My Great Grandfather: When Cultures Clash. Ass kicking, long hair and Hard Knocks

My Great Grandfather: When Cultures Clash

Grandfather2

Great Grandfather and his Rake.

It was the day before my Great Grandfather’s Birthday – his Life Celebration – when he died. 

He would have celebrated his hundredth birthday and it would have been celebrated on a Sunday.  Now I know he is somewhere in the Spirit World angry as hell that he missed it by one day.  Just one day!

My Grandfather would not be angry just because he died.  Everyone dies someday, he used to say.  But you see, he had this thing about him – these things actually. But there was one thing about him, and everyone who knew him would agree, he liked things just right.  And dying on his birthday at 100 years old would have completed the perfect circle.

My Great Grandfather was a bit quirky, a Renaissance Man and what a pop psychologist may even call a bit anal-retentive. Things had to be put in their proper place. Labeled. Cleaned. This however did not show so much when dealing with other people, it was just a little quirk in his own life.

For instance, if you opened his refrigerator, everything was arranged just the way he liked it. Food that may spoil first (and his favorite treats) were placed at the front of the fridge followed by food with a later expiry date and food less preferred (he hated beets, but knew they were healthy… which is probably why he lived to be so old). Things that didn’t spoil were arranged by size and color. Ketchup, mustard and relish were arranged in that order because that’s how they were aligned in a visible (light) spectrum. I told him it was because deep down he was a Rasta and he told me to shut the hell up.

Now I feel that his refrigerator habits made sense.  And even now I do the same thing. Which to anyone who knew the both of us, this was no surprise. They all used to say (and still do) that I was just like him. Down to the bone, they’d say. 

Maybe that’s why we got along so well, my Great Grandfather and I.

My father and I were a different story however.

My father and I were also much alike in a few ways – stubborn, temperamental – and perhaps that is why he tried to kill me one day. 

If not for my Great Grandfather and a rake, I might not be writing this now.

To begin, I should mention that my Mom and Dad got divorced when I was very young. My younger brother was a year and half old, my sister was just born and I was three.

He wanted to move to a warmer climate (sick of those New England winters) and my mother would not leave her family (a townie through and through)… so they parted ways. To be fair, my parents were very young when they married, so I can’t blame either. We do dumb things when we are young… and if it wasn’t for their dumbness, I wouldn’t be writing this now.

So YAY for that. 

We had not seen my father for a few years, and then one day, he came back.  

I got to see Dad on the weekends.  I was still young and it was a thrill to have a “dad” again. We would go out on his motorcycle, or drive around in his Cutlass.  He taught me how to fight and protect myself and when the bullies on the playground came around, I had something for them. 

Having a dad again was great (even though it was just the weekends)… until I started getting older and realized he did not know the first thing about raising kids. But still, he had his own ideas.

  You see, the older I got, the more I wanted my own identity… to be my own person. Some called me rebellious, but I wasn’t thinking that way.  I grew my hair longer and changed the style of my clothes.  My father took this all in stride at first.  But he was only tolerating my behavior for the time being. 

My father was what one would call Old School. He said he was brought up at the school of Hard Knocks, and that my generation didn’t know what it meant to be disciplined and respect their elders.

Little did I know that it was just a matter of time before Old School of Hard Knocks dominated any guilt feelings he had about leaving his children so many years ago.

Just a matter of time came one Saturday morning when he came to pick me up.  I was still eating breakfast when he came in. 

My Mother had gone upstairs and my brother was in the back yard playing with the dog.  My sister was standing in the kitchen door watching my brother.  I had stayed out late the night before with a few friends and had climbed back in the window of my room during the wee hours. I was still feeling a little drowsy when my father came in.

He stopped and looked at me.

“Hi Dad,” I said.

“What the hell is that in your ear?” he asked. 

My hand shot up to my ear.  A sudden cold washed over me as I started to sweat.  I had forgotten that my friends and I pierced our ears the night before, a kind of bonding thing I guess. 

I pierced my ear first with a sewing needle, and then I helped my buddy with his and he helped another with his and so on.  Then we all celebrated by drinking until we passed out (it didn’t take much, we were only fifteen).

“I asked if it was real,” he said.  I swallowed. 

(How come the only time you realize you’re swallowing, is when you are terrified?)

He grabbed my shirt and shook me. “Answer me!” he yelled

“I…I…” I couldn’t get the words out.  He let go of me.

“Take it out now,” he demanded.  I began to reach up and take it out. 

Then I stopped.

“No,” I said.

“What did you say?” my father said astonished.

I swallowed again (damn it!).

“No,” I repeated.

“You will take it out of your ear, or I will rip it out!” he bellowed. 

Fear gripped me, but at the same time I was angry.  I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. 

He can’t tell me what to do, he doesn’t live here. I thought.

“Did you hear me, boy?”

“Dad,” I said, “why are you doing this?”

“I am not going to have a sissy faggot for a son,” he replied.

“I am not a sissy faggot,” I had to defend myself. You try piercing your own ear with a needle!

“Then take the earring out of your ear.”

“That has nothing to do with being a sissy faggot, Dad.”

“Take the goddamn thing out now, boy.”

“No!”  I yelled. “You can’t tell me what to do!”  I struggled to my feet, but my legs felt like Jell-O.

He began to roll his shirt sleeves up.  “Are you talking back to me?  I believe you need to be disciplined the old fashion way. Your mother doesn’t discipline you enough.” 

He began walking towards me.  I backed up.  My sister turned and saw us. I prayed that she would run and get Mom, but she just stood there watching. I backed up into the kitchen and scanned the counters for something I could protect myself with.

WHAM!!  He backhanded me.  I reeled around.  The whole kitchen began spinning as I fell.

“Get up you chicken shit sissy.” Dazed I grabbed the door knob to the kitchen door and pulled myself up.  He reached for my ear and I turned my head.

“Don’t you turn away from me, boy!  Now are you going to take that thing out of your ear?”

“No!”  I cried.  He grabbed me by my long hair, my shirt and that extra bit of skin on the back of the neck and hurled me out the kitchen door into the back yard.  My brother stopped playing and looked at me.

“What’s wrong?” my brother asked.

“Nothing,” my father told him, “get in the house.”  My brother was still looking at me as he went into the house.  My Father jerked me to my feet. My legs were shaking, but I managed to stand.

“Now, do you think you are man enough to hit me?” he asked.
I clenched my fists.

SMACK!!  He hit me again.  “You’re not a man.  Now get up boy…  I said get up!”   

The inside of my mouth was filling with blood.  My head was spinning.  I got back up.  I licked my lip, it was cracked and bleeding.

“Now you are going to take that thing out of your ear, and then we are going to go to Ernie’s.”

GOD, no!  Ernie was the town barber.  Probably the last of his kind.  I think he was a barber in the military before he opened his own shop. I knew that I was NOT going to go to Ernie’s.  He would have to kill me first.

“Dad, you can hit me all you want, but I am not going there,” it hurt when I talked and blood spattered out of my mouth onto my shirt.

“Oh, now you are telling me what you’re going to do?  Well, I’ll tell you what, I am going to beat you senseless.  Then I am going to pick you up and take you there.  When you wake up, you will have a proper haircut and that thing in your ear will be gone.”

“I am not going!”  I raised my fists to fight back.  Anger took over fear. Instinct. 

He hit me again knocking my fist into my nose.  Then I felt another blow and then another.  I was bleeding and mucus was all over my face. My eyes were filled with water, and then the hitting ceased. 

I heard a noise and some muffled shouts. My eyes were shut, but everything was still spinning. I was in the fetus position on the ground.

I opened my eyes. I stared at the ground and saw how the grass moved when I breathed. I lifted my aching head and turned my stiff neck toward the house and saw mother in the doorway with a look of horror on her face.  My brother and sister were watching from the window. 

My father was holding his knee in what looked like pain.

“You son of a bitch!” he cried. “You can’t stop me from disciplining my son!” 

I looked to see who my Father was talking to, but heard my Great Grandfather speak before I saw him.

“Ya wanna try to hit me, boy?”  My Great Grandfather asked my father.  I looked over at Gramps and he was holding a rake he had just used to hit my Father in the knee cap with.

“Hit an old man?” My father laughed and then grimaced, “I’m not going to hit an old man.”

“Why not?  You’re hitting a young boy, why not an old man?”

My father looked at him and then looked at me. 

I stared at my father – hating him and feeling sorry for him at the same time.

“Come on, now!” My great Grandfather taunted. 

My father looked at him.  My Great Grandfather smiled holding the rake firmly and with confidence. 

His smile wasn’t a happy smile or even a sinister smile. I am not sure how to describe it.  Perhaps it was a smile that conveyed, I don’t have a care in the world.  I can kick your ass or have a cup of tea, it’s all the same to me.

“Well, ya gonna stand there rubbing your knee contemplating hitting me or are ya gonna apologize to the boy and your ex wife for whatchya did, then get on out of here?  And if you’re calmed down by next week, maybe ya can come back.”

“I’m not apologizing to anyone,” replied my father as he limped away. 

He went around the front yard where his car was parked.  I started to get up.  My Great Grandfather leaned the rake against the house and came over to me to help me up.  I could feel the strength. I would say that he was strong for an old man, but he was strong for any man – young or old.  A strength that I hoped to have someday.

“Let’s getchya cleaned up,” he said.

We didn’t see my father for a month after that day.  He called a couple times to talk to my brother.  It didn’t matter.
For the time being, I still had my hair – my long hair –  and my earring. 

Later on that month, I switched from the silver stud earring to one with a feather – a small feather – just like the one my Great Grandfather had in his ear…

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You can Follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
or
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi

You Might also like to read:

What is a Friend?  https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-what-is-a-friend-really/

The Music of Birds and Humans: https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/the-music-of-birds-humans-spring-happy-chinese-new-year-%E6%96%B0%E5%B9%B4%E5%BF%AB%E6%A8%82/

Ride … a poem by a younger me: https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/ride-a-poem-by-a-younger-me/

SHORT STORY: The Flame That Softly Danced

The Flame That Softly Danced

By: Boston Paul

Gypsi

I SAW A CANDLE BURNING IN A WINDOW OF A HOUSE DURING one of my midnight walks.  The roof of the house sloped down until the corners of the house pointed up, like a temple in China or Japan or one of those far away places I read about in books. I liked to venture out late at night in this small town, situated right outside of suburbia. I liked to go out at night when the World was quiet and asleep. I was glad that I changed my usual walking route that night.  Had I not, I would not have seen that Dwelling and this would be a tale that would not have been told.

A cliché Moon enshrouded in see-through clouds, hung in an ink black sky. She (the Moon) told me that it might Rain tomorrow. I imagined this Moon to be like the Moon during Ramadan.  How she shone!  I did not know when Ramadan was.  But I like how it rolled off my tongue. It sounded Romantic to me.

The Moon…

Indifferent to the Armies below that hustle and bustle about.

Planning strategies.

Intimidating the populace.

Pillaging the masses.

The Moon was indifferent to those below that tried to give their lives some meaning while succumbing to their insecurities. She was indifferent to the race that the Rats seem to be winning. She was indifferent to the conspiracies the powers that be wielded. It was a quiet night and I could almost hear the flicker of the flame as the candle burned.

I sat down against a tree across the street from the house.  It was a special house. No doubt, the owner had added the sloping roof after a visit to the Orient or after looking at pictures in a magazine.  It was a bit out of place in this quiet neighborhood, so I stopped to look.

The Flame in the window of this house was Hypnotic.  I lost myself in thought as I stared at the reds, yellows, and oranges that flickered and danced in the night, through the window, in the room of that house, that Warm house.

Those moments I watched the Flame, I felt Peace.

Floating Peace.

Warm blanket Peace.

For a moment, I forgot what so many others try to forget in their day-to-day struggle.  My insecurities, for a fleeting moment, vanished.  At last, I was the Ruler of my own World and the Master of my Destiny.  I saw my future expand with every quiver of that small Fire in the window, dancing just for me.

Dancing for me to see…

I do not know how long I sat there, but at once, the Flame went out, and I was jolted back into Reality’s grip. What blew out the Fire?  Did a small breeze blow through a crack in the window perhaps? It was then I saw a Silhouette in the darkness of that room draw the curtains closed.  The Moon at last had disappeared while I had been reveling in contemplative thought.  And the Rain decided not to wait for tomorrow.

I stood up.  Did the Silhouette see me?  The Rain must have been soaking my clothes, but I had not yet noticed as I struggled to hold onto that Peaceful feeling I had as it ebbed like the tides. And alas, the bitter cold Rain reminded me that I was not in a Peaceful world, after all.

The Rain.  From inside my Dwelling, I can hear the pitter-patter on the roof above. So inviting, so comforting.   From inside my room, I can hear the Rain hitting the street, the rooftops, and the leaves of the trees… how soothing!

It was not soothing then as I stood in it, clothes soaked.  The Peaceful feeling that had been slowly fading, vanished all together.

I decided to kill the person who extinguished the Flame.

I had never killed before, so I was not quite sure how to do it, but I had thought about it many times.  So many nights I lay in my bed.  Thinking.  If I were to kill someone, could I get away with it?  I always came up with a Master Plan for every situation I conjured up.  I would read or hear about others who had killed and had been caught.  How stupid they were!

In order to kill, it seemed essential to have a Plan.  Think the Plan over.  Play your own Devil’s Advocate.  Perhaps go through a trial run or two, and then execute… the Plan that is.

Execute the Plan.

I forgot how wet I was.  I walked away from my spot.  I was not sure if anyone had seen me from within that Warm house or not.  The Shadow that blew out my Peaceful Flame may have seen me.  So I had to be careful.  I walked a safe distance from the house to where I was almost out of sight.  Then I circled back around.  I walked down another side street keeping my eyes on all the houses I passed.  Making as sure as I could that no one could see me.  When I was positive that I could not be detected, I made my way back towards the dwelling.  I went straight to the backyard.  Stealthy, I made my way to a window on one side of the house. I did not dare look directly into the window.  I could see that it was dark inside. The Rain, still pouring down, once my Foe, now became my Friend and disguised any sounds I may have made.

I stayed at the side of the Warm house and listened for any sounds coming from within.  I heard nothing.  But then I surmised that the same Rain hiding the sounds that I may be making, might be hiding the sounds that the Silhouette that blew out my Flame may be making.

I sat at the side of that house for a long time.  It could have been a very long time.  When I was sure (I am not sure of what), I slowly stood up and took a  peek in the window.  I saw Blackness. I could not make out any light or anything.  I tried to open the window, but it would not budge.  Locked, I surmised.  But it could very well have been stuck from not being opened for so long.  I crept to the next window.  It would not open either.  Locked or stuck.  Hhhmmm…

I moved around to the back door.  I turned the doorknob and then pushed ever so lightly on the door.  It resisted and then at once opened!  There was a little vibration from the corner of the door and a squeak sound.  I froze.  Could someone have heard the sounds?

Adrenaline peaked as I thought about what I was doing.  I began to get excited as I slowly pushed the door open and then… CLUNK!  The door was still secured by a chain.  One of those blasted chain locks!  Who uses those anymore?  Discouraged, I sat down on the step leading to the locked door.  Damn!  The Rain beat down on me, but I was still sweating.  I lifted my face towards the Heavens and let the ever-increasing intensity of the Rain fall on me.

Miserable Rain.

The thunder was sporadic and the lightning fantastic, but they came at long intervals.  I sat their wondering what to do.  When I was a boy, my Mother used one of those chain locks for the front door of our rented house…  then I got it!  Maybe if I opened the door and pulled the chain over to me, I might be able to unlatch it.  After all, these chain locks were only designed to keep the honest people honest.  I tried it and indeed the chain unlatched.  I opened the door fully and  entered.  I stopped in the doorway and listened for any sounds. I was in the kitchen.  I heard nothing but the refrigerator.  The Rain seemed to muffle the sounds of the night.  I closed the door ever so gently and sat down on the floor.

I thought about how I would carry out my Plan. Should I use a gun?  Maybe not.  That was too messy and besides, I didn’t have a gun.  A knife?  No, that was messy and too violent as well.   I do not think I could ever bring myself to stab a person.   Poison then?  I did not have any and I was not much of a chemist.

Suffocate them?  Strangle them?  Yes, yes, this sounded better.  It was clean.  No blood or guts.  Except that… when if this person was stronger than I was?  When if it was some big construction worker or someone who knew some kind of martial art?  No, suffocation or strangulation put me in Danger.  That only left one other option… I could bludgeon them to death.  I would have to be careful to hit them in places that would not explode with Blood, like a nose.

One good blow to the head would give me total advantage. I could then beat them at the place where the neck meets the back of the head. That’s how I would do it.  I looked around the house for something I could use.  I tip toed around, gently opening closets and cupboards, careful about getting fingerprints on anything.  I looked for something heavy, like a baseball bat perhaps.  I found nothing.

I walked into what seemed to be a living room and saw a Piano. Upon close inspection (as close an inspection one could do in the dark), I found that it was a beautiful Piano with a beautiful bench.  I admit that I am bias in that all Pianos are beautiful to me.  Then a thought occurred.  I could use a leg from the Piano bench.  It should be heavy enough.  Yes, the leg!

It took a while, but as quietly as I could, I separated the leg from the bench.  It seemed to be cherry or mahogany.  It was nice, hard, heavy wood.

Mission accomplished, I took my new tool and set out to complete my Task.  I paused for a moment trying to adjust my eyes to the darkness.  I couldn’t make out everything, but it seemed to be a very nice living room.  I would have liked to sit and play the Piano for a while.  I was quite good actually. I am self taught. Some called me a child prodigy.  The living room was Warm and perhaps with the lights on, it would have had a nice ambiance.  Warmth.  The feeling of Warmth.  I imagined sitting with my Sweet-heart as the Rain fell outside.

Romance, then Fallen days and Saddened nights.

The Sweetness still bitter on my Soul.

I walked out of the living room and came to a closed door.  I opened it slowly, it creaked and I hesitated a moment.  I pushed it open a little more and it creaked again.  It must have taken five minutes to open that door.  At last, I peaked in. Total blackness. I crept in and as my eyes adjusted, I looked around.  I did not see a bed. I saw books and a desk.  Nothing else.

I crept back out.  I contemplated closing the door.  I did not want anyone to know I had been there.  I left the door open and found my way to another closed door.  I slowly turned the knob.  So slowly.  Thank a god it was Raining out.  The door did not creak as much as the other one did and I pushed it open.  I stepped inside the room.  I saw the outline of a bed in the Shadows and I heard breathing.  Slow, deep, slumber breaths.  I could hear my own Heart beating and wondered if my Heart beating could be heard in the Silhouette’s dreams.

I went to the side of the bed.  I saw a bump in the shape of what seemed to be the fetus position under many blankets… or were they quilts?  I raised the Piano leg high over my head as I tried to determine where the head was.  I focused my eyes to better my aim for a lethal blow upon my target.

I had to do this just Right.

The bump moved.  I froze. There was a grunt and a small fart followed by the smacking noises one makes whilst sleeping.  The slow breathing from this Soul continued and I stopped holding my breath.  I let out a quiet sigh.  I had not lowered the Wood.  It was still high above my head ready to strike.  Every muscle in my body was flexed and ready with anticipation.

Once again I focused and was about to swing down with all my might when I paused and thought…. When if this is an old woman?  A child?  A pastor of a church? I thought and thought some more.  How can I beat an old woman?  How can I beat a child? Then I thought: Wait! To beat them would be wrong. But I did not come here to beat anyone.  I came here to Kill.  I have no idea who this is.  I have no idea about their age, gender, creed, or color.  I don’t know about their physical condition… and it doesn’t matter.

Death does not Discriminate

 

We all Die.  It is just a matter of how and when.

When your ticket’s up… they say.

 

I thought back to when my Childhood friends and I would talk about Death.  We talked about an Afterlife. What our funerals would be like… who would read whose Eulogy.  We decided that when it’s your time to go, nothing could be done about it.  Then I reminisced how we would all get drunk together as teenagers and laugh, go on long drives and go skinny dipping in the nearby lake on hot summer nights.  Those days when my Life seemed to be full of

Love and Surprise…

I don’t know how long I stood there with that piece of wood poised above my head, ready to attack, recalling my younger days.  But then, the body moved again.  I did not move.

Who…?” the body said.  The voice was a bit gruff.  The just woke up voice that could have belonged to anyone.  I swung the wood down in the direction of the voice.  A sharp crack rang out and then a sudden expulsion of air from the body’s lungs.  One hit.  I listened carefully and heard no breathing.  I wanted to turn a light on and see, but then decided that lights were out of the Question.  I swung down again.  I was sure that I hit the skull from the blunt crunch sound that it made.

The temptation to look was so great, I wanted to see if I had finished my work, but decided instead to hit again and again… and again.  Each time I swung down, the feel, sound and crunch were unique and different.

Drenched with sweat and wet from the Rain, I finally put the wood down.  The Silhouette  just had to be Dead.  I sat down on the bed next to the silent bump under the quilts and I wiped the sweat from my forehead with my Rain soaked shirt sleeve.  The bed was quite comfortable.  I wanted to lie down and sleep for I was quite exhausted.  I sat and waited for feelings of Guilt to wash over me.  Feelings of regret or remorse.

None came.

I decided that we are all animals.  Darwin came to mind as I pondered the survival of the fittest theory.   Fittest not necessarily meaning strongest, but perhaps smartest, most cunning.  Yes, I believed that I was smarter than this Soul.

I stood up and stretched.  It was time to leave.  I had to get some sleep.  I walked out of the room taking the Piano leg with me.  I went back into the living room.  I really wanted to play a tune on the Piano. I decided maybe another day.  I went over to the window where the Candle was.  There was a box of matches on the window sill.  I re-lit the candle and sat down on the floor.  I watched the candle for a long time.  I felt that Peace again.  That Warmth.  I knew eventually that I would have to go back out in the Rain, but for now, listening to the Rain outside and watching the Flame softly dance… I was at ease.  Momentarily consoled.  Satisfied.  A roaring Fire could not have given me the Warmth that candle gave me.  It danced.  It flickered… it sang

I drifted in and out of a light sleep and had dreams mixed with memories until at length I knew it was time to go.  I got up, went to the back door, and let myself out.  I still had the leg of the Piano with me.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I took it with me.

The heavy Rain became a light drizzle as I mused and made my way home. Home?  Actually, it was a room where I merely existed.  I left Home a long time ago. Home is the place I hang my hat, I heard some say.  I did not own a hat.

I pondered that night’s Events. What is the difference between murder and killing?  Both involve taking a life.  The accepted idea generally is that Killing is to cause the Death of something.  Murder is to kill unlawfully with malice.  It seems that I did both.  But did I really kill with malice? Does an animal murder?  Aren’t we just that?

Four legged creatures that stand up on two?

I went home. And as I made my way back to my hovel, I turned to take one last look at the house, now ablaze.  I turned back and walked quicker as I realized that the candle might have caught the curtains, setting the entire house on Fire.  The Flames grew bigger and danced in the Rainy night sky. Now I would never get the chance to play that magnificent Piano.

For weeks, I stayed in my house.  Coming out occasionally only at night, very late at night for my walks. I changed my walking route once again. I whittled the Piano leg into a fine statuette of some Asian Goddess.  For those random rare occasions that I saw someone else, I had to wonder if one knew or suspected.  It seemed they all looked at me with accusing eyes… I looked back with knowing eyes…

I followed the news on my black and white TV that needed a bent coat hanger for an antenna.  I read the papers I found in the garbage.  I listened to the gossip at the diner and the radio when I sat on my porch.

It has been a quarter century now and nothing has ever pointed to me.

I still feel no remorse

I feel no guilt

There was no face for me to remember

No windows of the Soul for me to see

No post traumatic syndrome this time for me

Just a memory

A Candle and a Flame

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You can Follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul

and

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi

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Other Cool Bits to read:

1. What is a Friend? How many do you have…. Really? https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-what-is-a-friend-really/

2. Waiting in Line… a funny little tale we can relate to: https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/the-express-lane-10-items-or-less/

Published in: on July 24, 2010 at 9:55 AM  Comments (9)  
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SHORT STORY:David & Boston Paul Chat about $ & the Amerikan Bank Bailout.

David and Boston Paul were sitting in their chairs, each in front of their own Computer on opposite sides of the Planet.

Paul was drinking a cup of very strong Herbal Tea with his Breakfast and David was sipping a whiskey on the rocks.

As their beverages worked their Speedy Magic and neurons began dancing in each of their brains;  their whimsical conversation turned from updates on Family, recent elections and news of high school friends to the subject of Money…

Here is how the chat went down…

David: – wipes up a bit of  condensation on his desk from the whiskey glass: Sunday there already?

Boston Paul: Yawning: Sunday AM, indeed.

David: Did you drink last night? How’s the head?

Boston Paul: I didn’t drink too much last night. I fell asleep early trying to get my son to sleep. I missed my buddy’s house-warming party … oops. What are you up to? Must be 9PM there, eh?

David: I’m just winding down, myself.  Helped my brother Pete tile his bathroom floor. Then I helped another buddy put in a new bay window and a back door, too.

Boston Paul: Right on… you are just the Little Helper!

David: I’ve been going for 12 hours! Slowing down now and finally relaxing.

Boston Paul: You should move to Taiwan, I could use your help & expertise as well!

David: They do it for me, too. It’s all Payback. We call it a Day for a Day.

Boston Paul: Aaahhh, there it is. I like Payback in the form of NON-monetary trade 😉

David: I hear you. It’s always a good thing.

Boston Paul: Especially when you realize the paper currency used in trade has no real value.

David: My friend just turned me on to a new song by The Tea Party called Paint it Black.  It’s a Rolling Stones cover.  This economy is sucking so bad right now.

Boston Paul: It will continue to suck, Ol’ Chum. The Amerikan government has no control of its Monetary System.

David: True! I guess you know we got a new Prez.

Boston Paul: New Man same BS though! He is not much different from McSame (McCain).

David: Its our only hope now –  always so much BS. McSame – LOL I never heard that one. Funny. Ultimately, they’re all the same.

Boston Paul: The only difference between both of them is the one is 1/2 Black and the other is 1/2 Retarded & White. One is Young & the other is Ancient.

David: LOL

Boston Paul: Neither of them support taking Troops out of Iraq. Both of them support the Bailout Plan for the banks – The Banks that f*cked it all up in the first place, by the way 😉

David: Oh, I know!

Boston Paul: So now YOU, my brother &  friend, have to bail out the banks and save them from their f*ckup – which is interesting because what most people do not realize is that the Federal Reserve Bank is NOT a government entity. It is a Private Bank in partnership with the Government (It is still early, I’m typing slow, be patient with me).  The Federal Reserve Bank (FED) is about as governmental as Federal Express.  You know the History of Paper Money, right bro?

David: Probably not as well as you. But I’m sure you’re going to tell me. Ha ha.

Boston Paul: I am going to tell you as fast as my delicate little fag* fingers can type.  In 1913, The FED took Power/Control of the Money Supply in Amerika. The US Gov now has to borrow money from the FED (if it was a real Government Agency, how could it borrow money from itself and then pay itself back with interest?). The History of it goes basically like this: You had some gold, but it was too dangerous or cumbersome to carry it around, so you would bring it to a ‘safe house’ (we now call them Banks).  They would give you a receipt letting you know how much you deposited.  To make a long story short, People started using these receipts instead of money because of convenience. Why travel 100 miles on Horseback to take out a few grams of gold out to pay a Debt, when the receipt has the same value?

David: Fag fingers doing well.

Boston Paul: lol

David: It all makes perfect sense.

Boston Paul: The banks realized that no one was trading in their receipts for Gold and Paper Money and subsequently modern banking was born.  That’s when they started lending out Paper (OUR money), but it was always backed by gold.  We have been off the gold system a long time now (since 1971) and this is where it gets interesting.  Inflation and devaluation of money are intentional. This is how they control the Masses.

David: I can see that happening very easily.

Boston Paul: So the government is going to borrow money from the FED so they can start  bail out the banks.

David: …and with my money.

Boston Paul: The FED is going to go to their Printer and PRINT this money (which is backed by nothing) and lend it to the Government at interest.

David: It’s brilliant, isn’t it?

Boston Paul: It is. The Value comes in form of Debt. Debt is value to them because if you are in Debt, then you are their Slave.

David:  Interesting thought. It seems it’s hard not to be a slave.

Boston Paul:  This is madness! They are trying to pay off this debt WITH MORE DEBT.

David: That can only lead to a dead-end.

Boston Paul: Indeed! Or a total crash of the market which is what is happening now.

David: A very deep black hole that nothing can get out of. I’m feeling that now.

Boston Paul: This loan that Obama is supporting only prolongs the Inevitable.

David: And what do you say that is? Complete collapse?

Boston Paul: It could very well be. My advice to you Brother Love, is to quietly take your money out of the bank and invest it in commodities, or gold. Except you really can’t eat gold or use it for much of anything practical.

David: Not much left right now… these are tough times.

Boston Paul: There is not a lot Americans can do about it unless they Unite… Bush & Cohorts have taken away all your rights with the Patriot Act.

David: That is good advice. Bush’s Cohorts are probably reading this right now.

Boston Paul: It’s all good.

David: Yes it is good. Nice chat. Your hands must be killing you. Good talking. I really miss our conversations.

Boston Paul: I miss it too, bro. Tell everyone hello.

David: You too.  Have a great Sunday!

Boston Paul: Have a great Saturday night! I wish I was there.  Peace & Love…

David: Out for now…

* Fag: The term has additional meanings in British English, where “faggot” traditionally means a bundle of sticks and faggots are a kind of meatball. In British English, “fag” is common slang for a cigarette or for hard work. In some UK public schools, fagging was the name given to the practice where a younger boy (a “fag”) acted as an unpaid servant for an older boy.

Stoned at The Fair

 

 

Rasta cartoon smoking

I was 17 when I decided to hitch hike from Boston to California. I don’t remember why I wanted to leave. Perhaps I was trying to find myself. Maybe I was running away from something. Or perhaps, just maybe, I was running to something. I am not a psychiatrist, so I don’t know the complexities of the mind and why we do the things we do – though I do ponder the whys sometimes. And though that time in my life is over it helped shape who I am today.

This is a story about a boy who thought himself a man and was on a quest.

Aah yes, that’s it.

A Quest.

I started walking down a country-town road, a road in a town just north of Plymouth. A road I had walked and rode my bicycle on many times. I headed towards the highway, thumb out, duffel-bag in tow and was barely out of Massachusetts when I ran out of money.

I left home with only 40 dollars in my pocket (I didn’t think this venture through enough) and I needed to find a way to eat. I could rob a gas station I mused, but I knew I could never go through with it. No, no, my money making scheme had to be somewhat legit.

I got a ride here and a ride there, but as I was hitchhiking through the countryside nearing New York, a driver picked me up. He was an elderly looking gentleman, perhaps in his sixties.  And as he listened to my sad, pathetic tale of leaving home and having no money, he took pity on me.

He told me about a fair in a small town called Great Barrington. He said they were always looking for help and I should check it out.

There was nothing really great about this town. It was a small town. Imagine the neighborhood that you saw in the old black and white TV shows Leave it to Beaver  or The Andy Griffith Show and you’d be close. There were actually people driving up to convenient stores on their tractors and other farm equipment… and I thought that I lived in the country!

But the fair was quite the attraction and people came from miles around.

There were about ten of us that made up The Help and our duties were pretty straightforward. They had some of us parking cars in the morning and I made a few tips from the men that wore big hats and spent a lot of money betting on the horses.

Watch my car, here’s ten bucks. Pocketing the cash, I would watch his car for about thirty seconds and then move on. In the afternoon, I walked around picking up trash and keeping the place orderly. They also had me doing little odds and ends for those in the hierarchy. “Take this over to the office…” or “Pick up that horse-shit over there.

When the fair closed at the end of the day, we swept up the garbage. Nothing like the smell of fair garbage at the end of the day. Instead of chanting, Get your hot dogs here! We would all cry out, Get your garbage here! and laugh. Only we thought it was funny though.

One day, the Head Grunt said he wanted me to work the horse track.

Woah! The Track!

 I thought of it as a bit of a promotion. No more parking cars and no more garbage! The work was simple enough. The track was shaped like the lower case letter b. The stem of the b is where the horse gate was. That is where the horses were loaded up to get ready to race. Our job was to pull a special gate across the stem so that the horses only saw an O. They didn’t want the horses to round the circle and then take a right back up the stem, so the gate was there to prevent that. After we pulled the gate across, we had to take rakes and smooth out the dirt – where the horses had just run – and then get the hell out of the way, because by that time, the horses had already started making their way around the track and were heading right toward us. An easy enough job. Each race I worked about three minutes with my partner and then we chilled out until the next race was ready to start.

My partner was this manly woman named Jill. She was great. A kind of Flower Child Lesbian. I was a skinny, seventeen year old going on thirty, she was thirty and took me under her wing. We worked together pulling out the gate and smoothing out the dirt, that was our job.

Pull gate. Rake dirt. Pull gate. Rake dirt.

The first part of the week this job was interesting and even a bit exciting. That wore off quickly. The job became monotonous. Everyday for six hours it was the same thing. At first we had lots to talk about and got to know each other pretty well. But after a few days, we just kind of did our work and then stared up at the sky until it was time to go to work for three minutes again.

One day, Jill asked me if I wanted to smoke a little weed with her. She told me it was great stuff and would knock my socks off for sure. She also said that it might make our job a little more interesting.

I quickly agreed.

We lit up right there. A big wide open space. She lit a cigarette as well and away we smoked. We got nice and stoned in front of a few thousand spectators and not one of them knew, although in retrospect, there were people with binoculars, perhaps they did see us but doubtful they would have known or cared.

We finished the joint, sat on the grass and watched the horses get into the gates. This usually takes a little while because some of the horses don’t want to get into the gates. Horses love to run and be free, and now here they were being crammed into this little metal box until the bell went off. Getting the horses in the start gate could be very amusing. Sometimes a horse would simply refuse to go in. They were yelled at, tugged at, pushed, threatened, sworn at, bribed.

Well, as luck would have it, for this race, the Number Four horse refused to go into the gate. They tried everything. Jill and I, high as kites, were laughing our asses off. My side hurt and the back of my skull was aching. Jill was in tears. The Number 4 horse was kicking and bucking. They tried using food, a big stick, and other methods including about ten people all around the horse trying to push and pull it to get in the start box… to no avail.

Number Four’s ears were flat back. It looked really pissed off. They delayed the race and decided to pull the horse to the owner’s chagrin. Then we heard this little Japanese looking guy, “No, No No!” he yelled. “No race… No money! No money… No eat! We put horse in gate! I help!” He began cooing and blabbering something in his language that no one seemed to understand but Jill and I.

“Jill,” I said, “can you understand what he is saying, too?”
“I told you this was good shit!” she laughed.

A few more minutes went by and the Japanese jockey had coaxed the horse into the box. He stroked the horses face and kept whispering in its ear. Jill and I were over by the gate, waiting to work, but laying down in the grass. We were both comfortable and no one seemed to notice us. We heard the warning buzz signaling the start of the race.

A second and a half later we heard the bell and the announcer over the loud speaker announce “Aaaaaand they’re off!”

Jill and I watched as the horses, in slow motion, burst from the gate and speed down the track. We watched in awe as they got farther and farther down the track going into the first turn.

I heard Jill say, “Can you hear it?”
“Hear what?” I asked over the din of the crowd cheering.
“The patter of their hooves as they run.” she answered.
I listened and watched as they rounded into the second turn. “Yes, I can hear their hooves. Wow!”

I could hear everything, and smell everything. My senses were so keen I thought I could even hear the horses thinking. This was very good weed. Too good. They sped towards the third turn. The pit pat of their hooves became louder and more real as they neared us. We watched them run. They were so beautiful. I rooted for Number Four. The horses passed us and rounded the last turn and headed for the straight-away where the winner would be determined.

We both sat up.

“Go Number Four!” I yelled.
“Come on white horse with the black spots!” Jill blurted out.

I looked at her. “That was quite a mouthful,” I said.

She ignored me.

“GO! GO!” she yelled.
“Come on!” I screamed.

And then the race was over.

It was a photo finish and we would have to wait a moment for the result of the race. It was between the Number Four horse and the Number Six horse. Jill swore. “Dammit! I thought for sure the white horse with the black spots would have won!” She wiped a tear from her eye, “but that was beautiful wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was. That was the most beautiful race I had ever seen.” I replied.
We laid back down in the grass and looked up at the sky. We both let out a long sigh and waited for the results of the race.

“Hey, can you hear footsteps?” asked Jill.
“Yes, I can,” I replied.
“This stuff makes you so aware doesn’t it?” she asked.
“Yes it does,” I agreed.

The footsteps got closer and closer and got louder and louder.
The ground vibrated.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO DOING?” It was the Head Grunt.
“Taking a break,” Jill said.
“Taking a break?!” He screamed. “You take a break AFTER you work. You forgot to bring the gate out and smooth out the dirt!” My heart sank. Damn! We forgot. We really forgot.
“Do you know how dangerous that is?”
he yelled. “You two are lucky nothing happened to the horses!”

“Aahh, aahh….” I stammered.
“Oh shut up!” ordered The Grunt. “Stand up! You’re going back to park cars and sweep up garbage and horse-shit.”

That took a second to sink in. My raking the dirt dream job was instantly over.

“No I’m not,” I heard myself blurt out. The Grunt looked me up and down.
“Yes you are! And you are going to do it now!” He bellowed.
“I’m going to California.” I turned to Jill, “Jill, it was nice getting to know you. Thanks for the moment.” I walked past the Head Grunt to the office to collect my wages for the day.
“Hey! You have work to do! You just can’t leave!” he yelled after me.
“I think he just did,” I heard Jill say. “Bye my friend!  I hope you find what you’re looking for!”

I went into the office and told them I was on my way.
“Can’t you just stay and finish out the week?” said one of the office workers.
“You can’t just leave,” said another.
“You are going to stay,” said a rough-looking, fat guy. “We’ll up your salary a bit, how does that sound?”
Right when I was about to give in to their country bumpkin hospitality, I looked out the window and saw Jill laughing and waving. Then I saw her point to the finish line where the results from the race were posted.

Number Four lost by a nose.

The horse that was pushed, tugged at, yelled at, sweet talked and bribed to get into that box, only to lose the race anyway.
“No,” I said firmly. I began to feel hot and I swear I felt my ears go back flat against my skull. “Give me my money, please – I’m outa here.”

They weren’t going to stuff me into any box, no siree!

My mind wandered for a bit during the commotion I caused by my abrupt resignation when I realized someone was asking me, “Did you just say we can’t stuff you in a box?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” said another.
“If that’s the way you want it,” said the rough-looking, fat man. He pulled a few bills out of his wallet and gave them to me.

“Thanks,” I said as I stuffed the bills into my front pocket and walked out the door.

As I was leaving, I had one last look at the stands with the colorful crowd in their various Hillbilly garb. I looked over at the horses getting ready for the next race and I swore that I could hear the pit-pat of their hooves as they were led to the gate.

I saw Jill in the distance sitting on a fence waiting for the start of the race and staring up at the sky.

I raced to California.

Ended up in Arizona…

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