Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Dream Of The Stone Fort Battle




At midnight the Resident Dogs both joined me on the bed and I thought they were asking to go out. They both settled in around me quickly and Lilith curled up near my head, which is rare. I drifted in and out of sleep, had an amazing dream, and then woke up at three. There isn’t much hope for much sleep at three, and the moon is shining brightly for a change. It’s time to get up and, no, actually, it isn’t time to get up, but here we are. I’m resisting the idea that I’m going to drink coffee in favor of hoping I can get back to sleep. Soon.

I have dreams that are like movies. I’m watching in third person and then I’m here or there, at another camera angle, seeing things from both sides of a battle or a car wreck or a bar scene. Last night’s, earlier this morning’s dream was a battle between an army besieging a small stone fort with walls and those within. It was incredibly complicated because I knew the mindset of both parties; those within were hoping for some sort of help, eventually, or hoping they’d wear the attackers out. Those on the outside knew they had to break through quickly or risk running out of supplies or having the morale of their army destroyed.

The attacking army was made up of local clans who were fighting against the encroachment of a warlord who had begun to flex his muscle by building forts on the frontier. To make the point that he was in charge of the surrounding areas he would kidnap the daughters and wives of local clan leaders and force them and their people to quarry and carry the rock for the forts. The treatment of the hostages worsened as the labor dragged on so there was a lot of incentive to build quickly.

The clan leaders held a meeting and decided to attack all of the forts at once, on a board front, eliminating any of the forces in any of the forts being able to support one another. Many of the clansmen balked at the idea of attacking, not because they thought they might lose, but because of the most powerful clan leaders, three of them had accepted the help of another warlord. Some saw this whole war as an event where the clans would be used as proxies of two more powerful forces that would eventually decimate their population. Yet the forts, and the building of more of them, had to go.

Inside the fort that is being attacked in a young captain who thinks that the idea of pushing the boundaries into clan territory is a bad idea, but he isn’t paid to think about policy. An older, wiser, and much more experienced leader had been in charge of this fort but he had died suddenly and the young captain thinks the man was murdered. Now, as the fort is being attacked he realizes that the barbarians have help from an organized force. There are small catapults that are playing havoc with his defenses. The walls are holding, as they should, but the catapults are flinging rocks over the walls and into his archers. He knows now that someone has not only spied on the fort, but also the command and control as to how they repel attackers. The accuracy of the stones cannot be accidental nor chance.
On the outside of the fort, the man leading the attack realizes his men are being slaughtered at an appalling rate yet to stop the attack is to lose those men for no gain. The devices of his allies are keeping the archers from releasing masses of arrows against his men and he knows if he can break the gate or gain just one wall he can take the fort. He looks to the east and to the west. Thick black smoke will mean that the other two forts nearby are ablaze. Yet there is no smoke. Have the other attacks failed? If so, this one must be successful or the clans will be pushed out of their territory forever.

The young captain has had dirt piled up in front of the main gate. He can hear the cheers of the barbarians as the wooden planks are hacked away; will the dirt be enough to slow the assault?

The clan leader did not anticipate there being dirt in front of the gate yet his allies tell him, now, that it is common. They brought devices to help dig it out, but more men will die.


I woke up before there was any resolution. Both sides were being ravaged. The battle was brutal with no quarter asked and none given.


Take Care,

Mike

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Deep Dark Despair of Home Repair

But it's plugged in!

Home Repair causes me no small amount of despair. This is made worse by the fact that I own very few tools so even if I venture forth to remedy some ill that has befallen my most humble abode it is very likely that I’ll get half way through with it and discover some specialized instrument is required and then it will sit on the porch, unfinished, staring at me, until the next bonfire. I am mechanically reclined. There is nothing that I can say I do well with tool other than create jobs for other people in home repair. There is no job so simple that I cannot turn it into a catastrophe.

Then there are the dangerous job involving such things as electricity. That’s one of the few things inside of a home that can kill you outright. I’ve made just a couple of mistakes with electrical current and it’s never been as simple as getting cut with a razor knife or accidently hitting my knee with a hammer. True, falling off a ladder or a roof might cause serious injury or death but electricity is invisible. You have no idea of a wire is hot or cold until you do something that would cause you to find out.


Of course, there are tools for this, too. There are devices that will allow you to know each and every wire’s most inner secret, if you own these tools, and if you know how to use these tools, and if you know where the wires are. I’m a blind doctor doing surgery on a patient who is many feet long and tucked under a house. Somewhere, and I am sure of this, there is a wire that has been chewed through by a rat under the house. I must find this wire, cut the power off to the house, and then repair the wire. That is my mission.

The last thing I want under the house with me is four dogs; two large and two medium dogs and in particular I do not want a medium sized striped dog with a high prey drive under the house at all. This means I have to put all of the dogs inside of the house and go spelunking all my own. My biggest fear with the dogs is that they will tear asunder any and all insulation looking for rats. And no, rats I usually do not have because I toss a rat snake or two under the house each Summer. This Summer a striped dog with a high prey drive has kept the snakes away from the house.

The Quest for the Rodent Rendered Wire was as anticlimactic as it would seem to be. First, there’s only a few places under the house where there are wires to be found. Second, none of them were chewed at all. But there was nowhere else to look. I took five separate trips down under to find wire and rats and all I found was damp, musty, uh, musty damp stuff. I also discovered that I am not nearly as limber as I once was and crawling around on my back in the dirt isn’t nearly as much fun as it once was and it never was. I did mess with the dogs’ minds by calling them from one room to another. That was all the fun there was to be had.

Dark, damp, and closed in spaces do not bother me at all. I had a decent flashlight and a decent backup flashlight, and I took a razor knife with me, just in case of rats. Yet there isn’t any fear that I have of the darkness that is inherent. There’s enough light under the house for me to tell where I am and even if it was awesomely dark I could still find the way to the trapdoor. What is there to fear in a space where there is no light? It is the same space. There is nothing missing but sight. There is nothing added but the mind’s attempt to translate what is to what was and the darkness itself causes to harm. I cut the flashlight off and navigate by the light of the vents that appear on the house’s foundation blocks. East, east, east, then South and I’m out. I could do this at midnight and still get out quickly. But my back and neck both hurt.

One of my worst habits is to keep trying to fix something the same way even though it hasn’t worked before. After trip five under the house I realized that it gave me the sense of having accomplished something through effort without having any real results. It’s like those people who stare at a page without being able to read it but they keep staring without ever making the effort to begin to study what’s there. Sooner or later, and likely sooner, I’m going to have to find someone who knows a little more about electricity that I do.

I call around and explain the problem and most tell me the same thing,  “We will come out to your house and look at your problem but before we do anything at all it is $$$!!! Per hour just for us to drive to your house then $$$!!!+$$$$!!!! to do any work.”

This has been going on now for a few months. I finally told a guy who said he would tell me what was wrong for one hundred dollars I would get back to him in a couple of weeks. That was a week ago.


Last night, I decided I wanted to do four things at one time while sitting on the sofa; watch a movie on the laptop, charge the laptop, charge the phone, and use the reading lamp. This would require three places to plugs thing in and near the sofa there is one outlet with two receptacles. I thought using the power strip where the tv once stood would be a good idea. I plugged the power strip in, plugged the lamp into it and WHAM, out goes the light. This was a surprise and so I unplugged the power strip and plugged the lamp back in. Nothing. I plug the lamp into a receptacle in the other room and light! I check the break box and sure enough, there’s a breaker that’s tripped. I flip it back on and then stop. There’s that breaker that’s been tripped. I flip it over and it stays.

What?


Back in the living room everything works. Everything. It was the power strip that was causing the problem all along!

I have no idea how this is possible but I’m happy.


Take Care,
Mike

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

For the Love of a Dog, and a Friend.




I knew better to check my personal phone at work and knew even better than to check my FB on my phone while at work. I have things to do. It’s a busy day in a busy week and there are a lot of people who are going to show up for a meeting in the afternoon. I knew it was a memorial when I started reading it. I knew a dog had died. I knew that if I simply put it down until after work I would be okay and later I could deal with it, but not right now.

Something that is well written cannot be not read. When someone’s heart is printed on a page the eyes cannot turn away. I pulled over into the ditch, got out of my truck, jumped a fence, and walked out into the woods and tried not to cry for a dog I never met, who belonged to a woman I never met, and even as I sat in some pine straw and tried to pull myself together enough to pull off another six or seven hours, I had to text her and I knew she would call me.

Everything was going well. The meeting was running smoothly. Everyone was in a good mood and then my phone rang. Every stared at me. That’s kinda rude, don’t you think, to let your cell phone go off in a meeting.

“I have to take this call,” I said, “it’s a family matter”

And it was. And it is. What is it that ties us together if not out hearts? DNA isn’t everything and sometimes it isn’t anything at all. Sometimes you have to listen to someone explain why they put their dog down and you have to let that conversation run its course. I’ve made that call. I’ve listened to that call. I’ve helped buried more dogs than I have humans.

They are good people, mostly, at the meeting, and when I get back I try, I try really hard, to fight this thing down, to summon up the present and not think about someone I care about whose heart is broken. The questions are directed around me and that makes it worse, because now I know they can see it and I know they’re trying to help me. When my turns to speak comes around I say what has to be said, and my voice is clear and I use the body language that I know I have to, looking at each person in the eye, but now it’s different and even the people I know who are going to disagree with me will opt out today, call me later, and everyone agrees that we need to break because it’s time, and people suggest another meeting, later, we’ll talk about it, send me an email, please, I hope everything is okay.

And it’s not just this one dog or this one friend, it’s Frank, the Border Collie I had to go under a house to get when he was dying, and I had to drag him out, and he allowed it. Frank looked at me, held my gaze as the drugs took him, and then he died. It’s Max the GSD whose head fell on my leg as he slipped away, and it’s Romeow, the cat who said, “Fuck you!” and fought the vet and fought the drugs, and Romeow looked at me with that same expression Frank did, and I wondered if the cat was telling me to take care of the woman who took care of him. She left his ashes in Bert’s grave and found another cat, and another man, to love. But there is still that moment, when her heart was breaking and her cat was dying, and it mattered, really mattered, that I cared.


Even the most jaded Hermit has to see hope in the human heart that can be broken by a cat, or a dog, or a friend who will never be met, and a dog that will never be seen, and a group of people who will simply change their day to make way for someone’s hurt. I cannot be untouched by this grief of another human being, someone who heart mourns a member of another species whose chief virtue is unconditional love. We crave that virtue, we nurture it, and we’ll drag some nasty, stinking, vermin ridden stray out of a muddy ditch in hopes that we can find it.

Unconditional love brings out the very best in who we are and who we hope to be and who we want to be.


In the end, in the very end, they are all my dogs. Every one of them that is hurt or who is lonely or who dies horribly, I still love them. And the people who rescues these animals, who give them a home, who will become family to those dogs, they have become my family, too.


It feels like a crime, nearly, to have taken the two Cousin Dogs I have, for they well fed, well mannered, and already loving animals. DNA sometimes is important, and sometimes the things we do for family aren’t a burden but a blessing.

I do have dogs. And I will. Not all the pain and hurt and loss and tears will ever change that, ever. And I see this coming again, and again, and again, and again. And I accept it as the rent I have to pay to feel the power of the love of these animals and the love of the people who love them the way I do.

Take Care,

Mike

I Fought The Lawn and The Lawn Won




In the middle of July, leaving the lawn unmowed for two weeks is to invite flashbacks from any veterans of Viet Nam who might be passing by. In the middle of July, two weeks is enough time for some strange vine to come up three or four feet, for the grass to evolve intelligence, and for a colony of monkeys to begin breeding in the thicket. But this is the last part of August and even if there are some spots with fairly thick grass there are more spots where it’s not bad at all. It’s too dark to mow at seven in the morning and even the sunrise seems a little diminished.

 It will take a little more time but I’ve cleaned out the carburetor and the air filter so the engine is humming. I’ve got my safety gear on, I’ve got my hearing protection on, and suddenly I think of a woman, from a very long time ago, and I wonder where she is. It makes sense, actually, because she was one of those women would wanted protection during sex and I suit up pretty good just to mow grass. Back then I was smoking a lot more grass than I was mowing, and I thought condoms were like taking a shower with a raincoat on. But had she asked me to wear a long evening dress and a football helmet, to get her naked and in bed with me, I would have. I was a very young nineteen year old. I wanted pot, alcohol, and a woman. I had a minimum wage job and she worked as a waitress. She was very petite, very cute, and I remember when this older guy that worked with us pulled me to the side one day and asked, “You aren’t screwing that little girl are you?” And to me it was a stupid question. Of course I was, every chance I got, and every chance she would give me. Now, I look at some of the people I know who are that age and I understand his consternation, a little, but I also remember what it’s like to be that young and to feel the fire that hot. It’s difficult to image today’s young people, connected to their electronic devices as they are, taking time to explore a much deeper connection with someone’s body, but surely that hasn’t stopped happening.

We would stay up late, miss work, and always there was this drama about condoms, and eventually I realized that she, too, would forget we needed them if I could just get the right switches flipped. It amazed me the chances we took, the places we took those chances, and the frequency that we managed to find time to take the chances. But this was the life of shift work and we sometimes didn’t get forty hours a week at work. What else was there to do? But mostly it was because we were young enough to handle the long nights after long days and there were no consequences to our actions, until there were.

We had a scare, once, just one time, and that was enough for her to pull back from the fire. She realized she might be getting half of the pleasure from what we were doing but she was taking all of the risks. It’s not that I would be the kind of man to bail out on her, but I wasn’t the kind of man who could have taken care of a baby. She would wind up having to raise us both and there comes a point when even the right buttons pushed in all the right ways can’t make up for a serious doubts about the future.

The thick part of the yard is out front and furthest away from the house so I start there and work my way back. Back and forth and around and around, no, it isn’t odd at all to think about sex while mowing grass, but then again, if you’re so inclined, you’re going to think about it anyway. She was at a friend’s house babysitting a six month old baby who had fallen asleep. We were both tired and we both needed sleep and I was all for napping. But the fire would not be denied and her friend came back just as we were getting dressed. We didn’t know that would be our last time together, that we would break up in just two days and it would be forever.

The wasps have all stuck to their nests all Summer long. There are four of them on the eves of the house and they’re all on the northeast side of the house, too. I have no idea why there are none anywhere else but this yet they’ve all lined up like condos on the beach. We did the beach thing once, the eighteen year old and I, going out far enough in the water so no one could see us. Salt water and sex doesn’t mix very well but the young cannot be stopped by mere oceans. I stop to move a fallen branch out of the way and wonder why this woman is haunting me this morning. I tried to find her on facebook a few years ago but it’s hard to think someone I knew for six months nearly thirty years ago will remember it other than the way I do. She was the first woman I never said, “I love you” to when I wanted to and I will never know why. Those three words never passed between us. I made that same mistake years later, with a woman I’ll never forget,  and it’s a mistake that once it’s been made doesn’t seem to get any easier to correct.


I stop mowing and think about this. I know I’ve said those words far too soon and spooked a woman before but which mistake is worse? To rush into something that hasn’t have time to develop is a mistake born of fire and fancy but to stand there with someone and think about it and think about and think about it yet to not be able to or be unwilling to express the deepest emotions you can feel, why? There comes a point in time where youth cannot be blamed for all mistakes in the past. I crank the mower up and keep going. I’m getting closer to the house now and begin a circle, with the grass being tossed to the inside, where it will be cut again and again into fine mulch. It bothers me and it bothers me a lot now, the scar tissue coming apart and the wound reopening even though I know how futile it always will be. I make myself keep going because I know if I stop and think about this subject I’ll bog down the in the tall grass and weeds of the past and in circles I will go forever.


It’s not hot enough to bring exhaustion out in an hour or even two, and I refuel and keep going, looking for some point of numbness that will relieve me of the past. It’s like a poison that can be sweated out, melted away in the salt water of sweat, but not tears. I remember a tipping point that I missed, that I thought about telling a woman what I felt and how I felt and I think she felt the moment arise and stood there holding her breath. I remember the wrods coming to me, perfect words, heartfelt words, words to bind two futures together forever but the moment slipped away and turned into decades of space and time and emptiness and the moment is just another moment with another mistake.

The mutts all come to greet me and Tyger Linn, when she is allowed around the Cousins, now throws herself onto her back in front of them and wiggles. She wants to play with the big dogs and they aren’t sure what to think of Tyger Linn quite yet, but at least there’s no growling. Lilith remains aloof and the Cousins remain a little edgy about playing with Tyger. I wonder if they want to play and just aren’t sure how to start or if they’re truly uninterested. If only they could say it that would make things so much easier, wouldn’t it?

Take Care,

Mike

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Marco The Wolf



Marco Ladakh has decided that his inner wolf wants him to spend the night sleeping under the pine tree in the backyard. He has a soft bed on the screened in porch, right beside his sister Greyson Charlotte, but no. The wolf inside wants a tree outside and the woods and so Marco sleeps in the open like a stray would if he had to do so. This has led to the Resident Dogs to go to the window at night and peer into the darkness as if they have never heard of such a thing much less bore witness to it.

Marco has taken to the woods like a fish finally discovering water. True enough, it’s barely over an acre of woods, but there are trees, a lot of trees, and there is a giant tree, and there is underbrush and there is the scent of animals, birds, and creatures Marco only has instinctual memories of in his mind. Marco hits the woods when I walk with him and his nose his glued to the ground. He’s drinking up as much of the wild as he can right now and he likes it. Part Black Lab and part Weimaraner, Marco has all the tools he needs to hunt, and he always has, he’s just lack a place to practice his skills. Now there are woods and there’s a pack of coyotes nearby. Marco has the same attitude towards the Coyotes that Lucas had; bring it on, if that is truly want you want. I am here. This is my home. Bring. He’s not aggressive towards them but he looks into the black of night with his head up, ears up, tail rigid, and it’s hard not to see Lucas standing there.

Those poor Coyotes. They’ve gotten used to the idea there are no more large dogs inside the fenced in area and now they’ve got to acclimate themselves to the fact there two very large dogs who live here. Not that two medium sized female Pibbles wouldn’t be more than they wanted to tangle with for the Sister Mutts are built hard and low to the ground, compact and solid, short muzzled and armed. Your pack is going to be bloodied up trying to invade with these two standing guard, but damn, where the hell did THAT come from? Now two main battle tanks roll into the area and their voices can be heard at a distance.


The big male is sleeping in the woods at night. Who has ever even heard of such a thing! As stealthy as a tree falling into thick brush, the big male practically lumbers through the woods as if he has no care as to who hears him coming! Only a canine who is truly murderous would plough through the forest with such disdain! No, my brothers and sisters, we must flee this place and never return! The Pibbles have brought in reinforcements and if their human leads them against us it will go ill with us. Flee! Flee!

They have no idea at all that Marco is a neophyte, a puppy as it were when it comes to woodcraft. He’s a bird caged set to the wind. And he’s decided that he wants to feel the earth under his belly and feel the wind in his nose at the blackest of the nights. This is an animal who is rediscovering his heritage and his cousins in the house are bemused by this sort of behavior. Tyger Linn is fascinated. Last night, shortly after I went to bed, Tyger came to me and told me she wanted to go out. Ordinarily she would return after a few moments but I fell asleep and nothing woke me until nearly six this morning. Tyger had spent the night on the outside with the Cousin dogs. I suspect she’s sleeping with Marco in the woods. Tyger Linn is a hunter on the order of magnitude and now this big and clumsy creature has arrived to help her. What to do with this sort of thing? Tyger Linn has no idea. But here is someone who sleeps under the pine tree at night. Tyger Linn clearly thinks this is the best thing, ever.


This too shall pass, Lilith thinks. She has seen many dogs come and go, and she is the oldest member of the pack, as far as who has seniority, and she doesn’t allow herself to be drawn into anything new. Lilith Magnolia has her place on the sofa, has her place on the bed, and she has her place in the pack. Everything else flows around her as it will, and she will deign to notice it when she decides that she will and not a moment sooner. There are large dogs? What of it? One of the loves the woods? And? There are Coyotes? Have your canines call my canines. Lilith will raise her head when the Coyotes are sounding off but until they get close, really close, it’s just talk. Lilith assumes they understand the borders and if no, well, we’ll just see about that, won’t we, when the time comes.

Barely a week is left in August and the woods are changing into their clothes. The trees are beginning to get sleepy again. There’s still a few weeks left of this Summer and the hot weather is still taking its toll on everyone, and it will, but the end is closer than it was two weeks ago. The underbrush looks thinner and those who populate the thick places are now retreating back into the darker places. There are two new dogs in the woods. Greyson Charlotte yearns for the bed at night and comfort. She cares nothing at all for the noise in the dark and wants only to be petted on a dog’s head. The little striped warrior and Marco can have the black and they can have their stupid old tree! Greyson looks to Lilith as a role model. I believe the Cousins and the Residents know who wants to play with who now.

Take Care,

Mike

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Fog And The Owl At Three




                       At three this morning an owl landed somewhere in the woods, nearby, and began to hoot. The Residents lifted nary a head but the Cousins decided to bark at the owl. I smelled it before I felt it and certainly couldn’t see it, but fog had arrived with the owl. It was an odd thing; I can already tell Marco Ladakh’s bark from Greyson Charlotte’s. Marco isn’t sleeping on the porch and that’s odd. Marco was already in the woods when the owl arrived. The residents finally go charging out and I go with them because sleep and I have broken up again. It was an uneasy relationship.

I have that thought, that very thought, about breaking up with sleep, or rather sleep broke up with me; I pursued her too hard and for too long, and  that thought reminded me of a women I once knew a very long time ago that I pursued for a very long time and it was very hard. The terrible thing about the internet is that you can, in just a few seconds, summon ghosts.  I can’t remember seeing, or not seeing to be exact, fog this heavy in many years and there’s a correlation to be run here, between trying to see at night in the fog and trying to sort out the past when it comes to women. I hear the owl take flight and I wonder if Marco is sleeping in the woods now. That dog loves him some trees and leaves.

And yes, I am sleeping with the windows open in August. It’s been ungodly hot during the day but the rain, the constant never ending rain, keeps things cool at night. I like the smell of the night in Summer with all its decay and heaviness there is a sense of strength and power of life. I’m going to regret not sleeping in just a few hours but I always regret not sleeping. Even when I sleep with regret.


Sometimes memory serves us very well, like when at work some critical number or date or fact falls out of the skull like mana from heaven. Then there are times when it works more like one of those pachinko machines where there’s a thousand different ways a ball can land and lo! There is it is. I just remembered, for no good reason at all, that I forgot to take the trash to the road yesterday. I don’t generate enough garbage to take my trash can with wheels to the road once a week but I take my neighbor’s for her and she’s ninety-five. It’s important. It’s a big deal. She frets when things don’t go the way they are supposed to go. I could just let it go this week and nothing would come of it, but suppose next week there’s a torrential downpour or locusts? Yeah, I’m more than a little OCD about this sort of thing too. I begin to fret and worry about getting the trash cans with wheels on them, and honestly, is there really a good noun for these things, to the road because there is truly some serious fog going on.


Speaking of nouns, I’m going to look up the name for those moths whose larvae invade anything not sealed in the kitchen. Rice, flour, sugar (yes, please) or even birdseed, is subject to their invasion. One lands on my arm during breakfast and I slap it. This means they’re into something and I can’t figure out what it might be yet. In the meantime the place on my arm that I slapped and brought down the moth begins to itch. Damn, the moth bit me. Moths don’t bite or sting and I know this but there the welt is. I know a moth when I see one so I know the moth didn’t leave that mark but still… I get to thinking maybe I got bit outside and it’s just showing up. Uh huh. Right. I got Killer Moths.


It’s not only foggy but the visibility is nearly zero. This is a hell of a time to be taking the trash out to the road and thankfully, the little crazy girl dog that sleep under my neighbor’s carport says nothing to me or about me as I load up the noun-less container of trash with wheels on it. Just as I pull away from my neighbor’s house my right hand catches fire. Now, there’s no doubt about the assailant even in the dark. Fireants, one of the few creatures in the Universe I would banish to total extinction without a moment of doubt or remorse. One, or more than one, has tagged me up proper in between my little finger and my ring finger, not that I would wear a ring on any finger, mind you. If someone were to tell me that Hell would be an inch deep in fireants and the only true path to salvation was through being a Jehovah’s Witness I would be knocking on doors and leaving Watchtowers like used condoms at a Drive In theater that shows porn all night.

Now I have the Creepies. I can feel things crawling all over me. I can feel every hair on my legs. I can feel the tiny, tiny, hairs on my head crawling around like drunk soccer fans doing the wave in the fog. Worse, far, far, worse, I begin to think there might be fireants on my legs, migrating fireants, heading steadily up, higher and higher, an army of them, mind you, mindless stinging machine squirrel-like looking for nuts for the winter. When I get to the end of the driveway the plan is to do as much dancing as it takes to get them off of me, if they are on me, and oh by the way, if I got more than one, I got them from the nameless wheeled devices whose function is to hold waste. First, my left leg heads off in a direction all its own. The end of the driveway is two inches thick in slippery mud. My groin muscles, such as they are, will remind me of this for the next month. I have to get both of the devices we do not name out of the back of the truck while avoiding fireants, trying not to slip in the mud, and wondering if a vehicle will come out of the fog and end all my theological questions once and for all.

All of this goes off without a hitch, I mean, any more than I have already hitched my groin muscles, but once back in the truck I realize there is a quarter of an acre of mud still on my boots. I stop, yes, stop, in the middle of the road and knock them mud off my boots and marvel that nothing has attacked me in at least five minutes.

Fog makes people stupid. They drive too fast, too close to the centerline, with their brights on and they tailgate more. Someone gets behind me and I feel like stopping, getting out, walking back to their car, and telling them, “You know, being that close to someone is a form of flirting in some places, but I’m really not interested in anyone who would be better off getting kicked out of the gene pool, would you like a copy of Watchtower?”


Once at the office I find two sting marks on me; one on my arm and one on my right hand. The swelling is pretty decent but there are no migration waves. I’m off the road, out of harm’s way, and coffee.

And finally, Friday.

Take Care,

Mike