I stood out on the front porch watching the rain come down in sheets. The day was dark. Although it was middle of the afternoon, the sun could not penetrate the thick grey dome of clouds that covered the horizons.
No streaks of lightning to break the dreary. An occasional thunderclap roared and echoed, and only enhanced the bleakness.
Rainstorms normally make me tired. The need to crawl under the sheets and drift away were not with me today. Instead, an event of the past wrestled its way to the forefront of my thoughts and remained there…..begging to be dissected and revisited.
I am well versed in my past. I created it. I have done my best to forgive it and leave it in the mental cemetery of my wrongdoings.
The cemetery is not a peaceful place. The ghosts come back to teach new lessons on subjects already failed. Their goal is not for me to pass, just to show that lessons learned shouldn’t be lessons forgotten and come around full circle.
And I have forgotten many.
I finished my cigarette and listened. The sound of the rain sliding off the shingles on the roof and onto the sidewalk clouded my capacity to remember what really happened. I retreated back into the cold silence of the house to face my past.
It wasn’t my first time being arrested. It was my first time being sent upstairs. Out of the holding cell and into you’re gonna be here a while cell. At 20 years old, my ability to burn bridges by expecting someone to bail me out had worn extremely thin.
It wasn’t a major offense. Unpaid warrants was all, but breaking the law was breaking the law. The nature of the offense doesn’t matter.
I got processed through and was given my standard equipment.
-toothbrush and paste
-white jumpsuit and slip on shoes
I was assigned to a cell and was told to take an unused bunk. Then the steel door slammed behind me.
I was in a concrete room with 23 other men. Some were rolling cigarettes, some were playing cards, some were doing push ups. I was scared.
I walked into a room with 2 bunk beds. 1 was not being used. I looked at the man on the bottom bunk and asked if I could have the one above him.
He looked at me blankly and shrugged. I took that as a yes and carefully climbed up and sat back against the wall on top of my 1″ mattress. All the while thinking he looked familiar, but couldn’t place from where.
I tried to drift off to sleep amongst the various clamor and noise going on, but was awakened by one of the other bunkies.
“Hey, new guy? What cha in for?”
“Lame. You can’t tell people that. You gotta say something like assault or robbery. You will get eaten alive in here for warrants!”
“Thanks. I’ll remember that. What about you?”
His face lit up.
“Grand theft auto! While one of my friends was getting busted for possession I snuck around and stole the cop car….didn’t get far though. I can’t drive very well…”
“So, I’m supposed to believe that?”
“It’s true! I’m being indicted tomorrow!”
“Ok…ok. I’m gonna get some sleep.”
“Wait…don’t you want to hear what you’d bunkie did? He has the best story ever!”
He nudged the guy under me and asked,
“You gonna tell him? He’s gotten know…he’s gonna be right over you! Hey newbie…come down here and sit on my bunk…you are gonna love this!”
I climbed down and sat next to the jittery car thief and waited for the story.
The guy under me leaned up from out of the shadows of the bunk and placed his forearms on his knees, put the newspaper he was reading in the shelf and looked right at me.
Dark, emotionless eyes stared back at me.
“I killed my girlfriend and her lover. I’m in here for capital murder and am awaiting trial.”
The jittery thief spike up.
“That’s it? He has to hear the details!!”
The man sighed and elaborated on his story.
“I knew she was cheating in me, but I had to catch her to be sure. I came home early from work and another car was in the driveway. I walked in the house and heard giggles from the bedroom. I went to the closet and grabbed my shotgun and busted through the door….and there they were. The giggles stopped pretty quick.” His last statement created a small fierce grin in his blank face.
He spoke dryly and monotone.
“I pulled up the gun and couldn’t decide who to shoot first. I used the old “eeny meeny miny mo” from childhood. The very best one was him…BAM.” He shouted.
I jumped but didn’t take my eyes off him as his spoke.
“She tried to explain. And cried. And begged. I turned the gun towards her. BAM. I can put up with a lot, but not that.” He said and bowed his head and looked at the ground.
The thief spoke up again.
“But that’s not it! Tell him what happened next!”
The man continued.
“Then I went to the kitchen, grabbed a beer, sat on the couch and waited for the police to come. I live in a quiet,residential neighborhood, I knew it wouldn’t be long. I went through 14 beers in 4 hours. No one came. So I wrapped the bodies in old sheets, cleaned up the mess and loaded them into my pickup to get rid of them. I drive out into the desert and dumped them and got on with my life. 6 months went by….the bodies were found by some endurance runner who came across them. After that it didn’t take long to trace her back to me…..and here I am.”
He finished. Shrugged his shoulders and leaned back into the darkness.
“I never get tired if that story!” The jittery thief said.
“Lights out in 10, newbie. Sleep while you can. Count is every 3 hours!”
I retreated to my bunk and tried to sleep. I could not.
The story of murder ran through my head like wildfire as I lay there in concrete darkness.
The only noise filling the stillness, was the snoring of the man on the bunk underneath me that strangely resembled the thunder that filled the grey skies that sparked the memory that became this story.
Creeping through the darkness
On the balls of my feet
I heard the rocking chair squeaking
Yet there is no one in the seat.
A cold chill travels
Up the base of my spine
A voice in the dark whispers
“Your soul shall be mine.”
I stopped in my tracks
Only my heart I heard beat
The chill went right through me
And was replaced by fierce heat
From my throat came a scream
But not a sound would emit
My mouth is bone dry
I can’t even spit.
The voice that spoke
Materialized in the chair
He said, “You may scream,
I am going no where.”
He had horns and a tail
And a fancy red suit
A cigar between his teeth
As big as a flute
A plume of smoke he blew out
From below his snout
Smoke rings were not made
Strange shapes danced about
The looked like people
In agony and pain
They couldn’t escape
Trapped and insane
He got up from the chair
And reached through the smoke
I stumbled back and fell over
To avoid his choke
My head hit the nightstand
As I tumbled from bed
I awoke on the floor
Blood dripping from my head
A nightmare was had
But from it, I awoke
That doesn’t explain
The faint smell of cigar smoke.
I blame the show “Seinfeld”.
Plain and simple..no bones about it.
It’s that damn TV show that has and will be in syndicated re runs for eternity that caused this mess…or lack there of it.
I could just be making something out of nothing….
BUT I DOUBT IT!
I should probably get PETA involved.
They have to be stopped…
Whoever decided to breed and raise boneless chickens.
They must have some stealth operation going on. I have Googled, Bing, Yahooed, and even used some search engines that run off guinea pigs running on a wheel for one thing-
“Boneless chicken pics”
Not cooked, fried, breaded, grilled, or baked boneless chickens
Actual rolling around boneless chickens.
(They can’t walk without bones so they must be rollers.)
I found one pic.
Chicken wings are fun to eat. They are messy AND delicious.
That is a winning combo.
But that damn George Costanza and his eating a snickers with a fork has ruined it all.
There is nothing more American than going to a restaurant and seeing patrons with buffalo wing sauce covering their faces and hands…
And mounds of used napkins on the floor.
The need for etiquette is taking all of that away.
I’m not a pinkie raiser..
I choose to raise a different finger.
Once the bones are taken out of the wings they can no longer be called wings.
Chickens without bones need a new go to phrase to separate itself from everything else.
Boneless chicken…the other…other white meat.
Seinfeld…stick to big salads and bring masters of your domain, but leave our etiquette deficiencies alone.
It’s one more thing that makes America great.
The heat is finally getting to me. Today, at work, I forgot my age.
Let me explain….
My boss and I were working and some kids came by, trying to sell crap that kids in school sell for trips and…crap.
He’s a sucker…and likes to help out where he can so he bought whatever it was that they were selling.
I looked at him said,
“Ha Ha sucker. We aren’t even from this town. What are buying stuff from high school kids for?”
“They weren’t in high school. They are in college and are taking donations for the homeless shelter, so I gave them a few bucks.”
“College? They didn’t look a day over 14….”
I’m tired of using words other than “said” so I am just switching to him and me…
“You are just getting old and can’t determine age anymore..how old are you anyway….42? 43?”
“…….I can’t remember….hold on.”
And I took out my phone.
“Are you looking up your birthday? You are older than I thought…”
“No, smartass. I’m using the calculator to figure out how old I am…”
I paused and looked at him straight faced…or dumbfounded…pretty much the same thing and asked
“What year are we in?”
He shook his head and walked away.
This made me realize….
It’s not the heat.
Looking out the windshield of my co-workers truck on the way home from an out of town job, I saw this and snapped a picture.
And then it hit me..
I really need to get a hobby….
What constitutes a drinking “problem”?
Umm…you drink too much?
That’s the easy “go to” answer. But…is it really that simple?
Since I have laid off the sauce for a few years now, I have been able to look back into my past to see if there were any warning signs that should have tipped me off to whether or not I had a drinking problem or not.
-more bar tabs to pay than general bills to pay
-bar tabs in 2 countries
– 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment where one bath was utilized as a beer cooler.
-stop drinking at 5 am…..work at 6 am
– lost a car due to drinking…not repossessed…LOST. I forgot where I parked it. Never found it by the way.
-drove into a house…while drinking
-got banned from Mexico
– drove a car, with no brakes, 16 miles to get the bartender to work on time and to get free drinks.
-used to shake bottles of beer and snort them through my nose…because drinking them just wasn’t fun enough.
-was escorted out of a major metropolitan city and driven 700 miles away because “my peeps” were tired of my drinking escapades
-drove 45 miles in a blackout. Rewarded myself with drinking after coming to.
– drank 23 shots of tequila in 35 minutes….woke up covered in vomit on a jail floor in Mexico
I think I hit the trifecta.
If it wasn’t for alcohol, Mexico, and driving I might have been eligible for sainthood.
Maybe he could have saved me….
Nah, he only saves Will Robinson.
Weekly writing challenge- 1000 words
Here is the picture given, the story after is my version of what is going on.
She sits on the merry go round that’s too rusted to spin, and waits for the big men in blue with the guns and the walker talkies that squak all the time, to come and talk to her. She leaned against the circle platform in her second hand clothes and watches as her Mother’s eyes, dart back and forth between her and the blue men.
“Mommy is probably mad at me. It’s not my fault though. She told me to watch out for the blue men, but I’ve never seen a tiger up close. I just wanted to see if he wanted to play.”she thinks to herself.
One of the blue men looks over at her, smiles, and begins to walk over to her holding a pad and pen.
She stares at him, big eyed, and kicks at nothing on the concrete to act distracted.
The officer kneels down in front of her and asked her a few questions.
“Hi, sweetie. My name is Officer Davis. What’s your name?”
“Beverly….but my Mommy calls me Phylicity”
The Officer felt a twinge in his gut but tried not to show it.
“Ok….Phylicity . Do you have a last name?”
“Ummm…ummmm…I don’t think I’m supposed to talk to you in this game…I was just supposed to like…watch out for you..and now I’m gonna be in trouble again and I’m never gonna see my Daddy again…”
“Aww…that’s not true. We are good guys in blue. Look,” he says as he pulls a picture out of his wallet of a young girl about her age. “I have a daughter who is probably as old as you are. I would never be bad to her. Why would I be bad to you?”
The girl stopped and scratched her head, kicked some concrete around again, and looked up back at the officer.
“We are just asking your Mommy a few questions about some items that came up missing in there. If I have your last name then I can find your Daddy and he can come get you.”
“Mommy says we don’t have a last name. I’m just Phylicity now.” She said confidently.
“Hmm..ok why don’t you come with me and I will get you something to eat and drink while you wait for us to be done talking to Mommy.”
“Can I get a strawberry shake?”
“Sure…whatever you want.”
She took the officer’s hand and followed him to the counter where she was left with a female officer.
He returned to his partner, who was not getting anything out of the Mother but grief.
The girl watched as her Mother argued with the blue men as she sipped on her shake.
She saw them handcuff her and take her to the squad car.
The nice blue man came over to her and said that Mommy needed to go for ride with the other officer but would see her later.
“Phylicity.” He said, “I am going to take you with me, and we are going to try to figure out where your Daddy is and why your Mommy is being so difficult, ok.”
“Ok. Can she come with us? She’s nice, too.” She asked as she pointed to the female officer.
“Sure she can. You can ride up front with us and set the sirens off,”
They got into the vehicle and headed toward the station.
On a hunch, the officer pulled into the Walmart parking lot, got out with the young girl and headed into the entryway.
Just inside the front door, on the right, were postings of missing children.
2nd row, third from the right was a picture of Beverly Richtor….
Missing since 2011.