Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Not over it

 3 WW
Three words. Write.
Metallic, adjective: of, relating to, or resembling metal or metals, (of sound) resembling that produced by metal objects striking each other; sharp and ringing, (of a person's voice); emanating or as if emanating via an electronic medium, having the sheen or luster of metal; noun: a paint, fiber, fabric, or color with a metallic sheen.
Optimal, adjective: best or most favorable; optimum.
Polished, adjective: shiny as a result of being rubbed, accomplished and skillful, refined, sophisticated, or elegant. 

Not Over It

I’m sitting alone smoking in a back booth of the diner.  I don’t smoke, not under normal circumstances. Smoking is just not something I necessarily like.  I’ve always had bad lungs and I know the dangers, but seriously after the day I had, I think, why not?  Seems like I cheated death today and I may as well continue to roll the dice.  I reach across the table to bring the ashtray closer, and I have to wince.  I think I have some broken ribs, and the left side of my face was repeatedly the contact point for some one’s fist.  I know I look and feel oh, so pretty, but I didn’t bother to get my food to go and sulk away.  I’m not so sure I didn’t deserve the beating I took, I had been hiding for a while, and now since I got the physical message that someone was pissed at me, which I already knew, I could eat out in public and even if I can’t chew without it hurting, I’m giving my haters a big, Fuck you, they didn’t get the best of me, and I’m still here and they will have to deal with it. 

The waitress asked me if I needed help and I just smiled my bloody smile and said, “Beauty is pain and someone thought I could use a make-over.  Tomorrow I might get my nose job!”  I guess that she saw my humor and knew I’d be O.K.  I had not been in a confrontation like this since I was in my 20’s.  I used to run with a rough crowd and I needed to collect some money and the guy thought instead of giving me money, that I would take a beating.  I took it too, but his mistake was having a machete that was within my reach. When I had enough, I swung that long metallic blade in a downward motion. The tip of the blade sliced him from his ear to his chin, he started grabbing at his face to stop the blood and I cursed him and said, “My money or I’ll keep slicing!” He still held the side of his face when he gave me the blood stained stack of money.  I didn’t see him again.  I suspect he went to Mexico or anywhere in South America that he couldn’t be found.  A scar like that is hard to hide. I'm lucky I wasn't the one who got the scar or worse. I don't fight so much anymore.  I'm older now and I know the value of control.

I’ll tell you what happened.  It was one of those rare days when I went around in the daylight.  I stopped in and spoke to Walt, the bartender in a little sliver of a bar downtown where there is only a one way path of space between the bar stools and the wall.  I hate going there in the evening, I will send someone in to have the person I need to talk to come out, just so I avoid the crowd. I had a beer with Walt and he told me stories of his cat and showed me pictures on his phone.  Walt must have 200 of the same exact outfits, because I always see him in the same cotton collared shirt and jeans, but they never have any wear on them.  He also has four cats, not just the one. He never has a fur ball on him or a single hair.  It’s curious that’s all. 

Big Tony came in and he gave me a big Italian hug when he saw me.  I like Big Tony.  He is so genuine when he hugs, it feels like family.  Italians can’t help being affectionate, so it’s a natural thing they do.  I go months sometimes without any physical contact with anyone.  It’s awkward for me, but hey, it’s Big Tony.  Little Tony, his son plays minor league baseball, and sometimes I watch his games on the television.  We talk a bit about Little Tony.  There couldn’t be a father prouder of his son in the whole neighborhood.  Big Tony asked what I was doing now and if it was something he would be interested in.  I shrug him off and say, “nothing to mention, small stuff here and there.”  Of course I’m lying. 

I met Big Tony when I worked in the mall as a teenager at a German deli as a meat slicer.  Big Tony would come in for Rubens and potato salad.  That big Italian man ate more than pasta, go figure.  Big Tony was a shoe salesman and always wore a suit and tie.  I was impressed with him. He was the only guy I knew at the time that kept his shoes polished. I thought of him as a guy who had his shit together, even though he is only about four years older than me.  I liked him and we became friends.  He slipped me a few odd jobs for extra money.  These odd jobs had nothing to do with shoes.  I was loyal and Tony became as impressed with me as I was with him, he once complimented me on how I carried myself.  He said I had a cool, easy, nonchalant attitude, especially when things got “rough.” Some guys feed off that violence, and it overcomes them. I was calculating and if I had to “rough” someone up, I made sure I was quick and painful.  I didn’t like losing or expelling any unnecessary energy.  I was the same way with my words.  I soon got my own business going and stopped working for Big Tony.  It was real respectful and we are cautious of each other, but have never had any overlapping problems. No harm, no foul, that’s our relationship. 

He asked me about a girl named Rosalynn, he said he had not seen her in a while.  I told him I saw her a few weeks back and she had two kids, boys.  “she is living your life, T-ball and baseball, six days a week.  He nodded and said for me to tell her he asked.  I told him a few more stories about her. 

This whole conversation was a farce.   I knew what Big Tony was talking about and Walt didn’t need to know.  It’s a little uncomfortable to know someone so well and talk so intimately about someone and really, you are talking about “something,” without actually directly talking about “the thing.”  That’s the best way I can explain it.  “Rosalynn,” was a situation and now that I knew, I was involved.  Thanks Big Tony.

I said I had some things to do, and bought Big Tony a drink and left.  That’s how it started off. 

After I left Walt's bar I went to see the lamp man.  He is a cool guy that works on anything that can hold a bulb.  He has a lamp shop, but has an arsenal all through his shop.  No one can get near him without a bullet hole, that’s his reputation.  His character is messed up, he has a sick, warped view of the world, with that view, he is a hard man.  He will fight with you about politics, and religion, or the absence of religion.  He said once that he had a big political life. His years of fighting the fight, made him a highly opinionative, angry man. He ratted out some people in the House Committee and it shook up a lot of deals.  He is a man of quiet calamity, I am careful of what I said in our conversations, he could turn on a dime in his emotions, like a woman on her period.  He told me I did not understand the country and how communist held political office, on our nations soil and the idiots had no idea, and I had to be smarter than all of them.  Sometime I feel a great crevasse between us when he talks. He always ends his soap box speeches with, “open your eyes!!  Why can’t you and everyone else see what is clearly in plain view??”  He is probably right and he might sacrifice me, if it is necessary to promote his agenda, so we remain friends.  

Fuck these adventures with extremist;  I feel my insides being punctured, likely from broken bones and busted muscles swelling.  I let out a few groans and light another cigarette, my breathing is shallow but that is optimal I can expect with these broke ribs.  

The neighborhood used to be a safe place.  It was ideal for a long time.  I am a true local, a true insider.  There are a lot of people still local.  I met Bill one night out when we were feeding dollars to the local stripper pole talent.  He said he was new to the area, and asked where to go and what to do. He bitched a lot about the prices of the taxi’s and the weather and other travesties that he felt were directly related to him. He even argued the fact that most of the strippers having small breast were a slap to the face for him, I explained to him these girls were new, they get new tits if they work there for longer than a year.  The owner is generous like that.

Over a few months, Bill seemed to be everywhere I was.  What was odd was, he would be there before me, and talk to me like I was his brother or something.  I didn’t feel like our relationship was an episode of Seinfield, but he did.  He would always talk about what he did since he saw me last, got a haircut with Mickey, had the prime rib at Gabe’s Steakhouse, fished in the river, etc.  I caught on that he wanted me to mirror him and share the same about myself.  It was hard to explain it, because my perception was wholly mine, no one else saw it.  They saw Bill as a friendly, talker. I thought he was a major asshole. 

There is a big difference between someone’s reputation and their character.  The difference between reputation and character is that your reputation is what people say about you; what they think about you. Character is what your actions say about you, it's what you really are.  When there is conflict between the two, people take sides. 

There were some incidents that Bill was involved in and his actions made his reputation questionable.  When these incidents came to the surface, his reputation of being a standup guy, brought up a lot of conflict.  It really shook up the neighborhood.  Allegations were not believed, but that is life in the neighborhood, you walk around shaking hands and kissing babies like a politician, but in the dark you go around busting up their property or working out some deals that result in life or death.  Some things are not ever perceived, but when they surface, they surface like icebergs, small on the surface and deep and wide under.  Perception is how you play the game.  The game is to win.  I don’t feel like I won today.  

 The news report told the story, Bill got involved with a girl, and he shot her in the face while she slept on her couch, then Bill turned the gun on himself and it was ruled a double suicide.  The neighborhood could only conclude that because they were the “perfect couple.” No way Bill could have just boldly shot her.  It was suspected the couple had to have agreed to a suicide pact and told him that she didn’t want to know when it happened.  The chief of police even agreed with this bull shit in his report, he wrote it was a double suicide,  that they must have made a pact, this was not a murder- suicide case.  And even wrote the words, “God bless us all,” at the end of his statement.

That’s not what fucking happened.  He murdered her.  How do I know?  My girl, the woman I love, had been molested by him, and so had nearly every woman on his staff. It wasn't sex, it was groping, or rubbing, or hugging and kissing them in a way that made them uncomfortable. It was also some of the things he said, joking.  They did not laugh.  They filed together a sexual harassment suit against him and it’s been all over the television.  I wanted to take care of the bastard myself, but my girl, well she said this was the right thing for all the women, they wanted to be their own hero’s. They really needed to go forward with the suit as a group if they were to be vindicated.  She told me I couldn’t beat the shit out of him and let that be the end of it, the women had to do it legally. They needed everyone to know what had happened.  This happened to too many women to have it quietly "taken care of."  My girl asked me not to do anything. I would have handled it in my own way,  in an instant, if she said the word.  

I know that psycho, Bill, cold blooded killed his girl. The allegations of molestation were right on top of him and he knew, she didn't know him as a someone filled with such hate. He passed off the accusations as misunderstandings.   He needed her.  I believe they talked about the case and she said she was done; he let himself into her apartment when she fell asleep and shot her. Then like a coward, shot himself. 

I got my ass kicked by Big Tony, because I’ve known for a while about the harassment, and didn’t go all "Arnold as the Terminator," with the boys.  His wife was one of the women molested.  She was ashamed and alone and kept it from him.  I didn't know all the names of the women until it was released to the press, I just found out myself.  

I stood by my girl and told everyone of Bill's character. The Bill I knew, was a psychopath that hated women.  Remember the night at the strip club when I first met Bill?  He didn't know me, he didn't know the dancers or their backgrounds.  But it was in his eyes in the way he looked at them, the girls saw it too, when they would refuse his advances then he would curse them and call them whores and other profanities.  He might have been kicked out of the place that night.  I know what I saw. I know what I heard. I know that man hated women. I know.

Big Tony had to kick my ass.  He lost all his reasoning when he found out his old lady kept this from him.  He had no other outlet for his anger, except to kick my ass. He came looking for me and to my bad luck, he found me.  I might have done the same, if the shoe was on the other foot. Damn, he let me have it.  I'm not mad, Sometimes when two people throw down hard, they bounce back tall.  I hope that happens with me and Big Tony.

The waitress brings me a raw steak, "put this on your face lift, beauty queen. I can't look at you like that."  I take the steak and ease it on the side of my face.   

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lingering in a Small Town

Three words. Write.

Boring,  Dark,  Lonely 


“Please set the recorder, it is to play at 8:00PM.” 

“What is it about?”

“Eight horrific murders that happened about 30 minutes from here.” *

“What? ? When?”

“The Alday murders, it happened in the 70’s and they are telling the story tonight on the ID channel.”

This conversation sent me on an internet search.  The murders happened in 1973 and there was nothing boring about the facts. LINK   

The Aldays were shot to death as they returned home for lunch. Ned Alday was gunned down along with 3 sons, a brother and a daughter-in-law, who was raped and then taken to a field where she was shot in the head. Prosecutors called the slayings the most gruesome in the state's history.”- Fight the Death Penalty

Three men, I will not state their names, because deep inside I do not want to contribute to their notoriety.  The Alday family and all the residents of Donalsonville, GA that lived all these years under the dark shadow of this tragedy; their lives mattered.  In the deep South people have always had roots that ran deep.  Not a single family in the farming area was not touched by these murders, something as innocent as coming home from the field to have lunch, was forever changed.  Fear shook the community and spread. The murders caused people to keep their relatives close and a city that once never worried over if their doors were locked, began to lock them.  Before the murderers were captured by the law, many people wanted to send out their own search party and take the “eye for an eye,” to seek justice. I am certain I would have felt the same way.

 “Over the years surviving, members of the Alday family have expressed bitterness over the length of time it has taken to get Isaacs into the Georgia death house. In a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in 1998, Faye Alday Barber, the daughter of Ned Alday, said there was something wrong with a legal system. She wrote that her family had become the victims of "legal plunder" and a justice system that acted like a "predator. For 25 years my family has pursued justice," Barber wrote. "The only thing that stood between the Alday family and justice was the law, and it was the law, not Carl Isaacs that became our ultimate predator. Our courts and legislators are nothing but vandals at the gates of justice. It took them a quarter of a century, but they beat us; they won. Like Pontius Pilate, they simply washed their hands of innocent blood. We lost our family, our farms, and our heritage. We lost hope... but liberty was not lost; it was stolen." She said the family dog, Tub, saw the bodies removed from the crime scene and never got over it. "He went out into the field and laid down, refused to eat or sleep, wouldn't let anyone touch him, and over a period of time his hair fell out, exposing rib bones that protruded through his skin," Barber wrote. "He was a pitiful sight. He became so thin that when it rained, he could have crawled under a honeysuckle vine to keep from getting wet. A veterinarian said (Tub) grieved himself to death. That dog had more compassion for my family than our courts."

These events happened years ago, but for anyone that lives in Donalsonville, GA, it is still a topic that is very much alive. There was even a movie made about it, "Murder One," but it is hard to find, I haven't seen it.  The reviews said the actors portrayed the family as  simpletons and it outraged the family and the locals.  It also stirred up all the memories that causes so much pain in the area.  It was not well recieved. Three or four books were written about the incident, and they too, are hard to find,  they are out of print and collector's items.   

Regretfully, this incident is not a lonely case; tragedy of murder happened even in my hometown in 1997. Mr. & Mrs. King were murdered in their home, on Red Acre Farm, by a young 17 yr. old boy who came to their door inquiring about someone that did not live there. The tragedy is a force that still haunts the house.  Over the years there have been several owners of the property, but none have lasted.  I cannot drive past the house without my memory recalling the events that happened there, even though I was not directly related to the incident.  I know the people of Donalsonville are overcome with the same type of emotion if they watched the incident replay last night. 

It is with great respect for the Alday family that I write this and they are not forgotten.

*Six members of the Alday family and two others in route. 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I gave away a lot of stuff

Aloof, Temporary, Whole
Three words. Write. 

What if you were the one who gave me flowers? 

I was thinking of us today.  I remember the night we spent under the stars because we didn’t have the key to the house. We spent the night being awkward and aloof. I remember talking and nervously holding hands. I thought it was sweet you didn’t talk much, and now I know you never say much, even when you are mad. I wonder sometimes if you knew that night, or when exactly you knew you wouldn’t leave my life. 

I am different than you, I talk constantly, but I also keep my own secrets; things that are precious to me that I don’t want anyone to ruin. I don’t always let you know my thoughts when I think of you or what I’m feeling, maybe I should.  I am protective when it comes to my feelings.  You shut me out too.  There are times when we are together and I feel very alone. I try to hold you tight, you resist and wiggle free, and I am reminded you are not mine and I am not yours.   It is hard trying to feel both joy and sadness at the same time.  You travel so much and are hardly here. I tell you to wear your glasses when you drive because you are a horrible driver, but you don’t think you drive poorly. You can risk your own life, and I think if you knew how valuable you are to me, you wouldn’t be so careless.  People ask me if I am lonely when you are not here, and for me it is no different than when you are here.    

No, I don’t need another person to make me whole, but you are a part of me and sometimes I wish our relationship was different.  Different in a good way, in a way that you would consider me more and not be so selfish.  For you, everything bends to your will, even me. I hate that I give in so easily to you and don’t get the same in return.  I realize relationships are so temporary, and nothing will last forever.   Perhaps the next person to be selfish will be me.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What is that smell? Skunk Ape?

Three words and write…
Obedient, adjective: complying or willing to comply with orders or requests; submissive to another's will.
Raspy, adjective: hoarse or harsh-sounding.
Somber, adjective: dark or dull in color or tone; gloomy; oppressively solemn or sober in mood; grave.

Here is some fiction for you on this short work week we are having...

 What is that smell?  No , not rain, no not smoke, could it be Skunk Ape? 

There are still small parts of the world that are inhabited with people who live outside.  Sure, it is not unusual to see these people photographed in periodicals and located in different parts of the world, but you never expect to see one of these people down the street from your house.  I’m not talking about Big foot, I’m talking about people living outside the normal lines that dictate that civilized humans live under a roof and not out in the open.  I’m not talking about normal homeless people either.  I’m talking about someone who chooses to be naked and live in the woods.  I saw one of these people yesterday.  Believe me or don’t believe me, but here is the story…

I had decided to go for a drive last night. It was a cool evening and it had just rained and the moisture hung thick in the air.  I drove my car with the windows down.   My childhood home is about ten miles from my current home and it is in the middle of some fields, frozen in time, on a dirt road; still the same as when my family lived there, except for the age of the house showing where the porch has fallen on one side.  My treehouse is gone, and the circular pond that used to be in the front yard has been filled in.  The house is uninhabited, it looks somber.  There is still furniture in the house.  Someone owns it and posted no trespassing signs all around.  I visit the house sometime because it holds memories of my childhood and I like being able to step back in time and remember the shenanigans me and my brother shared. 

My brother and I were left alone all day long in the summer and we did as we pleased.  Thinking back if you had seen us in our early years you would have thought of us as those wild people I mentioned before.  I remember my brother and I did everything together and there was no one to be obedient to.  In the mornings we would get out of bed and dress ourselves.  I copied my brother and if he went without a shirt, I went without a shirt.  Our ages were less than ten or twelve and I didn’t have a developed body of a teen, so I didn’t think anything of it, neither was there anyone to tell me any different. Wearing only our shorts, we would go out into the world exploring, building, swimming, fishing or riding our pony. We did everything outdoors. We didn’t even think about going home for lunch, if we were fishing, we would start a fire and cook the fish over the fire.  We knew how to survive, for us it was like an instinct. We had a carefree childhood. 

One time we got in trouble because we turned on the water hose in the driveway and made a river to play in.  I know we played with the water on for most of the day.  Before our father got home we made sure to sprinkle the dry part of the driveway with the hose so it would look like it had rained.  Our small minds did not think of the two miles our father had to drive on the dirt road before he got to our driveway, that were dry as a desert.  He knew it had not rained.  I’m sure we got more trouble than I remember, but I do remember us arguing with father that it had rained and he listened and then corrected us.  He may have not been so mad about the water, as he was about us lying to him.  Arguing with father was a no, no in our home, and lying, that was not tolerated. 

 I drove down the muddy dirt road, first I drove past the house and wanted to drive down to the bridge where the road covers the creek to see how high the rain had raised the water level.  I  know there can be wild animals in the road out here in the country, so I drove with enough speed to keep the car from getting stuck in the mud, and slow enough to be able to stop if there was an obstacle I needed to avoid in my path.  I watched the road ahead, and there was a slight haze from the steam in the air after the rain. I thought I saw what looked like a tall, thin person run across the road about 100 feet in front of me.  I slowed down in case the person was not alone.  It happened so fast that I didn’t have my wits about me, to soak in more details of what I had seen.  I slowed and as I reached the spot where someone should have been standing on the side of the road, there wasn’t anyone.  I drove on to the bridge and watched my rearview mirror to see if I saw the person again.  I did not.  The end of the road had a dead end and I drove to the end and then stopped at the bridge to peer over the edge.  I could see where the beavers did a number on the creek and dammed up one side.  I spotted a couple of small beavers, but knew they were children to bigger beavers judging by the size of the tree’s that were down, a much larger animal gnawed the trunks. 

I got into my car and an uneasy feeling came over me.  I cannot explain it, but I didn’t want to drive back toward the house.  It was twilight and I knew if I wanted to stop at the house I needed to drive on.  As I approached the spot where the person had crossed the road, I did notice footprints on the freshly rained over dirt road.  I tried to look into the tree line and then I heard a loud crack, and felt blood trickle from my forehead and down the edge of my eye.  I had been hit by something. I stopped, and then I saw him.  

The man was thin, not really dirty, but his feet were muddy he spoke with a raspy voice, he was too far from the car for me to make out the words that seemed to come out of his mouth in slow motion. He was approaching the car fast and I felt my body go cold.  I stomped on the gas pedal and the car tires spun in the mud trying to get traction.  I eased up and stomped it again, the tires took grip to the dirt and the car lurched forward.  The speed caused the car to fishtail and spun in the direction of the man.  I managed to turn the car away and as I passed him I heard another thud.  This time the rock hit the car.  The naked man stood in the middle of the road. I could see him in my rearview window.  I drove down that road as fast as I could and did not relax until I drove onto the paved road and onto the main road that would take me back home.  I stopped at the nearest gas station and wiped the blood from my forehead, it was a surface scratch, I didn’t need stitches.  I thought of telling someone what had just happened, but decided against it.  What would I have said, “hey there is a naked man on the dirt road throwing rocks at cars?”   Uhhhh, yes, that is exactly what I would have said, if I had reported it. 

I was shaking as I drove the rest of the way home.  I feel like if I had been hit a little harder by the rock or a little to the left, I might have become a missing person.  No one knew I went to my childhood home; the road that had only one solitary house on it, no one would have reason to drive down it. No one would even think that would have driven out to the country to the old homestead. No one would have even looked for me until this morning when I didn’t show up for work. I know he would have done me harm.  If he had needed help, he would not have hidden, also he could walk the couple of miles to civilization.  I know I was in danger.  

I told you what happened as best I remember it. Honestly, I will try to forget it ever happened.

Let the Lower Alabama Skunk Ape Hunt begin! Is he a skunk ape if he is hairless??

Happy South, Ya’ll!!

-        DP