seat.

The Nuckelavee


“But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white–then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place…”

Tam o’ Shanter, Robert Burns, 1790

The press machine hummed and thrummed as I sat at the desk folding newspapers for the next day’s delivery. At my feet lay Buddy-dog, asleep, waiting for me to finish so we could go home.

“Clackity-clack” was the sound that came from outside the Virginia City shop, the old office for the long defunct Hale-Norcross Mine. Buddy raised his head, then sprang to his feet with a deep-throated growl.

I followed him to the doorway, where we both stood looking into the dusk of a quickly falling night.

“Hello,” I heard a woman with a brogue say.

Buddy’s ears laid back, tail upright and taut, the hairs along his backbone raised on end. I stepped onto the covered porch to see from where the voice came.

To the right of us sat mounted on a horse was a woman. She greeted me again.

“Hi,” I returned. “A bit late for riding in such rough terrain, no?”

“We get along fine in the dark,” she answered. “I am surprised to find anyone using this place.”

“Yes. We print the local newspapers here.”

“Ah, so that is the noise we hear?”

“Would you like to see?”

Buddy growled a low throaty warning.

“Thank you, but no, we must be getting along.”

“Okay,” I said. “Take care and stop by again.”

The pair moved away, clickity-clacking along the paved street. Meanwhile, Buddy remained on alert, ears back, hair raised, his tail erect.

By then, dusk had fully surrendered to the dark. And as the pair grew into one with the blackness, the woman seemed one with the horse, with no dangling legs or stirrups and unusually long arms.

“A trick or the light or a lack there of,” I said, dismissing what I’d witnessed.

Gone from his sight, Buddy finally relaxed and looked at me, tail silently brushing the wooden deck, ears unfolded but alert. I reached down and scratched the top of his head.

As I turned on the office light, closed the door, and dropped the ‘Sally bar the Gate’ board, he returned to his spot on the floor, and I finished folding papers.

A week later, I found myself in the same place, doing the same thing. This time Buddy was not with me.

As I came closer and closer to finishing the job, I once more heard a sound different from the others I usually heard. It was the visitor I had from the week before.

This time I went outside before she could call out her ‘hello.’ Again she was partly obscured by the sage and trees that shaded the porch in the afternoon.

Again the landscape was nearly fully engulfed in darkness. The woman again used the lack of light to her advantage as she sat on her horse.

“Come down and come in,” I said.

“I think you know we cannot do that,” she said.

“I do.”

“And yet you do not fear us.”

“I do not.”

“What manner of man are you?”

“Simply a man. What manner of being are you?”

“I am a Nuckelavee,” she answered as she moved away from her cover.

She stood there, a female torso fused to the shoulder of a large draft horse. The horse’s head was large and held a single eye the size of an old truck headlight.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

“We’ve been asking ourselves the same question.”

“No answer, eh?”

“None.”

“How long have you been here?”

“What is time to an eternal being?”

“So, what do you plan to do now?”

“Was going to kill you and your cù.”

“Why haven’t you?”

I find you intriguing. You don’t seem to be in fear of me.”

“Should I be?

She laughed, and the thing I mistook for a horse belched a flame that gave off a gaseous odor that caused my eyes to water. I waved my hand in front of my face to ward off the smell.

“Most humans would have screamed, cried, run away, begged for mercy and asked God to wake them from their nightmare,” she added.

This time I laughed, “What if you’re having a nightmare or your inside my nightmare?”

“And intelligent, too,” she said.

“That’s a first for me,” I smiled.

“You are intelligent,” she said. “You have me in a paradox: if I kill you, then I die. If you kill me, I die.”

I smiled. It was all I could do because I hadn’t thought that far ahead.

It was dark by then, and I had yet to turn my office light on, but I was not sure I wanted to as the horse was hideous, and her skin was ghostly pale. We stood silently observing each other as if we expected the other to blink, ending our mutual truce and admiration.

“I know where there is a portal, a doorway if you will to elsewhere.” I offered.

“You would help me in spite of my covert threat?” she asked.

“I heard no threat,” I replied. “I heard an unsure being in need of help, and I’m offering that help.”

“Interesting,” she said before asking, “Will you show me this place.”

“The Chollar Mine,” I said. “Go inside to the very end, and there you will find this doorway.”

“No price? No demand?” she asked, surprised.

“Nope,” I answered.

“You intrigue me like no other…man,” she offered as she spun in a circle.

“Be safe,” I said.

“You, too, human,” she smiled as she turned and galloped into the inky dark towards the mine.

All I could do was stand there in quiet disbelief, physically shaking and nauseous at the sight and smell of this Nuckelavee. The thing frightened me, but I refused to show my fear until the thing left.

Retreating to the porch, I sat in one of the old faded seats lining the outside shop wall, where I listened to the press as it continued to hiss and heave printed page after page into the tray. Minutes later, I saw a green glow akin to the Aurora Borealis rise and float from the direction of the Chollar.

I stood up, walked to the far end of the porch, and leaned over the metal railing, puking until empty.

Blinkered


Since the weekend, I have been experiencing problems with my truck’s left blinker. I turn it on, and then it fails to turn off, unlike my right blinker, which works perfectly.

After this morning, I know I need to repair it.

Turning off Pyramid Highway and into the Walmart parking lot, I noticed a silver Toyota sedan with Florida license plates following me rather closely. The driver remained on my bumper even as I pulled in and parked.

Before I could turn my truck off, the driver, a man about eight years old, got out from behind the steering wheel and angrily confronted me, “You’ve been driving down the highway for the last four miles with your left blinker on!”

“Sorry, it has been malfunctioning, and I need to fix it.”

“Well, you best ’cause no one likes it when a person doesn’t turn or change lanes when they say they will.”

“Got’ya,” I returned. “By the way, your left blinker is still flashing.”

He looked at his car without looking back at me, shouted, “Dammit!” got back behind the wheel, and drove away.

The Thirty-something Woman


Because I spend so much time in Virginia City, sometimes a question must be clarified, quantified, or plain ol’ explained.

For instance, as I sat at the bar of my favorite watering hole, a thirty-something woman seated next to me asked, “You seeing anybody?”

I swiveled on my stool and looked around, then confidently turned back to her, answering, “Not at the moment, but spirits come and go all the time.”

She gave me the strangest look.

Then it occurred to me, “Oh, you mean relationship-wise? I’m married.”

Trying to maintain a forced smile, she asked for a plastic cup to take her drink in and quickly left the saloon.

Lucy and Kafka


We call her Lucy, the bossy little girl of Charlie Brown fame, but not today. She works better today than I’ve seen in many previous weeks, without complaints or demands other than paper and ink.

She is our printing press. And today, she thrums with literary agility.

Around me flits and buzzes my only other companion, Kafka. He makes it like he is busy, feeling the need to replace Lucy in the realm of bossiness.

“Bizz, bizz, bizz,” he says. Write, write, write.

Kafka touches my shoulder, my right elbow, and the fingernail of my left hand. I threaten him with a rolled-up newspaper from the week previous, though he knows I am not serious with each waving.

“Write, write, write,” he buzzes in my right ear.

“I’m trying,” I say, knowing he doesn’t understand.

He pesters my right earlobe, “Bizz, bizz, bizz.”

I offer him the top of my pen, “Come sit with me and help guide my hand as I complete my notes.”

Kafka pauses, lighting gently, inspects my work, and with no small amount of criticism, adding, “Bizz, bizz, bizz,” my friend, the fly, slips out the open door into the afternoon heat to return no more this day. I write, write, write to the general thrumming of Lucy as she spits out page after page of Friday’s upcoming edition, her literary agility notwithstanding.

Thunderstorm in Virginia City


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Lo! I watch high above and far in the distance as the Vultures float above Sugar Loaf — three, wings spread in an updraft. Half an hour and I see two more join the ariel play and now seven.

They rise gently and sweep swiftly downward, only to ascend to height once more. Play for these ungainly creatures, a joy, happiness only they can know.

None have once beaten a wing to the air, instead enjoying the heated thermals, as behind them, and even further in the distance, billowing white thunderheads build. I take note of these ominous clouds, but I return my eyes to the redheaded flock, and I find them no longer present.

It is then that I know what is to come. No sooner does the thought process than a flash illuminates my shadow, and a peal of thunder races multiplicity, echoing from behind where I stand. I turn and look up, find where the cell lives, high atop Sun Mountain, with its abandoned tailings and shallow, open pits.

Saint Elmo dances a jig between the high tension wires and the rooftop of the building across from me on F Street. Fascinating and frightening all at once.

No sooner do I step in under the porch covering the Hale-Norcross miner’s hovel is an odd Washoe Zephyr shooting its way from the north towards the south, pushing before its chilled breath a warm rain that pounds the corrugated tin foot overhead. Three, four, five roars of thunder, as many bolts of lightning, the storm races on from Virginia City to the south and the east, taking with it the wind, the rain, and the danger.

The skies above are clear again, but the Vultures fail to return. I am awed by these carrion-eaters instincts.


My Cousin Elmo says, “You don’t actually wash your hands. They wash each other and you jus’ stand there watching them like some sort of creep.”

The DOJ is Eating Its Own


The Department of Justice is becoming more cannibalistic as it attempts to defend itself from the Mar-A-Lago raid and the J6 Committee.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association is warning members of the U.S. Secret Service that their private phone numbers are in the hands of the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Committee and that they “will likely be used” in a criminal probe. The warning comes after the committee received copies of Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, thought to have been deleted.

And it gets worse as the DOJ, through the FBI, is investigating measures Secret Service members took to secure Presidential documents at Mar-A-Lago. As an aside, the FBI asked the Secret Service to add an extra padlock to the storage facility last June during their visit to collect papers for the National Archive.

Lastly, boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents in a file folder, all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt released on Fri., Aug. 12, contain attorney-client privileged information. Waiting to see who gets the blame and in whose lap the confiscated materials fall.

Remember, there are no coincidences.


My Cousin Elmo says, “As I’ve grown older my eyesight has gotten weaker, but my sixth-sense about people and their bullshit has become stronger.”

Federal Alphabet Agencies Have Never Been On Your Side


“You wouldn’t know a fact from your ass,” she responded to my latest post. I ignored her.

Here are some facts: What happened at Mar-A-Lago isn’t a one-off. It has been an ongoing pattern since 1913 when the FBI went by another name.

No one seems to recall the 1993 “peaceful” issuance of a search warrant on the Branch Davidians in Waco. Nor do they seem to remember the sniper death of a mother and her newborn at a place called Ruby Ridge.

Nor do they recall the 2016 federal shooting death of a Utah man on an Oregon highway outside of Burns, as he ran from his truck to save the people inside it from being killed, only to die himself with his hands up in surrender.

It is not limited to one side of the political aisle but both as they work to keep us from knowing the truth. Nothing more than lying, offuscating assholes.

Let us visit other alphabet agencies of our federal bureaucracy, like the Internal Revenue Service. They recently cleaned up their official webpage, scrubbing their advertising the need for their 87,000 potential hirelings to be able to use a weapon and have the willingness to take a life.

In 2015, a couple’s dress-making business in Garland, Tex., was closed down by the IRS after being accused but never charged or convicted of evading “federal bank reporting requirements by making cash deposits just under the $10,000 limit.” The Dallas police assisted the IRS during the raid, which led to an auction to recover a supposed $31,400 debt, netting the IRS about $17,000.

Then there is the Environment Protection Agency, which in 2011 sued a Priest Lake, Ida., couple for unplugging a drainage ditch that was flooding their home. The EPA claimed that the flooding, though caused by a faulty culvert system, was part of a “marshland,” costing the couple $32,500 per day until they complied.

Closer to home, in Bunkerville, Nev., in 2014, the Bureau of Land Management claimed the Bundy family owed over a million bucks in grazing fees because the ranch was using federally owned land to feed their livestock. In 2018, the dispute became an armed standoff between U.S. citizens and federal agents as the agency attempted to remove Bundy’s cattle from the site.

Once forced to retreat, BLM officers began destroying the livestock and burying the carcasses. Though pictures and videos surfaced online, they no longer exist.

Quit sucking the teet of pablum being offered by the politicos, the media, and entertainment and start gathering facts, dammit!

Angry, Tired and Alone


Since Lion’s Gate, I’ve done my best to hold my tongue. My anger is such that I could alienate everyone I know in person and online.

And this goes for writing what I know, what I think, and how I feel. We are in a world of betrayal, and less than half of us realize it.

Many of us live in a ‘polite society,’ having learned ‘to turn the other cheek.’ Being victimized and not retaliating is ineffective and exhausting.

When will the time come that we shall push back? Where is the breaking point — when it is too late? Death?

We are a failed society, broken by those who do not fear being violent, who do not think twice when it comes to destruction, animated by propaganda, and those who willingly propagate it. Are you not flagged by the dishonesty, the rhetoric, the partisanship?

I am, and I feel alone in this.

Where’s Wilford?


Wilford Green had three things that caused him to stand out, and one of those things he only recently acquired.

Better known as Willy, he was born with a tuft of bright red hair. And as he grew into adulthood, he became known for his love of practical jokes and being a smart ass.

Half a year ago, Willy began wearing a charcoal gray-fedora style hat he’d found one afternoon. The beaten and battered cover called closer attention to his bushy red mop-top.

Three weeks ago, he mouthed off to Mrs. Pembroke. She was in her yard, on her knees, working in her flower garden.

“While down there…” Willy laughed.

Mrs. Pembroke, a widow of twenty years, did not find humor in his innuendo and made sure Willy knew it.

“Yeah, what ever lady,” he replied.

“I’ll bury you, Wilford Green,” she yelled as he walked away, laughing.

Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Breckley were walking their black lab, Tippy, in the park when the dog darted off. Quick to follow, the couple raced after him only to find Tippy sniffing at a gray hat on the ground.

Tippy took it in his teeth, exposing a shock of red hair that jutted from the hard-packed earth.

Sea-to-Lake


There are many things I could write about yesterday’s events at Mar-a-Lago. But none of it would be effective or worthwhile.

Pointing out errors, correcting inerudite, unfounded statements, and replacing them with facts and knowledge does no good. Being canceled, doxxed, and attacked are all the rewards one gets for such straightforward activity.

No, I think I shall hold my tongue, keep my peace (despite my anger,) and instead write what I need to say in my notebooks. Call it paranoia or what have you, but I have little trust held in reserve for our federal government as I watch our nation wiped ‘peacefully’ away as we sat back, failing to act.

The enemy is at the gate, and the enemy is us with our misdirected desire to avoid what needs confronting. As the Bible reads, “Sell your shirt for a sword.”

But no one is hearing.

Bread and Circuses


Let’s cut to the chase about the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” which the U.S. Senate passed today after a debate occurred at night and in the wee hours of the morning.

Here are the numbers.

  • 97.2 percent earning between $100K-$200K will see a tax increase
  • 91.3 percent earning between $75K-$100K will see a tax increase
  • 61.7 percent earning between $40K-$50K will see a tax increase
  • 24.6 percent earning between $10K and $20K will see a tax increase
  • $389B on energy and climate efforts
  • $300B-plus in ‘green’ load guarantees
  • $80B to increase IRS staffing
  • $60B for environmental justice initiatives
  • $9B for wealthier* families to buy electric vehicles
  • $2.6B to protect coastal habitats
  • $1.5B to plant trees

*Based on an average of .32 cents a minute to charges or $19.20 an hour. A full charge at eight hours is $153.60.

Next year, taxes will increase by $16.7 billion on taxpayers earning less than $200,000, a nearly $17 billion tax targeted directly at low-and middle-income earners next year. The proposal would raise another $14.1 billion from taxpayers earning between $200,000 and $500,000. Over half of all new tax revenue raised next year will come from those earning under $400,000. 

By 2031, when the “new green energy” credits and subsidies take effect, those earning below $400,000 will bear as much as two-thirds of the additional tax revenue collected.

Meanwhile, we have a compliant propaganda machine in the media that is pushing stories about monkeypox, Brittney Griner and the J6 hearings.

 

The Hidden Staircase


The noon-time siren had already sounded when I found my way to C Street, delivering the last of the Comstock Chronicles. I was on foot that Friday afternoon as Hot August Nights was in Virginia City for the weekend, and the street was full of classic cars and trucks.

Leaving the Ponderosa Saloon, I paused to check for traffic that might be coming down Taylor Street. It is a habit as I have nearly had unsuspecting motorists hit me, and I have almost hit unattentive visitors.

The only thing on Taylor Street between the Ponderosa and the Crystal Saloon, now the Virginia City Tourism Commission, was town folk dressed in period attire. As I passed, a woman in a colorful period dress tumbled from the top of the street where it intersects with B Street.

She had a wild-eyed expression and looked more puzzled than hurt.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“That was quite the fall.”

“It was.”

That’s when it occurred to me that she had dropped from a height, but there was nothing tall near where she’d landed.

“How did you…” I started to say as I turned to the woman.

She was gone.

“Did anyone see where the woman in the fancy gown went?” I shouted.

No one had. I raced to the boardwalk to look, but with no fancy gown to be seen, I returned to Taylor.

“What’s wrong?” one of the old-timers asked.

“I’m trying to figure out how that woman fell from about here,” I said, pointing to the side of the building. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“Yes, it does when you know there were wooden stairs against the building back in the 1990s when it was still called the Sharon House.”

Sun Mountain (a Haibun)


Thank you to my friend, Paul Vincent Cannon, for the inspiration

watching Sun Mountain
witnessing a burning bush
coffee has gone cold

Noon had just passed, and a wind was blowing down the slopes of Sun Mountain.
“Lets go have a cup of coffee,” Trevallions suggested, “we’ve got some talking to do.”
“Seems to me all you do is drink coffee,” Will complained…

Comstock Lode, Pg. 185
Louis L’amour, 1981

The Better You Exists, But…


“This can’t be all there is to my fucking life,” I think.
“This is it?” I add. “A few more colorless years spent working, consuming media, doing hobbies that will never find a place in the sun.”
“There is no ‘third act,’ no starring in a fantasy adventure, no gaining ‘Superpowers, no happily everafter,” I continue. “I’m an incomplete package sitting on life’s doorstep expecting the kid next door to kick me or some damned dog to piss on my wrappings.”
“I’m trying to be happy, be better, stay focused, get upset, overreact, overthink and be emotional,” I whine with finality. “I’m broken, imperfect, so don’t expect me not to be.”
Then I remember: No one owes me anything. Life is a series of choices that become habits, decisions made by no one else.
Damaged, we tend to see ourselves as the product of what happened to us, but we are not that. That was only our starting point — not the destination.
Want to heal? Figure out what hurts, where it hurts, how it hurts, and who, if not yourself, hurt you.
Want a healthier relationship? Learn how to communicate what you need.
Want a better you? Remake yourself every day by using what happened to you to your advantage.
For growth, do the fucking work. A shitty thing to say as advice goes, but it is supposed to be hard, so stop whining.
Instead of waiting for others to give you gifts, be the gift. As for “superpowers,” you were born with them.
Your secret identity is borne in life’s multitude of pains, hurt, unfairness, and disadvantages. Those powers are for you to use on yourself before attempting to use them for others.
Above all, be extremely honest with yourself as you work life out.
Happily, no one told me this when I was a kid because soft children only become soft adults. Fight for yourself, damn it!