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Thread: Tocky's Tales

  1. #101
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I thought some might want to see my wife on the ghost bed. Look at that smile. That is worth a little ghost molestation right there.

    That was in the morning right after I told her.

  2. #102
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Those eyes. Those eyes stop me in my tracks. There was a girl in England who used to say to me "don't you look at me that way" and I would say "what way?" and she would say "with those eyes". I thought that was the funniest thing but I guess I know what she was saying. The eyes are the windows of the soul and they speak your feelings and sometimes those are intense. Mygod look at hers. When she is in love with you, which for me is most of the time, she can look right down into your soul. Do you know she is psychic? She knows things there is no way she should.

    When our son broke his arm visiting his uncle she knew something was wrong immediately and told me so. I poo pooed it but she knew. She got hold of her mother and found out she was right. She knows. I have to hide my innermost soul because she might see what a blackguard I am. I'm not always successful. She loves me anyway.

    I recall shortly after we first married showing her around my grandmothers big old Victorian home. My grandmother was the sweetest most gentle old girl who used to let us kids have the run of the place and we did. We ate her teacakes and drank her cocoa and rattled the floorboards with our running feet in all the rooms but one. We didn't play much in the parlor. About the only thing we ever did there was hold seances because for some reason it was a creepy room. We never went in there alone.

    The seances were fun though. It made a good excuse to hold hands with the neighbor girls. We would intone in our most spooky voices for the spirit of a local Indian chief to "give us a sign". Someone would toss a coin across the room or knock over a book and then a hand would creep up a slender back and squeals and laughter would erupt. My cousins are very much like me.

    The house was empty as I gave my wife a tour of my old memories. Watching dough made from scratch be flattened by a rolling pin and cut with an empty can to form biscuits that I would split and top with butter and sugar in the kitchen. Playing the Barnabus Collins game in the living room while the belly of a Fatso stove burned cherry red to push back the cold. The bedroom where quilts six deep kept the cold from young giggling boys not willing to let go of a day full of play. The couch where grandma told us morality tales crafted on the spot and as interesting as any in any book made. Just one more grandma. Grandma is tired boys. But she always would. We didn't know she was dying of cancer. I wish I could hear her voice one more time.

    I was recounting all these memories while walking through the rooms I love so much. Everything I saw brought forth a flood. I stepped into the foyer where the old Philco cabinet radio stood and looked into the courtyard where the well still stood and recalled the echoing ping of the water cylinder as it made it's way up the pipe and the squeak of the large ornate pulley as the rope threaded through it. I could see it outlined against the sky on it's lintel. I could feel the soft weathered gray rope in my palm.

    I stepped across the threshold into the parlor. The old feeling of chill settled on my shoulders. I stared at the fireplace and wondered how long it had been since a fire shed ashes there. I had learned since this is where the bodies of my ancestors lay during wake. My grandmother had lain here looking so alien without the warmth of her smile animating her face. It was the old way to keep them at home until the funeral.

    I thought of telling my wife all these things and looked back at where she had stopped short of entering. What was the matter I asked. Why didn't she enter? I hadn't told her anything about this room yet. She had no way of knowing the feelings it conjured. Something in there is looking at me she told me. That's it. That is exactly the way I had always felt about this room but had been unable to put into words. It was so simple and she had pegged it with nothing to go on. I joined her in the foyer.

  3. #103
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Strange things happen. Most resolve into common enough occurrences. I recall being at Old Lebanon cemetery late one night with my buds and talking with Frank when he asked what would you do if the dead began to rise like some Romero film. Silly question as I would get the hell out of where I was but it got us talking about zombies. As if on cue we hear a shuffling noise in the dry leaves deep in the woods. Oh shit. At first it sounded like one or two and soon grew into a large group. Visions of shambling husks dragging their rotting corpses through the dark forest were in all of our heads I'm sure. What the hell? Who is out there? Speak up! Moo. Son of a bitch. It's cows. We better go tell Mr. Bradley his cows are out.

    Then there was the time I was awakened by the voice of a demon. It must have been three in the morning when out of the blue eeeooooorrrrraaahhoooooowwwooooooorrrrrrrrruuuuuuuunnnnaaaaaaahhhhheeeeeeaaaaargh. JESUS CHRIST! Buuuuunnnnaaaahhhhhgaaarrrrrrrruuuuuuuaaaaaahhhhhkakakaeeeeeettaaaaaahhhhhheaughreeahoooooaaaauuuhhh hh. JESUS CHRIST AGAIN! It went on long enough I was full awake and listening like there would be a test on it with my life at stake. No words at all just guttural belligerence from hell. I've never heard anything so evil. Completely unintelligible but unmistakably wrong in every way unholy.

    I managed to focus on the area it was coming from by the time it stopped. I turned on the lamp. There was nothing there. There was nothing anywhere in the room that could have spoken like the voice of the devil. My wife was still wrapped up in the covers asleep. Heh. But there had to be some explanation. My eyes seized on a pair of kissing squirrels from some cutesy valentines gift. They were in the general area. I put their lips together "mmmmmmmah I love ya!" Somehow they must have activated spontaneously at super low speed. I couldn't make them do it again and I just tested them not long ago (when the hell are those batteries going to run down they must be twenty years old) and they work but bygod that is what it was. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

    Some things happen that make you wonder. When we were teens and Kevin lived in a trailer park I would come over and visit and sometimes we would go over to his next door neighbor and burn one with him. We were over there, me, Kevin, and Frank, when a girl who looked like a young Stevie Nix came over. She wasn't feeling too well. Her face was strained and washed of color. She thought perhaps a few tokes might help and joined our circle.

    What was it she thought was the problem? Voodoo. Say what? She had fooled around with this woman's husband and the woman had put a curse on her. Sure. She better see a doctor is what we all said. Her stomach pained her something awful and she bent over with the strain of it. No seriously, see a doctor. That shit is nothing to play with. No, she insisted, it wasn't anything a doctor could help with. It was voodoo. She said it so convincingly that whether or not I believed I damn well knew she did.

    She sat and smoked with us awhile. We were all looking at her. Her face betrayed her pain. I felt one of us was going to have to take her to the doctor. After a bit she said the pain had eased. Well thank Marie Laveau or whatever right? That shit was scary. It could be an appendicitis chrissakes. Her face looked completely different eased of all signs of pain. Then the pain came back. Like an evil beast come to claim it's rightful victim.

    It was hard to look at her. I felt so sorry for her. I wished so much there was something I could do. I wished I could take her pain for her. That was the wrong thing to wish. It came true. Instantly. You don't believe? I didn't either. Makes not one damn. It came true. It entered my guts like a thing with claws. I felt the blood leave my face and a clammy cold take hold. It was like the worst diarrhea you ever felt only just the cramp part. It was scary awful. Like a thing alive and willful. As I broke out in a cold sweat trying to handle it I heard her say she was feeling better.

    It couldn't be. I tried to hold on. I tried not to believe. It hurt anyway. I could not concentrate on this being bullshit for the enormous scary pain. Not believe? That simply wasn't an option. It wasn't that it was insistent. It just was. Belief did not enter into it. I heard her laughing and feeling so much better and talking about it and how we just did not know. I knew. Locked in my bubble of concentration I knew. I fucking knew beyond any doubt. This shit was not play. This shit was real. Oh I understand how this will be disbelieved. I don't blame you. I would. I would be smug in my logical sane world thinking this guy is full of shit and some kind of attention seeker story teller whose mind has tricked him into thinking some false memory is real. But it just isn't that way. I remember. You don't forget a pain like that. It scared the shit out of me.

    I tried to hold out. I tried to out think it. It wasn't true. It wasn't possible. It made a lie out of everything I thought. I gave in and gave up. I pussed out. I wished the pain back to her. Instantly it left. It did. Like it drew from my body and never was. Only I knew now it was where I had doubted before. She was hurting again. Now I knew exactly what she was feeling. I felt ashamed but more than that I felt relieved. I was ashamed at feeling relieved. But thank God it had left. No matter where it had gone at least it wasn't in me anymore. Maybe I could have taken it for my wife or child but maybe not. It would be a near thing. I took a drag of the joint that came round.

    After a bit she said she was feeling better again. I started looking around the circle immediately. Frank. I could see it in his face. He was pale and concentrating. I knew the feeling. His mouth was set and his jaw locked. His eyes were staring at nothing. He held out a lot longer than me. All this time conversation was going on and I participated but I watched him. He wasn't saying a word. He was lost in that feeling. I wanted to say something to him but I was too afraid it would center on me again.

    Finally she said it was hurting her again and I looked at Frank. He was breathing easy again. I could visibly see the weight of it off him. He was a better man than I though. He had taken it twice as long. I decided right then I wouldn't say a word about it. I would forget it ever was and think of it as some fluke mental quirk to fade away. When we all parted I told her again to see a doctor. She said she had two more days of it to go. I could not imagine two days of that. I wanted to pat her shoulder or give her a hug. I did not dare touch her.

    Back at Kevin's we stood around in the streetlight talking about her. I had made up my mind to forget what happened and pretend it never did. Kevin said he had felt so sorry for her that he had wished he had the pain instead. Holy fuck I had missed that one. It must have been that first time she said the pain had eased. He hadn't lasted long. Frank was amazed and said he had done the same thing. They talked with each other excited that they had felt the same thing and had someone to confirm it. I just listened. I never admitted my part. It was like it would just be superfluous at that point. If it hadn't been for them talking after maybe I could have forgotten. I wanted to.

    This is a hard one to hit post on but fuck it. It happened, psychosomatic or whatever, it happened.

  4. #104
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I've thought perhaps the fact the government was spraying Mexican pot with paraquat at the time that perhaps it would explain the above story somewhat. Lets say it does and ignore the things that don't fit.

    I'm going to get away from strange shit for a bit. There is plenty more but since guns are being debated perhaps a story of them would be in order. I've grown up with them in the country which is a tad different from growing up with them in the city. Hunting is just a hold over from the days when it was a necessity for putting food on the table and we were not far from those days when I was a boy. I fondly recall dove hunting trips to my uncles corn fields and squirrel hunting trips into the last of the old growth forests where the oaks were all huge and with plenty of room to traverse between. Those no longer exist.

    On these trips my Dad taught me to aim. He did so by having us plink at cans, though when he saw I could hit them with little problem he had me try peeling certain words off the cans. He could do it by setting them up with those words to one side. Sometimes I could but mostly I hit too far in and made a hole. What he was teaching me was aim small- miss small which is a principle of firearms training but not of country life which had more practical application. I was to hit the squirrels in the head to save the meat, which I did. This is much the way Sergeant York shot turkeys.

    So when I had M16 training on the Air Force range it was easy. A human sized target at one hundred and at fifty yards was silly. Of course I aced it. The only thing that was in any way hard was shooting from the hip. I had never done that but apparently it wasn't too hard. I got my marksmanship ribbon that day. But what was funny was the DI's reaction to the fact I was the only one to do so. This was back when they could curse and he did so prodigiously. You mean to tell me out of the whole mamma's titty sucking flight only the medic can shoot straight? The only shit sack among you who can handle a rifle as well as his pecker is the one who does not carry a rifle? Goddamn. The rest of you can do extra laps while this ram rod hard dick has a smoke break at PT and you reflect upon the error of your upbringing.

    I wish I could recall his exact words but it was very similar and more of them. They were a thing to behold. I think we shall never see the like of those old drill instructors again. They were a breed apart. You can't say the things now they did then. We lost something when we became more PC in regards to them. On our first meeting fresh off the bus while we were still in civilian clothes he would get in our face and ask where we were from. There were various responses he came back with for our replies, mostly to do with protocol on answers and all insulting. Mine was "I hear only steers and queers are from Mississippi, which one are you?" Well I wasn't a queer so I answered "moo". That was not the correct answer when done smiling so I had to drop and give twenty.

    When it came to PT I volunteered to run with my flight as anyone with half a brain would. This received a "goddamn you are one fine individual" or some such. Anyway I told this story on the way to one my brother told me about Vietnam. When he was in he was on the range and the drill instructors were betting on who would hit the target the best he kept pulling up the barrel with the trigger pull. You have to squeeze slowly but firmly. Never yank. So the DI ordered him to place his finger in the open breech. Can you figure out what comes next? He knew but it was an order. The DI hit the button and slammed home the stiff metal loader like a hammer. It smashed his index. It made it numb. He could not feel the trigger. He won his instructor money after that. Maybe if Dad had been able to raise him as he had me he would have done better from the get go but his mother divorced Dad for some reason I've never quite been able to fathom.

    The best story he told about Nam was as a young marine lieutenant. They had guys that went scouting for months at a time. It was more than being on point. He said the clothes were rotting off these guys by the time they made it back to base. And they were hungry. Starved. They would gather information on troop movements and what trails were where and report back. He told me this one summer he visited with his girlfriend in his custom Chevy van when I was a preteen.

    He said this one guy came in about breakfast time after quite a while in the field. The guy was starved and in rags. He piled his plate with runny scrambled eggs and bacon and toast and began to dig in oblivious to all around him. Just ravenous. But he hadn't come in alone. A Viet Cong sniper had followed him in. As he sat at the table the sniper set about trying to shoot him. Everybody hit the deck scattering or hiding behind overturned tables except the guy who had come in from being on point. He was still wolfing down the food.

    No telling how long he had been without rations but he just did not care about anything but eating. He was the only one still in his seat shoveling down the chow. At least until a bullet knocked his tray off the table. Nicky said he just hung his head a moment as everybody shouted for him to take cover. He reached over and picked up the rifle he came in with and calmly propped it with his elbows on the table and took careful aim. With his first shot the sniper dropped from a tree at the rim of the clearing. He went right back to shoveling down food. That guy was hungry.

    Mostly Nicky didn't talk about anything but the funny stuff that happened in Nam.

  5. #105
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Guns. I would give them all up if I could only be sure everyone else would. I don't use them much anymore. I use my shotgun to cut limbs from the line of sight of my sat dish to satellite. Dove hunting is just a memory now since my son didn't take to it like I did. He is actually a better shot than me though. He won money from a friend of mine by betting he couldn't stack bullets in the same spot from forty feet. This was with my 45. I haven't practiced with my pistol like I should and that is one of the responsibilities of owning one. About the only shooting I do is when my grands want to shoot targets with my BB gun these days.

    How I got my 45 is maybe a bit interesting. It was the first gift my wife gave me. It happened because we thought we might need it. Plus I have to admit I love the heft and balance and sleek lines. It is heavy enough that it levels itself and stays that way fairly easily. But on to why we might need it.

    One evening we came back from seeing "The Empire Strikes Back" at Cinema 6 theater. But no. Let me back up a bit. There was a rapist in Water Valley where my wife lived before we married. He had already gotten six women and they had little to go on except he was black. He would break in and wait on them inside their homes while they were away. Before we dated Rena was alone and noticed the same vehicle slowing several times as it went back and forth past her drive. She didn't know who it was but my wife is proactive as hell. When it came to a full stop blocking the end of her drive she kicked open the door and fired a round from her 22 rifle over the car. Could have just been someone lost but they got the message and got moving quick. She was all alone with her son and took no chances. Her ex came in and took the gun to sell for drugs not long after that leaving her defenseless.

    So yeah, we came back from the movies. I unlocked the back door and stepped into the hall and stopped them as I sniffed the air. This may sound racist but it just is. I smelled a black person. That smell was indelible in my memory since childhood. I told her to go lock herself in the car. She said what if he is out there? True enough. It was very dark out. Okay but lock yourselves in the bathroom (after I check it) while I go and check things out. She did. At first. After I had checked every nook and cranny of our bedroom I was passing back by the bath when she opened the door and insisted on going with me. No. Stay put. Do you happen to have any weapons though? We had only been together a couple of months at that point so I didn't know. A bat? A golf club? A Bowie knife? Anything? Nothing. She didn't even have a phone. Jesus.

    A smart man would have taken everyone back to the car and gone on back to town to the police station. I am not that man. At least I wasn't then. I like to think that now I know better and have my priorities straight. Then though, I was a confrontational and impulsive idiot. I look back over the many many times I was a dumbass and wince. Being a dumbass with your own life is one thing but doing it with those in your charge is entirely different. I decided to proceed. I hadn't even a pocket knife.

    On the floor was a toy gun and in those days they looked fairly realistic. I picked it up saying loudly, "It's okay I found my gun. I'm going to check out the living room." Her head pokes out the bathroom door and she says we don't have a gun. Then my sons head pokes out saying, "Dad, what are you doing with MY gun?" Jesus. I don't even have the comfort of scaring him away with a bluff if he can halfway hear. I try to shush them and tell them to go back. Lock the door. What a comedy.

    The living room was empty and untouched. There was no room to hide but I pulled the couch away from the wall anyway and looked behind it. Not a thing was out of place. I had been checking windows and finding them locked and unbroken. I continued on into the kitchen. I hear a noise behind me and whirl. Rena has sneaked up behind me. JESUS WOMAN! Don't do that! Go back. She gets us knives from the knife drawer. I look and see they all appear to still be there. Only one room left. Go back and lock yourself in damn it. No. She won't.

    I shouted, "If I catch you in there I'm going to kill you motherfucker!" Giving it a five count I enter my sons room by kicking the door wide and rushing in. Nobody there. My eyes lock on the window screen which has been pushed in and is lying on my sons bed. No way that is right. I turn and see Rena and Dan in the doorway. Jesus Christ go back and... oh hell just stay out of this room until I search the closet anyway. Did you knock your screen out son? No. Then stay out till I find out if the coast is clear. I could smell him strong in here but there was nothing in the closet. The house was clear. He must have gone out when he heard me earlier. I closed and locked this window. Dan slept with us that night.

    A few weeks later it was my birthday and Rena had me meet her at a pawn store in town. She already knew I liked shooting a friends 1911 Colt. There on the top row was a brand new Mark IV black as sin. The guy said it had a recall defect and he could get me the easier slide spring so it wouldn't bend my shells on eject but I told him that was perfect. It was a hard pull. Plus it had the handle safety that wouldn't fire unless depressed.

    I keep it in a locked compartment I could break in an instant so really all it does is keep honest thieves out. A gun safe? That gathers all your guns in one box so they can be taken out all at once. There is no safe way outside of a safe room or vault and who has the dough to build one? Living with them is like living with a rattle snake though.

  6. #106
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    You smelled a black person? Yeh you know that does sound pretty racist.

  7. #107
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    What is just is. Go back to my story of Lara. They smell different. These days most wash so well you can't smell the difference but... well look at it this way, have YOU ever been the only white person in a black juke joint on a Saturday night? I have. I know the smell. What is IS. Do you deny the truth for the sake of being PC or do you just state it? What would you have me do? Lie?

    Actually, I take that back, I was with my wife and sister in law at the juke.

  8. #108
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Anyway, damn it Pig, when I saw your name I figured you might have a story for me. I got all excited for nothing. You psyched me out. I think you owe me a story for that. Also do you know black folks acknowledge the difference in smell? Of course they come at it from the other side. They say we smell like a wet dog. I can see that. It's not exactly it but kind of. Theirs is more of a smoky copper sweat but that doesn't cover it. It's unique. I guess you have to have been in close contact in working conditions other than office work to know though. Tell you what, tell me a story and I'll tell you about a black juke called The Turning Point.

    Also also here is a pic of my early family. It's one of those family portrait things they used to do at Walmart about two months into our marriage.

  9. #109
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    So just a spitball from the peanut gallery, Piggy? No story? I won't tell of The Turning Point until you do. It could be a good story you are keeping folks from hearing by your silence. Maybe I pulled an Animal House and abandoned the girls when some guys asked could they dance with my dates. Nah. Doesn't sound like me does it? Maybe I said something stupid and honest and had to fight the whole place? That kind of does sound like me. But hey, you will never know if you don't post a story of yours. I posit this place is dying from lack of posts by those who "can't be arsed" rather than any assholes it may have doing actual posting.

    What I'll tell now is the last time my home was broken into which was in the early nineties. My wife found out first having arrived home before me. This was in the days before cell phones so it was a surprise to be met at the door by her with a gun in her hand. She had gotten home maybe fifteen minutes before me and found the kitchen window open (someone hadn't put the stick back in the sliding window) and all the plants that were on the sill in the sink and the ceramic frog sponge holder broken on the floor.

    She had waited on me to search the entire house to see what was gone. Are you sure one of the cats didn't just knock everything off wanting out? The screen was pulled off too and look at the footprint from stepping on the plant dirt in the sink. Hmmmm. And that wasn't all. She took me outside. Look what I found. A cigarette case was lying not far from the window. Recognize it? No. It's from those teen girls who moved in down the road. The ones who came to visit and asked for a cup of sugar.

    The more Rena talked the madder she got. "I told them if there was anything they needed to just come right over. Well they sure as hell did." Okay but what did they get? We searched the house. At first all we came up with was my sons half dollar collection. So maybe a hundred bucks at most, I said. I was being really calm about it all and that pissed her off more. Maybe I was thinking of the time I got taken to court for the cokes thing and was feeling lenient but as long as nobody was in danger I was feeling generous with my forgiveness. Stuff doesn't matter. My family being hurt is all that does.

    Then we searched further and found out they had taken the contents of our freezer. We had done something we hadn't before or since. We had bought a whole cow cut up into steaks, roasts, and such. Now it was gone. I don't think we had eaten any of it. Rena was livid. I was trying to say how I couldn't possibly press charges against anyone for stealing food but she was saying how we aren't rich and that food was for our family. We will get more. It's not that big a deal I argued. She was on the verge of crying.

    I decided I would call the local sheriff. I told him we had a break in and though I wasn't going to press charges I wanted him to give the ones who did it a talking to. I wanted him to let them know that I knew and had they come to us we would have let them have any food or other help we had to offer but if they ever broke into our home again I would press charges. He said he would. I felt the weight of his being the law would give that sentiment more meaning. The cigarette case wasn't proof positive but it was pretty damning.

    After I hung up I heard the first shot. BAM! "You motherfuckers!" Oh shit. Rena. I ran outside and saw her heading into the pasture between our houses shooting straight up into the air. BAM! "You fucking theives!" I ran after her. BAM! "I'll fucking kill your ass for breaking in MY house!" When I recount this story for friends I say I tackled her but that isn't true. What I did was grab her free arm at the bicep and reach up placing my thumb in the hammer gap and pull the gun away. I guess I underestimated how mad she was. I think she would have run out of bullets at that rate before she made it there but why take chances? You have to know my wife. She would not have shot anyone. She knew I would stop her. She just wanted them to know how pissed she was.

    We told the local store to be on the lookout for the halves and they told us that sure enough the girls had come in and tried to buy something with them. I hadn't wanted them to be ostracized but the store would not take the coins and told them why. They moved away about a month later. I felt kind of bad about that but you can't do anything in a small town without everyone knowing.
    Last edited by Tocky; 31st Jan 2018 at 23:26. Reason: more more is the most

  10. #110
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    My wife and I spent the weekend at a cabin on Natchez Trace Lake with her sister and boyfriend. They have rustic cabins built by the CCC during the depression with nice size decks and fireplaces. We grill steaks and have some drinks and shoot the shit and have some giggles. It makes a nice weekend getaway. Also it's close enough that I can check out my favorite old comic store in Tupelo.

    So Scott tells me about his days growing up nearby and all their fun skiing on the lake. How an uncle accidentally cleared a beach of sunbathers by powering around the bend and mistakenly hit the raise engine button which of course takes away all steering as well. How a friend tumbled out of a speeding boat yet came up still in his fishing hat and holding his hand over his drink. And how the lake ended skiing because they had a ski ramp there and a guy lost it on the jump but then swam to the ramp to await the boat and found he had upset a tangle of moccasins hiding from the noonday sun. He didn't make it.

    That reminded me of this story, which I told him and I've told before here, but some may have missed it. Me and Elliott used to go swimming and knew all the local lakes and ponds. I recall one spot fed by a spring we called the ice cold swimmin' hole for the obvious reason even in the heat of summer. We never worried about snakes at that one. This story isn't about that one.

    We found this watershed lake down a little used heavily wooded side road in January and he dove in first. He tried to tell me not to go in but couldn't form a word from shaking. "Haba ta haba n n na no". I dove in anyway. I don't know how those polar bear club people do it. Last January swim I've ever done.

    When summer came we decided it would be a good revisit. At the other water sheds we had been to the intake for the overflow was an open affair and we did stupid shit like " ride the pipe". You see, the intake is a concrete box tube thing about sixty feet out from the bank and if you swim out to it when the water is high and pouring in heavy you can enter by a metal door facing the lake and hold your breath while you find the tube that runs straight under the levy. It sucks you in and you ride the pipe about eighty yards until you get shot out like a cannon ball on the other side at the drain pond. The bottom of the pipe is slick with moss and there is no going back so you better be able to hold your breath. Kevin once voiced the sobering thought that there could be a grate or log snag somewhere along the pipes. This story isn't about that.

    The intake for this watershed was surrounded by a chain-link fence not to keep idiots out of the pipe but debris from blocking the door. It was only on the front though so we could still climb the horizontal L shaped rungs along the side where water poured in. These were even spaced about a foot apart and would have been easy except the sides sloped outward \ / and you had to hang on good to make the top. Once at the top you could take a running go and clear the spiky top of the chainlink some fifteen feet down and about that out to splash in non cut you in half open water. Dangerous but not a story about that either.

    No, we had been doing this for quite a while without decapitation. The slab concrete top of the thing was full wet from our running about on it. So were the rungs. The inside of them faced away from us. I was looking over the edge as Elliott climbed and his feet slipped so that he hung pull-up mode from one rung. So he did a pull-up.

    I don't know if he felt something or why he chose to look over inside the rung but when he did he eased himself back into the water and swam for the bank churning water. What the hell right? As soon as he got there he turned around and told me to look in the rungs. I've never seen so many water moccasins in one place in my life. They were laid out end to end like links of sausages. Dark scaly gray black primeval nightmares where we had bent our wet fingers and toes less than an inch away for hours. I imagine the water from our feet dripping onto them making them uncomfortable.

    How did they get there? When the water was high maybe? They were on every rung. I could have shit a brick. Elliott was shouting instructions about the best place to jump and to do it far as possible but I was dumbfounded. I had no choice. I had to come down. Were there others under the water? Would I come up with them hanging off me like dreadlocks? It was mind boggling that I would have to jump into that dark water once more. I did. I'm here now. I got as far to one corner as I could and made a hard run to the far one. We never swam there again. Damn a bunch of snakes.
    Last edited by Tocky; 5th Feb 2018 at 01:12.

  11. #111
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Sardis Lake is a fairly large one. It has beaches whose heyday passed some time in the early seventies though folks do still come to swim and lay about on summer days. Mostly folks camp and boat and fish. Many fish all night on the rocks near the spillway. There one can catch crappie, spoonbill catfish, and the occasional bass. Mostly what they fish for is the spoonbill. Those can weigh in at upwards of thirty pounds but of course most don't. Some, like me and Rodney, just stop to watch what folks are catching.

    We were doing that one night, just leaning over a rail as the water roared, boiled, and misted from the huge concrete opening, when Rodney elbowed me and turned to look down the road which went the way round by the camps and beach. There walked two young girls bathed in the blue arc sodium of streetlights. I had been broken with Belinda for about a month at that point and Rodney was likewise free. We watched them walk straight to us like mana from heaven.

    I don't recall all the conversation but I do Rodney saying "What are you ladies doing out by yourselves on this fine ass evening?" You just have to know the inflection he gave words. Not real good looking but damn he had swagger. We talked for a bit and burned one and somehow the pairing off happened. We were in Rodney's big Chrysler and already parked in the shadows so we listened to some tunes, him and his girl in front and me and mine in back. I can't recall what she looked like except dark hair and eyes and she tasted of cinnamon gum. I was rounding third when the door opened and the arm rest she had her head on was taken away. Her head looked up from it's upside down perspective and mine from being buried in her neck.

    Oh shit it's my boyfriend. You damn right it is, bitch. Hey, hey, there are ladies present, no need for foul language. Get the hell out of the car. Do you want to? We better. And so it went until we were standing across from "the boyfriends" and one of them with a gun pointed at Rodney doing near all the talking. I'll try to recall the conversation because I couldn't keep the gun from swinging in my direction with each of my comments. Keep in mind he is trying to talk to Rodney.

    Guy with gun- What the hell do you mean kissing my girlfriend?
    Rodney- She didn't taste like your girlfriend.
    Guy with gun- Shut up you stupid fucker. I asked you a question.
    Me- A dumbass question.
    Guy with gun- You shut the fuck up.
    Me- Okay but I don't know how the hell anybody is going to shut up and answer. Telepathy maybe?
    Rodney- Look we didn't know anything about no damn boyfriends.
    Me- Yeah, it didn't exactly come up.
    Guy with gun- I told you to shut the fuck up.

    At some point during this the girls had changed sides. The one without the gun pointed at it.

    Me- Just a fact. This is some bullshit.

    I was staring at the guy without the gun who looked like he wanted to make a move on me but instead turned to the girl and started berating her.

    Guy with gun talking to Rodney- Tell me one reason I shouldn't just shoot your ass right now.
    Me- Maybe because you're not a complete moron? Not a complete one anyway.
    Guy with gun- I thought I told you to shut up motherfucker.
    Rodney- Yeah maybe you ought to be quiet.
    Me- Okay. Just trying to talk some sense. Somebody has to.
    Guy with gun- Last time you cunt. You're going to be talking out of another hole in your face in a minute.
    Rodney- Godamnit I told you we didn't know anything about no boyfriends. I don't know what the hell else you want me to say.

    At this point the guy with the gun just goes on a cursing binge. At one point I said "fuck take a breath" but he didn't hear that what with all the creative character slurs and all. But then one of the girls said something about seeing the Park Rangers coming and they disappear quick. Sure enough on the way out we see them pulled over and I'm saying yeah fuckers find that gun but before we left me and Rodney had a little conversation in the car.

    Godamn man I thought I would shit when you said she didn't taste like your girlfriend. We busted out laughing. When we were done he told me thanks for taking some of the heat for him. I told him I just couldn't shut my damn mouth is all.

    This is Rodney about that age-

  12. #112
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Well it's another evening and I'm feeling fine as a frog hair split ten ways. I wish I could get some stories out of folks but that's fine too. It's just that we learn so many things in so many ways and all of them are a story. I like hearing about that. It bolsters my faith in humanity.

    I've always been more confident than I had any right to be. Look at my wormy butt in that early picture. I couldn't gain weight in those days if I ate a gallon of lard every meal. Look at that face. Ridiculous porn 'stache and I could walk up and smack the prayer out of a popes mouth. I'm blessed. My ignorant ass is blessed. I can't lose and I know it. I've always been lucky. Maybe in the end I will pay. Maybe in the end I will die alone and in pain. It's okay even so. I have it coming for the good I've been given despite my evil heart. I tried to pay back but I always got more than I gave.

    My wife hasn't always been aware of my lack of immortality either. For awhile I was the go to guy who helped her friends move out of the home of whatever low life cheating lying bastards they had been suffering. I was the muscle in case things turned bad. LOL. I didn't have enough lead in my ass to fill a number two pencil. I had bravado and a certainty things would turn up aces on the last deal of cards. After a bad turn on one packing up leaving where the guy went to get a shotgun from a closet and I stepped in front and spoke reason, though unarmed, I carried my 45 from then on in the small of my back. No sense being extra stupid.

    I never pulled it. It was hidden. I let them rant and rave. Why not? They knew they were losing their good thing. They knew it was their fault. They blamed others but later would blame the right one. I knew that. They said some really awful stuff though. I heard terrible things like one where a guy spoke of fist fucking his wife in front of his kids. Awful shit. I hope they felt the weight of what they said later. I hope it made them better people. For some it does but they usually have to lose it all.

    I felt a bit used though. I wanted my wife to understand I was not immortal. No matter how I acted, no matter how I never let on I felt any fear or let on I was anything less, I wanted her to worry I was not all the bold ass I made out to be. It's a peril of this fake front you put on that even those closest believe you. Even my daughter believes. When she had a stalker she didn't go to her husband. I dealt with it. I had to. I knew he would and that could not be. He has the future. I'm all the past and over. That's another story. I'm a liar and fraud though. I'm not invincible. I'm just willing to see it through is all.

    The last time I helped in a move the guy was plenty pissed and had plenty to say. I stood calm and firm as always. But I felt old. I felt weary. I knew one time I would say the wrong thing. There is always somebody quicker, somebody stronger, somebody more lucky. Well, maybe not anyone more lucky. I suffered his words and blocked the way of any retaliation. We loaded up the stuff and the kids to take to her mothers. On the way her boy was such an angry little guy. I wanted to say something but I didn't know what. I didn't really know the situation. How hard it must be to love them both and have to choose. I kept silence but it took something out of me. That angry little face. What would it grow up to be?

    After we had dropped him off at his grands she wanted to celebrate her liberation and though I had no inclination I had obligation and Rena wanted to help her shake her out of her bondage. We went to a bar to dance. When some cowboy asked my wife and she accepted the dance her friend sat in my lap. I told her she didn't want to do that. She said she did. No. You are just grateful is all. No. That isn't all it is. Yes, it may not feel like it now but... damn it she was rubbing her ass on my crotch. My dick was a traitor. That bastard belied my words. I was still trying to tell her it was a bad idea when Rena came back and caught her.

    Oh she was pissed at her. I guess I should have stood and dumped the girl on her ass but sometimes you just can't think. But she was more pissed at me. "Did your dick get hard?" she asked as if she knew. What could I do but shake my head? Sometimes you are caught in honey and don't know enough to move until the trap comes down. As bad as it was she never had me risk my fool neck to move another of her friends out of a bad relationship. I'm alive. Even the bad works in my favor. Rena forgot. I didn't. I'm glad I didn't have to move another "friend". I'm not immortal.

    This night I'm listening to Beth Hart croon sweet sultry words as I type and I'm alive and the world is fine.

  13. #113
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Okay, well I'm up anyway with a horrible pain that goes bone deep due to a wisdom tooth extraction and I'm hoping to drink enough to get some sleep but while I'm up I'll type aimlessly until the alcohol kicks in. I ran out of the hydrocodone which isn't much better than aspirin anyway and I may hit up the Nyquil before long. This is awful. It was a hard pull. Nobody else would do it but this one young doctor. Are you sure you can? It's got a long curved root and it's right on a nerve. Sure. Well it was saving me enough to go on a weeks local vacation which is how I measure things so I told him go ahead. When they were shooting in the novacain he hit the nerve which lit up my whole right side of my face like fire and shot my legs out comically straight. He pulled like crazy for over an hour. Even a week later I'm still feeling it bad. When you think it's pulling a bone from another bone then it makes sense it would hurt bad.

    Anyway I want to talk about the savior complex between gulps of cheap wine. We all have it to some extent. So much bad shit happens that we want to fix it when it pops up right in front of us right? Now is our time. We will right the wrong. We will avenge. For all the weak who wish they could we will beat a fool down. Luckily they don't happen often.

    We, Rena and me, were in the Mid South Coliseum before a ZZ Top concert and there was this guy arguing with a cop. I don't know anything that came before but I stopped to listen. It soon became apparent the cop was just hassling this guy for being a long haired hippy. Well in my soul I too am a long haired hippy though my shorn locks say otherwise. Eventually the guy had enough and just turned to walk away. At that point the cop smacked him in the back of the head with a billy club.

    Whoa whoa oh hell naw. The guy was like what the hell man? Me too. In spite of Rena pulling my arm I walked up to the cop and told him that wasn't right. I went on a tirade about what he should be doing instead of indulging his fear of harmless folks out for a good time. I told him his job in uninterrupted glory about his fears of a permissive society and how wrong they were and why a society founded on the sort of authoritarian rule he seemed to deem necessary would not work and how he was to protect and serve the very sort he was bashing in the back of the head and I went even further about how he should be ashamed of his behavior for waiting till he turned to hit him and that was so cowardly. The guy he had hit had taken his leave and didn't even hear any of this.

    I let him have it. I was sick of all the times I had been targeted for my looks. And you know what the weird thing was? He actually WAS ashamed. I expected him to target me then but he didn't. He didn't say a word. He had a sort of hang dog look like he knew what I was saying was right. I didn't know how to deal with that. I hadn't expected it. So I said something goofy and awkward about how on another occasion I might shake his hand but not tonight. I wanted him to earn that handshake and then I let Rena pull me away. THAT is how foolhardy I act. I am not as good a person as I act like I am but yet I fool others into being receptive of my sermon.

    Other times I don't fool because I mean it. When my daughter called and had that quiver in her voice because she had picked up a stalker and needed me it was different. If you have ever heard the word "daddy" said in a fearful I don't know what to do way then you know. I turned the tables on that fucker. I learned everything I could about him. When I called him I told him where he lived, what he drove, who his parents were, and most importantly what I was going to do to him and why. I couldn't risk my son in law finding out so I would have to do it quick and by myself. My family had a future and I am expendable.

    I still feel kind of like a puss because I did it over the phone because I could never catch him at my daughters place of work but it worked so what the hell. All's well that ends well. He stopped harassing her. I was just being honest. I regretted I would have to spend the rest of my days in jail instead of with my grand kids. I sincerely wished I wouldn't have to kill him and meant every word and what do you know I didn't. You always have to remember it could go the other way though.

    There was a night me and Leggit and my brother and Dit stopped at a store on our way home only the store was closed and there were these guys out front and we started talking to them and this one guy who was huge anyway asked us to help get him out of a ditch. Only he didn't exactly ask. He demanded. Well we didn't have a chain and I was in my dads Nova and I tried to tell him these things but he wasn't having any. He pulled a gun and pointed it in my face. So okay we would all pile back in and see what we could do. That would hurt less than a bullet right?

    So we all drove to where he had mired up to the axle and there was no way in hell our car could have pulled him out even had we a chain and I glanced off to the side where it was and thought once again this guy was nuts. That car was buried to the floor board. His lights were shining on it and there was no way. So we were still on the highway in our car and the easiest thing to do was punch it and leave these idiots at warp speed. We did. I have no idea how he expected us to help anyway. I had no inclination to help an asshole under the best of circumstances anyway and this wasn't the best.

    What the hell else did he expect us to do? Was this asshole so used to getting his way through bullying he just took it that we would pull down into a mud pit and stick ourselves? We punched it. I'm not such a cocky fool as to stick around for some big ass bitch wanting the impossible. They tried to give chase but we had such a head start there was no way. I'm not above running should it seem prudent and this time it did. See? I can be a puss at times. We laughed at their headlights in the distance. What the hell did he think would happen?

    Okay the Tylenol PM and a couple of glasses of wine is helping enough that I may can sleep now. We will see.

  14. #114
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I'm all over the place and not really fleshing out my stories. I likely should just quit but it's addictive. It's like I'm at the end of my life (though with my luck I'll live to be a doddering pathetic mess) and recounting in disjointed fragments the flashing moments. And then with full knowledge of what's happening I'm plowing ahead like I've always done. So let's do it again.

    I love my brother. In ways it may not have seemed like it. I broke his nose playing backyard football. I broke his arm on a tandem swing because I wanted him to see how fun it was to swing so high the bar whacked against the top bar. He stepped off and that was the wrong thing to do. You either commit entire or get off at the start. I didn't mean anything bad to happen but I was a bad big brother. No way to deny holding him down to fart in his ear. But I swear I would die for him. I think he would me too.

    I made it seem like I stopped all bad behavior when I got married. That's not true. For a few years I would every now and then go visit Jeff, my old buddy, in the Diamond Backs motorcycle club. I love Jeff. I grew up with him and he was the little brother of my friend Elliott only he was a better person at heart than Elliott ever gave thought to being. He was less macho and more funny and I wasn't as good to him as I should have been early on because he was always wanting to tag along. I pissed on his head as he climbed a ladder to where we were on the roof of a barn partly just to get away from him. I told him I would if he kept climbing up. That was so wrong and I knew it though. We bathed him up real good and to his credit he never told. He was and is a good friend and I'm an asshole. No way around it.

    Anyway I used to go to his house on the weekends and spend the night while my wife went to her mothers. Not fully broken in to the family man thing yet I guess. Plus he had acid a lot. I love acid. It makes you feel as if you have achieved another level and advanced into a further mental realm while in actuality you have just laughed the night away at stupid shit. Sometimes you can do stuff you have no way of actually doing in normal life. I recall picking the chimney off a lantern with my bare hand and him being amazed. I lit my cigarette and returned it then asked him what was wrong. That should have taken your skin off he said. I guess I was alternating pressure based on temp and avoided it. I don't know. But acid makes odd things happen.

    The last time I tripped with him we were at Glen Grosses house. I didn't know the guy. Jeff thought he was okay and that was enough. Jeff was wrong. My brother was with us but not tripping. He was on his favorite: alcohol. At one point Glen pushed my brother over a bicycle in the yard purely because he thought it was funny and my brother tumbled down the hill on the other side. Well my brother pops up and is okay but I'm not. I mean he was like what the hell but generally okay. Then Glen makes the mistake of sitting down beside me on a metal folding chair. As soon as I thought it I did it. I reached down and grabbed the nearest leg of his chair and yanked up. It was like a cartoon. He stayed in his seat as it did a 180 and then fell out to land on the top of his head. It was hilarious and everybody laughed. Almost.

    Glen was pissed. He was a lot taller than me but not much better built. He was bitching. I stood and told him that was my brother he pushed over and I would be more than happy to carry it farther but if he wanted we could call it even now. I let him go on about how I was a brave little fucker but reminded him we could go farther. He didn't want to. I wish now he had. You have no way of knowing what is going to happen in the future. You just can't. This guy might have cured cancer but he didn't. Instead he and his brother molested a four year old girl about six years later. If I had known I would have broken his neck. But you don't know. I have wished so often I had.

    They all laughed about it at the Diamond Backs. I wouldn't say I was a hero but I definitely had cred. It was a story laughed about for awhile. I was in good standing. I did hang out at the club on occasion but though I really love Harley's I just am not much of a joiner. Paige who was there to see it would bring it up and we would all laugh. But after it came out he abused that little girl it wasn't funny to me anymore. I wanted to kill him. I had kids of my own to think of though. He went to jail for the max anyway but I wish I had at least beaten him to a bloody mess. You just don't know though. It's a fruitless yearning to wish for a way to change what happens. But you do. If I had just injured him enough he wouldn't have been able to do that horrible thing. She might have been spared. It's one of the few times I wish I had been more violent. How do you know? How do you know when it's right to let go on somebody? I hope that girl is okay and happy. I feel like I failed her. Nothing can stop that feeling.

    Edit: I forgot to say Jeff got me back quite literally. When I was sitting on a storm house he snuck up behind me and pissed on my back. What could I say? I knew it was payment come due. Little shit never quit trying to tag along.
    Last edited by Tocky; 26th Mar 2018 at 23:58.

  15. #115
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I know I said I'm a good person at my core in another thread but I'm not exactly good according to the rules of society. I figure they are some decent guidelines on the whole but I have my own rules. Basically just have as good a time as you can without hurting anyone if they don't make you. Words are just words and that isn't any reason to hurt anyone though shit if I haven't fought over those too.

    I fought Kevin once. I didn't want to but he insisted. It pissed me off that he insisted. I guess we had been with each other too long and had gotten on each others nerves. I fought Elliott a lot but Kevin was my best bud. We were simpatico. We were friends since the sixth grade and shaped each others souls. We fought though. I kept telling him why I wasn't going to fight him while I beat him all the way from my living room into my bedroom. Every opening in his defense got a punch. As I had him against the far wall I suddenly realized what I was doing. Wait. This is Kevin.

    That is of course when he started in on me and I allowed myself to be backed into the living room again. He hardly laid a glove on me. I'm quick. Was anyway. I finally said we were going to stop. That pissed Kevin off. Why did I get the say when we quit? I wanted to tell him because I can beat your ass and I've already knocked numerous lumps on your head and face while you haven't landed a solid lick on me but you can't say that. I know he was pissed because I'm so arrogant. But I can't help that. I just know I am going to be okay. The hardest punch I've ever taken (and certainly not by Kevin) took my balance but I stayed on my feet and covered until I got it back. I'm not going to lose and even if I do so what?

    We quit. He didn't like it. You never do when you know you got the worst of it. It really wasn't going to get any better for him if we kept at it. I had held back and still he had lumps. I felt bad about that. We took a ride on our motorcycles after and felt better toward each other. Tony, one of his friends who wasn't one of mine, later talked me into saying I got the best of Kev then tried to use it to drive a wedge between us but I recounted the conversation for Kevin and he just said not to mention it. I was only being honest when goaded into it. Fuck Tony the back stabbing bitch. That's the sort of shit girls do. We are friends to this day so eat it Tony.

    I hadn't meant to tell this story. I meant to tell about breaking into the Masonic lodge and getting drunk my first time and got side tracked. That I did with Kevin and a couple other guys but now I've done this whole other story so I'll do that one next time. Anyway I'm no saint and only one step ahead of the devil on my best day. Take it with a grain of salt when I say I'm good. I meant to be. I really did. There was always so much fun to be had though.
    Last edited by Tocky; 31st Mar 2018 at 01:27. Reason: to be or not to be

  16. #116
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    So the Masonic lodge. Look, I'm not the worst to come out of my little town okay? Before me and my crowd there was a guy that came back from Nam and dropped a grenade in the constables car. Puffed it up like a balloon. Nobody was inside it. We haven't had any homicidal maniacs. Suicidal ones of a sort. There was a Phillips boy who was riding around tossing M80's out the window with some guys and bounced one off the door frame right into the open box of them. M80's are like a quarter stick of dynamite and illegal. They lived but not without damage. It blew the front seat into the trunk. Crippled one guy and none of them could hear too well after. Mostly harmless stuff though.

    The generation before us took tractors apart and put them together again atop the local store. They stacked a pile of old tires in the middle of town and set them on fire which burned long enough to ruin the tarmac and would have burned longer had the fire department not finally snuffed it. The generation after us was worse too. Doug and Steve tried to knock the light off the constables car as it rounded a bend by using a log on a rope swung from a tree. Too much rope. They knocked out the side glass instead. Hell about the worst we did was slip up and scotch his wheels on the sly then do a burnout all the way around his car and laugh as we sped away while he thought his car had died because it wouldn't move and stripped the starter trying to crank an already running engine. That and hide in the deep ditch shadows at the twin church crossroad and toss a string of fire crackers on his hood when he stopped for the sign. Yeah I guess we weren't exactly good but we didn't shoot out the lights on a highway patrol car with a pellet gun like Doug did. It's a wonder that boy is still alive.

    My town never raised a saint though. So I was spending the night with Kevin over the weekend. We often stayed at each others houses till Sunday evening or so. Mostly we did legal stuff. He lived close enough to Oxford that we would walk to the theater. Saw Phantom of the Paradise there. I recall telling him I liked the bad guys music better and him saying he knew I would. Anyway we might slide down the big kudzu hill on a coke button sign or have a rotten plum fight or even toss them at cars way off and sometimes hit them and hide.

    This evening we had made plans to camp on Masonic lake which was down a paved dead end damn near dead across from his house. Pretty lake. Sand and clear water and surrounded by pines. A couple other guys were coming with that he knew and we all had sleeping bags. I had managed to get a six pack of Miller tall boys. Fourteen and I had never been drunk but I wanted to know. Always Jim Nightshade and never Will Holloway.

    We set up at sunset right on the lake in a scattering of pines below and to one side of the Masonic lodge. A nice place with large windows facing the lake and a huge fireplace. While the rest built a fire I chugged every one of the tall boys. One after the other with hardly a breath between. Ugh hot beer. You couldn't get me to do that today for a steak dinner. I was on a mission. The world was bright and clear and wonderful and the stars spun above as we spoke of whatever young teens talk of that an old man like me can't recall. When I went to pee it was in that floaty haphazard zigzag to the waters edge. Mission accomplished.

    At some point somebody mentions there is a pool table in the lodge. Well that is just too much of a temptation isn't it? After little deliberation we found a side window unlocked. Nice place. You could stand in the fireplace. Today it would go for millions in Oxford but back then the world was more accessible. It was a better world. You don't believe that but it was. Rich folks hadn't figured all the angles then. Hell, they didn't even care about some of the angles back then.

    So I start out pretty good. Might be leaning a bit heavy on the cue but I'm making decent shots. Then one of the guys finds some scotch. We were on the rocks tanked by the third rackup. Just after that break I was lining up a shot and out of nowhere I spew on the table. Surprised me as much as anyone. Damn. We came up with a towel and I cleaned it up as best I could but that had ruined the game. It was then I noticed I was so shit faced everything I did was in a circular motion. I had to pick a point to make it to when I walked else I would end up anywhere. Even then it was a near thing making it anywhere I had planned.

    We vetoed sleeping inside that night and I'm glad we did. Instead we went out to the fire and talked in the cool night air until we fell asleep. I was out first. I was also up last. Damn comfortable in my sleeping bag I could have slept until the cops hauled me off like a reprobate burrito. Everyone else had taken off but one dude (I wish I could recall his name and maybe I'll ask Kevin next we talk) who was kicking my leg constantly. The cops are here! Get up! He had stayed behind to get my drunk ass up as everyone else ran. I scooped up my bag and started running as blue lights flashed showing pines in a crazy fun-house obstacle course. I swear I owe that guy. I would have been laying next to the fire for them to pick up if not for him.

    Everyone was running roughly parallel to the road we had come in on but far back in the woods enough to be out of sight. I was still drunk as hell but running flat out. We all were kicking up dead leaves like maniacs. Then I was yanked off my feet too sudden to respond and thrown on my back. I looked behind me and there was a single strand of barbed wire grown into and between two trees, some remnant of long ago fence. It had caught me just beneath my right eye and there is scar there to this day if you know where to look. The barb had stuck in my eye socket bone right at the edge.

    We reconnoitered farther and deeper into the woods and discussed our options. Back to our respective homes was the new plan. We even emerged right into the backyard of one of the guys. We split then and me and Kev crossed the street to his house. I don't recall what lie I told my folks about the purple cut beneath my eye.

  17. #117
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    This is me, Kevin and Richard, respectively, at about 14 or so.

  18. #118
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    God it was hot the summer we went to see Nicky. We left out early, about 3 Am, and made the Mississipi river bridge right about sun up in Greenwood. Windows down and no air conditioning in a 66 Plymouth Belvedere. All that water deep and moving and wide. Largest river I'll ever see. I always wonder if I could swim it when I cross it. I knew I couldn't at nine.

    Lot's of naps and blue car games. Dad always pushing that slant six to make enough speed to average sixty miles an hour despite stops. When I see the movie Easy Rider I recall the days of two lane blacktop and grimy little southern towns. Yet another Ben Franklin dollar store in the rear window. Funny how Strong Arkansas smelled strong from the paper mill. Dad mentioned it as a joke to a local as we got lunch at a greasy spoon and they said they couldn't smell anything. You get used to anything I guess.

    We got caught in a black funeral procession somewhere in north Texas. The light changed and we just turned into it. We didn't know. This was during the time of the civil rights trouble. A white car full of white people from Mississippi in a black procession. Dad kept looking desperately but we had to ride it out for what seemed miles before we could turn off at a wide spot and let it pass. I guess in those days the cops didn't block the intersections for black folks processions. Glad things aren't as bad at least now. Weird the things that stick in your head.

    As the light faded to a golden glow that lit the road with it's luster we came across some leaves blowing across the road. They kept at it for miles. We had passed the midpoint of Texas where the grass and sparse trees give way to desert and Chaparral bushes head high and obscuring the dry land. At some point I realized it wasn't leaves. They were crawling. A mass migration of tarantulas. A river of flowing spiders washing over the road. All I could think was what if I were laying in a sleeping bag on some cowboy camp out looking up at the twilight stars and this twilight zone wave of horror came flooding over me.

    We spent the night in Wichita. Later I would do my tech training there in the Air Force and pull the soup puke gag in the airmens club at Sheppard. No idea then I would be the sort of guy that would. No idea I would watch a stripper get eaten on the stage at an off base club by one of my buddies while I shouted "you don't know where that's been!" either. Life is strange no doubt.

    Nicky met us at some motel Dad picked in Lubbock. I was just glad it had air conditioning and a pool. I was struck by what a cool friendly guy he was. I wanted to be that funny and suave and interested in folks when I grew up. He wanted us to spend the night at his house but Dad wouldn't impose. Instead we went to a steak house, best in Texas, they all are. I had shrimp for the first time and discovered I loved it. Everything was exotic and new and spiced with strange delights. Nicky held court with stories of his life there and I just couldn't imagine anyone more sophisticated and downright cool. He couldn't have stepped out of a jet and been any cooler. My first meeting with my older half brother made a big impression.

    He took us for a ride the next day in his sailboat named the "Wicked Wanda" for chissakes.

    Later he would come to see us in Mississippi with his girlfriend and custom Chevy van about the time the song "Chevy Van" was out and just confirm how cool he was. That was when he told his Nam stories because us boys pestered him. The funny ones anyway. He read my brother a Spiderman comic doing different voices for all the characters and I will never think of the Green Goblin as having any other laugh but the insane chortle he gave him.

    I loved him for everything he was. He was so much like my Dad in looks and demeanor. As he aged I saw that more. The last time he came to see my sister in Memphis she said she opened the door and thought God had granted her a last visit with Dad. We all came up to see him then. It was my last time. I always meant to make it out there again. Always busy. Always something. I wish I had one last time. He died yesterday. His ashes are going to be spread on the grave of his daughter Skylar who died in her early teens in a car wreck that nearly broke Nicky. But even when I called to console him he said things to make me laugh as if he was okay. He wasn't. No man should have to bury three of his kids in his lifetime. He still has three boys to reach out to though.

    Last edited by Tocky; 22nd Apr 2018 at 01:07. Reason: Nicky and my dad.

  19. #119
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I'm going to talk about here what I don't feel like derailing in the other thread: religion. You know what I think about religion? Fuuuuuuuuuhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuck religion. Sure I know some need a reward and punishment system in order to behave. If not they would be skull fucking babies or something. Does that make me feel all cozy safe? Fuck no. I like folks that can be good without punishment as a deterrent. Folks that just want to be good. Sometimes those folks are religious and I don't condemn them for it no matter what religion they adhere to. BUT the more a religion tries to tell me what to do and how to live the more I hate that religion. Are you religious? Well fuckity fuck fuck your religion and it's my way or you are damned ways. If I'm going to hell then by God I'm going hammer down and shifting for a higher gear you bitch.

    I believe in being good. I really do. I even talk to sky daddy as if it were a real thing. Just a hold over from my upbringing I'm sure. A psychological crutch as it were. I thank the bastard for even as stupid a thing as the glory of a field of flowers and the abandon of playing in them. But religion can suck my dick. Hard. Think this way and ONLY this way? Fuck you religion. Your books have some good in them but also a WHOLE lot of stupid shit some long ago dumbass wanted us to swallow. You folks that defend the stupid shit? Fuck you. You folks that defend stupid shit because it's the cool thing to do in this enlightened age of we must be accepting of a whole lot of stupid fucks of another religion? Fuck you. Religions- ALL FUCKING RELIGIONS- are trying to control you. They try to control the way you think. And those others that don't think the same way? Why they must be subjugated and shown the error of their way through word and deed. Yes indeed. And if it's a lot of those that think different then we have to wipe those suckers out. God says.

    Let me ask you this, do you think that just because there are a whole fucking lot of one religion that I should kiss their ass rather than tell the truth? Well fuck you for thinking that. Religions kill folks that don't think their way but I would rather die than turn over my mind to you boring ass fucks. You have no imagination and are as stunned as turkeys staring at fireworks when anyone with one speaks. You have been so long in your rut of bullshit that anything outside your box is scary. Well YOU are scary. Hell even the Buddhists murdered a bunch of Muslims. All of you are bat shit.

    YOU scare me. Know why? Because you refuse the evidence of your senses for dogma. You are a backward pull on humanity. We strive in our fumbling grasping way to understand the universe and add to the collective knowledge of men unafraid to think differently to do so, men who observed and reported what actually was, and you try to wipe out all that we have gained so you can adhere to the words of men who didn't understand shit. Oh but they are the sacred words of God or Allah or Oogy Boogy well who the fuck says so? Men who SAY a god spoke to them? Men who want you on your knees? Well if there were a God he wouldn't want me on my knees. He wouldn't be a child demanding adoration and a lot butt kissing. He would be secure enough that he would be okay without it. He wouldn't want you wallowing about in a lot of holy holy praise your name shit like a lot of mindless scared cattle. He would want you trying to understand this creation of his and how it was done. He would want you to attain the status of equal just because he really did love you and not some hey y'all better kiss my ass on Sunday shit and know your place. Don't eat any smart apples because I want you stupid and obsequious.

    Stupid fucks. When I was in church sweating in my starched collar as a kid listening to all the crap and all the stomping you are going to hellllllluh shit I was questioning why I should even be listening to folks who never questioned a damn thing. And that day in Sunday school when God told Abraham to murder his son he loved because God was such a jealous insecure and petulant child and Abraham didn't tell God to go fuck himself because he was such a subservient little bitch he would sacrifice his love for a fucktard of a God I said fuck you pieces of shit. And Job? Took everything from him on bet with the devil? Asshole. God was an asshole. I don't want to be with an asshole who would not know you can't say oh but here you go another wife as if he didn't know you can't just replace a person. Why in fuck would you have a damn thing to prove to the devil anyway? Fuck the devil. And fuck you insecure bitch of a God.

    Have I offended anyone? Well I don't believe in your sort of God. For one thing what would a singular god do with a dick? You call it he right? Well what does HE fuck? God is supposedly singular. No use for a dick. Dumbass. I don't like you being so goddamned stupid. And I'm sick as fuck of you assholes defending one religion or another for any kiss a billion whatever dumbasses because we can't offend. Fuck you. I'M OFFENDED you want me to. ALL of you scared pussies who won't call a spade a spade and I've kept my silence so long just to be nice. I live among you. I'm not one of you. If there is a judgement day then BY GOD I'm going to let all of you have it. God too if he is as stupid a fuck as all religions portray him being. Egotistical fuck. I may burn in hell but you are going to hear me say fuck you for Abraham. You wouldn't get my son you piece of shit.

  20. #120
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    I like folks that can be good without punishment as a deterrent. Folks that just want to be good. Sometimes those folks are religious and I don't condemn them for it no matter what religion they adhere to.
    Thank you.

    Have I offended anyone?
    Not me personally, I respect your opinion and get where you're coming from. But I am a bit sad to see my faith, which is a tremendous source of support for me in these difficult times, seen dragged through the mud. However, rather than ask you or anyone here to hold back - please, by all means, continue the discussion and don't hesitate to speak your true feelings - I think I might take a little break from TTLG for a couple of weeks. This week my wife's tombstone will be placed and on the 19th it will have been a year ago since she died. I think I might take the time to reflect on any emotions that might arise and not let myself be bothered and distracted by discussions on topics I care about. I will return and by then I might be willing again to participate in discussions on these topics. But even then, I wouldn't ask you to hold back for my sake.

    For now, no hard feelings. You're a cool guy, Tocky, and I do mean that.

  21. #121
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I was harsh. I nearly always am when I hold things in for a long time and let loose. I suppose if religion gives succor then it isn't all bad and indeed I do charity work with religious folks often. If they ever found out my true feelings though I'm sure they would spend a lot of time trying to save me which would drive me nuts.

    I'm sorry about your wife Harvester. If I had known I would have held back on those grounds alone anyway. Death is a hard enough one to deal with. I honestly don't want a conversation on religion. Nothing is going to change me and I don't really want to talk anyone out of their religion if it helps them in any way. I've made my personal peace with things. I am scared of fanatical religion of any stripe but I will deal and not blow up again. I'll try not to listen to American Family Radio and all those that Jesus would have thrown out of the temple in anger because they have brought politics into religion. I really can't take their crap. Puts me in an awful mood.

    You are a cool guy yourself, Harvester, so take this advise as tongue in cheek. Since the wages of sin are death try to get your money's worth.

    Also, to be honest, though I know I could never prove it, I feel there is some guiding force of good, some presence, and if you want to call that God then fine.
    Last edited by Tocky; 16th Feb 2020 at 01:53.

  22. #122
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I'll say this; I sometimes wish for a being to bestow my gratitude on. I've had rough times but most of them have been my own fault. I've wished I could go back and just do some simple little things over that would turn another in another direction. I've wished I could go back and have one more talk or one more hug. There are things I would change on a do over but overall I just wish I could live this exact life over. It's been pretty damn great. And I'm not exactly sure I haven't lived this life before. I get certain glimmers of things that are going to happen. When I was younger I had deja vu often and sometimes with full knowledge of what came next. These days I just get inklings and think oh yeah that was what that was about after. I do tend to obey the inklings. I've found it's better when I do. But that wouldn't make sense would it? To know how it's supposed to go is crazy right?

    Sometimes I've ignored those feelings. Every damn time it works out worse. The even more crazy thing is I ignore anyway sometimes. I know it's going to be exactly as bad as I think and plunge ahead. No idea why I do that. No idea how the hell I would know either. It's not just obvious shit I do that about and it can be something as simple as taking one road over another or wearing a particular article of clothing or not. But I better damn well listen. Yeah I know what they say about the brain picking up certain cues that are subconscious but it's usually shit that seems like it would make no difference if I did it the other way but it does. Should I buy this thing? I have no use for it. Why in hell would I buy it? Why am I thinking of buying it even? If I don't buy it then it turns out I need it really bad later no matter if I've never used one before or can conceive of any use for it. Makes no sense.

    Little things. Annoying things. Nothing life threatening. Oh no those make good stories. I wouldn't miss those. Mostly. There was a time when we were going to swim across the lake though. We had done it before. I never thought about it then but at the waters edge I stopped. I got the funniest feeling. I couldn't figure why. Everybody else had plunged in and were on the way. I couldn't allow myself to get behind so I ran on in too.

    Halfway across it turned into a race. We had done that plenty before too but this time I felt like oh fuck for some reason. I was doing okay, only Frank had managed to pull ahead of me, but I started to get a cramp. I knew I should have stopped right away and shaken it out but I just wanted to close that gap. Then I did slow down. The cramp was getting bad and in both legs and now knotting my stomach. I stopped and just floated steadying my breathing. It would go away. Only it didn't. It did ease some and the guys were getting farther away so I started again.

    I wasn't going to push it. But I was having to mostly drag my legs and pull with my arms. It's not as easy to stay level that way and puts more on the other muscles. I set myself a steady motion and pace. After what seemed an eternity I looked at the bank and I swear it seemed I hadn't made any distance. Nothing to do but turn into a machine and keep a slog rhythm and forget the bank. The cramp wasn't working itself out though. It should have. I could feel it wasn't going to either. Pace. Just a steady pace. I can do this. I was doing it. But I was wearing out. It took everything I had and then I had to reach for more. Once, twice, thrice, and more. I reached breaking and pushed on through. The bank was so close only I had nothing left. I reached but there just wasn't anything left. I was going down with home free in sight. Twenty yards and I could not for the life of me (literally) do it. I gave. I let go and gave in to death. Just before my chin went under my feet hit bottom. I had given in and now I was horrified knowing I would have just kept sliding down had my toes not touched. On the bank I walked my cramp out. They tried to get me to swim back across. They didn't know. No fucking way. I would walk through the swampy Sargasso till I could make dry ground and walk around. They tried several times to get me to swim it back. I had done it before and I would do it after but not then. Not a way in hell. Frank swam and came back with an inner tube. It was a long damn swim. It was a big damn lake. Frank was such a good dude. And that was so embarrassing for me to let him do.

    Something told me the first time and I didn't listen. I sure as hell would the second time. I wish Will would have. Will was this sweet little guy with a raspy voice and deformed shoulder. It rode higher and he had to keep it in a sling thing. Eventually it straightened out but when he was a kid I would go by and get some weed from his dad. Eric, who was his younger brother, would run up and kick me in the shin and eventually I would work with him after he had grown up. Will came to see him at work and I got to meet him all grown into a man. To me he would always be that sweet kid who was always accommodating and kind. I would swing them around in the yard in this ice skaters spin I developed until we were both dizzy and they would beg me like I was a carnival ride to go again. I still do that with my grand kids. I was always afraid I would hurt his shoulder though. And there he was a tall and straight man. Unbelievable.

    Something had to have told him not to swim out to the overturned boat at Hurricane landing. It must have. I bet he had that feeling and ignored it. It would be too shameful to give in and not race Billy out to that old white husk. Maybe it was because he had always been teased at school about his shoulder. Maybe because they had their girlfriends with them that day and he had something to prove. But he had to know. Billy said one minute Will was right behind him and the next there was no trace of him on the water. He said he kept diving around looking for him but it's a deep lake. Sweet Will. Man I wish you had listened to that feeling that said no. Not this time. That's what I was thinking the day we lined up behind that double column of bikers that led the way to his grave.

    Don't we all get that feeling? Don't we have some memory of another life guiding us or whatever it is? I know it sounds crazy. A lot of the things I think and feel are crazy. So in the end who am I to dismiss someones religion? I'm just as nuts in my own way. I cuddle with ghosts, I hear limbs break around me in the darkened woods, and even more that I don't tell. I cannot for the life of me just accept only empirical evidence even though my brain tells me that only science is true. I can know it but I can't feel it. When my head tells me to take the straighter road instead of taking the more crooked one I listen mostly. But sometimes I get that feeling. That "you know what happened in the last life" feeling and I listen to that. I unknowingly threaded between two tornadoes one evening like that. I only found out later. I know, I know, only physics is real. Just bits of opposing energies held in check by other energies and on the macro level the brain is just whirring away putting things together that make sense. No oogy boogy crystal mumbo jumbo woo. No looping of the space time continuum. No sampling from the other stream.

    I can't help wishing I knew things about others lives like that though. I wish so much I could have saved some who either didn't have that feeling or ignored it. It scares me to think I might not have the feeling when it counts about others. When the doctor said not to worry, that my grand daughter Lana would pass the quarter she had swallowed, I had that feeling. Her parents so trusted the doc that they went ahead to see the Braves play. I wanded my metal detector over her and found it was not in her bowels. It beeped at the esophagus. It was right there where her windpipe could have been closed off. They got it out at hospital but what if I didn't listen to that feeling?

    I had that feeling when my wife wanted me to scold my dad about his methods of child rearing. Not this time. I wouldn't do it. I knew. I didn't want to know. I denied it to myself, but I knew. That last time we met we were so happy to see each other. I had my arms loaded with groceries and I was headed home but we stopped and talked awhile. I watched him walk into the store smiling and ached for a moment to go after him. That would be silly though. He died that night. I wish every time I had that feeling I listened to it. I know you think it's a retroactive reframing of memory. I would think that too if I could. I only wish I had listened more often. Maybe in my next life.

  23. #123
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    Tocky you are awesome. I love these stories almost as much as I love you.

  24. #124
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Well shit, I love you too. You ain't like dying or anything and just not telling folks right? I believe in telling folks I love them when I do because I didn't when I should have and then didn't have the chance to say it and that hurt. I just assumed they knew. After July of '97' I started telling folks more often. I became a damned hugger of all things. Never used to be demonstrative. I'm not telling that story though. It pulls me into a black hole. I'm so glad I told my dad before he passed exactly what I thought of him though. He went in February of '98". I'll tell about that.

    I had the best dad in the history of the planet. He knew instinctively what made you happy and was only too happy to oblige because deep down he was a kid too. Oh he worked hard every day under a horrible boss but when he came home he would snatch you up and hug you like you were what he had been working so hard for. He bought me the comics I wanted though he made a face at the horror covers, the toys I wanted though I wanted too much, and Christmas? Oh man, Christmas was freaking magical. SSP smash up derby and incredible edibles and Lost in Space playset and Evel Kenievel stunt set and Six Million Dollar Man (I got to tell Lee Majors I still have his doll and he corrected me by saying action figure- right you are Ste... Lee) all the cool stuff. But it wasn't just the stuff, he did things with us, he took us places and explained things and instilled in us a sense of right and wrong that was steady and immutable. He saw things for what they were and never failed to call them for it but kept a bright disposition as if life were the grandest thing and you know what? It was. We had an idyllic childhood. And I think that is what steels you for the crap life throws at you. It ain't hardship making you tough. It's a base of love and support you know will never fail and a joy in just living this one shot.

    He took us cat fishing every Saturday morning. Load up the old red Dodge truck before light with our gear and get it cranked. It had a combination of two pumps of gas and a key turn then one more and a turn until it hit. Get it wrong and it would flood. We would be on the bank before the sun broke the horizon and watching our lines while the mist rose from the surface of the water. He never used a float but he knew we liked to see them go under so he always put one on ours. You would hear them slap the surface of the water and know it wouldn't be long. Soon that float would bob a time or two and go under. Time to yank and set the hook then fight them back and forth to see if you got a two pounder or four. Channel cat they were. We would get a stringer full before we left around ten thirty. Old JQ Anderson would come along about eight with his bag of feed and tin bucket and walk the bank banging his scoop on it and the fish would roil the water like crazy. An old straw hat and overalls thin as a bean pole flinging pellets of feed into the boiling mass of fish sucking it down. They reacted to that pounding on the bucket before the first scoop full hit the water though. Always the same thing at the same time. The next hour would be Zebco reels grinding and rods bent to near breaking. There is a picture of me with my seven pounder near as long as me in front of the red Dodge that I treasure. No fish I ever caught meant so much. It had been just me and him that day. The die hards.

    We would clean them when we got home and slide the meat in the fridge for a fish fry the next day. Hush puppies and the cats rolled in corn meal and pepper deep fried then home made ice cream and watermelon for dessert. Like as not there would be cousins over to tear up the countryside with after. I recall a yankee uncle saying these fish were the best he had ever eaten. We didn't have the heart to tell him they were the hush puppies.

    We did all sorts of hunting. Dove on opening day were thick and had been feeding on my uncles corn all summer. I had gotten a 20 gauge for Christmas and put it to good use leading them as he told me and I was unfailing if they got anywhere close. Dad had been worried I was too tender hearted. I did things like raising a frog from a tadpole and a robin which had fallen from it's nest and when I shot my first bird with a BB gun I cried. It was never going to be alive again and I did that. But I got tougher, you are expected to in the country. I did. That day there were so many. I had the limit and was giving them away that I brought down. I was lost in the blood lust and didn't realize it till I saw the concern in dads eye. A finer line between enough for a good meal and being psycho than I thought. I thought back to the way he had said "tender hearted" that day. It wasn't with admonition but more of a tender fear for what the world might do to me and perhaps a little pride that I could feel so much for another creature. A fine line indeed.

    I was proud of being a good shot. My favorite hunting was squirrel. Dad learned I was insulted at the offer of a shotgun and so I always took the 22. We hunted in the sort of old growth forests that no longer exist in the south. Huge red oaks twenty feet apart whose limbs intertwined. I have dreamed of those woods but I'll never see them again in this life. I never mastered that light footed trick he had of not making a sound in dense leaves. That one is still a mystery. I had to get to a spot and not move for long enough they forgot about me. Mostly we got six or seven and headed home. Often we would plink at cans before we did. Eventually I learned it was the hitting a target I liked and not so much the killing. The eating I liked, hypocrite that I am, they had that wild taste you can't duplicate. But I quit hunting eventually. I still treasure the memory of the things we talked about though.

    He would often tell family stories like the time his grandfather was shot by a fellow who had been called a liar on the stand by a lawyer and had waited for that lawyer to exit the courthouse. It so happened his grandfather was talking to the lawyer at the time. The lawyer was killed and great granddad wounded though he quickly walked over and yanked the pistol from the man beating him to the ground with it. "I didn't mean to shoot you, John". Of course he didn't. Not only was great granddad his preacher but also married to his sister. Strangely Moody Swaim was never hung at Old Dallas. Many were. Forty something according to dad. None of my kin though some should have been. When we cleaned up the cemetery there he would point to the stones and tell me stories about my people and others. This one shot dead for going to see another mans wife though he had been warned, that one killed by a knife over exposing a crooked poker game, that one there shot by his own brother because he was pulled in front of the man the fellow really wanted to kill. There is no town of Old Dallas now, only a large graveyard on a wooded hill down a gravel road as far from civilization as you can possibly get in my country.

    Dad took me to Ole Miss football games. This was during the Archie Manning days. We had been shamed and rightly so by the civil rights struggle of Meredith to enter and needed something like Archie to give us a little pride and damned if he didn't in spades. Dad worked at Ole Miss and got us tickets easy but even so I worked some games hawking cokes in the stands. Still the most money an hour I've ever made. Mostly when Archie played we just sat and watched. Tennessee had buttons on the day we played them that said "Archie who?" on them. The next time we played them we made sure we had our buttons with "Archie 38 to 0" on them. He was amazing. The scrambler, he could run sideways and throw a touchdown and often had to. The stands were solid rebel flags in those days. It never occurred to me then they were anything but football. There are no flags or any symbol of the old south in the stands today. Good riddance. Still my mind goes back to how the stands erupted with them when even butter finger Pugh made a touchdown.

    Some of you may recall how I went nuts when the Giants won the Superbowl against all odds that one year. It was RBJ that made the connection about Eli Manning being Archie's son. It gave me a taste of the days we couldn't lose.

    Halcyon days of youth. The times were troubled but we were protected. When one of dads buddies he worked with asked did he want to go watch the riots from a balcony near the grove he declined. He wanted to get home to us. That fellow was killed when the national guard fired over the heads of Klansmen bused in from the delta. They should have fired into those sheets. Dad once made me read one of their pamphlets and asked me what I thought after. I told him I was shocked it sounded so reasonable. He said that's how they get you. They start out that way and next you know you are killing your neighbor who never did a thing wrong to you.

    I listened to that man in ways I never even knew I was listening in. I wish I could hear his voice again. His advice was never forced. It was always just a sentence or two you could hang your hat on. He mostly let you come round to his thinking on your own though.

    He and mom had a perfect relationship. They never had a cross word. It was an unrealistic thing to be raised in. My wife and I certainly did not follow that mold. I sometimes think we love each other in spite of each other but I guess the important thing is we do love each other. I don't think most kids were raised with the deference they gave us either. If we wanted to watch something on TV we got our way. I'm sure they sat through a lot of Night Gallery and Star Trek they didn't want to see. We also were never made to work. But when I heard the lawn mower crank on a Saturday I would soon go out to spell him. We often worked in the garden and then sat around shelling peas as we watched TV. I still love fresh garden vegetables but I'm too lazy for a garden these days. Back then we would run fence and bail hay and pull corn and all sorts of work. Some weekends me and dad would roof houses for those who couldn't afford it otherwise. The whole gang at his work would just pitch in for it. When I built my house way later some of them showed up to surprise me and roof mine. He had good friends.

    He gave me everything I wanted. I was a spoiled shit and hell if we were wealthy. When I got to be a teen he got me a car to go with the motorcycle I already had and gave me the freedom to roam, to spend whole weekends with friends. When I went on dates he made sure it was with a full tank and always slipped some money in my pocket. I wish now I had spent more of those days with him, maybe fishing like old times, but I was wild. God we blasted Bowie and Cooper and Floyd and AC DC in our rooms and the most he did was poke his head in to say he thought somebody was beating a bag full of cats with a guitar. And they both had to suffer my brother on drums and me hitting sour licks on my guitar too. Jesus. I could go on about him all night.

    That last night I got the call at two in the morning and yanked on my pants and ran up and over the hill in the frost of February grass. He had a stroke. My brother was still home then but he is useless in situations like that. Mom had called me right off. I got an ambulance on the way but we are so far out in the country. He was trying to tell me something. He kept moving his arm and acting frustrated he couldn't do more. I took off his house coat thinking maybe it was constricting him being twisted the way it was. I didn't think that was it though. I told him "Dad we know you love us and we love you and there is help on the way so just hang on" then I stroked his hair they way he did me so often when I lay my head in his lap and watched my programs as a kid. He seemed to calm then. He was still alert when the ambulance arrived and my wife and I followed it to the hospital at break neck speed. But by the time we got called back to that room in Emergency it was to fill out a form my mom was in no shape to. It was a massive stroke and only a matter of hours at most. His brain was gone and just the body breathing like an unguided train. I called all the kids and told them to get here now.

    He lasted long enough for them to make it. I held his hand till his last breath then pulled the hose from his nose and kissed his forehead. I'll never be the man he was. Nobody is. Nobody is that selfless and kind and wise. But going through his things weeks later I came across the story of his life. It wasn't long, a few chapters, and I know he skipped quite a lot. Hell, all of his old films and pictures had women in them and the closest my mom came to a snide comment was when we saw another film of him in some foreign port with another girl on his arm. He was movie star good looking. I wish I had inherited that face and those laughing green eyes. But in that story he had written before he passed he said so many things that made me realize how alike we are. He was wild too. His stories were crazy and funny and I wondered why he wrote that just before he passed. Did he know I held my self estimation so far below him I could never reach what he was? Was he letting me know it's okay, we're all human, and I'm okay after all? If that was it then it failed. He will always be a mountain.

    Dad in his heyday-

  25. #125
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    oh wait I missed the bit where you can smell black people what the actual fuck

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