Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cover Art

Just wanted to mention that the cover art of my new book was done by Kevin Slaughter based on an inspiration by Chip Smith. Weirdly appropriate considering the approach I'll be taking this time 'round. Thanks, Kevin and Chip!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Another Story

So a little after midnight this last Saturday morning, I heard a woman screaming from out in front of the store. I ran outside to see a guy dragging her off toward the street, thrashing her with a baseball bat all the way. The beating had actually started at one of our outside tables, where a lot of the homeless folk frequently congregate. Just as I started toward them the guy pitched her to the ground after indulging in some more quick clubbing, jumped in the passenger side of his truck, and he and the unseen driver took off.

The girl, of course, is screaming bloody murder, crawling along the drive-thru lane until I picked her up and deposited her in the grassy area so she wouldn't get run over. I made her and her boyfriend(sic) some food, gave them a few bucks, and suggested they go over to Denny's so they'd be in a place with more light and people. They were gone next time I checked, so I guess maybe they took my advice.

Fortunately, we had a customer in the drive-thru at the time, and he took off after the truck, got the license number, and the bad guys were apprehended within the hour. I saw the girl the next day, bruised up quite badly. Seems she knew the perps, and I suspect they were robbing her of meth or something like that. There's always a lot of drama going on within the homeless micro-communities, and violence isn't a rarity in their world. Which is our world, of course, whether we care to acknowledge that or not. I've had a lot of altercations with them over the years. I've also made a lot of friends.

Speaking of homeless friends, you remember Mike, the homeless guy in a leg brace from the Monique story, the guy who told me of her passing? He died in March, just fell over in his storage unit and never got back up. For a long time after, several of the girls and myself found ourselves looking for him in his favorite seat, over in the corner with his pencils, drawing skulls and the other phantasmagorical stuff he was so fond of. On a side note, Mike was almost the spitting image of Gary Inmendham, the YouTube efilist warrior. God bless both of 'em.

I'll get you guys caught up on my disappearing act eventually, but I've got a few stories to get out from under my belt first, so you'll have to wait. :)

Howdy, Folks!

It's a funny story, really. It was late, and we'd already closed the dining room. My manager comes back and says "Jim, one of the homeless people have locked themselves in the bathroom again, and they're not answering." So, as the unofficial bouncer of our establishment, I go out and pound on the restroom door, cajoling and threatening and so forth. No luck. Okay, so we figure it's time to call the cops; he/she's been in there for an hour already, and now we're wondering if he/she is passed out on the floor, or dead, maybe. I already know we're in for a wait, as the cops always seem to drag their heels on these kinds of calls. Something better to do, I reckon.

Sure enough, another hour goes by, during which time an officer calls to ask directions, as she seems to be lost. Which makes me wonder, are they playing Pong on those dashboard computer screens, or what? Eventually our gal-in-blue arrives, bit of a petite thing, actually. I explain the situation as my fellow underpaid employees look on, and ask if she can unlock the door since it appears to take a special kind of key which none of us has ever seen. She gives me kind of a dumbfounded look, and shakes her head. Who do you think we are, Triple AAA? "Well, how's about I give it a shot?" I ask, pulling a knife out of my back pocket (slowly, to be sure; she looks a tad twitchy considering we're talking about rousting a most likely unconscious homeless guy/gal out of the bathroom). And VOILA! Jimmy jimmies it!

All that's left to do is open the door at this point, which I proceed to do half expecting it to meet an obstacle (human body) on the floor. But nope, the floor is clear (well, of human bodies, anyway), and the bathroom is...empty. Hmph, so how did the door get locked from the inside? Oh well, fairies, sprites, leprechauns and all *shrugs shoulders*. Anyhow, it's about then that I turn my head to give my dainty little constable the green light, only to find her crouching behind my back with HER COCKED SERVICE REVOLVER PRACTICALLY RESTING ON MY SHOULDER! She stepped back and took a deep breath like she'd seen a ghost, then another cop showed up and in a couple of minutes they were on their merry way, to protect and to serve.

I have another funny cop story from this year that I'll save for later. Yeah, I'm back and am working on a new book. Hope all of you are relatively well.


*looks around* Hm, seems I needy to tidy up a bit in here. All in good time, I suppose.

Ha! "needy to tidy", lol! It stays!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Final Post

What's more to say that I haven't said numerous times on these pages? Thanks to all those who have contributed here over the years. Much appreciated.

Now get off my lawn. Scoot!

UPDATE: I suppose I'll post a link now and again in the recommended reading section. Take care, y'all!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Quick Shout Out

To those concerned about my welfare, I'm still hanging in there. Surgery is concluded for the time being, I'm back to work and all's right with the world. LOL! Yeah, right. Well, the other stuff is true, anyhow. Here's the deal. The main house behind which I live in my little garage apartment is in the process of being remodeled. Unfortunately, said house is also the source of my internet, and there you go. The good news is that I finally joined this century and bought a smart phone the other day, so at least I can check my mail now (and play Words with Friends, of course). Sorry for any worries my virtual absence has caused. I'm hoping that eventually all will settle back into a semblance of normality, and we can then proceed with Polly Anna's autopsy before our minds and fingers grow too clumsy to handle the scalpel.  Meanwhile, learning to type with my thumbs; what a silly thing for an old man to be doing. :)

Anyway and for the time being, if you play Words with Friends, I'm metamorphhh...as always.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Since we never know when that bullet with our name on it will finally get around to looking up our address to come knocking, I'd like to take this occasion to say thanks to friends and foes alike. To those who have walked with me, just for the companionship. To those who have picked me up when I've fallen, for none of us stand truly alone. To those who have pushed me down, because thick skin helps hold the guts in. To those who have listened, for what is a drama queen without an audience? To those who have turned their backs and closed their ears, because I am guilty to the core. To everyone, everywhere, since I realize that I'm the subjective center of existence that resides in the heart of each sentient being, objects of my attention. Etc., etc.

Awareness my boon and bane, attentiveness my staff, informed sympathy my goal, time my waste and waster, death my friend, enemy and constant companion, pain my schoolmaster, and of course sleep, which seems to be the whole point in the long run. If I had to do it all over again I'd change so many things, and yet I'd wind up in the same place at the end, as do all of us. 'To sleep, to dream...' ah, but there's the rub in search of a subject, for the sleeper has left the building, and the dreams are left holding the bag. Fitting.

I'm Scared

How to begin, to summarize a life that's nearing the end of it's sixth decade but feels as though in some ways it's barely started? To communicate in some palpable way my feelings about my own life, about my hopes and fears, successes and mistakes, about the world I was brought into unawares and without consent and into which I subsequently delivered the two lives I care most about? I'll try now.

I've never felt quite at home in this world. I wonder, is this true of everyone? It's a tempting assumption to make, I'll admit. Contrary to popular opinion, I'm really not comfortable with being the odd man out all of the time. I guess you might say that fate had other plans, but part of me still wants to believe, needs to believe, that I'm not the absolute freak of nature I'm sometimes made out to be by those most vociferous in their negative judgments regarding some of the things I've written. Certainly I've met kindred spirits along the path, people who from an early age felt that something is just not right about things. But are we only part of the whining minority, or is there something more substantial to all this, something that resonates in the dark and hidden recesses where we stand aghast at the mire of troubles we find ourselves sinking in? If so, and if we can admit to this truth about ourselves, where do we go from here? If not, then what are we to think of the seemingly universal coping mechanisms revealed in both the religions and philosophies that have been handed down to us through the course of human history, which continue still in both formulation and promulgation today?

I spoke of fears, and yes, I have lots of them. Fears regarding my own life, about my welfare and status as the meat machinery inexorably grinds to a halt. Fears about how my death will affect my children. Fears about my children's eventual deaths, especially as to the ways and means regarding that diabolical process of decay that lies sleeping in the very core of the universe, and so by extension in each of us. All of us. Every single one of us. I fear for the numbers, for the countless tragedies yet to unfold, to become, to foist themselves upon the slumbering billions yet to be born, not to mention those who already are, some of whom I care about more than anything else imaginable.

The song says, 'Mistakes, I made a few', and yes, I've made many of them as I've limped my way along this path towards the dying sun. Who hasn't? Of late I've learned to forgive myself, somewhat, making my attempt to embrace the realization that we are not our own masters, but puppets dangling from the fingers of a dying demiurge who got hit by a bus while out on a lark, with us as the result- the crystallized death gasps of an oblivious universe that should never have left home.

But here we are, and how to deal with it? I have written previously that 'hope is my enemy', and I stand by that, but only to the degree that hope is defined as synonymous with the belief that, someday, somebody's going to pull that plum out of the sky and change the basic ordering of existence- in a positive direction, naturally. Not to mention the moral and logical justifications necessary to make all that led up to the aforementioned plum-pulling worthwhile. But I can hope that a few voices might raise themselves above the cacophony of denial and self-congratulation ostensibly permeating the memetic aether, injecting their small but potent virus of hard-won clarity into the soft spots of empathetic awareness that I STILL believe exist in most people, even though in some cases the angle of entry must be precisely calibrated. That's why I take the 'big umbrella' approach to all this shit, and don't get overly annoyed by philosophical allies who aren't in lockstep with my own personal conclusions and approaches. In matters of communication- especially in terms of the big existential questions- I'm definitely a 'more voices is merrier' kind of guy. Different strokes for different folks, y'know, and aren't all facets of a conversation worth exploring? I think so.

Now I'm getting old, and I'm dying. Maybe not today, or this year, but soon enough to start thinking about duties. For all I have left now is a sense of duty, to do right by the people I love, as well as to the people whom I represent in my argumentation. I've also come to the realization that I have a duty to myself, a duty to do and say what is right according to my own understanding and standards. It's hard, especially in these, my last days (how many days are actually left is still to be seen), for I am slowly fading like a print on old wallpaper (I picture a white tulip against a pastel pink background for those keeping score). Old age is for keeps, brothers and sisters, and more often than not it isn't a lot of fun. Keep this in mind, breeders, for dissolution and death is the fate of all those newborns you're so fond of coddling and cooing at and showing off at family gatherings. Every life is like a dandelion in the wind- only with nerve endings, and remorse, and fear, and a knowledge often buried deep down inside that being created was the biggest mistake of their lives.

Funny, I started this with a mind toward sentimentalism prompted by yet ANOTHER personal health issue that MIGHT just be the end of me, and maybe I accomplished that somewhat but...somewhere along the way I remembered that the message is far more important than the messenger, I guess. Don't have kids, folks. It's wrong, and you know it.