Archive for the ‘short story’ Category

Catfish… Yum or She’s Perfect on Paper

July 10, 2019

Jake had friends that had met women from other countries on line and it really worked out well for them. There was Chuck who corresponded with a Thai woman working in Cairo at a hotel. Chuck back around the time Morsi was deposed by the military in Egypt, went to collect the love of his life and bring her back to his two-bedroom palace in Detroit. It didn’t matter that for six months his wife needed her phone to correspond with Chuck. A whole lot less fighting.

Paul went to Bogotá in Columbia and found a beauty of a woman who liked to cook and liked to clean and do whatever Paul was in the mood to do. Being twenty years his junior was a strong plus.

 

Jake decided to try his hand. Jake met Ann on a dating site for intelligent people. Jake was so intelligent that he never stopped to think that maybe corresponding with strangers in Dubai, might not be… intelligent.

 

Ann- Hey, my name is Ann. I saw your profile and you look totally for what I’m looking for in a man.

 

Jake saw a tall, thin, woman with a beautiful face and was hooked like a fish.

 

Jake- My name is Jake… I live in Milwaukee. Where are you?

 

Ann- I am the daughter of a Basque fisherman who lived in Belgium. I grew up speaking Basque, French, Flemish and German. My Amona, that is Basque for grandma, would have me all summer in San Sebastian. What about you?

 

Jake- We went to Door County a lot. It’s in northern Wisconsin. Your English is really good.

 

Ann- Merci

 

Jake stood at the computer waiting for Ann to say something and then after a few hours, she gave her telephone number but claimed in didn’t work in Dubai. They kept corresponding via the site. Jake had a few drinks one night and received a picture of Ann in a bathing suit and was out of his mind with desire. Ann would write to Jake often and then not for a while. Jake would stare at the screen like a dog watching a door for their master to return. After weeks, things seemed to be heading in a positive direction and the desire to meet Ann grew so strong that Jake was consumed all day long with thoughts of being with her. It was like those men you hear about in jail that receive letters from women on the outside. Those men are willing to break out of jail just to meet those special women. Jake was of the same mindset.

 

Jake- Listen I have free time and have always wanted to come to Dubai. I have a passport and I think you and I have something special between us. I dream of you with my eyes awake.

 

Ann- Oh my god! I totally feel the same way. I want to serve you breakfast in bed and massage you. I want to come to the states and eat at Outback with you.

 

Jake- Outback?! Um… I don’t go there ever. Have you been there?

 

Ann- Well we can go somewhere else too. Hey, I don’t want to spring this on you but if you do come, would you mind terribly taking care of something for me?

 

Jake- What’s that?

 

Ann- I have some money that I left in an account in Kenya that I cannot leave the country to get it. Would you mind terribly making a stop for me? I will tell you which bank to go to and they will give you the money we need to start a new life together. I cannot wait to leave Dubai and begin our new life in Milwaukee. I want to eat sausages, eat cheese and drink beer. When you get here, I am going to make love to you until you beg me to stop. I cannot wait to feel your hands all over my body. We will be one and it will be the greatest experience of our lives. Hurry my love.

 

Jake would have gone to the moon for her and just about did. He hopped on a flight to Nairobi. Upon landing, he grabbed the first cab he could find. He woke up hours later with his hands tied behind his back. Across the room were two men watching a soccer match on a small television, both were smoking. Jake asked what was going on. A large man with braids and a large gap between his front teeth stood and rubbed his belly.

“I am more attractive in a bathing suit… Let’s talk about getting some money.”

Love is often not what it appears to be and that is sad when you think about it.

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Going Against the Grain

June 19, 2019

Marsha wept as she rhetorically asked John where they went wrong with their son Gore. Gore seems like a crazy Goth name to give to their son at the time but actually he was named after Al Gore. Around the time of the 2000 elections, Marsha stopped dressing like Siouxie from Siouxie and the Banchees. She made John start dressing like a man who could make money instead of a over grown kid in ripped jeans and offensive Punk shirts from their high school days.

 

Marsha was a stay at home mom and the head of the PTO while John became a realtor. They had a swell home and every five years, they bought one that was even bigger and more expensive. They raised Gore to respect people of all colors and to not make fun of fat children or over the top effeminate men, not torture small animals ect… Marsha was way ahead of her time back in the early 2000’s. She explained that we are all equal in god’s eyes even though Marsha decided that there was no god. Marsha was raised Catholic but rebelled in high school. It was about the time she wore Doc Marten boots with her Catholic school skirt, died her hair jet-black and wore black lipstick. John met Marsha at a Black Flag show and fell madly in love with her. They had so much in common. They hated their parents, society, Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson and Madonna. They were against anything that their post World War II parents were for but over time like most Americans- they had to get on board, become a cog in the wheel of the dynamo that is these United States.

Gore was against everything that his parents were for too. John and Marsha were Chicago Cubs fans and Gore liked the White Sox. John and Marsha liked their Punk Music from the 1980’s and Gore liked Country. John and Marsha got paunchy and sedentary and Gore ate healthy as a teenager and lifted weights until he was the biggest and strongest guy in the school. Gore wrestled, played football and ice hockey. John and Marsh had been anti-jock back in the day.

Gore had a graduation party with friends that were going off to the military or college. They hunted and owned rifles. They drove American cars and trucks. They all seemed more at home in Nebraska than suburban Chicago. Gore took off his shirt before jumping in the family pool. On his back was a tattoo the length of his back that had Donald Trump making the “OK” sign with a circle between the thumb and index finger. Trump is wearing a suit with a red tie and is winking. It read- Donald Trump 45th president of the United States of America. Made America great again.

 

Marsha was horrified. Her girlfriends from something called the “Fight Club”, a group of moms angry about the election and their husbands were in attendance. The members of the fight club sat drinking wine and eating chips with dip. They had been talking about mundane things until they could not help noticing Gore looking like an underwear model with his shirt off. He was a like a Greek statue with a six pack, strong arms and chest. What was tattooed to his back sent them heading for the exit. The moms protested the president by wearing cat hats downtown. They had lawn signs that said things like love is love and no human is illegal and science is real. There was no way they were staying any longer at the party.  Marsha was horrified and filled with anxiety of what might happen next.

Sitting in a lawn chair with a Fedora hat on, holding a beer was an old man. It was the father of Martha. The moms all left close to suddenly and said nothing to Martha other than they needed to go. Martha worried that one of them might go on an open forum of suburban moms and let everyone know that her son was a pariah, a xenophobe, homophobe, misogynistic racist, a Trump loving… Republican. Marsha was tearing eyed as boys and girls jumped into the pool listening to hillbilly music. Her father laughed. She turned to him and asked what possibly could be funny.

“Oh I was just thinking about when you brought John over for Christmas dinner way back when. He had a safety pin through his face and his Mohawk was orange. He wore a t shirt with cut off sleeves… I’ll never forget that shirt. It said Killing Joke and underneath it was the pope on a German military truck being given a Nazi salute by German soldiers on both sides. My mom, being a woman who never missed mass, cried for a month when John Kennedy was killed. She got up and left. She couldn’t believe that I let you date that guy. She told me that I had to stop you. How likely was that? Well you married him.”

“And what is so funny to you exactly? That my friends are going to make me wear a scarlet letter by posting shit on the internet?”

“Come now… You can’t control your kids entirely. They go against the grain… I think you should get a tattoo of Bernie Sanders shrugging his shoulders with the caption- What Hath God Wrought.”

Your Expiration Date

May 22, 2019

Picture that you knew the day you would die. Think of it as being born with an expiration date. The young ones who pass as young children would get smothered during their short time on earth and those who knew they wouldn’t go on until age 90, would live reckless. Nobody would have to ponder how much time they had left. They would know.

Spencer married at an early age and had children early because his parents were told that he would die 2-8-91. He had two small children and had even discussed with his single brother that he would eventually marry his hot wife and raise Spencer’s children as his own. They had a party for Spencer back in 1991 when he was 24 years old a few days before his expiration date and then nothing happened. There was no car accident, no heart attack, no random gun shooting or nothing. He reasoned that maybe something got screwed up on the computer. These things do happen, you know.

Spencer went on for years thinking that everyday was probably the last and then one day when he was drunk and reading Sartre. Spencer’s wife had taken off with the kid’s basketball coach and he was alone. Spencer started to think that there was some sort of a mistake and the date of his death was probably going to be 8-2-19 and that all the numbers had been scrambled. Spencer was pretty sure that the date is coming and with it being late May of 2019, he had to get some things done and cleared up before cashing in or out.

All those years of anguish and anticipation of the inevitable really prevented him from really living. Spencer bought a motorcycle, joined Internet dating sites, he travelled the country watching sporting events and talking to random people in bars about really deep shit. He got on Facebook and found that girl that he secretly pined for in high school. She looked like the lead singer from the band Bow Wow Wow and liked surfer-looking guys with Van Shoes and OP shorts. They had long stringy hair and liked to skateboard and surf. Her name was Melissa and she was Filipino and she was so pretty that it was hard for a pimple faced Spencer to ever get the nerve up to approach her, to talk to her, to ask her to go to the movies, to be his girlfriend. Spencer had gotten himself in the best shape of his life even though he was pretty sure that the end was coming in August. He reasoned that the grass would be cut and the house immaculate on the day the house gets repossessed.   Spencer hired a detective to find out as much as he could about this girl that was trapped in his head from back in 1985. Here is what he found out- she married three times, had six children, is a big time gambler in Las Vegas and lives in an apartment in North Hollywood, California.

Spencer got off of his motorcycle clad in leather like Mad Max, holding a bouquet of roses. Sitting in a lawn chair of the kidney shaped pool that belonged to the apartment building was Melissa. She was not the thin thing that he remembered but Spencer didn’t see that. He saw the beautiful face that he fell in love with as a teenager. She was looking at her I-Phone with a furrowed brow when Spencer’s shadow cast over her. She looked up and could not make out the figure through the sun. Spencer presented the flowers and got down on one knee like a knight with his helmet on his knee.

“Time is short but there is still time and for my whole life, I’ve wanted to be with you… I won’t leave here today without you.”

Melissa gathered up a few small things and got on the back of the motorcycle. There were a few young Mexican children playing in the parking lot. Melissa tossed the bouquet to a group of young girls and they drove off towards Las Vegas listening to a song by Bow Wow Wow called Do You Wanna Hold Me.

Do you wanna hold me, hold me tight
And I cry all night, there’s only one solution to this life
There’s someone there to tell me what it’s like
Do you wanna hold me, oh yeah, do you wanna hold me, oh yeah
Do you wanna hold me, hold me there.

To Be Honest With You…

May 9, 2019

Roland was a no nonsense sort of guy. He was sort of one-dimensional when it came to ice hockey. Hockey was everything to him. Whether it was the NHL or five and six year olds playing in the park district. Roland was also fixated on the truth and living an honest life.

Roland’s daughter was married to guy who was really a great guy and he got along well with his daughter Cassie. Russ, Cassie’s husband started Internet dating with a woman from Brazil and just up and moved. There was a letter about how much he loved Cassie but there was something better for him in another country and when it came to love and true happiness, it was necessary to be selfish. Roland left his home in Detroit to live in suburban Chicago near his daughter. Roland talked Cassie into letting Roland enroll her daughter Gwen into hockey a few years back and Gwen was becoming a formidable player.

Many people talk about hockey’s old days but Roland lived it. Roland played in a semi-professional league that had Saturday night games in towns in Michigan like Marshall and Battle Creek. He would make his $50.00 a night and show up to work on the Chrysler assembly plant Monday morning. Twice Roland stitched up his own face between periods. He had a chipped front tooth and several scars on his face.

On the first day of spring league, Roland was astounded that eight and nine year olds were so beginner. At eight years old, most young hockey players have been skating for four years. Roland was going to have to start at square one with many of them.

“On face-offs, we all have a job to do. Standing there waving to grandma is not one of them. Waddling around like a penguin is not one either. There is no right field in this sport so we don’t walk out to a remote outpost… Am I reaching any of you?”

All youth teams put their hands in the middle at the beginning of the game and between periods and had a obligatory cheer. The coach asks things like- who are we? Monsters! What are we gonna do? Win! Roland had them all put their hands in the middle and then asked them who had ever been in a fistfight before.

“What’s the best way to win a fist fight?”

The players looked at him like they didn’t understand English. Nobody answered but Gwen wanted to because she had been asked this many times by her grandfather since she began skating at the age of four.

“Gwen?”

“Um… You wanna get the first punch and then you don’t wanna stop til they stop moving and if you get them by the nutsack, you wanna squeeze til they scream.”

“Right… On the count of three, yell squeeze… 1, 2, 3… SQUEEZE!”

Gwen had a hat trick and three penalties for hooking, tripping and checking in a non-check game. She would often tell her grandfather that she was going to get a Gordie Howe hat trick for him- a goal, an assist and a fight. Roland’s team lost 9-3. Roland got on the kids about not trying hard enough, about positioning, about trying to skate out of their zone with the puck and turning it over, the lack of passing and lack of determination to get the puck. As Roland left the locker room, a mom approached Roland.

“Hi… We haven’t met yet but I’m Stevie’s mom.”

Roland thought about Stevie coming into the locker room with the English au pair acting like he was a dinosaur, making dumb sounds and not getting dressed until Roland yelled in his face until his lips quivered. That only happened once.

“I wanted to ask you what you think of his skill and effort and what he can do to improve because he really loves the sport…”

“To be honest with you…”

Most people, who begin a sentence that way, say it to give them time to lie, to water it down and be less than honest with you. Not Roland.

“I would start with boxing or martial arts to toughen him up. He’s afraid of contact and this is a contact sport. I would then tell him that to buy all the equipment and pay to be on a team is like equal to buying a used car and for the money, do you really wanna do this? I could go to Jamaica for two weeks comfortably for what it costs to outfit you and watch you walk around the ice instead of skate. I would then tell him that if he does not push himself to his fullest, you’d pull him. I suspect between Mary Poppins who brings him to practice and the games you rarely make, this is sort of like babysitting for you. When hockey is played correctly, it should sound like a symphony… This team is out of tune and no tempo… Stevie is blowing clams out of his horn… You get where I’m going?”

“Wow… Is this how you see it?”

“Listen… Nobody just wakes up and decides they are going to play hockey unless they can skate and I mean skate well. Then when you got that down, you have to develop hands and a skill like chess with your heads so that you’re not constantly giving it away… Hockey is like a foreign language. To have a conversation, you have to learn the language… To be honest with you, Stevie isn’t practicing his horn… Many on the team are learning to say more than their name… Stevie doesn’t much care if he has an accent or if he even learns to speak Dutch… You following me?”

Yes, but not happily. But for sure… honestly.

She’s Leaving Home

April 11, 2019

The two men sat in the dark room with symphonic music playing. Lying in the bed with the white noise of oxygen being pumped into their mother’s nose.

“I think they fucked this whole thing up… If she can’t swallow any longer than how the fuck did she eat yogurt and drink water?” Asked Wade.

“There’s no way of knowing if it’s going into her lungs or stomach…” said Jimmy.

Jimmy is Wade’s son but was adopted by Wade’s mother while he was in Vietnam and so Laurie was the mom of both men. Wade was adamant that his mother was Jimmy’s grandmother and referred to her as such. Jimmy, tired and stressed over standing watch over a dying woman snapped at his dad and brother.

“Look… When someone adopts you, that person becomes your parent. You and my real mom gave me to her and so that makes her my mother too… Why don’t we just call her Laurie? That way I don’t have to hear you call her grandma. She’s not your grandmother and she’s not mine either.”

Back in the old days when Jimmy was a boy, Laurie would make Jimmy spend time with Wade. Wade, a Vietnam Veteran affected by Agent Orange, had a short attention span, problems with anger and an inability to hold a job. Wade never had to ever take care of another human in his life until now with his mother doing hospice. Laurie was a tough woman who fought cancer several times and won. Wade was a man who was burned over 65% of his body in a house fire and lived. Jimmy had a high threshold for stress.

“Wade… Do you remember the guy you shot in the foot?”

“Oh yeah… That fucking guy…”

The man’s name was Gene and he was a drunk Marine who was sitting in the backyard of a drunk Army/infantry veteran. Gene called Wade a pussy and told him he was too much a pussy to shoot anyone. Wade took a sip of his beer, pulled out a handgun and put it to the foot of his drinking buddy and pulled the trigger.

“Whatever happened to that guy?”

“He was as nuts as Mr. Peanuts. They put his ass in a mental institution. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive.

Wade yelled to his hard of hearing mother who was lying in bed holding a stuffed animal, staring straight ahead. He took a sponge on a stick and tried to jam water into her mouth. Lodged in the corner was a ball of yogurt that was being stored not swallowed.

“Looks like Laurie is saving that yogurt for dessert later,” said Jimmy.

Both men quietly thought about the days when she was younger, pretty and vibrant. Laurie was a bundle of energy at all times and could never do enough for her boys. Wade looked at Jimmy in his tank top with his arms folded. Jimmy’s arms looked strong. Both men worked out, ate well and wanted to try to not suffer in old age as much as possible.

“How much can you bench now?”

“On good days when my joints don’t hurt… 235 maybe 240… I remember when them two Greeks kicked my ass and I had to get stitches on my eyelid. You were lifting out in the backyard with your shirt off. It was summer time and Laurie was hanging clothes out on the clothesline. I came to you and asked if you could get me started lifting. You looked at me and told me never to wear stupid clothes anymore and eat more meat… I gained 35 lbs. of muscle that year. Nobody wanted to fight me anymore after that…”

Laurie picked at the blanket that covered her with one hand and reached out to her mother and grandmother who were standing in a field with the wind in their hair. Both women waved to Laurie and she waved back.

“Well, I say we call 911, get her to a hospital and do another swallow test. This is horseshit. If she can swallow, she can swallow.”

“Wade… The car is running but it’s not going to drive anymore… You know what I mean? It is what it is. She’s doing better because she sees you and me now instead of the nurses at the nursing home twice a day. She has advanced Alzheimer’s. It’s a matter of time. I don’t want that but it’s coming. We’re watching the sun setting with clouds. When the clouds pass and the sky gets lighter, we think the sun is coming back. It’s not coming back. It’s setting here and rising somewhere we can’t see.”

“That’s some deep, poetic shit, Jimmy. Put that on a greeting card, make some money.”

“I’ll put your picture on the front for people to laugh so that they won’t think it’s too heavy…”

“Fuck you…”

For as much as Jimmy disdained the man who was really his father, he was impressed with his ability to go on. His ability to persevere. His ability to conquer without fear. Jimmy understood that Wade was afraid to lose his mom. More so that Jimmy.

“Where are you going?” Asked Laurie, faintly.

Laurie’s mother and grandmother turned and held their hair in the breeze. They were young and vibrant like they were back in the 1930’s with crimped, short hair.

“We’re getting things ready for you… We’ll see you soon.”

Wade started to tear up as he looked at Laurie. With a crackling voice and sniffles, he explained harsh things that happened in his life that never left him.

“We captured a gook that got some of our guys killed. We tied him to the back of our truck and let him bounce around until his body was pulled apart and only his trunk was left. I watched a guy next to me die after a hole was put through his head. I watched people die in that burn unit from their injuries. I screamed myself when they scrapped my skin with a wire brush and had to cream my whole body and give me morphine… Those were hard things. Losing your mom is the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I’ll never forget her.”

Jimmy began to tear up. He was crying too. All he could do was shake his head in agreement. They would both miss her.

 

The Beatles

She (we never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (never a thought for ourselves)
Home (we struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home, after living alone, for so many years.

Inverted Universe

March 29, 2019

There is an other universe where alternate endings happen. The Germans and Japanese won World War II, the Soviets remained Soviets and apartheid still exists in South Africa. In this alternate universe, John F. Kennedy never was shot, neither was his brother, Richard Nixon was never president, the Vietnam War never happened. Oh and the Dead Kennedys named their band, California Uber Alles.

In the deep down south, a cable company in a quest to find something interesting for people to look at like the zoo, found a man Virgil who found oil on his land, sold it and lived a gaudy life that seemed funny and odd to people who live in urban or suburban environments.

Virgil married the daughter of his sister but his sister was really his mother but his mother gave Virgil to her mother because she was only fourteen. His birth mother told Virgil that his cousin was actually his sister but it was too late, he had gotten her pregnant and they had strange looking slow children with wide set eyes. Virgil would invite city folk, mostly black gangbanger types to go fishing and hunting with him and that was the angle of the whole show- take a homie hunting.

Now Virgil wanted Donald Trump to win the election of 2016 with all his being. He wore Trump hats and shirts. He had lawn signs and bumper stickers on his large trucks. When Donald Trump lost the election, Virgil would go on right wing radio shows and talk about how there was a definite conspiracy with hackers to change the results of the election. Illegal aliens and terrorists being allowed in, all had a hand to throw the election to Hillary Clinton and Virgil and many people like him were quite vocal about not accepting at face value that their horse wasn’t tripped, their horse just lost the race. Then one day it all happened.

“It was reported today that the cable television show star Virgil Hibbets of the show, City Meets Country, was attacked by two hooded black men. Virgil had come out of a local barbeque restaurant with a slab of ribs in hand and fought the two attackers. They were described as young black men in their teens or twenties. They attempted to pour tar and feather Mr. Hibbets. As you can see in the grainy closed caption film captured outside the barbeque restaurant, tar is poured on the head of Mr. Hibbets while a second man dumped feathers upon him. They then punched and kicked him and drove off in a car with New York license plates that were captured in this video. There is a Bernie 2016 sticker and Hillary 2016- I’m with her sticker on the back bumper of a green Nissan Leaf.”

The right wing was incensed. Virgil went on Hannity and Laura Ingraham’s Fox television shows and spoke about the incidents.

“Now these evil communist perpatratahs come outta one of them hybrids. They faces was obscured by they hoods… They took they hands and made the letter H like some kinda gang thang and shouted out dat this is Hillary country. They called me a fat crackah and pro-ceeded tah pour tar upon me and then feathers. The tar got into mah eyes… You kin imagine how much mineral spirits ah needed to get the tar off? Mah eyes still ain’t right… The climate in this ah here country is a di-rect result of the politics of the day. It’s horrible tah think dat people would attack me fuh a difference of opinion…”

For a short while, people believed Virgil and then after a while, they started to put together the whole thing and it just did not make sense. Where did the Nissan Leaf come from and why was it in Mississippi? Two young black men who happened to be passionate Hillary supporters in a part of town where if you were black, white people would look at you as if to ask if you were lost. The next thing was that Virgil’s cell phone had been wiped clean. It wasn’t done professionally like Hillary’s with BleachBit. This was just old fashion erasing and not understanding that erasing is not enough. Before long, they found out that the two black men were not black but actual white men who worked for Virgil and wore black shoe polish on their faces. There was closed caption films of the two men buying clothes that black people might wear at a mall in Jackson and another film of them buying tar and feather pillows at a Home Depot outside of their town.

Virgil was confronted with the evidence as were the two men who worked for Virgil and before long, they were all arrested. Virgil having deep pockets bailed himself out and the two who were paid a whopping $3,500.00 by check to help Virgil get back into shape. Call it personal training. CNN, MSNBC, CBS and so on took Virgil to task and rightly so. Virgil’s explanation was that the network that hired him, was thinking of dumping his show and to draw attention and sympathy, he came up with the whole thing. Horrible to think, right?

In Jackson, two weeks later, without cameras, the judge in a speed trial took into account that Virgil had a clean record and never even had so much as a parking ticket in the past. Virgil had to forfeit his bond money and they took as community service, the food bank work he had done as a young man with the minister, Billy Graham. Virgil emerged from the courthouse draped in the American flag, holding the hands of his two little children who looked a little off. The press yelled questions at Virgil. He quietly with a tear in his eye put his hand over his heart and thanked god, his mother and those that love freedom and the United States of America. God Bless.

The New Hockey

March 23, 2019

The Whackers had a season that most coaches only wish they could have. 35 wins and 1 loss. The one loss was a sore point with Luke and Francis. They were going up against the team across town called the Beaters. The Whackers were flat that day back in February and the Beaters beat them soundly. Luke said a few select words to his impressionable 13 and 14-year-old boys.

“I watched those fuck sticks do drills over and over around cones and tires… How many cones and tires did you find on the ice tonight? You got the bald fuck who can’t skate who stands at center ice and points all over the place like a field marshal Don’t know what a field marshal is? Google it when you’re not looking at jack-off movies. Then the young tool with the goatee… His little butt buddy. They had slow, fat children playing D and nobody got around them. Every loose puck, they beat us to. You thought you had this game in the bag before we took the ice and they handed you your own asses… This shit will not happen again this season. If I have to find five willing to play the way I want, I’ll do that and the rest of you can sit up in the stands with your parents and criticize what I do… Are we fucking clear? Francis… Anything you want to add?”

Francis was a man of few words. He put it plainly and quietly.

“Boys… You shit the bed…”

The Whackers got back on track and tore through the season and beat the Beaters in the semi-final and then faced the rich kid prep school with their track suits, matching hockey bags and stick bags with the school emblem. King of all Kings Prep School was the hands down favorite to walk away in the final. The Whackers were nervous and on edge until Luke gave his pre-game speech.

“You won all your games this season except one. If you lose today, it will suck greatly to have to shake their hands with tears in your eyes. It will suck to get the almost won banner and miniscule trophy too with it. It will suck to go home in your daddy’s Ford Truck and watch the prep fuckers roll out in Range Rovers and Bentleys. Play every shift like it was your last one. Play like there is an empty net behind you. Be willing to do anything and you might just win.”

The Whackers skated to a 0-0 tie after three periods. In the overtime, a Whacker defenseman whipped the puck around the boards to clear the zone. It hit the stick of prep player and glided towards the prep goalie. A Whacker wing skated harder than hard to beat the defenseman and approaching prep goalie. The Whacker wing dove and whacked the puck past the approaching prep goalie and watched it trickle in past the goal line. The Whackers threw their gloves and helmets up in the air and mobbed the winger who won the game. The parents cheered and hugged one another. Out of 60 teams at the bantam level, the Whackers emerged as the best of the best. Great story, right?

Monday morning after a weekend of drinking and backslapping with parents. Testimonials and funny stories about this player or that, the hockey director called Luke and Francis into her office. In the office smiling like the cats that ate the canaries were the Beater coaches. The Whacker club lost their full time hockey director due to budget cuts so they gave the job to the twenty something year old speed skating director. In her infinite wisdom, she watched the playoff games and felt that the Beater coaches were better suited for what she felt was necessary to develop the Whacker program going forward. She liked the serpentine drills with cones and tires. She liked that the bald coach was quiet and methodical and that his sidekick had sold her on truly growing the program by working in tandem with Luke and Francis. The Beater coaches had convinced the Whacker hockey director that if they put Luke and Francis in a role of mentors, the four of them could really create something special. It sounded so good to Tiffany and the name Tiffany sounds really tough for a hockey director. She explained the new plan going forward with a lot of “likes” and “umms”. Luke listened in shock and awe. Tiffany used words like family and community to define the new configuration. Luke interrupted.

“I’m a plain man… In plain English are you saying that we are mentoring these guys?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

“And what you mean by mentoring is that we are their assistant coaches. We move the tires, we move the cones and bend over and pick up the pucks at the end of practices, right? Fill the water bottles and so on.”

Tiffany wrinkled up her nose and pushed back her glasses, she nervously hunched her shoulders before speaking again.

“Umm… It’s not really like that… It’s like one big team working together to create something really special..”

Umm Yes. Like really special… And yet really weird.

The New and Improved Mayor

March 13, 2019

Guido Guiliana was known around his village just west of Chicago as “hizzoner”. Guido had been mayor for over twenty years and for years; he had a lock on things. The village pushed through a video gambling initiative and it just so happened that Guido’s friend Mel or Melsie happened to be a middleman for the leasing and operating of the gambling machines.

Twenty years earlier, the town was very blue collar and sort of old world white. There were union electricians, plumbers, police officers, firemen, builders and so on. Now it was becoming a place that millennials chose to move into to get away from city taxes. The Hispanics and blacks too were creeping in and low and behold, the upstart councilman who questioned the mayor’s collusion and steering on building contracts just happened to be black and an opposition mayoral candidate. This election was no longer a sure thing.

Now Guido was quite worried about losing that side money when a street needed paving or someone needed work done to their house and permits and shoddy work was passed while his shell company made money. The biggest cash cow was the video gambling.

Picture old women with oxygen tanks taking breaks from their addiction to smoke out in front of establishments with neon signs that read “gaming”. Yes, smoking with oxygen being piped into their noses. There were many patrons that fit that profile that were putting money into Guido’s pockets. Guido was making a penny on every dollar that was put into a gambling machine in town. It afforded Guido the money to buy cars and homes he didn’t need and to have side women.

Guido met a beautiful young thing at a nail salon run by a black woman whose clientele was primarily black. The mayor would go in to get his nails polished and glossed. For years, the woman who did his nails was a large and unattractive black woman, who smelled slightly of skunk, had wisps of facial hair and weazed when she exhaled. The new girl was truly smoking hot.

Felicity was young and had a young fit body. She was pretty and laughed at everything the mayor said. Felicity eventually went with Guido to fancy restaurants and clubs where other Italian mayors hung out and drank tropical drinks in a dimly lit lounge that was supposed to be Polynesian but was really Filipino. As time went on, Guido took trips all over the country with Felicity and put her up in an apartment that he could spend the night at periodically. Felicity began too look at the situation and wanted the full benefit of spreading her legs for the mayor. She wanted the house, the cars, the title and so on. What Felicity didn’t know was that the mayor was helped in many ways by his wife’s father who was a mob guy and so he could not dump his wife for a black chick, a young black chick, without drama or death. Felicity allowed herself to get pregnant and have a beautiful baby boy that was sort of a caramel color. Felicity also was smart and thought ahead at all times.

Mrs. Guido Giuliani or Luciana or Lulu as most called her, had a clothes boutique with a café attached that Guido had set up for her so that she would have a little something. She hired a pretty young black woman by the name of Sue. Lulu would come home and talk about Sue and how helpful she was and what a good and tireless worker she had. Guido was not putting two and two together as they say. One day he got the surprise of his life.

“Honey, the girl who works for me is going to stay with us for a little while. She had been living in one of those horrible places you rent by the hour with a small child. I thought we could give her the sub-basement where my mother lived…”

Sue… I mean Felicity walked in the house and extended her hand for the mayor to shake it while holding the toddler in her left arm. The baby pointed at Guido and said “dada”. Guido could feel his heart beat in his eyes and began to sweat. Sue corrected her young son.

“That’s not dada… He looks a little like dada but you know what they say… Y’all look a lot alike.”

The situation was tortuous for Guido. There he was trying to win a close election and keep his companies alive that serviced the village exclusively and now his side bitch had maneuvered her way into the house. There was very little Guido could say or do and Sue was masterful at playing the game. Sunday dinners were special times.

“I’ve always wanted to see the world… You know place like Miami, New Orleans and Hoboken.”

Guido had been at a mayoral convention in Hoboken. Felicity knew this because she was there. It was a game where Guido had to hide Anne Frank but the only problem was that Anne Frank was right out in the open, with a child and another name. Guido upon talking to his drinking buddies and other Italian small village mayors, decided to just roll with it. Frankie, the mayor of one town over, put into terms that made sense to Guido.

“Guido… You fucked up. No other way to put it… Waddya goanna do? Apologize and cry like a little bitch? You wanna stand at a press conference crying, your wife crying, your adult children crying and have the black chick standing with the press holding your baby like it was the fucking Maury Povich Show? Fuck it… She ain’t busted you out yet… Just go wid it. It’s a new era. Anything fucking goes… Just go wid it.”

If you ever go to Chicago and go a few miles west, you’ll find a really racially cool mayor in a village that used to be old school but is becoming cool, hip and cutting edge.   If you see the mayor, say hello. He’s really a good guy and one day, you might need him and he might need you. You never know…

Comedy Today- A Faux Pas

January 23, 2019

Cynthia told the Oak Park Women’s group that she had a cousin who was very good at stand up comedy and performed a lot in Detroit. The women rented out a restaurant bar along Lake Street in a town that proudly claims Ernest Hemingway and the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Two famous men who couldn’t wait to leave Oak Park. The women’s group agonized over the fact that comedy today is very touchy. If things are not directed at the president exclusively, they could be taken as racist, homophobic, xenophobic and so on. Those in attendance were mostly women and a few husbands and or girlfriends of women. The first two comedians ripped on the president, his wife, his youngest son, his daughter who became orthodox Jewish, Mike Pence, Make America Great Again, followers of Trump. Wade, the cousin of Cynthia, made quite a splash.

 

Wade came on stage with a joint in his mouth unlit, wearing a “Make Men Violent Again” t-shirt. He glared at the audience with squinty eyes as if he was looking for someone he knew.

“Aleuts? Aleuts? Anyone what we used to call Eskimos here in attendance? Now don’t try to fake me out if you’re from Samoa… You’re a little darker than your cousins who crossed the land bridge 10,000 before the Protestants and Columbus came and renamed you people… No Aleuts? Okay… Then the rest of you are fair game.”

Wade lit the joint, inhaled and expelled it into the face of chubby looking lesbian with a Dutch boy hair cut with a plethora of political buttons on her Army coat. The woman snapped at Wade.

“No smoking? In Detroit we can still get a drink and smoke in casinos…  I don’t see any video gaming her… Well fuck it… By the way… This is medicinal. Me and my kid are both ADD and when I’m not on Ritalin, I smoke a joint to calm my nerves to keep me from getting my shotgun and taking out those that annoy me…”

-Groaning and whispering-

“Hey… I must have total silence. This is not a democracy it is a constitutional republic and until I can rewrite the constitution I must have silence!”

Wade took a sip of his Scotch on the rocks and took a horse crop and slammed in on the chair next to him as he did his best German accent and hid his upper lip.

“Sank-you… What a diverse group we have here tonight…

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do boys like they’re girls who like girls like they’re boys… That song reminds me of Rumsfeld at press conferences. Wouldn’t you like to put him in a room with Trump and hear what’s being said? Maybe get Rod Rosenstein to wear a wire and play that shit in real time on CNN…

 

-Groaning and more murmuring

 

“Okay fine… You like Trump jokes… So Trump goes golfing with Mitt Romney and John Mc Cain but Mc Cain has to hire a midget to swing for him because he has that weird one armed shit like Bob Dole had… Mc Cain wouldn’t let the midget putt but otherwise that little fucker had to carry the clubs like a Sherpa and try to beat Trump for him. Well in the end, guess who won? You got it… Trump. The house always wins. But while they’re walking around losing to Trump, Trump asks them how they could possibly lose to Obama. He then tells them that they’re losers and he will show them how to go out and run for president and win… How did he do that shit? I mean all you fucking people hate him, right? How did he win? Russians? Well now Mitt becomes senator in a Mormon state, smiling and looking as real as Max Headroom meets The Mask. His first order of business is to align himself with the people that defeated him… Now that’s a Republican for you…. How bout a hand for those two dolls that went before me tonight The plump one was hot in a Buddy Hackett sort of way…” Wade pointed to a woman in front of him. “I wouldn’t fuck her with your dick, ma’am…”

 

Women and a few men begin to heckle him. Wade smiles, takes a sip of his drink and holds it up to the crowd.

 

“You won’t rattle me. I went to the same school as G.G. Allin. Don’t know him? Take a second and Google him. Now then I wrote a poem in honor of this occasion and it goes like this…

 

These are very troubled times

I’ll stir the pot with my rhymes

Build a wall to keep us in

Nobody likes you where you’ve been

The world hates you for being American

The red white and blue is a sin

You need to sit when you piss

In a bathroom for every gender

We’ll suck the testosterone from your balls

Make you wear a dress in the halls

You racist, misogynistic cunt

You probably like it in the rump

I’m losing you all again… Okay…Donald Trump!

 

You’ve been a great audience. God bless you. God bless America and good night.

We Like Ikes

December 29, 2018

Like the Amish, the Ikes were a mysterious bunch of people that people knew very little about. What they knew about the Ikes is that they wore nothing, watched nothing, and drove nothing, furnished nothing in their homes beyond the year 1960.

A rich man bought up the land on two small islands off the coast Florida on the Gulf of Mexico side and sold parcels to anyone who would submit to living as people did sixty years ago. No cell phones or computers and people drove old cars in pristine condition. The kids if they were part of the greasers, wore slicked back hair and listened to Rockabilly, drove hot rods and motorcycles. They terrorized the sochies or sociables as they were called. It was all pretty quaint. Each island had a high school and people had little shops and supported one another. They watched old movies in the one theater or the drive in theater near the ocean. There were popshops where kids ate burgers and had malts and danced. Life was simple and non chaotic. Like the Amish, at the age of 18, children on the island could go into the world and live for a period of six months and at the end of six months, they could either leave, never to return or they would return, start a family, find a job and live happily ever after.

Tom and Mary, brother and sister, twins actually, headed out in a 1951 Mercury convertible to Miami. They rented a room on South Beach in an old Art Deco Hotel on Collins. They ate at the Versailles in Little Havana, went and danced to Salsa music at night at Bayside, they took in a Miami Marlins baseball game and at night, found a bar that would let them in to drink even though they were underage. In the bar, women danced on the bar wearing barely nothing and music pulsated and was so loud. Tom kind of liked it and Mary kind of hated it. Mary wore a nice summer dress that went beneath her knee with a matching headband and saddle shoes. Tom wore a summer suit and kept his hair in a flat top. He had white shoes and a straw Fedora hat. Tom and Mary did the same things every day and nights for weeks. One night, a buxom Cuban girl danced with Tom. They sat down and had Mojitos at a table on the sidewalk. The woman had long nails and fake eyelashes. She split her time between talking to Tom and looking at her phone and answering text messages. A group of other young people came up and sat with them at their table. They convinced Tom and Mary to come with them to an all night party where they both drank until they passed out. They woke up with no money on them as the hot sun beat down on them on the front lawn of the Fountain Blue. They thought it was the alcohol but they had actually been slipped a date rape drug or a mickey as it was called on the island. Tom had enough gas to get them home and so they drove the three-hour trip back to the island. Tom and Mary went straight to bed and woke up the next morning to find their mother and father in the kitchen. Dad was reading the island paper and mom was making pancakes. The twins plopped down in the assigned kitchen chairs. Tom was wearing a Florida Marlins t-shirt and his frost tips caused his dad to stare at him with a furrowed brow as he puffed on his pipe.

“Gee Pop… I guess it’s just one of those things you have to see, touch and smell to understand…” said Tom, as he bit into his buttery, syrupy pancakes.

“They are unhappy people,” said Mary.

“Oh is that so, Pumpkin? Tell me why,” said father.

“They’re fat and loud and profane. They’re dumb by choice and lazy. They are glued to devises that they carry in their hands and rarely look at one another. They love to take pictures of themselves and want everyone to think that they’re happy and they’re not,” said Mary.

“Well now you know.” Said mother as she put out scrambled eggs, bacon and toast.

“You know the guy who became president? We never hear much about him here except maybe the good stuff like unemployment and proud to be American and all. If you turn the television on out there, it’s incredible… I followed it on television like a soap opera…”said Tom.

“So what did you hear, sport?”

“It would take hours to really elaborate but it appears as though the president won the election and nobody thought it would happen and so those that didn’t like him, claimed the Russians helped him win and so the attorney general did something called recusing, which means he did nothing and they got the guy under him to assign someone to look into the president and Russian involvement. Two guys went to jail that did not do anything with the Russians but didn’t pay taxes and told some fibs to the FBI… The FBI meanwhile hated the president and the head of the FBI gave documents to a friend so that friend could go to the papers and let everyone know that the president tried to tell the head of the FBI to not go after this general who was on the president’s staff. So one of the FBI investigators was sending messages on one of those gadgets that they all have in their hands at all times, telling his girlfriend who also worked for the FBI, that he would stop the president from being president. Meanwhile, the president who has a really pretty wife, had relations with another pretty woman a long time ago and he gave her money not to talk about it… Well guess what? She talked about it… And now they say he used money to run for president to pay the girlfriend not to talk. Thing is that he has billions of dollars and probably just used lunch money to make her be quiet. Now those that hate the president, want to impeach him and those who love him, don’t care what he does. Everyone is so angry right now out there… It really is crazy,” said Tom.

Nobody said anything for a minute. They all just sort of thought about what Tom just said. Mother poured everyone some orange juice and asked them all a rhetorical question.

“Golly what a mess! Could you imagine any of this happening to Eisenhower?”

The question made them all laugh.