She took my “News-Junkie Virginity.” Then she never looked back. Never dropped by. Never mailed a postcard. Never telephoned. No Nada! Bitch! (Just kidding Christiane) You know I will always love you best!
Brilliant. Beautiful. Charming!
Every time I see her, I fall in love all over again.
(I suppose that’s how it always goes with those…
‘Just Hang on to your Good Memories Cowboy.’
Why do I love her so?
We have walked the same dirt.
In Dangerous, Desolate Places.
That is Why.
And She is Braver Than Me.
That is Also Why.
“We Have Heard The Chimes At Midnight.”
She and Me
Me and She
(Just Never Together)
Can You Imagine?
Can You Even Wrap Your Mind Around My Vain Fantasy?
He was all over the telephone, sorting out (and paying for) The Extended Stay In The ‘City of Light’ with his new Love.
As soon as I got everything sorted, settled and paid for, Ela telephoned her two kids: A daughter and a son—Bout 9 and 12 respectively.
It was kind of a ‘conference call’ from what I could glean, but only hearing Ela’s words, and watching her begin to get all misty-eyed and then break down in tears, I could only surmise:
This could, in no way, shape, matter, nor form bode well…
She hung up and through her crying eyes, announced,
“I have to go home. Now.”
“My children are distraught. They expected me home tomorrow, not in four days.”
“You wanna see ‘distraught?’ Look at me!”
Now, mind you, I really did not give a shit about the six grand it had just cost me to sort out the extended stay at our hotel (Since I no longer had a reservation and they claimed to be booked solid they broke it off in my ass—ditto Air France—at least six grand all in, but who’s counting at this point?
I could always go back to ‘The Sandbox’ and make Six-Grand in two Weeks, but that wasn’t really the point, was it?
I wanted MORE TIME with HER!
We spent that final night under a bridge across from Notre Dame, drinking wine and holding hands.
First thing next morning, I grabbed a cab and took her to the airport.
As we were waiting in-line to get her boarding pass I made an incredibly stupid decision:
“I am flying with you—to Springfield,” I blurted out.
(Yet more money down that drain)
“You sure?” She asked.
Sorted out my new plane ride logistics (And ass-raped once again by Air France)
We got our boarding passes, our carry-ons and boarded the plane.
What the Fuck had I just done?
I was certain I would pay for this folly, and probably much sooner than later.
Thirty minutes passed and we were Wheels-Up and non-stop to New-Fucking-Jersey (To catch our connection to Springfield)
(I like to think myself an intelligent, worldly man, but this. THIS was a bone-headed, stupid move)
Trust me, Gentle Readers, it gets worse.
To Be Continued…
Added Value To Accentuate My Point:
(This song will become more relevant in upcoming chapters)
And try to guess who stopped giving a shit first.
You have only two options–these are easy odds
Not like betting The Ponies, or Roulette. Or A Crap Shoot.
Go ahead: Put your Money On The Table–Take A Shot.
I love You Sheryl–Always Have–Always Will
(Even if you do resemble some Crack Whores I have called ‘Friend.’)
We spent an inordinate amount of time in our lovely, comfy little love shack of a hotel room.
I had fetched along some of my most – favorite movies to share with Ela—Yes, at this point, she had instructed me to call her “Ela” because that was the moniker she went by, but reserved for her ‘closest friends.”—I figured ‘Lovers’—but whatever. I had made it to “Ela Status.” Hoped this boded well for our relationship.
Got one of the Hotel Staff to hook us up with a DVD Player so we could watch the movies I had brought to the soiree:
We wasted (well, not wasted to me) a lot of time holed up in our little room watching these movies, drinking vin rouge, and making love. I was in Heaven. I had already seen much of The Paris I was interested in seeing (This was not my First ‘Paris Rodeo’—Had been to Paris several times already. As had she.
So we just drank, made love, watched movies, and fell deep IN-LOVE (for the most part)
We did go out, usually in the late evenings to stroll down the Champs-Élysées and hang out at the Café George V.
We were having a wonderful Paris Experience.
But, it was rapidly coming to an end.
She had to return to her ‘Main-Mundane’ in Springfield and I had to return to ‘Le Sandbox’ that was Iraq. We kinda grew morose.
Then I had one of those ‘epiphany things.’
“Ela,” I broached. “Why cannot we just extend our stay here a few more days? I can change our plane tickets, sort things out with the hotel. My job won’t fire me. I am too good at it, as I am sure you are at yours. Let’s stay a few more days.”
She blinked at me through teary eyes, embraced me, kissed me and said, “Oh Yes! Oh Hell Yes!”
Then I got on the telephone to sort out all the logistics and the dice were cast.
It turned out to be a not-so-very-good crap-shoot, but it took some time for that realization to make manifest.
One time while on R&R in Commerce with Roberta I hatched a plan.
Since Parsons never seemed willing nor able nor wanted to…
To recognize the great work and sacrifice My Men were providing in the service of The Mission, we were blowing up Saddam’s unexploded bombs so that they would not be turned into IED’s Or VBIED’s
(The CMC Mission. “Coalition Munitions Clearance” Mission, legacy of Saddam)
I decided My Men needed some Recognition.
So, using a hand – drawn piece of artwork done by one of My Men, I commissioned some plaques, each one personalized with each Man’s Name on it.
I had Latson’s Printing and Office Supply do the work.
(I had ‘worked’ there for over ten years and knew Dick Latson and Gang would be up to the task and Git ‘R’ done. No way to get it all done before I had to return to the Sandbox, but I trusted Roberta to ‘UPS’ them to me in time for Christmas, which was rapidly approaching.)
We got mail from Al Asad Air Base ‘bout once a week via U.S. Marine convoy.
Sure as shit, the day before Christmas, I got all my packages with all the plaques—about 20 of them.
I spent the night wrapping each one up in old newspapers (I was rather short on Christmas wrapping paper).
Next day, Christmas, I handed them out.
And watched my guys unwrap their Christmas presents.
Their happiness and glee as each one saw his name on the plaque almost made me cry.
But I didn’t cry.
In my Hooch.
It was a good day and the best Christmas I have ever had.
I’ve been around the world (twice). Seen two white whales fuck. Seen the sun come up over many exotic venues. Been drunk at sunup looking at Kilimanjaro. Been sober at sunset watching Jews at the Wailing Wall, mostly wailing, them Jew (sic). Seen monkeys steal golf balls off the course at Subic Bay Naval Base. (A “gimme-drop” or a ‘mulligan’ in the local rule book) Heard the call-to-prayer while on my early a.m. runs in many Arab lands. Seen incomprehensible acts of bravery and also of coward-ness. Seen inspiring acts of kindness. Seen unbelievable acts of selfishness and cruelty. Seen some things that oh so briefly, made me want to believe in (a) God (those passed—quickly—trust me on this one folks).
Seen men die.
And seen men live.
Have made countless great friends. Friended them. Been friended. Been De-Friended. Cannot say I can even know where any one of them are today, or if they are even still alive. Such has been my way in life… Suppose a selfish life (my take). Most who really know me would never say that. I have been called ‘Generous to a fault.’ I have also been called ‘conceited’ ‘arrogant’ ‘self-important’, ‘pompous’, ‘asshole’ et cetera, but one thing I have never been called is ‘cheap.’
I am proud of that.
In brief: “I have heard the chimes at midnight” with many good friends, however much I always seemed to cast them away, sorely by neglect. Friendship, I now know, requires tending, not unlike an aquarium or a garden. Next life… maybe.
I need not go on. Hell, most of us who attain some bit of longevity can attest to these experiences, or at least, reasonable facsimiles. Nothing unique about me here, but I have traveled a bit more than most and generally, I have taken some good mental notes.
Which kind of brings me to my point:
Jobs I Have Had: Weird Version (not in any particularly chronological order)
Walmart: I took a job at Walmart long after I had quit my regular job of almost ten years. My money had run out and I was living (by the good graces of my landlady—a friend–erstwhile lover) rent-free in Commerce, Amerika. Until she ran outta patience with me…
My intent was to attain gainful employment in Iraq, so I had quit my regular job, just SOOO certain, given my previous ‘Overseas War-Zone Experience’ that I would be beating the Head-Hunter’s offers away with a very large stick. Alas. No one seemed interested in hiring me to go to Iraq and risk my neck, (Even though I had made it abundantly clear in my cover letters that, ‘Beheading’ to me, is just a ‘scare word.’ No dice. No sale. No Job.
Strangest Aspect of working at Walmart:
Pajama Day. Yes Friends: on Pajama Day (Fridays as I do recall) a Walmart Associate could, if so desirous, wear pj’s work. Many did.
I did not.
UPS: I currently work (seasonal) for UPS. As far as I know, there are no pajama days, but there seem to be ‘incoherent days.’ I have been showing up for now two weeks and I am as clueless today as I was on day one. If I were kind, I’d call it ‘organized chaos.’ Most of you who read me know I am not really one to spout euphemisms. No. Just ‘chaos’ will do for now. And gee! I really do hope all y’all get your parcels on-time. I truly do. Merry Christmas