Posted by: slowburn33 | February 21, 2008

TAGGED!

Crap, I’ve been hit.

DAMN YOU TJ!

Ok, I’ve got CALLY’S WAR in my backpack on my desk. It’s by my favorite Sci-Fi/Action writer, a guy named John Ringo (really!). It’s not my favorite work of his, but I’m supposed to grab the NEAREST book.

Page 123, three sentences after sentence number 5:

“I’m not saying another word without ID,” he said.

“Of course you are,” Cally said conversationally, “because whoever the hell I am, I’m still the damned scary bitch who has you tied to a chair under a sound damper.”

“Hey, babe, there are worse things than being tied up by a beautiful woman,” he smirked.

I tag Chris, Max, Sulya, Kitty, and Nancy. Whoot!

Posted by: slowburn33 | January 26, 2008

Good One!

Ok, got this as a text message this morning. Figured I’d share it with you guys. I had a nice little chuckle…

A guy comes home to his wife,  jumping for  joy and waving a lottery ticket.

“Honey, pack your things!  I just hit the JACKPOT!!

“What should I pack?!” she asks.

“I don’t give a shit! Just get the fuck out!”

Posted by: slowburn33 | January 15, 2008

The Worst

The worst thing any father can do is make his child cry. Not by scolding them, or unintentionally frightening them, or taking away a favorite toy as punishment. Things like that happen daily. Sometimes it’s needed. It still stings you a little, but you know deep down in your parenting subconscious that it’s all part of the growing up process. You can look yourself in the mirror and know ya done good.

But when it happens…when you don’t see it coming and you look down at your child and silent tears are streaming down her face, and she looks up to you with such sadness that your world seems to stop and go ice cold. When that happens, I gotta say it’s impossible to feel any kind of good about yourself. I’d smash the damn mirror to pieces before looking back at who’s in it.

This happened to me just this morning. After a nice two hour delay of the school day, thanks to the media’s ridiculous hype of a snowstorm, I drove my little girl to school. As usual, Radio Disney belted out all of her (OK, our) favorite kid-rock songs. There was a relatively new single by the Black Eyed Peas that came on, and she was pretty impressed that I already knew most of its lyrics. We had some laughs. My daughter laughs easy.

We arrived in the school parking lot about 20 minutes early. Time to kill. A couple more kid songs and a talk about what the hell happened to all the snow that was promised the night before. A kiss on the head and a deal to keep our fingers crossed for the next “big” storm. Hey, snow days are cool.

But then? Silence. She was staring out her window over at the school building. My daughter likes school. Always has. She excels in all her second grade classes and plays well with others. Her teacher walked by with a friendly wave and she returned it. Half-hearted.

That’s when I sensed it. Something was wrong. She loves this years teacher. I always create funny names for whoever she has teaching her, so I leaned in and was about to ask “Isn’t that Ms -?”

That’s when the most important living being on the face of this mostly useless planet looked back up at me with tears in her eyes. And I knew instantly why. It had nothing to do with a non existent snow day, a long tour at school, or any teacher we’ve ever known.

This had to do with me.

Because every time I take her to school or back home to her mother it’s “goodbye”. Not a safe little wave and I’ll see you after school goodbye. Not a see you in the morning when I get home from work goodbye. Ours is a goodbye until next week. Days pass before that long goodbye is cancelled with a happy wonderful hello. And neither I nor my daughter have any control over it.

We’re both on the other side of a divorce neither of us ever wanted or could even possibly imagine occurring. But every damn day, there it is. And so I do my best to console her. To promise that the days will pass faster than ever and our time together will seem to stand still. And after a long hug and a few noggin’ kisses she calms down and seems to understand.

Saying goodbye doesn’t have to mean forever. Sometimes it just feels that way.

Posted by: slowburn33 | December 14, 2007

WHY

As I stand in the young couple’s tiny but well-kept apartment, I can’t help but ask myself two questions. “Who’s fucking call is this?”  And, maybe more importantly, “Why?”. Both  keep looping around in my head like a bad seventies porno soundtrack.

‘Cause you see, the young female half of this couple is lying spread eagle and unconscious on her living room floor, shirt ripped open and eyes rolled back in her head while four paramedics work valiantly and desperately to keep her alive. Her male partner walks in small confused circles, holding his head with both hands while making feeble child like noises. Tears pour from painfully clinched eyes. I can’t read minds, but I’d bet a paycheck that “This can’t be happening!!” is set to repeat in there.

Over his shoulder, through a window, and outside shines a sign of hope. Twinkling Christmas lights dash up and down several metal fire escapes across the street. They’re beautiful, like a dazzling stairway to Heaven.

Three rookie police officers stand diligent but useless next to a fake little Christmas tree, it too alight with hope. Two of the cops stare outright, because of the girl’s whithering life signs or nakedness I don’t know. The third just looks away.

The paramedics have to rotate every minute or so. CPR looks effortless and heroic on TV. It’s actually exhausting and frustrating. Everyone is sweating. From exertion. From tension. From a growing sense of dread and death as we watch a human being slide from existence.

But it isn’t the sight of someone dying right before my eyes or even the chilling notion that death is inevitable that burns those two questions into my skull. It isn’t the anguish on everyones face or the pitiful sounds coming from the poor guy’s throat or the sadness of the whole situation.

It’s the timing that pisses me off.

‘Cause you see, just five minutes before our arrival into this nice young couple’s private world, the guy had gotten down on one knee and right there, under that tiny little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, had asked the girl to marry him.

Turns out she’s asthmatic. Seconds after saying yes to a loving man and a wonderful future she had an attack. Right there. In front of her Christmas tree and the man she wanted to spend forever .

So as we lift her onto the gurney and strap her in, as I take my turn at CPR while she’s carried to the ambulance, and as the young man begs his fiance to stay with him and not leave, I gotta ask.

Who the hell’s call was this? And why does shit like this even happen?

Posted by: slowburn33 | September 26, 2007

Best Bud

My dog sits there like a king on his throne, basking in a bright beam of daylight. He’s positioned himself right under the bedroom’s skylight, the sun’s warmth sinking into his dark brown fur. He almost seems regal. Though his days ahead are far fewer than those behind , his brown eyes are still bright and intelligent. The years may have stolen his youth, but he’s in pretty good shape for an old mutt.

He slowly lays down, sprawled on the deep blue carpet. He glances at me casually, assuming I’m still asleep on my bed instead of watching him with half opened eyes. And then he does it, his morning ritual. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen a dog do.

Like a damn cat, my dog methodically begins cleaning himself…with his tongue. First his left forepaw, then his right. About ten passes each. Watching the old guy take such an interest in personal hygiene is more than enough for a laugh. But to mimic a cat? I thought most dogs hate cats.

And the pooch knows what he’s doing just isn’t …right. Before moving on to a new section of fur, he’ll look around sheepishly. He probably realizes, deep down in the feral part of his mind, that he should be fetching a paper. Or guarding the front door. Or maybe just chasing his tail.

For Christ’s sake, he’s a dog. Man’s best friend and protector.

Instead, he’s sunbathing in his master’s bedroom while primping himself like some fashionistic little diva. The word “spoiled” comes to mind. As does lazy, privilaged and maybe a touch neurotic.

Then again, in his own way, he’s still covering all the bases. Though he may not be patroling the room, he is here watching and listening. A sharp whistle would send him bounding over to me, if only for a friendly pat on the head.

A car horn blasts away angrily out front and his ears prick up momentarily. He doesn’t move otherwise, he’s become accustomed to all the irrelevant background noise of the neighborhood. He goes back to cleaning his lower leg. And that’s when I decide to end my spying and sit bolt upright.

If an animal could die of embarrassment, this would be the one. Most dogs would spring into action at the sight of a human suddenly rising in front of them. Either jumping up to play with their owner or setting themselves in the fight or flight position of readiness against the unknown. Not mine.

My dog freezes in mid-lick, looking up at me through saucer plate eyes. As if caught with his paws in the cookie jar. He collects himself pretty quickly, nonchalantly rising to his hindquarters. He quietly struts over to me as I get up, looking for that good morning scruff of his head.He leans into my hand, gratefully acknowledging that I’m finally awake and the day can really begin. He returns my friendly petting with a quick hand lick and then heads for the stairs, looking over one furry shoulder to make sure I’m still behind him. I’d love to comment on how nice he looks this morning, but why embarrass a buddy?
Instead, me and man’s well-groomed best friend head down stairs together for breakfast.

Posted by: slowburn33 | September 22, 2007

The Guy on the Corner

You’d probably never notice him, unless you were from the neighborhood. Or a customer. Or a cop.

If you bothered to stay and watch, the first thing you’d notice is that he never moves from the corner. That’s because it’s his. Like a predator protecting a fresh kill, no one is taking it from him. That tiny piece of grey real estate is his.

He’s wearing the latest ghetto nation fashion. The so called ‘ice cream’ jacket, a multi-colored urban hooded sweatshirt. This jacket is a badge of honor worn with criminal pride and privilege. It’s a shroud of street cred and hustled wealth.

It’s a frigid and windy day, the air stings as you breath. But he’s out here standing his corner. Making bank. Anyone else, even the cops who work outside against him, have enough common sense to run inside a diner for a cup of coffee. But he can’t leave. He’s got to stand his ground for the entire shift. Gloves are out. They’re too cumbersome for his lightning quick hand-to-hand transactions. His fingers must be numb by day’s end. Then again, all those greenbacks might keep them warm.

His white and blue baseball cap is brand new, the gold authenticity sticker still on the rigid brim. Left there on purpose. He probably can’t name three starters on the team. Again, just a symbol of money and drug profit.

Dark, pre-stressed, preposterously baggy jeans spill down over the latest Timberlands. Both fresh from the local urban outfitter. Dress attire for the ‘hood. He may not have an office with a view, or a union, or even a health plan. But he has a  business.

And business is good.

But the most important part of the ensamble, the one he would never leave home without, is his game face. The street sneer.

If you’re a customer, his face stays impassive, indifferent. He’s not looking for friends. Strictly business. If you’re a cop, cruising by like a shark and letting him know you know, you’ll get a different variation. Mildly defiant, locking eyes for a heartbeat, but not looking for a fight. There’s money to be made. He’ll always break contact first, but keeps the squad car in his peripheral vision. Just in case the shark is hungry.

Should you be a competitor? A rival dealer looking to expand your own kingdom of corners?

All bets are off.

His chin juts up and out, eyes glaring down his nose with nostrils flared. Legs akimbo and feet planted like skyscaper cornerstones. An animal defending his den. His arms are in motion and he talks more with his hands than with his mouth. There’s a weapon nearby if needed. Not on him, of course. The stupid ones carry weapons on them, the ones who get locked up.

Not on him, but close.

He’s a drug dealer. And this is his corner.

Posted by: slowburn33 | September 22, 2007

I’m 10-84, central.

So, this is blogspace. Kinda white.

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