Friday, December 27, 2013

Puppy Snot and Pallet Smites

I have no reason to shop around. I know where everything is. I know how much it will cost to buy it. The prices of the items I buy do not have wild fluctuations. I need food for me and food for The Three. I also need dog treats because Lucas has informed me that we are out. I wasn’t going to buy more but he stands in front of the treat jar and sneezes. I taught him to sneeze for a treat and now he sneezes away like it’s hay fever season but there are no treats. I feel bad for Lucas, really, because this is his one claim to dog trick fame. So I have to buy dog food and dog treats.

If there is anything worse than Christmas when it is here it is the Ghost Of Christmas that lingers for the week after the actual holiday. People returning things they bought or were given are worse than people who buy things. I want to get into the store and I want to get back out. I don’t want to interact with anyone except the cashier and I don’t care that you were given a gift you don’t want and cannot return because you didn’t buy it at this store. Don’t yell at the cashier. She didn’t sell you that item and she can’t give any money for it. That’s the customer service, in a manner of speaking. I know the lines are long there but that isn’t my problem. Don’t break in front of ten people because you can’t locate a receipt for the gift and you aren’t sure if it was even bought in this store.

It frightens me to be inside of a retail store in December. Sooner or later, shooters are going to migrate from schools to retail stores and there are going to be more people trampled to death than shot to death.  It’s coming. I only hope that it’s that week I don’t have to buy dog food.

There are two kinds of people on this earth and there doesn’t seem to be a third. Someone will ask me what kind of dog I have because anyone buying fifty pounds of kibble isn’t using it to shore up his double wide, I would hope.
Random Stranger of the First Kind: What kind of dog do you have?
Me: Rescues.
Random Stranger of the First Kind: That’s cool, I got my dog from a shelter too!

And then we have..
Random Stranger of the Second Kind: What kind of dog do you have?
Me: Rescues.
Random Stranger of the Second Kind: Like the kind that digs people out of snow? Wow! I knew a guy whose dog could sniff out shotgun shells if he dropped while he was huntin’.

I’m behind a guy who is just about to pop the guy who broke into the line to bitch about a refund. I am slightly excited and at the same time slightly annoyed and more than a little tense. There are ten people in line. Odds are, seven of them are packing, and at least one of them is nuts. That’s an average. This might be one of those above average days for red necks who have just about had enough of this kind of shit.

At this moment someone drops a pallet onto the concrete floor and I nearly shrieked. Holy Mother of God was that necessary? Did you have to drop that damn thing twenty feet like that? The guy on the fork life sees about a hundred pair of eyes looking at him and not a single look of gratitude is to be found. Anyone holding it in so they could use the bathroom at home might be thinking homicide at this point. Hell, it does occur to me if the wrong-return guy starts blasting away, we could throw the fifty pound bag of mutt food and fork lift guy at him.

I smile at this thought. People back away from me.

I manage to get out alive and without have a falling pallet killing me. Can you imagine it?
 What happened to Mike Firesmith?
 Pallet Smite.
Damn, I knew it would come to that someday.

But then there’s always the parking lot where someone almost backs into someone else and horns blow, shouts are exchanged and I wonder if anyone has ever fled a shooting in a store only to get gunned down in crossfire near a handicap space? Surely, with a parking lot the size of some third world countries we can all have our own zip code out here, can’t we? I mean surely parking one car width further away isn’t going to cause you to like, you know, exercise?

The farther I get from town the more sane I feel. Traffic starts getting lighter once I get past the last subdivision. By the time I get to Hickory Head I haven’t seen another car in a few minutes and I can actually go without seeing another person for hours. The dogs see the fifty pound bag of food and rejoice. Lucas thinks the treats are something to sneeze at. This amuses me and I smile at this thought. The mutts mob me. I am home.

Take Care,

Mike

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas wrote: "Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: 'It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.' 'But that was not the same snow,' I say. 'Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely white-ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.'"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Other End Of The Pen



Before you can become a writer you have to know how to read. That sounds like a fairly simple idea but I’m not talking about writing in that you can spell most three letter words and I’m not talking about reading in that you can tell what’s on the dollar menu at a local fast food joint, either. When I speak of reading I am talking about reading something that someone has wrote that had come from the soul itself and when I am talking about writing, well, it’s the same thing but on the other end of the pen.

This isn’t about seeing Mark run or look, Janet, look at Spot.

Back when that was considered reading for many first graders I zipped through that stuff like a hot sword through butter in Death Valley. Mark, Janet, and Spot were a few light years behind as to where I was heading with my reading and rightfully so. The only glitch in my education was my writing. No, not the ability to form sentences and paragraphs but penmanship was the issue at hand, no pun intended. In the 1960’s how well your writing looked meant everything. Beautiful writing was formed with beautiful letters written with a graceful hand. My handwriting looked like an epileptic had tried to write during a seizure while he was being attacked by an electric eel during an earthquake.

It was actually a good thing in the long run because of all the beautiful writing there was to be found in the public school systems there were damn few good writers. They were trained to write a certain way, to admire the way that certain people wrote, mostly dead white guys, and everything else that was going to be written had to live up to those standards. There sure as hell wasn’t going to be anything new. But by being condemned by that system I learned, eventually, to operate outside of it.

I’m here to tell you a few things. First off, one of the things I want to tell you is that I have read more than most people I know and I know a lot of people who read. I know good writing when I see it and I know bad writing when I find it on the surface of a page or the screen of a computer. This isn’t some form a magic but rather it comes from a lot of experience in the field of reading. But that isn’t enough. To truly know a writer a person has to be a writer. Before I started writing I really loved some really great books. After I started writing some of those books took on a much greater meaning. The Lord of the Rings as seen through the eyes of someone who reads is an awesome thing. That same book reviewed by someone who writes…well!

Mostly, it is a question of perseverance. Once upon a time a writer could eat through reams of paper and still not have a usable sentence in the whole mess, but now text is as cheap and easy as your power bill can stand it. This does cheapen the experience somewhat and it does make things far too easy but you work with the tools you are given. There isn’t an excuse now to give up on what you started. You can rework it until you get carpel tunnel if you want and not waste a single page of paper.

I’ve had people sent me essays or pieces of writing and I’ve yet to tell someone to give up and go away, even though what they really need to do is give up and go away. These are the people who like reading and like the idea they too could be read one day, but they have no soul for writing. They do not have the spirit within that guides. And they give up and go away as soon as things get difficult. Things are going to get a lot harder before they get any easier. Writing is hard work. Writing is hard. Writing is work. Those are the facts of the craft.

It’s actually harder to convince people they have talent. Why, Mike, if I have talent, then why does my writing resemble a bucket of spaghetti hit by a log truck on a wet dirt road near a hog farm? Because when you start out writing, and for years after you start out writing, most of what you do is going to look a lot like that. Not all of what you do is going to be bad but you’re getting into a field where things never happen by accident. Even the worst batter can hit a ball every once in a while but no one writes well but through practice and sweat and a lot of dark and stormy night type writing.

Do you think the first time you had sex you actually did your partner some sort of good? It could be you did if that person had never experienced anything else, and hopefully that was the way it happened, but even if you thought you were terrible or you thought your partner was terrible, was the passion there? Did you want more? Did you feel like you were getting into something that you just had to do more of and getting better at it was something that made you feel great and warm and special?

If writing doesn’t do something like that for you then you aren’t a writer. Sorry. But if the act of writing, the act of creation, the very act of sitting down and bringing forth from your own soul something that can make other people laugh, cry, piss them off, make them think, make them stop thinking, or whatever it is your trying to do, if that act isn’t akin to orgasm for you then you’re much better off looking for prostitution than love making.

Anyone can find someone to get naked with in a crowded bar on a Saturday night and anyone can sit down in front of a keyboard and pound away at that, too. But to find something within yourself that is special and holy that you want to share in a very intimate way…that’s writing.

You may never get published or get rich or be famous. But you can write well.

Really. You can.

Take Care,

Mike

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Dream Of Snakes

I never dream about the first house we lived in back in my hometown. Mostly, I never dream about anything that has happened in my past from that period of time. As far as my dream factory goes the first twelve years of my life never happened at all. That says very much about how I feel. I consider my dreams to be precursors to writing, such as what you see before you, and they provide fuel for fiction, too.
The dream last night began at the first house I bought in Donalsonville, nearly fifteen years ago, but it morphed into a dream that showed the house I live in now, in Hickory Head, and that house back in Donalsonville. It was an odd thing, really, because I stepped out of the back door I have now into the laundry room back in D’ville, yet it was also part of the screened in porch I have now. Bert was there, young and strong and running amok, Lucas was there in his current state, as were Lilith and Sam. I’ve never dreamed of all four of them together at one time.

So the dogs are gone, off running in the back yard, and the room is the screened in porch yet it is also the laundry room. It’s a mismatched dreamscape and I love how my mind did this. There’s clutter in the room and it’s not the clutter I own. I like this, too, the way my mind will fill in the blank areas of a dreamscape and make them seem more real. There are old wooden chairs that are stacked together. There are hand tools gathering dust. There is a hammer and a wood chisel. Also very real is the three feet long Canebreak Rattlesnake that is lying still on a work table. I back away from it very quickly, totally surprised that it is here. I have to keep the dogs away from it, this is my very first thought, but just as I am looking for the dogs, to see where they all might be, there is a very large Eastern King Snake, and it attacks the rattlesnake and they roll over onto the floor. I go outside to block the dog door and make sure the mutts cannot get into the area where the snakes are. It might take a while for the King Snake to finish off the rattlesnake.

When I go back into the house an ex-girlfriend of mine is there, sitting on the sofa and she is speaking to a blonde woman I have never met. There are sometimes strangers in dreams that are familiar to me within the dream but not when I awaken, but this is someone unknown to me. I tell the two women about the snakes and they want to see the snakes. When we get to the room the King Snake is gone and the rattlesnake is still on the floor, very much alive. Once again I leave to go find the dogs and once again I am back in the living room where the two women are right where they were when we all left.
My ex was a very healthy conscious person so I am shocked and dismayed to see her smoking a cigarette. The blonde lites up too and when I ask them to stop smoking in the house my ex tells me, “I always smoked I just was able to hide it from you” and suddenly I am back in the room where the snake was. Now there is a Grey Rat Snake where the rattlesnake was and it has a lump in it as if it has just eaten a meal. Rat snakes do not eat rattlesnakes but I want to believe it has just eaten the rattlesnake. I still cannot find the dogs.
When I go back to the living room I tell the people there, and there are several people there, a snake has gotten into the house and some of them run for the door while others help me look. My ex and the blonde both are indifferent to the people and the snake and continue to sit and talk, and smoke.

I go up a small stairway and the snake is right there by my foot and I lash out at it, trying to keep it from striking. The snake is able to dodge my foot, coil it’s neck and sink its fangs into my leg.

I wake up with Lucas snoring at my side.

Take Care,

Mike 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Storm in June

The slightly Twilight Zone-esque - Leave it to Beaver neighborhood where I grew up did have some admirable traits to it. There were women in our neighborhood who were like second mothers to all of the kids in general and to me in particular, and I liked that. When we were children the moms were those people who could make things better and dads were those people who could fix anything and together they were the arbiters of all that was right and wrong and good and evil, and this was how the world was supposed to be.

As we grew older the alliances we had with our own parents faded and those with other parents failed even more quickly. Those people who were supposed to guide us into adulthood were now standing in the way of all that we were ready and eager to experiment with and we began to deceive them as to who we were and what we were doing, just as they had done when they were all young and half naked.

There were a couple of moms I stayed close with, until my late teens, and then I was gone from the neighborhood where I grew up. It’s not like there was a good-bye or anything like that but rather a gradual understanding that one day I would not be there. These were women who still saw in me a lot of youth and they were right to see it, too. The single flaw and the very best in all of motherhood is the same thing and that is once a mom always a mom, and a child adrift cannot be ignored. Even if the child is old enough to be a man, but still trapped in the emotional turmoil of being a teen, it matters not.

The Summer after I graduated from High School was one of unprecedented freedom for me. Each school year since the first grade on had ended in terrible, choking, overwhelming disappointment and graduating meant it was finally over. There was no next year to worry about. There was only some job to get, some girl to get, some drugs to get, more beer to drink, and there was no future to worry about ever again.

Whatever else might be said, someone who is eighteen years old isn’t a child. I had terrible social skills, a complete inability to function around real adults, and I had an impressive drinking problem, but a child I was not. Hormones raged inside of me along with the overpowering feeling that I was an alien living among a species incapable, and unwilling, to communicate with me. Outings with people who were supposed to be friends or lovers came to abrupt halts as if there was a time limit on how long I could pretend or perhaps the mask would slowly dissolve. I was an obstacle for everyone to avoid and even I made effort to do just that. But I still sought out human contact and I didn’t care how I made it.

I had no idea when the plan was conceived or even if it was at all something that had a conception, but I knew what I was doing, in as much as I knew what I was doing would work, or maybe it was that it could work, and with aforethought of the consequences of my actions I set the plan in motion.


Having nothing means losing nothing. There is a certain freedom in being an outcast that few ever feel. No one thinks about the actions of the invisible, the despised, the forgotten shadow of society whose life seems to have ended well before it began. But I suggested to someone a beach trip might be a good thing and then I lined up some really good pot for the trip.  I made sure there were so many people going there wouldn’t be enough room in the car for extra baggage, like me. It took some long range planning and thought, really, but I also had to make sure that one of the guys who was on that weekend trip planned it well enough in advance that his sister felt like she could slip under the radar that same weekend. She was secretly dating an older man, and to make things more dicey for her this was during a time where interracial dating might mean execution. It never occurred to any of us, and it wouldn’t occur to any of us, that a girl from a nice family who was secretly dating outside her own might just be living life a little larger than the rest of us. The alcohol and pills that we took for thrills were dangerous and we knew it, but each time this girl slipped out of her bedroom window at night she was taking her life in her hands. Ever else we might have known about life we never experienced this sort of danger or for that matter, that sort of love. She and her brother covered for one another so he could slip away and smoke pot and she could just slip away. He never realized he was complicit in what she was really doing and he would have freaked out had he known. Or maybe he knew too, and never let on. So many people live lives that are not their own they tend to be blind to how many others are doing the same thing.
And then there was their father. He was the stereotypical right- out- of- central- casting everything you had ever suspected or been told redneck. Men like this was how the South earned the reputation it has today. He was a heavy machinery operator, a la Flinstone, carried a steel lunchbox, hated blacks, smoked two packs a day, drank after five every day, and twice a year went down to flats to fish for two weeks.


All of these events I had known about beforehand. It was easy to connect the dots for the rest to fall into place, so incredibly easy, and suddenly I found myself sitting in my car, and everything, everything I had so carefully planned, had worked beautifully.  

The only thing that I didn’t plan, couldn’t have planned, and would have if I could have planned, was the weather. The night in question the heavens opened up and the rain fell as if the clouds had been breached and nothing stood between earth and deluge but the lightning. I parked my car a half a mile away in the parking lot of a store and walked to her house.

I was going make up a story about running out of gas but as I knocked on the door the power went off so there was no need to worry about the gas pumps working. What I had planned was, of course, impossible and improbable and unthinkable, but I had a crush on a friend’s mother. There was no way I could have ever expressed it verbally and would have been too frozen in fear to act upon it, but this was my way to steal a few moments with her, and believe it or not, that was all I expected.

She was expecting a night alone with her little white rat dog, a good book, and a bottle of wine. I arrived in time for her second or third glass, and I was already chemically enhanced to the point of having my equilibrium interrupted. She let me in and told me to take my clothes off while she found something for me to wear and my mind raced far ahead of reality. Honestly, neither one of us knew it but these were the closing moments of a lot of realties as we knew it.

She was still in mom mode, still worried I would catch my death of cold, still fussing over me being out in such weather, but she was also still a little drunk. I was wearing a pair of her son’s cut offs, an oversized tee shirt and an aura of fearful excitement.  She toweled my hair dry and I could feel her body brush against me. As she complained about me needing a haircut I took the towel away from her, touched her hands, and she backed away from me. I feel like I had tried to grasp a hummingbird made of smoke.

The power was off, the rain was falling like the end of the world, lightning was being slung about, the thunder was incredible, and there we sat at the kitchen table, she with a glass of wine and me with this surreal feeling that somehow something might happen or I had just ruined that chance, both feeling were lodged in me at the same time. She got up and got me a glass of Pepsi and I got up and got her husband’s bottle of Black Jack out of the cabinet and poured a drink worthy of a man about to make a leap of faith or make a fool of himself.

To a man of eighteen a woman who is forty years old is somewhere between a goddess and a relic. She scolded me harshly for presuming to drink right in front of her like that, and I remember the exact words I spoke, as if they were lines from a famous movie, spoken by an actor, “Living slow is dying slow, Donna.”  And I had no idea if it sounded as cool when it got to Donna as when it left my mouth but I seriously doubted it. I had never called her by her first name before. Kids always, always, always, addressed adults by the honorific “Mr or Mrs” but  never by their first names. It was the first time in my life I had done that. Had I reached over and touched her breast I don’t think it would have felt more surreal.

Had she gotten upset about that, told me to leave, slapped me, threatened to call my parents, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all. I had actually counted on it. I was losing my mind just sitting across the table from her. It was so very unreal. The lights were out because of the storm and there was only a small battery operated lantern on the table. The flashes of vivid and intense lightning lit the room up just like everything was normal for microsecond and then the two of us were back in a world neither of us knew how to navigate.

I was sitting with my back to the refrigerator and I was fairly certain she had gotten up to slap me silly but she opened the refrigerator door instead and took out a bottle of wine. She sat down across from me and poured her glass half full which was optimistic as hell, in my opinion. I hadn’t slept with a girl yet that hadn’t been drinking. But then again, I was particularly inept in the art of seduction. I could have counted my lovers to that point in time on one hand and still had enough left over to hitchhike and give a peace sign. The lightning flashed hard, brightly, and the room was lit up for a second in that white leave it to Beaver way that everything on earth was white. The lantern dimmed and I wondered what would happened if it died.  Donna got up and fumbled around and found a candle and a holder and had I been really aware of what was going on I would have noticed she was nervous and that could only mean she was thinking about the same thing I was thinking about. The candle light made the shadows in the room seemed like spectators crowded around the table each of them wondering where all of this was going to end.
“This isn’t your first drink, Mike,” and when she said this I knew she had already known about my drinking.
“When was your first time, Donna?” I asked and I marveled at the innuendo I had managed.
Donna, and by this time I was actually beginning to think of her as Donna, as female, wholly, and as someone with a first name, looked down at her wine glass and licked her lips. She looked up again and I saw now her hair was longer than most moms kept theirs. The candlelight made her look younger to me and more human.
“I, uh, I stole a bottle of cooking sherry one night, from my mama’s cupboard,” Donna giggled, “and my sister and I tried to drink it. It was horrible, but we got tickled with the idea of drinking.” Donna looked up and smiled at me and this was the first time I saw her as that girl. The storm crept in and lit the room up with a bluish hue that made us both jump just before the thunder shook the house.
“How old were you?” I asked.
“Twenty…” Donna began.
“Twenty!” and at this I had to laugh.
“I grew up in a very prim and proper house, Mike.” Donna seemed slightly embarrassed and I wondered if she was embarrassed that she had told me or the fact that she was so...unseasoned at that age. “Don’t laugh, I wasn’t allowed to date until I was in college.”
“You went to college?” I hadn’t known that about her.
“Women went to college to find men looking for wives, back then.” Donna took a sip of her wine and then suddenly tossed back the entire glass. “I was supposed to wait until we were married, I didn’t, and we both had to quit school when I got pregnant.” This all came rushing out of her like the rain falling outside.
I was stunned. Without knowing what else to do I drank. I took a long pull from the glass and felt the bourbon burn its way down into by body.
“What are you reading?” I blurted this out without any reasonable hope of keeping the conversation alive.
“It’s a romance novel,” Donna said, “girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy again, and they all live happily ever after.” Donna paused for a second and smiled.  “It’s a bodice ripper.”
“A what?” I had no idea what she was talking about.
“It’s a girl thing.” Donna said and she rolled her eyes. We both drank at the same time but we kept eye contact. She looked away first and blushed for reasons I couldn’t have suspected.
“I wasn’t expecting company. I must look awful,” Donna said suddenly, awkwardly, and it occurred to me much later in life that this was a softball thrown slowly and right over the plate.
“I think you’re beautiful,” I said and I did mean it but I blurted this out like a piece of gum falling out of my mouth during English class.
“You are drunk,” Donna said but she laughed and shifted around in her chair. Her robe slipped open a bit and my heart began to pound in my chest. I found myself wondering if she was wearing anything at all under that robe or if she was naked and just a shoulder shrug away from being nude.
The lights flickered, went out, and then came back on again. The moment had died, I feared, and for a second the kitchen was a kitchen, the candle a candle, and the hum of the refrigerator the dead single note song of our lives being preserved at a constant temperature. Donna got up without a word and cut the lights off again. Her movement was slow, deliberate, and sinuous. She sat down, poured her wine glass half way full again and smiled.
“What are you doing here, Mike?” she asked softly and I felt as if all off the life and breath in me was being squeezed out. This was not a question a mom was asking a child but rather a woman asking a man. I wanted to retreat, to return to being a child again, to back away from this brink where I stood for even as everything that I had schemed and planned and plotted was now here before me I was suddenly terrified. But the terror of the moment was overshadowed by desire. Here was a real woman not some half-dressed teen who had never been laid in a real bed. The alcohol drowned the fear and the blood rushing through my veins felt like red hot magna from a volcano about to explode.
I willed my legs into motion and I stood up. It was no more than two, maybe three steps to the other side of the table but it seemed an eternity. An air raid siren in my mind began to wail and I knew that in those two, maybe three steps, life would change in so many ways that I could not begin to count them. Donna turned her head, looked up and me, waited, waited, and I bent down and kissed her. Her hand reached around the back of  my neck and it felt like all the lightning in the storm had suddenly been released into that one moment. The sensation of that woman’s hand on my neck has never left me, to this day.

Take Care,

Mike

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's Three AM; Do you know where your Manson Family is???

Maybe it was a sound. Maybe it was something that moved where nothing should be. Maybe it was nothing where something should be. But I was up and moving before I was awake and that caused a few things to happen all at once.

If she isn’t anything else, Lilith is pit. The intensity stored in those dog’s souls won’t let them ever be good paperweights when something is happening. Engage the Borg! Lilith is up and off the bed at the first sign that something is wrong; light and springy, Lilith launches herself onto the floor and even though she hasn’t a clue as to what’s happening, my girl is ready.

Lucas? Eh, not so much. He raises his head and looks at me. I’m pinned by over a hundred pounds of still sleepy mutt. Were there something going on, surely he would have gotten the memo. Sam stumbles across the room, blind and lost. I’ve got one set of eyes and one set of ears on the floor and other than that, I got nothing.


Bert was a hammer. Nothing happened without his express written approval and he couldn’t write. What he could do was vocalize his disapproval with a voice that sounded like it was coming out of a much larger beast, let’s say, a cave bear.  It was a war cry. It was an announcement of intent. Whatever you thought was going to happen, if you came up on our property, that bark signaled a change in plans. When Bert dropped that hammer down the world was a different place. Instead of that hammer I have a little girl dog who looks confused, an old man who has just stumbled into the bookshelf and a Loki Lump that hasn’t bothered to stand up yet. I turn on the light and everyone yawns, in unison.

I push Lucas off the bed and he barely is able to catch his balance before he falls.

Meanwhile, remember that I woke up suddenly? The Manson Family is waiting outside the door, allowing us plenty of time to get on our feet and prepare to repel boarders. Lilith is standing at the bedroom door, my only real defense at this time. Not to make light of an eighteen month old Pibbilated Princess, mind you, but if a man owns the better part of two hundred and fifty pounds of tame wolf he ought to expect for at least fifty pounds of defense out of it, shouldn’t he?

Susan Atkins sends me a text wanting to know if they have time to go get a bite to eat before we’re ready. By all means, take your time.


Lucas sneezes and looks at me in hopes that I’m going back to sleep. Sooner would be better than later. Sam puts a paw on the bed and whines. Okay, let’s have a group hug before we start thinking about why we are all awake at three in the damn morning. Lilith, is still at the bedroom room but she’s sitting now, back to the darkness, wondering if I’m getting up, staying down, is there food to be had, are the dogs going out, but none of these are security related questions, are they?

Squeaky is braiding hair and humming to herself to stay busy, by all means, we still have all the time in the world, don’t we?

Maybe my training program to weed out aggression in the animals has gone a wee bit too far, do you think? But then again, what exactly am I asking for here? Did I, or did I not hear something? I have to push Sam to one side before I can stand up and Lucas comes over to help, which means I have most of the mass of dog between me and the door, very good, but they’re jockeying for position for petting, not protection. Lilith joins us and bitey face breaks out.  I put my palm on my face and it seems a good thing.

Why am I up? Why propelled me into a sitting position at this time of night? I bet you’re all wondering why I called you here together.

Sadie has to go to the bathroom. This will turn ugly.

I turn the light off and realize that the dogs are more of a problem in the dark than they are a solution. No one has gone into the living  room to see if there are several crazed killers on the porch, and it’s not that I really think there might be, but I shouldn’t be the first set of feet out there. With the lights out I can see out better than someone could see in. The dogs think they’re going out so they head for the back door and no one even so much as glances at the front door.

Uh, Mike, do you think they might not be reacting because there isn’t anything for them to react to in the first place?

That thought gives me real pause because there I was nearly sure there was a reason for me to be standing naked in the living room staring off into the night. I didn’t pick the shotgun up, so if I am going to fault the dogs for not barking, what the hell was I going to do if Tex was out there? Oh, I was right, you’ve come to murder me, might I take a moment to arm myself properly? Oh, thank you, you are too kind, would you also allow me to change the shot to double ought? That would be splendid! I shall be right back and I shan’t keep you waiting the more.

Of course, the sight of a nude fifty-three year old man bumbling around the living room just might stop someone in their tracks. Do you really want to be in the same room with this guy? Perhaps not.

I let the dogs out and then wait for their return. The stars are out and they are beautiful. The dogs return and we go back to bed, my heart rate slowly returning to normal, somewhat. The moment has passed. We are all safe. Lucas snores in the night but I still wonder what in the hell that was all about.

Take Care,

Mike