Spiders, Spiders Everywhere and all the Girls Did Shriek! Spiders, Spiders Everywhere, Even in the Sink!”

Sadie.jpg

A New Take On An Old Story

While suffering my enforced exile in California I could often be found searching for jumping spiders. One day I captured a particularly stunning one with black and white markings, dark black-green eyes and luminescent aquamarine fangs behind the feathery appendages which covered them.

Absolutely Beautiful Spider!

I gently herded her into a mason jar which contained several wood chips of varying shapes and sizes. Jumping spiders do not build webs; they live in caves made by little boys employing wood chips. (This is what my spidery experience had taught me through the years.)

Once I had done my time we moved back to Texas, but not before I was forced to abandon my Most Beautiful Spider, along with all the others I had collected, my mother announcing quite emphatically,

“I am NOT riding in a car all-the-way-home-to-Texas seated next to five jars full of damn spiders!”

Once back in Texas, for several weeks I suffered from PTSL: Post Traumatic Spider Loss. I missed my spiders, especially the beautiful one I had named ‘Sadie’.

Not that Texas has a spider shortage, mind you; I just did not immediately know where to look: “Looking for Spiders in all the wrong places.”

One day, lo’ and behold, I found a jumping spider which looked so very much familiar to me, (or perhaps she found me)

“Sadie! Sadie! Did you follow me all the way from California?” I asked breathlessly.

“Of course,” she said. “Why wouldn’t I?”

I happily gathered her up and placed her into my newest mason jar, assuming she still wanted to be my pet.

About a month later, I proudly announced to my Grandparents:

“My spider is gonna have babies.”

“Lance Son,” my Grandmother informed me rather condescendingly, “There is no daddy spider in there. Your spider cannot possibly have baby spiders.”

Not ill-mannered enough to say it, I thought it: “Of course she can have baby spiders ‘without a ‘daddy.’ Spiders are like guppies: they store sperm until the time is ‘just right.’ But how could this old Tennessee-Baptist-Dyed-In-The-Wool-God-is-Great woman even wrap her mind around such things Darwin?”

Absolutely Incomprehensible To Her.

About two weeks later, I was up to my ass in baby spiders. I did not show grandmother these offspring. She would have told me it was yet one more miraculous example of God’s Work:

“The Immaculate Spider Conception.”

All the baby spiders slowly disappeared over time, crawling through the ice-pick holes in the lid of the Mason Jar two-by-two, or however. Fine. Neither Sadie nor I were interested in raising a passel of little spider crumb snatchers.

My Lady Spider was a huntress and she complained daily regarding my neglect of her need. She ached for something more than the flies I would daily cast into her mason jar. They were just food. No thrills to be had in the hunt, merely a harvest. She was growing morose.

“You’re killing my Spider Soul with all these damn flies Lance,” she said.

“OK Sadie! I will give you something to satiate your arachnid need,” I told her one morning.

Under the eaves of my Grandfather’s shed lived a few Black Widow Spiders. They had established some manner of ‘Black Widow Sisterhood,’ (Not unlike similar ‘Sisterhoods’ to be found on Social Media these days.) Even though I am most definitely a spider geek, Black Widows never intrigued me as potential pets, mainly because they needed more than a Mason Jar Ecosystem for lodging and accoutrements and also because of their lethargic laisser-faire approach to acquiring sustenance:

“Sit in their parlor-web all day; wait for something hapless to happen by.”

No hunt in them whatsoever.
Boring.

Slightly peeved with Sadie, I decided to capture one of The Sisters. I took her to Sadie’s Mason jar and dropped her in.

“Happy now damn you?” I said.

Sadie looked about at her new roommate. Then looked up at me through multiple dark green eyes and said,

“I never thought we would come to this.”

“Sorry, ol’ Gal,” I giggled. “This is the part where the cowboy rides away. Catch ya laters. Good luck.”

I was curious and in fact, had nothing but time on my hands so I watched to see how she would deal with her new jar-mate, never really fearful for her safety.

But Black Widow was wily. She taunted Sadie, waving her long, spindly legs about in semaphore fashion, as if to say, “Come hither Little Jumper, let me demonstrate the technique that has given my kind our terrible dark name.”

Sadie began deliberately circling around Black Widow, sizing her up, her little Sadie neurons firing on and off, then seizing what I’m certain she perceived as perfect opportunity, jumped at her full force.

And missed!

Her momentum caused her to tumble onto her back.

Black Widow capitalized and deftly captured Sadie and began wrapping her in web, presumably to eat at her leisure. 
But Black Widow made one fatal mistake:

She bound Sadie’s hind legs (all four of them) first, leaving her front legs (all four of THEM) free. As Black Widow was casually wrapping her up, Sadie grabbed her with unencumbered front legs and planted a big wet French Kiss into Black Widow’s thorax. They remained locked in this embrace for thirty minutes. (I know; I was there, timing it–for ‘science’)

Black Widow now hoisted with her own petard and quite dead, was dropped by Sadie, who watched her tumble down and land with an inaudible (to me) thud on the Mason Jar floor.

“Sadie,” I said. “Your indentured servitude has ended. Here, allow me help you out of that.”

Fishing some tweezers that I had stolen from my Grandmother’s “Lady-Bag” bag from my jean’s pocket I gently and meticulously pulled all the Black Widow silk from Sadie, a tedious time consuming effort which took at least half an hour. Then I gingerly laid the Mason Jar on its side hiding it in a pile of kindling away from the prying eyes of opportunistic birds and went on about my business.

Returning the next day, I discovered no Sadie: just a note written in Spider’ease which read:

“Dear Lance,”

“Thank you for allowing me to save myself. 
I will always love you, but I’ve had quite enough of Texas and Texan ways. If you ever make it back to California, look me up. Here is my email addy: (Redacted)
Spider On! Y’all!”

And that was how she ended it.

Took me three days to get the webs out of my brain and a week to find another spider, but she was not the same. She was not MY Sadie, just an inadequately inept substitute, but I suppose that’s how it goes with First Loves lost.

“I miss you Sadie,” I caught myself saying to no one in particular few days later.

 

Since I ‘Missed’ TBT this past week…

I simply MUST catch up. Below please find one of MY Personal Favorites:

“SEAL Training: Psych Evaluation”

***

While stationed at Great Mistakes (Errrr…Great Lakes) Naval Training Command, I did my due diligence and qualified for BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California)

After passing the physical physical and clearing all the other stuff (mostly based upon my ASVAB scores and my ability to swim like a dolphin), A Final Task faced me: I had to pass unblemished through an interview with a psychiatrist. Just a formality, right? (Last hurdle: “Lance, do NOT fuck this up.”)

Sailor

Sailor Lance

This should be fun,” I recall thinking as I waited for my interview.

I was eventually summoned and sat my ass down in front of a geeky, mouse-eyed shrink. He obviously had ‘issues’ of his own. This I could discern straight-away from his limp-wristed demeanor. And obviously the only SEAL he had ever met was in some vain dream fantasy.

No matter. I was there just to get my ticket punched.

After a dozen or so stupid questions about such things as how did I feel about my mother, have I ever killed anything (Uh, do frogs count?), the price of tea in China, ad nauseam, he came to his pièce de résistance:

“Seaman Marcom,” he broached, “If you were ordered by your SEAL Team Leader to go in and clear a room whilst on a mission, and you burst into this room only to discover an elderly lady in a rocking chair reading a bible, what would you do?”

I waited for my dramatic pause, then said,

“Sir, I would shoot the bible.”*

Smiling, I observed him take his rubber stamp out and stamp “Approved” on my papers.

“California Here I Come”

Right Back Where I Started From

Video Credit: L. Heitmann via YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/user/IrRrIS1l3nt

*Footnote:

In the Nav, we have bombastic bullshit ‘tellings’, euphemistically known as ‘Sea Stories’. These are always introduced with the mandatory preamble:

“Now, this is a no-shitter…”

The above telling (though completely factual) is a wonderful example of same.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend: Go find yourself a Sailor and say, “Hey Sailor, New in Town?” Then hug him/her.

 

The Biker-Bartender-Bouncer Chick, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Part Two.

Part One Here: 

And if you are new here, ya might wanna start here: Shonnie.

So there I was in a foreign bed with a foreign woman who called herself “Layla”, smelling bacon and no way to escape, save for a walk-about or a taxi, which I suspected were too damn hard to find in IB (or wherever I was) at such an early hour.

“So,” I said. “Shall we head on to the breakfast nook?”

“Sure Cowboy,” she said.

“I really wish you’d stop calling me that.”

“What?”

“‘Cowboy.’ Cowboy, I ain’t. ‘Sailor’ is more to the point. And it suits me now.”

“OK, ‘Sailor.’ No worries.”

“Fine. And thank you.” (I was approaching ‘pissy’ at this moment, the booze having worn off. And hung-over kicking in.)

We went to the ‘breakfast table’ and I discovered that there were two children in the house.

“Who’s kids?” I asked. (I just had to)

“Mine!” said the breakfast launcher.

“Cute, they are,” I said stupidly.

“Yeah,” said Mother.

“Please pass me a bloody Mary,” I said back, not wanting to converse.

“There ya go, Sailor-Man,” she (momma) said.

(A kindred spirit?)

“Thanks, I have a bit of a headache”

“Of course,” she said, passing me the pitcher of Bloody Mary’s.

What am I in for? I remember asking me. (Maybe out – loud)

“We are going to the San Diego Zoo.” You wanna tag along?”

“Why not?” I rhetorically answered. “Why not? The kids coming? Of course they are….”

And off we went. (After breakfast)

And good, I thought: Y’all can park me at the petting zoo…

 More Later….

Vid Credit:

littlewhitewolf08

 

The Biker, Bouncer, Bartender, Big-Boned Gal From Milwaukee

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This is (sort of) a continuation of my “Shonie Series”

I like things to be linear. So we rejoin our “hero” just after his Denouement… Or perhaps, ‘Epiphany’.

***

So she led me to a car and we all piled in. I say ‘we all’ simply because there were suddenly three of us. Me, HER, and a smallish blonde. I remember thinking I had seen this movie before, but this time it came with a twist, I guess. I have to guess, as the rest of the evening (early morning?) is fuzzy in my memory.

After about twenty minutes. (I am once again, estimating here; could’ve been an hour or more. Or less.) After about ‘twenty’ minutes we arrived at a house (could have been an apartment). SHE took me inside and led me straight-away to a bed… room. If memory serves, we had sex. Violent sex. (Not ‘violent’ violent. Let’s just call it ‘intense.’) SHE was at least six foot and change and, as I did report earlier, ‘Big-Boned.” I swear, I saw my life’s movie flash as she covered me and had her way. (And of course, me mine)

As we lay there ‘after’ in someone else’s bed, she remarked, “Well, that should keep your self-winding watch going for a few days.”

I had to laugh, just as I drifted off.

The next morning I awoke with the sun singeing my eyes from a casually placed window (What’s wrong with these people?). I could smell bacon. I rolled over and looked at my watch: 0630. I had a start; then realized it was Saturday and I did not have ‘duty’ on my ship. I could go back to sleep, un-worried. But, oh no! SHE was stirring. (So, who was cooking bacon? I remember thinking)

“Oh. You’re awake?” She said.

“Uh, yeah. Kinda,” was all I could muster. Where am I? Who are you? (Not a proper question, I realize, but then, I was hung over and still groggy)

“I am the woman to be named later,” she said, poking me in the ribs. (Which hurt for some reason).

“I see. I rolled over to face her.” She was, indeed: Beautiful. Long dark brown hair, dark eyes, and mystery, too much mystery in fact. I was at this point, all ‘mystery-ied’ out. I was tired. I needed Gidget. Or perhaps Mary Poppins, or even Samantha Stevens…

You don’t remember my name?” She asked after lighting a cigarette.

“To be stupidly honest, no I don’t.”

“No matter. I am called ‘Layla’. Ring any bells?” (I wish I were making this up)

I’m thinking now that I had just fallen into Dante’s Inferno.

“Uh. No. Should bells be ringing?”

“So… You’re a Sailor? Yes?”

“Yes. And what are you? And are you from around here?”

“Not from around here. I’m just visiting my cousin. She is the one cooking breakfast.”

“Yeah. I can smell bacon.”

“Good nose. I like that in a man. Have you an appetite?”

“From some memory of last night, I’d have to say ‘yes’.”

“Hahahahah! Yep. You do, Sailor Man. Yep, you do.”

“So, if you’re not from here. Where are you ‘from’, and what do you do?”

“I’m from Wisconsin. I work as a bartender. I’m also a bouncer, when the need is needed. Oh, and I love to ride Harleys.”

Perfection, I thought. Now what Cowboy? Shit. Here I am again…

I had ‘some leave-days-on-the-books’ and seriously considered at that moment that I needed to take them and head home to Texas to get a re-start on my physic saki… (Well, spelling ain’t never been my thing, but you know what I mean here.) 

I mean, I was still re-‘bound’ for glory. But I did have some time, eh? Didn’t I?

“The pitfalls of the city are extremely real.”

Video Credit:

gdoublee

To Be Continued…Here

Shonnie: Just Some Last Thoughts & One “Reminisce”

I killed this post. Probably because it did not ring ‘true’ (even though it was). Anyway, I brought it back, if for nothing else, my own edification.

(And of course, because I love Sheryl Crow. And of course, as a vain writer, I just cannot cotton to killing my own words, once written. Hahahaha! Writers, y’all know what I mean.) 

Please Bare er, ‘bear’… with me on this one Y’all.

***

Time always makes things (memories) better. This is how I cope. As for me and Shonnie, memories are multiplied–super-sized, if you will. The words I wrote of our relationship are all too true. I do hope she never reads those words, as neither she nor I are strong enough to re-live those heady days. This is how life is. One is young once, (and older more than twice) and youth does stupid shit based upon that ‘youth’, and then, if lucky, one has a chance for redemption later in life.

(Not religious redemption: human redemption) I don’t apologize for my youthful indiscretions. They belong to me alone. I will carry. If anyone has in their head after reading my story of Lance and Shonnie, that I did not truly love her, that I allowed her to set me free for my own self-preservation, that I did not want to fight for her, then you may want to go back and read between the lines.

And with that ‘mini-rant’ spotlight shined into my soul, I leave you with this idealized and fantasized version of what Shonnie meant to me.

(Ms Shonnie’s part played and well-acted by Sheryl Crow.) And as good as Sheryl is, she could never be as good to me as was Shonnie. Ever. (But, I’d grant her an audition, none-the-less) And it shames me now to admit this but I was, back then, not strong enough to be her man.

If you are new here and confused, here is the beginning of this little story: Shonnie

Go there with my Blessings… and sympathy

 

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife: This is the (NOT) The End

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen

The three Harleys were gaining on me as I sped southbound down Interstate 5. It was still dark and the traffic was light. I floored the pedal on the Toronado, but I knew they would eventually catch up to me. As my speedometer redlined at one hundred I took another furtive glance in the rearview: still gaining fast. Where the hell were the famous CHiPs? For the absolute first time in my life, I wanted to get busted. One biker managed to pull up alongside me on the passenger side. I swerved to the right just a bit to try to spook him. No dice! He easily dodged my quarter panel and I caught a brief glimpse of his grinning face, mocking me. (bikers never wore helmets)  The two remaining bikes pulled up behind him. I was running out of options. Should I just continue on until I ran out of freeway or gas? Hope a highway patrol finally spotted us? Surrender? I stole another glance in my side mirror and could just barely make out the third biker taking aim at my car with a handgun, rather unsteadily given our speed, but I braced for the worst, then BAM!

I awoke with a start and sat bolt upright in bed. The alarm was wailing away. Shonnie stirred and moaned, “What time is it?”

Reaching over to kill the alarm, I knocked the clock off the nightstand. “Shit!” I reached over the side of the bed, grabbed it and managed to turn the damn thing off. “It’s five-thirty,” I said.

“Ohhh too early,” she moaned again, pulling the covers over her head.

“Go back to sleep,” I said.

“No. I’ll make you some coffee,” she said, sitting up, stretching her arms upward yawning

“Got no time for that. I gotta get back to my ship. Muster is at zero-seven.”

“It’ll just take a minute,” she said as she extracted her naked body from the covers.

“Okay, but a minute is about all I have.”

I got out of bed and put on my jeans. Shonnie threw on her robe and disappeared downstairs. I went into the head and splashed some cold water on my face, trying to shock the dream out of my mind. Just as I finished struggling to get into my too-tight boots, I heard the kettle whistling downstairs. Making sure I had my wallet and military ID, I descended to the kitchen to join Shonnie. She handed me a cup and I took a quick sip.

“Good coffee,” I said.

“You’re welcome Cowboy.”

“You sleep alright? I asked.

“Yeah, sorta, but you were snoring and moaning till all hours.”

“Sorry ‘bout that. Look, I gotta split. I wanna beat the traffic. My Master Chief don’t have a sense of humor about being late for muster.” I handed her the still mostly full cup of coffee.

She set it on the counter, threw her arms around my neck clinging tight, pulling me down and kissing me passionately. She withdrew her lips but kept my neck locked tight. “Oh Rhett! When will Ah evah see you again?”

I reached up and gently pulled her hands free and said, “Very funny Scarlett. I’ll call you this evening, but now I gotta go.”

“Okay, Darlin’, lemme walk you out.”

We walked over to the front door holding hands. I opened it. Shonnie let out a gasp. “Oh no,” she said.

“What is it?”

“Look there,” she said pointing down at the deck.

There was a white sack about a yard from the front door. It had the unmistakable mark of McDonald’s on it. I took a step outside, picked it up, turned to Shonnie and said, “What the fuc…”

“Come back inside quickly,” she almost whispered.

I went back in and she shut the door, locking it with a loud click. “It’s Billy.”

“Billy?”

“My husband, you idiot.”

“Sorry. You never did tell me his name.”

“You never asked.”

Still clutching the sack in my hand, I opened it up and discovered two large coffees and two pastries.

“Give me that!” she said, almost shouting as she grabbed the sack out of my hand. “Look, this coffee is still hot. He must have just been here.” She was visibly shaking.

“Quite the gentleman to deliver breakfast, doncha think?”

“Goddamn Lance! This shit ain’t funny!”

“Well, what the hell do you expect from a smartass?”

“You can’t leave now,” she said as she walked over and slumped down into an overstuffed chair, dropping the bag on the floor almost tipping over the coffees inside.

“Seriously? Will he try to hurt you if I go?”

“No… not right away anyhow. It’s you… You! He’ll be after you! Dammit to Fuck!”

“Baby, I got no choice. I’d rather face ‘Billy’ than try to explain to Master Chief why I’m UA.”

She stared at me blankly for an instant as if I had just said something in a language she did not understand. “Whaaat?”

“Uh UA; unauthorized absence. AWOL. You know.”

“Fuck that! If you leave here now, you might be ‘AWOL’ permanent.”

“Well, I doubt that, but anyway I gotta go.” I turned and walked back toward the door. “I’ll call you this evening. Lock the door behind me.”

“Okay,” she sighed, getting up. As I was about to open the door she spun me around and hugged me, burying her face in my chest. “Be safe Lance.”

“You too Baby.”

I opened the door and walked out. Shonnie shut it behind me and I heard the click as she turned the deadbolt.

My car was parked almost a block away from the house. It was still an hour before sunrise but the streetlights, though not bright, afforded enough light for me to make my way without any difficulty. As I slowly walked toward the Toronado, I was glancing left and right, trying to see into the shadows, hoping I would see no one. My shoulders were tight as I wondered if they would suddenly be pierced by a round from a hand gun. I keep walking. Almost there now. The Toronado was parked directly under a street light. Shit! I would have preferred a darker venue for getting into my car. Oh well. I fumbled around for my keys, unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel. Turning the key in the ignition, the engine turned over a few times more than normal, but finally caught hold. The cassette player was still cranked up and in the early morning quiet seemed extremely loud. I quickly reached over and shut down Jim Morrison in the middle of his song.

The car was facing the opposite direction I needed to be going, so I had to pull forward into an empty driveway, back up and get turned about. Back in the street and facing the right direction, I dropped the car into drive.

Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a Harley cranking up and someone revving the throttle.

Not The End.

More:  HERE

 

Video Credit:

ThaG0DFATHER

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife. Chapter XIII: La Jolla

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve 

It’s a pretty good drive from Seaport Village to La Jolla. We stopped along the way for cigarettes, sandwich stuff and beer and arrived at “Auntie’s House” about seven-thirty. This isn’t it, but a reasonable facsimile:

La Jolla

 

“Your aunt rich?” I asked stupidly.

“Yeah. What was your first clue?”

“Lucky guess, I suppose.”

“Come on. It’s even better inside.”

She led me into the condo.

“First class joint,” I said. “Really classy.”

“Let me give you the nickel tour.”

She led me through the living room, past the dining room and into the kitchen. It was all stainless steel and wood. Very nice. We put the sandwich stuff and the beer in the fridge. Shonnie produced two tumblers and threw some ice into each. I took the bottle of Jim Beam, splashed some into each glass, and handed one to her.

“A toast!” I said. “To us!”

We clinked tumblers, took a swig and fell into each other’s arms. Lips to lips. “You make me happy my dear,” I whispered into her ear as we broke our lip lock.

“I had a great fucking time in Vegas. Won’t be forgetting that soon.”

“Yeah, but next time. Please. Please listen to me.”

“Hahaha! Sure Cowboy. I promise to be good… ‘Next time’. Come on. I wanna show you the rest of this ‘joint’.”

We took the stairs and she led me into what I surmised was the master bedroom. It was large as condo bedrooms go, but then, I was no expert on anything ‘condo’. In fact, this was probably my first. There were double French doors opening up to a small patio overlooking the Pacific. The bed was huge. I pushed down on it with my hand and watched as it rippled. Waterbed. Last time I had seen a waterbed was back in the Seventies. I wondered silently if this one leaked… There were Asian paintings on the walls and shag beige carpet on the floor. Some African wooden statues were on the dresser. I recognized them from my eight days spent in Kenya. The bathroom had an old-timey tub, green towels, and a shower stall… and a bidet! Wow! Mishmash of so many cultures. Well, California. What could one say?

“Why don’t you rinse off in the shower while I fetch some ice and build our bar?”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll do that.”

After my ‘rinse off’, I wrapped a green beach towel about me, lay on the bed with my drink and my Marlboro. (Figured it permissible to smoke, as there were about five ashtrays strategically placed about the room.)

Shonnie reappeared with the whiskey, two sandwiches, a small bucket of ice, and two beers. Quite the juggler, she was.

“It’s okay. Don’t get up,” she said with some small sarcasm, as she deposited her items on one of the nightstands next to the waterbed.”

“Hungry?” I asked.

“Yeah. Lose that towel.”

I did and she ‘lost’ her jeans et al.

We made slow love for some thirty minutes. Deep kisses, lots of teasing, and finally came together…

As we lay back in the bed, silently smoking, she said, “You’re quite the catch, ain’t ya Cowboy?”

“Not sure your meaning, Little Lady.”

“Just sayin’. You’re quite the catch.”

“Not really. Just another lonely sailor far from home.”

“Yeah with fireplace eyes and the gift of bullshit, and any port in a storm.”

“True enough, I suppose.” (‘Fireplace eyes?’ I’d only heard this once before. From… my wife. Somewhat unnerving to hear it again after so many years.)

“Eat your sandwich,” she said. “Then we can watch a movie. The night is still young.” She got up and I watched her walk to the bathroom. Her perfect petite body and (purposely?) twitching little ass tantalizing me still–although I was quite sated at that moment.

I reached for the sandwich even though I was not hungry. Suddenly becoming self-conscious about my nakedness and feeling vulnerable, I got up and put my pants on. I lay back on the bed, picked up the sandwich, took one bite and put it down. There was a large television opposite the bed. I picked up the remote from the night stand and switched it on. CNN appeared. Some talking head, info babe, was blathering on and on about something that had just happened in Iraq: ‘Breaking News’. I muted the volume.

“You’re watching the News?” She said, suddenly appearing in front of me wearing a white terry-cloth robe and a frown.

“I think it’s watching me.”

“How depressing. I never watch the news.”

“Current events are important,” I said.

“Not to me.”

“Well, here’s a news’ flash for ya: You are drop-dead gorgeous.”

“Careful there, Cowboy…”

She walked over to the ‘Entertainment Center’ which was part of the whole TV thing and began perusing some VHS tapes. “What kind of movies do you like?” she asked.

“Historical, hysterical drama.” I said.

“Well, that does narrow it down a bit.” She selected a tape; put it in, and then picking up two remotes began pushing buttons. “Top Gun” appeared on the screen as if by technological magic.

“I was thinking of maybe something a little less contemporary,” I said as Kenny Loggins began his bit.

Video Credit:

KennyLogginsVEVO

“Nonsense!” she said. “This is perfect for you. You’re a sailor, eh?”

“Yeah I am, but not a fighter jock. And I hate Tom Cruise.”

“Relax. Have you seen this movie?”

“’Fraid I have, but okay. Kelly McGillis is never a waste of my time.”

“Asshole!”

“C’est moi.”

With that she jumped on the bed causing me to spill some amber onto the sheets and almost drop my cigarette. She grabbed my head and planted a deep kiss, sticking her tongue down my throat.

“Madame! I am aghast!” I said as I was freed from her embrace.

“Shut up and watch the movie.”

Kenny was just finishing up ‘Danger Zone’, and proving once again that I needed to pay closer attention to my life’s soundtrack, especially when it is foreshadowing and trying to connect. We got through the horrible movie thanks to several glasses of Beam and a few beers and not a small number of cigarettes. It was, I have to admit looking back, the best screening of one of the worst movies of all time. I kept Shonnie in laughter as I picked apart the utter bullshit and un-factual parts of the movie. Yes, sometimes I can do sarcasm with the best.

As the final credits were rolling, Shonnie snuggled up to me and asked, “Lance, do you love me?”

“Probably,” I said.

“I’m a little hard to love.”

“Not for a schmuck like me.”

“I’m serious here. I have issues.”

“Yeah, don’t we all?”

“Goddamn it! I am serious.”

“’Serious’ is not something I’m good at.”

“You are EXASPERATING!”

“That’s a pretty good four-bit word,” I said with a mocking grin.

“Actually, it’s five bits, you bastard.”

“True enough,” I said, as I counted off the syllables in my head.

“You know my estranged husband is one mean son-of-a-bitch, right?”

“Never met the stud.  Do tell.”

“Trust me. And he called me up at Mama’s the other day and asked me who was my new boyfriend.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I think he’s been following me.”

“I’m not much into ‘threesomes’.”

“Listen asshole. I’m getting scared.”

“Wanna end it?”

She paused and I saw some sorrow creep into her eyes. “Might be a good idea,” she said. Then quickly added, “But just for a little while. I don’t want to lose us.”

“Let’s sleep on it. I have to leave here at zero-five-thirty so I can make morning muster on my ship.”

She buried her head under my arm and we fell asleep under the blue TV screen light.

To Be Continued…  HERE

Call Me Crazy, But I Have Just Experienced a Brief Epiphany

(And yes, I know. All epiphanies are brief)

We all have our ‘About’ Pages. Who really ever reads them? (I do)

Here is mine, in case you may have missed it.

(And No! This is not some vain fantasy; just a clarification)

Cheers Y’all.

****

By Way of Introduction (UPDATED 11 July) Bugs Bunny

Hail Yes and Merrily Met!

My name is Lance Marcom and These Pages will be my Home for the foreseeable future. All are welcome here–welcome to compliment, deride, disparage, commiserate, cajole, rant, rave, fawn, frown–In short, all comments will be appreciated.

Marcom_Dubai

This Virgin  De-flowered Slut Blog O’ Mine will contain Tall Tales, Short Tales, Middlin’ Tales, Major Tales, Minor Tales…

Tales of Amusement, Tales of Adventure, Tales of Larceny, Tales of Woes, Tales of Foes, Tales of Loves Won & Lost, Tales of Fortunes Achieved & Squandered, and much more as becomes my wont… 

Tales From Texas, The Middle East, The Far East, The Near East, The Southeast, The South Coast, The South Pacific,The Left Coast, The Old World, and Perhaps Even Oklahoma…

But most importantly, I wish this to be a place for my guests to enjoy, for:

“No profit grows where is no pleasure ta’en.”

(That’s Shakespeare, Y’all.)

*****

Just For Fun Y’all, I am going to throw a new video (or quote, or some other surprise nonsense) up here everyday. Why? You may ask. 

Because I think an ‘About Page’ should be ever-changing and dynamic, just as the Person it is purported to be “About” is ever-changing and dynamic.

Therefore, I upload some of my favorite stuff here. Daily (usually)

So…  here goes for 11 July: Albuquerque (I had the opportunity to live there, once.) For, you see, my mom took a wrong turn at Moriarty… hence: young lives changed. For some forever.

Hope you enjoy.

And please do not forget to listen to what was my mantra while cooling my heels in Amman Jordan in late ’07

Baghdad!

The Best of the Hitchslap

tex flag

 

Bullshit Legal Stuff:

I Suppose it is Time (alas):

All This Shit Is Copyrighted.
Please Respect that, for:

“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.”
–Shakespeare

Thanks,
-The Management

More ‘Shonnie’ tomorrow. Story at eleven.

Night, Night.

Addendum:

Someone once posited the idea that good posts always challenge the reader with a question (“This invites discourse”)

I cannot disagree, but by the time I finish my posts. I am all ‘discoursed out’.

That said, ’tis good advice. So, here is my million-dollar question:

“How many of y’all ever go to the ‘about’ page ‘ere you ‘follow’? I know I do. And for just one important reason: Sometimes we are misled and by being misled, we tend to ‘say’ things that are offensive to the blogger. Therefore, I like to get a ‘feel’ if you will, of the person’s blog I am about to comment all over. I do not aim for controversy, but I seem to land there more often than not.

Point is… know your audience and never purposely offend.

Peace,

Lance

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife Part XI: Un-Graceful Exit

Chapter Eleven of Shonnie

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  

***

After an hour of waiting (and three Jim Beams), I decided to go looking for Shonnie. The walk to the El Cortez was not long, but too long, as I did not feel the need to walk it. What the fuck was she doing? She was supposed to wait ten or fifteen minutes, cash out, and meet me back at the Plaza. It was now getting late and I’d had no intention of returning to the Cortez. Some months earlier I had almost been thrown out for the very thing I had done this eve, albeit without a partner. Damn it! Fremont Street was packed with all the usual suspects: tourists, vagrants, weekend warriors, refugees from L.A.

I made my way to the El Cortez.

Once past the slots I headed back to the bar. As I sat down I saw Shonnie still seated next to ‘George’, laughing it up and surprisingly with a decent stack of chips in front of her. George was lighting her cigarette. She did not notice me at the bar. I ordered a draft Stout, lit a Marlboro, and contemplated my next move. I had to get her away from the table and away from George, who had obviously fallen to her charms. There were two other players at the table, but the seat next to Shonnie was empty. Once my beer arrived I took a drag from my cigarette and walked over to the table.

The dealer was yet another cute young ‘Ornamental’ sweetie. Before I sat down I withdrew five hundred from my wallet and placed it on the table.

“Green” I said.

The dealer stacked my chips and pushed them toward me. “Good luck, Sir.”

Shonnie looked up and betrayed some surprise. She could see I was slightly pissed. This is an assumption. I nodded at her, but probably not discreetly enough.

I had checked my ‘drunken cowboy’ façade at the door. All I wanted was to get her (and me) the hell out of there. The dealer was about to shuffle the two decks as I placed four green chips. Before she finished her shuffle, another dealer came up behind her, tapping on her shoulder. The new dealer was No Chick. He was more of a ‘Guido’. My radar now was operational. She dropped the deck and clapped her hands for the Eye-in-the-Sky and moved off. Guido picked up the decks, smiled at me and parroted the ‘Good Luck’ catch phrase as he offered me the cut. I cut the decks in the middle and took a sideways glance at Shonnie. She ignored me. Good for her.

“Sir,” the new dealer said, “Please cut closer to the bottom.”

“Uh sure,” I said, somewhat nervously as I recut the decks.

I caught the pit boss looking at me. Or was I just being paranoid? Shonnie was still apparently oblivious.

The cards came out. I caught a deuce and a jack, fucking Dead Man’s Hand. Shonnie caught a pair of queens. Shit! Maybe this game is all about luck after all. The dealer had an ace showing.

“Insurance?” he asked. No takers. Insurance is generally a sucker’s bet. Dealer made a show of peeking at his hole card, and not flipping it over revealed he had no blackjack. He dealt.

The two to my right busted. I don’t even recall what they had. I was not counting cards at this point. I just wanted out. I had to hit my twelve. Caught a seven and stood at nineteen. Shonnie stood pat with her twenty. George hit his fifteen, caught an eight and busted.

The dealer flipped his hole card, revealing a six for a ‘soft’ seventeen. He had to hit. He did and caught a deuce for a nineteen and a ‘push’.  A tie for me. A win for Shonnie.

As the dealer was paying off Shonnie’s win and gathering up the cards, I nudged her with my knee. She looked at me somewhat startled and I knew instantly that she was going to have her some fun with this.

Okay, I thought. Wanna play games?

Lighting a cigarette and taking a draw from my beer, I said, “Looks like you’re doin’ okay here tonight. You always this lucky? What’s your secret?”

She giggled, “I have a blackjack mentor.”

“Ah… I see. Where is he now?”

“Dunno. He tole me to fly solo this evening.”

“Sure you ready for that?” I asked.

“Yeah. I am. What’s it to you cowboy?”

Taking another slow drag off my cig, I said, “Uh, nothing to me. Just thought you might wanna take a break… while you’re ahead of course, and join me for a drink.”

“I got free drinks right here. Why would I wanna join you?’

(Obviously Shonnie was pushing my buttons and beginning to get on my last nerve)

At this point, ‘George’ chimed in: “Hey Pal,” he said, “She is g-a-m-b-l-i-n-g, git it?”

“Yeah, I ‘git’ it Sir. And who are you, if I may ask?”

“I am a sailor, for your information.”

Fuckin’ perfect, I thought. Another drunken sailor—a small fish in a big pond—this was gonna require some surgical delicacy. Goddamn you Shonnie! What’s your ‘game’?

I ended the conversation at that point and pretended to focus on the hands I had been dealt: The cards and the situation. The card’s part was easy: I had drawn an eighteen. No decision time there. Shonnie had drawn another natural Blackjack (fuck!) and the dealer had a four showing. Shonnie was paid her wages for her BJ. I stood on my eighteen. George sucked on his fifteen and this time wisely stood pat, knowing the dealer should bust (If he even knew how to play the game).  The dealer did in fact, bust.

As he paid off the bets, I felt a presence at my elbow. I turned and was greeted by an ‘Official’ from the ‘Management’.

“Hello Sir. Are you a guest here at the hotel?”

“Nope. Why do you ask?”

(Here it comes… I had been asked this question before)

“Well Sir, we see that you are betting… and we like to accommodate our best customers. Is there anything you require, or need? A room? A meal? A girl?”

“Not really. In fact, I was just about to leave and call it a night.”

“That’s a shame. We here at the El Cortez pride ourselves in our hospitality.”

“Certain you do, and I appreciate that, but I really must be on my way.”

“As you wish Sir. Good luck.”

Fuck! Fuck! I nudged Shonnie slightly harder with my knee and gathered my chips. The cacophony of the casino and the smells and the lights… were all getting to me! I just wanted to leave.

If she were intent to continue her game, she could do it without me. I came for her. That is all I could do. She should have known that.

Wouldn’t she have known that?

“Vaguely she floats and lacelike
Blown in like a curtain on the night wind
She’s nebulous and naked
He wonders where she’s been
He grabs at the air because there’s nothing there
Her evasiveness stings him…”

Video Credit: 

1Bluesboy1

To Be Continued…  HERE

Just Some Fun, Or a Promise of a Premise

For those of you who may have had the premature misfortune to read the end of the ‘Shonnie’ Series, I apologize.

I got lazy and lackadaisical. There (of course) is much more to the end of that story. I will sharpen my pencil and re-write it. The facts are the facts, but even ‘un-sharpened’ facts deserve their day in court… and with some poetry. This is just requisite in my world.

Meantime: Mae West is the woman I have always loved (This may speak volumes about me and most likely of my attraction for Shonnie). 

Watch the Video and wish to be… Cinderella

(Good luck with that)

Video Credit: CaliforniaDreamin1

“Life is a Cabaret”

Never forget that.

 

 

Late Spring Cleanin’: Or, ‘Fishin’ by the creek’, Your Choice

I am cleaning out some old posts and kickin’ ’em to the curb

Please bare with me. (Bear? Is that a word? Or just an animal?)

Anyhow…

Read if you will. (And if not, well, thanks for the auto-likes)

Cheers!

***

‘Three-Nine-Six-One-Three Bruning Street Fremont California: 1964-1968’

Funny how I still remember the street address when I cannot remember my mother’s birthday, or what I had for Sunday Supper last week, or my second wife’s maiden name, or who won the World Series last year.

All the houses on Bruning Street were brand new. And they were all alike. But their alikeness did not dampen my spirits, especially since mom and I had left the moldy old garage apartment across town. I had finally escaped that place and the Ghost of that Murdered Turkey.

Seems the entire neighborhood moved in on the same summer weekend: Floodgates opened—lots of activity—trucks coming and going, grown-ups schlepping boxes, kids (potential buddies?) playing and yellin’ and runnin’ wild, dogs untethered, barking, yipping, yapping, chasing. Just general mayhem all around: very excited we all were to be living the American Dream. Norman Rockwell should have been there.

A House on Bruning Street Today

A House on Bruning Street

All the houses had small front yards, slightly larger back yards, but no fences. In fact not really proper yards yet. No lawns, just California clay, hard-packed and untenable.

This would soon be remedied. By today’s standards for suburbia the dwellings were quite modest. No McMansions these. Each house had three small bedrooms, one bathroom, smallish kitchen, tiny dining area, and small living room. That was it, but compared to our garage apartment, Mom and I had moved into the Taj Mahal. Everything smelled gloriously of fresh paint, fresh earth, and promise. I immediately picked a spot in the back yard for my garden. As a kid, I was never happier than when I was digging in the dirt, much to the chagrin of my much harried mother and my blatant hatred of regular bathing.

Mom and I settled in quickly. For a few days, I shyly & longingly watched some of the other kids playing around up the street. My shyness prevented me from going up and introducing myself, but I had a secret weapon: some small incendiary devices. Actually they were just marble-sized balls that when slammed into the pavement would explode like firecrackers. Cannot recall where I had procured them, but they suited my purpose rather elegantly. Nonchalantly I walked over to the sidewalk one day and commenced to fling them down, one at a time. The ensuing explosions captured the attention of the group of kids up the street and they all came stampeding over to investigate.

Attention Getter

Attention Getter

This was how I broke the ice and made my first friends on Bruning Street. Call it an old magician’s trick, if you will.

“Wow! Those are so neat! Where’d ya get ‘em?”

“Just got ‘em,” I said, ever so cool.

“Can I try one?”

“Well… Yeah, but be careful; they’re not for kids, ya know.”

“What’s your name?”

“Lance. What’s yours?”

Thus the beginning of some of my beautiful friendships.

As summer turned to fall and the lawns and juvenile trees and fences and dog shit sprouted up on Bruning Street, I had cemented many friendships. Most of the kids were very close to my age. We never extended our circle beyond the confines of our street. Later I would break that unwritten code by becoming best friends with the kid who lived in the house bordering mine in the back. His name was Ricky Martinez. His people came from Puerto Rico, but he didn’t speak Spanish. He was a few years older and a bit of a gangster and we hit it off from the start. Right then I began my propensity of always living double lives. When I really wanted mischief I sought Ricky. Other times when it was baseball or playing army or watching Saturday morning cartoons I was after, I kept to my Bruning Street buddies.

Once school started (fourth grade for me), I made even more friends who could never mix with my Bruning Street friends or my Gangster friend Ricky. So now I had three lives to juggle.

Of course we all had bicycles and would fearlessly ride them all over town: Sometimes to the public swimming pool about four miles away and sometimes to the mall and the movie theater also about four miles distant. No one worried after our safety because we were never in any danger. We also had skateboards as second ‘cars’ and Ricky convinced me to paint mine silver. His reasoning was that when we eventually were confronted with rival gangs (Ricky and I were the only ones in our ‘gang’, but we did attempt some recruiting) we could turn the silver side of the skateboard toward the rival gang and blind them into submission with the sunlight reflected off our boards. We never encountered any menacing ‘rival gangs’, but we were ever vigilant and ready for them, should they appear.

My ‘Bruning Street Gang’ was so very much like the kids from South Park that it amazes me when I watch that TV show today. We cussed blue streaks amongst ourselves and had very strong and learned opinions about everything going on in the world. There was Randy Francin and his little brother Paul who lived right across the street. There were the DuBords who lived down the block. Craig the elder, Tommy the young ‘un and their older sister Kim, who looked a lot like Julie Andrews.

There was ‘Steve-Our-Hero’, a lanky sixteen year old blond-haired kid who looked like someone right out of a surfer movie. He lived about four doors down from me and was worshipped by us all. He had a grown-up job delivering newspapers and it was high honor to be ordered by him to bike down to the Seven-Eleven and pick him up a sixteen-ounce Pepsi. (I kept the bottle caps from my missions as souvenirs, almost like saintly relics in fact, and I kept them displayed in my bedroom) Our undying ambition was to grow up to be Steve.

A few doors down in the opposite direction lived another sixteen year old: A GIRL. Her name was Linda. She was also blond and I was madly in love with her. She once showed me her Janis Joplin album cover: Cheap Thrills Big Brother and the Holding Company and she was the coolest girl I had ever known.

Cheap Thrills

My Baptism

(actually the only girl I had ever known) I wanted to marry her, but all I was allowed to do was worship, which I did shamelessly. One day, she actually let me listen to the album. We sat on her bed silent through the entire record. My life changed that day. It reads corny, but sometimes corny is the best read. She was my first unrequited love and my first elusive butterfly.

Why she and Steve never hooked up, I have no idea. They were our royalty and it just didn’t seem right to me that they were not a couple. If I could not have her, surely Steve could. The two coolest people I knew and they were each too busy for the other. I don’t think they even knew of each other. Shakespeare could not have written it better.

Linda had her nemesis who lived at the far end of the street. Her name escapes me, but she was the same age as Linda and a brunette. Linda confided in me one day that she had gone over to her house and caught her sitting on the toilet picking at her pussy hairs. Oh my god! I had never heard a woman say ‘pussy’ before. I was certain that she had never said that to anyone but me and I fell even more in love with her. It was my little secret: Linda had talked dirty to me.

OK. You had to know I just could not resist. For all you Musical Fans out there, my apologies to Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, George Bernard Shaw, et al.

This one is for you Linda, wherever you are:

We had our pecking order. Hell, we even had our South Park ‘Kenny’, a young Hispanic kid who lived next door to me and always wanted to hang out with us ‘older kids.’ He never died, by the way, but we did torment him mercilessly, once almost conning him into drinking piss out of a Pepsi bottle. Would have worked too, if we had had the presence of mind to let it cool down before offering it to him. I cannot recall whose piss it was. Might have been a group effort.

Occasionally we would get into fights within our group, invariably causing us to split into two factions. Loyalties were often divided. These little insurrections could go on for weeks at a time, but eventually there would be a truce and a general détente. For fighting we had strict protocol. If one kid desired fisticuffs, he was required to proclaim in a loud and clear voice:

“I choose you out!”

The opponent had two choices: He could say, “I accept,” and get it on, or he could walk away, but no one ever walked away. The shame of not accepting such a challenge would have been career ending and would mean certain banishment forever.

The fights were furious but generally brief with not much harm done to anything but the pride of the loser. I won some of these encounters and I lost some. I guess on this front I was generally batting about five hundred.

One day I was forced too young into manhood. Ricky was a kleptomaniac. I knew he had this failing, but I kept overlooking it, denying it actually. He kept stealing stuff from me. Nothing important but it hurt me deep inside. We were best friends. One day he was ‘pumping me’ (which means I was riding on the back of his bicycle) over to his house. My bike had a flat.

Anyway, I was seated behind him and I saw a toy top of mine bulging out of his pocket. I could not feign denial any longer. When we got to his house, I mustered all the character I had and I broached this subject,

“Rick,” I said, “You know you are my best friend, right?”

“Yeah of course.”

“Well, it hurts me to tell you this, but I know you have been stealing stuff from my house.”

“Whaaat?! Bullshit!” he said.

“Ricky, I saw my top in your pocket on the way over here.”

Top of The Day

Top of The Day

“Oh… Yeah… Well here. Take it back,” he said, digging it out of his pocket.

“Ricky,” I said, “It ain’t about the top. It’s about friendship. And trust. I don’t care about the fuckin’ top. I care about our friendship.”

He gave me his best ‘I’m sorry look.’ And then I insisted he keep the top, but I think that was the beginning of the end of our friendship. That was up until then, the most painful conversation I had ever had to initiate in my young life, but it had to be; I just could not let him slide. Or me either. I would have hated him if I had not confronted him. The hate would have just festered and poisoned me. Somehow I instinctively knew this.

I loved all my friends good and bad and I was loyal to a fault.

These happy times rolled on along for a couple of years; then I was overtaken by events and my life would never be the same.

I had to go, you see, but I did miss the Saturday Cartoons.

To Be Continued. Here

Throw Back: Continuation of ‘On The Street Where I Lived’

This is essentially Part Two of an earlier post:

On The Street Where I Lived

****

Ricky Martinez and I were pyromaniacs.

Okay, that may be an overstatement, but we did love burning shit and building fires, albeit small ones. During the Sixties on Bruning Street every back yard had a ‘burning barrel’ (Can you imagine? Today? In California? Actually burning trash in town? Oh how times change.)

Fire

There was only one rule: The fire in the burning barrel had to be out by noon. No problem. I always volunteered for Burn Barrel Duty. Mom was happy to oblige.

Fire fascinated me, but what I really craved was camping out and with a ‘proper’ camp fire: just a little rustic thing with rocks all about and something to cook, preferably some dead animal, but a potato would do in a pinch. Ricky shared my fire obsession, but was none too keen on the culinary part of the exercise. He just liked breaking the rules. And building fires. And burning shit.

So for about three weeks running, every day after school we would meet in my side-yard, where there would be less chance of prying eyes busting us, and build a small camp fire. I would steal potatoes, or carrots, or bologna, or spam, and using an old coffee can, we would cook away. As I recall we never ate any of this food, but that wasn’t really the point was it?

The Old Broad who lived next door hated all the kids in the neighborhood–with a purple-fluorescent passion. Her daughter had managed to escape her conscience by purchasing the house and dumping her off there to fend, checking in every six years (OK: weeks).

She had a beautiful pristine grassy front yard, golf-green-like, never feeling the wet kiss of a Ked’s sneaker, a bicycle tread, or even a bare foot. She had drawn a line on her border:

Abandon All Hope:

KIDS Who Set Foot On My Lawn

My buddies and I were rowdy kids (Read: Normal) But when we played in my front yard we were cognizant of The Witch’s Yard, and did our best not to inadvertently step on it. Because we all knew That Bitch was watching from her window; I mean, what the hell else did she have to do with her time?

One afternoon, just about the whole neighborhood was playing ‘Batman & Robin’ vs The ‘Green Hornet’ vs ‘The Man from Uncle’ vs ‘James Bond’ in my yard.

Call it a ‘Super Hero Smack Down’ if you like.

Things got out of hand and I took multiple bullets from Kato and then method-acted my death, falling prostrate onto The Bitch’s yard. Seeing my over-acting (and my trespass), my gang scattered like dew in West Texas on a hot summer day. I lay there for a moment, not unlike Laurence Olivier in the death scene from ‘Lear’, waiting for the applause.

What I heard instead was the screeching of what should have been an owl.

Wasn’t.

Was The Witch/Bitch. She was screeching and running toward me, (Shades of Mr. Peabody) I got up, jumped back onto ‘safe ground’ (mine) and prepared myself for the royal chastising. I did not have to wait long.

This old broad proceeded to lay in to me with the most vitriolic rage I had ever heard up until that day.

Not knowing what to say, I just stood there, head half-bowed and took it. My gang slowly made their way back in what I mistakenly thought to be a show of Solidarity. They gathered around on either side of me, but not too close. The Old Bat, now with a perfect opportunity to lecture the entire population of juvenile delinquents on Bruning Street, took her stage and launched her soliloquy,

“You kids have no respect! You know you are ruining my yard! Look at all of you! You-should-be-ashamed! You have no respect!” Then she leveled her eyes, laser-like at me,

“And this kid,” she said, pointing a bony finger in my face. “This kid! Look at him! He is laughing at me! Laughing!”

(Clarification: it was a smirk, involuntary, but certainly to the uninitiated a smirk nonetheless. You see, my entire life I have had no control over my ‘smirk’ and this has gotten me into much trouble and has indeed cost me some relationships, but I just cannot help it. When something strikes me funny or ludicrous, the muscles in my face take over, and… well, I guess ‘smirk’ works well enough for the description.

Alas. Tis a curse.

Growing exasperated, and then feigning great ‘Old Helpless Lady’ sorrow, she said,

“Look how he laughs at me! Look how he mocks me! Me! Just a poor old woman who only wants to have a nice yard. Is this too much to ask from my old age?”

And with that performance thus ended, she turned and slowly (for full effect) sauntered off and made her sorrowful, broken old lady exit, stage left. (Mind you: this was the same lady that, OJ Simpson-Like-in an Airport, had burst upon the scene five minutes previous, flaying talons and rage.)

My best buddy, Randy, came up to me and asked oh so solemnly, “Lance, do you… laugh?”

“Not anymore,” I said brusquely, and walked toward the front door of my house. Everyone else slowly dispersed, all heart-sick and remorseful.

“And thanks for having my back” I said under my breath, to no one in particular, as I entered my house.

So I was pissed at my Bruning Street Gang for some weeks and fell in with Ricky full-time. Fine with me. We were having great times every afternoon building our campfire, roasting and boiling whatever I could filch from Mom’s fridge or upon occasion, the odd hapless toad or lizard, or mouse.

One Friday afternoon, I scored two potatoes and a couple of carrots from Mom’s fridge and went to my side yard to wait for Ricky. Presently he showed up with a half package of hot dogs and a few slices of five-day-old Wonder Bread and a bottle of Ketchup.

Now we had a problem

“Ricky, gonna take us hours to cook all this shit,” I said.

“Aw shit! Well, we can just build a bigger fire, yeah?”

“I dunno. Too much smoke and we gonna get caught,” I protested.

“Bullshit! Ain’t nobody around. Who gonna see it?”

So we went to work digging out our fire pit to accommodate a much larger fire. I had some bricks I stole from the pile my stepfather had brought for the construction of the patio he had started. I placed them around the perimeter of the fire pit. Ricky scrounged about and found some pieces of four by fours my step-father had been using to lay out the pattern of the patio. I went into the house and found a fresh McCall’s Magazine belonging to my Mom and brought it out for kindling.

We proceeded to build a proper ‘camp fire’. Actually, it was more of a bonfire to tell the truth, but we weren’t worried. The McCall’s magazine smoke was a little overwhelming though.

As we were preparing the vegetables and the hot dogs for cooking I heard the sliding door slide open. Not good. Mom was not supposed to be home for another hour. I ran to intercept her before she could get to the side yard.

“Hi Mom,” I said. “Hey Mom. I’m hungry. Can I have a sandwich?” I was actually trying to push her with my chest as I said this and she was having none of it.

She pushed by me and turned the corner to the side yard.

“Lance! Ricky! Put out that fire! What is wrong with you?!”

“OK! OK! Mom! We will!”

Then I heard the sirens.

Three fire trucks pulled up in front of my house and firemen jumped out frantically, dragging hoses and shouting like crazy. They knocked the little fence down which separated my side yard from the street. The lead fireman, looking left, looking right, shouted, “Where’s the fire! Where’s the fire!”

Then he saw it: A fire about the size of a ‘Smokey Joe’ BBQ grill, and he fell down laughing, dropping his nozzle.

He recovered, picked up his fire hose, then doused the fire, me, mom, and Ricky (I think out of spite, or frustration), then turned to his fellows and said, trying to regain his composure,

“Fire’s out Boys. Somebody call it in.”

Of course now I was in deep shit. The Fireman summoned me out to the front yard (which was embarrassing as everyone, and I do mean everyone in the neighborhood were assembled all about) and  had a little talk with me before they left;

“Son, do you realize you could have burned that house down? Did you see how close that fire was to your house?”

(‘Yeah’, I remember thinking; ‘about six feet, no wind, and me with a garden hose at the ready’. But wisely, I said nothing and opted for remorseful—the one time my built-in smirk did not betray me.)

He continued, “If we are ever called out here again, we are gonna take you down to juvenile hall. You understand?”

“Uh Yeah, I mean, Yes Sir.”

After the smoke cleared, literally and metaphorically, I discovered it was the Old Witch Next Door who had copped us out and called the fire department.

She would get hers, I vowed.

Yep. She would.

By an’ by…

More Here

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife: Intermission

More Shonnie (and a half)

Parts One  Two  Three Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight

***

Okay. I admit it: I copped out tonight and went with the “Thursday Blow-Back.” What to say? I am lazy. However, I swerved upon an idea (mostly because I really want y’all to ‘like’ Shonnie. She was special. And by that I mean, she was unique.)

Therefore, I had to post this to flavor the pot, as it were. This song sums up a lot , but not all. As most of you regular readers must know, I am a big fan of Joni M. Joni often says things I cannot… Well this below video best describes Shonnie, albeit in unflattering vernacular.

But! Hey! I did not paint ‘me’ too pretty either.

Shonnie, Part VIX Manana. Pax Romana? (I hope). ‘Cause it do grow worse after Vegas. And  with some heartache.

Please stay tuned; This is one story I aim to finish. And finally put to bed.

“You’re mean when you’re loaded. I was raised on robbery.”

 

Shonnie, The Biker’s Wife, Part Four

Shonnie Saga: Part Four

Parts One,   Two,   Three.

We spent that Friday afternoon and most of Saturday enjoying the Bluegrass festival while swilling beers and smoking lots of cigarettes. During the late evenings we would share burgers, listen to all sorts of music on my little boom box, drink whiskey and have great sex. We also talked of many things, but nothing too heavy. We were enjoying ourselves.

Sunday noon we checked out of the motel and sadly headed west back to San Dog. It had been a perfect weekend and I truly regretted the ending of it. Shonnie impressed me more and more with her worldly wisdom, and in spite of no formal higher education, she seemed to know a lot about a lot. Mostly about the important shit: Life. She had not one ounce of pretentiousness in her small body. (Small, very sexy body) Both of us were inventive and creative in bed. Did I mention the sex was fantastic? I am certain I did.

Knowing my duty schedule on the USS Frederick, I knew it would be three weeks until I had another weekend completely devoid of any responsibilities as a sailor. I had already formulated a plan to ‘kidnap’ her when that free weekend came about.

During the ensuing days we kept up our regular rendezvous schedule. More and more I looked forward to seeing her and getting to know her even better. She was reluctant to tell me very much about her life, but bits and pieces did come out between slow dancing, drinking, smoking, and fucking. Her father had left her and her mother when she was still quite young. ‘He was an abusive type’, was about all the detail I got from her, but I could occasionally catch a glimpse of sorrow and pain in her eyes. I refrained from broaching the subject of her husband-the-biker. In fact, the fact that she was married at all, slipped away from my mind like so much quick silver…

One Saturday night she had me drive us to a Mall.

“Okay, what are we doing here?” I asked her. Malls ain’t my thing, you see.

“I wanna buy you something,” she replied.

“Oh no you don’t. I have everything I need.”

“No. You need this, c’mon.”

She led me to a record shop and began searching the bins.

“What’re you looking for?” I asked.

“Gimme a sec. Oh here it is,” she announced happily pulling a cassette from the bin.

“What’s that?”

“You’ll love it. Trust me.”

She purchased Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits, an artist I had never heard of.

We drove to Balboa Park,  and opening some beers to go with our whiskey we listened to the cassette. I loved it from the very first minute. My Girl had me all figured out. It was just a little disconcerting, how she had so easily pegged me and yet to me she was still mostly an enigma.

After the sun set we started our make out session, then she did something unexpected. She unbuckled my jeans and started giving me head. This had never happened before and to say I was quite pleased would be an understatement bordering on the felonious. Just as I was really getting into it, she stopped suddenly, looked up at me with those piercing blue eyes and said solemnly, “If you come in my mouth, I will kill you.”

Well, that kind of ruined ‘My’ moment, but actually in a good way. It struck me so funny that I just could not help bursting out laughing. It was priceless. Make out session temporarily put on hold and my fondness for her intensified.

The next weekend (my ‘freedom’ one), we met at our usual rendezvous point. She, on instructions from me given over a pay phone, had brought along a bag with extra clothes and whatever other tricks of her trade she needed for a two-and-a-half day ‘excursion’, along with a pass from her mom relieving her of motherly duties for the weekend.

“So Cowboy, where are we going?”

“Vegas,” I said. “My turn to ‘educate’ you My Love.”

Video Credit:  The VICTORY of COMMUNISM

“Woolworth  Rhinestone diamond earrings and a sideways glance”

Greatest line from any song.

To be continued…  FIVE HERE

 

Throw-Back: “The Cowards Never Started and the Weak Died Along the Way”

And Yet One More Post From the email Archives:

***

Please tell me all about your therapy session today once it is done. I know a little about back trouble as I went through some during my Navy SEAL training. I know there is nothing worse than that for pain. There were several days during that training whereby I thought it would be better to be dead than run/swim yet another step. Somehow we always managed just one more step. “The only easy day was yesterday” was our mantra and that had been passed down over the years to all BUD/s classes.

There was one guy in my first class (Class 140) who actually broke his femur during a fun little evolution called “Rock Portage.” For two days he remained in training after that. His roommates would walk him about every morning until his leg got numb. Obviously he couldn’t keep up on any of the evolutions and the SEAL instructors kicked him out. No one knew his leg was broken. Once he was drummed out and had gone to Balboa Naval Hospital they told him he had a broken femur. Imagine his surprise!

Rock-portage1

Rock Portage

Hahahah!  A footnote: Seems his father was a retired SEAL. Well when daddy found out how his son had been kicked out of training for having a broken leg, yet still “putting out” to use the vernacular, he was, shall we say, livid. Needless to say, the kid in question was apologized to (ad nauseam) and invited to return once healed so that he would have an opportunity to break the other leg. I talked to him about this and he told me he’d had enough, but then I ran into him a few weeks later and he told me he would be coming back. It takes a special kind of idiot to go through that. I know, as I was just such an idiot. Twice. I suppose that’s why they call it “Special Forces.”

We had a guy in my second BUD/s class (158) whose name was Lundtmark. One day while we were running the obstacle course he got to the very top of the cargo net (roughly 60 feet above the beach) and fell off.

cargo net1

Whoosh!

Bam!

Boom!

Cloud of dust!

He survived, but from that day forward Lundtmark was reborn and known as “Sand-Dart.”

Some of the funniest moments I recall were during “Drown Proofing.” Drown-proofing is quite simple: one’s ankles are tied up and one’s wrists tied together behind one’s back. Then the “wog” (Short for pollywog, a neophyte, wanna-be SEAL) must simply swim 100 meters in 12 foot deep water. Once that is accomplished, the wog must do some acrobatic maneuvers underwater while still tied up and then somehow get to the bottom and pick up a scuba mask with his teeth and bring it to the edge of the pool where the instructors await to pull him out and beach him. All great fun.

I never had any apprehension with this evolution since I am very relaxed in water. Others had slightly more trouble. One idiot after being cast into the water did nothing but bob up and down screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Save me!” As he would get close to the edge of the pool the instructors would push him back toward the middle using long poles while yelling, “You idiot! If you were drowning, you wouldn’t be able to say you’re drowning!” It was all great fun, but I suspect you’d have had to actually been there at that precise moment to fully appreciate it.

drownproofing

Drownproofing

Another idiot didn’t even make it into the water. His name was “Feather.” (His name really was Feather and he was a body-builder which made him a target of opportunity for the instructors’ “special attention.”) Well, seems Feather had second thoughts about BUD/s and his desire to “Kill some Commie Bastards” when it came time for drown-proofing. As soon as we were told to start getting tied up, Feather bolted. He actually ran away! Just like a little bitch. Never saw him again.

He’s probably still running…

This Really Does Deserve Another Look: Lyndon Johnson, Just Another Guy Lookin’ Out for His Nuts

Yes. A Repost. If you do nothing else, please scroll down and listen to the clip. It is hysterical (and real) Even better.

Cheers Y’all and Happy Saturday    Oops! Sunday (is it?)  

*** 

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Texan, Father, School Teacher, Rancher, & Much Maligned 36th President of The United States of America.

I love LBJ, or as Brother Dave Gardner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4E_Nrm0j8k) once called him: ‘Daddy Bird’. Johnson was a divisive entity during his one and a half terms as president—primarily due of course to the Vietnam War—which he inherited. Yes, I realize I am gonna get some push back. Favorably mention ‘LBJ’ even today and you best stand by for some unhappy and contentious words.

Young Daddy Bird

Young Daddy Bird

The problem I have, in general, when talking to folks about Johnson is that most are ignorant of the man, his history, his upbringing; his good works: Rural electrification for Texas. Medicare, Civil Rights, The Great Society (never really came to fruition, due to Vietnam) and so on.

Once he became ‘The Accidental President’ he took JFK’s dreams and made them reality. Johnson could do that. Why? Because he was the consummate politician—far more effective than Jack Kennedy. JFK’s dreams were hollow pipes. Johnson made them happen. This is historical fact: For those of you who would care to search it out. For those who don’t really care to do that: Just-Trust-Me on this one, ‘cause I am a Texan, and Texans don’t lie (overmuch).

I have read all of Robert Caro’s books (http://www.robertcaro.com/) on LBJ and I have done my own research, and I have my own memories.

During the Sixty-Four election, my Mom, the original Hippy Chick informed me she was voting for Goldwater.

“Goldwater! Mom! Are you serious?”

“Yes Son. He is right for America.”
“‘Right?!’ Right don’t even come close: just to the right of Attila the Hun.” (Even at that tender age of seven, I was politically astute. Honestly.)

Our country does not produce colorful leaders like LBJ anymore. Much of the blame must be placed on the information revolution and the manifestation of the instant sound bite. I am not bemoaning the Information Age. I would not be able to throw my thoughts so carelessly about to the entire world if it were not for this Internet Thing we all embrace. All I am saying is one must ponder how many potential great leaders are out there, but refuse to step up to the plate simply because they do not wish to have every word they have ever uttered tweeted or twerked or posted or face-booked for all to see. Some things should still be classified as TMI. That is just good manners.

What if JFK had had the internet to deal with? We would all have known of his affair with MM. WWBS? What would Bill ‘Oh Really’ Say? We would have been ass-deep in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Fox and CNN and even MSNBC would have burned more video on JFK’s infidelity. Castro would have loved it. Just sayin’…

My Step-sister worked for Oliver Stone on the film JFK. She was one of the on-set-dressers. We got into a heated argument over the whole conspiracy thing. She was convinced that LBJ was behind it all. I know quite a lot about LBJ as I have mentioned. I have done my research and I love Texas history.

Anyway I asked her upon what she based her unwavering belief.

She said, “That photograph of Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One in Dallas.”

Smug Ladybird?

Smug? Ladybird? (Just behind his right hand, in case y’all don’t recognize her) Of course, that is Jackie on the other side.

“You’re shitting me,” I said.

“Look at that photo and see how smug Ladybird looks in it. You just know then and there, she knew the whole thing.”

“I think I need a drink,” was all I could muster by way of response.

(Oh! And my step-mother worked for Jack Ruby: I know some shit about it)

Just sayin’…

I am not writing here as an apologist for LBJ. My focus is on the wonderful Texan caricature character he was. His humor, his down-to-earth’ed-ness, his vibrant lust for life, his convictions, and his larger-than-worldly-life persona: His ‘Texan-ness’.

Therein lies the rub for me. Johnson could be a buffoon. He could be portrayed as an idiot. He could be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. He would be chastised and eventually ostracized.

But he got shit done!

He was a great, moral, honorable man.

No one will ever convince me otherwise (but you are certainly welcome to try)

Watch and listen to the Video Clip. It proves my point (and it is hysterical). These tapes were released a few years back. I have them all.

(http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/dictabelt.hom/content.asp)

Priceless they are (His Family Jewels)

Comments would be appreciated here, no matter which direction you lean.

***

I just throw this in, ’cause it is my blog and I like it.

Peace!

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife, Chapter Two: “You Look So Good In Love”

The Story Continues…

Chapter One Here

***

“Well Shonnie, was nice of your friend to introduce us. Did y’all come here together?”

“Yeah, we come here two, three times a week.”

“I didn’t catch her name.”

“Layla.”

(Well, I guess that fits, I thought.)

“See seems very nice,” I lied.

“She’s a good friend. We work together.”

“I see. Do you need a fresh drink?”

“Uh, yeah I do. Thanks.”

I managed to get the attention of one of the Serving Wenches.

“Shonnie, what ya drinkin’”

“Jack and coke,” she said. (A kindred spirit. Well, if you remove the coke, but what the hell, right?)

To the waitress I said, “For the Lady a Jack and Coke, and for me a shot of Beam and a Heineken.”

“OK. Be right back with that. Wanna run a tab?”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

The band started up with “You Look So Good In Love” (George Strait)

“I love this song,” Shonnie said.

“Wanna dance?” (I knew I could manage a slow dance and that was about it. My Two-Step resembles a blind turkey caught in a rain storm)

“Sure,” she said, standing up. Wow! I thought; she really is tiny, as I took her hand and led her to the floor.

We began our dance and her head barely came up to my chest. I estimated she was five foot nothing, maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet. She held me very tightly as we slowly moved back and forth to the music. She smelled sweetly of some perfume I could not identify. Not surprising, as I am not really a connoisseur. Her semi-long blond hair was somewhat unkempt. Well, that may be unkind. Let’s call it ‘Country Casual’. She had a very nice figure, breasts just about right (far as I could tell) for her frame, nice ass (Yes. Yes. I know. I am being sexist, but I suspect she was ‘checking me out’ as well. And at one point she actually put her hand on MY ass. So there!)

As we danced I admitted to her that slow dancing was all I could muster and that I never mastered the simplest dance of all: The Two-Step. She giggled in my ear and offered to teach me. I told her I would have to think on that.

As the song finished, we stood there momentarily to see if they were going to play another slow song. They awarded our wait by busting out with ‘Cotton-Eyed-Joe’, a song I remember far too well from the Seventies and the line dance that went with it. No way. I hustled us off the dance floor.

Happily our drinks had arrived while we were dancing and we settled back down and began to get to know each other over booze, Marlboros, and Country Music.

While we were continuing our small talk, Layla suddenly (and loudly) reappeared.

“How’re you kids doing?” She shouted over the band.

Just as I was about to say “Fine,” Shonnie said, “Great!”

(Hmmmm…. ‘Great?’ OK, I’ll take ‘great’.)

“Uh, Layla… That’s your name, right? Would you like to join us for a drink? Take a load off?” I asked somewhat disingenuously.

“Love to!”

(Damn!)

“Well, name your poison,” I said.

“Wine cooler, white.” (Go figure)

I decided to just go to the bar to place the order, as the place was now completely full and I did not want to delay getting Miss Layla her (hopefully) one drink. I took the liberty of ordering drinks all around for our table while I was at it and returned to the table and sat down. Shonnie and Layla had their heads together and were giggling over something. (Probably my dancing).

“Drinks on the way,” I announced, thus interrupting their little giggle fest.

“Oh goody” (goody?) Layla exclaimed.

“So, Layla, Shonnie tells me y’all work together.”

“Yep, and we’re best friends, so you better take good care of her,” she said, still in giggle mode.

(Good ‘care’ of her? Hmmm…)

The drinks arrived and I decided to kick it up a notch, so I proposed a toast: “Here’s to new friends,” I said, raising my shot of Beam.

The ladies followed suit and two glasses and one shot glass collided with a soft ‘clink’.

“Hear! Hear!” Layla giggled (what is with this woman? Drunk or stoned, or both?)

We tried to settle into some conversation, but Layla clearly was not interested, as she spent more time perusing the other tables and the dance floor than she did on the ‘conversation’. I could see she was as anxious to extricate herself from our table as I was to see her succeed.

Thankfully, a California Cowboy finally came over and led her out to the dance floor.

Shonnie and I danced every slow dance song that came up for the next couple of hours (between several more rounds of drinks). About every twenty minutes or so Layla would pop back by, ostensibly to be ‘social’, but methinks, to ‘check on us’, as if we were her charges. Good Grief!

Finally, as it was getting up along twelve midnight, and Shonnie and I had, indeed seemed to find some mutual attraction, I broached,

“How ‘bout I give you a ride home? And Layla can be freed of her chaperone duty?” It was a gambit and I gave it fifty-fifty.

“Sure,” she said instantly. “Just let me tell her what’s up, okay?”

“Of course.”

I watched as Shonnie tracked her down and gave her the happy news. I could see they were having some discussion over this, but it did not seem too heated. Shonnie returned to me and announced gruffly, “Let’s go.”

“Yes Ma’am. Let me settle up with the bar, and we can split.” (Not really a Cowboy term, ‘Split’, but hell! I was in Southern Cali after all.)

We walked to my Toronado which was parked way in the back of the parking lot, by now pretty much emptied out. After we settled in and I was about to start the car, Shonnie said, “Ya wanna smoke a joint?”

“I would love to Hun, but you know I’m in the Navy, and they have random piss tests all the time, so I just can’t.”

She looked a little disappointed, but it was a fleeting look. I turned my attention back to the keys in the ignition when she put her hand on my arm, and said, “Well, would you like to fuck me then?”

(Bam!)

“Love to.” And it was definitely ‘On’. Since she was so tiny and my car so big with front seats that could be moved way back, we had no trouble with her straddling me on the passenger side.

The sex was passionate, slightly drunken, and fucking great! Seems there was much energy stored in that diminutive frame of hers and she unleashed it on one unsuspecting Cowboy.

After we had finished and I was back in the driver side seat fishing for two Marlboros, she started crying. (Crying??)

“What’s wrong Honey?” I sincerely asked.

“I’m married,” she managed to get out.

I almost laughed as I said, “That’s okay Baby, so am I.”

She stopped crying and started laughing.

And I joined her.

Then we found time to fuck again.

To be continued… here

Shonnie: The Biker’s Wife

 

In Nineteen-Eighty-Seven San Diego County there was only one Country & Western Bar/Dance Hall (that I knew of). I was sorely missing Texas and though I was never what one might call ‘A Hardcore Country Music Fan’, I was feeling nostalgic. So I bought me some Nocona’s (NO, I did not varnish them), a Stetson, Wrangler’s, some shirts with snaps, a string tie, and off I went, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, or in this case, ‘Place’. The name of which escapes me, but it was along the lines of Gilley’s in Pasadena Texas, albeit much lesser.

Orig Gilleys

 

I mean Gilley’s had five bars in their bar and the largest dance floor in Texas. This joint had but one bar and one medium-sized dance floor. And it didn’t even have chicken wire in front of the stage to protect the band from errant long neck beer bottles.

What a gyp! 

T’would serve my purposes, however, and sate my lower expectations at any rate. I mean, we are talking Southern California here folks, after all.

So I began to frequent this establishment in earnest. The thing that stuck me upon my first visit was that all the ‘Cowboys’ and ‘Cowgirls’ looked like Yuppies. Not Dallas Yuppies, mind you: ‘Southern California Yuppies’.

The walls were adorned with all manner of Rodeo Scenes, all of which looked like Norman Rockwell had dipped his brush on them. There were also some lariats, a few saddles strategically placed against some walls, a few ‘decorative’ spittoons (nothing more useless in the world than a spittoon ‘what never dun been used’), and many more things I cannot find the stomach to recount.

The lighting was, well, too light. Hopefully, this would be rectified later in the evening’s adventure as the ‘real’ cowfolks came sauntering in.

One sustains hope in situations such as these. There really is no other choice.

“Good Godawmighty! Lance! Son, you were more ‘at home’ in the Titty-Bars downtown San Dog than this abhorrent lame excuse for a ‘Honky Tonk’,” voice in head said.

The other voice in my head (Probably Peanut’s) said, “Cowboy! You know you ain’t no real Cowboy either; jes go wid it.”

There was, as I said, one bar. And Immediately to the right of this bar… 

(a respectable looking bar, if I do grudgingly say so, replete with no less than four barkeeps and many, many serving wenches scurrying back and forth not unlike so many dutiful worker ants—all very pretty—in that Southern California Urban Cowgirl Beach Babe Style),

…was the stage with a Cowboy Band. Actually a damn good one. They even had a fiddle player (so at least they could play ‘Amardillo By Morning’ a song which always reminded me of ‘Monsieur Le Peanut’, and always held a special place in my heart and in my ears.

Immediately in front of the Bar was that dance floor, (No sawdust, but that could be grudgingly forgiven).

The rest was mainly four-seater tables and chairs (And Candles! Fer Christ’s Sake! Candles!) For the life of me, I could not spy a single pool table nor a shuffle board or even an air hockey table. Certainly no mechanical bull. Honky-Tonk Travesty!

The bar itself drew me first (of course). I asked for a Lone Star and got a vacant look. “Ok, gimme a shot ah Beam and a… ah… a Heineken.” (‘Jerry Jeff, please forgive them; they know not what they do’.)

Now properly attired and bona-fide in my two-fisted drinker status, I went searching for a table close to the dance floor. As it was relatively early, I had no difficulty finding same.

I sat and drank and ‘Cowgirl Watched’ as the place began to fill up. Along ‘bout 1900hrs, the place was semi-jumping (For San Diego—I guess–by that time I suppose the surf was no longer ‘up’).

I studied the apparently single cowgirls and spied a rather lanky ‘tall drank ah water’, long-haired brunette with Sloe-Gin eyes and all that implies, just tearing things up with several different dance partners.

I made my move: Between songs, I sashayed over to her and asked for a ‘daince’, (actually tipping my hat! Yes! Yes! I know!) trying ever so hard to establish that I weren’t no ‘Coke-a-Cola Cowboy’, but a real ‘un. From Texas.

Cowboy Days

Lance As Cowboy (The one on the right don’t look  much like the one what shot  at me),  But then,  that is another story, ain’t it?)

We danced the dance and I could sense I was not her cup of… whatever it is that they actually drink here. She whispered in my ear, “Hey ‘Cowboy’ (rather mockingly, I perceived), “I have a friend you should meet. Her name’s ‘Shonnie’ and she is seated (seated?) just right there. C’mon! I’ll introduce ‘Y’all’” (Yet another perceived slight)

I glanced in the direction she was leading us and saw a rather diminutive dirty blond, absently stirring her drink as she casually watched the band as they began to belt out some Randy Travis monstrosity.

We waltzed up to the table and my escort announced quite cheerfully, “Hey Shonnie! I found you a ‘real’ Cowboy.” (She quickly whispered to me, “Hey Sugar Britches, what’s your name?”)

“Lance”

“Uh, Shonnie, Girlfriend, This here’s Lance. Say ‘Howdy’” 

“Hiya”

I shook the diminutive hand she offered and sat down,

“Uh, Howdy Shonnie, Little Lady; Nice to meet Y’all.” (Yes, I was really laying it on thick, but I was somewhere between buzzed  and drunk and starting to figure, ‘What the hell I got to lose’?)

She smiled wily, if not demurely through semi-white teeth, Marlboro smoke, and Paul Newman Blue Eyes. I must admit: I was intrigued.

Thus began one of the most bizarre ‘flings’ I have ever had.

More to come… Here

*********

“And I’ll be lookin’ for eight when they pull that gate.”

“and I hope that judge ain’t blind…”

We all do Peanut. We all look for ‘eight’

And we all hope the judge IS blind (but you knew that, didn’t you? You asshole! You were not supposed to die first. We made a pact. Didn’t we?? Don’t you remember?)

Rest, My Very Best Friend.

You are severely missed.

I’ll catch up to you.

Someday soon…

Vid Credit: 

Scot Wick

 

–Lance

 

SEAL Training: Psych Eval

While stationed at Great Mistakes (Errrr…Great Lakes) Naval Training Command, I did my due diligence and qualified for BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California)

After passing the physical physical and clearing all the other stuff (mostly based upon my ASVAB scores and my ability to swim like a dolphin), A Final Task faced me: I had to pass unblemished through an interview with a psychiatrist. Just a formality, right? (Last hurdle: “Lance, do NOT fuck this up.”)

Sailor

Sailor Lance

This should be fun,” I recall thinking as I waited for my interview.

I was eventually summoned and sat my ass down in front of a geeky, mouse-eyed shrink. He obviously had ‘issues’ of his own. This I could discern straight-away from his limp-wristed demeanor. And obviously the only SEAL he had ever met was in some vain dream fantasy.

No matter. I was there just to get my ticket punched.

After a dozen or so stupid questions about such things as how did I feel about my mother, have I ever killed anything (Uh, do frogs count?), the price of tea in China, ad nauseam, he came to his pièce de résistance:

“Seaman Marcom,” he broached, “If you were ordered by your SEAL Team Leader to go in and clear a room whilst on a mission, and you burst into this room only to discover an elderly lady in a rocking chair reading a bible, what would you do?”

I waited for my dramatic pause, then said,

“Sir, I would shoot the bible.”*

Smiling, I observed him take his rubber stamp out and stamp “Approved” on my papers.

“California Here I Come”

Right Back Where I Started From

Video Credit: L. Heitmann via YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/user/IrRrIS1l3nt

*Footnote:

In the Nav, we have bombastic bullshit ‘tellings’, euphemistically known as ‘Sea Stories’. These are always introduced with the mandatory preamble:

“Now, this is a no-shitter…”

The above telling (though completely factual) is a wonderful example of same.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend: Go find yourself a Sailor and say, “Hey Sailor, New in Town?” Then hug him/her.

 

On The Street Where I Lived: School Days

Part Three in a Continuing Series

Part One & Part Two

****

The school I attended from Fourth through Sixth Grade segregated the kids into three classes: High Aptitude, Medium Aptitude, Low Aptitude. Of course my buddies and I had our own names for these three ‘Classes’: “Smart Kids” (us), “Dumb Kids”, and “Really Dumb Kids.” There was absolutely no socialization between the three classes. None. Ever. I cannot imagine California (or any other state school board) using this practice now.

Once initially ‘placed’ into your category, there was virtually no way to make a move (in either direction). But during the second half of my Fifth Grade year, I took a real running stab at getting ‘demoted’ from ‘Smart’ to ‘Dumb’ Classification. I have always been easily distracted. One day during Mathematics Class, the teacher showed us a trick I found fascinating. He taught us we could make a curved line out of a bunch of straight lines. This was a revelation to me.

Curved Lines

For the next several weeks, I spent all my time in classrooms experimenting with this new found ‘miracle’. I created countless drawings, some very colorful, some just black on white. The possibilities seemed endless. Of course my school work suffered in direct proportion to my budding creative talent. I quit doing my homework or even participating in class. I attribute this to my addictive personality. I was addicted to making curved lines out of straight. Nothing else was as much fun, especially while in class. Strangely enough, it really wasn’t fun at all as soon as I got home from school in the afternoons.

Continue reading

Throw Back Thursday: Turtle Blues

I Got Dem Ol’ Time Turtle Blues Again Mama! (Sorry Janis)

greenturtle3.jpg

Yet another bit gleaned from my longer post of 29 Jan. ‘The Time Has Come,’ The Walrus Said, ‘To Talk of Many Things: Of Murdered Birds, Of Turtles Green, and Hippies Sellin’ Rings.’

Video Credit:

https://www.youtube.com/user/pridden76

“I know this goddamn life too well”

****************

My mother was probably “The Original Hippy Chick.” When Haight-Asbury was in full bloom, she would not shut up about it until we went there. I knew a little of the Hippy Culture then, yet had no desire to experience it ‘up close an’ personal.’ Mom did.  So one bright sunny Saturday morning we packed up the Rambler and headed to ‘Frisco and Haight-Ashbury.

Continue reading

Daily Lenny: Fat Boy

Here is the Monday Daily Lenny.

Please Enjoy Fat Boy:

Satire at the Expense of Used Car Salesmen

(Among Other Things Just as Unimportant)

Read More About it here: Rocket To Stardom  (Kind of necessary to get the humor: it’s brief, but important)

“a Stone Age talent-search television program that pre-dated “American Idol” by half a century. It might also be described as a pre-Pleistocene “Gong Show” — though it lacked the gong and snarky host, Chuck Barris.”

–Jim Carnett

More Lenny Here:

https://texantales.com/category/lenny-bruce/

As Always, 

Thanks For SHopping By.

 

Continuation of ‘On The Street Where I Lived’

This is essentially Part Two of an earlier post:

On The Street Where I Lived

****

Ricky Martinez and I were pyromaniacs.

Okay, that may be an overstatement, but we did love burning shit and building fires, albeit small ones. During the Sixties on Bruning Street every back yard had a ‘burning barrel’ (Can you imagine? Today? In California? Actually burning trash in town? Oh how times change.)

Fire

There was only one rule: The fire in the burning barrel had to be out by noon. No problem. I always volunteered for Burn Barrel Duty. Mom was happy to oblige.

Fire fascinated me, but what I really craved was camping out and with a ‘proper’ camp fire: just a little rustic thing with rocks all about and something to cook, preferably some dead animal, but a potato would do in a pinch. Ricky shared my fire obsession, but was none too keen on the culinary part of the exercise. He just liked breaking the rules. And building fires. And burning shit.

So for about three weeks running, every day after school we would meet in my side-yard, where there would be less chance of prying eyes busting us, and build a small camp fire. I would steal potatoes, or carrots, or bologna, or spam, and using an old coffee can, we would cook away. As I recall we never ate any of this food, but that wasn’t really the point was it?

The Old Broad who lived next door hated all the kids in the neighborhood–with a purple-fluorescent passion. Her daughter had managed to escape her conscience by purchasing the house and dumping her off there to fend, checking in every six years (OK: weeks).

She had a beautiful pristine grassy front yard, golf-green-like, never feeling the wet kiss of a Ked’s sneaker, a bicycle tread, or even a bare foot. She had drawn a line on her border:

Abandon All Hope:

KIDS Who Set Foot On My Lawn

My buddies and I were rowdy kids (Read: Normal) But when we played in my front yard we were cognizant of The Witch’s Yard, and did our best not to inadvertently step on it. Because we all knew That Bitch was watching from her window; I mean, what the hell else did she have to do with her time?

One afternoon, just about the whole neighborhood was playing ‘Batman & Robin’ vs The ‘Green Hornet’ vs ‘The Man from Uncle’ vs ‘James Bond’ in my yard.

Call it a ‘Super Hero Smack Down’ if you like.

Things got out of hand and I took multiple bullets from Kato and then method-acted my death, falling prostrate onto The Bitch’s yard. Seeing my over-acting (and my trespass), my gang scattered like dew in West Texas on a hot summer day. I lay there for a moment, not unlike Laurence Olivier in the death scene from ‘Lear’, waiting for the applause.

What I heard instead was the screeching of what should have been an owl.

Wasn’t.

Was The Witch/Bitch. She was screeching and running toward me, (Shades of Mr. Peabody) I got up, jumped back onto ‘safe ground’ (mine) and prepared myself for the royal chastising. I did not have to wait long.

This old broad proceeded to lay in to me with the most vitriolic rage I had ever heard up until that day.

Not knowing what to say, I just stood there, head half-bowed and took it. My gang slowly made their way back in what I mistakenly thought to be a show of Solidarity. They gathered around on either side of me, but not too close. The Old Bat, now with a perfect opportunity to lecture the entire population of juvenile delinquents on Bruning Street, took her stage and launched her soliloquy,

“You kids have no respect! You know you are ruining my yard! Look at all of you! You-should-be-ashamed! You have no respect!” Then she leveled her eyes, laser-like at me,

“And this kid,” she said, pointing a bony finger in my face. “This kid! Look at him! He is laughing at me! Laughing!”

(Clarification: it was a smirk, involuntary, but certainly to the uninitiated a smirk nonetheless. You see, my entire life I have had no control over my ‘smirk’ and this has gotten me into much trouble and has indeed cost me some relationships, but I just cannot help it. When something strikes me funny or ludicrous, the muscles in my face take over, and… well, I guess ‘smirk’ works well enough for the description.

Alas. Tis a curse.

Growing exasperated, and then feigning great ‘Old Helpless Lady’ sorrow, she said,

“Look how he laughs at me! Look how he mocks me! Me! Just a poor old woman who only wants to have a nice yard. Is this too much to ask from my old age?”

And with that performance thus ended, she turned and slowly (for full effect) sauntered off and made her sorrowful, broken old lady exit, stage left. (Mind you: this was the same lady that, OJ Simpson-Like-in an Airport, had burst upon the scene five minutes previous, flaying talons and rage.)

My best buddy, Randy, came up to me and asked oh so solemnly, “Lance, do you… laugh?”

“Not anymore,” I said brusquely, and walked toward the front door of my house. Everyone else slowly dispersed, all heart-sick and remorseful.

“And thanks for having my back” I said under my breath, to no one in particular, as I entered my house.

So I was pissed at my Bruning Street Gang for some weeks and fell in with Ricky full-time. Fine with me. We were having great times every afternoon building our campfire, roasting and boiling whatever I could filch from Mom’s fridge or upon occasion, the odd hapless toad or lizard, or mouse.

One Friday afternoon, I scored two potatoes and a couple of carrots from Mom’s fridge and went to my side yard to wait for Ricky. Presently he showed up with a half package of hot dogs and a few slices of five-day-old Wonder Bread and a bottle of Ketchup.

Now we had a problem

“Ricky, gonna take us hours to cook all this shit,” I said.

“Aw shit! Well, we can just build a bigger fire, yeah?”

“I dunno. Too much smoke and we gonna get caught,” I protested.

“Bullshit! Ain’t nobody around. Who gonna see it?”

So we went to work digging out our fire pit to accommodate a much larger fire. I had some bricks I stole from the pile my stepfather had brought for the construction of the patio he had started. I placed them around the perimeter of the fire pit. Ricky scrounged about and found some pieces of four by fours my step-father had been using to lay out the pattern of the patio. I went into the house and found a fresh McCall’s Magazine belonging to my Mom and brought it out for kindling.

We proceeded to build a proper ‘camp fire’. Actually, it was more of a bonfire to tell the truth, but we weren’t worried. The McCall’s magazine smoke was a little overwhelming though.

As we were preparing the vegetables and the hot dogs for cooking I heard the sliding door slide open. Not good. Mom was not supposed to be home for another hour. I ran to intercept her before she could get to the side yard.

“Hi Mom,” I said. “Hey Mom. I’m hungry. Can I have a sandwich?” I was actually trying to push her with my chest as I said this and she was having none of it.

She pushed by me and turned the corner to the side yard.

“Lance! Ricky! Put out that fire! What is wrong with you?!”

“OK! OK! Mom! We will!”

Then I heard the sirens.

Three fire trucks pulled up in front of my house and firemen jumped out frantically, dragging hoses and shouting like crazy. They knocked the little fence down which separated my side yard from the street. The lead fireman, looking left, looking right, shouted, “Where’s the fire! Where’s the fire!”

Then he saw it: A fire about the size of a ‘Smokey Joe’ BBQ grill, and he fell down laughing, dropping his nozzle.

He recovered, picked up his fire hose, then doused the fire, me, mom, and Ricky (I think out of spite, or frustration), then turned to his fellows and said, trying to regain his composure,

“Fire’s out Boys. Somebody call it in.”

Of course now I was in deep shit. The Fireman summoned me out to the front yard (which was embarrassing as everyone, and I do mean everyone in the neighborhood were assembled all about) and  had a little talk with me before they left;

“Son, do you realize you could have burned that house down? Did you see how close that fire was to your house?”

(‘Yeah’, I remember thinking; ‘about six feet, no wind, and me with a garden hose at the ready’. But wisely, I said nothing and opted for remorseful—the one time my built-in smirk did not betray me.)

He continued, “If we are ever called out here again, we are gonna take you down to juvenile hall. You understand?”

“Uh Yeah, I mean, Yes Sir.”

After the smoke cleared, literally and metaphorically, I discovered it was the Old Witch Next Door who had copped us out and called the fire department.

She would get hers, I vowed.

Yep. She would.

By an’ by…

Part Three: School Days

 

I Did Promise Music and Laughter: I Kind of Lied

I actually gave this some serious thought earlier today.

And truthfully I was inspired by a post I read over yonder at

http://sharoncummings.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/p-r-o-b-l-e-m-s/

We were talking about optimism.

Well Sharon was but it got me to thinking.

(Scary, yeah.)

Anyhow, I had this post develop in my head. A post about good and bad. A post about optimism and pessimism. A post about Human Decency.

Then I promised me: I Promised me I would not post it because it might sound too preachy, but when we fall away from stating the obvious, because “it has been said too many times before,” well then we forget. And dammit! Some of us need reminding from time to time.

So, here it is:

I have spoken on ‘racism’ before.

Nothing Like a Dame

No Preacher: me.

Just a schmuck.

But I love this movie.

Here are some links, if ya wanna read some scholarly shit:

Continue reading

Lance, You Lie.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction.

“Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them, especially if the author has been kind enough to have provided their real names and in some cases, their phone numbers. All events described herein actually happened, though on occasion the author has taken certain, very small liberties with chronology, because that is his right as an American. Warning: this story will [eventually] have drugs in it [specifically, Pot] read at your own annoyance.”

–Stolen From Various Sources while illegally surfing the internet using a U.S. Government Network and Computer

*********************

It was the Summer of ’77  and I had just dropped out of college (again). There was an old friend of mine from high school living in Lake Charles, and pretty much on a bet I loaded up my ’68 Chevy Impala and drove to Louisiana to look him up. Of course I had no idea where he lived in Lake Charles or what he was even doing there, but I knew Kim John and I knew that he would not be difficult to find even in a town of over one-hundred-thousand. Really all I had to do was to find McNeese State University and ask around. For you see, Kim Jim/John was probably the most charismatic, outgoing, affable guy on Earth and I knew that even if he had only spent one week in Lake Charles, everyone would know him or know of him. He went to East Texas State in Commerce just long enough to pledge and become a Kappa Alpha. That was his only driving ambition in life: to become a KA like his big brother and hang out with the Brothers. I despised Greeks and all their ways. (Still today, these are not my favorite people. Kim James was my best friend, next to Peanut, and for many years before, even though we did not see eye-to-eye on many things and most especially, things Greek.)

It took me all of about 45 minutes to locate him once I arrived. He was living large in a beautiful apartment complex close to the university in the best apartment they had to offer: Two-story with four bedrooms, a large den/living room, three baths, a decent sized kitchen with a breakfast nook, a porch facing the pool—‘Classy” is all I could say when he showed me around. He had a stereo in every room (All of them ‘Marantz’ because years before I had told him “Marantz makes the best, (and most expensive) audio equipment you can buy”. He apparently never had forgotten that and I was properly impressed. Kim Jim always did his best it seems to impress me. To this day I am not sure why. It was just his way. Actually it was probably because I was the only one who really knew he was a fake and he knew that I knew. In addition to the large pool, there were two tennis courts, a game room, outdoor dining room, a sauna, and all the ‘beautiful’ people of McNeese lived there, or so it seemed to my small-town eyes. One of the upstairs rooms had a balcony overlooking the pool and the tennis courts. Wonderful.

*****************

Against my better judgment, I will continue this story, if I get just one request. It is rather long…

Someone let me know, but be not hasty in your remarks, as this one could land that fictional character in prison.

Is the prose worth it?

Well, the story is just that good, so I suppose so, since the author will be the one to do the hard time.

I never gave two shits for the heat anyhow…

(In light of recent events in NYC, I retract the above statement, 22 December, 2014)

 

Buffalo-springfield-for-what-its-worth

 

Paranoia strikes deep

Into your life it will creep

It starts when you’re always afraid

Step out of line, the man come and take you away

–Old Hippy Saying

 

Next Part of the Story Here

 

 

 

 

 

He is not Really Heavy: He is my Brother; I Can Manage.

Posted for Teela:

Here is a no shitter story:

I talked to my “ever-so-cool” step-sister back in the Seventies about this song.

She said to me,

“Lance, what does this song mean to you?”

I said (thirteen years old), I said, it is about some dude carrying his brother out of a war zone in a desert, and some guy comes up and says, ‘Is he heavy?’

And the dude says, “No. He’s my brother.”

My step-sister just left me there, all alone, wondering why I was not cool.

For you film scholars out there:

I understand the point behind the Musical “South Pacific.”

Yes, I do.

It was about the idiocy that is racism.

I used the video clip (see below)  for humor and to point out a point.

Sailors were innocent (for the most part). Times were heady. Facing death, which I know, can make feminists of us all:

“Mommy! Please don’t let me die here!”

Nuff said.

End of rant.

P.S. If we ban the word, ‘Bossy’ what follows when we can seriously consider banning any word?

Or Book?

Hunger Games?

As much as I admire Jennifer Lawrence, I do not wish to go there.

*******

“You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JjiaRJqKIU)

(sometimes “You’ve Got to Be Taught” or “Carefully Taught”) is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.

South Pacific received scrutiny for its commentary regarding relationships between different races and ethnic groups. In particular, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” was subject to widespread criticism, judged by some to be too controversial or downright inappropriate for the musical stage.[1] Sung by the character Lieutenant Cable, the song is preceded by a lyric saying racism is “not born in you! It happens after you’re born…”

Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda. While the show was on a tour of the Southern United States, lawmakers in Georgia introduced a bill outlawing entertainment containing “an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow.”[2] One legislator said that “a song justifying interracial marriage was implicitly a threat to the American way of life.”[2] Rodgers and Hammerstein defended their work strongly. James Michener, upon whose stories South Pacific was based, recalled, “The authors replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in.”[2]

–From Wikipedia

On The Street Where I Lived

‘Three-Nine-Six-One-Three Bruning Street Fremont California: 1966-1968’

Funny how I still remember the street address when I cannot remember my mother’s birthday, or what I had for Sunday Supper last week, or my second wife’s maiden name, or who won the World Series last year.

All the houses on Bruning Street were brand new. And they were all alike. But their alikeness did not dampen my spirits, especially since mom and I had left the moldy old garage apartment across town. I had finally escaped that place and the Ghost of that Murdered Turkey.

Seems the entire neighborhood moved in on the same summer weekend: Floodgates opened—lots of activity—trucks coming and going, grown-ups schlepping boxes, kids (potential buddies?) playing and yellin’ and runnin’ wild, dogs untethered, barking, yipping, yapping, chasing. Just general mayhem all around: very excited we all were to be living the American Dream. Norman Rockwell should have been there.

A House on Bruning Street Today

A House on Bruning Street

All the houses had small front yards, slightly larger back yards, but no fences. In fact not really proper yards yet. No lawns, just California clay, hard-packed and untenable.

This would soon be remedied. By today’s standards for suburbia the dwellings were quite modest. No McMansions these. Each house had three small bedrooms, one bathroom, smallish kitchen, tiny dining area, and small living room. That was it, but compared to our garage apartment, Mom and I had moved into the Taj Mahal. Everything smelled gloriously of fresh paint, fresh earth, and promise. I immediately picked a spot in the back yard for my garden. As a kid, I was never happier than when I was digging in the dirt, much to the chagrin of my much harried mother and my blatant hatred of regular bathing.

Continue reading

How Did We Ever…

How did we ever become the Champion of the Free World?

The Bastion of Capitalism?

The Shining City on a Hill?

The Cradle of Modern Western Civilization?

Yeah Kids, Duck and Cover (and while you’re down there, kiss your ass goodbye.)

OK. I suppose it was ‘The Age of Innocence’ (Or maybe the ‘Age of Stupid People’)

I did those duck and cover drills just like everyone else.

Lyndon Johnson: Just Another Guy Lookin’ Out for His Jewels

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Texan, Father, School Teacher, Rancher, & Much Maligned 36th President of The United States of America.

I love LBJ, or as Brother Dave Gardner once called him: ‘Daddy Bird’. Johnson was a divisive entity during his one and a half terms as president—primarily due of course to the Vietnam War—which he inherited. Yes, I realize I am gonna get some push back. Favorably mention ‘LBJ’ even today and you best stand by for some unhappy and contentious words.

Young Daddy Bird

Young Daddy Bird

The problem I have, in general, when talking to folks about Johnson is that most are ignorant of the man, his history, his upbringing; his good works: Rural electrification for Texas. Medicare, Civil Rights, The Great Society (never really came to fruition, due to Vietnam) and so on.

Once he became ‘The Accidental President’ he took JFK’s dreams and made them reality. Johnson could do that. Why? Because he was the consummate politician—far more effective than Jack Kennedy. JFK’s dreams were hollow pipes. Johnson made them happen. This is historical fact: For those of you who would care to search it out. For those who don’t really care to do that: Just-Trust-Me on this one, ‘cause I am a Texan, and Texans don’t lie (overmuch).

I have read all of Robert Caro’s books (http://www.robertcaro.com/) on LBJ and I have done my own research, and I have my own memories.

During the Sixty-Four election, my Mom, the original Hippy Chick informed me she was voting for Goldwater.

“Goldwater! Mom! Are you serious?”

“Yes Son. He is right for America.”
“‘Right?!’ Right don’t even come close: just to the right of Attila the Hun.” (Even at that tender age of seven, I was politically astute. Honestly.)

Our country does not produce colorful leaders like LBJ anymore. Much of the blame must be placed on the information revolution and the manifestation of the instant sound bite. I am not bemoaning the Information Age. I would not be able to throw my thoughts so carelessly about to the entire world if it were not for this Internet Thing we all embrace. All I am saying is one must ponder how many potential great leaders are out there, but refuse to step up to the plate simply because they do not wish to have every word they have ever uttered tweeted or twerked or posted or face-booked for all to see. Some things should still be classified as TMI. That is just good manners.

What if JFK had had the internet to deal with? We would all have known of his affair with MM. WWBS? What would Bill ‘Oh Really’ Say? We would have been ass-deep in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Fox and CNN and even MSNBC would have burned more video on JFK’s infidelity. Castro would have loved it. Just sayin’…

My Step-sister worked for Oliver Stone on the film JFK. She was one of the on-set-dressers. We got into a heated argument over the whole conspiracy thing. She was convinced that LBJ was behind it all. I know quite a lot about LBJ as I have mentioned. I have done my research and I love Texas history.

Anyway I asked her upon what she based her unwavering belief.

She said, “That photograph of Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One in Dallas.”

Smug Ladybird?

Smug Ladybird?

“You’re shitting me,” I said.

“Look at that photo and see how smug Ladybird looks in it. You just know then and there, she knew the whole thing.”

“I think I need a drink,” was all I could muster by way of response.

(Oh! And my step-mother worked for Jack Ruby: I know some shit about it)

Just sayin’…

I am not writing here as an apologist for LBJ. My focus is on the wonderful Texan caricature character he was. His humor, his down-to-earth’ed-ness, his vibrant lust for life, his convictions, and his larger-than-worldy-life persona: His ‘Texan-ness’.

Therein lies the rub for me. Johnson could be a buffoon. He could be portrayed as an idiot. He could be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. He would be chastised and eventually ostracized.

But he got shit done!

He was a great, moral, honorable man.

No one will ever convince me otherwise (but you are certainly welcome to try)

Watch and listen to the Video Clip. It proves my point (and it is hysterical). These tapes were released a few years back. I have them all.

https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/LBJ_Phone_Calls.html

 

 

Priceless they are (His Family Jewels)

Comments would be appreciated here, no matter which direction you lean.

Spiders, Itsy Bitsy and Big an’ Hairy

Spiders:

When I was ‘growing’ up in California on good, red-letter days, I would capture a jumping spider. Having caught same, I would place her into a mason jar with wood chips. You see, jumping spiders do not build webs (this makes them ideal pets, by the way); they like to live in caves made by little boys using wood chips. Well, that is what I always heard. And my experience bore that out.

Anyway, once I moved to Texas, I missed my spiders. Not that Texas has a spider shortage, mind you. I just did not know where to look. “Looking for Spiders in all the wrong places.”

One day, lo’ and behold, I found a jumping spider which looked so much familiar to me,

“Natasha! (I have always named my spiders), Natasha! did you walk all the way here from California?”

“Of course,” she said, “Yes.”

I gathered her up and placed her into my mason jar. I did not ask if she wanted to be my pet. I just assumed.

Months later, I announced to my Grandparents:

“My spider is gonna have babies.”

“Lance, Son” my Grandmother informed me, “There is no daddy spider in there. Your spider cannot possibly have baby spiders.”

Continue reading

California on my Mind & Texas in my Heart

California

Loved it. Hated it. Few decades ago I could truthfully say, “Hey! I’ve spent half my life in California.” (See This Or This)

Now I can say, “Hey! I’ve spent most of my life in Dangerous Desolate Places.” (Middle East &  East Texas) That worm did turn some. (Go Here or There)

As a Native Texan, I am supposed to always hate California and yes, Yes to all you Texans out there: I know this. I get it. Put the rope down.

Yet I more love than hate California.

In California I learned to appreciate music, art, science, literature, hippies, beaches and blondes. My first kiss was not in California, but I didn’t miss that milestone by much–In California.

In Texas I learned to appreciate drankin’ whiskey and beer , smokin’ dope, playin’ football, chasin’ cheerleaders, and Raisin’ Hell.

Arriving home to Texas late 1968 folks made fun of my ‘California Accent’ if there even is such a thing. (There were no Valley Girls in the Sixties as far as I know). My ‘accent’ was ‘just the way normal people talked’ as far as I was concerned. Texans sounded funny to me (Blasphemy!)

My Attitude Adjustment didn’t take long to take.

In California I was a Little League Baseball Star. In Texas no one gave two shits about baseball. I had to learn football. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing, but I had all those baseball skills which were not worth a cup of spit in Texas.

I love Texas and don’t get me wrong. But once in a while, when I see a photo or a news bit showing San Francisco, or San Diego, or a beach, or a blonde… I hear this guy singing:

Sometimes I even hear this blonde singing:

And I tear up. (Just a little bit) but then I throw on some Bob Wills and Remember Who I am.

Bob Wills

And thus remembering, I go out and buy a case of Lone Star Long Necks and listen to this guy:

And I Thank The Spirit of Sam Houston I Am A Texan.

“The Cowards Never Started and the Weak Died Along the Way”

And Yet One More Post From the email Archives:

************

Please tell me all about your therapy session today once it is done. I know a little about back trouble as I went through some during my Navy SEAL training. I know there is nothing worse than that for pain. There were several days during that training whereby I thought it would be better to be dead than run/swim yet another step. Somehow we always managed just one more step. “The only easy day was yesterday” was our mantra and that had been passed down over the years to all BUD/s classes.

There was one guy in my first class (Class 140) who actually broke his femur during a fun little evolution called “Rock Portage.” For two days he remained in training after that. His roommates would walk him about every morning until his leg got numb. Obviously he couldn’t keep up on any of the evolutions and the SEAL instructors kicked him out. No one knew his leg was broken. Once he was drummed out and had gone to Balboa Naval Hospital they told him he had a broken femur. Imagine his surprise!

Rock-portage1

Rock Portage

Hahahah!  A footnote: Seems his father was a retired SEAL. Well when daddy found out how his son had been kicked out of training for having a broken leg, yet still “putting out” to use the vernacular, he was, shall we say, livid. Needless to say, the kid in question was apologized to (ad nauseam) and invited to return once healed so that he would have an opportunity to break the other leg. I talked to him about this and he told me he’d had enough, but then I ran into him a few weeks later and he told me he would be coming back. It takes a special kind of idiot to go through that. I know, as I was just such an idiot. Twice. I suppose that’s why they call it “Special Forces.”

We had a guy in my second BUD/s class (158) whose name was Lundtmark. One day while we were running the obstacle course he got to the very top of the cargo net (roughly 60 feet above the beach) and fell off.

cargo net1

Whoosh!

Bam!

Boom!

He survived, but from that day forward Lundtmark was reborn and known as “Sand-Dart.”

Some of the funniest moments I recall were during “Drown Proofing.” Drown-proofing is quite simple: one’s ankles are tied up and one’s wrists tied together behind one’s back. Then the “wog” (Short for pollywog, a neophyte, wanna-be SEAL) must simply swim 100 meters in 12 foot deep water. Once that is accomplished, the wog must do some acrobatic maneuvers underwater while still tied up and then somehow get to the bottom and pick up a scuba mask with his teeth and bring it to the edge of the pool where the instructors await to pull him out and beach him. All great fun.

I never had any apprehension with this evolution since I am very relaxed in water. Others had slightly more trouble. One idiot after being cast into the water did nothing but bob up and down screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Save me!” As he would get close to the edge of the pool the instructors would push him back toward the middle using long poles while yelling, “You idiot! If you were drowning, you wouldn’t be able to say you’re drowning!” It was all great fun, but I suspect you’d have had to actually been there at that precise moment to fully appreciate it.

drownproofing

Drownproofing

Another idiot didn’t even make it into the water. His name was “Feather.” (His name really was Feather and he was a body-builder which made him a target of opportunity for the instructors’ “special attention.”) Well, seems Feather had second thoughts about BUD/s and his desire to “Kill some Commie Bastards” when it came time for drown-proofing. As soon as we were told to start getting tied up, Feather bolted. He actually ran away! Just like a little bitch. Never saw him again.

He’s probably still running…

I Got Dem Ol’ Time Turtle Blues Again Mama! (Sorry Janis)

Yet another bit gleaned from my longer post of 29 Jan. The Time Has Come,’ The Walrus Said, ‘To Talk of Many Things: Of Murdered Birds, Of Turtles Green, and Hippies Sellin’ Rings.

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My mother was probably “The Original Hippy Chick.” When Haight-Asbury was in full bloom, she would not shut up about it until we went there. I knew a little of the Hippy Culture then, yet had no desire to experience it ‘up close an’ personal.’ Mom did.  So one bright sunny Saturday morning we packed up the Rambler and headed to ‘Frisco and Haight-Ashbury. To say that trip opened my eyes would be an understatement bordering on felonious.  I was shocked, awed, amazed, bothered, bewildered, enlightened, enchanted, enthralled, and all at the same time. The whole day was a whorl of attacks on my senses and emotions. I remember clearly all the people with their long hair, colorful clothing, love beads, head bands, peace signs, guitars, laughter, and smoke coming from everywhere and not smelling at all like the smoke from the cigarettes my mother used to light up. But most of all, I remember the music. Music was ubiquitous and oh how I did love the music.

We walked up and down those streets for hours and I do believe my mother stopped and purchased some trinket from every single hippy-trinket-seller she visited, which, by my estimation, would have been all of two hundred of them.

Not really being a trinkets-man myself, I purchased a pair of small green turtles that I wanted to rescue from a hippy life I was certain they were not well suited for.  I actually remember telling the turtles during the ride home not to worry; that they were safe now, and also apologizing to them if I had left any of their family members behind due to the fact that my meager allowance did not afford me the luxury of benevolence to purchase freedom for the whole lot of them–Even though I did beg mom for an advance to do just that.

The turtles ended up having a fine long Turtle – Life and were probably the only two green turtles to ever migrate from California to Texas. Texas suited them, and me, better.

Being The Sad Story and Lamentable Fate of the Good and Gracious Mister Peabody: A Turkey

I’ve had a few requests to pull this passage out of the longer post: The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said…(29 Jan)  and publish it as stand-alone. I suppose it can best be described as “The Peabody Affair.” which occurred sometime in 1963. For those of you who may not have read the original, which I know is a bit longish, perhaps this will pique your interest.

Thanks for reading

***angry_Turkey

Those were happy times for the most part, and we lived in a very small garage apartment owned by some friends of my grandparents. My mother had a beautiful voice and would sing a cappella constantly while cooking, doing dishes, or just mucking about the apartment. My musical talents have obviously come from my father’s side.

The elderly couple who owned the apartment and the very large house and yard surrounding it were called Benbow. They were very nice people and apparently very, very good friends of my grandmother; hence our living there for what I now must assume was cheap rent.  I liked them well enough I suppose. They had a ranch somewhere close to Fremont and I do remember going there at least once for the ‘roundup.’ There were horses, cows, dog, cats, varmints, barbecue, (Not barbecued varmints!) and a nice creek to go skinny dipping in. All right there in the Bay Area. Amazing to me now, but then, that was many years ago…

What I didn’t like about the arrangement was the fact that Mrs. Benbow had a pet Tom Turkey, named ‘Mr. Peabody.’ This bird hated little boys. And he was passionate about it. Mom would give me a cookie and tell me, “Now, go play outside and let me finish cleaning the house.” I feared the outside while holding cookies. Mr. Peabody would lie in wait for me, and as soon as he saw me with cookies or anything resembling cookies, he would launch his attack. With a strongly developed sense of self-preservation even at that tender age, I would drop the cookies and flee (Read: Run Like Hell) back to mom, complaining about this evil bird. She would just laugh and tell me to get over it, or “Why don’t you just play somewhere else?”  Easily said Mom, but impossibly done. “Remember?  I can’t cross the street???” Grrrr…. This was not the proper response from someone who was supposed to love me above and beyond all things on Earth.

One day as I was warily munching a cookie, I saw Mr. Peabody circling, sizing me up for the attack that was certain to follow, but this day I did not flee. Something had come over me and instead of running for the apartment I ran for a large stick I had noticed on the ground just outside the door. Someone, or Some Thing had put that stick there for a reason and I was quite certain I knew what the reason was. I grabbed the stick and confronted Mr. Peabody. Now, most of the turkeys I have known are not terribly bright and Mr. Peabody being no exception kept charging me with his wings flapping, his beak squawking, and his talons kicking up dust as if he expected this to be just another easy victory for him in the never ending Cookie Wars.

scared_turkey

Au contraire.

I smacked him full force right in the side, “dusting him off” so to speak and releasing a small cloud of turkey feathers from him and a large “Whoop!” from me. This shocked him for an instant, but then he rejoined the battle in earnest and came at me again complaining even louder than before. With new found courage and drunk from the power that only MWTD, Massive Weapons of Turkey Destruction can provide, I stood my ground and let him have it again. This time he grew some intelligence and ran from me. He actually ran from me! I couldn’t believe it. Of course I had to chase him now. Memories of all the times of torment and of all the cookies lost flooded my mind. I was going to have my satisfaction. I chased that poor bird all around the yard, giddy with my newly found manhood and laughing manically the whole time. Mr. Peabody ended up running into the entrance to the stairwell leading to our apartment and promptly got stuck behind the water heater. As much as I hated that turkey I did not want him to die stuck behind that appliance in that awful way. I tried in vain to poke him out, but had to give up when called in to supper. Panic had started growing in my mind at that point, as I knew I would be blamed for the untimely end of The Gracious and Good Mr. Peabody even though I am certain there had been no witnesses.

Well, the damn bird did end up dying there and horribly so I am sure, and at the time I was somewhat remorseful, but as I look back on that experience, no longer am. May he rot in Hell.  And even though relentlessly interrogated and upon more than one occasion, I never confessed to the murder of the Beloved Mr. Peabody–Until this day. And I am confident I can trust you not to drop a dime…

Frogicide: Is This a Capital Offense?

When I hear songs, they lead me into other songs, which lead me into more songs, and then inevitably,  they collide, atom like, and split into even further songs, and therein lies that rub. Yet in the currency of life, well… songs are life. Fatal collisions notwithstanding.

But they do resurrect memories.

At least mine in my mind do.

This one, This Herb Alpert one, Taste of Honey, I first heard while shopping for glass slides for my microscope. (I think I was approaching my nine years’ on Earth anniversary) I was in a shopping mall–long before there were such things in any other place but my Bellwether California.

No matter…

I was walking through the ‘toy store’, for that was the only place a ‘wee child’ could purchase slides for microscopes back then (without a legal guardian), when I, with the helpful help of the condescending moron at the store, found the blank glass slides.

“How much?” I earnestly asked.

“Four dollars,” he earnestly answered.

“Four dollars!” I exclaimed.

“Yes Son, Four dollars.”

“OK,” I said. “When a child needs slides, a child needs slides, but be somewhat forewarned and aware, that your sum represents two months’ allowance for me, reaped from the heavy hot labor of mowing yards, taking out trash, keeping my mouth shut, (when so ordered), and generally just being an unwillingly good kid. Someday you will lament this encounter when you are in Purgatory for ripping off a wee child.”

“Plus tax,” he said.

Shit!

Sometimes one’s Bullshit falls short, and fails to hit The Mark.

You see? I was a wanna-be microbiologist even then. Of course, I did murder, sacrifice  dissect-ize, euthanize some frogs along the way. (For The Good of Frog-Kind, and for Science, of course) I figure the ‘statue’ of limitations on Frogicide has long since crumbled…

Dust now, most likely, that statute.

So now, Gentles All, I confess to my crime… of Frogicide.

I did it for the tadpoles.

Ribbit, Ribbit.

‘The Time Has Come,’ The Walrus Said, ‘To Talk of Many Things: Of Murdered Birds, Of Turtles Green, and Hippies Sellin’ Rings.’ -With Apologies to Lewis Carroll

peobody

“Nap time!”

That hated time.

That dreaded time.

That feared time.

Why?

Because I did not know my left foot from my right foot.

You see, during “Nap Time” I had to remove my shoes and I could never figure out which shoe went on which foot.

Made no difference to me if I woke up and put the left shoe into the right mouth, but it did seem to matter a great deal to my kindergarten teacher. She would grow livid if one of her charges got the whole shoe business wrong. Well, good for her and bless her heart.

“Your shoes are on the wrong foot. Doesn’t that look funny to you? Doesn’t it feel uncomfortable? Don’t you feel like a fool?”

No. No. And, No.

I cared not.

However, being eager to please and wont to have no drama hurled in my direction, I made an honest effort to figure out the ‘whole shoe business’ just to make my life easier and less complicated.

Since I, until this day, cannot discern right from left, (or find my wayward way about my home town—pop: 1800) I came up with what I thought was a semi-brilliant plan: When nap-time came about, I would remove my shoes and carefully place them on the floor and slide them underneath my cot in exactly the same configuration that they had whilst my feet were wearing them. I surmised that once awakened, I could roll over, sit up, and by placing my feet just the same way as before I had retired, find the shoes exactly as they had been. Good theory, but I was never quite certain if or not, some Evil Shoe Satan had trifled with my shoes whist I was sleeping and therefore, did not know (with absolute certainty) if my shoes were still in the same configuration where I had left them and hence, if they would go back on in that same same configuration I needed.

I hated nap time.

Or, more accurately: the waking up from nap time.

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